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Messages - Simon

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Tilemaps (predefined clusters of the smallest possible blocks) are highly worthwhile. When geoo wrote Lix code to load L2 tilesets, first, he offered both the small blocks and the entire tilemaps. After consideration, we ditched the small blocks and only offered the tilemaps.

Probably more worthwhile in L3D to keep the small blocks in addition to the tilemaps.

-- Simon

Contests / Re: Level Solving Contest #4
« on: June 14, 2019, 09:59:37 pm »
Thanks for the contest! We had a good back and forth of ideas.

Minim's holding pit at the hatch was expensive. Compared to me, Crane replaced an exploder with a miner and thus saved an extra lem.

After the beginning, the solutions are conceptually near-identical. Every player mines over the gallow traps and needs no builders here. In the middle, all players choose the lower route, I'm not even sure whether the top route works, at least it shouldn't work when we constrain ourselves to 5 skill types.

The map seems designed to be nontrivial even with all 8 skill types. Thus, when we artificially restrict this to 5 skill types, the map lacks scope for wiggling and smart skill saving in the second half.

-- Simon

Lemmings Main / Re: Some good lemmings TAS videos I have found
« on: June 13, 2019, 08:03:59 am »
Great finds! I haven't seen these.

Most impressive I find Snc76976's The Far Side (Mayhem 12), youtube with timestamp. He found this in 2010 already.

Insane timing with two separate workers and the crowd. Both workers climb slowly in the wall, the crowd y-slides, and the first slow climber finally bashes the steel to free the y-sliders.

-- Simon

Contests / Re: Level Solving Contest #4
« on: June 12, 2019, 11:29:35 pm »
Hi Crane, how are the results?

If you're super busy, I'll offer that you PM me the replays, and I'll evaluate for you.

-- Simon

General Discussion / Re: Simon blogs
« on: June 11, 2019, 11:54:22 am »
Before teaching boardgames

Situation: You schedule a game night, and decide in advance which boardgame to play. Some invitees already know how to play. Other invitees don't know any rules, but would like to learn and participate.

The problem: How to teach rules to the newcomers, such that
a) any lecturing is short enough so newbs remember everything important,
b) any lecturing is short enough so that regulars will not be bored
c) newbs with a thirst for knowing every corner-case resolution are nonetheless satisfied.

Current approach. In the invitational email,
  • I announce that I will explain most of the rules at the start,
  • I announce that I will explain corner cases during play before they become strategically relevant,
  • I link to the full rulebook (many publishers offer rulebooks as PDF for free) and tutorial videos on Youtube (even tolerable videos may have minor issues), but make clear that studying these materials is optional.
When I'm invited to play other people's games that I don't know, I like very much to study the rules in advance. I like to get a detailed feel for the mechanics. It's only courteous to give everybody else the same chance.

Most players won't read anything ahead of time, it's still normal to introduce comprehensively at game night. Teaching rules live to the interested complete newbie is thus very important, and a separate problem.

-- Simon

NeoLemmix Main / Re: Constructive skills cut off by the ceiling?
« on: June 10, 2019, 06:52:07 am »
Lix implements: Any pixel outside the border is treated as the same solidity as the closest pixel inside the borders.
It's debatable which is really "correct"

Yes, Lix 0.9 has the highest-pixel-duplicating deadly ceiling. I haven't changed physics in 2 years, but I want to change to always-air deadly ceiling.

Discussion in Lix: Ceiling, how to check terrain beyond?

Icho, Forestidia, and nin10doadict preffered the always-air deadly ceiling. ccx wasn't clearly in favor of either (higest-pixel-duplicating deadly ceiling or always-air deadly ceiling) over the other.

For fun, the NL discussion between steel ceiling and always-air deadly ceiling:
Reconsider solid ceiling in view of addition of shimmier?

-- Simon

Very nice, you have special place in my heart.

I had always thought that it's DMA's favorite Pizza service's telephone number, and they would always call that when they worked overtime on L2. Of course, your theory holds much more power.

I chose 22934 for Lix's UDP port in 2008/2009 because it was unused and easy to remember from the L2 mystery level name.

-- Simon

Other Projects / Re: [WIP] L3DEdit: Lemmings 3D Level Editor
« on: June 06, 2019, 02:06:24 pm »
Very nice. I think isometric is perfect for editing.

It's merely problematic when you must view rooms from the inside. OpenRCT2 offers cut-away view: User provides a height, then the drawing routines render only blocks below that height. Very powerful.

But others might have more experience with 3D software than I have, and solve the problem much better. Looking forward to what you come up with.

-- Simon

General Discussion / Re: Simon blogs
« on: June 02, 2019, 04:09:10 pm »
Icho's dice tray

In April, I introduced IchoTolot to the Axis & Allies boardgames. The spark lit immediately, and Icho bought Axis & Allies Anniversary for himself. Excellent choice.

Game tl;dr: Exactly two teams. No hidden information. Strategic piece movement on a map, combat resolution by dice. Lasts from 4 hours to over 12 hours. Heavy compared to most board games, light compared to wargames.

