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Unravelling the Secrets of "Normality" (1996)

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#41 JMickle

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 04:32 PM

this is an incredible thread and i had no idea what was going on here

 

 

i would absolutely love to try and make a game out of the engine but i fear I would have too much trouble understanding things. If a team is formed I will definitely be up for helping out!



#42 denzquix

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 05:32 PM

animation is done!! i'll write up the tech details soon, right now it's time for a sprite party

 

IEsRBXO.gifrnQ8H35.gifwNDS6HX.gif

JvRXbdb.gifhWp85Lc.gif4LzRRKK.gif

oKx9lza.gifJzrXw10.gifkrwksaJ.gif

5z8HLnG.gifO17imvV.giftvdZKOh.gif

 

I would love to make a faithful recreation of Kent's Apartment inside a browser window using maybe something like WebGL.

here is every sprite and texture from kent's apartment

imgur album part 1: http://imgur.com/a/UiqWy/layout/blog
imgur album part 2: http://imgur.com/a/SaUtx/layout/blog
single zip file: https://www.dropbox....nt_graphics.zip




finally... there is an issue of much debate & controversy, that today's sewer rat secret can finally lay to rest...

via sprite metadata analysis I can exclusively confirm that this rat:


 
 

yEqL041.gif

 
 

...is smoking weed:
 
 

XuK2gCg.png
the truth...



#43 bonzi_buddy

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 06:51 PM

ahhahahahahahahaaaa youuuuuuuu ruuuuuuuuleeeeeeeeeeeeee



#44 dada

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 06:55 PM

this is the best topic in the history of salt world. thank you for the sprites! would also love to get a full sprite zip eventually just because this is probably my fav game ever and I'd like to examine whatever bits you've found out. I think I'll also dig up my old contact at gremlin and see if he wants to take a look at this topic.



#45 denzquix

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 06:23 PM

glad you like it!! i'll do a full zip soon

ok here's the decoder for an animation frame
Spoiler


#46 denzquix

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 11:32 PM

thanks to dada I've been looking at the US version with Corey Feldman doing the voice of Kent
 
it looks like all the texture/sprite/map files are identical to the UK version's
 
the LANG.DAT has a lot of differences, mostly different line readings & american spellings, but here are some other changes that show some additional writing:
 


 
"They're part of the machine. We're all part of the machine."

"It's so badly made I haven't don't have a clue who it is. Possibly, Michael Jackson."

"I wonder where these doors lead? To a secret smuggler's hideout, I bet! Or I know, a gang of terrorists! A bunch of people with guns and machines and they want to kill everyone they see and slit their throats and blood and guts!!!"

"Wait a minute... haven't I wandered into the wrong game? movie?! What's happening here?! Oh my God, I'm in a turtle movie!"

"My God! Holy Fascist Leader! It's leader Paul! Or it could be S..."

"Hey, I want to use the bathroom...lavatory...restroom."

"There's not much business for hair stylists, since *FOOD* has an automatic hair trimmer ingredient in it! I never even use a brush or take a shower. I guess that makes me kind of dirty."

"Sheesh!! This Blows!! A triple CD compilation of train noises! English import, from the land of shopkeepers and eccentric Lords. Who in their right mind would buy this?? ...only an engineer."

"She looks very very bored. Time to wake up! Rise and Shine my little...puckadee!"

"Hey, some camera! I could make great home movies with this. Although, I wouldn't let ya see 'em!"

"Whoa! Hold on a second there! This is not butt bongo fiesta! This is a family game. Plus, I'm not exactly sure what it does."

"I'd rather not even try to. Insanity isn't contagious, but that doesn't stop it being inflicted upon others. I should know that, I was in a mental institution."

#47 CjR

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 09:21 AM

Hi guys! It's Christian here - the original NORMALITY artist! Wow, now there's a blast from the past seeing you unearth all my / our (mine, Ricki and Matts..) sprites! Good work fellers!

