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Chris: "Representations, however, always generate some fictional truths, and thus have a fictional world (a work world) associated with them.... These principles, by which the fictional truths are implied or generated, are the subject of next week's instalment."

The "principle of generation" are in fact the part of your presentation that seem least obvious to me - in other words: in my understanding it remains quite unclear if the "fictional truths" should be seen as properties (or maybe mental constructs/models) associated with "representations" are rather properties associated with the minds of individual persons (always limited by a certain social context). Could you add a comment on what is the relation between a representation and a player/observer/person? Does the person observe the representation or does she "generate" it?

translucy: good question, although one that might become clearer with this Thursday's post.

The way Walton paints this is that the appreciator of an artwork enters into a fictional world (in their imagination), in which the work acts as a prop prescribing specific imaginings. Each individual appreciator enters their own fictional world, because each appreciator imagines different things, or at least could do so.

However, Walton asserts that there are some fictional truths which it is essentially impossible to avoid imagining with any given work without being wilfully obfuscatory (see the paragraph above with respect to what is imagined with Starry Night). This subset of the fictional truths in *all* the fictional worlds of the games of appreciators played with any given prop is the fictional world of the prop itself, the work world.

So in answer to your question, all the fictional truths are in effect properties or constructs of the minds of appreciators, but whatever subset of these can be reasonably construed to be universal (without stepping into clearly unauthorised territory) are considered to belong to the work world.

But the work world is still, in effect, a property of the minds of the appreciators when you think about it. For instance, critics of art may discuss the work world (rather than the fictional world of games they play with a prop) - which is to say, part of the role of the art critic is to determine which fictional truths are inherent to a particular work and explore
how they are generated.

So the appreciator, by engaging or observing the artwork, enters into a fictional world (in their imagination) using the representation as a prop. They do not generate the representation as such. This is assumed to have an objective existence of its own, as the art object. But one does not objectively interact with the representation - we cannot - we can only do so in our imagination, when that representation serves as a prop prescribing specific imaginings.

Did that clarify, or further obfuscate the issue? :)

Thanks, Chris.

"...the appreciator of an artwork enters into a fictional world (in their imagination)...But one does not objectively interact with the representation - we cannot - we can only do so in our imagination, when that representation serves as a prop prescribing specific imaginings."

The concept of "entering a world" as well as the general approach of trying to detail the modes of interaction rather than speculating about "minds and objects" in an absolute sense sound quite familiar to me - I still need to think about this but it seems to me that there a parallels to the concepts of "autopoiesis" and "structural coupling" in systems theory.

translucy: very much interested in how your investigations turn out! The two subjects seem quite remote on the surface, but as is so often the case an enquiring mind can find new perspectives by taking advantage of the intersections between diverse sources.

All the best!

Hi Chris, lots of interesting concepts here, and I think your basic principle is sound, but I have a couple of issues with this piece.

First, on a relatively trivial factual basis, Sid Meier has said that the first Civilization game was not inspired by the board game of the same name. Meier says he hadn't played the board game when he made it, and was instead inspired by SimCity, Railroad Tycoon and Risk. Having played both myself, this is consistent with the actual game mechanics of the video game bearing no real relation to those of the board game, and any similarities in game concepts being superficial at best.

Secondly, suggesting that counter-based hobby boardgames get away with using only counters because the "audience can be expected to be more imaginative" is perhaps a little glib. There are many other reasons for this, including the cost of manufacturing relative to the size of the market. This wouldn't be worth noting if it weren't related to part of the basis of the conclusion, that "gamer hobbyists... are generally imaginative enough to put themselves in anyone's shoes". Were I to look at the market, I might suggest gamer hobbyists are generally imaginative enough to indulge in adolescent power fantasies, often involving bald space marines.

This brings me to the biggest issue I see: the concept of a prop is uncritically applied to game avatars without any discussion of the difference between an on-screen element in a video game and a physical game piece or stage prop. I would have no issues applying the concept to, say, a Guitar Hero controller, which is obviously a prop in the same sense. But if you want to apply it to an avatar, there needs to be some discussion and handling of the differences, most prominently the vastly reduced tactile interaction with the avatar.

Adrian: You say,

"Sid Meier has said that the first Civilization game was not inspired by the board game of the same name. Meier says he hadn't played the board game when he made it, and was instead inspired by SimCity, Railroad Tycoon and Risk."

Can you attribute this to a tangible source? I'm interested, because other sources (including the Trivipedia er... Wikipedia) state that Meier admitted "borrowing" many of the technology tree ideas from the board game. Furthermore, the original version of the computer game included a flyer for ordering the boardgame, strongly suggesting a lineage.

On the subject of counters, yes, they are wildly cheaper to print (something I have discovered myself in my ongoing attempt to get my own boardgames in print) but this doesn't change the fact that they work because the boardgame hobbyists will tolerate them.

"Were I to look at the market, I might suggest gamer hobbyists are generally imaginative enough to indulge in adolescent power fantasies, often involving bald space marines."

*grins* Sure, it can seem this way at times, especially if you look at Games Workshop's output or focus solely on the videogames industry without taking into account actual sales figures (look at how few space marine games clear 5 million units, for instance). This says more about the people who make such games and the process they are embedded within than it does about the players, though.

On the specific subject of boardgames, Games Workshop are far from the leading publisher of hobbygames, and although sales figures in this marketplace are harder to come by, the two biggest winners in hobbygame market terms - D&D and M:TG - all get by with a minimum of props. In M:TG it's not a counter, per se, but a card, but the principle surely is the same (as is your point about cost!)

As for the difference in tactile interaction - why make this an issue? I'm not disputing that tactility can be an importance aspect of some props (it certainly is in the case of the guitar controller) but in Walton's system every painting, every movie, every novel is a prop - the question of tactility is left behind almost immediately in this model. Sculpture is not necessarily a more compelling prop than a painting, despite the affordance for tactility.... in fact, I suspect many people find the painting easier to use as a prop.

Many thanks for your thoughtful comment!

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