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Author Topic: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory  (Read 55479 times)

Caesar Slaad

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Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
« Reply #30 on: July 27, 2008, 12:14:56 PM »
Quote from: Kyle Aaron;228492
I think the landmarks are reasonable enough - not perfect by far, but fair and reasonable at least, not insane - I just wonder how Pundit sees them now that he's pissing all over D&D4e. It's just a it funny to say, "D&D is the model of what most people define as an RPG, and therefore also the model for a successfully-designed RPG" and then later say, "4e is shit", or whatever specifically he's said.

Well, I don't really have on the top of my head what the specific objections pundit has to 4e; though it's also not my favorite edition, I've been given cause to disagree with his viewpoints before.

That being said, what I think think that there's plenty of room to take GNS with a grain of salt AND still not think 4e is an improvement on D&D. I've already seen cases where someone has tackled 4e based on the forge "common wisdom" that mixing "creative agendas" results in "incoherence":

http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?t=228128
Quote
Like some designers' comments hinted to it, D&D is still a confused gamist/simulationist RPG.

In opposition to 3.x, where some of the mechanical parts were confusing on the entailed playstyle, in 4E the confusion comes from the fact that the mechanics is yelling G and the fluff text of both PHB and DMG is yelling S (not everywhere I know).

Whatever bad I could say about 4e, I think this analysis is full of crap.

So, I think the point to take away here isn't "D&D is unassailable", but to challenge the notion of GNS/the big model as a realistic prescriptive of what makes for a good game.
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Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
« Reply #31 on: July 27, 2008, 12:34:27 PM »
Quote from: Kyle Aaron;228492
I think the landmarks are reasonable enough - not perfect by far, but fair and reasonable at least, not insane - I just wonder how Pundit sees them now that he's pissing all over D&D4e. It's just a it funny to say, "D&D is the model of what most people define as an RPG, and therefore also the model for a successfully-designed RPG" and then later say, "4e is shit", or whatever specifically he's said.

If X is your landmark, and then X moves, you have to readjust your landmarks, yeah?
I don't think it's at all inconsistent, because I think that in the case of 4e, it's a matter of the designers taking bad advice from the GNS crowd and trying to create the ultimate "coherent gamist" game.

Imagine it as something akin to a bunch of opera nerds somehow taking over production of American Idol and making all the wannabe pop stars sing arias and Wagner.  If you'd previously argued that American Idol is what the music listening public wants, you wouldn't really be inconsistent if you went on to trash the new Opera Idol, because it's clearly not the same show anymore.
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Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
« Reply #32 on: July 27, 2008, 01:01:31 PM »
Quote from: Kyle Aaron;220399
Given your recent comments about 4e, will these two Landmarks be altered in some way?

Good question.  In answer to the first, not unless 4e turns out to be a total bomb of massive proportions.  Success or failure will determine this itself.

As for the second, that's something I have to do some serious thinking about.

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Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
« Reply #33 on: July 27, 2008, 01:03:08 PM »
Quote from: CraigLee;228447
Wow, and here I thought I was the only person who found The Forge and GNS to be very annoying and useless.

Seriously, I have only been back into gaming for the last year and in that time yours was the first post I ever read from someone who had the same reaction to all of that pretentious garbage that I had.

Given the curious acceptance of this stuff, it's good to see a dissenting opinion.


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Kyle Aaron

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Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
« Reply #34 on: July 27, 2008, 11:13:38 PM »
Quote from: RPGPundit;228532
As for the second, that's something I have to do some serious thinking about.
Okay, I look forward to hearing the results of that.
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Narf the Mouse

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« Reply #35 on: August 11, 2008, 09:17:24 PM »
I would add, as a landmark, that any set of rules that attempts to define correct theory based on top-down theory is automatically biased. :P :D
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« Reply #36 on: August 27, 2008, 08:46:56 AM »
Quote from: Kyle Aaron;228492
I think the landmarks are reasonable enough - not perfect by far, but fair and reasonable at least, not insane - I just wonder how Pundit sees them now that he's pissing all over D&D4e. It's just a it funny to say, "D&D is the model of what most people define as an RPG, and therefore also the model for a successfully-designed RPG" and then later say, "4e is shit", or whatever specifically he's said.

If X is your landmark, and then X moves, you have to readjust your landmarks, yeah?


I would think, personally, that this is where a difference in Opinion and Fact come into play. These landmarks make sense - for the most part they're logically sound. The fact remains that D&D is still the most widely-known, widely-played, and widely-sold RPG on the market (at least, to my knowledge.) Correct me if I'm wrong, but that pretty much sums up the makings of a successful RPG, yes?

I mean, hell - back in the 90's, White Fail produced Vampire: the Masquerade. At the time, was that not a successful RPG?

