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General Forge Forums => Actual Play => Topic started by: rgrassi on June 23, 2009, 01:43:34 AM



Title: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: rgrassi on June 23, 2009, 01:43:34 AM
Hi all... I'd need to have feedback about this.
My opinion is that, at the roots of roleplaying are the following statements:
1) The players desire that something happens (as imagined by them) into the (shared) imagined space.
2) The players "enunciate" something to obtain (1).
3) There's a mechanism to decide upon (2)

The 2) refers to what the players explicitly says.
Am I on the wrong path?
Rob


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: Adam Dray on June 23, 2009, 10:16:27 AM
I think you're on the right path, though I can pick nits.

You might do some reading about the Lumpley Principle ("the system is how stuff gets into the fiction") and also check out Vincent Baker's (aka Lumpley) blog posts about how stuff gets into the fiction / SIS (http://www.lumpley.com/comment.php?entry=460).

Here's how I'd put it:

1) Each player is imagining what's going on in her own head and making plans.
2) The players communicate about what they want to happen in the fiction (SIS).
3) There's some kind of negotiation, often subtle, sometimes using game mechanics or dice about what actually happens in the fiction.
4) The players update their own imaginations with what they think was agreed.
5) Repeat until tired.



Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: rgrassi on June 23, 2009, 11:37:49 AM
Going to have a look at Vincent's blog.
Anyway, I'll foolw this path with you, with some claim.
Agree with your 5 step process (maybe too much words in there but it's acceptable, for the moment) :D.

Quote
1) Each player is imagining what's going on in her own head and making plans.
Quote

At this time the only thing we have is a "Personal Imagined Space". There's no sharing. It's like a chalk board. I think this element should be included somewhere in the model.

Quote
2) The players communicate about what they want to happen in the fiction (SIS).

This step must be split in two according to what the players actually says.
2a) This may be the time for social negotiation and veto powers for things that "cannot happen" or players don't like to heard. This sub phase acts as a shield to preserve the SIS.
2b) For things that may happen and/or are estetically accepted by the group conflicts (in the sense of opposing interests between players and/or characters and/or other fiction elements, note conflict definition here is more in the narrative meaning of conflict) may arise. When this happens, the proposed 'move' lays in an "Unvalidated Imaginary Space".

Quote
3) There's some kind of negotiation, often subtle, sometimes using game mechanics or dice about what actually happens in the fiction.

This phase validates the 2b and converts the 'move' into a fictional element in the SIS.

Quote
4) The players update their own imaginations with what they think was agreed.

Correct. Unvalidated Imaginary Space is empty. Personal Imaginary Space starts to work again.

Quote
5) Repeat until tired.

Or until the game has an end status... :)
Rob


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: Adam Dray on June 23, 2009, 11:59:38 AM
Take a look at an old blog post (http://adamdray.livejournal.com/216169.html) of mine about a way of looking at this stuff. I haven't reviewed it lately to see if I still believe all that 100%, though, so some disclaimers apply.

For your 2a), realize that the player doesn't have to say anything out loud. A player could raise an eyebrow, shake his head, point to a miniature, point to a stat on the character sheet, or just not say anything at all (silence is complicity).

I don't think the SIS really needs protecting, either, but I'm curious if you have an actual play example that illustrates what you mean. I find that the SIS is pretty damned resilient in actual play. Players work around problems with cooperation and renegotiation with little trouble.

For your 2b), I don't think you need any kind of special category for them. This is just stuff that never made it from a player's head into the socially accepted fiction.

GM: The mailman flashes his baby-blue eyes at you.
Player: No he doesn't. You said he has brown eyes last game.
GM: Right, brown. Sorry.

"Baby-blue eyes" doesn't go into a special "unvalidated imaginary space." It just isn't true. It isn't accepted into the SIS.

2b) would have to come after 3), anyway, since until 3) happens, there's no discussion or group assent or dissent. I imagine 2) as the arrow coming out of player's heads into the social space and 3) as the arrow going from the social space into the SIS.

[player's heads] ------communication------> [social space] ------negotiation------> [SIS]

Note that [social space] isn't anything real. It's a placeholder for a condition/event when the stuff in player's heads is being shared with other people.


Re: 4), I wouldn't make the steps so sequential. This stuff is changing constantly in the player's heads, in the social space, and (at discrete moments) in the SIS. Sure, it helps to simplify things in examples to one step happening after another, but the reality is more complex than that.


Where are you going with this? I think it would benefit from some actual play examples. Maybe post some actual play in the appropriate forum and break down some illustrative moments using your system and make sure you understand how the play really works?


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: M. Burrell on June 24, 2009, 03:08:58 AM
Now, I'm a little new at RPG theory, so you'll forgive me if I make unassuming assumptions and the like.
It strikes me that the Shared Imagined Space (SIS) is taken as an unchallenged given in many of your assertions; that a shared imagined space exists at all is beyond question. Now, I know this isn't the case for all and you really must take the following as unschooled opinion:

I have to propositions to probe the roots of roleplaying:
1. Shared Imaginative Spaces do not exist.
2. Imagination is not the central aspect of Roleplaying Games.

The first point is, initially, fairly simple. There is no way to collectively experience the same imaginative vision (or any internal mental process), thus any notion of a shared space is actually delusion; each contributing member of a role-playing group updates his strictly personal imaginative vision of the discussed goings on and then makes futher contribution from this updated vision, imbuing a sense of progressing shared experience and narrative.

The quality of role-play and the clarity of imaginative vision, I hold, are judged by two factors: Emphasis and Empathy. A player or author must emphasise certain crucial aspects of his imaginative vision when expressing it to other persons (it would be impossible to describe in language every nuance of the internally perceived), often using archetypal descriptors to attempt to engage the other's imaginative vision. Mentioning a 'brick wall' essentially means that the other must construct this wall in his vision out of what he considers the archetype of a brick wall. Adding further descriptors means that the wall becomes more vivid and, perhaps, closer to how you perceive it - but they can never be perfectly shared. As describer you must try draw on the other's imaginative Empathy: his willingness to be imaginatively suggestible and his assumptions to how, in this example, a 'wall' might be perceived.

  A extreme example might be playing a game with a man from China. You announce that a dragon has appeared and, without any other descriptors, the other draws on his culturally-inspired archetype of the Chinese-style dragon whereas you perceived something more European. Emphasis (in this case, further descriptors) is needed to draw that vision closer to the oneness SIS suggests. SIS is the perfect form of shared imaginative experience, but, being perfect, it cannot exist.

I find that a shared imaginative experience is not the motivational factor, nor the crux of Role-playing Games. Itís important, Iíll grant you, but a desire for SIS is not why we play! Entertainment is the central percept with Creativity and Social-Interaction being the supporting pillars. These tenements are, for me, the true roots of role-playing and imagination is but the tool to assist the gamer. My conviction: a largely enjoyable and workable experience can be shared by all participants without strictly coherent imaginative imagery.


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: Adam Dray on June 24, 2009, 05:15:25 AM
There are respected people in the game designer community who indeed believe that the SIS isn't as important as what goes on in people's individual imaginations. I don't know of anyone else who believes there's no such thing as the SIS, though.

When I talk about the SIS (and when others do, I presume), we don't mean a perfect shared understanding of each other's imaginations. We mean that we have enough of a common understanding to play a game. Hence, the existence of the SIS is not a controversial thing. When a disagreement about the SIS arises, the players must resolve that disagreement to continue play. Players will always have different understandings, but those disagreements will not always arise in play.

Take your dragon example. Somehow, despite everyone having different ideas about what the dragon looks like, people can continue playing. It's not until the man from China makes a big deal about grabbing onto the dragon's very long tail that some other player might go, "Wait, what?" If that detail causes a disagreement about the SIS, they have to resolve it right there and then.

Your thesis about the SIS not being the crux of play or why we play... where did that come from? I don't think either Rich or I put that on the table. I will, however, point out that it's dangerous to talk about why people play since people play for all sorts of reasons. I suspect you'll find people who will argue that they do indeed play mostly for the shared fiction. I suspect you'll find a couple people who will argue that entertainment is not the main reason they play. For now, stick to what motivates you and talk about that.



Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: Ron Edwards on June 24, 2009, 05:17:55 AM
Hi,

Let's get at least one reference to an actual play-experience into this discussion. I am not saying it is to be used as evidence or indeed in any way at all except in terms of clarity regarding how it went. Rob, can you help us with that?

Best, Ron


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: Moreno R. on June 24, 2009, 05:29:53 AM
This thread is characterized, until now, by a distinct lack of actual play examples. I can only lead to confusion and going around and around...

I know Roberto and we discussed about these things a lot in Italian forums, so I did not repeat these discussions here, but I would like to address some things in the replies he received.

