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Author Topic: Lumpley's take on 3D Model  (Read 19173 times)
John Kim
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« on: March 13, 2005, 10:33:45 PM »

OK, I read a post on Vincent Baker's blog anyway: http://www.lumpley.com/simulationism.html">Simulationism, an Ordeal.  He draws a diagram with three slices labeled "Thematic Play", "Competitive Play", and unlabeled.  Then there is a circle in the center labeled "Player-empowered play".  This seems very much taken from Mike Holmes' http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=12289">"New 3D Model" from last August -- which I followed up with http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=12460">"More on 3D Model".  My rough summary of the model was:
Code:
             ----Theme-----Immersion---Challenge--
              _____________________________________
              |           |           |           |
Decentralized |  GNS Nar  |   Mixed   |  GNS Gam  |
              |___________|___________|___________|
              |           |           |           |
Centralized   |  GNS Sim  |  GNS Sim  |  GNS Gam  |
              |___________|___________|___________|

This looks darn similar to Vincent's, it seems to me.  i.e. put "player-empowered" instead of "decentralized".  

This is essentially my push to encourage the "3D Model" as a framework.  Now, Vincent described most of the six categories, and then tried to suggest some sort of commonality between three of them (all of the unlabeled slice, and the thematic non-empowered version).  His sum up was "let's realize this ideal, enact this vision, celebrate this source material, fulfill these wishes!"  Having made his diagram and explained his categories, though, I think that the summation was a step backwards.  I think it is much clearer to work directly from the diagram.  In short:

The definition of "Thematic, non-player-empowered" makes some sense to me once the categories are explained.  I can try to categorize whether some of my games fit this definition.  In contrast, the definition of "let's realize this ideal" is so vague I have no clue how to diagnose whether a game of mine fits that.  In particular, I am thinking of my Water-Uphill World campaign -- cf. http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=11830">Water-Uphill World: Virtuality Examined.  As far as I can tell, Vincent's thinking is similar to mine -- since he has dropped GNS theory for use on his blog (according to http://www.lumpley.com/anycomment.php?entry=181">Policy in the Face of Failure (3-5-05).  His conclusion is that rather than GNS, he would prefer to describe his preference by player empoweredness ("collaborative") and topic ("thematic").  

So, what do you all feel?  I have to say, I feel this is a good approach.  I just got back from http://knutepunkt.laiv.org/html/index.asp">Knutepunkt 2005.  I talked tons of theory there with Scandanavian larpers/role-players.  I could communicate very well using distinctions like thematic/non-thematic and player-empowered/non-player-empowered.  This was actually a topic we discussed a lot after Martine Svanevik's "Collective Larp Organizing" event.  But there was no way in hell I could discuss about whether play "realized an ideal" or not.
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Marco
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« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2005, 05:01:50 AM »

I think this is important and valuable. I have some questions about it that I don't recall being answered in the original discussions:

1. In the case of unstated play where the GM is going to present thematic material and the players are there to enjoy the game from an immersed standpoint how does the model apply? I am thinking of my rescue-the-Nazi-scientist hypothetical wherein the characters are sent on an adventure that contains thematic material but the GM doesn't force a particular outcome.

How does the 3D-Model apply to games where the players and the GM don't have a commonly stated goal? Can you say that Joe is a DI player playing functionally in a TC game?

2. I think in the presence of a complex situation the level of player input is very hard to judge. If the GM is using illusionist techniques then I think the measure of centralization is closer to Jay's formulation (Affect vs. Effect where only the GM may really be able to say what Effect is).

Still, in terms of me asking for what I want in a game this is language I could use to communicate with people I know.

I also like the fact that the language seems very, very neutral to me.

-Marco[/url]
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Emily Care
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« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2005, 07:41:59 AM »

I think if we take this and the big model side by side, we actually get a functional way to talk about rpg.  

The big model very clearly describes the layers of social interaction that make up the activity of role playing, and just points to but does not define (in and of itself) the creative agendas.  This diagram gives us some substantive, reproducible and non-judgemental ways to then talk about the CAs.  

More power.
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timfire
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« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2005, 07:55:41 AM »

My only real comment is this - while its useful to realize that collaborative/non-collaborative play does indeed look different,  empowerment comes in degrees, or as a spectrum. Setting up a hard distinction like that is just begging for "Is it collaborative or not?" debates/arguments.
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Emily Care
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« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2005, 08:29:20 AM »

Quote from: Tim
Is it collaborative or not?" debates/arguments.

That's why de/centralized is better.  It more precisely describes the distribution of game tasks & responsibilities.  

