Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Methodology Upgrade: Formula, Definitions, Example, and Anki Deck

I updated the Gaming List  document to be more actionable. Basically i now added a methodology section as to state how it go about it. My methodology improvement is inspired by my Chinese studies as Grammar and Sentence building is formulaic just like how many narrative techniques are formulaic.

Note that It would take me a 2-3 hour uninterrupted writing session just to update all of this, among all the distractions I'm juggling. So you're going to have to wait a long while before I input: Narrative Combat Techniques - Heuristics and Procedures so that the gamers can best describe Combat in as fewer words and as little time, while maximizing its effect and engagement. These next tools is designed to educate and train ME (or any other gamer who wants to collaborate) to be able to describe action scenes (i'm drawing from my favorite authors Christian Cameron's and Bernard Cornwell's simpler techniques that I can formulate).

After reading all those books on Gaming, some have processes, few books give Actionable knowledge beyond the most basic Technique: Yes and/but/or... I will hope to correct that and give gamers Framing, Narrative, Influence, Inquiry, Analysis, Ideation, and Problem Solving procedural techniques for their game. These are techniques meant to be learned like a language - recalled and formulated without thought because of the Spaced Repetition System and Active Recall exercises.

Methodology

The methodology is written so that:
  • Collaborators can feedback
    • Corrections,
    • Identify steps, sequences, or elements that have reliability or risk issues.
    • to improve on the methodology
  • Collaborators can use the same methodology

Formula, Definition, and Examples

The formula, a grammar like algorithm, will be given and its elements given definitions. In this way, like Grammar, it is a procedural processes that can be exercised and trained. Gamers who want to get better can try to exercise plugging in variables of the algorithm and working them into a narrative or descriptive or immersive exposition.

Actionable Knowledge

Giver readers action and a way to adapt to feedback and new information. Action first, then we discuss the theory where supporting experience, knowledge, and information can be organized along the theory for analysis and evaluation.
Prevent:
  1. Untestable Thesis
  2. Echo Chamber or Circle Jerks

Study Time

As each of these techniques are exercisable, they all depend on the use of Active recall.  

Anki Deck of GMing Skills

There will be an Ankideck for this created so that gamers can work on this. The Methodology of Formula, Definition, and Examples allow that Spaced Repetition System and Cards can be created to exercise these techniques.

Challenges for the Anki Deck

  • Random Elements. The knowledge presented here is best used with randomly generated elements that can be filled into the formula’s variables.
    • Interim solution. There are many random word generators that can be used along side the anki deck. The Gaming Skills deck can be physical (as index cards) and the phone can just host the random element generators.  

Core

Core Skills and Heuristics are those that are prioritized, as it has the most utility/usability and reward for the time spent learning them. The differentiation of Heuristics and Skills is so that end-users can break down a skill into component heuristics they can train in, and bundle into a skill for the future.

Heuristic

Heuristics are simple formulas or processes. Typically they are:
  • one or two testable statements (see also falsifiability),
    Example would be
    • What limited resource is spent by the action?
  • a condition and action,  
    Example would be
    • Listen to the (other)players and say “Yes and/but/or…”

Skill

Skills are more complicated heuristics that are linked or chunked together.
Examples are
  • Pacing,
  • Active Listening
  • Planning

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Touch Time and Value Adding to Ideas in RPG Collaboration

There is a concept of Touch Time in Lean Six Sigma time and Motion Studies (Aka processing time). Its brilliant and simple way of measuring waste. Its basically the actual time the worker is touching the product in a value adding way. Its such a revelation to me because it applies to Ideas and Information and not just materials.

Am I adding value to the idea?
Is my GM or the Player adding value to the Idea?
How long am I processing this idea? How much value am I adding to it?

Now its relevance to RPG is how much "touch time" do we have in Mechanics and Ideas? This is exemplified by the GM who creates a lot of Fluff and how much of that fluff is "touched" by the Player's minds. How much of that fluff is handled by the Players.
Like in Touch Time studies its as simple as who has Known the Idea and remembered that idea, and who it matters more.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

My Biases/Criteria of RPG Review, Looking for Feedback

I've been ask to review an RPG and I realized that this Criteria I have is worth publishing for feedback.
All review is subject to the Bias of the Individual who is reveiwing it, but that reviewer has to be able to think of the market or audience the product is trying to address and must be constructive in that consideration.

My Criteria/Biases/Values are for feedback and adapting to new information.

I dont think one is supposed to score 100% in the reviewer's Criteria, instead they have to score 100% in their Goals and their Model of their Target Audience/Market. The review has to try to objectively assess if it makes this call.

There will be definitey Stupid sounding questions as this progresses.

Again I'm biased in the use of a Collaborative Project Documenation Sheet. Where it is easy to put all supporting links and the specific ideas being discussed.

