Zonking and Vanking: (Zonking and Vanking Not Included)

edited June 15 in Story Games
Okay, this is a thread about the [framework/theory/proposition/model] that I started exploring over in another thread.

Before I address any of the points raised in the other thread, I offer this.

A PROVISIONAL GLOSSARY
Please note that some terms in the glossary may change as the model develops.

ROLEPLAYING – The totality of all the activities that one engages in while actively participating in the hobby that this website is devoted to discussing. This includes both GAMING and JAZZING. Please note that “playing a role” is a small part of sum total of the activities involved, and that ROLEPLAYING, PLAYING, and GAME are all terms that have several other definitions outside the context of this model.

GAMING – The act of engaging in game play, but only in the context of ROLEPLAYING. (Formerly Vanking) GAMING can be defined as the actions performed while ROLEPLAYING that are informed by PRESCRIBED RULES.

ARTING: The act of engaging in the creation of an artistic PRODUCT using GAMING as one of the INGREDIENTS. Only used in the context of ROLEPLAYING. (Formerly Jazzing, Formerly Zonking) ARTING can be defined as actions performed while ROLEPLAYING that are informed by DESCRIBED RULES.

INGREDIENTS: The mediums, tools, and techniques used produce a PRODUCT.

PRODUCT: The result of an artistic endeavor. In the context of ROLEPLAYING, the result which is produced by using GAMING as an INGREDIENT to engage in the act of JAZZING. Formerly WOA, Formerly SIS.

THREE-TIER MODEL: The model in which ROLEPLAYING is a process in which GAMING is used as an INGREDIENT via the process of ARTING to produce a PRODUCT.

THIRD-TIER DESIGN: Creating techniques with which to discuss the PRODUCT itself, as opposed to GAMING or ARTING.

PRESCRIBED RULES: Rules that can be stated in the form, "YOU CAN'T _________".

DESCRIBED RULES: Rules that can be stated in the form, "YOU SHOULDN'T _____________."

These definitions will be subject to change as the model develops. I will edit this first post as this occurs.
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Comments

  • It's leikki ("play") not liekki ("flame")
  • edited June 14
    Now, onto the discussion.

    @2097
    According to Thanuir there isn’t a term for playing an instrument that isn’t PELI. This will not do.

    I will amend the statement I said in the other thread: English AND Finnish suck.

    But…
    I’m prepared to declare ZONKING as the act of LEIKKI within the context of MOOPING.
    The reason for this is thus: Playing House, or Cops & Robbers, or any act of pretend is really just a very primitive form of simultaneous art production, performance, and consumption. It differs from improvisational theater only in quality, not in category. Or so I currently think.

    I have a question, however. Does LEIKKI have any negative connotations? As in, does the word conjure images of something being childish or immature? Because that won’t do either. I want a word that encompasses all the things mentioned above, and if anything, leans more heavily towards a more mature connotation.
    So for right now, I’m leaving ZONKING and LEIKKI as separate types of actions, but this could change. ZONKING would still exist as a term, but only in the context of MOOPING. For right now, I’m leaving ZONKING to mean an action that can’t currently be described as a type of LEIKKI, as I’m not entirely convinced this is accurate.

    @Thanuir
    Part 1, on zonking

    I am not convinced that zonking is terribly far from play. Here are some classical definitions of play, for reference: http://scholarpedia.org/article/Definitions_of_Play

    Certainly children playing satisfy the following: "It's specifically playing improvisational jazz piano with a group, both working with and being inspired by the creative choices of the other members of the group, with yourself and the other members of the group being the primary (if only) audience for that performance."

    Maybe you want a component of skill or demonstrating skill, which is debatable when children play. Or some other distinguishing factor.
    As discussed above, I’m 99% convinced you’re right. Actually, I’m 100% convinced that ZONKING is a type of play, now that I’ve read what you said. However, I’m not quite there on labeling it a specific type of play (LIEKKI) until I’ve learned more about its connotations.
    But you’re right, children playing is in the same category as freeform jazz. I’m just not sure which of these I believe:

    1. Playing “House” and playing jazz are both LIEKKI
    Or
    2. Playing “House” (LIEKKI) and playing jazz (NOT LIEKKI) are both ___________________.
    Part 2, state of play

    Yes, state of play (of piano or chess or roleplaying game) is on level 1. It exists with all of those activities. In a group performance, maybe it would be the current soundscape and the present position of (say) their fingers on the piano keyboard. (My English vocabulary is not sufficient here; try to understand.)
    But yes, the playstate is a low level concern. It also exists in imaginative play of children.

    By resolution, I simply meant the outcome of any given action. Still a low level concern: Given the way the pianist moves their fingers and their feet, what kind of music is created? This depends on the current soundscape and the precise details of the pianist's physiology and actions, which are also affected by their emotional state and possibly conscious choices.
    I agree completely.
    Part 3, motivation and art

    If you are saying that all roleplaying (by which I mean: engaging in the act of playing roleplaying games; or perhaps joint creation of shared fiction) produces a fictional transcript that can be considered as art, I agree.

    If you are claiming that the purpose of all roleplaying is to create that art, I probably disagree.

    Maybe you claiming something related to these?
    I am definitely claiming the first (not controversial, I hope).

    I am definitely NOT claiming the latter. That is an opinion on a particular creative agenda. It’s definitely some people’s agenda, but certainly not for all, or even the majority. But agendas have no place in my current model.

