*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
January 22, 2022, 09:54:01 AM

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: 71 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 7
Print
Author Topic: Looong post on Sim definition  (Read 34600 times)
Silmenume
Member

Posts: 467


« on: July 14, 2004, 04:14:23 AM »

By amazing and wonderful dumb luck I ran across Chris’ (clehrich) thread Not Lectures on Theory [LONG!].  His ideas on Structure, Ritual, and most importantly “Risk” fill in some gaping holes in the ideas I have been wrestling with and mostly losing against!  There will be lots of heavy quoting from the posts in that thread so I will ask patience from all who make the effort to wade through this.  Chris – I will do everything in my power to understand your thesis and to not commit violence to your ideas.

For several months now I have been chasing after conflict as the primary diagnostic tool of CA as if it was the Holy Grail.  After reading Chris’ aforementioned thread and doing some reading up on TROS and Ron’s Sorcerer I see that I have been chasing after two goals.

The first is demonstrating that conflict is absolutely central and necessary for CA expression and hence exploration/roleplay – this includes Sim.  Conflict/Situation is not just an element of exploration – it has a vital non-interchangeable role that cannot be simply replaced with another element of exploration.  As was explained by Ron  here, one cannot/does not Explore Setting it’s a nonsensical statement; one rather uses Setting or whatever element of Exploration to Explore.  This means that the elements of Exploration are used to another end beyond themselves.  Jumping off a cliff to see if System will support that action is a deconstructive act (it is self-referential to system/mechanics), not one in keeping with Exploration which is a constructive process.  Yes the character was demonstrated to jump off a cliff and it was integrated to the SIS, but the role of that act had nothing to do with mindfully adding to the ritual event of Exploration but was in fact deconstructing it.  Nor does having a character just move endlessly around the fictional Setting qualify as Exploration because conflict was not involved – it is merely interaction description at best, nothing more.  Sim is not the emphasized Exploration of the element of Setting, nor System, nor Character, nor Situation, nor Color.  Sim play is the focused employment of Exploration via all the elements - Setting, System, Character, Situation, and Color.  All those are used to build towards and reward the act of engaging conflict (this goes for Gamism and Narrativism as well).  I will go into more detail on this later.

The second is how conflict can be employed as a tool of CA diagnosis.  I found that while conflict is at the heart of CA diagnosis, in and of itself any specific incidence of conflict is CA neutral.  Conflict without context is meaningless – it just means two antithetical forces have come into contact with each other.  Combat a direct form of conflict can be used to address Challenge, Premise or Sim X.  What makes a conflict an expression of Challenge or an expression of Premise or an Expression of Sim X is the context in which it takes place.  In my own thrashing around in the darkness way I think I was fighting Ron on his “just watching what the players groove to”, react to as “cool” and such as the means of diagnosis because I thought it was too loose.  I wanted something more rigorous.  I wanted to know what in the SIS that the players were reacting to.  So I went digging and found conflict at the heart.  Ron was observing the right indicators, but what was really important were the cues that set off those observable player re/actions in the first place - conflict.  It is everything that the players do that surrounds and relates to conflict that demonstrates CA in action.  How do the players use system to address conflict?  Under what circumstances do players engage the conflicts?  What kinds of rewards are given for engaging in conflict?  How do players respond to the rewards that are generated as a result of engaging in conflict?  How do players employ those rewards?  It all boils down to how and why we engage in conflict and what Ron has gone on about for years - the rewards.  The two are closely linked and difficult to disentangle.  The why part is extremely difficult to discern and can only be inferred from patterns of behavior so nothing terribly definitive can be said about it.  Who’s doing what in regards to conflict and how are they being rewarded.  Answer those two (linked) questions and you will have diagnosed your CA.

So how does this apply to Simulationism?

First and foremost is that Sim too is driven by conflict.  No conflict, no Exploration, no CA, no Sim.  However, Sim’s employment of conflict is very different from that of Gam/Nar.  Let us then examine how conflict is “addressed” in Sim by first looking at some of the basic underpinnings of Sim.

Internal Causality is king.  The single greatest false assumption about Simulationism is that it is about creating an artificial reality and one that is especially consistent (causality is always clear and consistent).  This assumption does as much violence to the understanding of Sim as saying that Gamism is about rules lawyering or that Narrativism requires overt manipulation of the Premise question.  The role and purpose of Internal Causality in Sim was phenomenally demonstrated here –

Quote from: clehrich
The social world is made up of an extraordinary number of intertwined structures, slowly shifting over time as people use them in different ways and for different purposes. Everything from language to basic orientations, social relations and personal goals, is made up of such structures.

(real people) have categorical notions sort of semi-embedded, and they encounter real things and think about them, but most of all and most importantly, they are told what to think by their cultures.

So given that, we see that there are a bunch of structures in place in our heads, arising primarily from social cues. Whenever one acts* one therefore manipulates structures already in place. Such manipulation is generally strategic, in the sense that it aims to accomplish something not already true. This is dependent on such structures already being in place, because without them it is impossible to predict the outcome of behavior.

*I’m avoiding the hairy problem of thought/action, and calling it all action. It has been pointed out (by Bell and others) that this distinction is nonfunctional, so when I say “action” you should not think of it as distinct from thought – thought is a kind of action. If you prefer “behave” for “act”, feel free to swap the terms.

In an RPG context, the application is I think obvious. Structures are handed to us, most obviously in everything from social agreements to rules systems to setting to whatever. We permit ourselves only a limited range of movement. At the same time, every manipulation of any structure within that system necessarily changes its meaning, however slightly;…


This is precisely why Internal Causality is so critically important to Sim.  Play is idealistically limited to the in-game space, and metagame activity typically is eschewed to a very large extent.  This arrangement puts considerable constraints on how the player communicates his intentions to the DM and by extension the SIS.  Thus if the player wishes to reveal a character quality it is paramount that the social structure of the world be consistent so that the newly revealed quality can be seen in clear noiseless contrast.  Its not that we groove on the world being accurately represented via system it’s rather that we need consistent social cues so that the relationship to and thus the manipulation of the structures and symbols within the SIS is as unambiguous as possible.  Chris’ article, as I understand it, says that our relationship and understanding of the world, both physical and social, is heavily colored by cultural background.  Historically Sim game designers missed that distinction and obsessed on the physics and missed the incredibly important human based culturally informed “structures”.  It’s not quite as important that a chasm is 38 feet wide and hundreds of feet deep, but rather that it’s the “impassible maw of howling death.”  Its not so important that the physics be accurate as that we have a personal/social framework point of reference from which to view and categorize the fictional the world and the events transpiring within.  These types of social cues and constraints are unbelievably vital to Sim play yet are almost universally underemployed and/or under rewarded.  Echoes of this can be seen in the horribly misapplied alignment system of D&D.  Chris gives a great example by demonstrating how of a style of dress has many social cues and ramifications at the end of his thread.

