[MUD-Dev] Re: Roleplaying and Immersion (was: PermaDeath)

Sayeed yu219121 at YorkU.CA
Sat Feb 27 23:54:48 CET 1999

List down for a while, sorry if I missed posts in this thread.

Ola Fosheim Gr=F8stad olag at ifi.uio.no wrote:
>Sayeed wrote:

>Hmm... Who are "we" and what is meant by "game"? :-)  "Reality" is a
>difficult term to reason about. In the role-playing paradigm one want to
>keep the world disconnected from the physical world in order to ensure
>that the "rules" are not messed up with rules and assumptions from other
>systems (like the physical world), thus one try to preserve the
>"role-playing freedom". This is idealistic of course, most (all?) players
>will have trouble fully separating their character from themselves. For
>instance: if you try to roleplay a funny character, and everybody treats
>you like a boring person...

Oops, forgot to qualify, a problem of mine sometimes. :->  "We" are=20
those of us having trouble immersing ourselves in the world while a=20
"game" is how I defined it earlier, less risk than in what we consider=20
our "Real World." What the gist of it was, however, was that it's hard=20
to role-play and be immersed in a fantasy environment, so it's hard
 to really feel slighted by in-character insults.  Notice I'm=20
differentiating between role-playing and being immersed, both of=20
which may be difficult.  Being immersed is identifying with the world.
Role-Playing is identifying with a specific world.  Hmmmm, I guess an=20
analogy might be being at the same depth in two different seas.  An=20
immersed non-role-player might say, "I AM my character in this=20
WORLD." While a Role-Player must add a clause, "I AM my character in=20
this WORLD, which is a -medieval/fantasy/etc.- world."

>> If someone said "Thou dankish beef-witted haggard." (extreme) to you,
>> would you really identify?
>Yes, if I am truly role-playing I would. Hopefully I would be able to
>shake it of when I go back to the physical world. For me, role-acting
>(role-playing) is to _emotionally_ adopt a new personality (difficult,
>but interesting).  Role-acting is not to ask yourself "what is
>in-character?", because then you are not really immersed. You are then
>simply sitting outside the screen poking into it, intellectually
>manipulating a doll. You should instinctively feel what is right.
>Obviously, this does not come for free, but takes some effort and
>"skill", or at least a lot of time?

Ah, now we're both differentiating.  Role-playing and immersion are=20
different scales, and a non-roleplayer can be far more immersed than a=20
"role-acting" player.  Unfortunately it's sometimes difficult to really=20
identify with insults like that, to really be immersed in a role-playing=20
sense you would hate or be disgusted with the insulting character. =20
Here's a question for you.  A person is interrupted by a kOOlDewd=20
while role-playing.  What does his reaction tell of his personality,=20
role-playing, and immersion?

>Actually, I am more irritated by people attacking me and then asking me
>about how many points they got me down etc. (Ref your own "beyond player
>killing" article, read it yesterday. :). I'm not offended by "fuck you"
>OOC, although IC I probably would be as I look for conflict when
>role-playing. Then again, I am not easily offended in English so this
>perhaps beside the point.

A habit of my family's, ignorance always irritates me (hence I am always
 irritated with myself :-<).  Illustrates a point though, we can be=20
irritated in a role-playing sense or in an immersive sense and this=20
provokes thought on the relations between the "scales."  Hmmmmm. =20
Surprised that you read it, I'd be interested in comments.

>> Example:  From the hundreds women I've made love to, the time I was
>> most 'immersed' (not necessarily in a good way & no pun intended) was
>> when I couldn't resist that HIV+ girl.  An exciting, dangerous, immersive
>> experience which I can remember.  The risk helped in making it, amid
>> many similar experiences, more 'immersive,' but perhaps 'real' is too
>> vague a term.=20

>If this is true, then it would only apply to thrill seekers, I think? I
>would personally be distracted by the fear for getting a deadly
>disease... But my example wasn't a good one, as there is some major
>difference between making love (to someone you admire) and being horny
>and having sex...

I think enjoyment and immersiveness are two different scales.  However,
are caused solely by one factor (and can be interrelated?).  Immersiveness
will be increased by risk, but also possibly by other facters (?). =20
If I tell a child, "Go out into the real world." I am telling him to=20
go from the shelter of his parents into a world with risks.  For a=20
thrill seeker the scales are related.  If you were distracted in the=20
above example though, I would still say you would be more immersed,=20
though it would not be a pleasant immersion.  I think people use the=20
words, "Heightening the experience" in referring to danger.  Heightening=20
the immersiveness?

>I think it really depends on the person and situation, but I think that
>MUDs have a problem by heavily enforcing a particular focus instead of
>providing a structure or domain in which the user finds his own focus.
>Difficult balance. If it is to heavily biased towards one "tool", such as
>risk, then it becomes too much of a linear game and not really a world.
>If the user doesn't find anything to focus on then he won't be able to
>immerse himself into the environment.

I agree tools can be used to fix things and bash people over the head
 with.  I view permadeath more of a tool for creating risk, and risk
 essential for immersion.  An example of tool-bashing would be risking=20
your entire life every time you fight a rabbit.  Balance is necessary=20
to achieve your objective.

>As you suggested with your reference to VR, there are at least two
>aspects of immersion. One is perception, which is researched by the VR
>community, usually called "presence". Which btw is the name of the VR
>journal (I think you can find it at MIT press, with some free articles).
>Then you have the psychologists who research experience. It is my opinion
>that the latter is the more powerful aspect of immersion.  A good sign of
>being immersed into an activity is that you cannot account for the time
>spent on the activity. The activity should be complex enough  to "fill
>your brain", thus preventing you from being distracted by the physical
>world, daydreaming, worries etc.  The activity does not necessarily have
>to be difficult, it could be emotionally or perceptionally stimulating.

>Ola Fosheim Groestad,Norway      http://www.stud.ifi.uio.no/~olag/

And psychological and physical immersion are also interconnected.  A=20
physical condition provides opportunities of potential immersion (of=20
various degrees), the effect of which depends on each individual. =20
Interesting point, are two discrete things, "attention immersion,"=20
(captivating people for a length of time) and "world immersion,"=20
(captivating people in a "broader" range) or are they different ends=20
of the same scale?  When I play chess I recognize I'm playing a game,
yet when I play a Mud I try to forget that.

Examples-  I can play cards for hours and hours.  I can write about=20
topics that interest me for hours and hours.  I can play an online=20
game for hours and hours.

Are there different types (scales) for immersion?  Perhaps the investment
of emotion the game requires and receives decides this?


yu219121 at yorku.ca

"And those who danced were thought to be quite insane, by those who
couldn't hear the music."

MUD-Dev maillist  -  MUD-Dev at kanga.nu

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