    My main claim (as defined for now) is this:

    Engaging in our Hobby during actual play is not a single activity, but actually several individual activities. The main (only?) two are VANKING and ZONKING.*

    *Whether all activities can be subsumed into either VANKING and ZONKING, or there are activities outside of those two categories has yet to be determined.


    These two activities, though related because of they are both part of a larger whole, are still individual and do not overlap.

    The closest analogy is Biathlon. Skiing and Shooting are separate activities, but they are subsumed under a larger title. The differences being that in our hobby both activities occur simultaneously.

    The other difference is that one of the activities – ZONKING, relies in part on the performance of the other – VANKING. This relationship is described by what I call the THREE TIER MODEL that was discussed in the other thread and will be revisited soon.

    In short:

    TIER 1: Ingredient (Vanking)
    TIER 2: Artistic Creation (Zonking)
    TIER 3: Product

    Why is this useful?

    For one, I believe this model, and terminology created to describe it, could end much of the current talking past each other and misunderstandings that occur when viewing our hobby as a single activity, not a conglomeration of many.

    The words, PLAY, GAME, and RULES mean entirely different things depending on which activity one is discussing.

    In addition, many current theories/arguments label these separate activities as either:

    1.Different individual goals one has when participating in a single activity.

    2.Different types of the same activity. (You’re either Vanking or Zonking)

    3. Sources of incoherency if a game’s design or player is attempting to Vank and Zonk at the same time. (The are both always present and designing more for one has nothing to do with designing less for the other. Desiring good Zonk does not require ignoring/loosing the option for good Vank.)

    4. Identical, meaningless distinctions.


    I propose there is much to be gained by viewing our hobby through this lense, as it opens up new possibilities in design and serves to limit miscommunication.
  • Finnish suck.

    C'mon, man, no it doesn't.

  • I think I've corrected all the misspelled occurrences of "LEIKKI".

    Sorry about that. I meant no disrespect toward Finnish.*

    *Realizing fully well that I previously said, "Finnish sucks," but I also said, "English sucks" in the same sentence, and that was more about their inability to provide me with the term I want, not a general insult or criticism of any aspect of Finnish culture.
  • Peli is applying a process and leikki is more foolin' around with your shoes kicked off.
  • Engaging the system is peli. Correct ? Leikki is wide. It seems to open to all sorts of possible rewards.
  • edited June 14
    SICP was the book that taught me to program!

    I find the made-up vocab incredibly hard to think with. It was fine when there was, like, one made up word when we all used, Blorb. But I just can't wrap my head around this etymology-less, morpheme-less profusion of words that have no relation to any other words. I'm not gonna use this vocab, because I'd have to look it up every damn time I wanted to write about it, and that's enough of a barrier that I'd simply never do it.

    You define mooping as role-playing. Great. When talking about this stuff, I'm gonna say role-playing to refer to that concept.

    You say peli means structured play, with rules and objectives. You say vanking is peli in the context of RPGs. Great. When talking about this stuff, I'm gonna say structured play.

    You say zonking is the creation of an artistic product using structured play. Great. I'll refer to it as structured creation, or maybe structured artistic creation, or structured performance.

    I encourage you all to do the same.

    As a bonus, it gives outsiders some earthly bloody clue what the heck we're talking about.

  • edited June 14
    how I relish double-oh-one
    mom taught me and my sis basic on her DOS machine back in the day and one night I stayed up and got into emacs so I wasn't even new to lisp but I'm like… SICP the most important philosophical work of the 20th century. 100% serious. Fuck Wittgenstein or Gödel or whatever. It's SICP man. Apply↔Eval
  • @Jeph

    MY NONSENSE WORDS! MY BEAUTIFUL NONSENSE WORDS!!!!!

    You're right, that was never gonna fly long-term. But I'm not using "Structured Play" and "Structured Creation" because I want a one word terms, and the word "Play" can apply (with different definitions) to each activity.

    So I changed the glossary.

    ROLEPLAYING is now the name for our hobby. Please do not use "Game" anywhere when referring to this, as only one part is GAMING and it mistakes a part for the whole. Also, I'm not using a dash. It's all one word. Give me this, please.

    VANKING is now GAMING. I like this, because this is the only part of the activity that involves playing a game. It makes that clear, at least. It still has the problem that some people out there are prone to using GAMING to mean ROLEPLAYING. If someone has a better one-word term, let me know.

    ZONKING is now JAZZING. It's the closest thing I can come up with to what I'm trying to describe, and the fact that the word has nothing to do with the playing of a game makes it clear that we're dealing with two separate activities. Also, nobody generally uses that word in relation to our hobby.

    Hopefully, these will do for now.
  • Peli and Leikki are no longer being used because 2097's description of their definitions up thread make me realize they're not really what I'm going for.
  • ZONKING is now JAZZING...Also, nobody generally uses that word in relation to our hobby.

    Hopefully, these will do for now.

    Nobody? :wink: jk. I'm curious to see where all this goes.

    Best,

    Jay
  • edited June 14
    Perfect!

    When we roleplay, we're gaming in order to jazz, creating an artistic product. Like a ballerina moves in order to dance, creating an artistic product.

    I'm not totally sure I agree with your claim that these are different activities. If they're different and don't overlap, should we be able to ascribe any given action a player takes to either one or the other, gaming or jazzing? When a player in Dungeon World says, "I hack & slash!" which one are they doing? It seems like simultaneously both a structured interaction with a rule, and a contribution to the artistic product.

