NORG stands for Natural Order of Realistic Gameplay and is, to us, a revolutionary approach to game design that utilizes critical unshakable facts to drive game development and design. Titles are constructed from the ground up rather than the traditional inside-out method. A design methodology is implemented that maintains immersive gaming while promoting a shorter build cycle with reduced back track development or need to artificially balance the game.
NORG works because it’s principals are instituted at the inception of the game’s concept. It builds from the base plate of the story and what is really possible instead of forcing a game and story around a single play mechanic. NORG defines balance from initial pre-production due to the use of real world data. Weapons are already balanced in the real world so why try to force an artificial outcome in game. Players will better understand their game world because it mimics everyday reality. It amplifies the ‘I’m really there’ feeling and allow a high level of immersion. NORG makes it so players are challenged by the scenario, not crippled by the design.
The main fact of NORG is that it never alters a fact or truth to change a game unless it is necessary for technical reasons. Removing a truth from a game to suit development, when it can be avoided, will result in a loss of immersion and serve only to frustrate players. NORG isn’t about modeling a weapon correctly. It goes beyond that. NORG is about realistic events and is an accurate display of interactivity that governs cause and effect for the gamer. This puts the player in a world they instantly understand. NORG removes the Developer guesswork and creates a well-defined framework on which to hang the game design and removes the need for artificial balance….. This is the type of Developer interference gamers learn to hate.
Player capability is defined by reality. In a multiplayer firefight, players do not have to guess if they can sprint or hop over a small low obstacle. Rather they have to ask themselves if they are feeling lucky!
The typical game development paradigm starts with a “cool” game mechanic being invented. Something the developers wish to make a game around. Equipment and characters are designed, features designed then story implemented. Next you enter a loop of mechanics being altered for the story; levels get redesigned then game balancing. This then requires a game mechanic to be altered because of that balancing and same for equipment. The story might then be changed to avoid a further shift in mechanics. More game balancing……. Game ships and players post relentlessly about how a weapon or your abilities are not realistic. Development team attempts to balance game with patch, but things get further out of whack. Former fans attack developers so they eventually fall silent because overall design is flawed. Player then gives up and moves to a new title and potential buyers avoid it altogether.
This is confusing and detrimental to your customer base.
Using NORG as a development Doctrine, we start with a story and setting. Levels/maps are designed. Equipment and characters are designed. Features are determined, spec’d out then implemented. Game is tested and refined/polished then game ships. Fans are happy and game is patched for technical reasons or possibly new features. Patches are NOT needed for game balancing as the game balances itself. The mechanics self-design because things like equipment design is provided by NORG principals. Developers can concentrate on what makes the game fun and not worry about trying to deal with it like a ‘house of cards’ where one change could bring the entire thing down.
NORG self balancing
Game balancing is time consuming and wastes money and can be the source of much angst for gamers. Weapons get altered making them useless or over powered. Real actions are prevented in the name of ‘balance’. Players abilities are altered preventing some basic movements leading to a frustrating play experience.
A NORG driven game is balanced by the situation rather than the developers. By instituting a realistic situation, the game will balance itself based on real factors that the gamer can readily comprehend. A gamer should be engrossed in the scenario, not trying to figure out mechanics. Real Special Operations teams have had battles that last for days. Not because of some artificial balance due to superior weapons or technology, but rather balance induced by the situation itself. NORG captures this idea.
Game ‘balancing’ with NORG is achieved by starting with a believable story and constantly asking the question, “What would really happen here?” A common situation is jumping. Jumping is often removed from a game to prevent what is known as “bunny hopping”, where a player continually jumps around while shooting people with perfect aim. The generally supporting argument is that bunny hopping isn’t realistic and ruins the game so removing jumping will solve that. Removing jumping however is NOT the solution. This induces a host of other issues when a player can’t simply jump.
Removing realism to promote realism DOES NOT WORK and negatively affects the entire game design.
Within NORG this issue easily takes care of itself by allowing players to jump in a realistic manner. Real soldiers jump all the time, but they have limits. They jump ditches, low walls, onto hoods of a car if necessary, over trash, rubble and dead bodies. The limitations are that things like weight and injuries limit the height and frequency of jumps and the fact that a weapon cannot be effectively employed while in the act of jumping. Due to realistic body movement, you are going to hit 2 things while shooting and jumping; the ground or the sky.
NORG gives players realistic map design and immersive gameplay. It uses expected cause and effect. Players get real capabilities… and real consequences.