Biases or Criteria of the Reviewer


  • Focuses on Limiting Scope of Learned TRPG Mechanics, or careful and calculated introduction of mechanics. 
    • Updated 4/18/2017 - more specifically how the Designers count the amount of mental load it asks of its Players and GM. 
    • Updated 4/19/2017 - the 20 rules of formulating knowledge is a great guideline in game design when there is an expectation of people following or learning the game system. 
  • Focus on how the system improves on GM-Player Collaboration. This means if the game system improves or aids in the sharing of narrative or creating a way for collaborative complicated escallation is resolved through collaboration (and the use of a Randomizer). 
  • Focus on methodology, how does the system or the game designer try to prepare a GM or player to get into TRPGs. What is the Designers’ methodology and what are their values? How do they allocate their competing constraints (utility/quality - cost - time) . 
    • 4/18/2017 Updated. The document will involve a growing definition of terms we can agree on. 
  • Looking for the self-aware nature of the Designer’s Products as compared to market trends and drawing from best practices from other disciplines.  
  • Looking for Feedback Mechanism - how does the Knowledge base react to and adapt to feedback? 
    • 4/18/2017 Updated. You may examine my methodlogy and criteria to see if it is in your best interests. Otherwise if it  isn’t we can alter it. 


Methodology of the Reviewer. 


  • Once a Week updates. (i’ll try)
  • About 100-200 words of review. 
  • Typically in the form of clarifying questions. 
  • As I match Goals to Execution and Implementation, 
  • How the proponent handles competing constraints (utility/quality/value, cost, time) and my other criteria
  •  Answers are tracked and allocated to either:
  • Clarification of Goals
  • Tracking of Constraints, Methodology, and Issues. 
  • This all serves as a Project Documentation so that if anything happens anyone else can pick up where it left off. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

80% Storytelling Techniques, and 20% system mechanics

Its easy to progress in Game mechanics since there are so many to learn, but the Collaborative Storytelling, Preparation, and Session Running seems to have a greater weight per Scene than mechanics.
What I mean as per Scene is the elements that build up right before "What do you do?" part until the scene is resolved (ideally we have enough of a transitional pause to jot down 20 seconds of notes).

  • Various Framing Techniques (frame a loss, risk, gain, strawman, steelman, etc...), 
  • Show not Tell, 
  • Counterpoint Sandwich (like a compliment sandwich but with either buns as counterpoints or the middle is the counterpoint), 
  • 3 contrasting descriptors, 
  • Action not Adverbs, 
  • 20-30% sensory narrative (in words or gm talk time; this means that when the GM narrates he narrates 80-70% in visual and makes sure he dashes it with other sensory narratives), 
  • Yes And/But/Or, 
  • Listening and Collaboration (as an exercise this would mean listening for 2 minutes and having to make good notes related to that; and as part of collaboration infer all the other goals and constraints of the speaker), 
  • etc.. is not given as much emphasis.
    If it was a GM screen it would be 80% of the space, and mechanics would be 20%. 

It reminds me of Grammar Cards for Language Learning Anki Cards- its a formula and there are randomly generated elements (nouns, verbs, descriptors) the Learner has to work into the formula.

I can imagine a Anki Card for Counterpoint Sandwich asking for me to Work in Cat, Watch, Coughing, Redish, Quickly and GO! Conditioning the brain till it can improve on the most subtle mentions of the other person.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Index Card RPG

I've discussed Index Cards as a key tool for RPGs before. I've not had the inspiration or the framework to make a fairly complete system until I saw +Matthew Isom's post of Index Card D&D. This is the resulting product.

What has Changed and Why was I able to do this now?


  1. Mathew Isom's system was great Scaffolding/Framework to start with. 
  2. I learned all that Lean techniques at work inspired me to engineer the system differently. 
  3. I learned to set Goals better, SMARTER,  and various other Analysis and Problem Solving skills have matured to get me through most of my mental blocks.
  4. My Goals Have Changed
    1. GMless is the ideal. But how do we do that? 
      1. First Break it down to Encounters and Scenes (which I've droned on an on about). 
      2. Learn Pacing. This is a Process Heuristic. Knowing how to build up conflict and expectation. An example of a Pacing Structure (this is not the only one)
        1. Work with Assumptions and Expectations. Work them in. Say Yes-and or Yes but! 
        2. Turn those around. Do not let the "Plan survive Initial Contact!" Complicate and Compound. 
        3. Resolve - Through Change, Development, Learning Something new, Coming away with something Different. 
      3. Keep Tight Feedback loops. You can begin with Any Process! There is no wrong answer BUT you need feedbackloops to correct and adjust and adapt. So Start something but COLLABORATE=FEEDBACK. 
        1. Ideas without Feedback is masturbation lolz
    2. FUN AS YOU GO! Do all the stuff while having fun!
      1. Learn as You Go!
      2. Having Fun in the Prep! BUT involving EVERYONE in the Prep!
      3. Have fun making Characters as you go!
      4. Immerse as you go! 
      5. Do the stuff, but the stuff is FUN! 
    3. Give the Players Scaffolding. Things are more fun when we dont have to worry about balance and fairness. 
      1. Give a Benchmark or use a Testable Statement. (the lack of testable statements is why we have bad laws lolz). 
    4. Keep it Short and Simple. 
    5. Leave Room to Collect Feedback! Have a Reference Document to keep track of suggestions and feedback. 
  5. Well I kept track of my failures lolz. Keeping a blog or documenting as I went basically allowed me to be able to say what was different between then and now.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Improvisation hypothesis: Ideation Techniques

