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Author Topic: Understanding: the "it" of Simulationism  (Read 12319 times)
M. J. Young
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« on: February 09, 2004, 06:59:17 PM »

I was very unhappy with Mike Holmes' conclusions in http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=9642&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=15">The Roots of Sim II (in his post of February 9th, if it has continued), so I'm starting a new thread to push for a new term, a new distinction, that marks simulationism as distinct rather than default.

The attitude generally seems to be that at any moment at which you are not actively pursuing narrativism or gamism, you are "defaulting" to a simulationist mode. I don't believe the Creative Agenda model intended this, and I don't think it's true.

It is generally agreed that all modes of role playing are founded on Exploration, that this is what we are doing, in that we are creating events in the Shared Imaginary Space through exploration. What a Creative Agenda means is, this is what we are attempting to explore.

In Narrativism, we are exploring Premise; we seek to resolve conflicts of a moral, ethical, or personal nature into answers, and so explore moral and, if you'll permit me, spiritual truth. The thing we hope to gain is meaningful stories, or in a single word, Answers.

In Gamism, we are exploring challenge; we seek to overcome obstacles of a sort which tests our abilities as players--whether we can solve the puzzles ourselves or tactically organize our character actions to defeat the enemies, it's about proving our own abilities. The thing we hope to gain is Glory.

It has been correctly observed that when we are not actively pursuing Answers or Victory we are still role playing; we are still exploring. The mistake that is made is that this means we have fallen into Simulationism by default. That's not at all true.

Creative Agenda might be compared to steering a car. When I drive, my hands are almost always on the wheel (well, at least one of them). When I come to a bend in the road, I turn the wheel; when I come to a turn I wish to make, I turn the wheel more sharply; when the road is slick or odd, I may hold the wheel straight. Most of the time that I am driving, the car is going straight, and would continue to do so without my assistance. If the road is straight and level and my alignment is good, I could let go of the steering wheel and continue to go in the correct direction. Yet my hand is on the wheel because I am responsible for steering the car even when that means nothing more than keeping my hand on the wheel until it's time to turn it again, preventing it from going off course rather than keeping it on course.

I say that this is like Creative Agenda because during narrativist and gamist play we are not always steering the car; but we are always keeping our hands on the wheel. We're still playing narrativist or gamist when we're not actively doing "it", it's just that at the moment we're going straight and don't need to do anything but rest our hands on the wheel and let it move forward.

Why isn't this simulationist play? It is not simulationist play because at those moment we are not pursuing simulationist goals or objectives; we are still pursuing narrativist or gamist goals or objectives, but doing so in a quiet exploratory mode.

If I'm right, then there's an "it" that defines simulationism, something that is actively pursued in the simulationist model (consciously or unconsciously, just as in the other models) which is not merely exploration and yet is like exploration.

There is. I would like to call it Discovery. It is the pursuit of knowledge about the setting, character, situation, system, or color--not the mere testing of it for gamist ends, nor the examination of it for narrativist ends, but the study of it for simulationist ends. Gamism seeks Glory; Narrativism seeks Answers; for Simulationism, "It" is Understanding.

This is why the Beeg Horseshoe theory doesn't work; this is why I find Mike's conclusions in the cited thread lacking. They fail to recognize that the pursuit of understanding is the specific positive goal of Simulationism. If you are not seeking that as an end in itself, then you are not playing Simulationist; you are merely in the quiet exploration mode in whichever Creative Agendum you are pursuing.

Simulationism is not the default mode into which we fall when we don't play the others; it is a positive mode which must be entered by choice to the same degree as the others. It is something we do.

I do hope we can grasp this idea that simulationism isn't some second-class member of the triumvirate. It is every bit as focused and independent as its companions.

--M. J. Young
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Rob Carriere
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Posts: 187


« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2004, 01:17:20 AM »

This speaks to me. On the one hand, I've always disliked negative definitions, on the other, I very much feel something present--as opposed to two things absent--when playing S. So, I agree that it should be possible to get a positive definition on S play.

As a side-effect, that would make GNS-classification a lot more reliable. We currently have a G-test and an N-test, and if you fail both, you must be playing S. Not having any redudancy when the tests are both abstract and based on concepts that are necessarily somewhat fuzzy[*] makes reliable classification difficult. Having an S-test would go a long way to help that.