However all this has led to the importance of the DM in Sim play.  Again I quote Chris –

Quote from: clehrich
In RPG's, this means that the player whose abduction is actually on the line, i.e. whose character is risking something, is the most likely to find a positive result rewarding and clarifying of the SIS. The other players do find valuable data in it, but are less convinced -- others' clarifications are less authoritative for them.

This has an interesting potential result for Illusionism and strong-GM play. By putting all real narrative control in the GM's hands, you make abductive action riskier. That is, there is a greater real chance of having a failure, of having the result you infer from your abducted SIS blocked by the GM. By raising the risk, you produce two results:

1. Players are less likely to go strongly against the obvious deductions
2. Players are more likely to find the SIS convincing as a total experience

Therefore strong-GM play tends to support Illusionism and Immersion. If you want those things, a strong GM control of narrative may be useful.


Its not that the DM is the god of the game that is important but that his “alienated” position from the SIS fosters an atmosphere of a convincing total experience.  Combined with the effects of risk on the players and you have the basic foundational elements of Simulationism.  Risk with an “alienated” DM promotes the Dream.  Conflict creates risk.  This is conflict’s role in Sim.  This is why conflict is just as central to Sim as it is in the other CA’s as well.  Conflict fosters the Dream in Sim, conflict drives Challenge, and conflict drives Premise.  Note that I said that conflict fosters the Dream, but it does not drive it.  This is why Sim “feels” so profoundly different from Gamism and Narrativism.

Let me quote Chris one more time regarding risk -

Quote from: clehrich
In the context of RPG's, the previous proposal was that we constantly make Abductions on the basis of various Result data, trying to infer what the SIS is as a Case. The difference from the sciences is that we don't really care about inferring Rules -- we don't do Induction, because it's not helpful to work out a new set of Rules, because we're not that interested in predicting the results of controlled experiments. Instead, we want to make sure that the Case (SIS) is as precisely accurate as possible, so that we can infer or insert new data and have it not clash.

Interestingly, this means that every time we do something within an RPG that affects the SIS (almost anything we do, certainly IC), we're accomplishing one of two things -- or both.

1. Confirm and strengthen the SIS
2. Challenge the SIS

Since we can never have any certainty about the SIS anyway, these two tend to collapse into each other from the perspective of an observer, i.e. another player. From my perspective, it matters which happens, because I want my character to succeed (or whatever) by playing on the structures of the SIS; I don't want to be smacked down for going against the SIS. From everyone else's perspective, either result provides data that clarifies the SIS.

That logical result would tend to suggest that SIS clarity is best supported by players who aren't doing anything. But this seems at odds with experience. So what's wrong?

Again, Peirce. He'd suggest, I think, that the difference is risk. In essence, the more one's hypotheses (abductions) are on the line, the more that is risked, the more convincing we tend to find a positive result. There's no logical difference, but logically no number of positive results can ever prove the abduction correct anyway. So it's a question of what we find convincing. And if we make the abduction, and we propose the test, and we put our necks on the block to do it, it is we who are most convinced.


Risk, which is found in conflict, convinces – i.e., it fosters the Dream.  The more conflict, the riskier the conflict, the more intense the Dream becomes.  Given the above several observations can be predicted which I think reflect real world Sim play.

Sim is difficult to understand intuitively because we don’t know what we are doing as players.  We aren’t trying to win, we aren’t trying to create a story, so what the hell are we doing?  Here’s why Sim is hard to get going.

Conflict cannot occur unless two antithetical forces collide.  In order to have a collision you need two forces.  One is a player created character goal and the other is Setting.  This is why Sim is difficult to get.  In order for Setting to feel “real” you need risk/conflict but in order for that risk/conflict to arise the Setting to feel “real.”  You get the chicken or the egg problem.  Someone has to make the first move, player or DM.  Now for a player to move first he needs to have created at least one goal for his character, but in order for that goal to have meaning he needs the fictional “social structures”.  Being fictional these “social structures” don’t become firm until the Dream is strong which requires that risk be faced by the players.  But the risk isn’t that strong until the structures are firm.  Again an endless cycle.

Why isn’t the creation of the risk such a big problem for Gamism or Narrativism?  Because the risk exists on the player level.  For Gamists its social status with regards to performance –

Quote from:  Ron Edwards from the Gamism essay
Gamist play, socially speaking, demands performance with risk, conducted and perceived by the people at the table. What's actually at risk can vary - for this level, though, it must be a social, real-people thing, usually a minor amount of recognition or esteem. The commitment to, or willingness to accept this risk is the key…


In Narrativism its virtually the same as with Gamism -

Quote from:  Ron Edwards from the Narrativism essay
Narrativist play is very much like Gamist play in this regard, and for the same reason: the player of a given character takes social and aesthetic responsibility for what that character does.

…Gamist and Narrativist play are near-absolute social and structural equivalents…


So how is the problem of risk and creating the Dream usually addressed in Sim?  The first and easiest way is to have the players already familiar with the fictional setting.  This is usually accomplished via lots of setting materials in the game set or from an existing book or movie.  In my case its the LOTR books which all the players are fanatical about.  This helps fill in some of the social structures needed for meaningful play.  In other cases its creating rich character backgrounds.  While this helps what is usually missing is the most important element, a motivating driving goal.  The richer the character the more opportunities for conflict (via more opportunities for goals to come into contact with opposing forces) the greater chance there is for a convincing total experience.  It also helps to have an overarching world conflict in which to place the characters so that even the absence of action carries consequences.  When starting with a new character it starts with character background that includes conflicts or the game itself can commence with conflict.  Usually our game ritual starts with the start of the music from an appropriate motion picture sound track and the phrase “roll a twenty sided.”

So what does this mean regarding IIEE and DFK if the “point” of play is convincing total experience/the Dream?  As my DM says, Dice add spice.  There are no absolutes needed for DFK as long as they help keep the tension high.  Sometimes in the heat of combat we mime the actions as well as call them out, and if we do so convincingly enough, or events are happening extremely quickly we don’t even bother to roll as it would slow down the unfolding drama.  At other times when things are critically important dice rolls cannot be avoided and the tension becomes extremely high.  Allot of times we are just told to roll without knowing what we are rolling for.  Virtually all IIEE rolls are done with a single D20 with the idea that 1’s are virtually, but not quite always bad, and that 20’s are always good.  Based on that alone much of the game proceeds forward.  If someone rolls a string of 20’s the whole table can start cheering, conversely if someone starts rolling a string of 1’s things get very quiet as fear starts to rise.  Intensity of play modifies these rolls – dice can be but are rarely final arbiters – they color the play.  DFK in the game I am in is a tool strongly employed to create dramatic tension and even the choosing of the times of its employment is strongly tied to the emotional power of the moment.  We have no written rules system for the players, the combat system is taught in about 15 minutes – the rest of it is play your character; don’t worry about the numbers.  The question that is typically asked is - What character characteristic/quality do I (the player) wish to reveal/represent about the Character when I (the player) attempt to resolve conflict A while trying to maintaining cultural/structural element) B?  Sim is about peeling the onion of Character.

