SIS, MIS, PIS

I'd love to start using these terms instead of Shared Imagined Space (SIS):

Personal Imagined Space (PIS) -- what one person thinks the Game State is.

Mutual Imagined Space (MIS) -- what the group thinks the Game State is.

I think the "Shared" part of SIS is super confusing if we're gonna say that's just one person's way of thinking about the Game State.
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Comments

  • Uh, I am not sure what your definition of MIS means. How can a group think something? It doesn't seem to clarify between the two different meanings of "Shared" that have been discussed in the other thread. I think we need a venn diagram here.
  • edited July 7
    image

    (Only the overlapping part is meant to be read as "shared", which I believe is the traditional meaning of the term SIS.)
  • Also, can we talk about MIS? I totally don't get why it's a thing. There are two possible formulations of MIS and neither of them make sense to me:

    MIS-union: Sandra says that MIS is the union of all PIS. That is, it's the superset of what everyone thinks the Game State is, or the superset of all PIS. If each player's PIS is a circle, and the circles overlap somewhat, then MIS-union is all three circles colored in.

    MIS-intersection: I mistakenly thought it was this, only the bits of the PIS that everyone shared in common. That is, if each player's PIS is a circle, and the circles overlap somewhat, then MIS-intersection is the small part in the middle that all circles have in common.

    But neither seems useful at all to me.

    One way to think of PIS is as a set of predicates, or statements, about the Game State. A predicate and be true or false. Each player's PIS contains statements that the player believes are true; there's no sense in a player holding a predicate in her head that she believes is false.

    For example...

    Adam might believe:
    A1. The current date in the world is 1489.
    A2. Waterdeep is a city in the world of Faerun, the Forgotten Realms.
    A3. Waterdeep is ruled by the Masked Lords and the Open Lord.
    A4. The Open Lord of Waterdeep is Dagult Neverember.

    Bey might believe:
    B1. The current date in the world is 1489.
    B2. Waterdeep is a city in the world of Faerun, the Forgotten Realms.
    B3. Waterdeep is ruled by the Masked Lords and the Open Lord.
    B4. The Open Lord of Waterdeep is Laeral Silverhand.

    Chen, the GM, might believe:
    C1. The current date in the world is 1488.
    C2. Waterdeep is a city in the world of Faerun, the Forgotten Realms.
    C3. Waterdeep is ruled by the Masked Lords and the Open Lord.
    C4. The Open Lord of Waterdeep is Laeral Silverhand.

    The actual Game State (the Truth) is maybe something like:
    C1. The current date in the world is Hammer (January) 1, 1488.
    C2. Waterdeep is a city in the world of Faerun, the Forgotten Realms.
    C3. Waterdeep is ruled by the Masked Lords and the Open Lord.
    C4. The Open Lord of Waterdeep is Dagult Neverember.

    Obviously, things like dates are pretty easy to get right, but somehow the GM thinks it's 1488. When Chen mentions the date, Adam and Bey are gonna go, "Huh? I thought it was 1489." Chen will probably check their notes and maybe the rules and some other stuff. This is because the date is set in the Game State, and the GM can consult the Game State using Techniques and get an answer, share that with the table, and everyone can come to an agreement about the date. Let's say the GM was wrong and it's really 1489, but it's January (Hammer) 1. Great.

    What about the difference in the question of who the Open Lord is? In standard Forgotten Realms history canon, Neverember embezzled a bunch of money from Waterdeep and fled the city in 1489, so depending on the month, either might be Open Lord. Maybe this is after Silverhand has taken the role but Adam doesn't know it yet.

    Okay, that's a lot of preamble, but I thought having an example might help.

    SIS-union:

    In this case, the union of all these predicates is: A1, A2, A3, A4, B1, B2, B3, B4, C1, C2, C3, C4. These can be "collapsed" with a trick like this: AB1, C1, ABC2, ABC3, A4, BC4.

    SIS-intersection:

    In this case, the intersection of these predicates is only where everyone agrees, the "ABC" predicates: ABC2, ABC3. Obviously, an intersection is a useless tool for MIS, since it has nothing to say about the places where people conflict, so facts get entirely left out.

    So I agree, let's totally discard SIS-intersection as a useless idea.