@M Burrell:
It's important to understand if you are talking about the Shared ImaginED Space of Forge Theory (that is a rather distinct and unique concept in roleplaying theory, one of the things that differentiate the Big Model from almost every other theory about rpgs before and after), and  what many other theories (and people who misunderstand Forge Theory) call "Shared ImaginaRY Space"  (this confusion is even compounded by the recent common habit of using Shared ImaginED space for everything, without acknowledging the difference)

The important part in the SIS of Forge Theory is that it's SHARED, not that it's imagined.

The sequence is: someone, at the table, imagine something. Think about something. Plan something. Come up with something. And then SHARE this imagined thing with the group, using some form of language (talking and gestures at the table, posting in play-by-forums, etc.). After that thing is shared _and accepted_ (it depends on the game system how that happen in a specific game), it become a concrete, observable element of play, that has nothing "imaginary" about it anymore.

This is very, very different from the nebulous "intersection of the imaginations of the players" that other theories (and common rpg forums discussions) presents. I agree with you that this second thing doesn't really exist. But it has nothing to do with the SIS of Forge Theory. When someone in Dogs in the Vineyard imagine that his character, as fallout for a gun wound, take a deep hatred for another character, he does "add this to the SIS" by writing the new relationship on the character sheet. Even if the emotion he imagine is different from the emotion than the one other people at the table imagine, it's added to the SIS anyway. It was imagined ("hey, what If my character begin to hate that one?") and then shared ("hey, people, I think I will choose a new relationship as fallout") and accepted (nobody veto it) and it become a concrete, observable element of the game.

From the Provisional Summary:
Shared Imagined Space (SIS, Shared Imagination)

    The fictional content of play as it is established among participants through role-playing interactions. See also Transcript (which is a summary of the SIS after play) and Exploration (a near or total synonym).

Compare with the definition of Shared Imaginary Space of the Process Model (http://temppeli.org/rpg/process_model/KP2005-article/):
"The facts, expectations and hopes about the imagined reality being explored, as experienced by an individual, define a conceptual space referred to as the Imagined Space. When role-playing in a group, the Imagined Spaces of the individual participants overlap to create a Shared Imagined Space (SIS) with regards to which the majority of interaction pertaining to the game is enacted. "

As you see, this newer model use "Shared ImaginED Space" (compounding the confusion: at least previous theories usually used "Shared ImaginaRY Space...): not only that, but in the process Model literature, the authors said that "The term Shared Imagined Space originates from discussions at the Forge" without acknowledging the substantial difference between the two concept (something that make my suspect that they really misunderstood Forge Theory and did not see the difference)

It would really, really better if people stopped using the exact same terms for very different things and concepts, but seeing that I don't see any way to force them to do so, in these discussion it' better to precise the gaming theory one is using, and use a lot of actual play examples to avoid these misunderstandings.

[edit: while I was writing this post, Adam and Ron added to the discussion, making the part in this post about actual play examples a repetition of what they already said. But it's so important that I did choose to not change my post: some advice is worth repeating]


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: Ron Edwards on June 24, 2009, 05:34:40 AM
Moreno, your post is excellent and I'm happy to have it work with mine in a team effort.

Here are a few points of clarification.

The term "shared imaginary space" is not under discussion. This is not part of the discourse. Its use by anyone you encounter out there in internet-land, if they are referencing the Forge, is an instant giveaway of poor understanding, solid understanding but carelessness, or obfuscation.

The term is "shared imagined space," with imagined being a participle, not an adjective. In other words, the imagining is an act, a verb, and we're doing it together (shared). Since none of us are telepaths, the only part being discussed is the part which is literally shared, i.e., spoken or otherwise communicated (as Adam rightly says, including body language).

Rob, I'm thinking it's important to acknowledge that your #1 and #2 are often not sequential, but harmonic. I'm liking that idea a lot the more I think about it. Does that make sense to you?

M., there is no merit, point, or insight gained from talking about the individuality of the imaginative experience - if what we are talking about is an SIS. I'm not saying that individual experience doesn't exist, or isn't important, or isn't even a priority (Ralph Mazza says it is the priority for him; I think Mike Holmes has said so as well in the past). All of that happens and is fine. But it isn't a problem or a challenge to discussing the SIS.

Because as long as I say "I keep running and hurdle the barrier!" and in this particular game, we know that means a die roll, and we conduct the die roll, I fail the Jumping skill, and you as GM say I can't get over the barrier and fall back, and I say, "I turn to face the orcs, drawing my sword ..."

... then that's the shared imagined space right there. It is composed of the talking that we did. We were talking about imagined stuff happening. It happened and continued to happen without degenerating into missed communication and conflicting imagery. Adam's right that this isn't controversial; it's observably and necessarily the core medium for role-playing.

Best, Ron


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: rgrassi on June 24, 2009, 05:45:15 AM
There's a lot of stuff here that has been added to the original post, it's difficult to reply. Anyway I'll try to get back to the original 'spirit of the post'.

@M.Burrell
Let's take for a while the SIS existence out of this thread.

@Adam
I really liked your "social model" of RPG. It's near to my way of description and modelization of role playing.

@Back on topic.
With some example.
1) Each player is imagining what's going on in her own head and making plans.

"Maybe there's a secret door under the carpet. When my turn will come I'll check under the carpet."
"When my turn will come I'll stab a knife in the back of the character in front of me".
All of this takes place in a "Personal Imagined Space" which is private, in which many possible events and outcomes are evaluated by the single player.

2) The players communicate about what they want to happen in the fiction (SIS).

"I check under the carpet." or
"I check under the carpet to find a secret door." or
"I search for a secret door."
This is the moment in which the player proposes events that may enter in the SIS.
I identified a (2a) as the first check of coherence/aestetic which stands for...
"I check under the carpet."
"Which carpet? The room is bare."

and a (2b) as the second check to accept the proposed event into a "Unvalidated Imagined Space" (which is, the Space in which the moves under evaluation are allocated).
"I check under the carpet to find a secret door."
"Mmm... It could be. Let's have a check."

I'm not interested at the moment to have a list of ways how 2a and 2b are solved by different games.

3) There's some kind of negotiation, often subtle, sometimes using game mechanics or dice about what actually happens in the fiction.

This is pretty clear.
"I check under the carpet to find a secret door."
"Mmm... It could be. Let's have a check."
Check done.
"Ok, you look under the carpet and find a secret door."

The move under judgement is validated and the event moves from "Unvalidated Imagined Space" to "Shared Imagined Space".

4) The players update their own imaginations with what they think was agreed.

This means that a new "Personal Imagined Space" is derived from what we've agreed in the "Shared Imagined Space".
"Tom's character has found a secret door under the carpet.
One player imagines it has a mahogany door. Another one thinks of it has gold door. These things are not "shared". Only what is explicitly said is shared. What is not explicitly said is deduced or inferred.


5) Repeat until tired.

Yaaawn... :)

@Ron
I think that 1) and 2) are always sequential.
Rob


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: Ron Edwards on June 24, 2009, 05:57:43 AM
Rob,

Please post an example of real people playing a real game. I say this in order to help you make your point. It's also a requirement for this sort of discussion at the Forge. Without it, we can't continue.

Everyone else, please do not post until Rob has done this.

Best, Ron


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: rgrassi on June 24, 2009, 07:33:15 AM
It takes a while... but I'm preparing it.
It's an example from a Play By Forum.
Hope it's ok.
Rob


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: Ron Edwards on June 24, 2009, 07:45:38 AM
That's great, Rob, thanks! Looking foward to a good discussion.

Best, Ron


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: rgrassi on June 25, 2009, 06:06:52 AM
Here's an example from a current game session, but I think that similar examples may be taken from many games of yours. We're three players (I, Mauro, Glenda). I'll not go into much details about 'technicalities of the game system', because I don't think they really matter, for this discussion, and will report only what's interesting for the focus of discussion.

What's in the fiction?
There's a young woman that has been forced into a mission because "the evil one" has kidnapped her mother. She drove a little plane toward a valley and there's been an incident forcing her to land with some troubles. The plane is now useless, but for a matter of luck she has a look in the distance and sees their mother kidnapped by the guerrillas. Some guerrillas (working for "the evil one") have seen the plane wreck and get near the plane to have a look. The young woman succeeds to hide. The guerrillas get back to their previous path, open a secret passage through rocks and steps in.


Here's an in-game example of what I'm saying.
  • Mauro (acting as a GM, which means that assigns the characters to the players and asks for the interaction to be done), for this scene and for this interaction turn, takes the young girl and all the other fictional elements. Also, he doesn't specify a decision method, meaning that we must agree upon every 'conflict'
  • I, for this scene and for this interaction turn, have to move the guerrillas.
  • Glenda takes the mother.

