On 2008-04-18, Marshall wrote:
Okay, yeah, maybe not everyone means the same thing when they say "formal." That hadn't occurred to me.
For my part, when I talk about "formal vs. informal," I don't mean "hard vs. loose," or even "explicit vs. implicit"—I think those are different (but related) issues. I'm talking about rules that are identified, maybe given a name, and elaborated in the text—explicitly OR implicitly. By "identified and elaborated implicitly" I mean that the ramifications of the explicit rules create and enforce the implicit rules inescapably. (Is that really possible? The inescapably bit, I mean? I don't know, but I'm trying for it.) Informal rules, on the other hand, are the ones that people bring to the table themselves; they are not mandated by the text.
By my definition, for example, "the evil fucked up side of guns" from kpfs is formal because it's explicitly identified and discussed (it's also my favorite gun rules ever), and so is the "spend evil to get out of trouble; kill puppies to get evil; killing puppies and spending evil creates trouble" spiral of trouble and degradation because the other rules force it to happen.
(Sorry to use kpfs as an example, heh. But it's the only one of Vincent's games I've had the opportunity to play yet, plus I liked it)