?

Log in

No account? Create an account

A GNS Question

« previous entry | next entry »
Apr. 25th, 2007 | 10:26 pm

John Kim's blog had a post about GNS and his interest or lack thereof these days. I have, as you know, been somewhat absent from this whole little mad field, myself, and I found myself thinking, "So what do I think about it these days?"

As I turn that over in my head, possibly profitably but possibly not, I have some questions for you. Please insert "and the Big Model" after GNS if that is helpful to you; I don't really care.

1. Do you find GNS useful in your current play?

2. Did you find it so in the past?

3. If you design games, do you think about this while you design (including general mulling over)?

4. Did you do so in the past?

5. Do you think that GNS should change and develop significantly?

6. Practically speaking, do you think it will change noticeably in the next year or so?

7. When you see someone make a GNS-based remark somewhere on the web, do you react with interest, annoyance, or what?

8. What is your overall assessment of what GNS has achieved in the past?

9. What is your assessment of its future?

You don't have to answer all that, obviously, but I am genuinely interested to know, as I see very, very different things about this.

Oh, one more thing: is it worth creating a poll like this? I've never done one.

Link | Leave a comment |

Comments {12}

(no subject)

from: the_tall_man
date: Apr. 26th, 2007 02:42 am (UTC)
Link

1. Nope; I've already internalized the parts I needed, and discarded the rest (and dragged a few people along with that, to their benefit or detriment).

2. Yep.

3. Nope. See #1.

4. Yep.

5. It could be made more approachable, less authoritarian, less elite-sounding, and more obviously a grab bag of ideas, many of which are good.

6. Nope.

7. I've already been through the various stages - Confusion, interest, exploration, dialog, rejection, dialog, internalization. So, nowadays, it usually just looks clumsy to me.

8. Made ideas that should have been obvious, and weren't, more obvious, to the benefit of some. Acted as an excuse for people to act like idiots, to the detriment of some.

9. Not my concern.

Reply | Thread

chadu

(no subject)

from: chadu
date: Apr. 26th, 2007 03:24 am (UTC)
Link

1. No.

2. No.

3. No.

4. Not more than cursorily.

5. Couldn't care less.

6. I have no idea.

7. Depends. As a descriptor of the broad type of play usually enjoyed by the person, it's a mildly interesting label. In almost all other cases (including design ones), nonplussed. Any terminology beyond G, N, and S equals annoyance.

8. Not all that much. About the only thing I see it as contributing is serving as an identifier or handle for folks to classify the type of play they particularly like (in general, or at a particular time).

9. I foresee it to continue to choke (in some regard) actual, useful analysis of gaming (social interaction, game design, design effects on social interaction, content analysis, etc.).

CU

Reply | Thread

chadu

(no subject)

from: chadu
date: Apr. 26th, 2007 03:26 am (UTC)
Link

To expand on #4, cursorily means that when designing my first games I thought, "Which is more important: the game, the narrative, or the simulation?" alongside thoughts of Everway's drama, fortune, and karma and Robin Laws' taxonomy of players.

CU

Reply | Parent | Thread

Some thoughts on GNS

from: silmenume
date: Apr. 26th, 2007 06:11 am (UTC)
Link

1. At present, no. The Model is a failure of train wreck proportions at describing Sim play, while barely functional at describing Gamist play.

2. I don’t think GNS has ever really “helped my play,” but it has been indispensable in helping me understand just what IS going on in the game I play. Though, this has more to do with you Chris than the Model directly.

3. I never really had any plans to create a game, but I did have a vague notion about writing a book on “how to GM.” Hooooo boy! Did I ever learn a lesson or 57 about the nature of the hobby as a whole that put the kibosh on that effort. The more I learn the more I realize I don’ know.

4. See above.

5. I do think that GNS “should” change and develop in as much as any avocation ought to do anything.

6. This is a rather difficult question to ask. The primary locus for the GNS discussions has put an outright ban on GNS discussion. I just don’t believe that it would be possible to have any sort of fruitful “conversation” on this topic without some sort of a central clearing house.

7. Depends on what the remark was.

8. I think that GNS was a wonderful first attempt at a gaming Theory of Everything. It gave us some wonderful tools to work with. My ability to think about my own gaming experiences in a cogent manner has increased immeasurable.

9. Bleak. Given the above, unless the Model goes through some deep fundamental changes, it is a dead end. I would like to contribute to what ever fundamental changes that might arise, but given the dogmatic and ossified view of the Model held by its most vociferous defenders I am not very hopeful.

The value of the creation of this poll, such as this, is whether or not is helps you as the creator of this pole.

My 2 cents.

