*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
September 23, 2021, 06:33:28 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 68 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: Incorrect Assumptions  (Read 3552 times)
Logan
Member

Posts: 153


« on: May 09, 2001, 01:23:00 PM »

Some of our assumptions about the G/S/D and also G/N/S may be incorrect. For instance, Ron and I have thought that John Kim's 3-fold debate didn't go anywhere. Not true. It's true his faq hasn't been updated in almost 2 years, but the debate has raged on and the participants made some progress. I'm still in the early stages of researching the vast trove of opinions that are the rgfa list, but I've already learned some interesting tidbits. I also exchanged an e-mail with John Kim himself, and got an interesting reply.

First and maybe most-interesting relates to the resistance issue. If you think it's "John Kim's model Good, Ron Edwards' model Bad," you can relax. It seems both have their fair share of critics asking all the usual questions. Why have a model? What is up with the Simulationists? Why is Gamist regarded as inferior? On and on. They also waste a lot of time and effort fighting the battle. It's reached the point that the rgfa crowd has made a subtle change.

John Kim wrote, "One shift has been to use the term "drama-oriented" rather than "dramatism". The idea has been that the "-ism" suggests a single, rigid style -- when really there is a wide range of drama-oriented styles. A game where the GM exercises strong control can be drama-oriented, and so can a game where the players improvise a lot for themselves."

It seems they already recognized something I had thought about but only recently put into words: G/D/S (and IMO, G/N/S, too) is just like the K/F/D 3-fold. A complete game (and to some extent a complete gamer) doesn't just stand on one point of the triangle. It's a synthesis of all 3 points. The strongest force in the mix determines its overall orientation, but the other factors are still there. You can have very extreme cases which very heavily favor one aspct (G/S/D or G/S/N), but all 3 will be there to some degree. Also, as I said in the dissection thread, there is a difference between stated intent and observed results. I was talking about player preferences, but this can apply to game sessions and to games themselves.

John Kim wrote, "...a distinguishing feature of simulation-oriented play is that it reasons from cause to effect. This is important for distinguishing from drama-oriented play, in that it isn't neccessarily "unrealistic" per se to have reverse reasoning (i.e. you can have a documentary which is dramatic by choosing a story which on hindsight is dramatic).

There is a more recent assumption in the G/S/N debate which says that certain stances are more appropriate for certain styles of play. John Kim wrote this in response to the notion: "There were never any evidence from rgfa discussion about which
stances (Actor/Author/Audience/In-Character) went with which Threefold styles. This suggests to me that at least among people there there was no visible correlation: i.e. dramatist play is liable to have any mix of stances as much as simulationist play."

It's been said on rpg.net that Ron stole the 3-fold from John Kim. Contrary to what some may think, John Kim doesn't think Ron stole anything from him. John Kim wrote, "Well, 'my' work in writing up the threefold model is based on lots of people discussing on rgfa. I don't claim ownership of it, not that anyone can own an idea anyhow. Anhow, he references my FAQ at the very start of his essay, so at least he isn't a very devious thief. :smile: But I should tell him to update his link."


Many people assume that all Ron has to offer is in his essay. Others assume that the sum total of John Kim;s model is in his faq. I know from my presence on GO that Ron has a lot more stuff in his arsenal. I also now know that John Kim's faq is out of date, but not forgotten. John says he hopes to update his faq in the next several weeks. That will be much better than sifting through hundreds of posts on rgfa. Now, if Ron manages to revise his essay so that it includes more of his ideas, maybe both models will be more clearly understood by more people.