Yet obviously (and I can't believe I actually am pointing out something this obvious), both of these games had and have their flaws. D&D 4e can be Successful and shitty at the same time. Kinda like (insert band name here.) or (insert television show here.) Or even (insert book, movie, or anything else here.) Just because something sells well, gets a lot of widespread attention and makes a lot of money does not mean it is the Champion Of All That Is Win. It just makes the game successful.

If those two were the same, my assumption would be that Amber (which RPGPundit, last I checked, was a massive supporter of) would be the most successful RPG on the market right now.

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« Reply #37 on: August 27, 2008, 09:04:19 AM »
He never said that D&D was the bestest g4m3 3v4h, he said that its success demonstrated it was a "successfully-designed rpg."

I mean, the whole point of a game is that it gets played. A game no-one will play is definitely a failure in game design, a game lots of people play is definitely a success in game design. A game which is played by many people is by definition a "well-designed game", in the same sense that a car model which is driven by lots of people for lots of miles is a "well-designed car".

rpg theory is supposed to be about what people like to do in play. If what people like to do in play is stuff that D&D does, then the theory has to address that.

Having an rpg theory which does not account for why people like D&D is like having a theory of sexuality which doesn't talk about heterosexuality. It can tell you a lot, but it's missing a lot, too. I mean, you could just, as GNS does, turn around and say, "well people like D&D because they're stupid or crazy", and likewise there are some in the gay community who say that straights are all stupid or crazy. But in the end we all know that's bollocks.

Theories about stuff have to account for the mainstream of that stuff. Which has no bearing on whether you or I or Jo Bloggs reckon that mainstream stuff is actually any good.

Even my half-arsed cheetoism accounts for the success of D&D, so surely more well-developed and detailed theories should be able to do so.

The question for Pundit is really whether he still considers D&D to be "well-designed". His comments so far have been "no"; yet it's successful. So he has to either set aside his definition "a successful game must be a well-designed game", or fiddle about with definitions of "success" or "well-designed".
Quote from: RPGPundit
any theory that suggests that D&D as a whole (in any of its versions) was a "bad" RPG is by definition in violation of the Landmarks.
My emphasis. So if Pundit says that he has a theory of gaming showing that D&D is a "bad" rpg, he's in violation of his Landmarks.

Which is not to say that he can't say D&D suxxorz, only that he can't develop a whole rpg theory saying so ;)
« Last Edit: August 27, 2008, 09:09:23 AM by Kyle Aaron »
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« Reply #38 on: August 27, 2008, 09:41:09 AM »
Individual edition crit isn't an issue. AFAIK, GNS makes few distinctions - just damning the whole shebang. The right or wrongness of a particular edition is an issue that's only important to D&D players in this regard. A criticism of D&D as a whole does have implications about the entire hobby - and I think that's what Pundit's landmarks tries to refute.  

If P. later engages in some 4e flaming...I'd say that all falls within D&D fandom. He's not after all claiming D&D as a whole is suspect simply because the latest edition is dodgy. The unspoken intent is a hope for a better D&D. When Edwards decides to speak up about D&D, that's another thing entirely. The intent is clearly not to improve D&D but to deny its influence at any cost to further a hostile agenda (up to and including misrepresented or revisionist history).
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« Reply #39 on: August 27, 2008, 11:26:53 AM »
Quote from: Kyle Aaron;240479
He never said that D&D was the bestest g4m3 3v4h, he said that its success demonstrated it was a "successfully-designed rpg."

I mean, the whole point of a game is that it gets played. A game no-one will play is definitely a failure in game design, a game lots of people play is definitely a success in game design. A game which is played by many people is by definition a "well-designed game", in the same sense that a car model which is driven by lots of people for lots of miles is a "well-designed car".

rpg theory is supposed to be about what people like to do in play. If what people like to do in play is stuff that D&D does, then the theory has to address that.

Having an rpg theory which does not account for why people like D&D is like having a theory of sexuality which doesn't talk about heterosexuality. It can tell you a lot, but it's missing a lot, too. I mean, you could just, as GNS does, turn around and say, "well people like D&D because they're stupid or crazy", and likewise there are some in the gay community who say that straights are all stupid or crazy. But in the end we all know that's bollocks.

Theories about stuff have to account for the mainstream of that stuff. Which has no bearing on whether you or I or Jo Bloggs reckon that mainstream stuff is actually any good.

Even my half-arsed cheetoism accounts for the success of D&D, so surely more well-developed and detailed theories should be able to do so.

The question for Pundit is really whether he still considers D&D to be "well-designed". His comments so far have been "no"; yet it's successful. So he has to either set aside his definition "a successful game must be a well-designed game", or fiddle about with definitions of "success" or "well-designed".

