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Old 11-30-2014, 09:45 PM   #11
Agemegos
 
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Default Re: Immersion

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
Shrug. I'm talking about what I read about the concept in reading things by people who called themselves immersive players.
I had extended discussions with immersive players on r.g.f.a back in the day, and as a result of those I consider myself unable to make any statement about immersion that is both coherent and correct. Immersive play is beyond my understanding.

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Originally Posted by ak_aramis View Post
I think Bill's admitted lack of consideration for it also makes his interpretation highly suspect. In other words, I don't think he has managed to actually grasp the meaning in a useful way.
I'm sure that I haven't.
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Old 12-01-2014, 02:57 AM   #12
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Default Re: Immersion

For me, the term immersion in the context of RPGs is associated with the following things:
  • As applied to a player's playstyle: making choices more on IC than OOC considerations, particularly without the need of OOC prods such as being reminded by somebody else about a Disadvantage. Note that using information known to the player but unknown to the character to make a decision that runs counter to the character's psyche is one of the bigger breaks of immersion, even though it is sometimes considered necessary to 'save a campaign' (the arguments about the goodness/badness of the latter as an ends are another topic entirely).
  • As applied to dialogue style: keeping the ratio of free indirect speech to indirect speech, and of direct speech to indirect and free indirect combined, as possible.
  • As applied to worldbuilding and world-description:
    • Keeping the amount of Fridge Logic, Plot Holes etc. to a minimum, since they risk raising the question of 'Why did not the character do the thing that made sense? Was it just to make the challenge/adventure/etc. possible?'.
    • Access to a necessary amount of relevant details. If I'm supposed to pick the most optimal path through a hazardous 'gauntlet' of some sort, then I should have the information my character has about the layout of said 'gauntlet', particularly the information that would affect my character's opinion of which of the paths is safer/faster/etc.
    • Access to some reasonable amount of background/flavour details that provides RP opportunities (and occasionally investigative utility!) and can be weaved into the narrative, or left alone. E.g. in Transhuman Space, an NPC mentions Iapetus, and I proceed to make a half-joking mention of the black monument on it. Because I know that Iapetus has a black radio beacon monument on it in THS. Even though this was never explicitly mentioned in the campaign before. (The 'monolith' turned out to be relevant to the current investigation, though we're still not sure of the specifics.)

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
It's not action alone that's an issue. My campaigns are mostly pretty heavy on character interaction, which depends a lot on how characters express their attitudes and emotions. Now, we don't have facial expressions, or body language, or all the other things that connect human beings to each other to rely on. So it takes a little description of emotional reactions and attitudes to enable that interaction.
I certainly see descriptions of emotions and the like to be appropriate.

While the idea of players using their own body language and the like to convey characters is highly praised by the (self-proclaimed, for good or ill) True Roleplayers that I encountered, I'm actually quite opposed to it, because (a) it promotes [method?] actors over roleplayers and (b) it forces one to look at and analyse fellow players and trying to translate that to characters, as opposed to thinking about characters in the first place.
There's also the consideration below:

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
When I encounter what I think of as "immersive" play, it goes a bit beyond what you're describing. I think I could best describe it by saying that the player is taking what I would call "audience" or "experiencer" standpoint, with their focus on their private experience of the virtual reality of their character's awareness of the world, to the point sometimes where they don't try to make it visible what their character is thinking or feeling, either by directly describing it, or by narrating actions and speaking dialogue. It's a very introverted way to approach things. I think I see rpgs as a way for introverts to play at being extroverts, and it kind of derails my GMing style when a player doesn't take up the opportunity.

As a GM I am trying to offer experiences. But I'm also trying to offer affordances: opportunities to act on the world, hints of what actions are possible, and feedback as to the outcome of those actions. The player who puts the "experience" part so far forward that they aren't thinking about what action they can perform is a problem for me, whereas if they come up with an action they'll get experiences in the course of carrying it out.
My experience with introverts vs. extroverts in RPGs is far from positive one. As far as I've seen, GMs advocating enforces extroversy or extroversy-emulation seem to make subtlety of any kind problematic.
I certainly have a problem with players/PCs who do absolutely nothing, as much as any other GM (and am annoyed by them as a player too).
But I find the idea that a character's thoughts need to be as obvious as noon sun to be . . . unpleasant, to say the least. I want, both as a GM and as a player, to see characters capable of plotting and scheming, such that the motivations and intents become clear only in retrospect after several sessions.
But I suspect that the things I object to are not quite the things you're envisioning, at least not completely; maybe there's some sort of golden middle between the two problematic states of things.
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Old 12-01-2014, 05:30 AM   #13
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Default Re: Immersion

For me the moment of immersion is when I'm no longer thinking 'what would my character do next?' but I'm just doing it, just being the person in the situation.