How do reward systems work?  Rewards are given for interesting and effective roleplay.  A player may kill many things and rack up mountains of EP, but unless he has roleplay tallys he can’t go up levels.  This pretty much stifles most Gamist elements.  I suppose a Narrativist could function within the group, but the power of the DM and the huge diversity of Situations we face would make Premise addressing difficult but probably not impossible.  Other roleplay rewards come in the form of player ratings which are given out at the end of every night as well as a star handed out for the best roleplayer of the evening.  Special characters can be earned by effective roleplay over time.  There is much more to say on this topic but I’ve gone on waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too long and broken into a ramble.

Which brings me to one last point.  There is this poisonous idea floating around about emotional and intellectual involvement and Creative Agenda.  ALL the Creative Agendas inspire emotional or intellectual involvement from the players or they wouldn’t be playing at all.  I think the distinction is more a matter of historical accident than anything else.  Let me cite you an example in overview of what happened in our game over the 4th of July weekend.  The first was tragedy.  We play in a game that is set in Middle Earth about 30 years before the War of the Rings.  A PC, who has been played for over 20 years in real time accidentally, in the fog of war, killed two vitally important NPC’s (Elladan and Elrohir – the two sons of Elrond who play a major part in the future war of the Rings and were deep friends of his Character and whom he as a player had grown extremely fond) whom he, via his Character, had spent much real world time with struggling under impossible odds.  This event was so shattering emotionally that all play virtually stopped right then and there and the player, who flew out from New Jersey for a week’s worth of roleplay and despite substantial personal financial commitment flew home the following day.  This happened on the second day of play.  There was sniffling around the entire table.  It almost wrecked the entire week.  It did for him.  Second, on the last night of play a player who after struggling heroically for his Character’s life and then subsequently laying his Character’s life on the line for an NPC whom he dearly loved, nearly passed out.  I kid you not when I say he sat down hard on the floor, his face was beet red, he had to lie on his back and breath into a paper bag.  So intense was that last night of play that all of our voices were so blown out that none of us could talk effectively for the next few days.  Virtually all of our games are that intense.

Why this last part?  Because this essay is also about the fact that all the CA’s have the potential to be equally involving.  It all depends on the players and how effectively conflict/risk is being handled, not the CA.

This is my essay - typos and all.  I've made several attempts to edit it and clean it up.  Have mercy; I'm doing the best that I can.

Aure Entuluva,

Silmenume
Logged

Aure Entuluva - Day shall come again.

Jay
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2004, 06:32:37 AM »

Nice! This falls very much into the category of "acceptable variant" in my view. If you can live with my bizarre & odd focus on internal causality, then I can live with your alternate view. (I'm kind of past the days when I needed to root hog or die with every little nuance of Creative Agenda.)

Your point about emotional involvement is interesting, and I see some concepts in there that I agree with a lot ... however, I also draw your attention to Ken Hite's review of Sex & Sorcery, in which he protested mightily that my points in that supplement only applied to "emotionally involved" play, and that left "intellectual-only" play out in the cold.

I suspect that "emotionally involved" is one of those tar-baby phrases in that most people want to be associated with it, but what "it" is varies widely.

Best,
Ron
Logged
Silmenume
Member

Posts: 467


« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2004, 04:50:18 PM »

Hey Ron!

I’m not sure that I understand the implications of your, “bizarre & odd focus on internal causality.”  Guessing at what you mean, I don’t really see any real distinction between your focus and what I wrote.  Let me expand.

Internal Causality is as important to Sim as Premise is to Nar and Challenge is to Gam.  The main difference between IC and Premise/Challenge is that IC does not have the dynamic drive built into it that Premise or Challenge do.  That being said IC supports the internal “structures” that are inherent to Premise and Challenge.  Premise and Challenge provide the “structures” where the meanings of our play actions are measured against.  Does this manner of dealing with this conflict address Premise or Challenge?  Internal Causality provides the same “structures.”  The difference is that Internal Causality by itself cannot be the focus of play because it doesn’t in itself drive the conflict like Challenge and Premise do.  IC is absolutely foundational to Sim, but equating its role to be exactly the same as Challenge and Premise cannot work because there it is entirely conflict neutral.  Conflict in Sim has to come from somewhere else, and that is entirely in the interaction between player and DM.  

In a way the question becomes how do we justify in the engaging of risky conflict?  That question is clearly stated in the Premise and Challenge.  But in Sim that question must be answered via Character motivation which ultimately means the player must create that reason to engage.  In Gamism and Narrativism it is either assumed or openly negotiated.  It is much harder to do that in Sim because metagame discussions during player tend to be strongly discouraged.

In Sim the Dream is reflected and demonstrated by those “social structures.”  Those “structures” absolutely must demonstrate internal causality.  In one sense Sim is all about challenging the SIS which is another way of saying making statements/employing symbols (like style of dress and all that it communicates) and those statements only make sense because of the internal causality/”social structures”.  The making of those statements/employing symbols alters the “social structures”, IOW we have added to the Dream.  The hard part is for us the players is the in coming up with internal reasons for the characters to “place themselves into conflict” without violating their character internal causality.  Most people, not all, by and large avoid conflict – especially dangerous conflict.  However a character can act against internal causality and because he has acted in a consistent manner in the past reveals something new about the character.  If the character were consistently breaking his internal causality it would be difficult to discern or make any definitive statement about said character.  This is one of the great sources of dramatic tension in Sim.  How do I grow while not completely abandoning the characters foundations?  The character who does not undergo growth (changes) is as bland as a character which has no internal consistency.

So to go back to internal causality I see no conflict between you and I regarding internal causality and a strong interest in it.  Unlike Premise or Challenge, it alone however is not enough for Sim play.  You need conflict as well.  Neither can function without the other, neither is more important to each.  Their relationship is a profoundly symbiotic one.  The creation of causal series of events that in the end reads something like a “story” happens because the DM provides the proper kinds of situations at the right times that allow for introduction, escalation, climax and resolution.  This does not have to be railroading if the situations the DM does provide do not negate (deprotagonize) the decisions the players made regarding previous Situations/conflict.  It is a very intricate dance between player and DM.  A dance that I don’t think can be codified into a mechanics system.  I could be wrong, but it is so on the fly and so responsive to the SIS that I just don’t know how it could be.

Regarding “emotionally or intellectually involved” I agree with you.  I just wanted to demonstrate –
[list=a][*]That no CA has a lock or a superior ability to engage emotional or intellectual involvement (which I believe you may have implied is locally defined).  IOW emotional or intellectual engagement is a red herring regarding CA.

[*]That Sim is not just an intellectual exercise of experimentation.  It is just as much about risk as G/N, which means it has just as much potential for the players to be emotionally and/or intellectually involved.[/list:o]Aure Entuluva,

Silmenume
Logged

Aure Entuluva - Day shall come again.

Jay
M. J. Young
Member

Posts: 2198


WWW
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2004, 06:20:50 PM »

Perhaps not surprisingly, I object.