What I transcript now is the cross-reference between the actual play and the steps I've talked before. I'll map the
statements to Mauro's mind.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Step 1 [In which players imagine scenes and select the candidate move] [Domain: Personal Imagined Space]

[No factual evidence for A, it's just a personal assumption. For B I'm just referring what I was thinking.]
  • A) Mauro imagines in his "Personal Imagined Space" that the girl may enter in the door before its closure AND that she hides to the guerrillas. He has a personal flavour of what is plausible in the current imagined scene.
  • B) I'm imagining, in my "Personal Imagined Space" that the guerrillas have just entered the door." I've a personal flavour of what is plausible in the current imagined scene.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Step 2 [In which players explicitly declare the event that they'd like to have place in the fictional world] [Domains:
Personal Imagined Space and Unvalidated Imagined Space]


Mauro says:
"I'd like the fact of Cassandra trying to sneak in before the door in the rock closes; if you don't mind. Need a check? It
also matters how much near are the guerrillas before the door closes; and this is influenced by Rob (Note: because I'm moving the guerrillas and only I know where they are with respect the door)."

The first check is made:
2a) Is this plausible?
I say: "To me, it's impossible that cassandra sneaks in without being seen." But, at the beginning of the game, we've decided that nothing will be imposed by the decision of a single player. So, I say that this must have at least one probability to be done.
So, we move to (2b) and I say:
"It may have a very very low probability of success."

The move enters into an "Unvalidated Imagined Space". If it passes it will be inserted into the SIS.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Step 3 [In which players negotiate on the unvalidated moves] [Domains: Unvalidated Imagined Space and the SIS]

Rob says:
"But I'd ask a 18 roll with a 3d6. OR, I may accept that Cassandra sneaks in but she's arrested."
Mauro says...
"Mmm... Thinking about it. Not able to write a convincing scene with Cassandra being arrested and I don't like the idea to be leaved outside the secret passage."
Rob:
"If you want to try to make something while she's arrested you just have to declare it and we'll talk about it."

Mauro takes sometime and tries to resolve the scene, asking for agreement. [Note that other fictional elements are added into the Unvalidated Imagined Space]
"I have'nt found a convincing way to tell about the girl arrested, so I just didn't narrate it :P. Tell me if you both agree."

"Beyond the opening, Cassandra noted some boxes; they could have been useful to hide, if only she was able to enter without being noticed. As soon as guerrillas were out of sight, she rapidly moved toward the entrance; just two meters before the door she had to move unhidden. She made a rapid move and passed under the door, hiding behind the boxes and looking around to be sure not to be noticed, taking a dee breath.
In the control room, one of the guards looked the senator: 'Sir, there's an intrusion. Screen n.2'."

Note how much the move has changed during the transition from the Personal Space through the Validation Space.
I and Glenda agree about all the fictional details.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Step 4 [In which the validated moves enter the SIS and the players update their Personal Imagined Space] [Domains: SIS and Personal Imagined Space]

The SIS is updated with the relevant information using only what has been EXPLICITLY SAID and AGREED. Every player maps what's happened and updates his/her Personal Space, fillng the gaps (i.e. what has not been explicitly said and what was intended or thinking as obvious) with personal information... (where exactly is Cassandra behind the boxes? where exactly are the guards?)

The wheel is ready to make another roll.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Your turn... :)
Very important concepts, to me, are the existence of different imagination spaces and only one of them is really "shared".
Rob


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: Ron Edwards on June 25, 2009, 06:32:15 AM
Hi Rob,

Thanks for the account.

I don't see any of your statements as controversial nor, actually, as especially interesting. The only part which concerns the functionality of play is how input of any kind is validated as (into?) the SIS. According to the ideas debated and assembled at this site, however that is done is called "system."

In your account, that's a distinct step during which interaction among the participants, usage of various game mechanics, and a group embrace of what might be described as "this happened, what happens next." That seems to me to be what happens during any and all role-playing. In my essays, I called it (or rather adapted a pre-existing term) "Exploration." System is how Exploration, or SIS which is a near-synonym, changes in fictional time.

Is there some way in which you think what you are saying disagrees with the body of ideas here at the Forge?

What are you saying which seems contentious or worthy of discussion?

Best, Ron



Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: rgrassi on June 25, 2009, 06:53:54 AM
Is there some way in which you think what you are saying disagrees with the body of ideas here at the Forge?
What are you saying which seems contentious or worthy of discussion?

Thanks for the kind reply.
My post wasn't intented to disagree with the "body of ideas", rather to suggest the existence of "more than one imagined space" that may be useful to expand the model and correctly describe some actual playing.
For instance, the synchronization of the SIS with the Personal Spaces would take rid of 'issues' like these:
http://www.lumpley.com/comment.php?entry=460

Or, the existence of "more than imagined space" (one at player level, one for the unvalidated moves, one for the shared) is given as proved? If so, I really excuse for this post.
Cheers,
Rob


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: Adam Dray on June 25, 2009, 07:21:21 AM
Rob,

For more reading on current (well-established) Forge theory about the stuff in steps 2-4, do some searching for "IIEE," which are the steps by which a player's Intent is Initiated, Executed, and becomes an Effect of the SIS.

Vincent recently wrote a short game, ROCK OF TAHAMAAT, SPACE TYRANT (http://www.lumpley.com/comment.php?entry=462), to illustrate a system that clearly delineates the IIEE steps. It's pretty cool. Check it out.


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: rgrassi on June 25, 2009, 07:24:54 AM
Thank you Adam... I'll have a look. :)
Anyway, I'm probably not good to say it, but I'm talking about two more necessary "spaces" to be considered in the System.
Bye,
Rob


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: Ron Edwards on June 25, 2009, 07:39:37 AM
Hi Rob,

As I see it, the existence of personal imagined spaces is not necessary to include in the model. The model concerns only what is done with the shared imagined spaces, and if personal imagined spaces are necessary or involved in the production of the shared ones, then they can be.

As an analogy - we might be talking about the room we are role-playing in together, or if on-line, the separate rooms we happen to be sitting in. Various questions or relevant points might be raised about how those rooms affect the role-playing experience for all of us. Yet even though it's true that without the larger buildings those rooms are part of, the rooms would not exist ... and even though it's true that without cities and towns those buildings wouldn't exist ... only the rooms themselves are observably relevant to the role-playing experience.

Your focus on the personal imagined spaces is true in the same way, as I see it. Yes, without them, there is no SIS. But so what? Role-playing is composed of and utilizes the SIS, exactly in the same way music utilizes sound or literature utilizes prose. I don't need to consider sounds outside the music while talking about the music; I don't need to consider marks on pages which aren't prose when talking about a work of literature. I don't need to consider imagined content outside the SIS when talking about how role-playing works.

I agree that the Anyway discussion is full of logical problems. But that is Anyway's problem, more specifically Vincent's, not the Forge's.

We don't have to fight about this topic. You've made a very good case for talking about how personal imagination operates in the socially-creative process of role-playing, and as I wrote above, I do not consider the wholly personal imaginative side of role-playing to be trivial or unimportant at the personal level. I've posted to make my slightly differing perspective clear, not to refute or to devalue yours. At this point, I think I understand what you're saying pretty well, and I hope my views are equally clear to you. That's really the only goal of the discussion.

Are you interested in talking about the sequential vs. harmonic issue?

Best, Ron


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: rgrassi on June 25, 2009, 07:53:44 AM
We don't have to fight about this topic.

Oh no... please. :D
But, I've a lot of things and examples to demonstrate why "Personal" and "Unvalidated" Imagined Spaces are, by far, more important than SIS and so, I think they should be an important part of the model.
If you agree, anyway, I'll be back on that in the next days.
(By the way, these 'process' activities do not completely map with IIEE, because you don't know a-priori what the players say explicitly, and the granularity [i.e. details about characters, setting, situation, color, and so on] of what is said is known only to the players taking part to session. I'll be back on this, anyway, if you agree).

Quote
Are you interested in talking about the sequential vs. harmonic issue?

Interested, but we've to agree, before, what you mean by harmonic.
If you mean that (1) and (2 a,b) may be looped until moving to (3) I agree with you and there's no need to discuss.
But (1) always preceeds (2). Meaning that when the sequence is started it begins always from (1) [personal level] and moves to (2) [validation level].
Rob


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: Ron Edwards on June 25, 2009, 08:10:40 AM
Hi Rob,

Please do continue with your thoughts, and I'm interested to know what you mean by importance.

We agree about the harmonic issue after all. A kind of 1-2-1-2-1-2-3 is what I had mind, especially if the alternating 1's and 2's become something of a blur with an identity of its own. Specifying that it must start with 1 is an interesting claim ... could not a person be primarily inspired by what someone else says?

Best, Ron


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: rgrassi on June 25, 2009, 08:41:41 AM
Hi Rob, Please do continue with your thoughts, and I'm interested to know what you mean by importance.

Ok, thanks. In order to consolidate my arguments I'll start right from your comment below.

Quote
We agree about the harmonic issue after all. A kind of 1-2-1-2-1-2-3 is what I had mind, especially if the alternating 1's and 2's become something of a blur with an identity of its own. Specifying that it must start with 1 is an interesting claim ... could not a person be primarily inspired by what someone else says?

