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Topics - Nepster

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1
NeoLemmix / Experimental NeoLemmix player - Pack conversion available!
« on: September 23, 2017, 03:54:48 pm »
New-Formats NeoLemmix Player - Experimenal Release

Download links:
Everything except styles: https://www.dropbox.com/s/gerqmc6hqli5ot1/NeoLemmix.zip?dl=1
Styles: https://www.dropbox.com/s/p41xsp0zr7o8jsv/styles.zip?dl=1
NeoLemmix player: Todo...
Editor: Todo...
Pack Toolkit: Todo...
Graphic Set Tool: Todo...
Pack Converter: Todo...
Graphic Style Converter: Todo...

Components:
1) NeoLemmix player (version 11.15.20): The new-formats player. It can be used from now on, as the file formats are stable starting with this version. It is fully functional, except for the online options (and of course any bugs it might have certainly has). New features include:
- namida's level selection menu, that allows jumping between packs.
- Options and hotkeys can be changed on every page, even when playing a level. Press F3 for this.
- The level selection menu is available from every page, too. Press F2 for this.
- Hatch markers to show preassigned skills. The same appear when moving the cursor over zombies, or in clear-physics mode when moving over a usual lemming.
- Radiation, Slowfreeze and anti-splat pads removed from the game.
- Time limits are now displayed in red, instead of the usual green.
- Updated options menu with far less hardly used options.
- The hotkey for the talisman menu is now F4, no longer F6.
2) Various helper files: The new-formats version reads a lot of info from external files, which are included as well.
3) NL Editor (version 1.0): A new editor for new-formats NeoLemmix levels. Essentially the same as V0.10.
4) Pack Toolkit (version 1.0): A tool to create and modify level packs for the new-formats version. It offers not yet all the options the player supports, so if you are missing something, please tell me.
5) Graphic Style Tool (version 1.0): A tool to create and modify graphic styles in the new-formats version.
6) Pack Converter: A tool to convert your old level packs automatically and (almost) completely to the new-formats version. Please see the next post for more details.
7) Graphic Style Converter: A tool to convert your old graphic styles to the new-formats. For details, please see the conversion topic.

Installation:
- Create a completely new directory and extract the file "NeoLemmix.zip" from the first download link into this new directory.
- Extract the file "styles.zip" into the same folder. You should now find a subfolder called "styles" containing all currently available graphic styles for the new-formats. Warning: Due to the large number of files, extracting this zip file may take a while.

Further advise:
- If you want to retain your options from V11.13.XX, copy the file "NeoLemmix147Settings.ini" into the same folder, where the new NeoLemmix.exe is located. This has to be done before starting the NeoLemmix.exe for the first time!. If you then start NeoLemmix with this file present, then it will read the options from this file, and save it in the subfolder "settings". Afterwards you can again delete the file "NeoLemmix147Settings.ini".
- If you want to retain your hotkeys, do the same but with the file "NeoLemmixHotkeys.ini".
- I do not guarantee that previous new-formats versions (up to any version 11.14.19) will work correctly or are compatible in any way with any of the other tools. There have been a few slight changes to the file formats in the meantime.
- I strongly encourage to delete any previously downloaded new-formats styles. Even the styles you got from the general download in the graphic set conversion topic contained a few bugs, that I fixed now!

2
Currently the castle style has the same fire blower and fire pit as the L1 fire style. However the trigger areas are subtly different:
Fire-blower in Castle: 69x10 pixels
Fire-blower in L1 Fire: 65x5 pixels
Fire pit in Castle: 28x8 pixels
Fire pit in L1 Fire: 28x7 pixels

As objects looking exactly the same should behave the same, the trigger areas of the three fire objects in the Castle style will be changed to match with the ones in L1 Fire for the new-formats version.
I don't think the fire pit change will break any levels, but the reduction of the trigger size for the fire-blower has a far bigger potential.
All level designers: Please double check your Castle levels when converting your levels!

3
Bugs & Suggestions / Combine Resampling Options? [PLAYER][SUGGESTION]
« on: September 16, 2017, 09:55:26 am »
Currently there are three options doing very similar things: In all cases they resize images using non-integral zoom factors, interpolating the colors to create a decent resized image. They are:
- "Use Smooth Resampling in Menus": Resizes the menu screen to window size.
- "Use Smooth Resampling in Game": Resizes the level area to window size.
- "High-Quality Minimap": Shrinks the level area to the size of the minimap to be displayed there.

