[ by Charles Cameron — among other things, a great lecture on complexity / complicity in a complex world ]
I am always on about form, practicing ways of seeing form, of recognizing pattern in the very structure and logic of events — as though that practice were practical, had some eventual fruitfulness in practice, in the world of worldly affairs. And it may seem strange, erratic, off-course to many of my readers here, especially those who arrive in mid-stream, or with expectations of specifically strategic insight.
The other day I watched a lecture a friend of mine gave a couple of years back, and I wanted to bring it here because — tangentially — with its loops and diagrams it shows underlying form as it in-forms the games we play, the worlds they conjure, the ways we understand and navigate them, and the world around us — in which we find ourselves, and on which they are, however remotely and ingeniously, based.
My friend Mike has been lead designer on Sims 2 and Ultima Online among other games, and is currently a Professor of Practice in game design at Indiana University, Bloomington.
More from Sellers’ bio:
He has a Bacon Number of 2 and hopes someday to have an Erdos Number.
Oh — and he was an extra — lucky dog, sorta — in Francis Ford Coppola‘s Apocalypse Now.
My own analytic approach, my insistence on monitoring form as well as content, and my own HipBone Games all work at the underlying / subconscious level at which Mike pitches his talk. I hope this helps you understand what I’m about — but even if it doesn’t, it’s a fine introduction to game design and the understanding of a complex world by the man who famously reminded his fellow game designers:
An idea isn’t a design. A design is not a program. A program is not a product. A product is not a business. A business is not profit. Profit is not happiness.
[ by Charles Cameron — A Russian tanker-toy saga ]
Another contribution to the maxcro / micro, war / games displays in my mental cabinet of wonders:
I’m sorry, this was about the only screen-grab I could manage that showed both the toy tank and its war-fighting seniors. In the children’s story, the toy tank gets left at the tank museum overnight, and is shocked and awed by the realities of which it is but a simulacrum — the OT 76, T 72, and most particularly the T-14 Armata super-tank.
The equation war : war games :: T-14 : toy tank eiher understates the significnce of the T-14 or exaggerates that of the toy — but equations between simulacrum and reality lie at the heart of such philosophical excursions as Baudrillard‘s Simulacra and Simulations, with its phony epigraph, a simulacrum of a quote from Ecclesiastes:
The simulacrum is never that which conceals the truth—it is the truth which conceals that there is none.
In the case of this children’s book, we can postulate another equation: Russia : propaganda :: factory : advertising.
But see for yourself, some of the details are hilarious:
"Countries where there are wars buy tanks from our factory". A Russian tank factory has published this book for children. A video review. pic.twitter.com/JtkLC7HZJP
The simple excellence of rulesets in agent-based modeling is wonderfully demonstrated by the way the eye can “recognize” the movements on a flock of birds or a school of fish in Craig Reynolds‘ boids — rulesets notably simpler than the explanations for flocking behavior previously suggested by biologists.
Metacognitive question: what’s the cognitive means by which we humans can “see” that the boid simulation is a sufficiently accurate representation of birds flocking and fishes schooling to account for them? — and ditto for birds flocking and fishes schooling, how do we “see” them as naturally equivalent? — and ditto for those birds flocking and fishes schooling and our earlier biological accounts of their behaviors? —
With a hypothesis, we can test by finding predictable or disconfirmative instances beyond those on which the hypothesis is suggested.. but when the similarity is visually perceived?
[ by Charles Cameron — what’s true of hex maps is true of all mental models ]
There’s a certain let-your-hair-down quality to play.
It appears that one Tausendsassa Friedensreich Regentag Dunkelbunt Hundertwasser said or perhaps wrote, muttered, whispered, shouted, or simply thought out loud, “the straight line is a godless line” — at any rate, someone noticed and recorded the phrase, and now it’s scattered across the net and difficult to track to its source.
But we do love order, don’t we?
And so the rivers on our hexagonal maps all too easily follow the hexagons..
when they’d more realistically cross over them, following their own courses:
and note how easily even our efforts to bring natural variety to our hexagonal mappings conform more to hexagons than to variety.
A traditional Vietnamese Zen garden is very different from a Japanese Zen garden. Our Zen gardens, called hon non bo, are wild and exuberant, more playful than the formal Japanese gardens with their restrained patterns. Vietnamese Zen gardens are seriously unserious. For us, the whole world is contained in this peaceful place. All activities of life unfold in true peace in the garden: in one part, children will be playing, and in another part, some elderly men will be having a chess game; couples are walking; families are having picnics; animals are free to wander around. Beautiful trees are growing next to abundant grasses and flowers. There is water, and there are rock formations. All ecologies are represented in this one microecology without discrimination. It is a miniature, peaceful world. It is a beautiful living metaphor for what a new global ethic could bring.
Here is the wrestling of a tree with such angels as gravity, sun, wind and rain:
Here is the wild calligraphy of the Rio Mamoré across the forests of the Amazon basin:
Zenpundit is a blog dedicated to exploring the intersections of foreign policy, history, military theory, national security,strategic thinking, futurism, cognition and a number of other esoteric pursuits.