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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 36 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: From theory to practice - GNS, CA, SIS, etc.  (Read 1580 times)
Daniel B
Member

Posts: 196

Co-inventor of the Normal Engine


« on: December 04, 2008, 10:25:13 PM »

Hello folks,

I'm interested in becoming better acquainted with the theories of the Forge, and as such would like to hear about the results of peoples' attempts to incorporate these concepts into the design and play of their games. In particular, how did you try to incorporate the theories, and what theories were you using? What results were you hoping for? How well did the attempt work? How closely did the game-play meet your expectations?

Please post only those attempts that made it to actual play sessions. I'm not interested if the game never made it past the design phase, even if it did incorporate Forge theories. However, if you used the theories on-the-fly during an existing game, I'd love to hear.


Thanks muchly to anyone who responds!   I will most likely not reply in this thread again since I'm not interested in championing a position.
Dan
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Arthur: "It's times like these that make me wish I'd listened to what my mother told me when I was little."
Ford: "Why? What did she tell you?"
Arthur: "I don't know. I didn't listen."
Eero Tuovinen
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 2775


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« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2008, 01:22:39 AM »

So, to get this straight - why should I care to answer, again, if you're explicitly not engaging in dialogue? Will you read the thread, at least?

For what it's worth, my recent game Zombie Cinema is based on a straight reading of Ron Edwards' Egri-based premise theory, which is a model for implementing a narrativist agenda by formulating a premise and putting protagonist characters in position to comment with choice. The game's been played several dozen times at least, probably over a hundred. The results matched my expectations in a relatively routine manner, as I'd been messing about with the premise model for several years already, and knew what I was doing.

More generally, there's not one game design project I've worked on during the last five years that wasn't somehow influenced by the Big Model. I imagine that this is not a singular example at all, most long-term Forge participants have been influenced by someone or something here; that's pretty much the reason for participating in the first place. Not everybody consumes theory raw, but everybody enjoys the practical results.
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Blogging at Game Design is about Structure.
Publishing Zombie Cinema and Solar System at Arkenstone Publishing.
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2008, 07:01:37 AM »

Hello,

The single best way to get acquainted with the ideas here is to post about a single experience of your own actual play of any kind, and either to try to apply one of the notions that interests you yourself, or to ask someone to walk you through it.

Surveys of this kind aren't going to help, nor are they allowed as topics here. For one thing, given your question, the only real answer is to point at eight years of posting across a dozen forums. For another, your requested model for the thread is not acceptable at all: you cannot ask a question, then say "I won't post," and expect a bunch of people to perform for you.

I also urge you to reconsider the notion that the only justification for posting in a thread is to champion a position. That may apply to any number of public discussion sites around the internet, but it doesn't apply here. The Forge is not a bear pit. You do not have to mark out turf in order to contribute to a thread. In fact, when you start a thread, you are expected to engage fully with it.

I've considered your points carefully, though. I do see merit in having a way for interested newcomers to see the ideas in action ... perhaps I'll do some hunting for especially illustrative threads and make a sticky post. In fact, if anyone wants to help me with that, I'd appreciate it.

In the meantime, please consider posting like I described in the first paragraph. We can continue in this thread for that purpose.

Best, Ron
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David Berg
Member

Posts: 997


« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2008, 01:21:19 PM »

Hi Dan, I've put some effort into distilling some Forge concepts into a user-friendly format.  You can find it here:
http://www.david-berg.com/forgeglossary.html
This in itself isn't really what you asked for, but might help anyway, and contains links to a bunch of key threads.

Anyone who's thread-hunting, you might want to see if I've already linked what you're looking for.
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here's my blog, discussing Delve, my game in development
David Berg
Member

Posts: 997


« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2008, 01:26:18 PM »

Crap.  Actually, very few of my links go to illustrative AP.  So never mind on that front.
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here's my blog, discussing Delve, my game in development
Daniel B
Member

Posts: 196

Co-inventor of the Normal Engine


« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2008, 02:00:15 PM »

Hello,


Eero: thank you again. I'll check out your posts on Zombie Cinema.

David: thanks!! I'll take a look.

Ron: apologies that the post wasn't appropriate. It hadn't occurred to me that it might be a problem since it was actual-play-oriented, and reviewing my own experiences is only so helpful even in the public domain. Taking the next step and actually building RPGs with the Big Model in mind is inefficient for my purpose of gaining a full understanding of the model from several angles (not to mentioned the fact that anything I build will incorporate my biases, despite my best efforts). In my searching of this site, I haven't much luck finding examples of people who have *explicitly* woven the Big Model and GNS theories into their designs, so I was hoping to draw these experiences into one thread and avoid the grunt-work of combing the archives. That said; I'd love to help you construct a "sticky" for it, and am willing to do grunt-work if this thread can't be allowed to stay open. (In fact, if you're hideously busy, I'm quite willing to do the grunt-work myself and have you simply review it before stickying it.) I've just been using the search feature so far, but I think I'll start going through the oldest "Actual Play" posts.



