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Third, TBM doesn't model individual imaginations. When I say imagination, I mean each player's understanding of the fiction or "shared imaginary space" (SIS) as TBM calls it. The fact is, the thing called the SIS barely exists and no one can put their finger on it. It's like this: We're playing D&D. I describe my character to the other players. Now you have an idea in your head of what I look like, and it's different than mine, guaranteed. But somehow we manage to play together. Sometimes we have to stop and clarify our understanding. There's this idealized fiction that no one can see, but we all agree exists, and we all try to get our own personal fictions to agree with the idealized fiction, but it never happens.That is, I didn't believe in the SIS then either. I talked about "imagination" (PIS now) and referred to "the idealized fiction" (the game state), which I later renamed to "State of Play."
The Fiction itself is divided into two sections. Personal Fiction contains each player's individual mental model of play. Idealized Fiction is the shared model that no one can see or touch, but generally people bump into it indirectly.I'm digging these out again because I still agree with these parts, and I said things in a different way 12 years ago and maybe that will help people understand where I'm coming from.
I think both our terms, "Fantasy" and "Fiction," are inferior to The Big Model's term, "Shared Imaginary Space" (SIS). SIS is a great term because it includes a spot for where play contacts system and stores state of play. That's why I am leaning towards "State of Play" in newer versions of my model. Fiction is still there, but State of Play has a special meaning. I think of State of Play as the RAM of Play.Or this comment:
I realize I'm not explaining this well. Let me try a different way. The state of play necessarily includes more than just fictional elements. It has to maintain state of procedural stuff. It includes stuff like, "You rolled a natural 20!" and "the wizard we met is at least 5th level because he cast fireball." That stuff is not part of the fiction, per se, but is definitely part of the game state, the non-diegetic information about play.
One way to look at my model is as a computer.
You have users (Players), and a computer (Social Contract). The computer takes inputs (Goals of Play) from the users through various channels (Techniques) and then performs an action on it. This action changes the state of its memory (State of Play) a few bits at a time (Ephemera) and is output to the users along various output devices, each of which might change the output a little; thus, each user gets a slightly different result (Personal Fiction).