    What you've written, and some of Jay's and Yukamichi's earlier posts, have made me start thinking of all these different possible levels as... ugh. It's what modal logic calls "possible worlds," but the word "world" is overloaded when talking about RPGs. I'm looking for something that means "sets of propositions," or "sets of beliefs," or "sets of facts." I'll go with perspectives.

    Anyway, all the different models we've introduced can be analyzed as a perspective on somewhat-overlapping entities.
    • Any given player's privately held beliefs about imagined events are one such perspective.
    • Imagined events that have been communicated, shared, made manifest, placed into the common ground between any given combination of players are another such perspective.
    • Bits of information codified by the physical state of the actual, real pencil and paper and minis and maps and dice we're using are another perspective.
    • Mandated-by-the-rules but as-yet-unknown-to-anyone outcomes are another.
    • Information in a module or prep is yet another.
    • "Gaming" refers to interacting with the propositions in another of these perspectives.
    • "Jazzing," interacting with the propositions in yet another.
    We can say that, under a chosen perspective, some statement about some entity is true or false. Has my character been poisoned yet. Do I have 6 hit points remaining.

    Without taking a perspective, such a statement is meaningless.

    We can further say that some perspectives are accessible from others. This is another modal logic thing. If B is accessible from A, it means that under the perspective A, B is a live possibility.

    In play, when we discover inaccessible perspectives—We'd all been thinking the stronghold was on the west side of the plateau, but the prep says it's on the east—we need to stop and engage in repair processes. Resolve disagreements until we re-establish accessibility.

    When accessible perspectives interact, they merge seamlessly.
  • First, you shouldn't care what I think.

    Second...


    ROLEPLAYING is now the name for our hobby. Please do not use "Game" anywhere when referring to this, as only one part is GAMING and it mistakes a part for the whole.

    The idea of "game = structured, goal-oriented play" is one of the worst in the whole field of game thinkery.

    Show me some kids at play, I'll show you structures and goals, even if they're purely implicit, purely intuitive, fleeting, and even if the kids are too young to identify and articulate them.

    We invented game design as a craft in order to explain and articulate the gameplay impulse that we feel as creative, thinking beings. Games = toys = puzzles = tricks = play.

    Before the gods and everybody, you shouldn't care what I think, but you should reconsider this idea on its own poor merits.

    Third, I don't think your model needs it. (It had better not! If it does, it's a bad model. But I don't think it does.) I think the idea isn't built into your model, it just appears in your terminology.

    -Vincent
  • @Jeph

    There's a lot to mull over there. But it's Friday night and I'm not gonna be able do it justice until tomorrow. But I'm looking forward to sinking my teeth into that and either strengthening my argument or realizing everything I've said is rubbish :smile:

    @lumpley

    *Defiantly cares what you think*

    Yes. I don't think it's integral...I'm still struggling with exactly how to define "Gaming" in this model, but the previous splitting between "Leikki" and "Peli", I think, wasn't as helpful as I thought.

    Currently (as of this second, it might change in 5 minutes) I think Leikki and Peli are both Gaming. Or the concepts I'm exploring split along different lines than those words imply.

    The problem is, every word I try to find to apply in these cases ends up having different meanings which correspond to the two different categories - play, composition, performance, exploration...

    Which either means I'm onto something big, or I'm just making up false dichotomies.

    I guess we'll see.

    More tomorrow. :smiley:
  • @Neurotrash, I'm not sure yet to what extent this is representative of, or relevant to, the new model that I was tryna bring forth.

    I'm so glad to have you here on story-games, we need people who engage so by all means keep it up. But I'm just so afraid that I'm gonna get misreprese… oh, god. I am become lumpley :bawling:
  • Still holding out hope that I'll get what you're going for
  • I would say that the difference between peli and leikki is related to how explicit the goals and structures are.

    Of course, if one wants to analyze how the words are actually used, it goes back to Wittgenstein's language games and to things being called based on whatever design tradition they come from, so any digital activity that looks even vaguely like a game is called a game (peli), no matter how playful and exploratory it is.

    I, at least, need to change perspective when moving from peli to leikki or the other way around. The mentality is different. English does have the word "playful", for example, which does not describe all play.


    ---

    I agree with Jeph that following a discussion with arbitrary terms was challenging.

    ---


    Why is this useful?

    For one, I believe this model, and terminology created to describe it, could end much of the current talking past each other and misunderstandings that occur when viewing our hobby as a single activity, not a conglomeration of many.

    The words, PLAY, GAME, and RULES mean entirely different things depending on which activity one is discussing.

    In addition, many current theories/arguments label these separate activities as either:

    1.Different individual goals one has when participating in a single activity.

    2.Different types of the same activity. (You’re either Vanking or Zonking)

    3. Sources of incoherency if a game’s design or player is attempting to Vank and Zonk at the same time. (The are both always present and designing more for one has nothing to do with designing less for the other. Desiring good Zonk does not require ignoring/loosing the option for good Vank.)

    4. Identical, meaningless distinctions.


    I propose there is much to be gained by viewing our hobby through this lense, as it opens up new possibilities in design and serves to limit miscommunication.

    I am looking forward to the applications.
  • edited June 15

    It now makes perfect sense when 2097 proclaims the the BCBP is wrong, because the BCBP doesn’t describe anything about [Gaming]. It’s about [Jazzing].