Okay, I am going to put forth an opinion after all. Why am I looking for live-play examples? Well, I don't believe one can truly understand a theory unless they've seen it work in a variety of situations. (This is at least true for me.) Of the threads I've hunted through so far, one common theme seems to be that GNS and the Big Model are to RPG design like Gravity is to Physics; even people who aren't aware of the theories must have followed them to some degree if their design was successful. I agree, but only to some extent.

I tend to think RPG design is like architecture or computer programming. They all involve the construction of a "thing" that must meet well-defined needs, even though the needs themselves may be defined vaguely. ("I want the library's main building to be an attractive blue cube-ish thing.") A given construction is entirely unique, but there are certainly sets of accepted design/construction patterns in these fields. One cannot be a consistently good designer or builder without a firm grasp of those patterns even if his designs regularly fly in the face of those patterns. I believe the Big Model may be one of these patterns (.. actually I think it's a "pre-pattern", asking questions that must be asked before the real design can take place). Before I try to construct my own "building", I'm just looking for other "buildings" that use the concepts of the model in a variety of different contexts and from a variety of different peoples' interpretations of the model.



Ron: is there a way to pose this question to the general community in a more appropriate way, or should I stick to constructing an answer by reviewing previous posts?

Dan
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Arthur: "It's times like these that make me wish I'd listened to what my mother told me when I was little."
Ford: "Why? What did she tell you?"
Arthur: "I don't know. I didn't listen."
Daniel B
Member

Posts: 196

Co-inventor of the Normal Engine


« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2008, 02:07:14 PM »

Ron: is there a way to pose this question to the general community in a more appropriate way, or should I stick to constructing an answer by reviewing previous posts?

It occurs to me I should have asked that last question in private.. I tacked it on at the end. Please, don't answer.

Dan
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Arthur: "It's times like these that make me wish I'd listened to what my mother told me when I was little."
Ford: "Why? What did she tell you?"
Arthur: "I don't know. I didn't listen."
Caldis
Member

Posts: 392


« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2008, 12:53:46 AM »


I can help out with links to AP threads that I think match what you are looking for.  These three threads pretty much turned into conversations between Ron and the initial poster so I'd suggest you skip posts from other posters if the amount of reading starts to bog you down.

The first is a discussion between Settimbrini and Ron about GNS and the big model http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=21684.0

The second is a discussion between Levi Kornelson and Ron again regarding GNS and again the whole of the big model is at least touched on http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=20679.0

The third is between Ron and David Berg along the same lines http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=22017.0

Those three are some of the best at considering specific AP examples in terms of the big model.  The all seem to fit what I see as your goal in the discussion, they talk about the structures of the game and what makes them work and fit the terms of the big model.  It's also interesting to note that none of the participants seemed to actively recognize the creative agenda they persued in play, it was something that was happening unconciously at the table.  Hidden assumptions that the groups took for granted that made their games work.

I'll give you one more like Ron's D&D threads this is the last of the three it has links back to the previous two (although I think the link to the first one is broken, you should be able to track back to the first thread from the second it has a working link)  http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=19889.0

What I found most interesting about this example and how it relates back to the other three is that while Ron is aware of the CA he is persuing he doesnt make any overt actions to bring it about.  The game doesnt become narrativist because he works hard to throw themes or a premise into the game it happens more naturally as a result of the players creating characters that are willing to have a point of view and Ron bringing about situations where they had to take a stand and they could choose what stand they would take.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2008, 07:18:15 AM »

All right, stop.

Caldis, those are excellent and appropriate links. Thank you, and I'll include them in a sticky when I can get around to it.

Dan - you are not paying attention. This isn't a debate. I am telling you exactly how to get what you're looking for, based on moderating nine years of solid discussion of this very topic. Report about your own actual play, which is nothing more nor less than the requirements of this forum, or this thread is closed. I'd prefer that not to happen, but it is up to you.

Also, the link-hunt request was not directed to you. Caldis and others know what I'm looking for, which a search or uninformed thread-hunt will not yield.

Everyone else, stop posting until this proceeds.

Best, Ron
« Last Edit: December 06, 2008, 07:20:35 AM by Ron Edwards » Logged
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