So, you've got a question about Reality have you? Well look below, because it's probably there. If for some reason you can't find it then pop over to the forum where there's plenty of people waiting to discuss all things on-the-norm with you.
Q: So what is Reality On The Norm, anyway?
The RON game series formed when some members of the AGS community decided to do a group project - although RON can best be described as a concept, rather than as a project in itself. It involves the creation of a central environment - in our case, the Reality-on-the-Norm town. Each member of the team creates his or her own game as a chapter to be added to all the previously achieved ones, thus creating a collective and diverse "book" of several independent yet coherent chapters.
Q: How long has RON been around?
The first RON game, "Lunchtime of the Damned," was released on February 17th, 2001.
RON History and Geography
Q: Where is RON located?
RON is "nowhere." Although individual game makers may choose to think of RON as being in their own home country. Overall, RON could not be said to exist in any of these countries. It is not in England, America, or anywhere else for that matter. It does (sometimes) have a vaguely British feeling. Nevertheless, its home country has never been explicitly stated.
Q: What are the politics of the town? What about currency?
RON has an elected mayor governing the town. The currency of RON is based around the "Reality Dollar" bill. Other pieces of currency include the "Reality Quarter".
Q: What is the history of the town?
The great Norm Barnaby discovered and named the river Norm on which Reality is built. RON is also near an ocean (west of the town) and is fairly hilly area with mountains and a forest nearby. In the year 1487, the knight Sigismund Jones searched for a sanctuary in a time when all hell was breaking loose, and he found his sanctuary in RON - staying to establish the great Jones family line. A detailed timeline in pdf format can be downloaded from the resources section, the timeline is also available in html format. .
Q: What is the geography of the town?
Brandon Klassen (Relight) put together two maps for his upcoming game "The Powers That Be," researched to make as much sense as possible with all previous RON games (as of March 26, 2003). For comments, questions, additions or changes, email Relight.
Based in part on Brandon Klassen's maps, Dylan Downing (Renegade Implementor) went back and created new maps that would provide as much detail as possible (as of September 28, 2009). For comments, questions, additions or changes, email Renegade Implementor.
Dylan Downing (Renegade Implementor) has provided a detailed version of the map of RON University which appears in "Stuck at Home."
Important Character Information
Q: What's the deal with Davy Jones? Is he dead or what?
Yes. And no. It's a tricky issue. Here's the story in a quick nutshell:
During the first year of RON's existance, someone wanted to kill of Davy Jones, so he created a game where Davy is dead, but left the details a bit vauge ("Davy Jones C'est Mort"). This caused some controversy. Eventually, someone else created a game where Davy Jones comes back to life ("Davy Jones is Back.") This caused even more controversy. As things stand now, the general consensus seems to be that Davy died in some strange unexplained way and was resurrected in an equally obscure fashion. If you want Davy to be dead, do so. Just make sure the it takes place between the two death/ressurection games.
Q: Can I kill any other characters off?
No. The attempt to kill off Davy Jones caused nothing but trouble, and is something the RON community does not want to repeat. The premise behind RON is that the characters, backgrounds and plots belong to EVERYONE. Please respect that.
Q: Can I create a new character and kill them off in the same game?
Yeah, this is fine. As long as the character isn't a firmly established one, feel free to inflict as messy a death as you wish.
Q: What's the deal with the homeless bum? Who is he?
He's everyone and nobody. It's complicated. See his character page for more info.
Q: Can I make a game revealing the bum's true identity?
The general consensus in the RON community is a resounding "No." Most people like the bum as he is, and that giving him a true identity or genuine personality would ruin the joke. Again, please respect that.
Q: There seems to be a lot of characters, just how many are there?
Short answer: over 100. Due to the large cast, Dylan Downing (Renegade Implementor) created a line-up of both major and minor characters. Any characters not in this line-up can be found in the Characters section. For comments, questions, additions or changes, email Renegade Implementor.
Q: I enjoyed Joseph J. Reinemann's Shadows of RON. I'm interested in reading his book series Shadows of Time, but I can't find them in any major or online bookstore. Are they available?
According to Joseph, they are only available in his home state of Wisconsin (USA). If you would like to order copies of his books, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: I want to contribute to the RON universe, but I don't want to write a game. What else can I do?
Good question! There are other ways to add to the RON lexicon. There have been RON prose stories, comic strips and even animated flash movies! Feel free to add whatever you like. Anything that is fun, entertaining, or even just plain useful is welcome.
Playing RON Games
Q: How do I play a RON game?
First, download the game from the games page. Unzip the distribution file into its own directory. It's a good idea to put each game in a seperate directory. Most game authors will include a "readme.txt" with information for you and "setup.bat". Double click on "setup.bat" to configure your sound and video resolution before playing. Then, double click the game file to play the game.