That doesn't mean I'm hallucinating I'm standing on the bridge of an airship or whatever but the personality of the character is so clear and fixed in my mind that I can just decide and speak as them.

And since I don't play introverts in this sort of game (nor the sort of person who wants to go off and quietly run a pub, John Dallman!) I don't sit still and ignore what's going on in the game. I interact with the other players and the GM in persona.
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Old 12-01-2014, 06:14 AM   #14
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Default Re: Immersion

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Originally Posted by Michael Cule View Post
And since I don't play introverts in this sort of game (nor the sort of person who wants to go off and quietly run a pub, John Dallman!) I don't sit still and ignore what's going on in the game. I interact with the other players and the GM in persona.
Since I managed to get hit by a similar misconception the last time that I talked about introvert/extrovert characters and players:
When I say I want it to be okay to be an introvert, I do not mean 'abandon the party and spend the whole campaign in a quiet corner doing nothing of significance'. I mean being able to do what I do without scenery-chewing theatrics, whether IC or OOC.
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Old 12-01-2014, 02:04 PM   #15
johndallman
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Default Re: Immersion

Quote:
Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
It's not action alone that's an issue. My campaigns are mostly pretty heavy on character interaction, which depends a lot on how characters express their attitudes and emotions. Now, we don't have facial expressions, or body language, or all the other things that connect human beings to each other to rely on. So it takes a little description of emotional reactions and attitudes to enable that interaction.
OK, I see where you're coming from. I tend to be generally somewhat inhibited about describing internal feelings (us Brits tend to be repressed about that), and prefer to do it in third person, rather than direct narrative.

However, I'm quite happy to use accents and to attempt to portray body language - probably in rather exaggerated form, but I have no training in acting. Most of the role-players I know will try those things, at least sometimes; we're introverts, but we feel safer doing it among fellow gamers than in more public ways.

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Originally Posted by Anaraxes View Post
The sense I've always had for the word was the state of the game being engaging enough that you can largely forget you're playing a game, and "get into" the story and action.
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Originally Posted by Michael Cule View Post
For me the moment of immersion is when I'm no longer thinking 'what would my character do next?' but I'm just doing it, just being the person in the situation.
I think these are the essence of "immersion" as I use the term. The "mind's eye" view is something I do - it's a visualisation, not a hallucination - but I don't think it's a necessary part of the idea.

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Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
When I say I want it to be okay to be an introvert, I do not mean 'abandon the party and spend the whole campaign in a quiet corner doing nothing of significance'. I mean being able to do what I do without scenery-chewing theatrics, whether IC or OOC.
Hear, hear. Some people don't seem to understand the difference between "acting" and "acting up."
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Old 12-01-2014, 02:17 PM   #16
johndallman
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Default Re: Immersion

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Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
As applied to a player's playstyle: making choices more on IC than OOC considerations, particularly without the need of OOC prods such as being reminded by somebody else about a Disadvantage. Note that using information known to the player but unknown to the character to make a decision that runs counter to the character's psyche is one of the bigger breaks of immersion
Agreed, although we need to distinguish between that and a character doing things that they don't want to, but realise are necessary.
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As applied to dialogue style: keeping the ratio of free indirect speech to indirect speech, and of direct speech to indirect and free indirect combined, as possible.
I am failing to understand your terminology here.
Quote:
  • Keeping the amount of Fridge Logic, Plot Holes etc. to a minimum ...
  • Access to a necessary amount of relevant details....
  • Access to some reasonable amount of background/flavour details that provides RP opportunities (and occasionally investigative utility!) and can be weaved into the narrative, or left alone...
All of these things are part of good GMing and world-building, but their failures don't seem to me to be specifically spoilers of immersion, but of suspension of disbelief, something that's a requirement for the game to work.