    When 2097 says that the [game state] holds things we don’t agree to and that nobody knows about, that is perfectly true for [Gaming]. (Like it’s true for poker)

    It’s patently absurd and sounds like magical thinking when you think she’s talking about [Jazzing].

    I can’t sign off on this.

    We find a treasure chest; is what is in it is part of the game before we open it, or only after we open it? That’s a completely surface-level semantics question. You can define “part of the game” to mean “only things that have been repeated three times” and create a design out of that, or you can define “part of the game” much widelier.

    Defining and redefining words is like tryna program by changing out the variable names & function names. Can bring some clarity but ultimately you’re just treading water.

    We want to have some game designs that care about the contents of unopened treasure chests.

    Edit: the reason I was signing off on this before was because I thought you were saying something more like this:

    It now makes perfect sense when 2097 proclaims the BCBP is [not applicable], because the BCBP doesn’t describe anything about [the larger game state]. It’s about [the talking at the table].

    When 2097 says that the [game state] holds things we don’t agree to and that nobody knows about, that is perfectly true for [activities where we are asked to believe things before knowing what those things are]. (Like it’s true for poker)

    It’s patently absurd and sounds like magical thinking when you think she’s talking about [a type of hyper-sollipsistic game where all propositions are false until they've been heard].

    In poker, I'm asked to believe that you have been dealt a hand of immutable but unknown cards out of the set of 52. Similarly, the card at the top of the deck is also an immutable but unknown member of that set.
    From how some of the peeps on here reacted to hearing about such a game,
    the playing cards were like the suits in A Scanner Darkly, constantly flickering until they were shown. Redefining the words "fact" and "real" to only include shown cards. Which. Well, it is (demonstrably) possible to use the words "fact" and "real" that way but that wasn't what I meant.

    There are many roleplaying games that do work that way (things only becoming real when they are shown). And that's perfectly coherent, for them. If you're utterly used to such games your mind is gonna melt when you hear about a game that worx differently. As mine did when "mirror story".
  • @Thanuir
    There's been some semantic drift, like "hide-and-seek" is leikki even though it has rules just like any other peli. I'd sort it under "peli" if I was doing a more stricter categorization but that's not how natlang worx.
  • 2097 said:

    @Thanuir
    There's been some semantic drift, like "hide-and-seek" is leikki even though it has rules just like any other peli. I'd sort it under "peli" if I was doing a more stricter categorization but that's not how natlang worx.

    When I played it with a three-year old, it was definitely more of a leikki, with them yelling "I am here, under the bed!" if I was too slow to "find" them. Also, terrible giggling and telling me where they were going to hide, looking in all the wrong places first, and so on.

    With older players, yeah, it tends to be a lot more game-like.
  • Thanuir said:

    When I played it with a three-year old, it was definitely more of a leikki, with them yelling "I am here, under the bed!" if I was too slow to "find" them. Also, terrible giggling and telling me where they were going to hide, looking in all the wrong places first, and so on.

    With older players, yeah, it tends to be a lot more game-like.

    Yeah, you're right. Can you think of some examples where there's been peli/leikki semantic drift? Arguably roolipeli has elements of both.
  • "Roolileikki" is what some people do in the privacy of their bedroom.
    "Roolipeli" is a roleplaying game.

    I think that many computer games qualify more as toys - Minecraft, I hear (but have never played it), maybe Dwarf fortress and various city-building games. An old game was The incredible machine https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Incredible_Machine_(series).
    Many of these games have a "game"-like mode, but also a mode for playing around. Yet all of them are called games. I am not sure which verb would be used for interacting with them.

    Sorry, I can not give a satisfactory answer to this. I am a bit removed from Finnish children's culture at the moment.
  • Okay. There’s a lot to do here.

    Before I go any further, I just want to make something very clear. I am not here to defend a comprehensive model that I have made up. I am here to formulate a new model in public in the hopes that others can point out flaws in logic and inconsistencies with reality as I make them in the hopes of eventually creating a coherent, useful model.

    I have changed my mind considerably already in this thread, and I will continue to do so as I examine my own statements and the points that others bring up. So please don’t think that I (or accuse me of) “moving goal posts” as we discuss this. I will do my best to point out when I have changed my mind about a previously stated proposition, but since a lot of my thinking on this occurs while driving, eating, etc. and I end up coming back to my computer later with pages of debate in my head, I might forget to explicitly point out when a change has occurred. Please point this out – “But earlier you said ________” and I will either explain why those things are not contradictory, or I’ll confirm that my earlier statement is no longer true of the model.

    So here are some changes in my thinking that have occurred since last night:

    I am changing the term JAZZING to ARTING. I previously put a great deal of importance on the communal and improvisational nature of the activity. I no longer think these integral to the activity, and the use of JAZZING connotates that they are.

    ARTING, as an activity, does not have to be communal (a single individual writing a novel is ARTING). And I would argue that all ARTING is improvisational in its nature, at some point in the creation process. That the improvisation occur at the time of performance and consumption need not be true. (This may conflict with some people’s understanding of the meaning of “improvisational”. This might be a problem. We might need to substitute another word, but I don’t know what it is yet.)

    Also…

    “Leikki” and “Peli” are no longer useful terms in this model. From my perspective, they are both just value judgements about one type of activity – “Playing a Game” – GAMING in my model. The amount of and complexity of structure, the explicitness of the goal of play, the nature of the goal (competition or “just having fun” or something else entirely) and even the amount of adherence to the previously agreed upon structure (rules) don’t change the fundamental nature of the activity. They are both just examples of playing a game.