    But what use is SIS-union?

    It's actually not a subset of Game State, since C1 (The current date in the world is 1488) is wrong. BC4 is wrong. Those predicates do not belong to the G* set.

    What purpose does it serve?

    Hopefully this idea of thinking about PIS and Game State as a set of predicates is a useful addition. The predicates in the Game State are by definition true. The predicates in a player's PIS are believed to be true, but might not be. Even the GM's PIS is necessarily a subset (incomplete version) of the Game State. Even the GM's PIS can contain predicates which are false and are not members of the Game State.
  • As far as I understand, SIS is about the fiction, while game state includes the game mechanical state of the game. Does this match your ideas and is this intentional?
  • Adam, yes, I realized this when I made my diagram yesterday; that the players might think a floor is safe to thread on but in the blorb (in the game state, in the whatever name you want for it, in the SIS-2 as opposed to SIS-4) it's actually a trap there. Which the gloracle knows & the GM knows.
  • I.o.w. I was sloppy when I called it a union. I wanted to talk about game state.

    We are in this dungeon, we share-2 it as an imagined space, we don't know everything about it, we have some misconceptions about it such as the current date and some other stray predicates #bitrot
  • So why does the term MIS exist? Because we were at first talking about reality and then some people freaked out and then we switched the term to SIS and then some people freaked out [rightfully so since the Forge SIS is explicitly the SIS-4 which I didn't know] and then we switched the term to MIS which was kinda dumb and then @Jeph (I think?) came up with the name "game state" for it which was awesome and got people on the right page finally. On another forum where I've started tryna teach this stuff I've just been calling it "the blorb". As per my diagram.
  • Yeah, I was finding the “clarifications” in the other thread less than useful, so I’m glad the conversation is happening here.

    I think “game state” would be the best term, as it’s not going to get confused with all the IS acronyms, nor the idea of blorb as a set of techniques or play agenda.

    Now, what does it mean, in your mind, to “consult the game state”, to get an answer to a question? What are some different ways we can do this?
  • I want to separate the Game State, which is not a thing in people's heads, from the Imagined Space, which is a thing in people's heads.

    I think, all along, the Forge didn't have that clarity, so it often conflated them and ended up with the mess of a definition that SIS is. I think the intent of SIS was that it was what we're calling Game State, because there was discussion about how even though it was shared, it was also likely to be different in everyone's heads.

    I seem to remember, but cannot find now, Ron talking about how it'd need eigenvalues to describe correctly.
  • But you just ten seconds ago said that the "union" perspective was useless and I said "oh I didn't mean strictly literally union I meant more the G* set"
  • Hey Adam,
    Adam_Dray said:

    I seem to remember, but cannot find now, Ron talking about how it'd need eigenvalues to describe correctly.

    I'm not familiar with the term eigenvalues and even reading the definitions left this poor reader utterly dumbfounded. Would you be so kind as to clarify or offer an easy to understand definition especially as it relates to role-playing? Thank you.

    Best,

    Jay
  • edited July 7
    That would be a reference to "eigenstate," which is a term from quantum physics meaning "the juxtaposition of two or more potential states simultaneously, prior to a deciding event." Think of Shrodinger's poor cat - which is both alive and dead until you open the box - and you've got it.
  • Thanks Tod!

    That was an awesome, easy to understand explanation!

    Best,

    Jay
  • Right, those two ideas together are helping me understand what you mean, Adam! Thanks.
  • 2097 said:

    But you just ten seconds ago said that the "union" perspective was useless and I said "oh I didn't mean strictly literally union I meant more the G* set"

    The G* set is what I'm interested in♥
    Other sets can exist I don't mind
  • When I talk about Game State, I mean "all the stuff the system operates on", which in an RPG usually includes all the variants on *-imagined-space you can think of + a bunch of stuff that's typically not part of imagined events in anyone's mind, like hit points, and which PC belongs to which player.

    @Adam_Dray , I've thought about the "every pair of players shares different beliefs" issue a lot. This post on Reference Frames has my most coherent thoughts about it.
  • Sandra,

    The G* isn't the Imagined Space at all. It's the set of all true predicates in the game, known or unknown by the players. It's the Game State.