Discovery is, I think, a hole-in-one for the positive property. Discovery for the sake of discovery, as opposed to discovery in service of some other goal. I've found that one way to get people thinking about why they want to discover is to ask them, "What do you like better, a good question or a good answer?"

Some people see questions as precursors to answers, others see answers as the way to ask even more interesting questions. A similar question would be, "What is more interesting, the journey or the destination?"

SR
--
[*]In the non-pejorative sense of Fuzzy Set Theory.
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2004, 09:20:12 AM »

MJ, I'm trying to make Simulationism the most important mode, not some "second-class" thing. I'm trying to make Gamism and Narrativism the "second-class" things to the primary form of play Simulationism. This is why I say that I'm against the Beeg Horseshoe theory as it stands. I don't know how you could read all that I've posted, and not see that. The entire point of the last thread was to discredit the idea that sim was somehow the product of bad or accidental play, but a positive thing.

Forgive the ad hominem, but it sounds to me like you have some paranoid fantasy that I'm some shill for the opposing side who's trying to pull a fast one on everyone, and convince them that sim is bad because it's better than the rest. I've tried to explain this before, but still you persist in seeing me as doing the opposite of my intent. Why do you insist that by looking at the fact that Sim is defined as prioritizing exploration, the primary activity of RPGs, that this means that Sim must somehow be a secondary activity? My whole point in the previous post is that, without exploration, we're not roleplaying. So Sim, then, is ensuring that we're roleplaying. A very postitive thing, IMO.

Your position is unfathomable to me. It's like I've espoused some political position like a Pro-life in order to protect innocent lives, and you're telling me that I'm threatening innocent lives by adopting it. I don't want people to denigrate Sim, I want them to realize that they need to understand that it's always a priority. Inescapable. Unlike Gamism and Narrativism which only show up in an identifiable way occasionally.

As for the wheel analogy, we don't know if the hand is on the wheel or not, nor do we care. That speaks to motives, and the theory is behavioral. All that matters is that some players complain if the car to go one way, and others complain if the car to go another. As long as the car goes a direction that everyone likes, nobody cares how it gets there. That's exactly my point. Maybe you are actively supporting exploration, maybe you're doing something else, but until the car makes a turn, it doesn't matter. IOW, I have no problem with your model to that point. I've said that Sim is something like "default" (actually never used that term, that's yours), but that's just to get people to understand. In actuality, it doesn't matter if it is "default" or an active choice. In the end, its the choice that we're making almost all the time.

The GM says, there's a street. You say your character crosses it. No gamism there, no narrativism, just exploration. You didn't say "I jump to the moon", because that wouldn't be plausible. You have the character perform a plausible action because you're prioritizing exploration. Note, you could take that moment to play gamist or narrativist, say, asking for a contest to dodge some oncoming traffic, or narrating how your character thought about his current moral dillemma and came to a decision about it as part of crossing the street. But you don't ususally do that, you just cross the street. It's the majority of everyone's play.

Now, the problem I have with the idea of Discovery as a concept, is that it's a goal. GNS isn't about goals, or motivations. Those things don't matter, because there's no way to know if the behaviors involved in persuing these goals will conflict. Basically, you're trying to make GNS more than it is overall by assigning goals to the play. Making it an entirely different model that you're espousing at that point.

I wouldn't say right off that your model is wrong, but I think you'd have to posit it as something else entirely before we could even discuss it sensibly. It could even be a part of CA for all I know. It's just not GNS. For it to be so, you'd have to point to some behavior that was discovery based that was different, somehow, than exploring.

GNS accurately discusses the points where potential group friction occurs, IMO. One of them is the point where a player decides to take the exploratory approach over the gamism or narrativism approach at some point. All I've said, is that, Simulationism is going with the exploration approach at that point, and that I feel that this is done not to spite gamism or narrativism (which indeed would make it an immature act), but because if we're to have any gamism or narrativism at all (assuming that you want them at all, which you might not), you must prioritize exploration to some extent at all times.