So I just finished Unframed by Engine Publishing. Among my other studies (found in the Gaming Skills doc) is that one unifying hypothesis is that Improvisation is similar to mastering a language, process, a song, etc... that the most complicated feats of Improvisation is like a dance or song: mastering chunks of procedural information. My recommendation is taking your favorite or most used Ideation Technique and using it for improvisation. Modifying it so that it can be used to bring out ideas that would color or aid the scene you are collaboratively building with others. 

Improvisation hypothesis: Ideation Techniques

The Improvisation Hypothesis of Ideation Techniques means that We can master ideation and problem solving techniques and use them for improvisation. These techniques when employed Elaborate or Create Blanks to be filled by a certain criteria. We fill in those blanks very quickly through master of the Ideation technique. Mastery, used to master language, where the technique is stored in long term memory and recalled immediately as soon as triggering events occur.

Ideation Techniques Include



Spaced Repetition

Spaced Repetition is important in Improvisation because it is the same technique that allows people to most effectively learn and use language, complicated processes, physical techniques and procedures. Creating the triggering conditions to exercise the Recall that is needed to draw out from Long Term memory the skill, process, or heuristic is key to appear to make a lot out of thin air. This technique requires the forgetting the technique in the conscious level, aka working memory, aka attention and to draw or pull the information under certain conditions in order to create the mental hardwiring to recall.

*again open call for collaborators or feedback.

One of my realizations is Musashi's No Thought technique in his book of 5 rings is the use of Long Term memory (the same memory we use for language) to unleash sophisticated attacks and tactics. The same can be said in improv. We master various Ideation Techniques to be able to create facinating improvisation using the Collaboration of our fellow players.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

TRPG Books as Process Documents

*That TRPGs moving to a shorter feedbackloop with the community through using best practices in Operations Sciences would create more powerful tools and newer better value services and material in this very poor market.

So in my studies I've noticed how much TRPG books compare to process documents. TRPG books are filled with models or heuristics in the form of game mechanics, as well as Roles, Tools, and Processes of how to perform certain activities. The most interesting parallel is how TRPGs feedback as compared to Process Documents.

Process Documents aka Business Process in wikipedia is the Institutional Memory of a Company. Its all the processes written down so that it can be corrected, measured and improved. It allows organizations to reach higher forms of sophistication and capability through having the shared memory of the documentation and being able to adapt to reality and changing conditions through the institutional memory.

What is interesting when I compare TRPGs to Process Documents is that it does not have the same feedback loop. We feedback to TRPG book by making Homebrews and picking and choosing our mechanics. That feedback ends there. Instead of an idea and feedback going up and around and making its way to other people so they can appreciate and see if this would make their job easier it ends there. With the Wiki and Crowdsourcing, the Collaboration of TRPGs as Process Documentation would be amazing to witness as it Rapidly Iterates the consequences of their Charter/Goals and Attributes (Mechanics, Processes, Roles, Functions, and Tools).

This leads me to wonder if the New Generation of TRPGs would draw from Process Documentaton best practice. That communities feedback to the TRPG system and allow it to evolve better and more streamlined mechanics and techniques. One example is to apply Chunking in a lot of rules (particularly to GURPS rules). Imagine if one can feedback to evolve 2-4 options in Combat Manuevers instead of the 13 or so options in GURPS. Or drawing from Lean principle, shortening the Cycle Time or feedback loop in combat and removing all the Waiting and Waste in a sessions' Experience. Process Mapping via flow charts and Issues with certain processes are available for customization. Like simulationists use these Process Modifications in their Combat. This adds this much more steps and requires the knowledge of this many options.

If TRPGs take the Wiki and Open Collaboration Route what service to Game Designers have in this new ecology? I guess they deal with the Hardest Part  of running games: Creating the Tools to Tailor the TRPG experience. Creating the tools to manage and budget the TRPG experience. Allowing people to have more consistent and exceptional emotional heights in their TRPG sessions. To craft the training, skills, and heursitics for TRPGers to better craft and design these tools and techniques.

When mega nerds apply  their sills to something like TRPGs and creating a sustainable environment for the hobby to survive and thrive I think the product would be amazing. I compare the TRPG game to that of a Problem Solving session, I find them very similar. Particularly when Achieving Flow.