One assumption which I must challenge is the notion that Ron's complete model is One Size Fits All, that you can use his model to assess both games and players. I disagree with this because his model is primarily a tool for game design and game evaluation; and these tools are tacitly different from the tools required to evaluate player behavior. I would go so far as to rename Ron's whole model from G/N/S to Ron Edwards' Model of Game Design Goals. For short, it would be the Edwards model. I would rename John Kim's model from Styles of Roleplaying faq to the RGFA Model of Player Preferences. For short, it would be the RGFA model. This indicates that designer goals are different from player goals. Sadly, the GM gets caught in the middle, but I think most GMs like being caught in that weird purgatory between the designers and players. Lucky them, they get to do a bit of both. :smile:

Of course, such a bold statement demands support. I will supply that. First, let's look at the term G/N/S. The 'N' is an 'N' because "narrative" replaces the RGFA term "drama" as a result of Jonathan Tweet's use of "drama" in the K/F/D paradigm. The RGFA model doesn't use the K/F/D paradigm because they are primarily interested in player behavior, and balance of mechanics is pretty much a design issue. Next, let's look at stances. The Edwards model has 3 stances: Actor, Author, and Director. These are stances primarily for setting up the rules of a game. The RGFA model has 4 stances: Actor, Author, Audience, and In Character. These stances are strictly for describing the player's state of mind at any point with respect to the game world. The Edwards model goes on with really beefy material about character currency, death & reward mechanics, and other points related to designing or evaluating a game. The RGFA model goes on with discussions of campaign axes, plotting, and a glossary of terms related to roleplaying primarily of interest to people who want to discuss player behavior. So, you can try to use the RGFA model for game design, but it won't work as well as the Edwards model. THe tools just aren't there. Likewise, you can try to use the Edwards model to evaluate player behavior, but you'll probably come up a bit short.

Finally, without the input of some people with Simulation-oriented preferences, we are arrogant and incorrect to assume we can say what makes them approach games the way they do. That's an opinion.

I'm out of John Kim quotes, though it was very satisfying to get a response from him on these topics. If you need more info, start here:

http://www.ps.uci.edu/~jhkim/rpg/styles/index.html

Best,

Logan
Logged
james_west
Member

Posts: 292


WWW
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2001, 09:05:00 PM »

First, it seems to me that there is way too much "personality" and "intellectual property" involved in this debate. Pretty clearly, people have been thinking along these lines for at least 15 years.

Second, while I'm not sure it's neccesary to use a different set of axes to represent them, it is clearly possible for an individual to have different goals for game design than for play.

For instance, I'm strongly simulationist in game design, but not very interested in it in play. I'm in the middle of writing a game in which the different psychic stressors on the character make a substantial difference to his ability to do complex mental tasks. This is an explicitly simulationist mechanic; I'm attempting to simulate the effects of other concerns on the mind. However, the reason I'm including this simulationist mechanic is in order to further narrativist goals in play. It's my belief that having an explicit mechanic dealing with this issue will cause the players to pay more attention to minor issues in the characters' lives. As a crude example, I find that players tend to completely ignore their aged aunt Elna until aunt Elna is kidnapped by Dr. Evil.

I think very few people are simulationist in terms of their goals in play; I think a lot of people are simulationist in terms of their goals in game design. This is not a conflict; simulationist game design frequently gives rise to more interesting narrativist play.

              - James
Logged
Logan
Member

Posts: 153


« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2001, 05:38:00 AM »

Quote

On 2001-05-10 01:05, james_west wrote:
First, it seems to me that there is way too much "personality" and "intellectual property" involved in this debate. Pretty clearly, people have been thinking along these lines for at least 15 years.


That may well be, but those others haven't chosen to write articles and put them where people can read them. John Kim simply says that he's the rgfa messenger, collecting and presenting the ideas of many contributors. Of course, his faq reflects his bias to some extent. It can't be helped. Ron's essay and other ideas are mainly the results of his own research and thinking. He's shared them and some people debate them; but a lot of the work is uniquely his. He credits his sources, but he's the impetus behind his own model. I think it's correct to see him that way.

