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.
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