Walker's Retreat: The Internet Changed the Tabletop RPG business
I agree with the article and one of they key variables to implementing this is having the Skills to create a better business model. Problem Solve this shit .

The Same skills applied to this:
How to run a Large D&D Group (7+ Players)
The tools and the techniques to process design the experience is what is needed more than the "Campaign Fluf" or mechanics. Off the bat, Drawing form myH Game Maters Skill list min-maxing the Cycle Time between players and maxing out the Player experience would be a key objective. particularly identifying all the MUDA and getting rid of clunky and inelegant mechanics. By improving the Cycle time The GM will be checking for 1-scene per Player engage the player as much as possible per scene and try to keep it under a few minutes. Ideally engaging 2-4 players at the same time so that the cycle time of wait is about 2-5 minutes per group. He will need to design "Scenes" which engage many players (2-4) simulateneously and try to check if he's "engaged" a player every Cycle. He needs to learn to Defer Distractions or Concerns, when a set of activities would trigger one group to dominate the spotlight for a period, he needs to learn to break up the activites and steps (exploiting peak end or cliff hangers) to deal with the other groups.
I'm just pointing out that skills that allow us to design better experiences in play is the riches vein of discussion. Consider every detail and atmosphere mechanic as just fluff generation and the real problem is helping the GM and Players achieve a emotionally engaging level of participation and experience.


*Bottom Line up Front (BLUF, a different kind of TLDR)
Poor Market. Size of the market and its value as compared to similar ways of spending time. 


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Game Mastering Research Update; leave it to Gamers to Game Self Improvement.

So I'm preoccupied in updating my Game Mastering Skills and Heuristics Document. I found this so much easier to update than blog posts because blog posts have an expectation to have a 500 word singular theme or  idea. I cant exactly say a small thing like "I finished reading dungeon world" lolz. An idea as incomplete as that, I might as well post in G+.

Anyway I've just finished a BUNCH of readings:

  1. GURPS Horror (finally after all a few years I finally got to finish it). 
  2. Chronicle of Darkness
  3. Dungeon World (its rather short compared to the rest). 
  4. Qin The Warring States (thoroughly, not just a systems analysis).
  5. Qin the Warring States the Art of War
Using my Production and Operation Studies. 
So I've been studying Production Operations for about 4-6 months now. Reading stuff recommended, and those that an Industrial Engineer should have studied. One thing I'm clearly taking away is the techniques that refine and improve Processes and Activities that can be clearly applied to the way Games are run and played. 
I'm self studied in Game Design and User Interface or designing a User Experience since the 2000s when I hoped to get into Game Design Course (which didnt exist then). These "User" design techniques augmented by studies of Behavior Sciences, particularly Kahneman and Tversky's work (thinking Fast and Slow, Prospect Theory, and Applying the Behavior Sciences in Designing an Experience and Process). 
To put simply The Game Master Skills and Heuristics are actions and activities that allow someone to repeat and practice certain abilities that would enhance their Gaming Experience. Its have emphasized the following:
  1. Actions. instead of Principles, Guidelines, long Essays of theory. Lets give  the Gamers ACTIONS to do. We can give them a default set of actions, and we can expand to how to modify and improve what ever Action Process they use to improve their gaming experience. 
  2. Working Memory Management. Many of the Techniques have their emphasis in dealing with a terrible working memory or hacking and conditioning it so that skills are so ingrained that they occupy less of the working memory and allow greater bounds of complexity as well as preventing the gamer from being overwhelmed. A good mental environment, a 5S inside one's head.  
  3. Opportunities for Deep Work. As we identify skills and heuristics, a lot of small techniques get mastered quite quickly and more opportunities for DEEP WORK begin to emerge for the Gamer. This can take the form of Flow in prep and refining improvisational abilities OR with his/her players. 
Moving into Gaming Agnositic has had some Interesting results. One of the most useful is focusing on the User Experience and Game Experience that does not hinge on any system. To have tools that allows the Gamer to have greater levels of engagement, experience, and enjoyment regardless of system. Isolating core principles that no one system can hold monopoly lolz (LIKE SCIENCE! Lolz)

You'll notice the Studies in Operations Sciences are BLENDED with Zen and some Philosophical Works. If you've checked out the Toyota Production System and Kaizan, its kinda steeped with Eastern Philosophy. Particularly the derivations of Buddhist and Confucian continuous improvement (commonly known as Kaizen). Whats notable about this is how it related to Memory and Skill Mastery. There is so much mysticism about it, but when you explore works concerning memory, behavior and biases it can be interpreted as a 5S and Lean Six Sigma approach to self improvement. 