    So…

    Before I begin to address specific points raised by others, I want to restate both the reason for the creation of this model in the first place, and the current claims made by it. In doing so, I will probably be addressing some the points made and questions raised by others.

    First off, what am I trying to accomplish:

    I believe that much of the arguing and disagreement in the current debate over the existence and nature of the Game State is due to misunderstandings caused by the vague nature of language (words mean different things in different contexts, and as humans we tend to automatically assume that our interlocutor understands the context in which they are being used. We also assume that the way our particular language categorizes entities is based on an understanding of the objective nature of those entities, when really it’s due to history, culture, and often flawed and unexamined ideas of how things work. As intelligent individuals, I believe we are all aware that these assumptions are incorrect, but it’s easy to miss when we are making them when we don’t step back far enough from the conversation.)

    “GAME”, “PLAY”, “ROLE-PLAYING”, and many other words are being used (and have been used for 40+ years) to describe different aspects of our hobby, along with our assumptions about language, lead us to believe things that are not necessarily true, like that ROLEPLAYING GAMES are a type of GAME, because the title we use to identify that activity happens to contain the word GAME.

    Other assumptions might include the idea that PLAYING Monopoly and PLAYING a piano share some fundamental connection, because the English language happens to use the word PLAY to describe the same activities. We end up trying to shoehorn both activities into categories under the heading TYPES OF PLAY, just because our particular language uses the same word to describe those activities.

    Another assumption might be that because we use the word PERFORMANCE to describe the delivery of a work of art to an audience in the realms of theatre and music, and not the delivery of a work of art to an audience through writing, painting, or sculpture, that the TIME AT WHICH THAT DELIVERY OCCURS is somehow important and must be accounted for.

    I realize that much (if not all) that I just said is just Freshman Semiotics 101, and some of you are rolling your eyes at someone trying to remind the trigonometry class that 2+2=4, but I want all those things out there so that we’re at least on the same page.



    Over the last weeks, I have seen debate between two groups. We will call them THE GAMESTATERS and THE SUBS (for subjective). These are bad terms. I make no claims that the terms say anything about the groups or their beliefs. They’re just convenient terms to describe two groups of people. I also don’t claim that any single statement, belief, or argument is agreed upon by all members of a group. Trying to define the groups’ positions isn’t important right now.

    I believe I have seen some of the following views expressed by some GAMESTATERS (not necessarily in these words – I don’t feel like digging through thread for quotes):

    1. The SUBS’ arguments against our model are reactionary and they are clinging to FORGE-derived theories out of stubbornness or misplaced reverence.

    2. The SUBS seem like they are trying to gaslight us – they pretend the answers we give to their questions are inadequate when they are obviously adequate and prove our position.

    3. The SUBS don’t understand our model because they are ignorant of how games work. They need to go back and get a better grounding in the theories of gameplay.

    I believe I have seen some of the following views expressed by some SUBS:

    1. If one is to take some of the GAMESTATERS’ proclamations at face value, they are claims that defy reality. They are arguing that imaginary entities exist in the real world.

    2. The GAMESTATERS are arguing that a particular tool that can be used to facilitate a certain type of playstyle is somehow the basis for all roleplaying, and that tool is present in all roleplaying. They are mistaking their preferences for objective fact.

    There are other things, and some might belief that these views are being misrepresented, but I believe that at least some of the people in these groups have claimed these things. I am working under the assumption that everyone involved is arguing in good faith.

    I believe my model explains how these misunderstandings are occurring.

  • edited June 15
    PART 1: ROLEPLAY, GAMING, and ARTING

    ROLEPLAYING is an activity that involves participating in (at least) two separate activities simultaneously. I currently make no claims that these two activities are the totality of what is happening when one is ROLEPLAYING. There may be other activities equally fundamental.

    These two activities I claim to exist are:

    GAMING: An activity that can be examined and discussed using the theories, vocabulary, and concepts that can be applied to activities like chess, poker, hide-and-go-seek, and Super Mario Bros. [NEW THING I WILL HAVE TO PROVE LATER: This activity operates according to PRESCRIPTIVE RULES.]

    ARTING: An activity that can be examined and discussed using the theories, vocabulary, and concepts that can be applied to activities like screenwriting, musical composition, choreography, acting, playing an instrument, and dancing. [NEW THING I WILL HAVE TO PROVE LATER: This activity operates according to DESCRIPTIVE RULES.]

    Theories, models, and observations about one of these two sub-activities will not necessarily hold true for the other. I might even propose that they never do (this is yet to be proven).

    Theories, models, and observations about one of these two sub-activities that are applied to the entirety of the activity of ROLEPLAYING due to the mistaken belief that one of the sub-categories is the entirety of ROLEPLAYING and the other is a smaller activity within it (ARTING is a part of GAMING, or GAMING is a part of ARTING) will lead to confusion and misunderstanding, as it will invariably conflict with the personal experience of those who employ rules and techniques that apply to the other sub-category.

    One primary cause of these mistakes is that someone four decades ago called the focus of our hobby, “Role Playing Games,” and that title stuck. Role Playing Games aren’t Games. Role Playing Games are activities that involve both playing a game and producing an artistic product. When you apply an observation about the game being played during a Role Playing Game Activity, to the entire activity, you are making a false observation.

    ANALOGY TIME!

