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Author Topic: The RoN Problem--How do we solve it???  (Read 21925 times)

Ozzie

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Re: The RoN Problem--How do we solve it???
« Reply #140 on: 13 May 2007, 01:56 »
better graphics (nice for the eye, attracts more people. There has been done some work on it - see the sprites by Wogoat)
Nice, but by no means necessary IMHO and it shouldn't be a priority.

You know, I don't care that much about the graphics. And I agree that other things are more urgent.
But it's part of the plan to attract more people. I haven't weighed the importance of the tasks.

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better quality control before inclusion in the RON catalogue (fixing inconsistencies, checking playability; production quality might also play a role (MI5 Bob or The Spoons were unacceptable in my opinion))
Unacceptable how? Those two games didn't strike me as especially bad. Sure, they aren't cream of the crop, but the puzzles have a sense of logic, the games don't have any obvious bugs and they aren't inconsistent with the rest of the series. Are the graphics not good enough? Do they introduce too many new characters and locations? And compared to what? I think they'd probably compare favorably to such "standard" titles like Lunchtime of the Damned or Vengeance of the Chicken.

Well, I have to admit that I played them, hm, two years ago, but as far as I can remember I thought that these were the least enjoyable ones (together with the Surreal Dreams).
Well, you could say that there were no bugs, no showstoppers, the story was consistent with the canon and that's enough for inclusion.
But I think that developers should get pushed to try it better. For example, they could be asked to add more hotspot descriptions, to fix the grammar (well, that would probably need the help from a native speaker) and the perspective of the backgrounds.
Often there's nothing totally wrong, but some fine-tuning can make the difference between a somehow okay and really good game. 

Well, I understand that the graphics are a critical point. When are they good enough?
Maybe graphics alone shouldn't hold back for inclusion in the RON catalogue.
Still, it should be definately recommend to look at some drawing tutorials or ask someone for help with the graphics.
Like I said, it's not about reaching professional niveau.
But it should also be more than a door and a bare wall and bottom.


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Looks like I'm more on the conservative side regarding quality control in RON (which means liberal quality control). I very much agree with what Rui said:
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Overall, the game makers have been making their own quality control, haven't they? Picking up on what was good and leaving behind what was bad - most episodes are mostly self-contained, so that's entirely possible.

That's an oversimplification. For example, nobody picked up the story about the Surrealist (okay, except this eye-torturing game "Surreality"). Josh Beachcomber was never seen again after Purity of the Surf.
And I haven't seen a reference to the Tapestry episodes in games by other authors.
It doesn't always work like that. Often it's also the question how much work it is to follow one storyline or develop a character more (for example, I think the reason that Punk Allen was never used more is because he had no walking animations, afaik).
The Surrealist was also a vague concept and pretty much everything could fit in. The border was so wide that it wasn't that easy to come up with a good explanation.
And about the Tapestry stuff: these are unusual dark games and that's probably the reason why it hasn't found its way into other RON games.
« Last Edit: 13 May 2007, 01:57 by Ozzie »
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Rui 'Trovatore' Pires

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Re: The RoN Problem--How do we solve it???
« Reply #141 on: 13 May 2007, 11:12 »
Or maybe it could be because, like Cabbages and Kings, The Tapestry is so obviously a trilogy made by the author and still unconcluded that people don't want to mess with that storyline until they know how it ends, hmmm?

Surreality was an effort, and the first one to pick up on the surrealist. Since then no games did, but then again, that's pretty much the point where RON games stopped being the work of love that they used to be, with a few exceptions. Also, I think it's unlikely that anyone expected one single game to explain the whole Surrealist thing, and if that's the reasoning people had then maybe that's the problem. It's supposed to *grow*, in much the same way that, say, the X-Files mythos or the Twin Peaks storyline grew - or even the Legacy of Kain storyline. Lots of people adding their bit, taking care just not to contradict. Eventually it'll take shape.

Naturally, if people just look at it and go "this is too big, there's no way I can explain it", it doens't work. :P No one has to explain it, just add to the mystery until it takes shape.

Josh is still there. So no one has bothered to pick him up yet, he's still there.

Also, "Punk Allen" having no walking animations as a reason for him being use makes sense... but only when you don't think of characters like, say, the blue alien. That guy came from a text game, and a really weird one. Someone had to draw the character. Once it was drawn, it was used. Meaning, if someone really wants to use a character, stuff like that is the least of people's worries.
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Ozzie

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Re: The RoN Problem--How do we solve it???
« Reply #142 on: 13 May 2007, 13:02 »
Or maybe it could be because, like Cabbages and Kings, The Tapestry is so obviously a trilogy made by the author and still unconcluded that people don't want to mess with that storyline until they know how it ends, hmmm?