Arthur V. Hill and many of the Operations Sciences researchers have noticed that MANY of  the "tricks" in the science can be applied in a personal level (coining Personal Operations). Especially since its an OBSESSION with heuristics which should be very familiar to gamers because these are basically the Models and mechanics we horde in our memory when we learn other game systems. Imagine using that memory, conditioned to memorize tons of Heuristics (game mechanics) applied to more practical mechanics and GAMIFYING those mechanics . That mindset that can pick and choose, modify and improve, or HACK, heuristics and models to serve what ever ends we gamers so desire lolz. 

To be a Gamer, particularly a TRPG gamer, maybe a kind of heuristic collector. There is some gamer pride about being able to learn ANY heuristic or mechanic or model. And there is an amount of satisfaction with being able to PLAY with any  heuristic or mechanic. And to play and play with these models - how MUNCHKIN is that method to max out a particular skill. 

I can go on and on. I'll just leave with the note that I'm always on the look out for feedback and collaboration in developing the Skills and Heuristics document. Feedback is a key aspect  of being a Gamer - when our expectations dont match up with reality, our ability to adapt and improvise is one of our strong suits. So if you want to join a particular feedback loop of challenge its good to look for places that would allow our limits and flaws to be visible and work on them. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Updated GMing Techniques; Games Literacy




So I've updated my GMing Techniques Document and differentiated it from my TRPG playing skill document. Basically the GMTD is the skill (or the Tricks) unraveled and explained. While the TRPG playing skills tries to identify and list the skills needed to play particular games.

TRPG playing skill will list the skill or knowledge needed to run (Collaborative Setting) Fantasy, Packaged Settings (which Include Historical), Mysteries, Warfare, and Horror. It will be used to make comparisons and a checklist for GMs and Players when evaluating what they are getting into.
I hope this develops processes for GMs to evaluate their Work, allowing them to scale down the distracting elements, and plan how much work they are going to do.

GMTD is the skills, mnemonics, heuristics, and tests. If a GM or Player wants to learn a technique that will enhance their experience in playing the game it would be found in the GMTD.  The wording is best to allow the person to perform the skill and the uses of the skill, and implementation of the skills.  Ideally the Total Cost of Ownership - the time, effort, difficulty, tools, etc... of performing certain activities in the game gets illuminated in the GMTD document.

I've begun trying to organize the Ideas. Grouping them into Heading 2 key topics.



Extra Credit had a very relevant special to my interests: Particularly Gaming Literacy. Basically literacy about all the devices, skills, techniques, Meta-knowlege about the hobby of Table Top RPGs. You can say the GMing Technique Document and TRPG playing skill lists are major sources then.

I'm, as always, looking for feedback and like minds who can help improve on this. In the end, without feedback there is no reality by which these ideas can be tested against. Open to Collaboration as I can only work on this when time permits.

Related Posts:

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Skills as Barriers to Games


Skill or Mental Models as Brain apps
The thing about Load Bearing Gear, Logistics, and any Mental Model is that its kinda a skill when it comes to TRPGs. By skill I mean: One has understood it to a point that they can recall a lot of key details about the matter without much load to their working memory Or ones conjures the Mental Model (imagine it as an app that starts running in your brain) that will deal with: Travel Mechanics, Trade mechanics, Personality mechanics, etc.... working with the example of load baring gear: the more you tackle and handle load bearing gear the more intimate and ingrained the knowledge becomes. Almost without much effort you realize and constrain your options and actions based on the Opportunities and Constraints of the Load Bearing Gear (or what every Mental Model you've conjured).

Which provokes a kind of discussion about TRPG running/playing games skills (which Id like to further discuss in a Gdoc):
Hypothesis/Claim: Some games or styles of play are harder and more complicated because they require some Skill or Mental Models to run smoothly (or run with a Good User Experience). 
Are these Barriers to certain Games? Is it why people hate these kinds of game, are theyre just experiencing the Skill Learning Curve to a certain game, are they experiencing the ambiguity of uncertainty from not really mastering the skill (or having no one to feedback to help them improve)?

An example of mental model: The Constraints and Goals/Opportunity Model.
An Inspiration from Work and in Games (can't tell anymore) is Goals and Constraints Mnemonic.  So basically in any project of so much complexity that our working memory needs anchors and tests to know if we are headed the right direction there are Goals and Constraints by which we can check our progress. There is a Skill involved in crafting Goals and Constraints as well as conditioning so that when Our attention and focus realized an amount of time or work has passed we go back and check on these navigation guides. This becomes a skill when the person can always rattle out all the Constraints and Goals at any point of time: they have a working memory slot to be able to hold the constraints and goals to be able to use it periodically.

I learned this in TRPGs and further developed it in work. Basically I realized that when I role-play I adopt the Goals and COnstraints of my Character. These are in the form of the characters SWOT, his personal history and psychology. You do RPGs enough that we get into character quite easily and quickly - but to take it further is to use this technique in Navigating Projects of complexity that we can only take small bites or bits of the Project at a time and process them with our working memory.



Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Definition of Terms. More useful ones.