    *For the purposes of this analogy, we’re discussing an automatic transmission. Bringing up gears and clutches and cruise control does not invalidate my analogy or my model. It just proves that ROLEPLAYING is not actually DRIVING A CAR. We already know that. That’s why this is an analogy.

    When one is DRIVING A CAR [ROLEPLAYING], one is engaging in at least two activities. One is USING THE PEDALS [GAMING] and the other STEERING [ARTING]. Both are done simultaneously while DRIVING A CAR. Statements that mistake USING THE PEDALS for DRIVING A CAR will make no sense to those are discussing STEERING or DRIVING A CAR as a whole.

    For example:

    “When you’re USING THE PEDALS and you push down on something, it either makes the car go faster or slower,” is true.

    “When you’re DRIVING A CAR and you push down on something, it either makes the car go faster or slower,” is untrue.

    Those who mistake USING THE PEDALS for DRIVING A CAR will see no difference in these statements.

    Those who push down on their steering wheel and see no change in speed will believe that the people making that statement are out of touch with reality.

    Those who would argue that STEERING is only for artsy hippy types and that it’s not an integral part of DRIVING A CAR are wrong. If one chooses not to touch the steering wheel while DRIVING A CAR, the car is still being STEERED [insert Rush quote here]. Whether one cares about where the car ends up or whether the car crashes is a matter of creative agenda, not of function. You can DRIVE A CAR without caring about or giving thought to STEERING. STEERING is still occurring. Those whose creative agenda includes caring about where the car ends up will be very disappointed in this type of gameplay.

    In the same way that you can’t DRIVE A CAR without STEERING occurring, you can’t DRIVE A CAR without USING THE PEDALS. You can turn the wheel back and forth, but without USING THE PEDALS, no DRIVING A CAR will occur.

    Someone is going to point out that the relationships between USING THE PEDALS and STEERING are not identical. They are right!

    When you choose not to USE THE PEDALS, you are not DRIVING A CAR. STEERING cannot occur, because you have no movement. You can turn the wheel, but nothing will happen. The car will not change direction.

    When you choose to USE THE PEDALS, you are suddenly DRIVING A CAR. STEERING automatically occurs, because the car is moving in a particular direction. Choosing not to engage with the steering wheel is still a choice to how the car will be STEERED.

    Once you are DRIVING A CAR, you are engaging in both activities.

    DRIVING A CAR requires you to USE THE PEDALS.

    STEERING occurs automatically once one is DRIVING A CAR.

    Because PUSHING ON THE PEDALS is required to DRIVE A CAR, and DRIVING A CAR automatically results in STEERING, doesn’t mean that STEERING is part of PUSHING ON THE PEDALS or that statements about PUSHING ON THE PEDALS will apply in any meaningful way to STEERING.


    Much confusion is due to the fact that, in the world of this analogy, Henry Ford decided to call DRIVING A CAR, “PEDALING A CAR” instead, and it stuck. Now people think that everything that applies to pedals applies to driving.

    In addition-

    People keep saying things like, “When you push down on the gas pedal, it causes the wheel to turn.”

    They push down on the pedal. Someone standing outside the car looks down at the wheels and says, “Yes. That checks out.”

    Someone inside the car looks down at the steering wheel, pushes the pedal, and the wheel does not move (their alignment is great). That person says, “No. You obviously don’t understand how cars work.”

    Neither side is arguing in bad faith.

    I hope this makes things clearer.

    I will further describe how PRESCRIPTIVE RULES and DESCRIPTIVE RULES might be a criteria of determining which actions in ROLEPLAYING apply to GAMING or ARTING.

    I will also discuss the THREE-TIER MODEL and how ROLEPLAYING relates to PRODUCT and THIRD-TIER DESIGN.
  • edited June 15
    2097 said:



    In poker, I'm asked to believe that you have been dealt a hand of immutable but unknown cards out of the set of 52. Similarly, the card at the top of the deck is also an immutable but unknown member of that set.
    From how some of the peeps on here reacted to hearing about such a game,
    the playing cards were like the suits in A Scanner Darkly, constantly flickering until they were shown. Redefining the words "fact" and "real" to only include shown cards. Which. Well, it is (demonstrably) possible to use the words "fact" and "real" that way but that wasn't what I meant.

    My Model's answer to this problem is that you are making a statement that is true about GAMING D&D, but not ARTING D&D. You keep stating that your statement applies to ROLEPLAYING D&D, which includes both GAMING D&D and ARTING D&D.

    This doesn't jibe with many people's experience of ROLEPLAYING D&D, because there are many times during this activity where they are ARTING and the statement about objectivity doesn't apply.

    Any statement about how ROLEPLAYING D&D works must be applicable both to Poker and Hamlet. Your statement does not apply to Hamlet.

    Your statement that some RPGs work one way (poker) and others don't (solipsistic Scanner Darkley Games) is, according to my model, false.

    Your statements about GameState are true about about the GAMING activity found in all RPGS.

    Your statements about GameState are false about the ARTING activity found in all RPGs. There is no GameState because ARTING is not a GAME.

    Your statements about GameState can't apply to any RPGs in totality because they are false about the ARTING part of RPGs. ROLE PLAYING GAMES aren't GAMES. One of the activities involved in ROLE PLAYING GAMES is playing a GAME.

    According to my model, any rules about whether something exists in the PRODUCT (formerly SIS) are part of ARTING.

    Rules about whether something exists in the GameState are concerned with GAMING.

    You are, from your detractors' POV, pointing at a framed picture of a Jack of Hearts and proclaiming, "All 52 cards in a deck are in that frame." This is obviously false.