Quote:
While the idea of players using their own body language and the like to convey characters is highly praised by the (self-proclaimed, for good or ill) True Roleplayers that I encountered, I'm actually quite opposed to it, because (a) it promotes [method?] actors over roleplayers and (b) it forces one to look at and analyse fellow players and trying to translate that to characters, as opposed to thinking about characters in the first place.
For some of us, not extroverts or talented actors, it is nonetheless easier than enunciating our emotions, our own or those of a character we're immersed in.
Quote:
... I find the idea that a character's thoughts need to be as obvious as noon sun to be . . . unpleasant, to say the least. I want, both as a GM and as a player, to see characters capable of plotting and scheming, such that the motivations and intents become clear only in retrospect after several sessions.
Definitely. I've been making plans about what to do in one game where I fear a fellow-PC might go rogue for several years, and don't expect them to be needed for years more.

Last edited by johndallman; 12-01-2014 at 02:36 PM. Reason: emotions, not motions
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Old 12-01-2014, 02:33 PM   #17
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Default Re: Immersion

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
Agreed, although we need to distinguish between that and a character doing things that they don't want to, but realise are necessary.
Necessity for the character is another thing that seems perpendicular to the issue of self-sustaining vs. enforced adherence to character concept/personality/etc.

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
I am failing to understand your terminology here.
A preference of
  • "Caine, are you going to teleoperate a shell during the salvage, or are you going in personally?"
    is better than
  • Are you going teleoperate a shell during the salvage, or is Caine going in personally?
    is about as good/bad as
  • My character asks Caine whether he is going to teleoperate a shell or personally participate in the salvage
    is better than
  • Who is going to to send their characters into the ship, and whose characters will teleoperate shells going to the ship?

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
All of these things are part of good GMing and world-building, but their failures don't seem to me to be specifically spoilers of immersion, but of suspension of disbelief, something that's a requirement for the game to work.
They're prone to ruin immersion for me. As someone elsewhere pointing out: it utterly defeats the purpose of ominously revealing that an NPC is a Tremere, if it then requires five minutes of OOC explaining what's so scary about the Tremere clan.

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
For some of us, not extroverts or talented actors, it is nonetheless easier than enunciating our motions, our own or those of a character we're immersed in.
Yes, it is easier. And it also focuses on the character more than on the actor.
This is actually something that some people find bizarre about me evaluating films and series characters: I can find a character interesting even if the actor is so-so, and vice-versa.
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Old 12-01-2014, 02:45 PM   #18
johndallman
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Default Re: Immersion

Quote:
Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
A preference of
  • "Caine, are you going to teleoperate a shell during the salvage, or are you going in personally?"
    is better than
  • Are you going teleoperate a shell during the salvage, or is Caine going in personally?
    is about as good/bad as
  • My character asks Caine whether he is going to teleoperate a shell or personally participate in the salvage
    is better than
  • Who is going to to send their characters into the ship, and whose characters will teleoperate shells going to the ship?
OK, with you now. I think of that as the difference between character and player speech, or mixtures. The last is perfectly OK as a GM's question to the players, assuming they've already decided those actions are the options.
Quote:
Yes, it is easier. And it also focuses on the character more than on the actor.
Unfortunately, there was a terrible typo in the sentence you were responding to. I meant to say "enunciating our emotions", not "enunciating our motions". I've edited my posting for the benefit of people who haven't seen it yet.
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Old 12-01-2014, 03:49 PM   #19
vicky_molokh
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Default Re: Immersion

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
OK, with you now. I think of that as the difference between character and player speech, or mixtures. The last is perfectly OK as a GM's question to the players, assuming they've already decided those actions are the options.
It's totally OK for a GM to say to the players, at which point it the players can either switch to 'macro mode' to explain their configuration, or proceed to tell it IC. It's not so okay (though surely there are justifications in some cases) when it's something that a player says in the middle of an otherwise IC dialogue; that breaks immersion.

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
Unfortunately, there was a terrible typo in the sentence you were responding to. I meant to say "enunciating our emotions", not "enunciating our motions". I've edited my posting for the benefit of people who haven't seen it yet.
I'm not sure if my reply stays the same despite the typo, or if I'm not thinking clearly enough to process the change in the nuance of my reply due to the change of the original text. I still think saying motions/moods/etc. of a character out loud is often easier and clearer than conveying them nonverbally. (This is probably a strange thing to say when taken together with my opinion above.)
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Old 12-01-2014, 04:49 PM   #20
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Default Re: Immersion

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
Can we find some terminology for these different things that we call "immersion"?
If I had to take a stab at what Bill is talking about where the player is so into the character's headspace that communication suffers, I'd call it "submersion," in that the player's communications fall off as they become further and further "underwater."

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