Jay, I must apologize; I have a terrible time reading your essays. Almost every time you begin one of these forays into "what is simulationism" you write something right at the beginning that I find so egregious that for the remainder of the essay I'm looking for how you fix it--and you never do.

Early on in this piece, you identify two types of play, which I will call:
    [*]What happens if I do this? Play.[*]What's over there? Play.[/list:u]You mention these in passing, and say outright that these aren't even really role playing, that "exploration" isn't happening.

    I have done and thoroughly enjoyed both of those types of play, and it sure seemed to me that I was role playing at the time. I have also seen both. The second I see All. The. Time.

    One fairly recent example was the girl who versed into a fantasy setting. Barely had she hit the dirt but she, like Sam Gamgee, was saying, "I want to see elves." She found any reason she could to travel out of the human lands to the elven lands, and spent months with them, talking with them, looking at their culture, finding out how they were different from humans. She recognized that there were conflicts in that world which were waiting to engage her, but she essentially ignored them in favor of just exploring the place.

    I've got another player wandering a modern earth-like world as an associate to a well-known stage magician. He visits museums, goes to the beach, flirts with girls, watches old movies, stays in expensive resort hotels, and generally just enjoys the world. He loves it.

    The problem with your essay, as I see it, is we've got these two forms of play that actually happen and are enjoyed by unnumerable roleplayers, and one of four things has to be true:[list=1][*]These are alternate expressions of the simulationist creative agendum which are outside your definition, because your definition is examining one subtype of that agendum.[*]These are actually forms of gamist or narrativist play, despite not seeming to have anything to do with them on the surface.[*]There is a fourth agendum that includes these sorts of gaming which has yet to be identified.[*]Those of us who play this way aren't really playing, aren't having fun, and have deceived ourselves into thinking we're doing anything that would qualify as "role playing".[/list:o]I'm inclined to think that the first answer is correct. You seem in your essay to favor the fourth.

    --M. J. Young
    Logged

    Ben Lehman
    Member

    Posts: 2094

    Blissed


    WWW
    « Reply #4 on: July 15, 2004, 03:26:00 AM »

    Check it.

    I think I agree with most of this essay, after some private conversations with Sil, but I think that he put some things it very... odd... ways, which may be what's giving you trouble, MJ.

    Here's how I would classify the whole thing above.

    Gamist and Narrativist play both have player esteem on the table.  So what's on the table for Sim?  What's on the table for Sim is, literally the Dream itself.  Essentially, anything that comes up in Sim play is a challenge (either great or small) to the integrity of the shared imagined space (and, by Integrity, we don't necessarily mean virtuality or realism) and, when it is explained and incorporated into the world, it makes the dream more real.  The bigger the situation/event, the harder it is to incorporate, and the greater sense of increased "realism" when it can be incorporated.

    I disagree that this rules out "guy exploring world" play and I disagree that the GM necessarily has a priveleged role here.

    I think there is another interesting aspect of this:  This type of play gets "better" (the imagined space gets more reified) the more you play, and that cycle never stops.  So it totally lends itself to 20-year long "campaign" play.

    yrs--
    --Ben
    Logged

    Ben Lehman
    Member

    Posts: 2094

    Blissed


    WWW
    « Reply #5 on: July 15, 2004, 03:28:36 AM »

    double post.
    Logged

    Silmenume
    Member

    Posts: 467


    « Reply #6 on: July 15, 2004, 04:41:32 AM »

    Hey M. J.,

    That you find my posts egregious assumes several things.  That the GNS model has been proven correct beyond a shadow of a doubt and/or that you have some handle of the ultimate truth that I do not.  I do not write my posts to aggravate you but to present ideas for commentary.  That you can condemn them to be in error/heresy outright is a power I don’t believe you personally possess.  I am willing to debate my ideas but to state that I am wrong prima facie to an egregious degree and that I will somehow “correct myself” is hubris to an astounding degree.  Prove to me that my ideas wrong, don’t just say they are wrong.  Let’s debate!

    Quote from: M. J. Young
    Early on in this piece, you identify two types of play, which I will call:
      [*]What happens if I do this? Play.[*]What's over there? Play.[/list:u]You mention these in passing, and say outright that these aren't even really role playing, that "exploration" isn't happening.

      I have done and thoroughly enjoyed both of those types of play, and it sure seemed to me that I was role playing at the time. I have also seen both. The second I see All. The. Time.


      You have conflated two issues here, player enjoyment of play and CA diagnosis.  As you said later –

      Quote from: M. J. Young
      The problem with your essay, as I see it, is we've got these two forms of play that actually happen and are enjoyed by unnumerable roleplayers, and one of four things has to be true:[list=1][*]These are alternate expressions of the simulationist creative agendum which are outside your definition, because your definition is examining one subtype of that agendum.[*]These are actually forms of gamist or narrativist play, despite not seeming to have anything to do with them on the surface.[*]There is a fourth agendum that includes these sorts of gaming which has yet to be identified.[*]Those of us who play this way aren't really playing, aren't having fun, and have deceived ourselves into thinking we're doing anything that would qualify as "role playing".[/list:o]I'm inclined to think that the first answer is correct. You seem in your essay to favor the fourth.


      I have never said or implied that having a CA means that players will have a good time or not.  As the model says, clashing CA’s brings conflict, yet having a fully expressed CA does not automatically imply having a good time either.  Having a good time and expressing a CA are not one in the same.  Being able to express freely is likely to promote a good time, but is not necessarily causal.

      Regarding your list, I am not proposing item four, but proposing three; which I have done on a number of occasions.  Whether or not this fourth agenda exists and whether or not it is considered roleplay is still up for discussion.  My inclination is that this 4th agenda is Walt’s Zilchplay or the Social Agenda; or maybe something else.  I don’t know for sure yet.  But I am fairly certain that those modes of play you described earlier are probably not Sim CA because they don’t employ or engage Situation/conflict.  That they don’t engage conflict/Situation probably does imply that they aren’t Exploration.  But that can mean several things.  That the definition of Exploration needs to change to include styles of play don’t include conflict/Situation in a meaningful way or that maybe those modes or play aren’t Exploration.  That is still open to debate.  That you enjoy such play is not open to debate.  I am certain that you and your players did enjoy yourselves and I take your word for it.  Whether or not it was roleplay/exploration is subject to debate.  But whatever it was, you and the players enjoyed that style or mode of play, and for you and the players that is all that matters!

      As a note I have an inkling that the role that Premise and Challenge played in directing Exploration which is lacking in Internal Causality can be found in Situation/conflict creation by the DM.  Conflict, in my mind, is a vector.  It leads to somewhere.  Clever use of it does make story – ask Narrativists.  I firmly believe that much of the direction of the game does lay in conflict creation, its just a matter of harnessing it effectively.  In Sim that means that task primarily falls on the DM during play (this should not in any way be construed to mean that the DM automatically precludes the actions of the players), but can/is frequently discussed outside of ritual play.

      Also the idea of Internal Causality should be expanded beyond space-time to include character and narrative (or whatever is the appropriate term).

