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.
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:
|/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.|
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.
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.
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:
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.
|Can of Food
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
Bright stuff! There isn't enough naturally-occuring yellow in this city for my liking.
|Can of Yellow Paint
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.
It's an old T-shirt with "I AM FAT AND PROUD" on the front and "HONEST, REALLY" on the back.
It's an old T-shirt with "I AM FAT" on the front and "HONEST, REALLY" on the back.
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.
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:
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:
|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:
Yuk! Not with that dead rat hanging off!
I haven't the heart to set it again.
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.
When Kent tears the scissors away from the sticky floor, the discolored outline it leaves on the carpet is different.
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.)
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.
The playable demo also includes a short promotional video, extolling the game's design, "True-3D" engine, and use of motion-capture technology.
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:
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.