SR, the entire GNS model is based on negative descriptions. There's no way around this. I mean, all three can be said to have their positive aspects exploration, challenge, theme. But when it comes down to it, its all about what annoys people. Nobody ever said, "That guy creates too much theme," or, "Hey, stop exploring!" No, what they say is, "You didn't use good tactics," or, "You aren't being realistic." This is very important. To that extent, a "Narrativist" is that person who notes when players aren't doing their best to create theme, rather doing something else. So, very much, the definition of Narrativism is "not doing something else". The mutual exculsivity of the three modes, is what makes them potentially problematic. Hence, to an extent, all modes are defined by that which they aren't. Simulationism is as much "not doing gamism or narrativistm" as much as it's "prioritizing exploration." Just as gamism is not only "addressing player challenge" but also "not doing simulationism or narrativism."

Mike
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Jack Spencer Jr
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« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2004, 01:29:03 PM »

Don't ask me why, but the following quote made me think of this topic, form this thread
Quote from: Shreyas Sampat
It is an interesting setting, not a detailed one, that is a plus. Detail does not correlate with interesting, either.


I'd like to ask what the role of detail is in Simulationism.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2004, 02:17:32 PM »

Very simply, for some people, plausibility or whatever you want to call that special property of RPGs that put you in them, doesn't come without a certain level of detail.

Remember that across all agendas there are many different sub-categorizations. There's no "right" way for everybody to get their support for exploration, just many different ways. Detail is one.

Mike
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Jack Spencer Jr
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« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2004, 02:39:33 PM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Very simply, for some people, plausibility or whatever you want to call that special property of RPGs that put you in them, doesn't come without a certain level of detail.


Hmm. Unfortunately, this covers all the agendas. Detail in Narrativism help produce plausibility in whatever events occur. Detail in Gamism would identify elements of tacticle/strategic purpose. In either the detail made just be flavoring. What does it do for Sim?
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Silmenume
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« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2004, 04:08:45 PM »

Detail in Sim helps to support the shared imagined reality, the Dream.  The richer the details the greater the chance that a player will find the Imagined Reality experience rich as well.  There is no one to one corrolation on this, just a tendency.

Aure Entaluva,

Silmenume
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Jay
Mike Holmes
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« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2004, 08:34:57 PM »

Quote from: Jack Spencer Jr
Hmm. Unfortunately, this covers all the agendas. Detail in Narrativism help produce plausibility in whatever events occur. Detail in Gamism would identify elements of tacticle/strategic purpose. In either the detail made just be flavoring. What does it do for Sim?
I'm tempted to reply snarkily, Jack. It's like you're unwilling to do the reading. Exploration is that thing that Monopoly doesn't have. If detail supports sim for one player (and it might not for you, hence your problem understanding this), it means that it's there to create that thing that doesn't exist in Monopoly. The exploration sense itself. The feeling that the shared imaginative space has some sort of reality to it.

If you don't even feel that, then I wonder why you bother playing RPGs at all. See Ron's hard questions about Gamism and Narrativism.

Oh, wait, I forgot, you don't actually play RPGs, do you?

Oops. Ended up sarky anyhow.

Mike
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M. J. Young
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« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2004, 10:21:11 PM »

Let me start by apologizing to Mike for any confusion I might have with his posts. I will confess that that is a very long thread that sprang quite a bit over the weekend (I have a commitment that keeps me away on Saturdays), and I was having a bit of trouble sorting it all out in my own mind.

However, I still disagree with his position as described here.

Mike appears to be saying that whenever we are not prioritizing Nar or Gam agenda we are prioritizing a Sim agendum. I am saying that exploration as the core medium of what we are doing is distinct from exploration (which I am calling discovery) prioritized.

I do recognize that Mike is one of the leading proponents of simulationism as a valid mode of play; he saw it before I did, I think, although that's going back a few years. I may have this wrong at some point; but I don't think this is that point.



Quote from: Mike Holmes
Why do you insist that by looking at the fact that Sim is defined as prioritizing exploration, the primary activity of RPGs, that this means that Sim must somehow be a secondary activity? My whole point in the previous post is that, without exploration, we're not roleplaying. So Sim, then, is ensuring that we're roleplaying. A very postitive thing, IMO.

It would be a very positive thing, perhaps, if it were true; and yet at the same time, if it were true, it would be taking us back to "simulationism is exploration plus nothing", the poor kid sister of the other two girls in the family, "exploration plus moral conflict" and "exploration plus challenge".

