The Puppetmaster-Player Communication Dynamic in Alternate Reality Gaming and Chaotic Fiction

Architect/Puppetmaster Sphere
Architect/Puppetmaster Sphere

The Architect Sphere is described as a traditional project management framework. While it is conceivable to have an open-source style Puppetmaster team, I think that the efficiency and control that a standard discipline-model structure provides is extremely important to the effective management of the system. Furthermore, any attempts at managing or controlling the system itself are up to the Architects as the Audience, inherently, has no direction.

The first tier, in terms of least effectiveness within the metaconversation (although it is the natural foundation for any effectiveness by the Architect Sphere) is the Production level. Producers are generally drivers and funders and may not have much direct access to the metaconversation. This tier produces the campaign rather than the specific content contained within.

The second tier is Management, which is responsible for the efficient internal functioning of the team, and is likely in charge of directing the production (think: film director). Again, this layer will likely have no direct contact with the metaconversation, although they will indirectly control the Architect's side of it. This tier is vital to ensuring the next three tiers function as well as possible.

These next three tiers include the rest of the Puppetmaster team, but as terms, they do not correspond to standard business structures, as they are defined by their thresholds of influence on the experience and the metaconversation.

Unintended Exposure refers to assets, identities, and other information that relates to the experience and which could influence it in unintended ways if revealed. This includes things such as the premature discovery of a series of videos, or meta-slips that provide unintended clues to future plot developments. Obviously, Management will want to minimize the effect of this tier on any campaign.

Intended Exposure is the flip side of the previous, where the information or assets are revealed in a purpose-driven manner, generally with a particular intended reaction in mind. This is the production of effective content, which may or may not be interactive. This tier marks a sharp rise in influence on the experience.

Intentional Action refers to things that happen rather than things that are. These could be live events, real-time updates, character-to-player interaction, or all the other lovely realistic things that can be done to actively influence and effect an ARG experience. This tier has the most – and most direct – influence on the metaconversation.

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