Reply | Parent | Thread

Jiituomas

Re: Some thoughts on GNS

from: jiituomas
date: Apr. 26th, 2007 11:11 am (UTC)
Link

1.-4. Certainly not.

5. Hell, yes.

6. Hell, no.

7. Depends heavily on where I see it. Usually with interest, as it tends to denote at least some interest in analyzing role-playing beyond simple play.

8. It has given us some vocabulary, flawed but still convenient, which has fostered improved communication about the field.

9. GNS and its successors will survive, live and well, on the Forge and the post-Forge blogs for years. It will be alive and strong long after all the serious research and theory on role-playing has in reality made it completely obsolete.

Reply | Parent | Thread

Ben Lehman

(no subject)

from: benlehman
date: Apr. 26th, 2007 12:21 pm (UTC)
Link

1) Yes.
2) I don't get this question. Is it "if sometimes, then yes?" There was a period of time that I was playing role-playing games and didn't understand Big Model. When I understood, I realized it's use. I guess that's a yes.
3) Yes.
4) Yes.
5) Hmm... this doesn't make sense to me. I'll go with "it's useful right now, could easily become more useful by branching into new areas, but it's just as well to have new theory for those areas."
6) Again, this doesn't make sense to me. Some developments have happened recently, but only in small groups. Like it's always been. So, uh, both yes and no.
7. Depends on the context. Usually annoyance.
8. Its basic points have been so internalized into role-playing culture that most people don't even think about them anymore.
9. Don't care?

Reply | Thread

Christian Griffen (xenopulse)

(no subject)

from: chgriffen
date: Apr. 26th, 2007 03:56 pm (UTC)
Link

1. Do you find GNS useful in your current play?

Yes, in implicit ways of playing with a purpose.

2. Did you find it so in the past?

Very much so, but it took me going through a thread explaining my issues with my then-group and Ron working it over a couple of times. But then, it helped me a lot to understand what's going on. He really was spot-on, and I could enjoy the game much more because my expectations changed.

3. If you design games, do you think about this while you design (including general mulling over)?

Yes.

4. Did you do so in the past?

Yes. Beast Hunters is a direct child of the Gamism article and related discussions on the Forge, mixed with my actual play experiences and desires.

5. Do you think that GNS should change and develop significantly?

The presentation of GNS should change and develop significantly. There are other theories to fill in the parts that it's not covering for me (and I'm not a 100% proponent of the theory as it stands, or rather, I'm developing a perspective from a somewhat different angle).

6. Practically speaking, do you think it will change noticeably in the next year or so?

It's always changing, but it's hard to observe that, because it's mostly doing so in isolated conversations.

7. When you see someone make a GNS-based remark somewhere on the web, do you react with interest, annoyance, or what?

These days, it usually goes right past me.

8. What is your overall assessment of what GNS has achieved in the past?

It's kicked off a whole range of purposeful indie game design, it's helped a whole lot of people in becoming aware of their play preferences and group dynamics, it's influenced many designs, and as Ben said, some of the very basics are mostly taken for granted today.

9. What is your assessment of its future?

It'll be one among many, I assume, with a bit of a special place for its early development and influence.

Reply | Thread

Raven Daegmorgan

(no subject)

from: greyorm
date: Apr. 26th, 2007 07:48 pm (UTC)
Link

1. Yes.

2. Yes. It helped me determine why I wasn't enjoying myself in the games I was participating in/running at the time, what I did enjoy, and realize why the groups I was playing with would never be able to satisfy my preferences.

3. GNS or the Big Model? There's various parts of the Big Model I consider while designing, but GNS itself? No, that's a play thing, not a design thing (even the Big Model is not really a design thing, though structural parts can be taken away and looked at for design: such as the five elements of exploration, stance, resource interaction). For most of the rest of this, I am going to answer as though you're discussing the Big Model, and not GNS specifically.

4. Yes, after I discovered it, at least. It was very helpful in getting past designing incoherent games and understanding the incoherency in my designs. It was fundamental to the development of ORX, which kept going nowhere until I had internalized portions of the model and realized why the design attempts up to that point had kept falling flat or tripped over themselves.

5. SHOULD it? I have no idea. I'm guessing that depends on whether or not a person thinks the theory is complete in describing what it set out to describe. SHOULD Chaos Theory change and develop significantly? Should Relativity? What about Kinematics? I think WILL it is a much more answerable and reasonable question.

6. There's a point at which theories cease to have what might be called "significant" development because their foundation has been solidified. Is the Big Model there? I don't know. Nearly a decade of examining, clarifying, and changing the theory has led to what appears to be a fairly stable foundation: the specifics may change, things might be added, clarified, but will the core theory change noticeably? Honestly, I haven't paid enough attention to recent developments to know the rate at which it will develop. I don't know what "significant" or "noticeable" development means, either, in this context.