Well, that surely explains why Melt & Drake were picked up in many other games...  ::)

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Surreality was an effort, and the first one to pick up on the surrealist. Since then no games did, but then again, that's pretty much the point where RON games stopped being the work of love that they used to be, with a few exceptions. Also, I think it's unlikely that anyone expected one single game to explain the whole Surrealist thing, and if that's the reasoning people had then maybe that's the problem. It's supposed to *grow*, in much the same way that, say, the X-Files mythos or the Twin Peaks storyline grew - or even the Legacy of Kain storyline. Lots of people adding their bit, taking care just not to contradict. Eventually it'll take shape.

Naturally, if people just look at it and go "this is too big, there's no way I can explain it", it doens't work. :P No one has to explain it, just add to the mystery until it takes shape.

That's true of course. Maybe it's just my way of thinking. I try to conclude most things.
Yeah, you could spread some hints, but eventually it should lead up somewhere, unlike the X-Files.

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Josh is still there. So no one has bothered to pick him up yet, he's still there.
I know. My point is, he wasn't picked up. So to say that only games are good which also get referenced in other games is wrong. So, you can't say that there's proper self-control.
And, of course, John Steel is an interesting character, but "Paranormal Investigator" wasn't really great.
Additionally, even if you could say that only games are good which get referenced then this wouldn't mean that the game which is referencing is good.

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Also, "Punk Allen" having no walking animations as a reason for him being use makes sense... but only when you don't think of characters like, say, the blue alien. That guy came from a text game, and a really weird one. Someone had to draw the character. Once it was drawn, it was used. Meaning, if someone really wants to use a character, stuff like that is the least of people's worries.

Well, actually, dasTobias remade Intergalactic Life into a graphic adventure and in that Knoffel was a real ugly sprite. I guess Dave Gilbert asked someone to redraw the sprite.
But in most cases only one person tries to do everything himself.
And interesting enough, most people who are interested in RON are horrible graphic artists.
Also, I want to use Punk Allen in my game. But I need to ask someone to help me out with animations because I can't animate, really.
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Re: The RoN Problem--How do we solve it???
« Reply #143 on: 13 May 2007, 13:36 »
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Well, that surely explains why Melt & Drake were picked up in many other games...

Well, I was talking about plotlines. You're talking about characters.

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And, of course, John Steel is an interesting character, but "Paranormal Investigator" wasn't really great.

That was my point exactly - although the game was not good, it gave birth to an interesting character.

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Well, actually, dasTobias remade Intergalactic Life into a graphic adventure and in that Knoffel was a real ugly sprite. I guess Dave Gilbert asked someone to redraw the sprite.

Ah, right, I'd forgotten about that. Still, if Dave Gilbert wanted the sprite enough to ask someone else, what's to stop someone from doing the same thing?

BTW, it'd be much better publicity if the *news* item of the RON website was currently working. :P
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Dave Gilbert

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Re: The RoN Problem--How do we solve it???
« Reply #144 on: 13 May 2007, 14:07 »
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Well, actually, dasTobias remade Intergalactic Life into a graphic adventure and in that Knoffel was a real ugly sprite. I guess Dave Gilbert asked someone to redraw the sprite.

Bit mean of me, but I actually used Knoffel as a way to poke fun at his creator (i.e., the horrible english).  And, er, I drew that sprite myself. :-/  The sprite of Maria Scotterson (the real estate lady) was taken from a text game though. 

I do agree with the point that a game or character doesn't have to be referenced constantly to be good.  Mika is in a heck of a lot of games, but I'd hardly call all the games that star her as "good."  I really enjoyed the "Phantom Inheritence", and consider it one of the better games (simple but sweet, plus the production values are the best in an RoN game), but nobody has yet to take the characters or plot points introduced in that game and do something with them.


Anym

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Re: The RoN Problem--How do we solve it???
« Reply #145 on: 13 May 2007, 15:06 »
You know, I don't care that much about the graphics. And I agree that other things are more urgent.
But it's part of the plan to attract more people. I haven't weighed the importance of the tasks.
Yeah, but I don't think it should be part of the plan at all. If people are turned off by simple, but clean low resolution graphics, they probably won't be attracted by elaborate low resolution graphics either. Also, people are going to be turned off by the graphics in the games, not the graphics on the resource page. Over time, the overall graphics quality in the resource packs (if not necessarily in the games themselves) has steadily improved and if you manage to attract people, I think it will continue to do so (quasi by itself). If anything, graphics tutorials should be made.

Well, I have to admit that I played them, hm, two years ago, but as far as I can remember I thought that these were the least enjoyable ones (together with the Surreal Dreams).
Well, you could say that there were no bugs, no showstoppers, the story was consistent with the canon and that's enough for inclusion.
But I think that developers should get pushed to try it better. For example, they could be asked to add more hotspot descriptions, to fix the grammar (well, that would probably need the help from a native speaker) and the perspective of the backgrounds.
Often there's nothing totally wrong, but some fine-tuning can make the difference between a somehow okay and really good game.
I've seen much worse, but I agree with you. Maybe people shouldn't be able to "release" a game on the RON forums for immediate inclusion on the site, but rather release it for public beta testing there and only after that it would get added. Of course, that leaves the tricky matter of "approving" games.