The rest of your post is interesting, and I agree with the overall thrust, especially that a person can have design goals that differ from player goals. I disagree that simulationist design often leads to more interesting narrativist game play. Often, conventional simulationist design layers rules upon rules and produces a flow of play which stifles the narrative aspects. You don't normally get the metagame resources or dedicated mechanics for telling a good story. After all, the design's goal is primarily to simulate conditions in the game world. This is not to say you can't tell a good story; it's just that the GM pretty much controls it and the player has only limited control of his character's fate. As I pointed out above, this does not prevent the inclusion of some simulationist or gameist mechanics in an otherwise narrativist game.

I suppose it would be good to put an example of this, so I'll point at Sorcerer, written by Ron Edwards. In that game, the players must make 3 separate die rolls to acquire the services of a demon. There is always a chance of failure at every stage. In fact, there is a strong element of risk and a feeling of "gambling with the character's soul" to the whole process. It's an intentional design decision, but I would call this a Gamist mechanic in a primarily Narrativist game. I say this because there are no automatic successes for great skill, and no way to completely overcome the risks. The best the player can do is minimize them, but there is always a possibility that the player will "whiff" with potentially disastrous consequences. This element of risk may heighten the drama, because there is a certain excitement to rolling the dice; but this is not typical Narrativist excitement.

Best,

Logan

[ This Message was edited by: Logan on 2001-05-10 10:03 ]
Logged
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2001, 05:45:00 AM »

James,

POINT ONE
As far as intellectual property goes, I think that my name and John Kim's name are mainly used as references - our writings on the matter, our discussions with others, and various nuances of the outcomes are accessible from our websites. Therefore it's easy to use the names = the idea.

However, I certainly hope no one would identify this body of discussion with any given person in terms of ownership. On the other hand, I also hope that anyone who proposes a specific insight (in my case, claiming D/F/K is independent of G/N/S) is given credit.

POINT TWO
I'm not sure that what you've described is a Simulationist mechanic at all. It sounds to me like a Premise-enforcing mechanic, which is fundamental to the goals of Narrativist play. (And you are clearly good at Premise, as witness the Dr. Evil example.)

All game design requires some formalization of cause (D/F/K) - that's what makes ANY role-playing functional at all. That's not, in and of itself, Simulationist design, I don't think.

We're veering off of Logan's point on this thread, though, so maybe another thread would be a good place to take this up. And I need to mull a bit, too, so bear with me - we'll continue.

Best,
Ron

[ This Message was edited by: Ron Edwards on 2001-05-10 12:01 ]
Logged
greyorm
Member

Posts: 2233

My name is Raven.


WWW
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2001, 07:52:00 AM »

On 2001-05-10 01:05, james_west wrote:
I think very few people are simulationist in terms of their goals in play; I think a lot of people are simulationist in terms of their goals in game design.


However, game design strongly influences the style of play, so strongly simulationist mechanics will enforce strongly simulationist play.

(Yes, I do believe that there are such things as G/N/S mechanics...that is, mechanics which implicitly lend themselves towards particular goals, goals which can then be compared to the points of the G/N/S model.  I've had too much experience with different systems to believe otherwise.)

I also do agree that the goals may differ between design and goal, in that one might use a simulationist game to run a narrative but in those cases one has to overcome the inherent results of the simulation to get to the narrative, or the gamist methods to get to the simulation, or whatever the case happens to be.  In the end, it causes more trouble than it is often worth.

System does matter! (uh-oh, I'm referencing Ron!)  Frex, the last game I played in was a *strongly narrative-oriented game which used D&D mechanics (gamist).  As time passed, I realized this was a complete mistake; the mechanical interpretation of the world didn't match or allow the goals we were trying to meet as a group of players and in fact IMPEEDED our goals (*especially in areas of character design and utilization).

The opposite also occured: when trying to follow the rules and be gamist in dealing with the mechanics and situations, it broke down because the goal was still narrative but the mechanics didn't enforce it...meaning that we became frustrated since the mechanical situations were not "winnable" as proper gamist methods should have been.


_________________
Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
http://www.daegmorgan.net/
"Homer, your growing insanity is starting to bother me."

[ This Message was edited by: greyorm on 2001-05-10 11:55 ]
Logged

Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
Pages: [1]
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!