I shall have to see if I still have all my old back up CD's with ALL my sprites, bbm Deluxe Animator animations, etc. 

Honestly - you have no idea the amount of stuff we did that got overlooked. We kind of HOPED it would get overlooked in some instances - as we were young lads given the  freedom to put in the game WHATever the hell we liked.. Normality was all our first game we had the pleasure to get our filthy hands on - and Boy did we have fun..

 

If you need any advice, wrack my brain for any other hidden bits, etc..

 

I've just remembered that whatever that shoe / boot shop was in the Mint Mall - I designed the logo around my mate who was interested in dressing up in womens clothes / wanted a sex change - so it would have been rude not to have included him in some way.. X-)

 

I'm 40 now and I'd like to think that my sense of humour and crudeness has increased tenfold!

 

Cheers lads!

 

Christian Russell



#48 dada

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 11:50 AM

hello!
Wow, really cool to see you here (I'm dada78641 from youtube!), and I'm glad you're enthusiastic about this. if you could find some old stuff from your backups, that would be totally bonkers. I also sent a message about this to Chris Biggin, he told me he'd send it to Ricki Martin. he might like seeing some of this stuff, since it's partly his work!

I've just remembered that whatever that shoe / boot shop was in the Mint Mall - I designed the logo around my mate who was interested in dressing up in womens clothes / wanted a sex change - so it would have been rude not to have included him in some way.. X-)

I think this is the coolest thing ever btw, that strikes me as a really nice thing to do. I mean, from what I hear from my trans friends, they don't get a lot of respect from the world to put it mildly, so I'm sure your mate must've appreciated the pat on the back.
The Mint Mall was definitely my fav area in the game, so much cool stuff everywhere.


#49 denzquix

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 12:40 PM

Hi guys! It's Christian here - the original NORMALITY artist!

wow!! welcome, Christian! big fan of your work. the squalour of Kent's flat is a thing of iconic beauty

I shall have to see if I still have all my old back up CD's with ALL my sprites, bbm Deluxe Animator animations, etc. 

ohh that would be AMAZING if you do & could share some of that stuff... never imagined something like this would happen when i started this thread!

#50 CjR

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 03:36 PM

I never realised that Normality had such a small community of die hard followers behind it! It's wonderful to see - especially as Normality was my very first game in the industry nearly 20 years ago! I was one of the first artists on the project - followed by Ricki then Matt. We were allowed to place into the game so much of whatever the hell we wanted to that we would just sit there and reminiss over old and cool 1980's toys, etc and just say 'ah screw it - that's going in the mint malls Thrifty Fifty shop!
I might sit and go through some YouTube walkthroughs so that I can totally recall what we DID put in there - and compose a complete list of all our silly inputs that got included. I think the biggest loss was mine and Ricki's end of game night club level we TOTALLY kitted out with cool stuff, but it just ended up getting rendered out for the final outro scene - or GDV of you will (Gremlin Digital Video). That nightclub - which was called 'Townies' at one point - taking the piss out of our city life posh boy scums that go out on a Friday night for a beer and a fight.. And I also recall I did a cool arcade machine complete with animation called 'Townie Blob Fighters' which was about 200 frames in Deluxe Animator!
That map on the previous page was a sketch I drew up one Saturday to represent Neutropolis - as it went into the game manual as a generic maps if you look carefully you will see a 'Where's Wallyesque' Ricki (artist) peeking out from behind a shrub somewhere in the middle! :)
I did the Kent voodoo doll as well which I loved. I have some preliminary sketches I did of that somewhere which I'll scan in. I also did the whole concept for the cover art as well (UK version) which I can scan in as well as its in my portfolio (acrylic painting). Love that you guys are looking behind the scenes at some of the unseen locations. I loved the eeriness of that park with the roundabout. I included a floating ghost sprite at some point which hovers sinisterly behind the locked gates far off in the distance.
The Mint Mall was crammed full of visual fun though. That can be an entire thread in its own right! I did love my paranoid fish in the tank though.
The ROTH editor was cool - even though it was a crazy way of creating locations. You had to scoop rooms out of a solid and then texture the walls etc individually. Kent's flat I loved doing. All the crap stains down the toilet including a 'floater' as well!
Don't ask about that small white 'splash' on Kents bedside wall though. ;)
I remember Ricki had to change his 'LIFE SUCKS SHIT' graffiti though!
More to follow!!