That's an oversimplification. For example, nobody picked up the story about the Surrealist (okay, except this eye-torturing game "Surreality"). Josh Beachcomber was never seen again after Purity of the Surf.
No, I think the idea of that self-regulation isn't that everything from good games is going to get picked up, rather it's that few things from bad games will get picked up again. Take the all the characters and locations from Edge of Reality for example. If things from a bad game are picked up again and again, it's probably because somebody picked it up in a good game sometime.

And, of course, John Steel is an interesting character, but "Paranormal Investigator" wasn't really great.
That was my point exactly - although the game was not good, it gave birth to an interesting character.
No, Jhon Steel was an empty shell, that was only made into an interesting character later on (by other people). And if you see future appearances of Knoffel, it's probably because of his appearance (which was also different in character than what we have seen of him so far) in Purity of the Surf rather than because of the games he featured as player character.

What would be the really important stuff? Which games should be presented as the main games? What will make up the introduction to RON?
The bare essentials, as few as possible, according to me, first draft, subject to change:
  • I Spy introduces Mika Huy and, as she is new in town, it also re-introduces most other early characters and it summarizes the events of Lunchtime of the Damned nicely.
  • The Repossessor introduces Death who's presence has to be explained somehow and advances the mayoral campaign subplot.
  • The First Stitch introduces Greyson and Simon Jones, recapitulates most things that have happened so far and serves as introduction to the tapestry subplot.
  • The Postman Only dies Once introduces Max Griff, fleshes out Mika Huy, features some minor characters not yet seen in the above games, advances the mayoral campaign further and has Phil Nihilist drink nuclear waste which hints as the superhero subplot.
  • Davy Jones C'est Mort features the death of a character, or maybe it doesn't, and shows that RON games can be of a different style than the above games.
  • The Universal Equalizer makes clear that said character really is dead without revealing how he really did die, so that there's no ambiguity about whether he die, only about how he died.
  • A game that established that Michael Gower has been in fact elected mayor and that takes place during the time that Davy Jones is dead, probably either I Spy 2 or Dead Man's Political Party, but not both.
  • Davy Jones is Back resurrects a character.
  • Cabbages & Kings introduces Melt, Drake and a couple of other characters and features some more not yet seen in the above games and serves as introduction to the kittens subplot.
  • III Spy fleshes out some more characters and features some more characters not yet seen in the above games, has Gower run for office again and provides a quality standard to aspire to.
As much as I like them, I couldn't bring myself to include any of Grundislav's games because they didn't have enough of an impact and the tapestry and kittens are still incomplete and haven't made much of an impact yet either, so I just provided "hooks" for them. On the other hand, I also didn't want to leave out Davy Jones C'est Mort, because I do find it essential.
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Ozzie

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Re: The RoN Problem--How do we solve it???
« Reply #146 on: 13 May 2007, 18:42 »
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Well, actually, dasTobias remade Intergalactic Life into a graphic adventure and in that Knoffel was a real ugly sprite. I guess Dave Gilbert asked someone to redraw the sprite.

Bit mean of me, but I actually used Knoffel as a way to poke fun at his creator (i.e., the horrible english).  And, er, I drew that sprite myself. :-/  The sprite of Maria Scotterson (the real estate lady) was taken from a text game though. 

Well, DasTobias actually liked the appearance of Knoffel in your game. so I guess he took it positively. :)

Eh, I just guessed that someone else drew the sprite, because, ehm, I had the impression that you're not a great graphic artist. And, since I'm equally untalented, I couldn't imagine that you could drew a nice looking sprite.
So, respect!! :)

About the timeline: that's really a cut down one, Anym. I have to check if the Grundislav games are really that unessential. Also, while Purity Of The Surf wasn't referenced it had much story development (much like Soviet Union Strikes Again!, which introduced Thakbor, his mom, Mr. Namyah...).
So, Purity and Union should be included.
Edit: Oh, and I would be more for IISpy instead of Dead Man's Political Party.
Doesn't Pirate Postman play at one day of Dead Man's Political Party?

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Well, that surely explains why Melt & Drake were picked up in many other games...

Well, I was talking about plotlines. You're talking about characters.

Well, that brings up the question again when a game get referenced. According to you when a plotline gets deepened, but Anym thinks when a character gets adopted.
« Last Edit: 13 May 2007, 18:55 by Ozzie »
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Rui 'Trovatore' Pires

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Re: The RoN Problem--How do we solve it???
« Reply #147 on: 13 May 2007, 19:53 »
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No, Jhon Steel was an empty shell, that was only made into an interesting character later on (by other people).

Well, yeah, that's what I've been saying all along, to illustrate the value of a mostly unchecked  community effort. :P
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Duchess

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Re: The RoN Problem--How do we solve it???
« Reply #148 on: 13 May 2007, 20:02 »
So I also went through the process of answering questions just to have my go... hope my views are of any help.

