2005-06-06 : Immersion, Rewrite
Oh man, I just totally figured out how to talk about this.
Subtle rules, right? Subtle design goals?
 The affirmed rightness of your vision
This is social. Your fellow players share ownership of your character, remember; you want and need for them to affirm that your vision of your character is right. They trust you with your character. They won't step in and contradict, override, undercut.
 Permission to act with passion
Furthermore, whatever you have your character do, they won't react defensively. If your character threatens something they value, they'll deal with the threat passionately in response, but without ever carrying the struggle up into the social level.
You aren't constrained by the fear that having your character act might step on someone else's toes.
 Faith in the robustness of the game's fiction
And you have to trust that the game has room for your character in it. You can't be worrying whether this decision that your character's making might break the game. You have to know, securely enough that it's unconscious, that even if your character transforms the game entirely, the game'll survive.
Charles proposes a fourth:
I would add an additonal underpinning, which is  the degree to which the mechanic requires a state of mind which is similar to the PC state of mind. If my PC is trying to be totally open and honest with another character, and the mechanics for doing so pit us as players against each other in a competitive bidding war where one of us will lose and one of us will win, then that would seem to create a conflict between what I am experiencing as player, and what I am experiencing IC, and that may act to the detriment either of my ability to effectively use the rules, or to effectively remain immersed in my character, or both. If the mechanics instead involved us as players working together against abstract difficulty, then that might better mirror the IC situation, and better allow us to remain immersed.
I think that a game design that fulfilled these design goals would create extremely intense, profound play. Furthermore, I think that as a design challenge it's an excellent one: difficult but not impossible, at the frontier of theory, compelling and immediate, practically guaranteed to make a successful game.
Anybody have any thoughts about what the design might look like?
1. On 2005-06-06, Jonas Barka said:
2. On 2005-06-06, JasonL said:
3. On 2005-06-06, Matt Wilson said:
4. On 2005-06-08, timfire said:
5. On 2005-06-08, Vincent said:
6. On 2005-06-08, Jason Petrasko said:
7. On 2006-04-08, Vincent said: