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Proto:Normality

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This page details one or more prototype versions of Normality.


The March 1996 PC Zone Magazine cover CD included a playable demo of Normality that exhibits several changes from the final game.

The only area featured in the demo is Kent's apartment. As soon as you work out how to leave, the demo restarts from the beginning.

Main program

Command-line switches

Like the retail version, the NORM.EXE file has a number of command-line switches. It actually has a few more than the final version:

Switch Effect
/nointro Skips the intro cutscene; same as in retail.
/novesa Starts the game with the "low quality" setting enabled for menus; same as in retail, but the demo actually never displays the high resolution menu even when enabled, for some reason.
/debug Makes the game run faster. In the retail version this disables audio for cutscene videos, but in the demo it makes the game freeze whenever a cutscene is played. This needs to be used with /nointro or /nocd to even get in the game. Unknown if it does anything else.
/nocd Lets the game run without CD—except that the demo can already run without CD even without this switch. Not in retail.
/iglasses This refers to the short-lived Virtual IO I-Glasses, which apparently the demo has some support for. However, it's impossible to test unless you have the hardware—using it seems to make the program seek for the hardware and then exit if it can't find it. Not in retail.
/cheat Unknown. It doesn't seem to activate the wendy cheat from retail, and the executable file doesn't look like it has any cheat strings similar to the retail version anyway. Not in retail.

Version information

Pressing V reveals the following version string:

3D/ADV Kernel Real-Time Module
(c) Gremlin Interactive Ltd.
Normality. (Graeme Ing)
Compilation: 16241195 Friday 24-11-1995 16:22.
Adventure: 14241195

Graeme Ing is credited as the lead programmer for the game.

The demo build is a little under a half year older than the retail build (1996-05-06).

Differences from retail

There are a number of mostly small differences, and a bunch of things were polished up a bit for the retail release.

Interface differences

The "voodoo doll" control system was bigger and more prominent in the demo, showing more detail on the doll and also more of Kent's hand holding it.

Voodoo Doll
Demo Final
Normality Voodoo Demo.png Normality Voodoo Final.png

Note the scaled-down final version has a few graphical glitches like broken pixel-lines, and the boot at the bottom is mostly cropped out.

All sprites of the demo doll:

Normality Demo Interface.png Normality Demo Interface Look.png Normality Demo Interface Talk.png Normality Demo Interface Take.png Normality Demo Interface Use.png Normality Demo Interface Open.png

Item differences

Two items in Kent's apartment—a Can of Food in the fridge, and a Can of Yellow Paint on a nearby shelf—were removed in the final game. (The pool of spilled paint dripping down under the bucket remains, however.) Also, the Little Box appears high on top of the microwave, instead of down on the oven cooker.

Normality Demo Items.png

Can of Food
(Take)
I suppose I could carry one can, just in case of
emergency... for when there's nothing else to
eat... and I've eaten all my clothing... and both
legs.
Can of Yellow Paint
(Look)
Bright stuff! There isn't enough
naturally-occuring yellow in this city for my
liking.
Can of Yellow Paint
(Take)
Not a good idea considering the only thing
keeping the paint inside is the dried up mulch
around the bottom. Maybe I should find
something else to put it in.

There are various minor changes to how items appear or are described.

Cardboard Box
Demo Final
Normality Box Demo.png Normality Box Final.png
T-Shirt
Demo Final
Normality TShirt Demo.png
It's an old T-shirt with "I AM FAT AND PROUD" on
the front and "HONEST, REALLY" on the back.
Normality TShirt Final.png
It's an old T-shirt with "I AM FAT" on the front
and "HONEST, REALLY" on the back.
Towel
Demo Final (UK)
I stole it from a hotel down the road. It has
great insulation properties.
This towel's good for keeping things hot or cool.
Terrific insulation properties.
Note
Demo Final (UK)
Want to meet some people who
share the same interests? Then
don't just sit being bored at
home, get down to the third
dumpster in the dingy alley
behind the Plush-Rest
Furniture Factory.

An Empathiser...
Frustrated? Want to meet some
like-minded individuals? Want
to do something about the state
of the city? Get a job and snoop
around Plush-Rest. You'll find
a group in one of the
dumpsters around the back.

An Empathiser...

Note: The US version has the same note text as the demo. It's worth pointing out that the intro video in the demo already has the final version of the text in it.

The Gizmo that you find in your couch has a totally different sound effect:

Gizmo
Demo Final

Washing machine

It's not actually possible to free the rat in the washing machine in the demo—in the retail version, you can use the scissors to free it (even though the towel with frozen *FOOD* is the intended way), but that doesn't work in this version. However, the unused resources are still present and different to the final version:

Rat in Smashed Washing Machine
Demo Final
Normality Ratsmash Demo.gif Normality Ratsmash Final.gif
Take Rat
Demo (Unused) Final (UK)
Not with my bare hands! They're not God's
most hygenic creatures!
I need something small to put him in first.

The demo also contains a number of messages that seem to suggest Kent kills a rat in a trap:

Take
Yuk! Not with that dead rat hanging off!
Use
I haven't the heart to set it again.
Look
They fall for it every time!

There are no recorded voice lines for this and the messages are completely removed in the final version.

One last interesting detail is that Kent actually crouches down when approaching the washing machine, apparently to get a closer look at the rat.

This is somewhat glitchy and can be used to climb on top of the washing machine. In the retail version, Kent always stays at the same height.

Texture differences

When Kent tears the scissors away from the sticky floor, the discolored outline it leaves on the carpet is different.

Floor Texture
Demo Final
Normality Carpet Demo.png Normality Carpet Final.png

The wall of a building outside Kent's apartment window has a different poster in the demo. It makes reference to another Gremlin Interactive game, Actua Soccer (a.k.a. V.R. Soccer '96 in the U.S.)

Wall Texture
Demo Final
Normality Poster Soccer.png Normality Poster Normal.png

Crouching/stretching up

Kent is able to crouch and stretch up in the demo, by pressing the Delete and Insert keys respectively. This changes your vantage point to be slightly lower or higher. This was removed in the retail version, and in that your vantage point is a bit lower than the default of the demo.

Fully stretching out allows you to see that the ground outside is untextured. In the final version, the ground can't be seen at all.

Normality - Demo - Untextured street.png

Promo Video

The playable demo also includes a short promotional video, extolling the game's design, "True-3D" engine, and use of motion-capture technology.

Audio

The demo does not use the same music the final game does for Kent's apartment. Instead, it uses a track that was eventually used for the rebels' dumpster hideout.

Unused music tracks

There are a couple of music tracks which do not seem to be used in the demo version, and do not appear in the final game's files at all:

NORMUSIC.HMP:

XSAUL.HMP:

Dialogue

Even though the demo only covers Kent's apartment, the data includes messages and dialogue for the entire game.

The voice lines in the demo are identical to those of the final game, although only a part of the voice lines are included—the demo contains 1:30:18 worth of dialogue, most of it not audible in-game, while the retail version has 3:45:02 of it. Both voice files are stored as 8-bit, monaural 11025 khz raw PCM data.