All three options stem from one and the same problem: The interpolation process is complicated and creates lags on weaker computers. So I expect that users either enable all or disable all of the three options. Therefore having all three seems redundant and I suggest combining them into one single option "Use Continuous Zoom".

Is there anyone who wouldn't be happy with this change?

4
NeoLemmix / NeoLemmix New Feature Poll - Vote Now!
« on: September 09, 2017, 06:14:19 pm »
As promised, here the poll for your favorite new NeoLemmix features.

Why do I only have three votes? I would like to see more than three of these features!
Yeah, I know. But here I am interested in the most urgent features, the ones that you really cannot live without; not the ones you think you might want to try out some day.

I decided that I prefer to change my votes due. Can I do that?
Yes, you can. Of course only until the poll closes around next sunday. ;)

I have further input or would like to discuss some of the suggestions. Where can I do that?
If you would like to discuss how a feature should be implemented, or have arguments why a feature should not be implemented, then please post them in the dedicated feature threads. Whenever I know of them, I linked it below. If you cannot find a dedicated feature thread, then please open one.
If you just want to list all the features you would like to see one day (or something similar), then you are welcome to post your opinions here. I don't guarantee that I will take them into account, though.

I don't understand one of the suggestions. Can you explain a bit more?
1) New skill: Shimmier
A new skill that moves along the ceiling, similar to the shimmier skill in L2. It will not jump forward to reach the ceiling though, but directly upwards. More detailed discussion is here.
2) New skill: Jumper
A new skill that behaves pretty similar to the L2 or Lix jumper, but without any tumbler mechanics. Slightly more detailed discussion is here.
3) New skill: Pourer
A new skill that poures new terrain out of a bucket, which then runs around until it sticks somewhere. The precise rules are not yet clear, but some discussion can be found here. Most likely it will resemble a mixture of the L2 glue-pourer and filler.
4) New skill: Runner
A new permanent skill that moves twice as fast as usual lemmings. Whether it will also do other skills twice as fast is still up to debate.
5) New skill: Slider
A new permanent skill that behaves like the L2 slider: Whenever reaching a gap, it slides down the wall and turn around.
6) New skill: Thrower
A new skill similar to the L2 spear-thrower or the stone thrower, that throws a sticky piece of terrain away. Whether it will be ball-shaped or spear-shaped is still up to debate.
7) New skill: Bazooka
A new skill similar to the L2 Bazooka, but without the flinging effect upon explosion. It will allow to remove terrain from a distance.
8) Level wrap
A setting that the level wraps around either horizontally or vertically or both. The implementation will be similar to the one in Lix.
9) Idling animations for traps, locked exits, ...
This basically amounts to allow more than one animation per object: Traps could have idling animations, locked exits could support both the opening animation and idling animations while closed and open, ...
10) Disappearing terrain
After a lemming has touched such a pixel of terrain with its feet, it will vanish and become air.
11) Neutral lemmings
Lemmings that behave just like usual lemmings (and count towards the save requirement), but cannot be assigned any skills.
12) Parallax backgrounds
Background wallpapers that don't move (as much or even at all) when the player scrolls around.  More details can be found in the dedicated feature thread.
13) New object: Multi-use pick-up skills
An extension to the current pick-up skills, that give you more than one item of the given skill. More details can be found in the dedicated feature thread.
14) New object: Negative pick-up skills
The opposite of a pick-up skill. Upon collecting it, it will remove one (or even all) of the given skill.
15) New object: Single-use triggered animation objects
A variation of the now-removed triggered animation object, which will only display the animation once. More details can be found in the dedicated feature thread.
16) New object: Exits that only permit a given number of lemmings
An exit that will close forever after a certain number of lemmings have entered it. More details can be found in the dedicated feature thread.
17) New object: Exits that only permit lemmings with a certain skill
An exit that only lemmings with a fixed permanent skill may enter. More details can be found in the dedicated feature thread.
18) New object: Hatches that only spawn a given number of lemmings
A hatch that spawns only a certain number of lemmings. Some more details can be found in the poll preparation topic.
19) New object: Skill converter
A new object that removes or adds permanent skills to each lemming moving through it. The type of skill will be indicated by little icons on top of the object.
20) Player UI: Search for levels by name
This feature is an addition to the level selection menu. It would propose levels whose title matches the text you just wrote, so that you can easily find levels whose title you remember vaguely.
21) Editor: Grouping of terrain pieces
This is a feature purely for level designers: It would group some pieces in the level editor, so that they work like a single piece and can be copied, moved around, ... more easily. This would basically copy the Lix feature of the same name.
22) Editor: Add downloading styles
This would present a list of all styles available online on the NeoLemmix server, but not yet present in the player's style folder. It would then allow downloading them via the editor. Currently this is only planned as a feature in the NeoLemmix player.
23) Editor: Custom single background color
This would allow setting the background color to an arbitrary one, disregarting the selected theme.
24) Editor: Relative coordinate adjustments of pieces
This would allow entering how many pixels the selected pieces should be moved. Currently only absolute values can be entered, and moving pieces has to be done via dragging or the arrow keys.

