The performance of actions or utterances of one's character.
Players in games are often given characters to control and can through these perform actions in the game. Enactment occurs when players are actually performing the actions that their characters are doing.
- 1 Examples
- 2 Using the pattern
- 3 Consequences
- 4 Relations
- 5 History
- 6 References
- 7 Acknowledgements
Enactment is one of the sought after player activities in Tabletop Roleplaying Games such as Dungeons & Dragons, Fiasco, and Paranoia. It occurs less frequently in Massively Multiplayer Online Games but some servers for games such as World of Warcraft are dedicated to roleplaying and MUDs such as DragonMud focus upon it.
While a player that pressed the jump button in a Super Mario game can make Mario jump, that player is activating and not performing a jump.
Using the pattern
Unless using Mimetic Interfaces, Enactment requires the presence of Characters - either those controlled by players or by Game Masters - and players may be inspired to perform Enactment simply because these Characters exist or because they are engaging in Roleplaying. However, Enactment is not something required in most games with Characters, with the exception of Live Action Roleplaying Games. It is something typically strived for by players and game masters in Tabletop Roleplaying Games. Warming-Up Roleplay Exercises are various activities developed for Live Action Roleplaying Games that help players prepare and train for Enactment.
Enactment can be done by small means. In Tabletop Roleplaying Games, players can say what their Characters say and look, point, etc. at the other players to indicate that their Characters are doing these actions. Physical Enactment is the Enactment of actions that require larger movement or more demanding skills (one common difference is that non-physical Enactment does not require Dexterity-Based Actions), and when combined with Roleplaying this gives rise to Live Action Roleplaying.
A weak form of Enactment is when players describe what their Characters do. This is often interwoven with the previous form of Enactment in Tabletop Roleplaying Games but in games with Illocutionary Interfaces or Mediated Gameplay this may be the only way actions are presented, i.e. Chat Channels or Communication Channels are the media through which these actions are presented. Emotes can be an important tool in these situations and blurs the lines of what is Enactment since some of these activate animated sequences for Avatars.
Contextualization is an option for games with Enactment so that Scenes can be inserted where players can enact backstories or glimpses of futures. Prompting Techniques can be used in Enactment to help players negotiate or signal changes in Scenes but is primarily used in games with Physical Enactment.
Diegetic Consistency can be created from having players enact their Characters actions. However, there is a risk of breaking Diegetic Consistency whenever players have the chance of including non-diegetic concepts into Enactment.
Enactment is an Interface Pattern.
The combination of Enactment and Roleplaying typically gives rise to Storytelling. As gameplay based on Enactment provides performances by players, the use of it motivates the presence of ways to make recordings of these, i.e. Replays, to view or present later; this is however most likely the case if the Enactment is actually Physical Enactment.
Enactment allows actions to be slightly different from each other, and since this can depend on the surroundings in which the actions are performed, the pattern allows for Performance Uncertainty and Context Dependent Reactions. Successfully performing the required actions can provide players with a sense of Role Fulfillment. While not all Enactment requires Social Skills, those that include interacting with other people typically do.
All effects of Enactment which does not affect the game state is Extra-Game Consequences that in many cases also can provide Social Rewards as others can appreciate the performances. However, Enactment can give rise to Player/Character Skill Composites when the Enactment of players can affect other players' behavior or the opinion of Game Masters. That said, players may identify more with their Characters by having performed their actions themselves, and through this gain an Emotional Attachment to them.
Enactment is often a form of Social Interaction, especially when two or more players are engaged in it at the same time. This can lead to players Competing for Attention, especially in games with Game Masters. Further, Enactment is a skill and becoming good at it is a form of Gameplay Mastery. The two points, and the fact that Enactment draws attention argues why Enactment support the "exhibitionist" Social Role.
Competing for Attention, Context Dependent Reactions, Diegetic Consistency, Emotional Attachment, Extra-Game Consequences, Gameplay Mastery, Performance Uncertainty, Player/Character Skill Composites, Role Fulfillment, Social Interaction, Social Rewards, Social Roles, Social Skills
Can Be Instantiated By
Can Be Modulated By
Possible Closure Effects
Potentially Conflicting With
New pattern created in this wiki.