#51 denzquix

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 06:11 PM

That nightclub - which was called 'Townies' at one point


ah the name did survive to the final game:
 

2bRnBx5.png


(haha, I never got a good look at that neon rendering of townies brawling under the disco lights before...)
 
 

arcade machine complete with animation called 'Townie Blob Fighters' which was about 200 frames in Deluxe Animator!


ohh yeah a bit of that does show up in the outro:

 

BstWIMv.gif

 

 

That map on the previous page was a sketch I drew up one Saturday to represent Neutropolis - as it went into the game manual as a generic maps if you look carefully you will see a 'Where's Wallyesque' Ricki (artist) peeking out from behind a shrub somewhere in the middle! :)


nice!!
 

I did love my paranoid fish in the tank though.


i was going to ask about that fish... it always seemed to me like it was set up to be part of a puzzle at one point. i thought making it selectable as "Timid Fish" rather than "aquarium", giving kent a line about how anxious the thing looks, having a sign saying "please do not scare the fish" were all like hints to make sure the player doesn't miss it. and then there's even something that looked like would be what you'd use to terrify it - in this part of the joke shop there's four wall-mounted items, but only this one is a selectable hotspot: 

 

QONEdJi.png


...if you try to use it kent says something about how scary it is, but if you try to take it he only ever says "I don't need it right now" like an idiot. yes you do kent. i wanna scare that fish



#52 denzquix

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 08:50 PM

got my hands on a copy of Normality: The Official Strategy Guide by Jeff Sengstack. it is illustrated with a bunch of really nice concept art but its kinda obscured by text a lot of the time, and split across double pages... soooo I could try scanning it and cleaning it up, but I'm not sure how well it would come out, and anyway I'm guessing these would probably be the same preliminary sketches that you mentioned, CjR...?

the book also has some neat development info!! in early drafts of the game design...
  • instead of the waffle sculpture, the rebels challenge Kent to paint the steeple of the MINT mall
  • he has yellow paint in his apartment, but the container is leaky, so he transfers it using a barrel stolen from outside the factory. unknown to kent, the barrel contained chemicals that block Mood Magnets (to protect Plush Rest executives)... and the steeple of the MINT mall is actually itself a Mood Magnet.

    8bRlMUe.pngyellow paint bucket sprite, hidden somewhere in kent's apartment

  • after painting the steeple, kent falls through the roof into an abandoned fireworks shop, and sets off a fireworks display that attracts a crowd of people. no longer affected by the steeple Mood Magnet, these people become curious free-thinking individuals, wandering around the mall in excitement and wonder. Paul sends in the Norms, but the same thing happens to them.
  • to access TVN, kent offers the bouncer some fudge-toffee taken from the rebels' hideout, and a can of dog food for the bouncer's Scottish terrier. the dog produces its own can opener.
  • once inside kent needs to convince the TVN boss he's a journalist with a video to edit. he also needs to steal & modify cue-cards to get the hosts to introduce the Deluge vid
  • you temporarily control rebel Kerry Oakley (does not appear at all in the final game) in a mini-game finding a way through a maze of corridors in the Blue Pen. a wrong turn or running into Norms means starting the section over
  • once through the maze Kerry uses a variety of disguises to save Saul. (later, a TV news report warns about each member of a gang of rebel women. all of them are Kerry in different disguises)
  • instead of destroying the substation, kent rewires a control centre above TV Heaven to re-activate colourful lights that brightened up the city streets, turned off under Paul's regime. Heather cuts power to the city temporarily while Kent does this
  • Heather sees the Norm truck Dai is detained in is parked over a manhole cover, and goes into the sewers (from some other access point). rats block her path. she unlocks a chain around what seems to be a log (but turns out to be an alligator) and uses the chain to snare a shopping cart in an impassably steep shaft. the cart contains a pair of thick rubber boots that protect her feet from biting rats. she opens the manhole cover, drills up through the underside of the truck (somehow), and frees Dai from the truck