This comment needs two clarifications, IMO. The first one is about the 'harmonicity'. The second one I'll assume as the entry point to the argumentation about the importance of other spaces.

1) [About the harmonicity] Of course it all depends on how we want to 'modelize' (i.e. represent) the flux. We may see it as a 'cascade' model, and in this case (1) is the starting point or a 'circular' model. Specifically, yours "a person be primarily inspired by what someone else says" may come from (4) [what's already been explicitly said and agreed to be in the SIS and is incorporated into the Personal Space] or from [2] [what must be validated]. In other words, (1) may have connection with 2 and 4 but not with 3.

2) [About the importance of the other spaces] Let's start with my first argument. If you agree with me about the existence of the spaces and have a look at the 'chain' of steps, we see that in a normal rpg session, the main steps invoked are most probably 1 and 2. (i.e. generation of the desired event in one player's brain and submission for group acceptance and validation). SIS is only used in step 3, which is invoked very few times and is only "passively updated" after the validation space has been taken into account. So, my first argument is about the 'number of times' the personal and validation spaces are invoked, which is by far more high than the SIS.


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: Callan S. on June 25, 2009, 11:41:05 AM
Hello Rob,

When reading a book, one might try and not just read the words but try and figure out what the authors trying to get at. Are you talking about something like not just reading the SIS, but also trying to figure out what any individual contributing author was trying to get at with his contribution? Ie what he's trying to get at is, to some degree, in his head, not the SIS? I may be way off, so just a quick short post asking, in case it helps at all?


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: Ron Edwards on June 25, 2009, 12:55:44 PM
I see where the problem is, Rob.

My formulation of the SIS includes both #2 and #3. The very interjection of voice and body-language into the social space, as long as it involves the imagined material, is the medium.

I think you might be conceiving of the SIS as fully-established product. Whereas I conceive of it as the production. I'm not looking at only the picture, I'm looking at the paint being painted, making the picture.

I look forward to your response to Callan as well.

Best, Ron


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: rgrassi on June 26, 2009, 12:11:39 AM
@Callan
Quote
Are you talking about something like not just reading the SIS, but also trying to figure out what any individual contributing author was trying to get at with his contribution?

Exactly. Each contribution is a "proposed change" for the SIS. In order to be a SHARED space you need a 'sharing' phase. "Sharing phase" involves a "Personal Space" (in which just one of the many possible imagined moves is selected) and a "Validation Space". "Validation Space" is like a chalkboard take takes into account the "possible states of the SIS". After the validation only a precise event is 'shared' and incorporated into the SIS. The chalkboard is 'clean' and is ready to receive a new imaginary event to be validated between players.
In most cases narration games (I'm think about parlour games) don't have a validation space and the narrated fiction flows directly from the personal space to the SIS. Validation space is fundamental for rpg (far more than the SIS) and is the real difference between rpg and parlour games, IMHO.

@Ron
I see that your formulation of SIS involves #2 and #3, but, given that IMO the real social interaction occurs mostly in #2 (and not in #3) the formulation of a Validation Space takes rid of many 'false' problems, such as, for instance:
- Retroactive Continuity. Nothing is really happened in the SIS, because it's the validation space that is taking care about the possible resulting SIS.

As long as the proposed events are not fully validated and incorporated into the SIS we're still talking on the chalkboard about a 'draft' of the new SIS to be released. If you (or some of you) is aware about the Change Management Process should clearly have in mind what I'm talking about.
Using your metaphor of the paints, I'm talking about:
1 paint in the mind of the author (Personal Space)
1 'draft' paint to make tests (Validation Space)
1 final paint (Shared Space)

Rob


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: contracycle on June 26, 2009, 07:52:18 AM
Well, I know a fair bit about change management, and I understand the analogy you are drawing.  But I think it undermines your argument.  If you assert that the "unvalidated space" is more important than the SIS, then this is tantamount to claiming that the change log is more important than the business.  This is clearly untrue.  Consider that change management, despite best efforts, is capable of making mistakes.  When does that mistake come to light?  When the rubber meets the road, when the change is implemented.  Change management may be useful, necessary, but it is still secondary to the real deal, which is the actual implementation.

Further, I think you understimate how much 3 may be referenced after the fact.  It is much less useful to merely observe that X was swapped for Y than to see that X was was swapped for Y because of this or that reason, or in order to achieve this or that goal.  The negotiation itself establishes norms and purposes of the group.


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: Callan S. on June 26, 2009, 04:55:52 PM
Well, in terms of change that's an interesting emphasis shift. A buisiness wouldn't exist without someone having thought of it to begin with. Are changes really less important than rubber on road? Or are they the very origin of the buisiness, and thus actually more important?

To add some wild theory, does this, as a cultural trend, happen in roleplay? The imaginative 'mass' (I'll call it that for this post) has it emphasis shifted from being the creation of the most important thing, to being the most important thing and the changes are less important? Merely a change log? What do you think, Rob? Are you arguing against this emphasis change?

Oh, even wilder - in a buisiness I'd contend that people think the buisiness chugs along by itself, regardless - so they shrug, cease thinking about it and do the cycle of tasks they are used to doing. The very tasks that make anything actually happen! It's a self fulfilling prophesy, that the buisness will chug along regardless, so don't think about it. Because if you don't think about it (and just go through tasks by habit), it will indeed do that! So the wild bit is, in common roleplay culture, does the imaginative mass (the SIS) start to be seen as something that chugs along regardless, and thus that prophesy is self fulfilled? And that's what makes this perception that these things we do are merely a 'change log' so to speak and not the most important thing. Ie, the creators of everything and thus, atleast in those terms, more important thing, becomes simply becomes 'change management' so to speak and seen as secondary to the imaginative mass.

Ok, I'll stop! The first paragraphs question would have been enough, probably.


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: rgrassi on June 28, 2009, 11:36:27 AM
A lot of stuff to discuss. Just leave me some time in order to reply because I don't want to make things more complex than they are adding layers of words.
More, I think I need a clarification about an assumption I'm making that may be wrong.
When we talk about "SHARED Imagined Space" are we intendingit as "Shared AND agreed", "Shared for agreement" or just "Shared"? Sharing and agreement are not necessarily subsequential nor they're connected in any way. There may be agreement without sharing and sharing without agreement.
Can someone pleasy clarify on this?
I'll wait an answer before going on  with my reply.
Thanks in advance,
Rob


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: Adam Dray on June 28, 2009, 01:24:34 PM
It's shared and agreed.


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: M. Burrell on June 28, 2009, 01:40:01 PM
I must confess I'd lost track of where this thread was for a while.

I also seem to have made a fool of myself and hadn't anticipated my somewhat impetuous comments might fall under the gaze of stern and masterly ludographers. Terrifying.

The point I was trying to make was a broader, somewhat philosophic comment on the necessarily contrived nature of shared imagination - a self evident and, in hindsight, banal observation. My error was attempting to use the Forge's lexicon - terms I have yet to fully appreciate in both scope and meaning. I thank those who have patiently pointed out my flawed assumptions and apologise for any feathers misplaced.  It seems this schoolboy must return to his books!

Thanks,
Mike.


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: rgrassi on June 29, 2009, 01:58:39 AM
Before replying to single questions I'd like to better clarify my point using images instead of words. If it's a problem, please remove this post and I'll "switch to words". If anyone thinks that my point is clear I'll go into further details with next posts. Otherwise please make questions in order to avoid any misunderstanding.

(http://nuke.robertograssi.net/Portals/0/RpgFiles/step-1.PNG)
(http://nuke.robertograssi.net/Portals/0/RpgFiles/step-2.PNG)
(http://nuke.robertograssi.net/Portals/0/RpgFiles/step-3.PNG)
(http://nuke.robertograssi.net/Portals/0/RpgFiles/step-4.PNG)
(http://nuke.robertograssi.net/Portals/0/RpgFiles/overview.PNG)

Rob


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: rgrassi on June 29, 2009, 02:08:01 AM
Sorry for the previous post. Images need resizing. And the last one references a file called "overview.PNG" instead of "overall.PNG".
Rob


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: Ron Edwards on June 29, 2009, 07:08:57 AM
For purposes of discussion, I am waiving the usual Forge rules about imagery. This seems to me to be one of the rare cases in which images are constructive.

Best, Ron


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: Caldis on June 29, 2009, 09:17:12 AM
I think what your missing is that the personal imagine space comes from the shared imagine space.  

Say we as a group have decided to play a role playing game.  A bunch of us sit around and discuss what we'd like to play, let's say we settle on Dogs in the Vineyard.  We then decide that someone will run the game and everyone else will run characters. The GM prepares a town the players create characters.  They then start to play proper relating events and actions and determining outcomes.

This whole process is a sequence of sharing ideas.  Every point builds on ideas that have come before, they are not springing full formed from one individual.  Even the simple act of choosing the game and discussion around it has informed the players about the game and shared imaginary things.