Simulationism is exploration plus exploration, as it were; that's why Ron calls it "Exploration Squared". It is not what we do when we aren't doing the other two; it is not what we do that supports the other two. Exploration alone, the creating of the shared imaginary space, is not sufficient to be simulationism. It has to go beyond that, to be exploration with an objective of discovery for its own sake.
Quote from: As an example, Mike
The GM says, there's a street. You say your character crosses it. No gamism there, no narrativism, just exploration. You didn't say "I jump to the moon", because that wouldn't be plausible. You have the character perform a plausible action because you're prioritizing exploration.

This, I think, is where we are diverging. At that moment, in this example, you are not prioritizing anything. Why did you have the character cross the street? To get to the other side? To what end? To find out what was there. To what end? I don't know. But ultimately it is that question that matters to your creative agendum. Generally you probably didn't know what else to do, so you're marking time--which is mere exploration, not prioritization of exploration. If you went across the street to see if you could learn something about the villain, then you are still prioritizing whatever you were prioritizing before when you confronted the villain. If you crossed the street to get to the weapons store, you're still involved in prioritizing whatever it is that is involved in that. If your inn is across the street and you are returning to it--why did you cross the street?

If you crossed the street only because the referee said it was in front of you and that's the direction you were going, you're not prioritizing anything; you're barely even exploring, although you are exploring. It's not your priority.

All Creative Agenda are founded on the preliminary foundation that we are exploring; they then define what and why we are exploring. In essence, a Creative Agenda is the answer to the question, why are we playing this game at all tonight? What do we hope to gain from it, what inherent reward do we hope to receive? It doesn't answer the question, why did we cross the street that was in front of us (unless there is some clear connection). It assumes that we are doing exploration for some purpose.

Yes, the evidence for Creative Agendum is behavioral; however, as has been hashed out here many times before, that behavior is a means of impugning motive.

Ron's example of the two trumpet players goes to the heart of this: it isn't the guy who says he wants to be a great trumpet player, nor the guy who thinks he wants to be a great trumpet player. The guy who goes out and plays, practices, spends time becoming great--that is the guy, the only guy, who wanted to be a great trumpet player, really. Thus we discover who wants to be a great trumpet player by which of them does what is necessary to be a great trumpet player.

In the same way, we discover who truly has the intention of playing narrativist or gamist or simulationist not based on what they say but on what they actually do; yet what they do tells us what it is they wanted to do,  gives us that motive, that goal, that agendum. Intent is part of the model; it is the part that is derived from the behavior. We observe the behavior, and we conclude from what the players do that they are trying to achieve a particular outcome, which means that they have the intention of doing so. They might think they have a different intent, but it is the actions that tell us their real intent. To say that someone is narrativist is to say that he plays in a manner that reveals he is trying to reap the kinds of rewards that are gained from effective narrativist play.

Thus what matters is not whether crossing the street doesn't happen to further a narrativist or gamist agendum in any evident way; it is not simulationist unless it furthers a simulationist agendum in an evident way. It is no different from "He pulls the trigger on the gun." Completely out of context, that means nothing; it could equally be said in gamist, narrativist, or simulationist play. What if he says it while alone in the study? What if it is specified that he is testing whether the gun works? That does not make it simulationist.
    [*]He pulled the trigger on the gun; the hammer shifted. "Good" he said; "it works. Let me load it and go track down that monster; I can beat it with this."[*]He pulled the trigger on the gun; in his mind he pictured Devon, who had taken everything from him. He imagined Devon standing in front of him, pointed the barrel at that image in his mind, and considered whether he had it within himself to kill a man. Not any man--this man. Maybe he could.[*]He pulled the trigger on the gun. Fancy it still working after all this time sitting in the drawer; his great-grandfather's revolver was famous in its time. Ol' Pete Brannigan, they called him, one of the more successful marshals to patrol this county. He had brought in or brought down more outlaws than his three predecessors. This gun probably would still be serviceable; maybe a bit of cleaning, some oiling, get some ammo--it would be a great link to his past, might help him learn more about his ancestors and their place around here.[/list:u]
    Exploration is not Simulationist unless it prioritizes discovery. It is not that when we don't have a specific Gamist or Narrativist reason to do something and so do whatever is most realistic, that's simulationist. That's merely basic exploration.
    Quote from: He also
    GNS isn't about goals, or motivations. Those things don't matter, because there's no way to know if the behaviors involved in persuing these goals will conflict. Basically, you're trying to make GNS more than it is overall by assigning goals to the play.