      Aure Entaluva,

      Silmenume
      Logged

      Aure Entuluva - Day shall come again.

      Jay
      beingfrank
      Member

      Posts: 121


      WWW
      « Reply #7 on: July 15, 2004, 05:55:24 AM »

      Hmm, would you say that it would follow that if one player is frequently 'right' about the Dream and another is frequently 'wrong', that that would cause issues?  Both are risking, but the payoff of reification of the Dream is unequal?
      Logged

      Wormwood
      Member

      Posts: 236


      WWW
      « Reply #8 on: July 15, 2004, 08:21:01 AM »

      Silmenume,

      I worry that the use of conflict in your arguements is far to close to the existing idea of exploration. In particular you clearly denote conflict as something which occurs in exploration. This indicates that all conflict has exploration. Likewise all exploration has conflict, if only with the unknown. In fact conflict with the unknown is something that would explain M.J.'s type of play more than adequately.

      But at that point the use of conflict becomes semantically equivalent to exploration. Ultimately that is how I see your arguement, rather than saying that Sim is not how it has been defined in the existing theory, you add that it also has situational conflict. But of course, all exploration has situation, to some extent, and all situation has conflict.

      What matters is that the Sim CA does not require these conflicts to have an SIS external context, where Gamism has a step on up relevance, and Nar has its premise.

      I think you are too quick to reject classical explorative Sim in favor of only more immersive Sim. They both meet your litmus test.

      Perhaps I am missing something here, but this does seem to be the gist of things.

      I hope that helps,

         -Mendel S.
      Logged
      Ron Edwards
      Global Moderator
      Member
      *
      Posts: 16490


      WWW
      « Reply #9 on: July 15, 2004, 09:56:31 AM »

      Hiya,

      Jay, you wrote,

      Quote
      I firmly believe that much of the direction of the game does lay in conflict creation, its just a matter of harnessing it effectively. In Sim that means that task primarily falls on the DM during play (this should not in any way be construed to mean that the DM automatically precludes the actions of the players), but can/is frequently discussed outside of ritual play.

      Also the idea of Internal Causality should be expanded beyond space-time to include character and narrative (or whatever is the appropriate term).


      The concepts in both of these paragraphs are already firmly embedded in the existing model, in Simulationism. So it's nice to see it laid out here, but in my view, you're not adding or modifying anything.

      Best,
      Ron
      Logged
      Bill C. Cook
      Member

      Posts: 7


      « Reply #10 on: July 15, 2004, 11:27:28 AM »

      Quote from: Silmenume
      Internal Causality is king. The single greatest false assumption about Simulationism is that it is about creating an artificial reality and one that is especially consistent (causality is always clear and consistent).


      It's not that the system reflects history or reality but that the players' use of it and the GM's rendering of it be integrated and consistent.

      Quote from: Silmenume
      Its not that we groove on the world being accurately represented via system it’s rather that we need consistent social cues so that the relationship to and thus the manipulation of the structures and symbols within the SIS is as unambiguous as possible.


      So that the players know they're under the hood of say, a Toyota, vs. a Mazda. And these social cues: is this purely NPC inference, player behavior? Both, neither?

      Quote from: Silmenume
      Its not so important that the physics be accurate as that we have a personal/social framework point of reference from which to view and categorize the fictional the world and the events transpiring within. These types of social cues and constraints are unbelievably vital to Sim play yet are almost universally underemployed and/or under rewarded.


      It sounds like you're saying NPC inference. e.g. The guys with red hats and belt chains comb the streets at night killing prostitutes. The switch in emphasis from physics to culture is very appealing.

      Quote from: Silmenume
      Its not that the DM is the god of the game that is important but that his “alienated” position from the SIS fosters an atmosphere of a convincing total experience. Combined with the effects of risk on the players and you have the basic foundational elements of Simulationism.


      Because he is the sole representative. So, per character, without (1) motivation and (2) a goal, there's no risk. That and a centralized narrative authority compose Sim?

      Quote from: Silmenume
      Risk, which is found in conflict, convinces – i.e., it fosters the Dream. The more conflict, the riskier the conflict, the more intense the Dream becomes.


      The outcome to any risks taken certify the Dream. The more this happens, the more intense the Dream becomes.

      I was going to ask if there can be Sim without intensity, but I don't personally care. I think that's M.J.'s counter-argument, in a nutshell. Something that is more important to me: how are players with motivation and goals any different than Nar play?

      Quote from: Silmenume
      So how is the problem of risk and creating the Dream usually addressed in Sim? The first and easiest way is to have the players already familiar with the fictional setting. .. In other cases its creating rich character backgrounds. While this helps what is usually missing is the most important element, a motivating driving goal. The richer the character the more opportunities for conflict (via more opportunities for goals to come into contact with opposing forces) the greater chance there is for a convincing total experience. It also helps to have an overarching world conflict in which to place the characters so that even the absence of action carries consequences. When starting with a new character it starts with character background that includes conflicts or the game itself can commence with conflict.


      This just sounds so Nar to me. It kind of describes what I did in my recent Sorcerer campaign.

      So what do you call play where all characters share one eyeball with which to experience the SIS, story progression is site-dependent, the onus is on the player to find or unlock the story, the story could be behind one of ten doors, and if you spend the whole session opening the wrong ones, the GM won't lift a finger because letting story arise is sacrosanct, character connections/abilities are fiercely concealed, players throw notes to the GM or (worse) leave the room for secret meetings and portions of the story are played out via e-mail with the GM between sessions? I call it a pain in the ass, but what would GNS say?

      Quote from: Silmenume
      The question that is typically asked is - What character characteristic/quality do I (the player) wish to reveal/represent about the Character when I (the player) attempt to resolve conflict A while trying to maintaining cultural/structural element) B? Sim is about peeling the onion of Character.


      So the player has goals to reveal character? Or has goals simply to achieve them?

      Quote from: Silmenume
      Rewards are given for interesting and effective roleplay. A player may kill many things and rack up mountains of EP, but unless he has roleplay tallys he can’t go up levels.


      This is interesting to me. It sounds like your group uses a house reward system to encourage consistent social cues from the players. About advancement: it's something that's always left me cold, personally. You make the case for reward systems--which is Ron's big thing; and M.J. has been at pains to dilineate reward from advancement--so I wonder, is reward particularly supportive of Sim play?

      Quote from: Ron Edwards
      The concepts in both of these paragraphs are already firmly embedded in the existing model, in Simulationism. So it's nice to see it laid out here, but in my view, you're not adding or modifying anything.


      Jay, I feel you are clarifying, though, and I find that useful.
      Logged

      -Bill Cook
      M. J. Young
      Member

      Posts: 2198


      WWW
      « Reply #11 on: July 15, 2004, 04:01:55 PM »

      Jay, let me apologize for the harsh way my post came across. I have often found much of merit in your posts, and somewhere I recently identified you among those struggling to clarify simulationist play. I still think you have a strong tendency toward synecdoche in your understanding of it, but you make a good case.