    At the same time, from your POV, your detractors are pointing at a deck of cards and saying they're Quantum Scanner Darkly cards until you look at them. This is obviously false.

    40 years of RPG theory have claimed that a deck of cards and a framed picture are the same thing and behave according to the same rules. They don't.

    This is why there is confusion. This is what my model is trying to correct.
  • You are, from your detractors’ POV, pointing at a framed picture of a Jack of Hearts and proclaiming, “All 52 cards in a deck are in that frame.” This is obviously false.
    I’m dying every day for you guys, that’s nothing new, but this really takes the cake.

    I’ve framed the deck. (I take a holistic approach to designing my process for art.)
    The Jack of Hearts is visible. (A subset of entities in the game state are shared-p.)

    Any questions?

    Stop redefining words. Start giving examples. That’ll snap you out of the semantics swamp.

  • If you frame the deck, you can no longer manipulate it or play a game with it. Only the card on top matters, because it’s the only one we can see in the frame. We can now only look at it as art judging it on aesthetics. There is no game state anymore. You can no more ascribe a gamestate to a framed deck than you can ascribe a gamestate to The Mona Lisa. In order to be able to describe the contents of the deck in relation to a game, you have to get them out of the frame and play a game with them.

    That’s the crux of what I’m trying to say. The fiction of an RPG can’t be examined or described by game theory anymore than it can describe a song or a film. It requires a different set of terms and theories.

    That’s the problem I’m having with you describing the SIS as a subset of the GameState. Once it’s part of the SIS, it’s part of a fiction we’re creating, not part of a game that we’re playing. GameState only describes things that are part of a game.

    We can’t describe the SIS with game terms. We have to use things like balance, pacing, perspective, language choice, etc.

    Analogies aren’t working to communicate this. I will try to create an real-world example using an RPG. I’ll get back to you.

    In the meantime;
    (I take a holistic approach to designing my process for art.)
    This doesn't make any sense to me in relation to "framing the deck". It doesn't mean anything in relation to how I was using cards in my analogy. I think if you can explain what you are saying with that sentence, it would make a giant difference in understanding where we're talking past each other.
  • 40 years of RPG theory have claimed that a deck of cards and a framed picture are the same thing and behave according to the same rules. They don't.
    The entirety of the last post was just a restatement of this.
  • (I take a holistic approach to designing my process for art.)

    This doesn’t make any sense to me in relation to “framing the deck”. It doesn’t mean anything in relation to how I was using cards in my analogy. I think if you can explain what you are saying with that sentence, it would make a giant difference in understanding where we’re talking past each other.
    You are hung up on preconceptions about what a “game” is to me.

    We have the MIS. There are places and creatures and items there, it is a wondrous place. We can visit it. It is art. Some of this art we have discovered, and Talked About, and Let Each Other Know About. That subset of the MIS is the SIS. The SIS is a cave wall shadow cast by the MIS. “Pacing”, “language”, “perspective”, these things are crude polaroid cameras making feeble attempts to capture the view from the top of that hill. That’s not to say that we don’t work on them too. We do. We polish the mirror. We try to see more clearly.

    There is also another type of art. The τέχνη. The ritual. The method. The process is my true canvas. That’s what belongs in the museum. The images that result are only snapshots, cave wall shadows, forgotten the next day.

    Designing rules and designing prep is making an anthill, a powder keg, a petri dish. We wind the clockwork up and we see how it lives.

  • Give examples. We're not really saying anything except defining words. I see this part of the process as art, no I see that part as art instead etc. Uh. Just go ▶️
  • You were saying what I was saying was absurd & magical thinking. C'mon, man… it's not.
  • Making art and playing games are, if not fundamentally similar activities, deeply mutually compatible activities. We can basically always fruitfully apply theories, models and observations developed for one of them to the other.

    Gameplay often makes poor art but this isn't the same as saying that we can't consider gameplay in artistic terms. (The opposite, in fact, implicitly.) Art often makes poor gameplay but same thing, we can nevertheless fruitfully consider art in gameplay terms.

    If we consider Hamlet to be a game that Shakespeare is playing with his audience, what do we learn about Hamlet? What are the stakes, what are the plays? What do we learn about games? How about if we consider Hamlet to be a game that the acting company is playing with its audience? What moves are they going to lead with, what's their field strategy, what are they going to hold in reserve?

    If we consider a shuffled deck of cards to be an implicit dramatic narrative, what do we learn about cards? What do we learn about narratives?

    Roleplaying games are games that take a particular art form - fiction - as their medium. They represent not just an overlapping of art and game, but a commonalized, inseperable art-game.

    There are any number of art-game forms, even several other fiction-game forms. Roleplaying games aren't very special in this regard.
  • "Don't ask for the meaning, ask for the use."
    - Ludwig Wittgenstein
  • Processing all of this going to take some time.

    @2097

    Whoa! I didn't accuse you of that. The whole crux of my argument is that your statements make perfect sense when one understands the context, and that misunderstanding the context is the result of the listener applying the wrong context due to the language we're using (English) being intrinsically bad at describing to concepts we're exploring.
    I said that thinking your statements were absurd and magical thinking is a mistake!