If you have any further questions, please ask!

5
Graphic set conversion

While I still have some bugs to fix before we can start converting level packs, all the conversion tools for graphic sets are ready now. As this is the first thing we have to do anyway, let's start with it!

Download the conversion tools from the new-formats release thread.

This zip archive contains:
- GSConvert.exe: The actual converter tool to produce the new-formats files out of an existing style.
- GraphicsTool.exe: The new-formats graphics tool. It can not load old .dat styles! As IchoTolot requested this Saturday evening, I coded it in a 10-hour marathon on Sunday and that shows. So please be nice to it and cuddle it a bit ;). Please don't name your styles "ARGH ยง$%&!?", all your objects "MyFavoriteObject" or use just a single space for your background...
- NLEditor.exe: The current version of the new-formats editor.
- Several example styles: They are contained in the subfolder "styles".
- Several translation tables: They are contained in the subfoler "data/translation". As they encode where to find the pieces you used in actual levels now, they will become very importent when we convert level (packs). Therefore they should be created now, too.
- Sound files: They are contained in the subfolder "sound" and only useful if you plan to modify your graphic set at the same time.

How do I install these tools?
Just unpack them in a completely new folder. Then everything should work without any further

Please read the next post for details how to convert a graphic set!

IMPORTANT: If you already have some new-formats graphic sets lying around, delete them, burn them to ashes and throw them as far away as you can! There have been quite a few changes to the actual content, so mixing them will only create a huge mess!

6
NeoLemmix / Cull Disarmers, Triggered Decorations and Radiation/Slowfreeze?
« on: September 01, 2017, 05:35:53 pm »
Lemmings-like games have the amazing feature that with a relatively small set of features, one can create a plethora of presents levels. But some ideas sound like very cool and useful additions at one time, but after they are added it turns out that they are far less useful than expected. Unfortunately we have collected a few of those over the last years:

1) Disarmers
I have actually quite a hard time naming even one puzzle level, where a disarmer could not have been easily replaced by other skills or terrain changes. There have been several levels in the recent packs Paralems (by Strato Incendus) and Casualemmings (by nin10doadict) that give you disarmers, but in almost all cases I didn't use the disarmer at all.

2) Triggered animation objects for decorations
Although they have been present for quite a while now, almost no graphic style contains them. Most prefer movable background objects instead. Moreover triggered decorations contradict player expectations: If a lemming causes some part of the level to animate, then this is doing something to the lemming.

3) Radiation objects
These are probably the most useful among the features discussed here and there are levels out there which use them in a very creative way, e.g. nin10doadict's "Thou dost ask too much!" (Hyper 4 of Casualemmings) or namida's "A Universal Production" (Twisted 14 of LemPlus IV). Still such levels are comperatively rare, while radiation objects come with other problems:
- Using timed bombers, they clash with the NeoLemmix philosophy to use instant bombers. Actually the timed bombers are pretty hard to place precisely, which adds executional difficulties which we want to avoid.
- They have an extremely diverse appearance, so players may not readily recognize them as radiation objects. Or they might confuse them with slowfreeze objects...

4) Slowfreeze objects
They have the same disadvantages than radiation objects, and seem to even less useful. The only really nice level making use of them (that I remember) is nin10doadict's "Do you feel a draft?" (Twitchy 11 of Casualemmings). But this level would work almost equally well with a radiation object instead.

