Monday, January 16, 2017

Player Fidelity: the basic idea (Enchanted Assemblages)

A non-literal representation of a philosophical concept (Fidelity)

Most adventures do not demand that you adhere to any code of conduct while playing the game; well, okay, most online games do have a basic sort of code—so-called ‘community standards’—which act as guidelines and proscribes punishment for those who venture outside the acceptable rules. But, community standards is different than actually adhering to the game in its entirety.

                If you play an online game, then it is natural to lapse into talk of the contemporary world while playing—your habits as a player, developer gossip and the like. From here, it is little of a rush to forget the game more generally; this tends to happen in MMORPGs and competitive first person shooters.

                In my own adaptation I strive to freeze this behavior. How? By pushing player fidelity.
                In more ways than one, my own adaptation is similar to an online game: there is a premise, multiple users, and interactions with those other users in the shape of response to previous players’ sediments (their comments/contributions to the game world). On top of that, there is an overarching mythos to the world which inspires player commitment.

                Where my own adventure differs, though, is that it is a more technical experience; or, in layman’s terms, somewhat of a steep learning curve in that the experience is highly abstracted and based on how players ‘read’ and interpret the game world at large. 

All of this requires that the player follow a certain set of rules in order to fully appreciate the experience. Because the adventure is hosted on a blog, it is quite different from that of a computer or console based video game. Since the poetics are different, it requires a different way of engagement. Below are some of the ways which I have devised for the player who wishes to become part of the game world.

1.       Choose an identity and adhere to that identity for their time within the game world; they should always end a post with a signature of some kind, something which uniquely marks them as unique agents.
2.       They must refrain from trolling or spamming both their interpretations as well as non-game related minutia (advertisements and the like).
3.       Take the adaptation at face value and refrain from imposing their own views within their interpretation (there will be a separate section for criticisms and comments).
4.       When borrowing material from other users, they must cite those authors from whom they are borrowing from.
5.       Listen to the general rules of the game without seeking ways to obstruct or cheat at the game.
6.       Refrain from embedding their comments with outside links to material unrelated to the adaptation (with the possible exception of fan-sites).
7.       Bookmark their progress for easy access to their favorite parts of the game for easy sharing.
8.       Maintain belief in the game world; do not break character.

I feel that these guidelines are the best minimum set that could be applied to something like Enchanted Assemblages. Philosophically, of course, the idea of Fidelity goes deeper than what this post suggests; as it is an idea pilfered from contemporary philosopher Alain Badiou, and means when an agent adheres to a pre-eventual formation, it has some deep connotations which I simply cannot get into right now. However, this idea will be fully explored either at a later blog post, or within the actual academic essay which will (eventually) accompany the adaptation itself.

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