    You've said you call that the blorb, but I think it exists in all kinds of role-play, blorby or otherwise, so I've been avoiding that term.

    PIS is important (as an idea--whatever we end up calling it) because gaming is basically this:

    PIS <---> Technique <---> Engine <---> Game State

    That's the main path for game play. There's also cross-talk between game participants that doesn't involve Techniques, per se, and it can change PIS, too.

    Or a person can think and change their mind about their PIS.

    Those are the only three ways that PIS changes, I think.
  • The degree of canonicity of that set is what separates blorb from unblorb
  • edited July 8
    Also I have the techniques as part of the engine
  • Adam_Dray said:

    The G* isn't the Imagined Space at all. It's the set of all true predicates in the game, known or unknown by the players. It's the Game State.

    I might be sillily literal here but if we are moving in an imagined space such as a house. (I mean, our characters are moving in there.) We all imagine this house. In blorb model, we "imagine" [albeit not in all senses of the word "imagine"] the sack of money in the closet on the second floor even without even being aware of it, or of the closet it's in because we have committed to pretending that the house and all of its contents are true.
  • 2097 said:

    sillily literal

    G*: If I commit to pretending that the house and all of its contents are true, that's one thing.

    Current imagination: If I imagine the house (a physical (the brain is physical) action I can take by e.g. closing my eyes and watching what I see in my mind's eye (this is how I guess it works, personally I don't have visual mental imagery (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aphantasia))) certain things will show themselves to me and others won't. Some will be salient bits of the house and its contents and some are below the threshold of "what does my brain think is important enough to be part of this imagining act". That's a different thing.

    Imagined space: If I take as much time as I please to imagine the house and all of its contents, leisurely going over every part of the house and asking my brain to show everything, not just the bits it thinks are salient, I will see more than a casual imagining. But crucially I will not see the sack of money in the closet on the second floor because though I am committed to a procedure which will agree that the money exists, all I have right now is a procedure and maybe a pointer, with no physical ability to imagine the money concretely. This is a third thing.

    Suppose the PCs make a quick pass through the house, ascertaining its general layout and peeking in every room, getting a brief description of the room which has a closet, without finding the sack of money.

    To me, then:

    G* = game state = sack of money exists

    Current imagination: players' imagination as their PCs are in the kitchen planning what to do next = probably closet doesn't exist unless they've paid very close attention, sack of money doesn't exist, agreement to accept that sack of money exists immediately upon hearing about it does exist, agreement to accept that closet exists as soon as someone actually remembers :D or they're reminded by the GM does exist

    Imagined space: players' imagined space = closet exists, sack of money doesn't exist, agreement to accept that sack of money exists immediately upon hearing about it does exist
  • edited July 8
    @Adam_Dray , I'd say there's the communicated imagined space, whether union or overlap, and the various personal imagined spaces, and all of these things may feed into the game state depending on the system.

    Few games treat all their fictional facts equally. In a given game, we might have the following facts from the following sources:
    General time & place: Published canon
    Specific time & place: Group's pre-play agreement
    Open Lord: The GM's PIS
    How far apart the combatants are when we first place the figures on the hex map: Only a full table consensus will suffice.
    How close the PC gets to the NPC before insulting them: The acting player's PIS

    That would be one system, and then in another system every one of those things would have to be rolled on a table, and in yet another system it's just whichever participant speaks up first, etc. So I'd say the relationships between PIS and game state are as varied as game systems are.
  • Guy, I kinda don't want to overrule you too much on this stuff because I trust you and your acuity around this stuff. But.

    When I enter an extra-diegetical house here on Earth, I do so even though I don't know the contents of every room. Isn't it similar when we enter an imaginary house? And we both share-2 that fantasy? Uh. Maybe you got that I was tryna say that and you answered something else.
  • I think it's getting difficult to tell which threads are about Blorb directly, and which just happened to spawn off the Blorb conversations. I think @David_Berg is answering a more general question, since I also think @Adam_Dray 's OP pointed beyond Blorb.
  • I think of all roleplaying in terms of blorbiness now. I can't unsee it.
  • Same as David_Berg for me.
  • 2097 said:

    Isn't it similar when we enter an imaginary house?

    I think what I was trying to call out is...

    The imaginary house has the closet with the money in it.