The only point I see in discussing any personal imaginary space is to note difficulties in communicating ideas, where what you take from what has been shared or what you try to input into the game isnt shared properly.  I would simply call them communication issues though rather than muddying the waters with more jargon.


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: rgrassi on June 29, 2009, 09:20:55 AM
Hi,

I think what your missing is that the personal imagine space comes from the shared imagine space.

It's in the step 4.
More, at the beginning of the game, if SIS is blank, personal imagined space does not come from the share (which is blank) and must be filled.
Rob


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: Moreno R. on June 29, 2009, 09:54:58 AM
Roberto, what is the difference between the Personal Imagined State, and a person's imagination? Why the need for another jargon term?

Where is situated the unvalidated imagined space? How could I, at first sight, recognize an item from the unvalidated imagined space from one in the shared IS? 

I don't think there are two "spaces" at all. Something is shared or not, period. The validation process don't "unshare" what was said. It simply mark it (previonally) as "true / not true" (or even "maybe true"). Think about a game about a investigation. "this  character is the killer" could go from "probably untrue" to "probably true" to "probably untrue" again all the time.  It's not a one-way step as you draw here.
Some of these impur don't pass for a validation process at all: for example, when someone win narration rights in a conflict, under certain limits what he will say is validated before being imagined.


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: Callan S. on June 29, 2009, 10:55:45 AM
Roberto, what is the difference between the Personal Imagined State, and a person's imagination? Why the need for another jargon term?
I think Rob is trying to distinguish three seperate acts of imagining, rather than letting them all get clumped in together under a 'persons imagination' and that obscuring the details of what process is at work.

Quote
Where is situated the unvalidated imagined space? How could I, at first sight, recognize an item from the unvalidated imagined space from one in the shared IS?
 
That's a tricky question, Moreno. Have you ever proposed something that could be in the SIS, but your prepared to have it not accepted? Like say your PC swinging across the room on a rope - but your say it with it in mind that somehow it might not fit and might not end up being used? Or do you normally either say something and it goes straight to the SIS or not say anything at all? Ie, once you imagine it, you just say your swinging across the room? I'm thinking the diagram might not make sense because some people might be used to speaking directly into the SIS straight from the personal imagined state, with no validation phase.

Quote
I don't think there are two "spaces" at all. Something is shared or not, period. The validation process don't "unshare" what was said. It simply mark it (previonally) as "true / not true" (or even "maybe true"). Think about a game about a investigation. "this  character is the killer" could go from "probably untrue" to "probably true" to "probably untrue" again all the time.  It's not a one-way step as you draw here.
I think going from "probably untrue" to "probably true" to "probably untrue" would be multiple cycles of the diagram. The diagrams just covers one use of the process, they don't represent multiple uses layered on each other. Rob, am I correct on that assumption?

Quote
Some of these impur don't pass for a validation process at all: for example, when someone win narration rights in a conflict, under certain limits what he will say is validated before being imagined.
Well, other people would be checking/validating that your sticking to those limits. It's probably such a smooth validation phase that way that it's almost imperceptable.


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: rgrassi on June 29, 2009, 11:48:33 AM
Some reply...

Where is situated the unvalidated imagined space?

In the same dimension of the Shared Space. Unvalidated Imagined Space handles all possible states of SIS that are negotiated because of the event to be validated.

How could I, at first sight, recognize an item from the unvalidated imagined space from one in the shared IS? 

Before the System it's in the unvalidated space.
After the System it's in the shared space.

Quote
The validation process don't "unshare" what was said.
Quote

???
It's not what I'm saying.
The validation process is used to "share and agree" what has been submitted by the player(s).

Quote
Think about a game about a investigation. "this  character is the killer" could go from "probably untrue" to "probably true" to "probably untrue" again all the time.  It's not a one-way step as you draw here.
Quote
I think going from "probably untrue" to "probably true" to "probably untrue" would be multiple cycles of the diagram. The diagrams just covers one use of the process, they don't represent multiple uses layered on each other. Rob, am I correct on that assumption?

You're right. This process may be (in some case is) cycled far all the events that are proposed to be in the SIS.

Quote
Some of these impur don't pass for a validation process at all: for example, when someone win narration rights in a conflict, under certain limits what he will say is validated before being imagined.

That's kinda weird...
Maybe you're saying that in some case the validation process is skipped (and the Unvalidated Imagined Space also). That's true. There are some cases in which what is said goes directly into the SIS.
I'll provide details about this in next posts. Mostly, when the player 'wins' authorship what he says goes directly from the Personal Space to the Shared Space.
A type of games where this occurs are the parlour games (as said before). These are narration games with an high risk of incoherency (not in the sense of the model).
Rob


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: rgrassi on June 30, 2009, 01:27:16 AM
If any of you is still interested I'm redrawing the images to make them more clear.
Then I'll talk about each single step in detail.
Rob


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: contracycle on June 30, 2009, 03:37:26 AM
Here's my thing.  The shared imagined space is a "real" imagined space.  It has content, texture, motion.  There is a street, here is an character, over there is a prop.  There is Stuff in the SIS.  I can, and do, imagine the SIS as a real space - in my minds eye, I can look down its length, see people moving within it, look up at the sky or down at the ground.  And there is something there, either something mandated by the act of sharing, or a detail I have added or extrapolated myself.  I have memories of imagined spaces I have played in, in exactly the same way that I have memories of imagined spaces invoked by a book I have read.

In your "unvalidated" space, there is no stuff.  There is merely the proposition of stuff.  It does not have content in the same way the SIS does.  The unvalidated space contains the maybes, the might-have-beens, the possibly-could-be's.  There is nothing really there.  I cannot really imagine this unvalidated space - it has no coherency, it is not realised, it is not really an imagined space at all.

As a category, a bucket, a step that describes the procedure by which the SIS is modified?  Sure, I can acknowledge your proposition in those terms.  But it does not seem to be a real imagined space.  I don't understand what is to be gained by attaching this label to what is essentially the process of negotiation. 


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: rgrassi on June 30, 2009, 03:43:47 AM
I see your point contracycle. Anyway, I think that it's the field over which System works. And it's the space delegated to check for any 'unconsistency' that may break the SIS.
Rob


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: rgrassi on June 30, 2009, 04:58:36 AM
So far so good. Here's the update of the steps. Hope that Ron will waive again the "No images policy." There should not be changes to images. I'm proposing new images in order to preserve the old as an archive.

(http://nuke.robertograssi.net/Portals/0/RpgFiles/umrp-forge-01-60rs.png)

(http://nuke.robertograssi.net/Portals/0/RpgFiles/umrp-forge-02-60rs.png)

(http://nuke.robertograssi.net/Portals/0/RpgFiles/umrp-forge-03-60rs.png)

(http://nuke.robertograssi.net/Portals/0/RpgFiles/umrp-forge-04-60rs.png)

(http://nuke.robertograssi.net/Portals/0/RpgFiles/umrp-forge-05-60rs.png)


Some reply:
Quote
"The shared imagined space is a "real" imagined space. It has content, texture, motion.There is a street, here is an character, over there is a prop.  There is Stuff in the SIS.  I can, and do, imagine the SIS as a real space - in my minds eye, I can look down its length, see people moving within it, look up at the sky or down at the ground."

Right, but that's your personal view of the SIS.
A "shared imagined space" in physical terms does not really exist.
The only thing that exists are "images" in your personal imagination coming from your interpretation of what has been agreed by the system.
Two players, most probably, will provide different description and representation of a SIS.

Quote
In your "unvalidated" space, there is no stuff.  There is merely the proposition of stuff.  It does not have content in the same way the SIS does.  The unvalidated space contains the maybes, the might-have-beens, the possibly-could-be's.

And are not the "maybes, might-have-been, possibly-could-be" the real reason why players are around the tables and play an rpg? As for the content, it is "filled and emptied out" periodically, like the air in an accordion.

As for the 'observable' things.
Step 2 and Step 3, are observable.
Step 1 and Step 4, are not.

From these steps we derive that:
1) Personal Imagined Space (or Personal Imagination, as wisely suggested by Moreno), as the personal view of the SIS, is by far the most 'tangible', even if subjective, things we've to deal with.
2) Unvalidated Space (and not SIS) may be the 'logical object' to handle the concepts in the definition of System.

My two cents...
Bye,
Rob

[edited by V.Baker to correct image links, at request]


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: Adam Dray on June 30, 2009, 09:16:02 AM
This all makes pretty good sense to me. To me, though, it's just new words for IIEE.

Also, I disagree that System first gets involved in moving an idea from Unvalidated to Shared. There is System involved in moving an idea from Personal to Unvalidated. There could be rules, but there are at least social norms (part of System), that govern how and when people communicate their ideas ("My character wants to break the door").

For example, the game Puppetland requires that players speak in the first person ("I break the door"). Since saying it isn't necessarily validation by the group (movement to the SIS), you must grant that System was involved in saying "I break the door."