This is speculation on what kind of gaming material I'd like to make If I had the time. I've improved some of my definitions - particularly what kind of gaming material I would like to make.

The gaming material I'd like to make has to do with Skills, Processes, and Models that deal with running the game, building the world (in a way that makes sense to us, to close loose ends), and to enhance immersion and engagement.

Models. Tversky and Khanneman work got me thinking about how much I, and to their observations much of humanity, depend on models (this assumes you agree on the stipulations of their work, I recommend the Undoing Project by Micheal Lewis). We think in models and accepting the limits and failings of that, I proceeded to start documenting them and swapping out models that do not work as well as others, while looking for some that can serve as scaffolding for other fields and approaches.

A Game mechanic is a Model. Humans have many heuristics and rules of thumb they use in work and in life (which the T & K work highlights) and Gamifying these and designing them to be more modular with what ever game system or perspective humans take is the lesson that I've taken away.

Example is my studies in Fitness and that of Horse performance from reading up the American Endurance Riding Conference material, on horsemanship, and many other books (also for vetinary books I bought on used book sales) - they are pretty much line up when I compare them to articles on fitness. I mentally use a model that works with what I've read, I've only not put it to writing and further editing and refinement.

The same model can be approached in my Operational Science Studies can accomodate books like De Agricultura and De Re military. I just need to refine the wording to capture the abstract thought that needs documentation for other perspectives to rework into a better model.

Processes. Processes are simply steps in doing anything, the requisite steps, actions, information, tools etc... before the next step can be undertaken. Eventually we simplify processes to what our working memory can accomodate and just "do the math" in our heads but it would be useful to have the process on paper for notes of exceptions, weaknesses,

Where processes matter in gaming is Giving a gamers the various processes that work for us. Sometimes we change processes depending on whats available: we have a setting and we want to run games based on that, or we have players and we run games based on their tastes, etc...

One interesting aspect at work which I've begun to appreciate about processes is that they are measurable. That when someone recommends or uses a processes each step can be measured and mistakes, lessons, revalations, etc... (end user relevant notes) can be documented on the step used.

Any treatise from De Agricultura, Art of War, De Re Military, On Horsemanship etc... are process books where previous readers of ancient times commented where the processes fails, notes to aid people through the step, various other helpful notes etc... Approaching gaming to have some of the most used processes documented helps.

A Treatise on Zones. 
An example of Processes being assembled in one place that would be useful to so many would be using Zones. How we formulate zones, how we juggle 2-3 (up to 7) items in our working memory when dealing with zones, how we take time to explain the details of the zone and make it easy to remember. I'd imagine if a bunch of gamers worked to make a whole Treatise of making zones (basically a treatise of how to handle Space and Time in a game) would be useful in story telling. Showing how to keep the word count down (wordage of the GM or everyone involved), how to make it more immersive, Identifying some key narrative and descriptive skills and techniques, how to improvise challenges, flexible without violating some key assumptions, etc...

Skills. Knowledge that informs on the best options, how to organize options/how to break down complexity to manageable chunks, and identifying measurable and improvable actions. While the world can use more education and more ways to bring education to everyone, gaming and its fundamental principles are something that can be included in that endeavor since it is a Practical Exercise of real world useful skills.

So I can imagine that if I had the free time to condense what I've studied into something practical and written for games it would be the following. I

On Agrilculture. a gaming book on economic entities from the household to the estate; PCs being involved in the petty and grander politics of these entities (which is in its root a human drama). Sources: De Agricultura, Various Treatises that have been Open source about farming and organization of labor (on not just agriculture).

On Horsemanship. a gaming book on modeling horses and their use, and care. Sources. Xenophons On Horsmanship and Cavalry Commander. Ann Hylan's Medival warhorse, American Ednurance Riding Conference Materials, De Agricultura

On Warfare. Running games with group warfare and logistics. Sources: De Re Military, The Art of War (Cleary's version with Commentary), and various other books.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Source Material

I've been getting source material that are open source or public domain like De Re Militari and using them as inspiration to my own studies and gaming material. They are Inspired by my operations research studies which has a very gamer mindset perspective in looking at things with stats.
If you want to reinforce that bias I recommend the works of Amon Tversky and Danniel Khanneman's works on decision making and judgement (use them as a search term or get thinking fast and slow).
These books which were tried and true for centuries, like De Re Militari, finds new life when i can model them in gaming stats grounded by some models I've developed for games and work. I've taken some heuristics and modeled them into game mechanics for open collaboration and improvement.

Imagine if you can make sense of De re militari in character templates and stats. What are the baselines and what are they when you look at real people vs the statistics? So detailed that you can be inspired to undergo that training as a hobby. That you know what kind of training is needed to do a 32km March 2x a month in 40-60lbs of gear (even if it's in the safety of a gym treadmill at an incline to simulate hard terrain).