Are they mostly handled by one person? Are they spread out among the group members? That's what I'd mean by collab, but de/cen. has less of the range of connotations that Tim points out.

best,
Emily

edited one time for puncuation and clarity
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lumpley
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« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2005, 09:47:24 AM »

A rushed day, forgive me if I seem short.

Treating collaborative/empowered/centralized vs. decentralized as though it were one thing, one variable, misses an important point: play can be centralized vs. decentralized differently with regard to different matters.

For instance, Narrativist play must be decentralized with regard to answering Premise, but need not be decentralized with regard to any in particular of Setting Character Color Situation or System - just some combination of some fraction of them.

Similarly, Simulationist play of the sort where the GM alone answers Premise might be nevertheless totally decentralized with regard to Setting, Character and Color.

-Vincent

P.S. I haven't posted anything on my blog that disagrees with or even supplements the Big Model in any way. I've posted a bunch of stuff explaining the Big Model, that's all. Please understand it as such.
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timfire
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« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2005, 10:23:51 AM »

Quote from: lumpley
Treating collaborative/empowered/centralized vs. decentralized as though it were one thing, one variable, misses an important point: play can be centralized vs. decentralized differently with regard to different matters.

As usual, someone like Vincent comes along and makes my point more clearly than I am able to. This is what I meant. Different aspects of System can be centralized or de-centralized...

... You know, now that I think of it, centralized/de-centralized sounds alot like a Technique-level element...
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Marco
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« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2005, 10:48:44 AM »

Quote from: timfire
Quote from: lumpley
Treating collaborative/empowered/centralized vs. decentralized as though it were one thing, one variable, misses an important point: play can be centralized vs. decentralized differently with regard to different matters.

As usual, someone like Vincent comes along and makes my point more clearly than I am able to. This is what I meant. Different aspects of System can be centralized or de-centralized...

... You know, now that I think of it, centralized/de-centralized sounds alot like a Technique-level element...


It certainly is a technique level element in the big model--and that's something that I have significant questions about. In theory people talk about intra-CA differences as though they were very different things from inter-CA differences. I'm not sure they are.

I think that a lot of "what I enjoy in a game" has as much to do with the techniques in use as the "basic CA-element" itself. I think the centralization issue is, essentially, as high-level as the CA issue in terms of real, functional games.

Collecting them as the 3D model does is, IMO, valuable exactly for this reason.

-Marco
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John Kim
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« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2005, 11:06:44 AM »

Quote from: timfire
My only real comment is this - while its useful to realize that collaborative/non-collaborative play does indeed look different,  empowerment comes in degrees, or as a spectrum. Setting up a hard distinction like that is just begging for "Is it collaborative or not?" debates/arguments.

Actually, I agree with that.  I forgot that later in the "More on 3D Model" thread (in http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?p=133999#133999">post 133999), I suggested a trinary split of centralized / guided / decentralized.  Going back to the initial picture, that would be:
Code:
             ----Theme-----Immersion---Challenge--
              _____________________________________
              |           |           |           |
Decentralized |           |           |           |
              |___________|___________|___________|
              |           |           |           |
Guided        |           |           |           |
              |___________|___________|___________|
              |           |           |           |
Centralized   |           |           |           |
              |___________|___________|___________|

Now, obviously that doesn't remove the problems of fuzzy area between categories, but it at least reduces the importance of the categories.  This could perhaps be renamed the "3x3 Model" then (since as many people have noted "3D Model" is a misnomer).  

Quote from: lumpley
Treating collaborative/empowered/centralized vs. decentralized as though it were one thing, one variable, misses an important point: play can be centralized vs. decentralized differently with regard to different matters.

For instance, Narrativist play must be decentralized with regard to answering Premise, but need not be decentralized with regard to any in particular of Setting Character Color Situation or System - just some combination of some fraction of them.

I agree, but that was also addressed in the earlier threads.  Essentially, decentralization must be with respect to the focus (i.e. Theme, Challenge, Immersion).  Obviously, in a game where focus is on the theme, then giving power over unimportant aspects is, well, unimportant.  Empowerment means that the players are empowered to determine what matters in the game.  

Quote from: lumpley
P.S. I haven't posted anything on my blog that disagrees with or even supplements the Big Model in any way. I've posted a bunch of stuff explaining the Big Model, that's all. Please understand it as such.

Well, I don't think there is a nice way to put this, but I think this is either self-deception or a lie.  In truth, Vincent, you are making your own theory, not simply preaching a gospel handed to you.  It's not just you -- many people seem to keep up a myth that "The Big Model" has always had all the answers, they just have to change the words to have it make sense to them.  I find this bizarre.  When you create new diagrams and new explanations, then you are adding to and/or changing the model.  While some people have the quasi-mystical/religious attitude of "Whatever insight you have, it is the Big Model."; I consider that to be harmful to discussion.
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lumpley
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« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2005, 11:22:12 AM »

Marco, Tim: you can identify collaboration, generically, all up and down the time scale. However, you can't collaboratively answer Premise in less time than it takes to answer Premise. Collaboration wrt Premise isn't a technique, therefore, but the action of a body of techniques over time, just as the Big Model has it.

