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Old 12-01-2014, 06:26 PM   #21
whswhs
 
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Default Re: Immersion

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Originally Posted by arnej View Post
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."
I first heard it described as "immersion" back when I was first learning about the concept of immersive play, and was asking what that was when it was at home. I don't think I've seen it called anything else. I can see that what you guys are talking about as "immersion" could plausibly be so called, but I haven't encountered a tradition or school of thought that assigns any of those specific meanings to it.

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Old 12-02-2014, 09:39 AM   #22
johndallman
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Default Re: Immersion

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
I can see that what you guys are talking about as "immersion" could plausibly be so called, but I haven't encountered a tradition or school of thought that assigns any of those specific meanings to it.
I don't know about a tradition or school of thought, but I have encountered several groups of gamers who have independently come up with the same term for pretty much the same concept.
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Old 12-02-2014, 10:18 AM   #23
johndallman
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Default Re: Immersion

Doing a bit of searching to see if there's any public consensus...

A questionnaire from a psychology researcher on RPG.net. Unfortunately his definition of immersion is rather vague.

The RPG Talk Wiki has a definition that's pretty compatible with the idea I'm working off.

TvTropes uses "Deep Immersion Gaming" for a way of portraying RPG play in moving-picture media. My natural bias is to regard this as fairly irrelevant, simply because such media get things wrong automatically. It also mentions "immersion gaming" in a LARP sense, which refers to play lasting more than 24 hours, or interacting with the real world, or both.

RPMadeSimple.com defines it in a way that's compatible with the idea I'm using, but is rather evangelistic.

RPG.StackExchange.com has an discussion about what breaks immersion; they aren't defining it, but participants seem to be able to communicate.

Here's someone defining it and discussing what breaks it.

A lengthy Reddit discussion, which I have not read to the end of.

There's weird stuff out there: a book about using role-playing as a college teaching method; the Immersion RPG is in development with large claims [Edit: please don't hold this game against the concept of immersion. The poor little word can't control what people use it for].

Overall, there doesn't seem to be a clear consensus on either of the meanings we've been using in this thread.

Last edited by johndallman; 12-02-2014 at 10:46 AM.
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Old 12-02-2014, 01:26 PM   #24
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Default Re: Immersion

The only immersive role-playing I've done was when I played Aquaman.

*ba-dom-tish*
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Old 12-02-2014, 04:19 PM   #25
Peter Knutsen
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Default Re: Immersion

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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. I've seen the word used that way for other media. I haven't known anyone that uses it in the extreme sense that WHS mentions, though I have indirectly known some gamers strange enough that that might appeal to them.
The way I understand the term is that immersion happens when there is an absence of things that can jar the immersive player out of the immersive state.

Mainly the problem appears to be when the player becomes aware of metagame phenomenae, from which it follows logically that striving to reduce the amount and intensity of metagame phenomenae will have the effect of creating a play enviroment in which immersion is more likely to happen and more likely to be able to persist for longer stretches of time.

One problem with that is that game mechanics themselves can apparently cause problems from immersivists, including the kind of game mechanics which I consider to be extremely good and extremely valuable:
those that simulate the character's skill as opposed to the player's skill, thereby giving all the players at the table the freedom to choose to play characters who are capabilitistically different from themselves.

So as far as I'm concerned, immersivists are very firmly in the player skill camp, which of course makes them incompatible with me, in spite of the fact that we both want to minimize other metagame phenomena.
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Old 12-02-2014, 04:49 PM   #26
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Default Re: Immersion

I count myself as a pro-Immersion and pro-Character Skill importance (not to the point of players becoming irrelevant, of course).
A game mechanic that supports character choices making sense is actually immersion-supporting. It's the Gameplay and Story Segregation that hurts immersion (possibly redundant note: this trope works somewhat differently in TT RPGs than in CRPGs).
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Old 12-02-2014, 04:50 PM   #27
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One problem with that is that game mechanics themselves can apparently cause problems from immersivists
As another example, I wonder about narrativist mechanics. ("Worry" because I don't have a lot of experience with them.) It seems as though stopping to discuss possible forking results an action might have, debating how many plot points to depend, then deciding on the result and unpausing the action to describe it the way it was just negotiated, would interrupt immersion.

Not that dice rolls for any purpose don't also get in the way. In one CoC game, the GM was running Hero Lab (or some such tool), and he could make skill rolls for characters very subtly, with barely a movement to click. So, we'd just have him do all the die rolls and describe results. I kind of miss the rolling of dice, but it did create an interesting (relatively) unbroken experience.
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Old 12-02-2014, 05:15 PM   #28
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Default Re: Immersion

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Originally Posted by Anaraxes View Post
As another example, I wonder about narrativist mechanics. ("Worry" because I don't have a lot of experience with them.) It seems as though stopping to discuss possible forking results an action might have, debating how many plot points to depend, then deciding on the result and unpausing the action to describe it the way it was just negotiated, would interrupt immersion.

Not that dice rolls for any purpose don't also get in the way. In one CoC game, the GM was running Hero Lab (or some such tool), and he could make skill rolls for characters very subtly, with barely a movement to click. So, we'd just have him do all the die rolls and describe results. I kind of miss the rolling of dice, but it did create an interesting (relatively) unbroken experience.
I'm both playing and GMing with subtle rolls, as games occur over Google Chat and Skype Chat Groups. Getting rolls under the table has pluses. But a very important thing is to, each time you make a roll for a PC that is normally supposed to be done by a player, to make sure you narratively describe the outcome in such a way that the player can understand what the character understands.
(I also have Luck on my character, and using it is somewhat immersion-straining, because it adds a confirmation step to hidden rolls, of sorts.)
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Old 12-02-2014, 05:30 PM   #29
johndallman
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Default Re: Immersion

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Originally Posted by Peter Knutsen View Post
Mainly the problem appears to be when the player becomes aware of metagame phenomenae, from which it follows logically that striving to reduce the amount and intensity of metagame phenomenae will have the effect of creating a play enviroment in which immersion is more likely to happen and more likely to be able to persist for longer stretches of time.
It depends just where you draw the metagame line. I can look up GURPS skill numbers, roll against them, and calculate margin of success without breaking immersion. Saying those numbers to the GM in the character's voice may seem a little weird, but it seems to work. The only piece of specifically player ability in there is the ability to add dice and do subtraction without conscious thought.
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Old 12-02-2014, 07:12 PM   #30
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Default Re: Immersion

The idea of "breaking immersion" is the point where the whole thing becomes foreign to me. I play with people who get seriously involved with their characters, and I've had a number of emotionally intense scenes and sessions over the years—for example, the DC Realtime session at whose end the PCs' actions led to Delirium turning back into Delight, which left a roomfull of players in total silence for a full minute. But we talk about rules and mechanics and optimal play strategy, we tell jokes and fall into side chat, and we do a lot of other things that I've seen described as "breaking immersion." One of my players used to compile and publish "secret histories" of the (mostly bawdy) side talk around my gaming tables—including the memorable game where she bared her breasts and asked, "Do you see anything you like," and I answered, "Can I have two inches off the left one?" Whatever immersion is, it's something that our playstyle would seemingly disrupt. And yet I don't believe that what we do is any less profound an experience, at its best, than what the "immersive" players are talking about.

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