    (Does this prove some of my points about language?)
  • Thank you lumps♥

    Neurotrash, when you first said those things, I was nodding along. But then the more you started explaining what you meant, I was getting kinda upset.
  • If you frame the deck, you can no longer manipulate it or play a game with it. Only the card on top matters, because it’s the only one we can see in the frame. We can now only look at it as art judging it on aesthetics. There is no game state anymore. You can no more ascribe a gamestate to a framed deck than you can ascribe a gamestate to The Mona Lisa. In order to be able to describe the contents of the deck in relation to a game, you have to get them out of the frame and play a game with them.

    Mona Lisa still has a state, just like the framed card. The state is not very exciting because it is constant in time. Just like the empty Newtonian universe with no particles is still a physical system, but it is a boring one. In mathematics, the empty set is still a set, but a boring one, and in fact there exists a unique mapping from it to every other set, and there are several other such trivial implications.
    That’s the problem I’m having with you describing the SIS as a subset of the GameState. Once it’s part of the SIS, it’s part of a fiction we’re creating, not part of a game that we’re playing. GameState only describes things that are part of a game.
    If we want to be precise, then the state space is a collection of propositions, while the SIS consists of credibility and communication. So, technically, we could say that they are completely different kinds of objects.

    However, any proposition that is true of things established to be in SIS is also in the game state. This means that to every true proposition concerning the SIS I can associate a particular proposition in the game state, and there is a unique and a canonical way of doing this.

    For example: We have established that in the SIS there is a unicorn standing in the glade. Thereby, the game state includes the true proposition "There is unicorn standing in the glade."

    This is not very interesting, and typically does not matter, so we just say that the SIS is a subset of the game state.

    This is done in mathematics all the time. For example, technically speaking the natural numbers (0, 1, 2, 3, ...) and the real numbers (5, -3.52, square root of 91, minus pi, etc.) are completely different kinds of objects, and, in fact, the kinds of objects the real numbers are depends on their construction. (The real number might be Dedekind cuts or equivalence classes of Cauchy sequences of rational numbers or whatever.)

    However, regardless of the way we construct the real numbers, every natural number has a unique corresponding real number. So we go ahead and say that natural numbers are real numbers and in fact we use exactly the same symbol, "2", and word "two", to refer to both the natural number and the real number. This does not cause confusion.

    When I want to construct the real numbers, I need to distinguish between the real number "two" and the natural number "two". If I wanted to write some kind of ontological description of what kinds of things there exist in roleplaying games - what is the ontological status of the unicorn in the glade, or the magic powers of its horn (thus far undetermined), etc., then I would have to be more careful and saying that "SIS in a subset of game state" would be a bad idea. However, most of the time, we are not so interested in these foundational issues or metaphysics - we just want to talk about the unicorn in the glade as a random encounter, as something the game master has determined, and as something that has already appeared in play, and maybe as something people dispute due to this being dark fantasy, or maybe as something people have forgotten about, and how these affect play. This does not require metaphysical carefulness.
  • Thanuir: but can't the territory contain the map? Can't everything printed at the REPL be set up to be captured & re-readable from the eval in a sort of loop?

    I.o.w. we have access to cross-state endophoric constructions
  • "That thing you said we saw in the cave…"
  • For others who do not understand much Sandra's comment: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Read–eval–print_loop , https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endophora

    I am still not quite what you are saying.

    Maybe you are presenting an ontology where everything is just a statement. In which case, yeah, maybe that is possible and useful to think about, maybe not.

    Maybe you are saying that things in the SIS and things in the game state can refer to each other or interact. If this is your claim, then sure.
  • edited June 16
    The latter, yes. As for the former; I'm presenting an ontology that is represented by natlang statements and other ways of representing propositions, similar to how some definitions of real numbers do strictly embed ℕ into ℝ.

    Here are deets
  • I am not terribly interested in the precise ontological model, just as I do not really care how someone imagines their real numbers to be constructed, or just takes them as axiomatic.

    Though if someone wants to construct an ontological model of roleplaying from the ground up, I might want to follow or maybe participate. But I think it should be done with some amount of care and thought and as a new project, not a side project of the present discussions. It might an interesting exercise in metaphysics.
  • I think we're on the same page. Just wanted to be clear about why I embed the SIS into the game state.
  • Thanuir said:

    However, any proposition that is true of things established to be in SIS is also in the game state. This means that to every true proposition concerning the SIS I can associate a particular proposition in the game state, and there is a unique and a canonical way of doing this.

    For example: We have established that in the SIS there is a unicorn standing in the glade. Thereby, the game state includes the true proposition "There is unicorn standing in the glade."

    I want to point out that there actually IS something interesting here.

    The GM's read the module up to page 99. She says, "There's a unicorn standing in the glade."

    On module page 100, it says, "The horse-figure in the glade isn't a unicorn. It's actually an Equine Doppelgänger."

    In the SIS:
    There's a unicorn standing in the glade.

    In the Game State:
    There is no unicorn standing in the glade.
    There is an Equine Doppelgänger standing in the glade.
  • The proposition is rather "you see a unicorn in the glade" and that hasn't changed
  • because that's what the doppeltrotter makes them see
  • and the doppeltrotter is so adept at this illusion that she phrases her injection into the sis as ontological rather than visual
  • Right, in the doppel situation, the SIS includes both:

    "There's a unicorn" and
    "Alice sees a unicorn";

    And the game state includes rather:

    "There's a doppeltrotter" and
    "Alice sees a unicorn"
  • :bawling:

    Well, that's why we focus on make rules that operate on the game state rather than on the SIS.
  • > she phrases her injection into the sis as ontological rather than visual

    Hot!
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