30 April, 2010

Vector Theory #13: In which I get caught up in my own definitive nightmare

Those who've been reading from the beginning will be aware that I've been generating this Vector Theory because I was getting annoyed at the semantic warfare raging on in the shadows of The Forge and Story Games.

Five different people with five different interpretations of the term "Narrativism". Four people with six definitions of "Simulationism", because two of the two four can't make up their mind about the true definition and their version of the term changes depending on the context in which it's being used. One person with an adamant view on the phrase "Step On Up", despite their view running contrary to standard grammar and everyone else who has input regarding the topic.

GNS and The Big Model have evolved, and arguably they are a great way to define the theory about what happens between a group of players when they meet on a gaming table. But for a newcomer they can be really hard to penetrate, just when you think you understand it, someone comes along with a different perspective that just doesn't seem to work until you force a paradigm shift...and whose to say that the new paradigm is better, it might be simply taking into account false data from a skewed observation.

So I've been plugging away at Vector Theory, in an attempt to rationalise terminology from the perspective of particle dynamics and optics, rather than anthropology. I guess I'm trying to look at the functions of play, and using them to build up the forms, with the Big Model (the way I currently understand it) begins with the form of play, then tries to pick the component functions that lead to it.

But I've realised that my own definitions need to be clarified before I proceed too much further.

I've looked at the vectors of individual player's stories, and have considered how they can be added together to provide the vector of the groups story (thanks for that analogy Jeff, it will help in the next stage of refinement for the theory), I've started to look at how different types of nodes affect the direction of the story vector, and I've also touched on filters.

But my entry about filters seems to have some overlap on my entry about decision nodes. I really don't want this small point of conflict to infest my future posts, so I'm forcing myself to set some very specific definitions. The analogy remain the same, but I'll be clarifying some key points before I move on much further.

A lot of these issues ran through my head when I first pencilled in the ideas behind Vector Theory, but they seem to have become lost in the translation to the blog.

So I apologise for the break, but first some definitions, then back to my regularly scheduled vector rant.
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