    But when I imagine the house it does not have the money in it. While we could say "my imagination is simply flawed either due to lack of knowledge or due to forgetfulness", I think what's in my imagination is worth calling out as different.

    Hm. Maybe it's a verb thing.

    When I hear the phrase "imagined space" I think of a space which is imagined, and the imaginary house is not in fact actually imagined. So that's why I think "imagined space" != game state, because what's imagined is not the game state.
  • In my thinking, imagined space != game state.
  • But when I imagine the house it does not have the money in it.

    I imagine a house that has unknown things in it is what I'm saying.
  • Ah cool. I'm definitely on board with that. So here's a question to all y'all visualizers: what is it like to visualize a house with unknown things in it? Gray blob, morphing imagery, concrete stuff but every time you mentally look away and back the stuff changes...?
  • I dunno. What do you imagine is in your craziest closet or junk drawer right now?
  • For me (non-visualizer) what I imagine is in my ... friend's tiny half-height closet that we joke is a hobbit dwelling (I pretty much know what's in all of my rooms/drawers/etc):

    Some boxes with nothing in them and maybe they're collapsed, and maybe that's where they store their Christmas decorations, and for some reason a sweater that I'm certain doesn't exist, and it's definitely dusty (it probably isn't because how would dust get in there).
  • Those are hypotheticals, right?

    That's sorta useful for gaming. For gaming, you really need to know "What is in the closet right now?" or "Are there Christmas decorations in the closet?"

    Depending on prep and other techniques, there's some way for you to make this determination.

    Think of the Game State as a set of true predicates like:
    * There are Christmas decorations in the closet.
    * The closet contains a dusty old sweater.
    * The closet doesn't actually contain a Hobbit.

    Regardless of what you imagine, these are the predicates of the Game State.

    Now you can start imagining all you want about what the Game State is. But it doesn't change the Game State till you apply certain techniques to do so.

    Sandra probably uses techniques like "Prep what's in the closet, then refer to prep when asked about its contents." Or "Consult 'd1000 things found in a closet' table."

    The Game State definitely has an opinion about the contents of the closet, though. It might be undetermined at the time the question is asked, but it has a truth.
  • Not hypothetical. We (I) have moved to asking about what your actual brain actually does when you ask it to imagine a container with unknown things in it. Maybe you get a mental image of the container with a big black REDACTED bar? Who knows. What's it look like to you?
  • I can imagine being on the lower floor of a house and the upper floor is unseen. Just like in real life being in the lower floor of a house where I've never been to the upper floor.
    I can imagine a closed chest that I don't know the contents of. I can draw a closed chest that I don't the contents of.
  • There is clearly an elephant in there.
  • Well played, Tod! :D
  • Hey, I think there's a distinction missing from this conversation.

    When should you be imagining a house, vs when should you be imagining your character's experience of a house?

    "Imagine a house where you don't know the layout or what's in the rooms" is a strange idea. "Imagine what it's like to be in a house where you don't know the layout or what's in the rooms" is super easy and poses no special problems at all.
  • I have totally lost track of what the question was. Why are we talking about imagining houses?
  • edited July 10
    I think we're talking about the relationship between the gamestate and our individual imaginations?

    There's a thread of "how can I agree to the money in the chest when I don't yet know about it so I can't imagine it?"

    And I think the question's misplaced. It supposes that I'm to imagine the gamestate, which is true in some games, but in other games, in fact no, I'm to imagine my character's experience, incorporating details as they're delivered to me, and leave the gamestate to other game processes to create.

    Oh wait am I in the wrong thread?
  • lumpley said:

    “Imagine what it’s like to be in a house where you don’t know the layout or what’s in the rooms” is super easy and poses no special problems at all.

    That’s not enough; that is something a player in a 90s game could be asked to do. But then we got screwed over by the GM making the house all quantum.

    But what I want, that’s distinct from that, is that both the player(s) and the DM(s) believe in this particular house. It’s the whole Paper→Rock thing again.

    Here’s another analogy:

    Take an imaginary deck of cards [the cards don’t need to exist physically] and select one card and place it face down (imaginarily) without showing me which card it is. That card is one particular card. That card is our “playing piece”. (If there is a trust issue, which, because the 90s happened, there is, write down what card it is so we can double check later.)