    F9xQazs.giffloating chained-up "log"

  • paul is keeping the city under permanent cloud cover by spreading Precipitaz in the air every morning from a small aircraft. Heather develops a chemical compound called Blue 'N Fluffy that can reverse the effects of Precipitaz. Kent finds the ingredients for Blue 'N Fluffy, including a walnut whip, cotton wool from an otter's den, and Ingredient Z, which turns out to be the Z from a road hazard sign


    n1eiYFu.pngwalnut whip, from the rebels' secret fridge
    PUB6om4.gifhappy swimming otter at the docks
    DkUz3yW.pnghazard sign in Heather's lab

  • kent climbs up the outside of the Ordinary Outpost using the sharkpoon, hijacks the chemical spreading aircraft, and starts spreading Blue 'N Fluffy across the city. The Norm airforce is deployed. mini-game: a dogfight above Neutropolis
the moral is the only thing that can stop a bad guy with chemtrails is a good guy with chemtrails

#53 CjR

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 05:37 AM

My word! A lot of that all sounds so vaguely familiar yet so distant!
Can I just start by saying that your theory of the paranoid fish coupled with the shark toy *was* excellent. It was never planned at all that! But now you've said it - it is blindingly obvious that THAT *should* be a puzzle in its own right?!
How on earth did we as developers miss THAT?! I actually had them shark / monkey toy grabbers on my desk at work irl!
I'll just have to pretend that we WERE going to put that in as a puzzle - but that it would be FAR too sensible! We were too busy coming up with REAL puzzles such as stealing some frozen food, wrapping it up in a towel to then smash a washing machine door to rescue a rat! Haha!

I have a Normality book from the U.S where I was interviewed on its development. It wasn't that strategy guide though - where them sketches you mentioned WOULD have been mine, or the concept artist's (Les Spinx). I recall drawing a Kent voodoo doll in black biro with a fig leaf covering up his naked *modesty*?!

Just had another odd memory - is one of the headlines on Kents TV 'ceefax' news headline - 'man feeds dog'? It related to a TINY pixellated window in one of the background city apartments - where a man and his pet dog were becoming a little *too* friendly - shall we say?! I also recall in one of the windows a naked lady spreading herself right up against the glass!? Obviously these ideas implemented into what was most probably a 10x10 pixel space DIDNT come across as planned!
I loved creating that animated crocolog in the sewer though. I did it one Sunday night at my ex ex girlfriends house - I seem to bizarrely recall?!

A lot of those ideas you mentioned in your last post I thought DID make it into the final game? I remember animating the scene where Heather sends the Blu n Fluffy oil drum / traffic cone rocket up into the atmosphere to turn the sky clearer?
I really must watch a Playthrough as there's so many forgotten about locations that are just coming back to me, like the den behind the factory with the skeleton etc in it. That had some cool little ideas in from what I recall.

I love how you have found all of Matts drug induced sprites - himself a hearty 'recreational spliff smoker' at the time. Haha!! That poodle with shades on. I'm sure that was a scanned in image of Ricki's poodle - I can't quite remember! 'Sphincter' and the ninja turds though. Man. We were childishly lolling for hours when we came up with that. Matts pimp rat was funny n' all!
Did anyone find my shop window display with the leather bondage mask and electric sex cucumber toy in it?