Q: Some of the early games won't work!
The early RoN games (2001-2002) were written with the DOS version of the AGS engine, and DOS programs aren't very friendly with Windows XP. There are a few things you can do, although results may vary. You can: run the games in Windows 95 mode. You can try to run the games with programs like Dosbox or Microsoft Virtual PC 2007. You could also ask the original author if they kept the source files and can recompile a new version.
Creating RON Games
Q: Can anyone make a RON game?
Yes. The Reality-On-The-Norm universe is open to anyone and everyone.
Q: I have an idea for a RON game. What's the first step?
The first item on your agenda is to go to the plot forum on the message boards. This is too avoid too many story inconsistencies between different upcoming games. Inconsistencies are bound to happen, but using this forum will hopefully minimize the occurances. If your idea conflicts with somebody else's, then you should contact each other and work it out between yourselves.
The next thing to do is to examine the maps and other reference material to make sure you're not contradicting previous events or locations.
Q: I want to create a new character for RON.
Great! But before you start creating your character, browse the character page and see if an existing character will work instead. If you want to write a detective mystery game, for example, an appropriate character to use would be private eye Max Griff. Creating another detective, with a similar personality and interests, would just dilute the character pool. This isn't a requirement, but it is something to think about when planning your game.
Q: What software can I use to make a RON game?
Most of the existing RON games have been made with AGS (Adventure Game Studio), a free, easy-to-use game creation system. Of course, you are free to make your game with any method you please.
Q: I'm having trouble drawing characters and backgrounds.
Not to fear! Most RON characters are based on other characters (i.e., Death was created by taking the Davy Jones sprites, removing the glasses, adding a hood, and coloring his face white), so feel free to do the same. You have about a dozen character templates available to you. Think about the type of character you want, and use one of the other characters as a starting point. Just try not and make it TOO similar.
Given the large number of available backgrounds, editing an existing background to name a new one is pretty easy. All you need to do is find a background that suits your needs and make whatever adjustments you need (Max Griff's office is an edited version of Mr. Namyah, Simon Jones' bedroom is an edit of Davy's bedroom).If, however, you're still having trouble, don't be afraid to ask for help on the forum or at the AGS forum.
However, please don't use art from other people's games, especially commercial releases. Copyright applies, even if individuals don't have the same clout as software companies.
Q: Hey! What gives? The character/background I need isn't in the resource files!
Yes, this can happen. RON has gotten quite large over the last two years and keeping a perfect record of all the characters and backgrounds is nearly impossible. Some fall through the cracks. If you need a particular background or character, email the creator privately or post a (polite) request on the forum. Also, remember that you can grab a screenshot of any AGS game by hitting F-12, or the "Print Screen" button.
Q: My game is done. What now?
Congratulations! Before making the game available, it is recommended that you beta test the game first.
Q: Beta testing? What's that?
Beta testing is a process where a few people play through your game and make comments and suggestions. They look for bugs, typos, gameplay issues and any other problems. It's a nice way to tighten up the game before the official release. A few fresh pairs of eyes looking at your game will usually reveal many things you never considered. Especially if you're new to the RON universe.
Q: Do I have to beta test?
No. Beta testing is not required, but it is highly recommended.
Q: Where do I find beta testers?
The best resource is the RON community itself. Just post a note on the forum. There are always many people willing to test out a new game.
Q: Once my game is finished, how do I make my game available for the masses to enjoy?
The best way to get a game on the site is to email it or the url to one of the admins, currently Dylan. They'll get it up on the site for you. In addition to the game files, it would help if you included the following:
- a screenshot of the game (320 x 200)
- pictures of new characters (100 x 100)
- written description for any characters you made
- any new backgrounds you made (.pcx format)
- character files for any characters you made (.cha format)
Q: I submitted my game but got an email telling me it wasn't acceptible. Why?
The email you received will have informed you that your game has violated RON policy and where the infraction has occured. We ask that people observe the following:
- don't kill off other people's characters
- don't reveal the bum's true identity
- don't steal art for other games (commercial or otherwise) and pass it off as your own
Q: How do I make a character (.cha) file?
In order for others to use your characters, you need to create a character file that others can import into their games. To do this, follow these steps:
- Open AGS and load up your game.
- Go to the "character" tab
- Click on the character you want to export
- Click on the "Export" button
- Viola! You have an exported character file.
Q: Who are the admins?
The current "powers that be" are:
- Dylan Downing (Renegade Implementor) - Admin and shadowy manipulator. Responsible for keeping the site in some resemblence of order.
- James Gardner (Bumblearse) - Database demi-god. He's responsible for the backend database system that organizes all the games, characters and creators into some kind of cohesive sense. He's also responsible for the site redesign.
- Dylan Downing