    You were there, Mike, when System Does Matter turned theory on its head. Back then what we now call "Creative Agenda" were called "GNS goals". The model has always been about what players are trying to get from play; that means intent. That language was dropped, altered several times, because people confusing what they think they want and what they say they want with what they really want. What you really want is determined by what you do, not what you say or what you think; it is not less a goal or motive or intent because of that.

    In fact, the theory cannot get away from this aspect. The new term, Agenda still means what you are trying to achieve, what your objective is. We work backwards from behavior to intent, but it is still about reaching intent.
    Quote from: He
    It's just not GNS. For it to be so, you'd have to point to some behavior that was discovery based that was different, somehow, than exploring.

    That sounds like a valid challenge; yet as I try to think of something that is discovery-based that is not exploring, I realize that the question collapses. After all, there is nothing about creating theme from premise that is not exploring, and nothing about meeting challenge with ability that is not exploring--all these things are exploring, and nothing more than exploring; they are just exploring focused on different factors, done for different reasons. Simulationism has nothing that is different than exploring; but neither do narrativism or gamism. It is not that we explore, but what we explore and how we explore and, most importantly, why we explore. All I have to show is that discovery is a behavior that is different from the kinds of exploration that characterize gamism and narrativism, and that's simple to do. Narrativism explores for the purpose of addressing premise and revealing theme (even when you're just crossing the street and don't see how that does so). Gamism explores for the purpose of meeting challenge and impressing friends (again, even when you're just crossing the street with no certainty where it will take you next). Simulationism explores for the purpose of discovering new knowledge as an end in itself (even if you're just crossing the street to get to the other side).

    I see you saying that simulationism is all exploration, and I don't see GNS saying that at all. I see GNS saying that all of roleplaying, ever gamist, narrativist, or simulationist choice, is exploration harnessed toward a specific goal. Exploration that does not appear to be harnessed toward a goal, part of an agendum, is still part of the overall agendum--it doesn't suddenly become simulationism by virtue of not being something else. It's just exploration in which the true goal is not apparent.

    Am I misunderstanding you?

    --M. J. Young
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    clehrich
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    « Reply #9 on: February 10, 2004, 10:52:26 PM »

    I may be way off-base here -- Mike, correct me if I am -- but I thought the point of the street-crossing example was precisely intent.  There's a kind of passivity, I suppose, in Sim, because the reason to cross the street is simply to explore.

    I cross the street.  Why?  To see what's on the other side?  Why?  Because I don't already know, and I'd like to see what the GM has in mind.  Why?  Repeat last answer, ad nauseam.

    Seems to me that Mike is saying this:

    Nar: I cross the street -- to address the Premise currently at stake.
    Gam: I cross the street -- to win (okay, I know, to step up...).
    Sim: I cross the street -- to see what else there is to do.

    I think the point is that the last is implicit in the other two.  That is:

    Nar: I cross the street -- to address the Premise -- and I believe or hope or think that what I will find there will help me to do this.
    Gam: I cross the street -- to win -- and I believe or hope or think that what I will find there will help me to do this.
    Sim: I cross the street -- to see what I will find there.

    Since both Nar and Gam must explore the other side of the street to achieve their goals, but for Sim simply crossing the street meets the primary goal, therefore Sim is implicit in Nar and Gam and thus the foundation of gaming.

    Have I got that right, Mike?

    Chris Lehrich
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    Chris Lehrich
    Rob Carriere
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    « Reply #10 on: February 11, 2004, 01:27:20 AM »

    Quote from: Mike Holmes
    SR, the entire GNS model is based on negative descriptions.


    Oops. Mike, I apologize for expressing myself poorly. I hadn't realized that you could read the `negative' two ways. You are arguing that in actual play, GNS incompatibilities will usually manifest as negative statements phrased in one of the other modes and I agree with you.

    My argument was that I can arrange an experiment where I present a variety of games with varying levels of challenge to a set of people and detect the people with G-preference. Similarly, I can arrange an experiment with varying levels of premise and detect the people with N-preference. In the present state of the of the theory, the only experiment I can perform to detect people with S-preference is to run both experiments above and select the people who where neither detetected as G nor as N.