I will grant, however, that validation can't happen until an idea is communicated. There is no way (short of physically restraining them) to stop someone from adding to the Unvalidated Imagined Space. "Bob breaks the door" would be an invalid contribution to the SIS and to the UIS, so it would be invalid based on System applied retroactively to the movement from Personal to Unvalidated.


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: rgrassi on June 30, 2009, 09:26:22 AM
This all makes pretty good sense to me. To me, though, it's just new words for IIEE.

Not so sure, since, if i understand correctly IIEE applies to characters and not to people.
In that sense, IIEE is inside the UIS.

Quote
Also, I disagree that System first gets involved in moving an idea from Unvalidated to Shared.

There's maybe to correct the image in #3. The box is not intended to overlap on PIS. What I think is that System works only in #3 and only on UIS.
Thanks for the constructive reply, hovewer.
Cheers,
Rob


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: rgrassi on June 30, 2009, 10:58:48 AM
Sorry Adam, my fault... Looks like you're right with respect IIEE...
From Provisional Glossary v2 [excerpt]
"how actions and events in the imaginary game-world are resolved in terms of (1) real-world announcement and (2) imaginary order of occurrence".

Rob


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: FredGarber on June 30, 2009, 11:06:07 AM
I'm having trouble following how any of this is Actual Play, or even how Theory manifests itself in the Real World of Roleplay
This is an analysis of ANY sort of communication.    I can type anything I want, in any language that I want.  But if I don't do it in English, according to the Social Contract of the Forge, then Ron will moderate my post, and it won't make it onto the message boards for someone else to comment on, it, and I read the comments.  Personal Space -> Shared Space -> Personal Space :)

And I'm willing to state (this may blow a hole in your theory) that I do not "Engage in a RolePlay Scenario" for the purpose of "Stimulating My Own Imagination, for my Entertainment."  I can do that sitting on the couch by myself.   I "Engage in a "RolePlay Scenario" for the purposes of "Stimulating Other People's Imagination, for my Entertainment."  In order for me to get Satisfaction, the SHARED Imagined space is far more important than what I take away into my Personal Imaginary Space. 

-Fred


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: Caldis on June 30, 2009, 11:57:11 AM

I'm pretty much with Fred.  Although I will say that if you want to take the term and apply it to how individuals take part in a game and what they bring to it that could be useful.

Like say pre-play prep.  How much, who does it etc. and of course how to get that stuff into the SIS since all the pre-play stuff means nothing if it never makes it's way into the game.


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: rgrassi on June 30, 2009, 12:22:47 PM
Thanks again for reply... :)

@Fred
Quote
This is an analysis of ANY sort of communication.    I can type anything I want, in any language that I want.  But if I don't do it in English, according to the Social Contract of the Forge, then Ron will moderate my post, and it won't make it onto the message boards for someone else to comment on, it, and I read the comments.

Ahahahah... :)
Especially if Social Contract of the Forge include "Courtesy" and "Tolerance" for Non-English native speakers. :)

Quote
And I'm willing to state (this may blow a hole in your theory) that I do not "Engage in a RolePlay Scenario" for the purpose of "Stimulating My Own Imagination, for my Entertainment."

That's not my theory is saying. :)
I've only remarked by a simple example (and an actual play) why the SIS alone is not enough to handle all the stuff, moreover, that the SIS is too much overrated in its importance.

Quote
I "Engage in a "RolePlay Scenario" for the purposes of "Stimulating Other People's Imagination, for my Entertainment." 

Exactly. :)
What you really do is stimulate Personal Imagination of the others through a (transient) SIS.

Rob


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: Caldis on June 30, 2009, 02:57:45 PM
What you really do is stimulate Personal Imagination of the others through a (transient) SIS.

Rob

Isnt that already implied by the term shared, i.e. it comes from one person to others through the act of sharing?


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: rgrassi on June 30, 2009, 11:47:02 PM
What you really do is stimulate Personal Imagination of the others through a (transient) SIS.
Rob
Isnt that already implied by the term shared, i.e. it comes from one person to others through the act of sharing?

No. I see that Ron's 'shared' flavour is:
http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=16998.msg180387#msg180387
Quote
Shared means shared among us via communication, not common to us in terms of known or unknown overlap.
But, as I said before, 'shared' is not enough. "Shared and agreed" is the right concept behind the SIS.
Sharing occurs via communication channels, agreement comes (mostly) from the system.
Rob


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: Adam Dray on July 01, 2009, 09:22:35 AM
So, it seems you've contributed some vocabulary for the conceptual spaces in which information lives during play. Besides naming the spaces, are you saying anything other than, "people think stuff, they communicate stuff, and then the group either validates it or not"? Because none of that is novel to this forum. It's all been hashed out in numerous IIEE discussions.

You talked about the Personal and Unvalidated Imagined Spaces being more important than the SIS. Why does this matter?

How can we use this theory to better understand game play and game design?


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: Callan S. on July 01, 2009, 04:46:57 PM
Well, there often seem to be accounts of people suddenly going "Oh, of course X would happen!!" in play, where the events of the shared fiction become so convincing for them they bypass a validation stage as "It's obvious X would happen!!". Which doesn't ask if people would imagine it (there's no request for validation), it insists/forces other people to imagine it. It seems the SIS does get idolised fairly often.


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: Moreno R. on July 01, 2009, 05:56:25 PM
Hi Roberto!

As Ron before, I am not sure I understand the point of this. Do you want to make a point for ADDING thiese new "spaces" you have labeled to the Big Model, or do you want to create a new, "single-player centric" (and not social) model of roleplaying?

Because, for now, all you have done is labeling. We all know that what we add to the SIS come from SOMEWHERE, but I call that somewhere "the player's imagination", or "the player's mind", not "Personal Imagined Space".

Why not add that new "space" to the Big model? Well, first, because (at least in my opinion) is a useless labeling.  Jargon can be useful when you have the need to give a name to something new, but you have simply given another name to imagination.  We could go on labeling the player "the active imaginer" and his chair "the support for the active imaginer", but they are still a player and a chair.

Second: that space would "break" the fundamental nature of the big model: it's a model of roleplaying seen as a SOCIAL activity, looking only at what it's shared, communicated, and what can be observed.

Rpg models that take into account imagination are not new. Hell, every single rpg model outside of the Forge (that I know) do it! Almost all of them START by considering the player' imagination as the fundamental "space" where role-playing exist. The result of this are usually gaming "theories" that devalue communications and shared agenda between the players, looking instead at the turtling player who imagine worlds inside his mind as the "perfect player" because he is "imagining he is in the game world", and system as a "necessary evil" instead of a fundamental part of the act of roleplaying.
It's for this basic and fundamental initial errors, that they are all failures. When you consider "the fundamental act of roleplaying" something you do alone, and other can only disturb you when you do it, you have already missed what roleplaying is by a mile.

The objective success of the Big Model (in practical terms: it did product fruitful innovation and new ways of gaming) come from this "break" from the traditional vision of imagination as the fundamental act, a 180 degree turn: in the Big Model, imagination is even OUTSIDE the model. We simply don't care what your imagination is doing. You could have a perfect image of the game world with incredible special effects, or you could think about tomorrow's exam. It doesn't matter, if you still do your part in the game. If you still engage with the other player, contribute to the SIS and the the common agenda, you're playing well. You are doing you part in this SOCIAL activity.

I don't see your model, so, as a fruitful addition to the Big Model. At best is imagination with a new name. At worst, it's return to older, useless visions of role-playing that never amounted to anything.

More than that, if we add your SECOND new "space", separating what it's accepted from what still isn't, we have an artificial, not observable division.  The process used by the system (in the lumpley principle sense) to filter what can be added from what isn't isn't so simple and clear-cut as you draw it.  For example, if a player says "I use my red coat to cover the hole in the dress", the GM can in many games refuse to allow this "No, you can't make it in time, they have seen the hole". But now every other player "know" that the coat is red. They know that that character wanted to do that action.
If you consider EVERY addition to the SIS as part of the SIS, and the SIS as a running process, not as a static space, not only all make sense, but you can film a movie of the gaming session and see the SIS in action, every single little bit of it.

If you label a part of the SIS as "unvalidated" and another as "shared", you break the model's objectivity. Because you can't observe one or the other of these "spaces" separately. Worse: you have took "system" away from both of these spaces (using it as the barrier betwwen them) turning both in static places, made up only of character, setting, situation and color, without movement and without possible changes, and the only way to have changes is to change space again, returning back to the unvalidated space, and be re-validated again. All you get is a terrible complication of the model, and the result is to turn a observable element of the model in two imaginated "spaces" that I don't really believe exist as separate spaces anyway.

So, it's not that your model is "wrong". You can label anything you want anyway you want, until you make predictions it can't be "wrong". Is that you lose the things that make the Big Model useful. and don't show any new useful part to make up for it.