Valentijn got me into Ron 2 1/2 years ago and I do admit I found it hard to really see the point of it when I played the first couple of games. I think what made me go on, though, was that I knew that Tijn had similar tastes to myself when it comes to games, so I just trusted his opinion. So I guess to get interested in Ron, and play the games that are important since they introduce essential characters and plotlines, but don't feature interesting puzzles or good graphics you really need some one to tell you: get through this, and you get to some really great games.

I've been interested in adventure games pretty much since I knew about the existence of computers, and I'd always dreamed of making a game of my own. Getting to know AGS was great, and it appealed to me that using the Ron template, characters and rooms I would be able to release something without drawing for ages. Still, I felt a bit disappointed when I first got into Ron. It seemed more as a corset to me to have to work within this world, which however grew on me with every game I played. The characters all seemed a bit flat to me at first. For one thing, I didn't like Davy that much. He has really great appearances in later games, though, but it's also great to have a character that is essential, but that you may or may not want to include, and if you don't, you can continue a nice running gag of not stating where he is and whether he is alive.

Much of the charm and power of Ron for me really comes from the amazing way that weak games and characters have been handled. For instance, the way Knoffel was used by Dave Gilbert was just amazing, it wasn't clear as to whether he was subtly taking the piss, or whether he really thought the character was - with its "alien" bad English - part of the Ron continuity. Weak games have kept the Ron community going in some ways, it seems.

At the same time, it would be very helpful not to have to play all the weak games to get the references. Maybe a wiki wouldn't be such a bad idea (since the work involved would just be too much for just one person), one where you can look up, say, "Purity on the Surf", and then get a link to an article about Knoffel, that explains shortly what the character is about. Of course there should be a chance for people who don't want the spoilers for other games to check out those games, but for people who just want to play one of the games deemed "canon" there should be a way of quickly getting into all there is to know about the characters used. That is colossal work, though, and I'm not sure I could do it (for one thing, I never cared to play "Paranormal Investigation", but I always enjoyed the Jhon appearances, mainly because I had somebody (i.e. Tijn) telling me how the character came accross in its first appearance). So a quick run-through all the weaker games, possibly with screenshots, would be a really nice resource. I'd also be willing to help, as far as I played the games, if more people think that this would be a good course of action.

Apart from that, the character pages should be arranged differently indeed, with minor characters being in a different section. However, it's always nice to see the minor characters. I often searched through them to see which one looked like I would imagine a minor character in my game, and then I could just modify the sprites in question a little. It also wouldn't be out of the question to have an "all-purpose" sprite who assumes loads of different roles, sort of a reverse to the bum. I felt forced to modify the sprite enough so you wouldn't confuse him too much with a minor character from a game I didn't play, so it would be good to know that there is one character which you can fit into every role if you want to.

Different games folders is another good approach. Much has been said on that matter, I don't have anything vital to add, I think.

As to quality control... indeed Dan had a point in saying that stricter rules may not necessarily be attractive to new members. Overworking the Ron page and stating "all the games have to pass a quality test before they will be released" is clearly not the desirable course of action. I suggest that new games should be in a section for "new games" for half a year or so, not regarding whether the older Ron-ners think it's a good game or not. In this stage the game should be open for discussion. I think that some authors may even not react completely insulted if you suggest some things that would make the next effort better, as an adventure and as a Ron game. If an author really doesn't want to do anything else than that exact game and it's not what most of the members of the Ron community are looking for, well, then it's moved to the "other" folder (or however it's labeled), but it should still count as a vital approach, and might even spark of some nice references.

One should avoid giving the impression that there's an all-knowing jury who either pat you on the back or grade your game as substandard. I think what separates the weaker games from the better games is mainly the experiences the authors have had with games, and their ambition. Imagine someone who never played a Lucasarts or similar quality adventure. It wouldn't be surprising if their game didn't have much of a story, or any interesting puzzles. Then it would be up to the community to suggest good games that handle some problems in a better way, hopefully leading new members to great new (retro) game discoveries, and maybe sparking off new ideas.

Phew, I was already afraid this was going to be a rather long post, so thank you for bearing with me. As a final thing - I've been working on my own game now for months (while it rested most of the time), and posts pronouncing Ron dead really make me uneasy. It's great that it seems to be consensus to try and keep it alive. The thread really motivated me to put some more work in it, though, so it's great to have some anxiety, to still want to have it released before Ron is shut down. Which I don't want to happen.

I never announced my game on the Ron forum because I didn't want to pressurise myself by such an announcement. I did consider checking my plot ideas, but since my plot is closed in itself and doesn't change any of the major characters I thought I better keep quiet, so as not to spoil anything, or to raise hopes for something which is never released.

However, I'm about 85% finished now, and I can say with some safety that I will release it by summer, which can mean either July, if my current phase of motivation lasts enough to make me work alongside uni, or September, if I should feel I'm too busy after all and wait for the vacations to do the rest. And yes, I'm a newbie, and yes, it's gonna be in German and very surrealist. Okay, kidding on the last two points. So much for "f*** release something": I'm about to. Really. And I can't wait to see the reactions to my efforts, so I hope at least the people involved in this thread will believe enough in Ron to play my game when it's finished.