Knowing what ( in an operations science way) a task, activity, and ability is and how to measure and schedule a plan to reach  a performance level is another coloring of my gaming and my gaming mindset regarding my work studies. And the game is the exercise I want to do.

Primary sources colored by updated material. Imagine some gaming mechanics and entries drawing referencing de re militari, Wikipedia and, US Marine corps small wars manual. Sources that can help inform the reader the assumptions and hopefully someone can come up with a better model.

Public domain books Gdoc
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1mgI0AwM_0SJPxuQ2axeDtwwYcanXMYzeCDMD3YePAKI/edit?usp=drivesdk

Saturday, January 7, 2017

2016 Review of Game in the Brain

Game in the Brain is going in low performance mode. I've been busy with work, family, health, and studies.

Stats. 

Top 3 Best Posts are in 2016 from all time. These are:

  1. Random Character Gen update: Life Event Table .  I honestly forgot about this and I forgot to link the Gdocs. 
    1. Life Events Table Gdoc Commenting again I am always looking for feedback. I can't promise I'll act on it immediately (it depends what I'm juggling) but I will take note of it and when i come back around I will act on it. 
  2. Appreciating the Work. is a post about guessing the kind of work that goes into making analysis posts with the most abstract of numbers
  3. My Notes about Zones. This is my notes about Zones compiled from various sources and my take on it. I usually try to look at it where entroy will tend and highlight what key process needs practice to be a skill. Where attention is best applied on. 
2016 may be my most productive since 2013 because:
  1. My  son turned 5 and take care of himself
  2. Election means no Airsoft so not team related tasks and activities, which has a lot of prep.
  3. I had a co-worker help me with my tasks for the first time in a while. Thats Nick. 
  4. The company I work in was relatively stable. 
These factors dont apply anymore for me in 2017. 
  1. I have a daughter born mid nov 2016, any of you fathers there know that will be months of high maintenance lolz. 
  2. Nick is leaving and I'm training a new guy. 
  3. I'll be more hands on work because I finally got some important training and studies relevant to my job. (lolz I'm draining the swamp lolz).  
  4. I'm having my son shadow me when I train and exercise and study. The only manner I know how to teach is to show and lead by example. All these tasks now double in time and half in quality lolz. 

Trends. 

   I'm trending towards System Agnostic Skills and Techniques. Its weird, because going with techniques that are more universal regardless of system is actually a more niche hobby because of the anchoring effect of systems.
   Never underestimate Anchoring Effect, at work we are studying Risk Management as a requirement of ISO 9001:2015 and the Black-Scholes model was brought up,  by Nick my co worker,  and its debacle has the trappings of Anchoring Effect. Basically the need to Assign a Value to Risk even if that model is so short lived and useless in the long run. Our brains needs anchors even if its a stupid and terrible anchor. Nature hates a vacuum and so does our mind.
   Game Agnositicism is such a waste with GURPS day to add to my readership :( I know but I'm applying what i've learned and what I've learned has let me be more efficient in my use of memory and attention.
   My System Agnosticism is going to be weird and natural at times. Work also is getting me into time and motion aka Psycho and Bio Mechanics. Even if things have variables there are always benchmarks we can strive to surpass or limit our failure to. This is the Cognitive Dissonance of gaming and real life: its Game, its a Faulty model, But I have nothing better to use, or Its useful some of the time etc... I think as we grow older we get better at managing Dissonance but we have to be aware of it. We cannot normalize the internal conflicts and limits of our beliefs and understanding or else we fail to correct ourselves. Sorry for the deep personal belief tanget, its just me expressing my fundamental assumptions and how my mental algorithms work (for ease of reprogramming when in error). My belief is that Cognitive Dissonance is bad when we fail to be aware of it, and are unable to make a self honest assessment of the limits of what we know and validate the uncertainty of every source and assumption we use to formulate our conclusions.
    So because life is limited in time, memory, and practice, my gamings borrows from the  mental models I use at work or my work borrows from the mental models I use in games (hence the Dissonance). Of course some mental models requires a System Two Appraoch and we need a System 1 to run games fluidly or be able to change gears quite fluidly when we are entertaining Players or able to make the Players Enjoy shifting gears with the GM (which is the ideal and the most benefit for everyone IMO but we do not force something unless the person asks to be helped force his mind to change).
   I've mentioned many times the open Gdocs I'm working on. its easier to show progress and updates in those because I really only have a handful of 2-5 minute instances to think and write notes with the back of my mind always churning and processes-sing everything in a Gamer way , hence the blogs name
   Time flies when you're raising kids, taking care of other people, and taking care of ones' self. So while I maybe back before I know it, if you find my absence short if you have other people to occupy you.

Summary

While gaming is what made me, I'm using it to improve my life. It will be there when My son comes of age, and I have more free time. But I can make it also there when I frame my life and work as an adventure in itself. I will always talk about gaming and life as one thing and it sadly it will be what will limit me. If I cant make the game part of my life, then I dont have the free time to work on it. 