    Yes, I'm aware that the sub-categories within G and N as well as color-preferences make these experiments large, complicated and tricky to do right, but that doesn't change the basic fact that a skilled social scientist should be able to perform these experiments.

    Having a positive test for S would, I believe, make the model clearer, because you have a redundant test to thought-experiment with. This can greatly help someone trying to come to grips with the model.

    Also, having a positive S-test would make it possible to more easily talk about S/N and S/G hybrids, which I now frequently see devolve into a discussion whether the exploration is subsumed under the G or N part or whether it is a ding an sich. A good S-test would answer that and the discussion could move on.

    SR
    PS: Mike, the `SR' bit is a 15-year old joke that you're welcome to throw back at me, but `Rob' is also fine.
    ---
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    Rob Carriere
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    « Reply #11 on: February 11, 2004, 01:45:14 AM »

    Quote from: clehrich

    Sim: I cross the street -- to see what I will find there.


    How about,
      [*]"I cross the street because I'm not sure the street-crossing rules will work in this case and I want to know."
      [*]"I cross the street because my character would do that."
      [*]"I cross the street because last time I didn't and I want to know the difference it makes."
      [*]"I cross the street because my character is drunk and the coin-flip said `cross'."
      [*]"I cross the street because I'm really curious what's on the other side."[/list:u]
      The last one speaks directly to what I will find there and all of the above are ultimately about finding things out, but several are a lot more active and/or indirect than your formulation suggests.

      More briefly, I think your statement is correct but potentially misleading.

      SR
      --
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      Walt Freitag
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      « Reply #12 on: February 11, 2004, 10:23:59 AM »

      Quote from: M. J. Young
      Simulationism is exploration plus exploration, as it were; that's why Ron calls it "Exploration Squared". It is not what we do when we aren't doing the other two; it is not what we do that supports the other two. Exploration alone, the creating of the shared imaginary space, is not sufficient to be simulationism. It has to go beyond that, to be exploration with an objective of discovery for its own sake.
      Quote from: As an example, Mike
      The GM says, there's a street. You say your character crosses it. No gamism there, no narrativism, just exploration. You didn't say "I jump to the moon", because that wouldn't be plausible. You have the character perform a plausible action because you're prioritizing exploration.

      This, I think, is where we are diverging. At that moment, in this example, you are not prioritizing anything. Why did you have the character cross the street? To get to the other side? To what end? To find out what was there. To what end? I don't know. But ultimately it is that question that matters to your creative agendum. Generally you probably didn't know what else to do, so you're marking time--which is mere exploration, not prioritization of exploration. If you went across the street to see if you could learn something about the villain, then you are still prioritizing whatever you were prioritizing before when you confronted the villain. If you crossed the street to get to the weapons store, you're still involved in prioritizing whatever it is that is involved in that. If your inn is across the street and you are returning to it--why did you cross the street?

      If you crossed the street only because the referee said it was in front of you and that's the direction you were going, you're not prioritizing anything; you're barely even exploring, although you are exploring. It's not your priority.


      I agree with M. J.'s post in full.

      But let me point out an implication: suppose an instance of play consists entirely of such "not prioritizing anything" behavior. Such play, I believe based on experience, does exist (and is often seen for play with modules). Such play, I believe, is "really" role playing (and a lot of people appear to believe so too). It can be quite functional and even enjoyable. Think of it as being a more engaging way of experiencing a basically non-interactive story (by the module author or by the GM) than reading the module text or listening to a storyteller reciting it would be.

      The thing is, as Agenda theory is currently posed, "zilchplay" (as I call it) ends up getting (mistakenly, I believe) categorized as Simualtionism, since on examining it one does see exploration going on (albeit of the non-creative "imagine the elements the GM is describing and trigger my standard character behaviors at the expected times" variety), while Step On Up and Story Now priorities are absent. It's not exploration-squared, it's "exploration plus nothing" as M. J. described it. The most easily observable hallmark of zilchplay is that the players don't do unexpected things, either because they aren't interested in doing so or they're not permitted to do so.

