Monday, December 19, 2005

Introduction to Forge Theory #5.1

Aside: The Big Model (The Way Ron Draws It)

(for those of you who lost the old post, it's here. An index will come when I'm done with the essay.)

(This part is sad, because I couldn't think of a lot to say. Any suggestions?)

So, I have to say, in the process of researching this aside, I've become more convinced that this is a perfectly fine way of drawing the big model than I was when I started this essay. So take that as a sign that I still don't understand this stuff well enough.

Ron's presentation of the Big Model is different from mine, but what it symbolizes and its purpose are, essentially, the same. So I'm going to skip pre-amble and just draw it.

[ Social Contract [ Exploration [ Techniques [ Ephemera ] ] ] ]
>--------------------------> Creative Agenda >------------------------>

Where we can picture Creative Agenda as a "skewer" that runs through all the other elements of the Model.

So what do these elements mean? The first row of elements is, essentially, the stuff of our game, starting with the most basic, human-to-human interactions on the left and going to the most technical bits of actual play on the right. The second row -- the Creative Agenda, is the unifying "why" that drives us to actually do this stuff.

In brief:

Social Contract: All the social relationships between people, and their social interactions, occupy this level.

Exploration: The whole contents of game play.

Techniques: The individual techniques we use for gameplay (to test a skill, roll a d20. When Ben is talking, people tell him to shut up by picking up that nerf hammer.)

Ephemera: The actual events of play. (I rolled a 15 on my skill check -- I succeed!)

(We've been over all of this before in chapter 5, that's why I'm speeding through it.)

Here's some differences.

Creative Agenda: This is essentially a combination of my whole "agenda level" that is the unitive "why are we doing this, anyway? What are we getting from it as people?" question. I call this: Social Agenda, Creative Agenda, and Technical Agenda.

An important thing to remember here is the nesting categories. So, for instance, every technique is necessarily also part of our exploration and our social contract. Any explorative action takes place inside our social contract, and is a part of it.


Blogger Ron Edwards said...

I think you ought to include a link to your original posts at the Forge which told me the brackets made no sense to you, just so everyone can share my pain.

Seriously, thanks for this series of essays. I do appreciate it.

11:33 AM  
Blogger Ben said...

Ron --

No, seriously, I almost did, but I thought it would confuse people.

You're welcome, man. Thanks for all your work.

Next up -- elements of exploration. Turns out I had more to say about them than I thought. Particularly about what is and isn't character, setting, and color.


6:59 AM  

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