John: there was a time I added to and changed the Big Model. I helped build it. This is not that time. This is just me telling about the conclusions we've reached.

-Vincent
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Marco
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« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2005, 11:25:25 AM »

Quote from: lumpley
Marco, Tim: you can identify collaboration, generically, all up and down the time scale. However, you can't collaboratively answer Premise in less time than it takes to answer Premise. Collaboration wrt Premise isn't a technique, therefore, but the action of a body of techniques over time, just as the Big Model has it.

-Vincent


I would say you can't Explore Color in less time than it takes to Explore Color either though. I don't understand the significance of the tautology here.

-Marco
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lumpley
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« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2005, 11:47:08 AM »

Quote from: Marco
Quote from: lumpley
Marco, Tim: you can identify collaboration, generically, all up and down the time scale. However, you can't collaboratively answer Premise in less time than it takes to answer Premise. Collaboration wrt Premise isn't a technique, therefore, but the action of a body of techniques over time, just as the Big Model has it.

-Vincent

I would say you can't Explore Color in less time than it takes to Explore Color either though. I don't understand the significance of the tautology here.

-Marco

All in reference to this:
Quote from: Marco
It [collaboration] certainly is a technique level element in the big model--and that's something that I have significant questions about. In theory people talk about intra-CA differences as though they were very different things from inter-CA differences. I'm not sure they are.

Collaboration wrt addressing Premise doesn't happen at the technique level, because addressing Premise doesn't happen at the technique level. If collaboration is a technique level element, it's also a CA level element, and an ephemera level element, and a social contract level element. In fact "collaboration" doesn't have a special Big Model definition placing it in any particular level.

Not to say anything really about inter-CA vs. intra-CA differences; just that collaboration isn't certainly a technique level element.

Am I still not making sense?

-Vincent
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Marco
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« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2005, 12:11:06 PM »

Quote from: lumpley

Collaboration wrt addressing Premise doesn't happen at the technique level, because addressing Premise doesn't happen at the technique level. If collaboration is a technique level element, it's also a CA level element, and an ephemera level element, and a social contract level element. In fact "collaboration" doesn't have a special Big Model definition placing it in any particular level.

-Vincent


I don't think that saying "we collaberated on Premise" describes real events. That is, I don't think that's an action in and of itself: it describes the application of a series of techniques towards a given end.

For example, one can say it's impossible to explore character without collaberation (the character doesn't exist in a vaccum) and I don't think one can face challenges without collaberation in the sense most people mean it.*

If this is the case then, I think that like exploration, collaberation really only does exist on a technique level.

So, no: I don't agree. I think that collaberation on anything (Premise, pre-determined theme, challenge, whatever) is simply a way of describing a commitment to do something together.

How it's done is always going to be based on techniques and those techniques can have as much (prehaps more, IME) influence on whether someone enjoys the game than a CA-described goal.

This is why I think the grid-layout is significantly different than any concentric approach: by distinctively intertwining the two (points of enjoyments across the top, preferred techniques down the side) it becomes impossible to address one without the other--and if you make the statement that you don't care about the distribution of decision making, you are, in fact, making a very strong and very unusual statement (one that is made commonly when someone just says "I'm a Narrativist").

-Marco
* there's the question of whether one can play solitare and be said to be gamist.
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Shreyas Sampat
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« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2005, 12:35:27 PM »

I am not certain that "Immersion" is the proper name for the middle category; that seems, to me, to be a Technique used to approach a more abstract goal. Is this a case of more misnomerism?
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John Kim
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« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2005, 12:42:05 PM »

Quote from: lumpley
Collaboration wrt addressing Premise doesn't happen at the technique level, because addressing Premise doesn't happen at the technique level. If collaboration is a technique level element, it's also a CA level element, and an ephemera level element, and a social contract level element. In fact "collaboration" doesn't have a special Big Model definition placing it in any particular level.

Exactly!!  As you have made clear on your blog and with the diagram of focus and player-empowerment, collaboration is extremely important to you.  And yet it has no place per se in the Big Model, which makes it difficult to discuss in that context.  

Collaboration is important -- specifically in how it is accomplished and what power is divided.  The 3x3 Model at least puts it on the map for discussion, by including collaboration specifically as an important element to be considered.
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