All of the four features add to the complexity of the game, especially as they don't teach a new player immediately what they do: Do disarmers work on teleporters or continuous traps as well? For slowfreeze and radiation objects, the player has to wait 9 seconds until seeing a result and no way of knowing in advance whether it would be stoning or exploding. As we moved to instand bombers, they might not even recognize the number above the lemmings' heads as a countdown, if they haven't played the original game before.

For all these reasons I think that NeoLemmix would be better off without these four features. Unfortunately we already had them for quite some time and there are several levels out there using them and I don't want to incur the wrath of a lot of level designers when I suddenly decide for myself to remove all of them from NeoLemmix.
So I propose to do the following:
- Completely remove triggered animation objects and remove support for them. Currently existing objects would be automatically converted to (movable) background objects.
- Completely remove the slowfreeze objects from the game. Currently existing slowfreeze objects would just disappear. Such levels would certainly need some modification from the designer in order to be kept.
- Keep support for disarmers and radiation objects in the NeoLemmix player, but mark them as deprecated. In other words no new level should use them and you couldn't add them in the editor.

7
NeoLemmix / NeoLemmix New Feature Poll - Preparation Topic
« on: September 01, 2017, 04:16:43 pm »
I will soon release the new-formats version to convert graphic styles and level packs. Only some more testing needs to be done. After that it will be lots of bug-fixing for me, and hopefully I will have at least some time to work on new features in NeoLemmix.
There have been a lot of suggestions for such new features in the previous months - far more than I will be able to implement in a reasonable amount of time. So I have to decide which of them to do first (or at all), for which I need your help and opinion: Starting from next weekend, September 9th, there will be a poll on exactly this topic. But to start this poll, I first have to know what features you would like to see implemented! Therefore:
Please add to this topic all your feature wishes that you would like to see implemented! Please do so until September 9th.

Here are the ones I will definitely put on the poll:
1) New skill: Shimmier
A new skill similar to the L2 shimmier. However it will not jump forward, but straight up to catch the ceiling. Otherwise it would be far too powerful.

2) New skill: Jumper
Pretty much a copy of the L2 jumper of the lix jumper, except that it will become a faller (i.e. move diretly down) instead of a tumbler (i.e. still move forward a bit), because that's far easier to implement.

3) Level wrap
Add support for levels that wrap horizontally and/or vertically, similar to the Lix feature.

4) Grouping of terrain pieces
Similar to the Lix feature: You can combine several terrain pieces (erasing or not) to a single piece and work with it as it would be one of the standard pieces in the editor.

5) Add download of styles via the editor
With the old editor you could download styles from the NeoLemmix homepage. The new-formats NeoLemmix player will have this feature, too. But currently it is missing in the new-formats editor.

6) Multi-use pick-up skills
Pick-up skills that give you more than one of a given skill, as proposed originally by Raymanni.

7) Single-use triggered animation objects
Similar to the current triggered animation objects, but these could only triggered once, not every time a lemmings moves into their trigger area.

8) Neutral lemmings
Such lemmings would behave exactly like usual lemmings, with the main difference that the player may not assign any skills to them.

9) Exits that only permit a given number of lemmings
These exits only allow a pre-determined number of lemmings to exit, then shut.

10) Exits that only permit lemmings with a certain skill
These exits only allow lemmings with a pre-determined permanent skill to exit. All other lemmings will just walk past.

PS: I went through the various topics to collect the suggestions that seem still up-to-date. Please forgive me if I missed any other you proposed and please post them yourself.
PPS: I reserve the right to disqualify your suggestion, if it is technical (almost) impossible, like getting NeoLemmix to run on Linux, or if it's too much against the current spirit of the game, like adding an option to disallow any framestepping.

8
General Discussion / A postcard from Lixland
« on: August 28, 2017, 06:25:58 pm »
See what I found in my mailbox today... :lix-cool:

9
Bugs & Suggestions / [BUG][PLAYER][FIXED] Swimmer continue on terrain
« on: August 27, 2017, 01:19:50 pm »
If the water trigger area is exactly of the same height as the terrain next to it, the lemmings continue swimming on the dry terrain. See attachment.

The fix should not break any levels or create new backroutes. It will be contained in the next experimental version.

10
Closed / NL does not read window width/height [BUG] [NF-PLAYER]
« on: June 09, 2017, 08:30:49 pm »
This bug happens in version 11.14.19_c474af8, but not yet in version 11.14.19_b1d4aa4.