Ozzie

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Re: The RoN Problem--How do we solve it???
« Reply #149 on: 13 May 2007, 21:03 »
Well, great to hear that someone else is also working on a RON game.
I have the feeling that a few RON games get silently developed.
Maybe a new release may also push others.
Overall, I think that all those worked on and unfinished projects got unusually ambitious.

Well, if such a game gets finished then it's even better.

About beta-testing:
You can release a RON game without quality control, yes, with grammar as poor as possible, with graphics to let your eyes bleed and a story that makes no sense or, even worse, bores you to death.

But, in my opinion, it shouldn't be added to the RON catalogue then and not be considered an official RON game at all.
So, if you want it to be official you should try your best and invest some time.
Anf if you're poor at something then you can probably ask for help.
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bumblearse

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Re: The RoN Problem--How do we solve it???
« Reply #150 on: 14 May 2007, 00:54 »
As one of the admins for the RoN site, I just wanted to make short post to let you all know that I'm taking onboard all the comments that have been made. I have already started work on how we might implement RoN 2.0 (for want of a better name :)) to make it more accessible to new and old users alike. In all honesty, although the site has had a couple of makeovers since I joined, the information structure has never really been touched.

I think that the ideas around control are very valid; even in a community there needs to be direction, and it is up to the community 'leaders' to provide this. Having a core group in place to provide support during the production of new games will hopefully encourage new members and provide a measure of quality control at the same time.

I think it would also be useful to split the site into two sections: 'play' and 'make'. The 'play' section would contain everything required to play the games, including information on technical issues and 'hints and tips'. Hopefully, through a positive experience of the community, we can then get them to move over into the 'make' side of the site. This part would include detailed breakdowns on location and characters, tutorials and resources; everything you need to make your own RoN game.

Finally, I was going to say something else, but I've completely forgotten... doh!

I look forward to your comments!

James

P.S. At the moment the site is experiencing some technical issues which are completely out of our control, but hopefully these will be sorted out very soon.
« Last Edit: 14 May 2007, 00:56 by bumblearse »

tamaravel

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Re: The RoN Problem--How do we solve it???
« Reply #151 on: 14 May 2007, 02:32 »
Hi! I have not played a lot of the RoN games, but here are a few suggestions which might make the project better(and more user-friendly)
First, I think that the resources(graphical) should come in formats that are easier to edit, because it is actually very annoying having to import these into AGS and then extracting the graphics(especially for characters!), users should have the option of using pre-made .CHA files , or using just the graphics so they can be edited(this can be especially useful for people using
programs other then AGS).
Secondly, why not create a starterpack? This could contain basic main characters and backgrounds(plus a word document giving some info on each character and location), as well as objects/inventory items,some music, a custom RoN-themed GUI/template and a few tutorials to get people started.
Finally, all of the graphical resources should be improved in a consistent style, and graphical(as well as scripting) tutorials should be offered,as well as a critics' lounge style board where people can post their artwork,music and demos in order to promote a quality control rather then directly enforcing it.

Valentijn

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Re: The RoN Problem--How do we solve it???
« Reply #152 on: 14 May 2007, 07:37 »
Good to hear from you, Bumblearse! It's great that somebody's really enacting upon this thread and RON 2.0 ('name pending') is getting realised! I really like your idea of splitting the site in the suggested sections!!
Should you need any help in getting some information pages or such together, feel free to ask, I'd be happy to try and help out.

Anyway, something I still wanted to add, or more, repeat, is the suggestion Dave Gilbert already made very early in this thread (and I myself made later as well) to get a better RON promotion on the AGS site.

The counterargument to this was that RON isn't (at least, has never been, and probably isn't going to be) AGS exclusive. But I still think that RON is best known for having AGS games, and it may do the community a lot of good to start advertising with the very best it has to offer - which currently are some of the AGS games.

Right now there's one link leading from there to the RON site, as well as a couple of odd games having their single entry (MI5 Bob, for one). I see MMMania has more entries, easier found right there at the letter M.
Wouldn't it be a good idea, wouldn't it be possible to either:
-Get ALL of the RON AGS games on the AGS game pages, giving all titles the RON prefix (=the option I'd favor as the games can then all be rated using the better AGS rating system, on a place where more people go than the RON site (even tho that site is going to be revamped))
-Advertise with a selection of the best games (the suggested 'essentials')

I think there is one game in particular which should be used as a sort of flagship. It's 'The Postman Only Dies Once'. It features a classic RON art style (people may easily get the idea that they could do that too, as opposed to something like III Spy or the Phantom Inheritance), good puzzles, a very nice story and lots of good jokes... but most of all it features enough different 'classic' locations to make for an 'essential' RON introduction and even above that it has a great introduction into many characters. You don't need to know that Mika arrived in RON in I Spy in order to understand her character in the Postman. You don't need to know who Davy is and his whole death thing isn't even featured in the game; the character is presented in a very clear way. A lot of things are really good about the game, I think it clearly shows what you could do with AGS and RON, I think many people will agree with me on the good quality of this particular game.
I think it would be very helpful if the first RON game people play is a good game, that will encourage them to 1. play more 2. make one themselves. In my opinion, The Postman Only Dies Once is this game. I suggest it's the game to go on top of the list on the games page.
Does anyone agree with me on this?