My emphasis. So if Pundit says that he has a theory of gaming showing that D&D is a "bad" rpg, he's in violation of his Landmarks.

Which is not to say that he can't say D&D suxxorz, only that he can't develop a whole rpg theory saying so ;)


The line of thought these Landmarks are based in, from what I can tell:
"Success is from sales, sales are the result of enjoyability, and enjoyability is the purpose/goal of gaming." This implies, naturally, that since enjoyment is the goal of the game, a poorly designed game gives no enjoyment and a well-designed game gives plenty of enjoyment.

Therefore, with this line of reasoning, success is the result of an effective game design, because that will in turn provide enjoyment, which results in sales, which results in success.

But advertisement and marketing does not make for a well-designed RPG. It does, however, make for a lot of sales. It would take a pretty oblivious person to claim that D&D is not one of the leading RPG's on the market.

But the fact remains that D&D has had other methods to achieve it's "success" other than playability and enjoyment. And in that, I suppose I must agree that there is a flaw in the reasoning the Landmarks were constructed with.

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« Reply #40 on: August 28, 2008, 01:41:44 AM »
If D&D were not enjoyable, sales would plummet.

If the sales of 4e plummet and do not recover, 4e can therefore be inferred to be not largely enjoyable.

If 4e is not largely enjoyable, it is badly designed.

Fairly simple.

However, it is entirely possible to design a game which is not widely enjoyable, save for a small section of the populace.

For example, a game which required a grounding in quantum physics would be a failure according to the aforesaid terms.

It could, however, be wildly popular among quantum physicists, who could consider it a success.

What RPGPundit seems to be looking at is commercial viability.

I submit that said theoretical 'Quantum Physics game' could be both a commercial failure and a successful game, within the audience it is intended for.

I also submit that such a game should be measured by commercial viability only within a subset of the populace, in much the same way watercraft are not measured for commercial viability among those who are not water enthusiasts.

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« Reply #41 on: August 30, 2008, 09:17:46 AM »
If 4e is prolongedly successful in the long term, then it must be recognized that its design is sound.

There's also some room for comparative analysis in these things: the relative failure (note> RELATIVE, in the sense that it was still obviously a success but also could not keep up the same level of sales) of 2e in comparison to either 1e or 3e is a sign that 2e had a poorer design (due mainly to outside ideological factors having altered its design both at the onset and (other factors) at later stages in the game's lifespan).

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« Reply #42 on: August 31, 2008, 10:11:43 PM »
There's truth to that.

On the other hand, 4e could sell well, but not as well as 3e, due to player fatigue.

But that ends in quibbling over small things, and it can be hard enough argueing big, obvious things.

I'm kinda interested in what 5e will look like, although that's really getting ahead of myself. I imagine with the constrains of 4e worked out, it would open up to different ways of playing again.

If 4e has a weakness, it is in rigidity. I do like the game balance, though.
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« Reply #43 on: November 25, 2012, 09:24:05 PM »
Quote from: RPGPundit;148872
For the purposes of this forum, which are not to philosophize about nonsensical theories pulled out from one's ass, there must be certain "Landmarks" that one can use, as the foundational basis by which one can establish what can be legitimate gaming theory and what is explicitly to be discounted.


I would put it even more simply, does the theory, the model work? The Storytelling Model says that the players are involved in story telling as they play. I don't see it. I know that one person thinks that the players are storytelling as they play, but there is a better word for what the players do as they play, they are roleplaying. Which is to say, acting. You can take a character in a story and play his role, but telling a story in the midst of an RPG is another matter entirely.

The alternate models in my view are the Theatrical Model and the Life Model. In the Theatrical Model the player plays a role in a series of scenes in a setting with other characters. The setting is usually limited, the scenario as well.

The Life Model uses the Theatrical Model as a basis, but goes beyond that. The players can go beyond the immediate setting to a wider world, and they can ignore the scenario should they wish, forcing the moderator to adapt to their actions.

From my observation, where many mods insist they are following the Storytelling Model, in truth they wind up following the Theatrical and Life models instead. No matter how much they moan and complain, it is the Theatrical and Life Models that they follow.
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« Reply #44 on: November 25, 2012, 09:37:16 PM »
A theory I've heard elsewhere:

If an RPG's design does not reflect the themes it sets out to emulate, then it is a failure.

Basically, an RPG's "success" can be determined if it accurately replicates its source material or themes in play.  For example, an RPG based on Wuxia martial arts movies should make it easy to create amazing acrobatic stunts and graceful, stylish fight scenes.

I mostly agree with this link of thinking, to a point.  A game can become very popular, even if its ruleset does not emulate appropriate themes.  It is commercially successful, but it didn't accomplish what it set out to do.  Really depends upon your definition of "success."

What do you think?