      The good case that you make is the possibility that all that we call Simulationism might actually be two distinct agenda. One of these is very character/situation/conflict related, thrives on immersion, internalization, and strong referee presence. The other is completely explorative, freely looking at the five elements in whatever relationship is desired, with no particular need to emphasize a particular one, characterized by the travelogue and the physics experimenter and the cultural anthropologist. I won't say that this distinction doesn't exist. However, I will challenge you with two questions.[list=1][*]What is it that genuinely distinguishes these two agenda?[*]Why should one of these keep the identity of simulationism rather than the other?[/list:o]
      I'm still of the opinion that you've identified one variety of simulationist play--something like spotting Vanilla Narrativism or Player-vs-Referee Gamism--and in describing it effectively have lost sight of the fact that there are multiple approaches to play within each agendum--such as Front-loaded Narrativism and Player-vs-Player Gamism. To date, simulationism has been the most difficult to define and identify from positive features as opposed to merely elimination of the alternatives (the impetus for my suggestion not so long ago that Discovery was the driver of that agendum), and has also been the broadest of the three agenda in terms of the variety of expressions recognized within it (noting the recent post that attempted to categorize subtypes of simulationism, often cited by John Kim for its suggestion of Virtuality for the RGFA Threefold style of play which bears the same name).

      Again, I apologize for coming on too strong in the beginning of my post. You've made a lot of valid posts, and forced me to think about many aspects of simulationism since you arrived.

      --M. J. Young
      Logged

      Silmenume
      Member

      Posts: 467


      « Reply #12 on: July 17, 2004, 04:46:33 AM »

      Hello Claire (beingfrank),

      I would think that your assertion about reification would tend to hold true over time.  It’s a tricky question that functions on a number of levels, but in the aggregate I believe that would be true.  Have you been in a game where it felt that nothing you did mattered or seemed to effect things?  Have you ever noticed that in such circumstances how frustrated and “punched out” of the game you came to feel?

      Hey Mendel (wormwood),

      I’m a little confounded by your post.  You make some logical assertions that just don’t work.
      Quote from: Wormwood
      In particular you clearly denote conflict as something which occurs in exploration. This indicates that all conflict has exploration.[/qutoe]
      Your first sentence is valid as far as stating my assertions.  Conflict is a component of Situation.  Situation is a component of Exploration.  Exploration is composed of five elements, all of which must be present at one point or another to some degree or another or you’re not roleplaying.  

      Your second sentence does not follow at all.  To be quite honest I have no idea what it means at all.  Conflict is a subset of the Exploration process, at tool that is employed during Exploration.  Conflict cannot equal Exploration.  I’m not sure what else to say.  I apologize for my lack of understanding.  I’ll quote Ron from the Narrativism essay and move on –

      Quote from: Ron Edwards from the Narrativism essay
      By definition, a character faces "relevant stress" for the Creative Agenda. The term used most often for that is "adversity," and it is required in all three modes of play. Without it, there is no Situation. Without Situation, there's no role-playing, just sitting around and diddling.


      Hey Ron,

      Regarding conflict creation “leading” the direction of the game, yes it is deeply embedded in the model, but entirely missing from the Sim essay.  Given that there have been so many arguments on the boards that claim conflict isn’t even particularly important to Sim, I wished to make clear that while in Premise and Challenge which have built in goals that help determine which conflicts to create thus shaping how the game will unfold, Sim without its clearly defined action of addressing as it stands currently defined, is still subject to “conflict creation steers play.”  Hence my, apparently, not so profound statement.

      Regarding Internal Causality – within the Sim essay the notion of Internal Causality is limited only to mechanics.  My argument is that IC relates to all the “structures”, mechanics, setting, character, social mores, cultural elements, anything and everything that imparts meaning and is in return subject to meaning revision as they are affected when the players engage or are engaged by them.  This is not represented anywhere in the model.  The idea that mechanics was “internal causality” crushingly limited the scope of ideas regarding Sim play, design and theory.  Sim came to be equated with lots of modeling and little excitement.  That idea needs a public thrashing!!

      Hello Bill,

      I don’t know if anyone has welcomed you to the forge not, but in either case allow me to say, “welcome!”

      I beg you pardon, but you statements about NPC inferences have thrown me for a loop.  I’m not certain what you mean, but I’ll take what I hope is an educated case.  If you mean inferring motives to unknown individuals with the game, such as the men with the red hats and chain belts, that is one example.  Let me give you another.  Three men come upon a knife on the ground with a rune on the blade and blood on the blade.  To a Ranger of Ithilien it might mean that there are orcs near by.  To a barbarian it might mean a great omen, good steel has been found and has already been blooded.  To a street urchin it might mean dinner if they can sell it or it might mean survival.  Each of their “cultural” or situational circumstances changes the meaning of the found item, and it is the meaning that is important to the player.  Since Sim is the Dream, this means that such differing meanings are important as they add to the individuality of the Dream itself for each individual player.

      Quote from: Bill C. Cook
      Quote from: Silmenume
      So how is the problem of risk and creating the Dream usually addressed in Sim? The first and easiest way is to have the players already familiar with the fictional setting. .. In other cases its creating rich character backgrounds. While this helps what is usually missing is the most important element, a motivating driving goal. The richer the character the more opportunities for conflict (via more opportunities for goals to come into contact with opposing forces) the greater chance there is for a convincing total experience. It also helps to have an overarching world conflict in which to place the characters so that even the absence of action carries consequences. When starting with a new character it starts with character background that includes conflicts or the game itself can commence with conflict.


      This just sounds so Nar to me. It kind of describes what I did in my recent Sorcerer campaign.


      Without trying to sound glib, the difference is that the players aren’t addressing Premise.  Having or designing a rich character is not something that is limited to or indicative of Narrativist play.  Its how those characters are used, i.e.,  to address Challenge or Premise or expand upon the Dream.  But what expanding upon the Dream means still begs the question of what are the players doing in game that is specifically Sim and not Gam/Nar.  I’m not quite sure how to state it yet, but it does have something to do with the “choke point” of the game.  Each CA has a “choke point” where certain conventions are more or less inviolate while other areas of said game are wide open to just about any action the play can come up with.  In Nar that means coming back to premise again and again.  That means the player assents to address Pemise and not drift off to other areas of play that have nothing to do with Premise.  For example in TROS its about what are you willing to kill for.  A player thus “agrees” that there will come times where he will have to kill or at least face the attempt.  In all likelihood this situation will happen many times since logically we want to explore that Premise.  But if the player isn’t particularly interested in the idea of killing, but instead pursues a character which interested in astronomy and politics he is avoiding the Premise.  The question then becomes - what is the choke point in Sim?  My assertion is Character.  Why Character?  Because Character is the eyes from which we view the Dream.  He can pursue any conflict any interest any goal as long as it meets the conditions of internal causality.  Premise addressing tends to be focused on - is the Character willing to do X?  Sim is more - what would the Character do?

      Quote from: Bill C. Cook
      So the player has goals to reveal character? Or has goals simply to achieve them?


      Both.