In 2016 i made my Gaming Life Blog. A terse blog of updates of my training and studies. If I'm a character of my own adventure then I better be Min-Maxing and leveling up lolz. I'll come back to this blog when i can, if time permits and I have more of a TRPG thing to say. 

Friday, January 6, 2017

Levels of Participation: Commenting

The level of Participation in Table Top Role-Playing Games:

  • 8-12 hours a Week: enough to prep, blog, and run games. blogging comes from the material the prep generates. the blog is like the 2 second rule* going down the rabbit hole to give closure to a train of thought and curiosity. 
  • 4-6 hours a week: enough to prep, blog, and run games every other week (or on week ends).
  • 2-6 hours a week: enough to blog regularly. I was able to punch out 1-2 posts a week. 
  • 1-4 hours a week: enough to blog 1.5 to 2x a month. 
  • 1-2 hours a week of intermittent time. The ability to blog 1/month and comment. 

Interment. A lot of time is Interment and the most I can do is what can be done in 2-5 minutes. Every task can be measured in this to a point that I've kept notes on my time and motion in this lolz and will apply this in Games.

*2 second rule in Productivity is taking the time to write down any distracting thoughts so that it can be tackled later from the task at hand or when attention is better used than entertaining the distraction. Encyclopedia of Operations Arthur V Hill.

Commenting or Gdocs Collaborating.
Commenting and Gdocs doesnt need a lot of prep time. Blogs have about 1-2 hours of prep time, 50% is the writing and thinking about it while writing, 50% is the intermittent time thinking about the problem and the issues.
So I only have 2-5 minutes and i can only post opportunistically. So I'm only good in commenting (if I was able to listen to the post in my app's Text to Speech; so I cant comment when the idea hits me, only if I remember to comment when I have the chance. 1/20 chances of me remembering lolz). With my crap reading and thinking speed I can only really comment and gdoc post.

Collaboration.
I like collaborating even if it is limited to Feedback. Meaning I can give my opinion on a metrics level or user-experience level. If that matters to you and You don't mind my me having only 3-4 x spend 2-5 minutes on the Gdocs with you guys then maybe you can invite me for collaboration (if I like the project too.) Note that I'm studying a lot of Bio and Psycho mechanics because of work so my comments tend to narrow to that vein.

My open Collaborations Invitation.
I use Gdocs to dump what I learn and read. A lot of these projects are dormant since I have so little time to really dedicate to fill it up.


  • GMing Skills. General Gaming Dump list. I learn some new metric or trick that has applications to a game I put it here. I sort it later on.
  • Warfare Notes. Notes in running warfare games and analyzing its scope and trying to narrow it down. Figuring out how to prepare players and GMs in running it, and learning to run it. It uses the basic system of my Open RPG. this is updated almost as frequently as GMing skills since all my historical logistics notes are dumped here. 
  • TRPG Skills. This is a simple Gdoc that tracks the mastery of learning a Game System. I'm 
  • Open RPG. This is an open RPG project that uses a simple 2d resolutions system and plugs in a lot of my lessons in process efficiency and simplicity from various studies (most can be found in GMing Skills). Its all creative commons and designed that a System Agnostic person will be free to use it without fear of copyright or legal baggage. 
  • Kiddy Open World. trying to build an approach to using TRPG skills to teach children. Basically parents using TRPG skills to gamify the thinking and life skills children need to learn to survive and thrive. 


TL:DR lost a lot of my time.  Some personal notes: 
So I have a second child and the logistics of that has had an impact. I'm actually double checking my notes as to what the over all time impact of this. It doesnt help that the school doesnt do "all" the work of teaching our first child and I'm going to need help in the form of Tutorial services (Asian educational arms race). My 5.8 year old attention needs me to sit down for an hour out of distractability instead of any really significant amount of work.

Which brings up the level of participation. When getting married, I didnt game as much and spent time with the wife. When having our first child, the first few years I was unable to game but was able to blog. I had time to game when we got a nanny and the child turned 2. With the 2nd child I'm expecting to take a long hiatus and with my sons studies I would still lose a lot of my time.

What i've chosen to do with my time is to do some min-maxing. Training my son, letting him join me in my self improvement: chinese studies and exercise (health and studies) is one compromise that diminishes the quality of the activity to allow me to be a dad and to hopefully give an example to him.

Work has also gotten complicated as I am set to train a coordinator (an industrial engineer graduate to be trained in the plant's processes and operations) as my first staffer.

Then there is the Airsoft Team Work. Lolz writing Doctrine, DIYs, and how-tos. I'm doing the radios, prep-checklists, exercises, and sourcing materials. The overall goal is to reduce prep time and clutter (bringing down our gear inventory to minimalist, while meeting all our operational and convenience goals). Again I have intermetent time and a lot of notes go into my A6 size notebook i carry with me.