Ozzie

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Re: The RoN Problem--How do we solve it???
« Reply #153 on: 14 May 2007, 08:33 »
It's definately a good game, especially the scenes where Mika questions the town people are hilarous.
I agree that we should make AGS pages for all the essentials games.
It's not wrong to promote RON here, especially since it originated from the AGS forum, but we should also consider to promote it in other game making communities. And that's why the sprites should also be available in normal picture files.

Also, I agree that RON 2.0 is a stupid name. And RON Reloaded is not better!
But when we reach that new stage we should also promote it as such. RON, now even better than before! ;)

Oh, btw, thanks Bumblearse for your efforts!!

There's also one other thing I wanted to clear up: How can a game work in the timeline when it has more than one ending?
Toxically Earth has 8 different ones! It's not possible to build on this one because they can't be all considered!!

I personally think that multiple endings should be allowed, and not just that there's one happy end and the rest are failures.
But I think the game designer should make clear which ending is the right one for the continuity!
Or there should be the rule that a following RON author who builds on such a game should decide which ending was the right one...
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DeviantGent

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Re: The RoN Problem--How do we solve it???
« Reply #154 on: 14 May 2007, 12:27 »
RON 2 - Electric Boogaloo?
RON Part Deux?
RON II - The Fall of RON?

Or if we want to be completly gratuitous, why not simply 'Reality 2.0'?  ;D
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Valentijn

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Re: The RoN Problem--How do we solve it???
« Reply #155 on: 14 May 2007, 12:30 »
I quite like that idea of an author picking up a multiple-ending game thread deciding which is the right one, that might even surprise the author behind the original game!
Of course it's only really an issue if some endings have a specific unique impact on the world.

In any case. I was thinking some more about the folders and categorising and such. All the time I've been looking at how it's done with the AGS games page, but to be honest I always thought that was too disorganised as well.
One filing system which is, in my opinion, an excellent, organised and user-friendly one is the one used on Home of the Underdogs. You can do lots of different sorts of queries there, and then sort the list based upon multiple conditions.
Something like that might be a good example for a new RON layout. I'm all for loads of extra tags/labels per game. I like Anym's suggestion made in response to my ideas, of getting 'themes' in. And maybe another tag could be given to 'puzzle type' (simple / errand / nonsensical(abstract) / complex / ...). Similar for art style and everything, and with a few easy clicks on the search page everybody can find the game they may like best.

It may even be a nice idea to nick the recommendations thing from Home of the Underdogs, where three similar ('if you like this you may also like') games are given. I sure discovered lots of stuff via the Underdogs' pages... including RON! Okay so maybe incorporating this on the RON site won't work at all with so many similar games... but in any case, it never hurts to look at good & working examples!

(By the way... 'World of RON'? 'RONmania'? 'RON - the next generation'? okay I'll shut up now...)
« Last Edit: 14 May 2007, 13:15 by Valentijn »

Anym

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Re: The RoN Problem--How do we solve it???
« Reply #156 on: 14 May 2007, 18:00 »
About the timeline: that's really a cut down one, Anym. I have to check if the Grundislav games are really that unessential. Also, while Purity Of The Surf wasn't referenced it had much story development (much like Soviet Union Strikes Again!, which introduced Thakbor, his mom, Mr. Namyah...).
So, Purity and Union should be included.
Edit: Oh, and I would be more for IISpy instead of Dead Man's Political Party.
Doesn't Pirate Postman play at one day of Dead Man's Political Party?

Thakbor, his mum and Mr. Namyah are quite negligible characters IMHO (even though Thakbor was among the very first dozen characters to be created) and they alone don't provide a compelling reason to include The Soviet Union Strikes Again! especially if we also consider Purity of the Surf (which features Thakbor much more prominently) for inclusion. Purity of the Surf was also a hard game not to include and I guess you could replace III Spy with it, but ultimately, it didn't provide many plot hooks and all the character development (especially Josh, Thakbor and Knoffel) wasn't picked up much either, so ultimately, because I wanted the list to be as short as possible I decided against it.

While Hooky McPegleg, Pirate Postman also takes places during the period of Davy's death and the mayoral election, I felt it didn't deal with Davy's death that nicely, because Hooky, didn't really know Davy and because the game features another character dressing up as Davy. Also, the game is strongly linked to Lost Treasure of RON, so including one, would almost inevitably mean including the other, which was one more argument (to minimize the number of games) of opting for a single game rather than those two, because, if taken together, they are almost stand-alone, not unlike Purity of the Surf.