    Place the card face down in the dungeon / “house” / “chest” or whatever. And as we’re playing in the dungeon I get a super vivid mental picture of a face down card. (Not to be ablist vs aphantasia. I came up with predicate space with you guys in mind.) That face down card — and I don’t know if that’s a “three of clubs” or a “XIII Death” or a “Ring of Ma’rûf” or whatever it is—but that face down card is part of the game now. And I know it’s one particular card because: you committed. You promised. I believe in that particular card.

    I mean this particular interaction or style of gameplay is what I’m trying get at. It’s magical. The word for this interaction? Semantics! It’s “blorb” for all I care!

  • The "predicate space" link seems to go to a page called "(D&D) Introducing late night fighting." Confusion seems the order of the day for me. Is this the right link?
  • The example given for share-2 is "They share a language".

    They don't know all the words that the other person knows.
    But (and here I'm going to yet again contradict the "closet language" claim) things that only one of the two know about still can exist. And, words that only one of the people know can still be (sometimes) understood, from context, or at least be understood syntactically if not semantically. The gostak distims the doshes.
    Adam_Dray said:

    The "predicate space" link seems to go to a page called "(D&D) Introducing late night fighting." Confusion seems the order of the day for me. Is this the right link?

    It's my fighting system that got rid of cartesian space or vector space for purps of playing with aphantasia peeps!
  • lumpley said:

    Oh wait am I in the wrong thread?

    Lumps, ya need ta go here!
  • edited July 10
    lumpley said:

    I think we're talking about the relationship between the gamestate and our individual imaginations?

    There's a thread of "how can I agree to the money in the chest when I don't yet know about it so I can't imagine it?"

    And I think the question's misplaced. It supposes that I'm to imagine the gamestate, which is true in some games, but in other games, in fact no, I'm to imagine my character's experience, incorporating details as they're delivered to me, and leave the gamestate to other game processes to create.

    Oh wait am I in the wrong thread?

    I'm like "let's pretend the two of us is sitting in a boat". How many boats are there? IDC, that's how many! As long as we're in the same boat in some sense of the word. Obv the color "red" if two of us look at the same apple might look completely different because of our different arrays of cone photoreceptors in our retinas. How many apples are there!??!
  • The more precisely I speak about this the more likely I'm gonna fuck up and it's all fingers and moons anyway :bawling:
  • Sandra,

    "Fingers and moons"? That's a new one for me. What does it refer to?
    2097 said:


    But what I want, that’s distinct from that, is that both the player(s) and the DM(s) believe in this particular house. It’s the whole Paper→Rock thing again.

    What does "believing in this particular house" have to do with Paper-Rock? They seem fairly unrelated to me. (I can totally choose to believe in a house the GM is making up on the spot, after all.)

    Sometimes it seems to me that this whole discussion might be just a fancy way of saying, "I like roleplaying where every participant treats the imaginary world we're exploring as a real place, with its own facts and truths, and we commit to a style of play where we don't change those on a whim."

    If that's my takeaway from this whole discussion, what am I missing?

    (I suppose there's also the "write things down in advance, to avoid Paper-Rock issues", as a Technique, but that seems less foundational to me - a useful trick, but not fundamental to the whole enterprise.)


    Vincent,

    I agree with you that that is an important, key distinction! I feel like this conversation occasionally loses sight of such distinctions, so I'm glad you brought it up.

  • edited July 10
    Paul_T said:

    "Fingers and moons"? That's a new one for me. What does it refer to?

    It's a reference to the Śūraṅgama sūtra. Some peeps when you're tryna show them the moon and you take them out into the starry night meadow and you stand there among all the fireflies and barley and poppies and you point straight up to that big old beautiful moon…

    …and they're like: "gee, your nail polish is really starting to flake!"
    Paul_T said:

    "I like roleplaying where every participant treats the imaginary world we're exploring as a real place, with its own facts and truths, and we commit to a style of play where we don't change those on a whim."

    Yes. But. Getting to that was like pulling teeth for crying out loud!
    image
    And phrasing it like that allows peeps to skimp on the deets! I need to be crystal & precise around this so that this kind of roleplaying doesn't die with me.
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