#54 dada

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 10:47 AM

We were too busy coming up with REAL puzzles such as stealing some frozen food, wrapping it up in a towel to then smash a washing machine door to rescue a rat! Haha!

hahaha possibly some of the testers thought that particular puzzle was so obscure, those poor gamers needed an extra way to smash the washing machine in case they couldn't figure it out. If I'm not mistaken you can smash the washing machine with the sharkpoon, the scissors and with the food, but only the food has an FMV movie.

A lot of those ideas you mentioned in your last post I thought DID make it into the final game? I remember animating the scene where Heather sends the Blu n Fluffy oil drum / traffic cone rocket up into the atmosphere to turn the sky clearer?

I believe the final game was changed so that you don't have to assemble the blue 'n fluffy, instead you create a raft and use it to transport some explosive materials off of the Factory and then your missile just blows up the top of the ordinary outpost instead!


#55 denzquix

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 10:52 AM

That poodle with shades on. I'm sure that was a scanned in image of Ricki's poodle - I can't quite remember!


according to sengstack's book, Angry Poodle With Shades was gonna to be an in-game character somewhere, but was dropped because it was decided all characters had to be totally 3D-rendered

the poodle does make at least one other cameo though
 

hVTsyKT.png


speaking of non-rendered characters I found this unused sprite, kinda cliparty version of Brian Deluge (next to real one for comparison):
 

S5tWUrZ.png 6gWGoEb.png


as well as Angry Poodle, the book mentions Matts the Juggling Cat, "a blind, upright-walking, feline abomination, juggling balls, wearing a multi-colored waistcoat and a pair of deely-boppers on his head..."
 
 

 

 

TINY pixellated window in one of the background city apartments

 

oh yes 
 

bpxKbrM.png3Ee8IvA.pngfZwn30a.png
ban this sick filth...



#56 denzquix

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 10:58 AM

hahaha possibly some of the testers thought that particular puzzle was so obscure, those poor gamers needed an extra way to smash the washing machine in case they couldn't figure it out. If I'm not mistaken you can smash the washing machine with the sharkpoon, the scissors and with the food, but only the food has an FMV movie.

 

i only just found out about the third (but probably the original?) way you can mess up the computer engineer's shirt at the TVN offices... with the access card the big boss man gives you, after you take it back to your apartment and use it to scrape some of the beans gunk off the kitchen wall



#57 dada

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 11:21 AM

hahaha I wonder if that's the 'original' way to do it, and then the turd and dirt were added later to make it easier? (the turd might've been a leftover from when the bouncer had a dog I suppose.)


#58 denzquix

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 11:24 PM

I have a Normality book from the U.S where I was interviewed on its development. It wasn't that strategy guide though - where them sketches you mentioned WOULD have been mine, or the concept artist's (Les Spinx). I recall drawing a Kent voodoo doll in black biro with a fig leaf covering up his naked *modesty*?!

 
hmm doesn't look like that voodoo doll sketch is in there... but, there is this bit:

(...) [The] "voodoo" doll interface also had a more drastic first look. Chris Russell tackled that chore and at first it consisted of a giant eyeball on a hydraulic neck attached to a huge pair of lips which were in turn attached to a giant foot. The various limbs popped out of their sockets every now and then. (...)
 

I believe the final game was changed so that you don't have to assemble the blue 'n fluffy, instead you create a raft and use it to transport some explosive materials off of the Factory and then your missile just blows up the top of the ordinary outpost instead!


yeah the Pollutotron is on top of the ordinary outpost. I don't think any reference to blue 'n fluffy survives to the final game...



 
might already be well known but it's news to me: type wendy (may need to type slow) to activate debug mode keys

  • F1: jump to any location
  • G: watch any cutscene
  • S: save .TGA screenshot (doesn't work in cutscenes)


#59 JMickle

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 02:09 PM

Chris Russell? I know a developer with that name...

 

edit: its not the same guy, but close.



#60 thecatamites

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 09:27 PM

this is a wonderful topic, dream archeology....







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