I never announced my game on the Ron forum because I didn't want to pressurise myself by such an announcement. I did consider checking my plot ideas, but since my plot is closed in itself and doesn't change any of the major characters I thought I better keep quiet, so as not to spoil anything, or to raise hopes for something which is never released.

It's good to hear that there are also games "secretly" in development. Even if your plot is self-contained, you might want to make a quick post about it though, just in case somebody else makes changes to a character or location or somebody introduces a character very similar to one you are going to introduce, so that ideally, they could me merged into one character, so that there aren't too many "duplicates".

Wouldn't it be a good idea, wouldn't it be possible to either:
-Get ALL of the RON AGS games on the AGS game pages, giving all titles the RON prefix (=the option I'd favor as the games can then all be rated using the better AGS rating system, on a place where more people go than the RON site (even tho that site is going to be revamped))
-Advertise with a selection of the best games (the suggested 'essentials')

While I'm against a tighter integration of the RON/AGS site/forums, I like the idea of having all the AGS RON games in the AGS database and see nothing wrong with. It might even give the games some more exposure. I'm a bit skeptical about adopting the rating system, though, as it wouldn't be inclusive of all the games. Of course, one might argue that all the best games are AGS anyway and the rest should just go unrated, and be sorted at the bottom of a "sort by ratings" list, but I'd find that rather unfair (especially for non-AGS games that are good, like The Sorcerer's Appraisal).

Note that "essential" isn't the same as "best" and if I were to compile a list of the ten "best" games it would be vastly different from my list of "essential" games.

I think there is one game in particular which should be used as a sort of flagship. It's 'The Postman Only Dies Once'. It features a classic RON art style (people may easily get the idea that they could do that too, as opposed to something like III Spy or the Phantom Inheritance), good puzzles, a very nice story and lots of good jokes... but most of all it features enough different 'classic' locations to make for an 'essential' RON introduction and even above that it has a great introduction into many characters. You don't need to know that Mika arrived in RON in I Spy in order to understand her character in the Postman. You don't need to know who Davy is and his whole death thing isn't even featured in the game; the character is presented in a very clear way. A lot of things are really good about the game, I think it clearly shows what you could do with AGS and RON, I think many people will agree with me on the good quality of this particular game.

It may even be a nice idea to nick the recommendations thing from Home of the Underdogs, where three similar ('if you like this you may also like') games are given. I sure discovered lots of stuff via the Underdogs' pages... including RON! Okay so maybe incorporating this on the RON site won't work at all with so many similar games... but in any case, it never hurts to look at good & working examples!

That gives me an idea: Choose-Your-Own-Reality! (provisional title)

The Reality Chamber of Commerce welcomes you to our beautiful town of Reality-On-The-Norm. Make yourself at home! To familiarize yourself with our town, we respectfully suggest you start at 0 and then continue from there as you wish. Enjoy your stay!

0:
Play THE POSTMAN ONLY DIES ONCE and then,
     if you want to know why a zombie is running for mayor, go to 1,
     if you want to know how Death came to live in Reality, go to 10,
     if you want to know how Mika came to live in Reality, go to 5
     if you want to know more how the sheriff lost his leg, go to 4,
     if you want to know how the drinks got swapped with the nuclear weapons, go to 7,
     if you want to know what kind of packages Davy sends to Abu Dhabi, go to 3,
     if you want to know who is going to become the new postman, go to 14,
     if you want to play another game by the same author, go to 41,
     otherwise, go to 12.

1:
Play LUNCHTIME OF THE DAMNED and then,
     if you want to know how Davy got his start as a magician, go to 24,
     if you want to play another game as Davy, go to 3,
     if you want to play a game as Elandra, go to 8,
     if you want to get rid of Davy, go to 2,
     otherwise go to 5.

2:
Play VENGEANCE OF THE CHICKEN and then,
     if you want to bring the chicken to justice, go to 4,
     otherwise go to 5.

3:
Play THE SOVIET UNION STRIKES AGAIN and then,
     if you want to play another game as Davy, go to 1,
     otherwise go to 5.

4:
Play FOWL PLAY and then,
     if you want to know how the chicken got the gun, go to 2,
     go to 5.

5:
Play I SPY and then,
     if you want to know what Davy and Elandra did in the meantime, go to 8,
     if you want to know how Bill Cosby died, go to 1,
     if you want to know how the chicken got the gun, go to 2,
     otherwise go to 10.

7:
Play RETURN OF DEE VIE ESS and then,
     go to 69.

8:
Play BLAST OFF and then,
     go to 5.

10:
Play THE REPOSSESSOR and then,
     if you want to know why a zombie is running for mayor, go to 1,
     if you want to know how the chicken got the gun, go to 2,
     otherwise, go to 13.

12:
Play DAVY JONES C'EST MORT and then,
     go to 23.