When switching from fullscreen to windowed mode, the window is resized properly. But then exit and start NeoLemmix again: While windowed mode is still used, the window size is now the full screen size, not the size as written in the setting file.

11
The new formats experimental player does not handle missing files well at all. This is tested with version 11.14.19_c474af8.

1) Missing bass.dll
The error message reads "An error occured while trying to save data", which is completely misleading. Actually this error message occurs twice, before NeoLemmix.exe crashed completely with an EAccessViolation. Even after accepting this error message, NeoLemmix does not shut down properly, but has to quit via the task manager.

2) Missing data/particles.dat
Again NeoLemmix.exe crashes first with just a message "NeoLemmix no longer works // Quit NeoLemmix // Debug NeoLemmix" due to an unhandled exception. Only after trying to quit NeoLemmix the actual error message appears, which tells us what file is missing.

3) Missing level files
If either the folder "levels" is missing completely, or if it is missing, NeoLemmix produces an Access error at the module "NeoLemmix.exe", without telling me anything useful. A black form appears before this happens, but the main menu does not get displayed.

4) Missing styles folder
If no styles folder is present, the game reacts as in error 2) and complains about not being able to find "styles\deafult\lemmings\scheme.nxmi". I did not try to list all subfolders resp. files that have to be present in the styles folder in order to avoid any such errors.

In all cases, I would expect that the missing files create handles exceptions, that produce error messages telling me exactly what files are missing, and then exit NeoLemmix.exe nicely.

Do not treat this as a complete list of errors due to missing files. These are just the problems I encountered when I tried updating to a new version by replacing the NeoLemmix.exe file, while keeping the other stuff of an older new-format version.

12
NLEditor - A new file-type NeoLemmix editor

Download link (version 0.10):
https://www.dropbox.com/s/9wohvguk13dj4fu/NLEditor.exe?dl=0




Important comments:
- This editor requires the new file-type styles and must be placed in the same directory as the player, so that the "styles" folder is an immediate subfolder.
- If you want to playtest levels, you need player V11.14.19:1cf3523 (or newer).

I am looking forward to your feedback, suggestions, bug reports, ...

13
The new-formats experimental player does not create a "Replay" folder when trying to (automatically) save a replay, if no such directory is present in the player's folder. Instead the game crashes and has to be closed brutally, because it no longer reacts to any input.

14
Steps to reproduce:

1) Open NeoLemmix in windowed mode and start a level.
2) Drag another window over the skill panel.
3) Minimize this other window.
Then the text line on top and parts of the skill panel are not redrawn properly. Everything still works fine, as long as one only drags the other window over the skill panel, though.

This bug is pretty old. I compiled from a commit on March 9th and the bug was present there, too.

15
This bug occurs in the new file-type version. I am haven't tried reproducing it in the released versions.

Steps to reproduce:
- Start NL from the IDE and load a level pack.
- Go to the preview screen and start the level.
- While the game switches between the preview screen and the game screen, click a few dozen times as fast as you can.
- Then wait a few seconds, while the screen remains black.

Then I get an EAccessViolation, because some code wants to read an already freed resource. This occurs in TGamePreviewScreen.CloseScreen, on the line
Code: [Select]
GameParams.NextScreen2 := gstPlay;or the one following it.

The call stack is very interesting, too:
Code: [Select]
TGamePreviewScreen.CloseScreen(gstPlay)
TGamePreviewScreen.Img_MouseDown($4A8448,mbLeft,[ssLeft],429,264,nil)
TCustomImage32.MouseDown(mbLeft,[ssLeft],429,264,nil)
TCustomImage32.MouseDown(mbLeft,[ssLeft],429,264)
TGameBaseScreen.CloseScreen(gstText)
TGamePreviewScreen.CloseScreen(gstPlay)
TGamePreviewScreen.Img_MouseDown($4A8448,mbLeft,[ssLeft,ssDouble],429,264,nil)
TCustomImage32.MouseDown(mbLeft,[ssLeft,ssDouble],429,264,nil)
TCustomImage32.MouseDown(mbLeft,[ssLeft,ssDouble],429,264)
... [and several dozens of lines like these]

It seems that we try to make sense of mouse clicks, as if we were still in the previous menu. I am baffled how this could causes so many stacked MouseDown events in one thread, but here you are...

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