Reality on the Norm - IF equivalent?

Does anyone here know RON?

I know that people from the AGS forums will know it, and maybe people will remember that Yahtzee did a couple of IF as well as the Rob Blanc series, the 5 Days a Skeptic series (which includes one SCI-style parser-controlled game and three ZCode short stories), 2112, et al.

ANYWAY. I digress, as usual.

RON is something that always fascinated me when I still thought I could make games. It’s a fictional town, with fictional well-established characters. Every author was welcome to just join in and contribute to the ever-growing RON storyline. This was made possible mostly because of Yahtzee’s off-beat and strongly designed characters (possibly caricatures, at first, but in a project like this that’s what you need; broad strokes, general outlines, so that any storyline can have the chance to develop whatever any particular author wishes to).

Resources were always made available to anyone interested in making a RON game; there were templates so that one had the graphics, animations and GUI and was ready to begin on their own story.

I’ve often wondered, how about an IF equivalent?

We’ve had the Andromeda series recently, which is quite amazing. As Wade Clark recently posted ( … omeda.html) the way that various different authors, of differing styles, chimed in to help create a larger mythology - and in such a cohese manner - is inspiring. But what about something a bit more open, something that anyone could easily join without having to fully understand Andromeda? Something a bit easier to follow?

Something, in fact, that would encourage people to start writing their games? If you have a concept that you haven’t developed fully for a stand-alone, why not make it part of a growing storyline? With shared resources already available, and with a lot of context already in place, you could focus on what you wanted to focus, as presumably the characters and locations would already be well known to the players.

I’m just wondering aloud, really. As a player, this is something I’d totally love. I have a soft spot for RON still.

I should add that RON accomodated one-offs as well as, surprisingly, a pretty big story arc involving The Surrealist. I think it all started back when one author rather mean-spiritedly decided to off a main character (Davy Jones), who then had to be brough back… and over the following games this became both a joke and, eventually, part of something bigger.

It’s not the sort of thing you can plan for, and it can get quite amazing. It was also fair game to pick a minor character, like the clerk at the convenience store, and give him super-powers, making him the protagonist.

Did I mention Dave Gilbert wrote a couple of Ron games? Yep.

I like this idea. That’s actually one of the reasons I was inspired to make Scroll Thief: there was a well-defined world with enough vagueness that there could still be more stories to tell, plus a system of mechanics that had already been greatly successful in IF (people liked the magic system and all sorts of games had imitated it) but hadn’t yet exhausted their potential. If I’d had to come up with those on my own I don’t think I would have done nearly as well for my first work.

You’re surely not the only one to feel that way, considering the number of existing games set in the Zork/Enchanter universe!

There IS some IF in RON already, but it’s pretty crappy. So theoretically one could write games for RON. But I do think it’d be better to start from scratch and play to the strengths of IF - and ease of IF use.

I hadn’t been aware of this at all. An Andromeda game had been in my mind, but I was worried it was going to be too potentially autobiographical. But I liked what I had. It’s still something I want to do. I have enough notes. I think I’d wind up writing it in twine.

It looks like RON has a lot of in-jokes to catch up on etc. It’s a shame there’s been no new games for the last 2 years but it’d probably be even more byzantine if it was.

That will have a lot to do with the lack of games for two years. As with all comunity efforts, the community passes on and the newcomers find little in common with what there is.

At which point a reboot is usually not a bad idea. :wink:

It seems Marco provided a “cheat sheet” for his Andromeda universe. Maybe a RON-style sort of thing with a similar straight-to-the-point, no-frills cheat sheet would help in a similar endeavour? The idea being that you don’t have to get all the jokes, which may be well before everyone’s time anyway; all you need to know is A-B-C, and an idea for a story/game, and you can use the existing world.

That’d be good. Now that you used the term cheat sheet, I realized that I too often view getting into a community as having to get, say, an 80% grade on a pop quiz of jokes or tropes or things not to do, and not just learning as you go along. I can’t be the only one.

I do think/hope we’re seeing a reboot here in the text adventure community as well. I know Jason Macintosh has high hopes we’ll have the most voters ever for IFComp. Speaking of which–I got work to do there.

Well, that’s certainly what’s kept me out of the MUD. I’ve been there once, felt like a fish out of water, and popped back out again.

This is the link to Wade Clark’s blog post. I seem to be unable to edit it into the first post.

What about that collaborative effort from a few years back? “Exquisite Corpse”? Could that be tied in somehow?

You wouldn’t have to use this exact story, but it might be interesting to begin with a collaborative effort as a way to come up with interesting elements to expand on later.

I did notice this, and it’s come up in the other forum, so don’t go thinking I ignored or missed your post. :smile:

The “Everybody IF” thread seems to me like a bit of a dead end… When there’s so many pages of the stuff, it’s hard for someone to join in, and I thought what they already had in there would be great for a game, but possibly not necessarily for the “universe to welcome new authors” concept. Plus, of course, the excitement wore off and nothing actually materialised; at one point, IIRC, there were too many posts discussing it and not enough posts doing it - a real danger in a collaborative project in such a cerebral community!

Of course, someone else made that suggestion at IntFiction. And if more than one people think to bring the same thing up, it must be at least worth considering.

However, having tried to actually do the single most useful and constructive thing I could possible do - make a game! - and having failed, I’m kinda just seeing how it develops now. :smile: I like the idea, and I’d love for people to add to a growing mythology, or feel free to just make a game in that shared universe without subscribing to any longer story arcs.