      Quote from: Bill C. Cook
      This is interesting to me. It sounds like your group uses a house reward system to encourage consistent social cues from the players. About advancement: it's something that's always left me cold, personally. You make the case for reward systems--which is Ron's big thing; and M.J. has been at pains to dilineate reward from advancement--so I wonder, is reward particularly supportive of Sim play?


      M. J. Young is correct in delineating reward from advancement.  All advancements in game are rewards, but not all rewards must aid in advancement.  Is reward particularly supportive of Sim play?  Absolutely.  The question then becomes under what circumstances and which kinds of rewards?  That depends on what jazzes the players.  Rewards encourage behaviors, so if you are trying to encourage Sim play you should reward the players for engaging in Sim behavior in game.  The key is trying to design a reward system that works for you.  That is not easy.

      Quote from: M. J. Young
      Jay, let me apologize for the harsh way my post came across. I have often found much of merit in your posts, and somewhere I recently identified you among those struggling to clarify simulationist play. I still think you have a strong tendency toward synecdoche in your understanding of it, but you make a good case.

      Again, I apologize for coming on too strong in the beginning of my post. You've made a lot of valid posts, and forced me to think about many aspects of simulationism since you arrived.


      Hey M. J.,

      I too find your posts to be very stimulating and have caused me to do much deep thinking myself.  I very deeply appreciate your gracious comments.  I may very well be engaging in synecdoche, but I think history will tell better than the present.  I certainly make the best effort I can to avoid synecdoche.  Right now I feel like I am hammering at a gem and right now I driving harder and harder blows to see if it will crack.  Those ever more violent blows will either result in a break revealing something new or they will find me guilty of synecdoche.  We’ll see, but I am not unmindful of that.  Obviously I hope it’s the former and not the latter.  Nevertheless, I am among those struggling trying to clarify Simulationist play, so that particular statement does confuse me.

      Quote from: M. J. Young
      The good case that you make is the possibility that all that we call Simulationism might actually be two distinct agenda. One of these is very character/situation/conflict related, thrives on immersion, internalization, and strong referee presence. The other is completely explorative, freely looking at the five elements in whatever relationship is desired, with no particular need to emphasize a particular one, characterized by the travelogue and the physics experimenter and the cultural anthropologist. I won't say that this distinction doesn't exist. However, I will challenge you with two questions.[list=1][*]What is it that genuinely distinguishes these two agenda?[*]Why should one of these keep the identity of simulationism rather than the other?[/list:o]The first question cut to the quick of the matter and is a brilliant question.  I have been wrestling with that question for a while and I am still coming to terms with it.


      For the present I’ll start with parsing your question, particularly this part – “The other is completely explorative, freely looking at the five elements in whatever relationship is desired, with no particular need to emphasize a particular one…”  I think it is particularly ironic that you phrase your statement with “no particular need to emphasize a particular one.”  My contention, in a way, has been fighting against the removal of conflict/situation.  I have been arguing that all five elements of Exploration must be present.  My second contention has been that each element of Exploration serves a vital non-reproducible purpose.  In essence I have been arguing not for emphasis on conflict, but rather that it must be included (not be utterly de-emphasized) and that its role be clearly defined.  IOW one cannot focus on Exploration via Setting to the exclusion of conflict because that is not Exploration.  I’ll quote Ron again –
      Quote from: Ron Edwards from the Narrativism essay
      By definition, a character faces "relevant stress" for the Creative Agenda. The term used most often for that is "adversity," and it is required in all three modes of play. Without it, there is no Situation. Without Situation, there's no role-playing, just sitting around and diddling.


      The difference between the two agendas is that conflict is not present in one and it is employed in the other.  To go beyond that difference then addresses that one is passive in regards to challenging the “structures” and one is not IOW, one only confirms but does not change anything because it does not challenge.  While there might be more parts, no now meanings have been imparted, thus the Dream has not been added to in any meaningful/substantive way.

      Regarding your second point – it really doesn’t matter.  A label is a label.  If pressed I would posit that the conflict absent or the conflict indifferent agenda would probably be more suited to the appellation Simulationism while the conflict integrated one would be assigned a new moniker/descriptor.

      Quote from: M. J. Young
      I'm still of the opinion that you've identified one variety of simulationist play--something like spotting Vanilla Narrativism or Player-vs-Referee Gamism--and in describing it effectively have lost sight of the fact that there are multiple approaches to play within each agendum--such as Front-loaded Narrativism and Player-vs-Player Gamism.


      The difference between the examples you give and the case I am arguing lies in that prior all the five elements of Exploration are always present, while in the case that I am arguing is that that conflict indifferent and conflict integrated Sim are two different things thus two different Agendas.

      I firmly believe that the reason Sim is so hard to define right now is because as it is currently defined it has no clearly defined relationship to conflict.  As Ron stated earlier, no Situation (conflict) = no Exploration.  Conflict does change things and it does drive events.  I don’t think a lot of thought has been given to how conflict shapes Sim over all yet.  I think as the role of conflict does unambiguously serve in Sim is debated that Sim will come into sharper focus.  Reward implies conflict.  Exploration demands it.  For example I believe that conflict serves two roles in Sim which gives it a different purpose in Gam/Nar.  In Sim conflict creates risk which helps to foster the Dream as well as shape game play, via which conflicts are presented.  In Gam/Nar risk isn’t used needed to support the vividness of the SIS, that the players need to invest into it is assumed into addressing Challenge and Premise and the Social risks inherently involved at the Social Level.  Conversely the direction of play is strongly guided by Challenge or Premise via conflict limitation/choice while in Sim it is more or less wide open; subject only to Internal Causality needs.  In Gam/Nar conflict has been co-opted into the process of addressing.  In Sim conflict has not been co-opted into anything, but is a free standing element of Exploration, but it is equally vital to play via the strictures of Exploration as well as the very nature of Dream reinforcement/support.

      One you describe is constructive; the other contains elements that are deconstructive.  The fact that Exploration demands conflict (via Situation) means that Exploration cannot remain objective.  IOW the players, via their characters must impact the environment, make changes to it.  A travelogue game, cultural anthropologist game, or the physicist (which really isn’t a physicist with relation to the SIS, but rather a mechanics tester on a player/social level) does not impact the environment/challenge the structures without the possibility of failure - risk.  Roleplay is a subjective activity.  We cannot remove our effects from nor have no motive to alter the SIS via our character actions and still be roleplaying.

      Let me try it this way.  Gamism is addressing Challenge.  Narrativism is addressing Premise.  Simulationism is the ritual process of addressing Chris’ meaning-generating “social structures” the process of which inherently supposes challenge to them as well as the limiting strictures of internal causality.  This sounds very wordy and round about, but that is only because this is a new area of discussion with lots of ideas that need to be worked out.

      Aure Entuluva,

      Silmenume
      Logged

      Aure Entuluva - Day shall come again.