I have other issues with it, too.  For example the way it seems to consider imagination transitive (If I imagine a red coat, how can I be sure that the coat you imagine is the same coat I am imagining?), bit it's a common problem of any model that consider the SIS as a physical "space" instead of a workspace.



Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: rgrassi on July 02, 2009, 02:29:24 AM
Hi Moreno! :)
Gosh... It takes really a long time to read and reply.

Quote
Do you want to make a point for ADDING thiese new "spaces" you have labeled to the Big Model, or do you want to create a new, "single-player centric" (and not social) model of roleplaying?

Single-player centric model of roleplaying is beyond my scope (even if it would be really interesting and both the single-player centric and social-based model are part of the whole representation of it, so it should'nt be underestimated, but it's maybe out-of-scope for this forum).
So, I imagine the right answer is "to add new labels to the model".

Quote
Because, for now, all you have done is labeling. We all know that what we add to the SIS come from SOMEWHERE, but I call that somewhere "the player's imagination", or "the player's mind", not "Personal Imagined Space".

As said before, I've nothing against changing labels. "Player's Imagination" is good for me.
At the same way "Validation Space" may be a good name instead of "Unvalidated Imagined Space".

Quote
Second: that space would "break" the fundamental nature of the big model: it's a model of roleplaying seen as a SOCIAL activity, looking only at what it's shared, communicated, and what can be observed.

And I absolutely agree.
For that reason, I think it's important to exactly identify what is NOT explicitly shared, NOT explicitly agreed, NOT explicitly communicated and NOT clearly observable in order to respect the nature of the model and delimit its scope.

Quote
The objective success of the Big Model (in practical terms: it did product fruitful innovation and new ways of gaming) come from this "break" from the traditional vision of imagination as the fundamental act, a 180 degree turn: in the Big Model, imagination is even OUTSIDE the model. We simply don't care what your imagination is doing. You could have a perfect image of the game world with incredible special effects, or you could think about tomorrow's exam. It doesn't matter, if you still do your part in the game. If you still engage with the other player, contribute to the SIS and the the common agenda, you're playing well. You are doing you part in this SOCIAL activity.

I clearly see your point. And i go further.
What I claim is that only what is "explicitly shared" and "explicitly agreed" (by players or by the characters in the fiction) is part of the SIS.
I'm not talking about imagination.
I'm talking about something observable.
What "is not said" or is "taken for granted but not explicitly said" is NOT in the SIS.

Quote
I don't see your model, so, as a fruitful addition to the Big Model. At best is imagination with a new name. At worst, it's return to older, useless visions of role-playing that never amounted to anything.

I don't want to get back to 'imagination based' models.
And i think that this representation may be useful to solve some issues.
I'll be back with that, but it takes a lot.
Moreover, how can I with a single post and some figure convince at-once so many people? The only thing I can do is to propose my thoughts (share), discuss, and try to convince that they may be useful (agree).
The syndrome of "show in one post your thoughts and convince us that you've significant addition/modification to the model" doesn't seem to much constructive to me.
Anyway, I will respect people's will and Ron's one, of course.
He can stop this thread in any moment, particularly if he thinks, ad moderator, that it leads nowhere.

Quote
More than that, if we add your SECOND new "space", separating what it's accepted from what still isn't, we have an artificial, not observable division.

Most of the model is made by artificial divisions. I don't see the problem with that.

Quote
The process used by the system (in the lumpley principle sense) to filter what can be added from what isn't isn't so simple and clear-cut as you draw it.  For example, if a player says "I use my red coat to cover the hole in the dress", the GM can in many games refuse to allow this "No, you can't make it in time, they have seen the hole". But now every other player "know" that the coat is red. They know that that character wanted to do that action.

Yes, but they know only because the player has EXPLICITLY said that and the GM hasn't EXPLICITLY said the contrary.
And validation has absolutely worked fine, since three explicitly said [red coat, covering action, hole in the dress] out of three [red coat, covering action, hole in the dress,] proposed have passed the validation step and are now in the SIS.
What's not in the SIS? For example, the reason why you did it, because it's not been explicitly said.

Quote
If you consider EVERY addition to the SIS as part of the SIS, and the SIS as a running process, not as a static space, not only all make sense, but you can film a movie of the gaming session and see the SIS in action, every single little bit of it.

This makes sense. SIS should be an observable thing and it is made by "all that's being said". (but does not include, I imagine, what is taken for granted, or not explicitly said and does not include even how I'm imagining the fictional world.)
But is this the REAL sense of SIS in the model?

Quote
If you label a part of the SIS as "unvalidated" and another as "shared", you break the model's objectivity. Because you can't observe one or the other of these "spaces" separately.

From a pure 'observation' (like the camera film) it's a separation in 'time'.
Some behaviours between players occur before others.

Quote
Worse: you have took "system" away from both of these spaces (using it as the barrier betwwen them) turning both in static places, made up only of character, setting, situation and color, without movement and without possible changes, and the only way to have changes is to change space again, returning back to the unvalidated space, and be re-validated again.

Absolutely right... Why is worse?

Quote
All you get is a terrible complication of the model, and the result is to turn a observable element of the model in two imaginated "spaces" that I don't really believe exist as separate spaces anyway.

I don't think they're not observable.
They're observable in terms of "what players do and what the players say".

Quote
I have other issues with it, too.  For example the way it seems to consider imagination transitive (If I imagine a red coat, how can I be sure that the coat you imagine is the same coat I am imagining?), bit it's a common problem of any model that consider the SIS as a physical "space" instead of a workspace.

In the representation that's not an issue.
Rather, discrepancy between what we're imagining it's the 'salt' of the roleplaying fascination.
Rob


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: JMendes on July 02, 2009, 03:45:11 AM
Hey, Rob, :)

I'd like to ask that you take a glance at this older thread (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=14893.0) and tell me if there's anything in common between what Victor was talking about and what you're saying here.

Cheers,
J.


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: rgrassi on July 02, 2009, 05:56:30 AM
Hi J...

Hey, Rob, :)
I'd like to ask that you take a glance at this older thread (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=14893.0) and tell me if there's anything in common between what Victor was talking about and what you're saying here.

In some ways they overlap. I know Victor (and maybe he knows me), because we're both lovers of textual interative fiction and we're aware (and in some case take part to) theory efforts in that field. And I actually see his point of view.
The strange thing is that, as many others, the thread stops "in-between" and there's no pronunciation such as "this is good, this is no-good". There're only proposition of intents and some proposals... There're even direct questions without answers. :)
Analogies are in the "proposed text added", "proposed text rejected", the sequencial logical steps and the 'spaces' to add.
Main difference is that I'm not strictly interested in saying that what is proposed/added is "text", "words", "events" or "whatever". Whatever is proposed is filtered and accepted or rejected.

Interesting stuff that may be derived from my kind of approach are...
A) Are explicit procedures/rules or implicit assumptions existent on the arrows of the model? If not, are they really needed?
For instance... on the arrow on step #1. (The player submits the candidate 'move')
  • Does some game provide explicit rules about "How things must be said?" or about "What can I say and what I can't say?" That is meant before any validation occurs. (Someone has said that there's a game in which you have to talk in first person, that's an example).
  • If there are no explicit rules, are there any assumptions taken for granted? I mean "How things must be said" must be deduced from the 'social contract'? "What I Can't say" must be deduced by a common understanding of the SIS?

I'll soon provide new images with similar doubts allocated on the arrows, for the moment, and then on the circles.
Rob


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: Adam Dray on July 02, 2009, 11:09:06 AM
I'll say it one last time, then I'm bowing out of the thread. IIEE in The Big Model covers all this stuff you're talking about. You've just relabeled it to look at it a different way.

To use your arrow analogy, IIEE is the giant arrow between your PIS and the SIS. IIEE is how stuff gets into the fiction. IIEE is four moments (Intent, Initiation, Execution, Effect), and presumably System can get involved before or after any one of those, so there are five little arrows there, or more if you're silently skipping through (not over) the middle I, the middle E, or both.


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: Ron Edwards on July 02, 2009, 02:38:08 PM
Hey everyone, remember that the overall goal here isn't getting anyone to admit to or agree about anything. It's a matter of trying to reach an understanding of what everyone is saying.

If someone doesn't get there, that's all right. As long as you think you've said your piece so that someone else, a third party reading this now or later, can understand you, then you've done what you can.

Best, Ron


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: rgrassi on July 03, 2009, 05:34:42 AM
Quote
I'll say it one last time, then I'm bowing out of the thread. IIEE in The Big Model covers all this stuff you're talking about. You've just relabeled it to look at it a different way.

Adam, a simple relabeling would be already a good result for me (and maybe for someone willing to use this image to better understand the cycle.
But what I'm trying to say is that no matters how you decompose the proposed stuff. Current 4 steps model (IIEE) may be 1 step or 126.
Each step will make a complete cycle. (I proposed, I validated, I personalized from the SIS; I proposed, I validated, I personalized from the SIS; E proposed, E validated, E personalized from the SIS; E proposed, E validated, E personalized from the SIS).