      If zilchplay is Simulationism, then Mike Holmes and his beeg horseshoe are essentially correct. If zilchplay is not Simulationism (and it does exist, and is role playing), then M. J. is correct and the standard interpretation of Agenda Theory stands, but the classes of Creative Agenda must include "none of the above" in addition to G, N, and S.

      - Walt, making another sally in his ongoing campaign to split Sim
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      Wandering in the diasporosphere
      Mike Holmes
      Acts of Evil Playtesters
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      Posts: 10459


      « Reply #13 on: February 11, 2004, 11:30:13 AM »

      Walt, that's getting close. "Split sim" how? This response intends to cover MJ's response as well.

      Zilchplay is irrellevant to both my model and the original one in one way. Because in both models the only thing that creates an agenda or an annoyance, are those moments that aren't zilchplay. So, sans that, the original model says that Sim is a moment where you could have promoted gamism or narrativism, but you didn't. That's a negative view, however.

      If you had a moment where you could go gamist, and did, then how would you know it? I mean, play can be congruent (zilchplay is), so if you're playing such that sim and gam are both supported, then you don't really know the priority at that point. Right? It can only be that you don't support sim, when it becomes obvious that you're playing gamist, right?

      But what does that mean?

      If sim is just more exploration, and gamism and narativism have exploration, then how can you fail to support sim when playing in these forms? Where would the conflict come in? Because you're not supporting that "extra" exploration that makes it "squared"? I'm not buying it.


      No, I agree with MJ that when you do gamism or narrativism that you're not doing something, something that's unique to sim. He wants to call it discovery, but I don't think that we need another term. I think that it's exploration. That you when you're playing gamist, or narrativist, you're not exploring. You're dropping that exploratory feel. Else you're playing congruently, and there's no conflict at all.

      Ron does have his "Dream" thing - is that the same as your "discovery" MJ? Interesting that nobody has brought that up so far. I too find it lacking in describing what's going on in RPGs.

      Anyhow, either I'm with MJ that if exploration underlies all play that there's something unique to sim that is supported by it that's not being identified, and being put off as exploration squared. Or, exploration does not underlie all play, and is dropped by gamism and narrativism.

      I ascribe to the latter view. That "real" gamism, and "real" narrativism are characterized by moments where the game temporarily fails to have that quality that characterizes RPGs, exploration.

      Now all the gamists and narrativists will get up in arms about this. But what my original point is, is that I think that these conflicts are rare. That is, I don't think almost anyone plays gamist or narrativist per se. I think they play some hybrid overall supported by exploration. That the moments that they "fail" to explore are short enough that they don't really constitute a failure in the long run. They are hybrid.

      Sim is the same. I don't think that anyone "fails" to do gamism or narrativism completely. These are all prioritizations, and as such, include the other forms implicitly. Meaning that Sim is just that form that reinforces the feel of RPGs, while not retreating from gamism or narrativism (and not not retreating if you can see what I mean).

      All modes are sorta Hybridized. That is, they have elements of more than one mode. If Hybrid means "equally prioritized" then we should avoid that term, and instead call it Mixed or something. Ron talks about modes "In support" of each other. That's probably what we're talking about here. Essentially a lot of what I'm saying that it's no longer so simple as to be able to look at a mode and say, aha, sim!. You have to look at the supporting modes. When you postulate play that's sim with gamism supporting, suddenly it becomes obvious that sim isn't a retreat from gamism. It's doing something important in addition to gamism.

      What's the important part? Lots of exploration.

      Any help?

      Rob, sorry about the SR thing. I disagree that you can create tests that test for G that aren't essentially tests of Not S and Not N. Same with N. GNS is about conflcits. The only time something is effectively G or N or S is when it's not something else, so that it makes someone annoyed. Like I say above, it's not really gamist until a simulationist is pissed off. If it's not pissing off the simulationist, then it's functionally hybrid. By definition.

      Mike
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      C. Edwards
      Member

      Posts: 558

      savage / sublime


      « Reply #14 on: February 11, 2004, 11:51:37 AM »

      I'm not sure that I would categorize "zilchplay" as congruent. From a N or G standpoint that sort of play can be seen as "not getting in the game", not being focused and engaged in play.

      Does "zilchplay" correspond to S in that manner? I dunno, still contemplating some of the ideas in this thread.

      -Chris
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