14:
Play THE LOST TREASURE OF RON and then,
     go to 18.

(...)

The Reality Chamber of Commerce is proud to be associated with Yahtzeebrand, Cloudy Davy Real Estate, Linders of RON, Grundy's market, Scid's bar, Chez Chef and Dominatrix Pizza.
« Last Edit: 14 May 2007, 18:01 by Anym »
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Ozzie

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Re: The RoN Problem--How do we solve it???
« Reply #157 on: 15 May 2007, 06:02 »
Thakbor, his mum and Mr. Namyah are quite negligible characters IMHO (even though Thakbor was among the very first dozen characters to be created) and they alone don't provide a compelling reason to include The Soviet Union Strikes Again! especially if we also consider Purity of the Surf (which features Thakbor much more prominently) for inclusion. Purity of the Surf was also a hard game not to include and I guess you could replace III Spy with it, but ultimately, it didn't provide many plot hooks and all the character development (especially Josh, Thakbor and Knoffel) wasn't picked up much either, so ultimately, because I wanted the list to be as short as possible I decided against it.

While Hooky McPegleg, Pirate Postman also takes places during the period of Davy's death and the mayoral election, I felt it didn't deal with Davy's death that nicely, because Hooky, didn't really know Davy and because the game features another character dressing up as Davy. Also, the game is strongly linked to Lost Treasure of RON, so including one, would almost inevitably mean including the other, which was one more argument (to minimize the number of games) of opting for a single game rather than those two, because, if taken together, they are almost stand-alone, not unlike Purity of the Surf.

Okay, it's some while since I last played through all RON games, so I have no ideal qualification for choosing the essential games.
Still, when you don't want to include Soviet, why then IIISpy. It actually is also a very standalone game and you can't say where it even belongs in the timeline. It fleshes out characters, something Soviet does do too. And features many new characters, like Soviet.
In my eyes Soviet has tons of story development. Oh, and you see Davy's room for the first time. And you get to know that he needs a magic ring for...magic.
Okay, I get silly. ;)

About pirate postman: I played it again yesterday and it wasn't really a problem that you didn't knew the first part since its happenings were summarized at the beginning. I'm not sure about its inclusion, though. For the timeline, it would be the most relevant of Grundislav games, though.
I haven't played through IISpy for now, but it seems like a nice game.

Edit: Sorry for my fucked up post, I was in time struggle.
I like the idea of choose-your-own-reality though.
« Last Edit: 15 May 2007, 14:59 by Ozzie »
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Shinan

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Re: The RoN Problem--How do we solve it???
« Reply #158 on: 15 May 2007, 14:28 »
I've now spent a couple of hours reading through this thread, that I came by by mistake when lurking these forums for the first time in a couple of months. RON is fairly dear to me, I've made one game ever and that was a RON game (Simon's Journey), it probably wasn't all that good and would probably be put in the "other" category. But still, if I were to do another game (they're always brewing there a bit, though nothing ever happends) RON is probably where I'd do it.

I think is great because it enables newbies (like me) to make a game rather easily, I came upon RON while looking for some of those insta-game things for resources and I've made unreleased test using RON graphics because honestly, I'm just not that good at graphics myself. With that said the graphics style of RON fits me perfectly since I can use the premade stuff and I can with little effort edit some things to suit my needs (A change of clothing, an open window, an item here or there even a simple change of pose) without it feeling too inconsistent with the overall style.

All this said I also like the rather low standards (liberal was it?) of the games because when I played through the RON games, trying to figure out how I could fit in, the thought that struck me was "I can do something like this." and that encouraged me. Because of my inferior graphical skills I'm always discouraged when I see all kinds of amazing screenshots with beautiful sprites and background in 256 colours and I sit there in paint and can hardly do a trash can. However I also agree that these "lesser games" don't really belong in the same room as the "cream of the crop".

Looking back at this post I haven't really provided much constructive because I think most of the things that can be said have already been said. I'll just add that I agree. There should be a list of games for newbies to play. The games should also show off what can be done with the resources available (A game done using only existing resources with no editing done to them), while still being interesting.

Umm yeah, I'll go back to lurking and if I get the time I could try to churn out a short RON game during the summer. I just have to remind myself not to get overly ambitious... And re-learn AGS of course.
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Dave Gilbert

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Re: The RoN Problem--How do we solve it???
« Reply #159 on: 15 May 2007, 15:55 »
All this said I also like the rather low standards (liberal was it?) of the games because when I played through the RON games, trying to figure out how I could fit in, the thought that struck me was "I can do something like this." and that encouraged me.

That is EXACTLY why I created "Repossessor" back in 2001.  It was the first time I thought to myself "Hey, I could do something like this!"  If it weren't for RoN, I would never have thought about making games at all.   That's the main reason I hate to see it die.

As for the "essential" games, should the focus be more on showing RoN's history or the characters?  A mix of both?  A game like "Chef" hardly moves the story forward, but it has a lot of excellent character moments that really show what RoN's all about.