More.
Look at the figure below. No more trouble defining conch shell games.
Conch Shell Games are games in which no "Validation Space" exist for the entire duration of the game. Narration goes straight into the SIS. (I'm not saying that there are no checks for internal logic)
(http://nuke.robertograssi.net/Portals/0/RpgFiles/umrp-forge-07-60rs.png)


And moving a step ahead.
(http://nuke.robertograssi.net/Portals/0/RpgFiles/umrp-forge-06-60rs.png)
This is what I have in mind. Look at questions on the arrow. (1. - 2. - 3.)
In my next post I'll try to write all the questions that I've in mind and looking for a precious feedback.
Rob



Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: Adam Dray on July 03, 2009, 12:25:20 PM
Whoa.... you said something new that dragged me back into the discussion.

Quote
Look at the figure below. No more trouble defining conch shell games.
Conch Shell Games are games in which no "Validation Space" exist for the entire duration of the game. Narration goes straight into the SIS. (I'm not saying that there are no checks for internal logic)

I think I understand what you're getting at, but I think you're totally wrong. Conch Shell games require validation just like all other RPGs. Just because someone has complete narrational authority, they don't get to just subvert the social contract layer. The SIS is always communicated, always shared, always validated, always consented by the entire group. Always.

Even your "no checks for internal logic" says so. Those checks are a small part of the validation in a Conch Shell game.

Here's a fictional example:

Bob and Jo's characters are in a melee fight. Bob wins narration.
Bob: "So Bobdar the Barbarian swings his axe down and CUTS OFF Jongar's nose! She's mutilated forever!"
Jo: "Seriously? That sucks. If you do that, I won't play any more."
Bob: "The rules say I have authority here."
Jo: "Yeah, well that sucks anyway. No way."
Bob: "Uh. Okay. He cuts off one of her fingers then."
Jo: "I can live with that. Bastard."

You CANNOT get rid of the group evaluation (the Validation Space or whatever). It's at the social contract level, too.


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: Callan S. on July 03, 2009, 05:54:37 PM
Well, that's one thing this thread makes a point about. I think so many gamers have gone without a validation space for so long, they see Jo's responce as normal, everyday behaviour. It's isn't - he (she?) is cheating and whining - if she agreed Bob has this call, then she is now going back on her agreement. This isn't validation, this is someone being a cheat and using emotional blackmail to get their way. But many gamers have probably gone on with this for so many years, starting in their teens, it has become a part of their social contract that if someone agrees someone else is in charge, they can ignore that agreement without consequence for themselves, if they get sufficiently upset. Ie, the 'validation' space is whether a tantrum is thrown or not.

Actually, I'll water that down - it's not cheating in some galactic standard sense. It is cheating by the sort of codes of behaviour used in most board games, card games, sports, and work places around the world. It's not cheating and whining in a galactic sense, but it is hugely different to how most people in the world conduct their activities. Most people abide by their agreements and do not see, even to themselves, that loudly saying "It sucks!" means they get out of their prior agreements somehow. There is no such 'validation' stage in their case - instead, read the fine print and only agree to things that you can stomach.

But gamer culture doesn't seem to. And it's probably extensive use of speaking directly into the SIS/no validation space use, during early years, that triggers it. The nose is cut off and...instead of the early teen reflecting on what they agreed to and stomaching it, they do what they would have done a scant few years prior - they tantrum. And either the group explodes (perhaps never roleplays again) or they internalise it as 'how you do it'. I think I'm slightly echoing something Ron has said previously, but I may be wrong on that. Ron, if your reading, could you shoot me down if I'm wrong on that connection?

Or that's all bullshit, if you want to call it bullshit. But I think Rob is talking so much about his type of validation space, because likely his group evolved to suggest the nose cutting off - and if it horrorfied people, it was just a suggestion and ignored. No one has to tantrum when someone suggests something to them, because the very nature of a suggestion is the speaker is granting the other person the chance to decline the suggestion. There's no need to internalise 'IT SUCKS! I'm not gunna play anymore" as part of normal gaming behaviour, in such a case.

ROB! Hey, am I way off! I've posted a few times to you and haven't heard from you?


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: Adam Dray on July 03, 2009, 07:47:54 PM
Hrm. If that was in response to me, Callan, then I need to clear up some things. I don't think my example is acceptable behavior. I also don't think it happens that often. I was just stretching for an example and that example could not exist without there being an evaluation step there. That's all.


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: Callan S. on July 04, 2009, 02:27:23 PM
Hi Adam,

If it involves unacceptable behaviour, it doesn't count as a validation space. Or atleast not the type of validation space that's being talked about by Rob, I think. We'll see what Rob's trying to get at.


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: rgrassi on July 05, 2009, 01:59:08 PM
Hi Adam...

Quote
Bob and Jo's characters are in a melee fight. Bob wins narration.
Bob: "So Bobdar the Barbarian swings his axe down and CUTS OFF Jongar's nose! She's mutilated forever!"
Jo: "Seriously? That sucks. If you do that, I won't play any more."
Bob: "The rules say I have authority here."
Jo: "Yeah, well that sucks anyway. No way."
Bob: "Uh. Okay. He cuts off one of her fingers then."
Jo: "I can live with that. Bastard."

Despite our best effort no "game rule" can enforce acceptable social behaviour or avoid something you say in your example. As Callan says this is not a type of Validation.
Validation 'phase' in my figures takes care about the following stuff:
1) Things that cannot happen due to internal logic violation (and this may occur during conch shell games, and is the only check made, but it's a check made in EVERY kind of narration, even for non interactive narration. You make internal logic check even when you read a book or a newspaper)
2) Things that cannot happen due to aestetic parameters of the group.
3) Things that have passed the 1) and 2) check and MAY happen. For this sort of things all the (up to now) known techniques are employed to determine if they actually enter in the SIS. After this check some things that may have happened have happened and other have not happened.
I'll soon post my doubts over the three aeeows...

@Callan
I'll re-read the thread looking for your specific answers/doubts in order to give a specific reply/feedbak to them.
Cheers,
Rob


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: rgrassi on July 06, 2009, 04:38:55 AM

In order to start a discussion I'll post my doubts/questions over the first arrow, referring to the image below.

(http://nuke.robertograssi.net/Portals/0/RpgFiles/umrp-forge-06-60rs.png)

As usual, sorry for my english... And, can you please help me to fill in the table below?

(http://nuke.robertograssi.net/Portals/0/RpgFiles/umrp-forge-08-80rs.png)

Sorry again for the image, but i wanted to represent this in table view, and didn't want to edit a badly formatted post...
I'm interested to add questions and, hopefully, an extensive list of answers and reference games.
I think that if we go in depth adding questions and examples to this table, and focus, for the moment, to the first arrow, we could have a simple reference graph and map to look if we're missing some interesting or important design concepts, related to the phase in which one player submits his/her move to the Validation Space.
Hope you find it interesting and useful...
Cheers,
Rob

P.S. Sorry Callan, I'm still delaying my answers, but, if you don't mind, I'd prefer to follow this sequence of arguments, before...

P.P.S Ron, please feel free to stop this thread in any moment, if you think it's useless and "out of scope" for the purposes of the forum.


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: Ron Edwards on July 07, 2009, 10:56:24 AM
Hi folks,

At this point, I'm not inclined to close this thread forcefully, but I really want to emphasize that once you (meaning anyone) think you have made your point well enough for an outside reader to understand you, then you should be willing to stop posting. It should not be about forcing a fellow participant in the thread to submit or to admit anything, or even to give you the attention and acknowledgment that you feel you need.

Best, Ron


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: rgrassi on July 07, 2009, 11:08:33 AM
Ok, so I'll close the thread posting the tables, in the next days, with some of questions/doubts...
I think that an outside reader should have enough information to understand my point.
Thank you very much Ron.
Rob


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: rgrassi on July 15, 2009, 12:50:40 AM
As promised, a last post with tables of questions and possible answers (most are really just a reference, only to give a direction of work).
Starting from this:
(http://nuke.robertograssi.net/Portals/0/RpgFiles/umrp-forge-06-60rs.png)

Here you have an example of questions and things to work on for each arrow.

(http://nuke.robertograssi.net/Portals/0/RpgFiles/umrp-forge-08-80rs.png)

(http://nuke.robertograssi.net/Portals/0/RpgFiles/umrp-forge-09-80rs.png)

(http://nuke.robertograssi.net/Portals/0/RpgFiles/umrp-forge-10-80rs.png)

Cheers,Rob


Title: Re: At the roots of roleplaying
Post by: Ron Edwards on July 15, 2009, 05:20:10 AM
Hi everyone,

Thanks Rob! Let's stop this thread here and spawn new threads to address the various possibilities, issues, questions, objections, or examples. (also, if you intended to post more end-of-thread graphics or tables, let me know)

Best, Ron