7. Depends on the individual making the comment and what their level of comprehension of the Big Model (and "political" affiliation) is. It's like listening to someone talk about evolutionary theory: creationists annoy because they have a vested interest in disproving evolution for political, social and emotional-personal reasons that have nothing to do with the theory, tend ignore inconvenient data, lie outright, and push a religious agenda; the general public can be either brilliant or stupid, depending on their level of comprehension (and their believed-vs-actual level of such) and personality; and actual discussion and argument about the theory by biologists is fascinating.

8. It brought greater attention to a number of behaviors and ideas that should have been obvious, but had been until that time obscured by tradition and the social presuppositions of our hobby. It has led to new developments and directions in game design, and increased interest in the idea of social theory applying to games, design, and game behavior (at least in our hobby: as game theory has been utilized and understood by designers in the wider games market for decades). It has created a well-known foundation to approach the issues from (which is also problematic, as this popularity results in popular conceptions and assumptions about the theory that are fundamentally flawed).

9. It will continue to develop, more slowly than before, but will be one of the corner-stones upon which future theory will be developed and tested against, until such time as something else supercedes or invalidates its insights. Given the nature of gamers and their cross-market interests, I have a feeling the Big Model's influence, at least in getting people to think about and examine their hobbies more critically from the social aspects to the actual mechanisms, will affect an even larger market than tabletop role-playing.

Oh, one more thing: is it worth creating a poll like this? I've never done one.

Polls are rarely useful unless properly conducted. Internet polls are almost never useful. The answers you receive are skewed by the segment of the population that chooses to answer the question, and already skewed by being from the segment that utilizes the internet.

Reply | Thread

Raven Daegmorgan

(no subject)

from: greyorm
date: Apr. 26th, 2007 07:52 pm (UTC)
Link

An addition to #2: It also helped me see past my own nose regarding those preferences, and opened up a wider world of play styles to my enjoyment (and while I still have preferences, I can at least understand those other preferences as "Not my thing, but whatever works for you" instead of "Ugh, you're doing it wrong! That's stupid!").

Reply | Parent | Thread

(no subject)

from: losrpg
date: Apr. 26th, 2007 10:21 pm (UTC)
Link

1-4. Generally, no. But that doesn't mean that there haven't been useful bits of conversation in GNS-oriented threads.

5. I think it should be abandoned, or rewritten from scratch.

6. No.

7. Boredom, generally.

8. I think it's been a very effective tool of marketing and advocacy. As an analytical tool, it's been quite useful for those who are of like mind to its creator, and occasionally useful to others. As a result of its 2 cross-purposes and it's overwhelming presence in the RPG theory discussion, it has fragmented that discussion into hardened communities.

9. Whatever.

Reply | Thread

Madeline the Edifying

(no subject)

from: zdashamber
date: Apr. 26th, 2007 11:11 pm (UTC)
Link

1-4: No. A phrase or two seemed useful until they were discussed.

5. Do you think that GNS should change and develop significantly?

No. Leave it rotting on the trash heap of history.

6. Practically speaking, do you think it will change noticeably in the next year or so?

No.

7. When you see someone make a GNS-based remark somewhere on the web, do you react with interest, annoyance, or what?

Annoyance.

8. What is your overall assessment of what GNS has achieved in the past?

Inculcated RPG theory discussion with a culture of assholery, and created a generation of theorists focused on jargon/rules instead of people/practicality.

9. What is your assessment of its future?

Seems to be dying out.

Reply | Thread

Kenneth Hite

(no subject)

from: princeofcairo
date: Apr. 27th, 2007 10:40 pm (UTC)
Link

1-2. Not particularly.
3. To an extent, at least in the realm of trying on the concept and asking "what sort of fun do I intend this game to produce"?
4. Not for the CODA system, my last game design before the current project.
5. Define "significantly." (See #8.)
6. If by "noticeably," you mean "will I notice if it changes," the answer is "probably not."
7. Mild interest. (See #8.)
8. It has provided a useful taxonomic framework for discussing game designs. I think it's relatively complete in broad structure, so I don't expect it to suddenly become the GNSX model. Obviously, as a praxis for game design, it has limited utility once you've figured out what you're generally trying to accomplish (not least because it biffs Sim so badly) but as a framework for critical discussion, I find it rather more helpful than not.
9. Upside: it will continue to provide such context for critical discussion, and initial framing mechanism for design, as it has already. Downside: Its more extreme promulgators will manage to blot out its actual accomplishments while convincing the unpersuaded that the whole notion of game design theory is bollocks. See also: Postmodernism.

Reply | Thread