      Jay
      M. J. Young
      Member

      Posts: 2198


      WWW
      « Reply #13 on: July 19, 2004, 01:26:22 PM »

      Perhaps we have a terminology problem. You equate situation with conflict as synonymous. I can describe "situations" in which the notion of "conflict" would not occur to those within them (which I will pursue in a moment). If I am correct then either
        [*]Situation can exist without conflict, and role playing can occur within it;

        or

        [*]Conflict in your usage means a lot less than most people would assume from the term.[/list:u]
        Now for the example. I say that the situation is that you have just awakened in a completely unknown and unfamiliar place, what appears to be a lush natural garden beside a spring of fresh water, with no sign of any animal life larger than perhaps a bumblebee. What is the conflict?
          [*]You are wondering how you got here, and you need to determine what has happened to you.

          That's certainly a possibility; however, this has happened to you at least a dozen times before, that you have awakened in a new and unfamiliar place, and in that sense you're accustomed to it by now. That doesn't mean you know why it happened, or that you've given up trying to figure it out, but it probably means this is a relatively low priority for you. It is at least unlikely that the answer to that question lies in this particular place, as it wasn't found in any of the other places. You're here; what are you going to do now?

          [*]Survival is a high priority; after all, you need to know how you're going to stay alive.

          Yes, that could be the case. On the other hand, there is ample food and water, plenty of materials to create shelter, no sign of any identifiable threats, a comfortable ambient temperature--you're probably not more concerned about survival at this moment than you would be in your own home. That part seems to be covered.

          [*]What is this place?

          This seems to be the driver for exploration within this situation: you want to know where you are, you want to discover things about it. Maybe you're afraid that it's too good to be true, and you're wondering where the dark underbelly lies; but maybe you're not really a worrier and figure that you might as well enjoy it until you find something that suggests a problem.[/list:u]
          Now, is it possible to be in that situation and have no motivation to explore? Sure, it is. There is no apparent threat, no interesting premise, no looming challenge--you've found paradise. So why bother to explore it? There is no particular reason to explore it, in the sense that the situation does not demand exploration. There is no conflict presented to the player that requires action. The entire act of exploration at this point relies upon the player having some desire to explore and creating within his character the motivation to explore for the sheer pleasure of knowing.

          Thus the "conflict" is I am ignorant of the world around me; in order to understand it, I must explore.

          If that's all you mean by conflict, I'm not sure what it adds to our understanding of simulationism. That certainly is a "situation" within the meaning of the five elements, and in terms of play drivers that would be a conflict--neither the character nor the player knows, so both are driven by their own curiosity to explore, and to overcome any obstacles that arise (to a certain ill-defined threshold) which block that exploration. (Arguably, these obstacles could be viewed as the "conflict"; but if they don't amount to more than persuading yourself that it's worth walking a couple miles to take a look around, how serious are they?)

          --M. J. Young
          Logged

          Silmenume
          Member

          Posts: 467


          « Reply #14 on: July 20, 2004, 01:32:30 AM »

          Perhaps I have been a little loose with the interchangeability of Situation and Conflict.  Let me cite some sources here at the forge and go from there.

          Quote from: Ron Edwards in the Narrativism essay
          By definition, a character faces "relevant stress" for the Creative Agenda. The term used most often for that is "adversity," and it is required in all three modes of play. Without it, there is no Situation. Without Situation, there's no role-playing, just sitting around and diddling.


          Without adversity there is no Situation.  How to define adversity?  I offer – a state of being whereby a Character must make a choice/act due to some antithetical force (be it man, nature or himself) and do so successfully or some undesired condition will come to pass.  The undesired condition is the result of the antithetical force acting unopposed.  Undesired presumes that the Character does have a desire.  Conflict is the condition of Character goal contacting antithetical force.

          This definition of conflict I have offered before here.
          Quote from: Silmenume
          Conflict – any element of Setting which negatively impacts/impedes Character goal(s).


          In the definition of Situation in the Provisional Glossary we are pointed to Bang and Challenge.

          Quote from: Ron Edwards in the Provisional Glossary
          Bang - The Technique of introducing events into the game which make a thematically-significant or at least evocative choice necessary for a player.

          Challenge - The Situation, i.e., adversity or imposed risk to player-characters of any kind, in the context of Gamist play.


          That Situation assumes conflict is no stretch.  It is co-opted definitionally in several essays.

          Quote from: M. J. Young
          Now, is it possible to be in that situation and have no motivation to explore? Sure, it is. There is no apparent threat, no interesting premise, no looming challenge--you've found paradise. So why bother to explore it? There is no particular reason to explore it, in the sense that the situation does not demand exploration. There is no conflict presented to the player that requires action.


          The condition you described is clearly one that is stress free.  Without stress there is no adversity.  Without adversity there is no Situation as defined currently at the Forge.  Without Situation, which is defined by adversity, there is no Exploration.

          Quote from: Ron Edwards in the Narrativism essay
          By definition, a character faces "relevant stress" for the Creative Agenda. The term used most often for that is "adversity," and it is required in all three modes of play. Without it, there is no Situation. Without Situation, there's no role-playing, just sitting around and diddling.


          You asked earlier why I was trying to emphasize conflict.  I’m not.  I’m saying that it is a necessary and indispensable part of Exploration or one is not Exploring.  My question is why are you de-emphasizing/eliminating it?  I am not giving conflict any more importance to Sim than in any of the other Creative Agendas.  Exploration demands it.  So I am saying that Sim, being a directed activity of Exploration, also demands it.  I am also arguing that since risk, as per Chris’ essay, fosters the Dream, that risky conflict serves a vital role.  

          Quote from: M. J. Young
          Thus the "conflict" is I am ignorant of the world around me; in order to understand it, I must explore.


          That is not a conflict.  That is only a state of being.  For the sake of argument let assume that the Character’s desire to understand can be counted as goal or desire.  Cool!  However, there is no antithetical force listed.    Before the condition of conflict can be declared, an antithetical force must be in operation such that the desire to understand is prevented from coming into fruition.  You have not indicated the antithetical/blocking force that the player must overcome before understanding is achieved.  This is a riskless set of circumstances.  No risk, no adversity, no Situation, no Exploration.

          Sure someone or a group of player can play a game without adversity or stress or risk.  But that does not meet the definition of Exploration as it currently stands.  Simulationism is a Creative Agenda and all Creative Agendas can only be realized by Exploration.  That which does not include all the elements of Exploration is not Exploration and thus cannot be described defined as a Creative Agenda.  Unless the model were to change.

          I'm not saying anything particularly radical.  I am just upholding the model when I say that conflict/adversity, which is found in Situation, is as vital to Sim as it is in Gam/Nar because they are all nodes of Exploration.

          The radical part of my theory is the role of conflict in Sim, not that it is central or vital.  That conflict is vital to Sim has been assumed into the model for a long time.  Ron gave me a big ho-hum when I clearly mapped out how conflict is as critical/necessary to Sim as all the other elements of Exploration Sim.

          I hope that I have made of good showing of addressing the issues you raised and haven't wasted your time.
          Logged

          Aure Entuluva - Day shall come again.

          Jay
          Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 7
          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!