IchoTolot is about to punch cardboard counters from his freshly purchased game

Setup finished, happy Simon (right) looking forward to play

Uwe (reallife friend) and IchoTolot rolling a naval battle

The round wooden dice tray in the pictures is my own acquisition, it doesn't ship with any A&A. But it's a great accessory. You can roll over 10 dice at the same time, and they won't spill on the map or the floor.

Icho wanted a nice tray for himself, too, but there were no good ones at our local game store, and Icho didn't want to pay 30 euros for a nice tray online. I suggested: "A dice tray might be a good do-it-yourself project.", but Icho said: "Sorry, I've got two left hands."

Well, Icho's birthday is coming up in the next months, and occasionally I get an itch for woodworking. In secret, I drove to the hardware store, retracted into my creative cave, and gave him this at yesterday's game night:

Icho's early birthday gift in action

Happy Icho (right) showing the tray's back

The tray is the green area. The black area is a holding pit for unused dice that aren't thrown in the current battle. Reason: It's standard in A&A to provide players with many extra dice, then, even in large battles, you can roll for all firing units at the same time and needn't track hits in your head.

In my round dice tray (see photo with Uwe), we would shove unused dice to the walls of the tray. But that's far from perfect, rolled dice would still get confused with unused dice in the round tray.

As a bonus, Icho's tray fits exactly into a hollow area in his game box. From our first game night, I remembered that his box had some spare capacity, and looked up the exact dimensions of the box online before making the tray.

Icho really liked his new tray, that was highly satisfying to see.

Quote Icho: It's late at night and game may be decided already, but continuing is too much fun...

-- Simon

NeoLemmix Graphic Sets / Re: [NeoLemmix] Cat trap
« on: June 02, 2019, 08:01:01 am »
Pics please! Cat on the internet without pictures is not valid internet.

-- Simon

Split off from Simon should report these 3 NL bugs properly:

How to repro:

1. Assign something, B, for physics update ("phyu") n, to lemming L.
2. Framestep back to between physics updates n-1 and n.
3. Assign something, A, for phyu n to lemming L.

What happens: B is replayed and your new assignment A is eaten without effect. B's effect is visible on the screen.

Expected instead: B is erased from the replay and A becomes part of the replay, and A's effect is visible on the screen.

1. If you framestep back to between physics updates ("phyus") n-1 and n, and then assign A for phyu n to lemming L, but the replay already contains an assignment B at phyu n (forgot whether it has to be to L or not), then B is replayed and your assignment A is eaten. Expected instead: B is erased from the replay and A gets through.

namida wrote: This has been a known issue for so long - since Lemmix even, I think - that it doesn't even register to me anymore - it's just "I have to step back two frames to cancel that assignment". But you're right, this absolutely should be fixed.

-- Simon

(Moved: Bug #1: On assignment for frame n, first erase old assignment for n)

Bug #2. Zoom such that the right-most column of terrain pixels is only partially visible in your NL game window. Toggle pause several times. The right-most column of pixels sometimes is black, sometimes it shows the terrain properly. Expected instead: Always shows the terrain properly. Speculation: You have code duplication in the camera.

Bug #3. Have a gigantic screen, and zoom out to 1x. Have a large grey dead area at top/bottom of map. The mouse is trapped in the playable area, mouse cannot go to the dead area. Open the load-replay dialog. Your mouse cursor is still trapped within the map, the mouse cursor cannot move everywhere in the dialog, I can't click some files in the dialog. Expected instead: Trap mouse only if the game isn't the focused window.

-- Simon

General Discussion / Re: Simon blogs
« on: May 26, 2019, 11:54:53 am »
We played it yesterday, following our edition's rules (from 1996, Ravensburger). We did a 2v1, and yeah, it would have probably been more fun with 5 detectives, although it might have been very hard for me in the beginning.

Yeah, 5 detectives feels best. Then you can cast a loose net and tighten it slowly, and this feels most rewarding.

With 5 detectives, there is a small chance that Mister X draws a terrible starting position that forces him to double-move before even the first reveal. It's okay to scrap such a game and reshuffle with the same player as Mister X. Or maybe let Mister X choose from 2 or 3 starting tiles after he sees where the detectives start?

I would drop the 2x cards, as if I'd use them the detectives would have no chance to win. Without those, it eventually boiled down to a turn with a 50% chance of being caught, and of winning (because the detectives were running out of tickets).

With 4 detectives, I felt the same: The detectives will prefer 50:50 gambles to capture instead of netting Mister X.

What I don't like is that as the game progresses, the chance of Mr. X being caught decreases instead of increasing, which would seem more fun.

Right, this is a problem. Especially with 4 detectives, breaking through the net mid-game is an instant winning position, and detectives should then resign. Games really should start with tight, interesting options (Scotland Yard has this at least), and become even more interesting during play, not less interesting.

It's less prevalent with 5 detectives, where Mister X needs the double moves merely to stay even.

Glad to see your insights!

-- Simon

Yep, bottom idea looks best!

-- Simon

Lix Main / Re: Lix ingame UI (skill panel)
« on: May 22, 2019, 12:22:01 am »
Yeah, Lix has fewer skills than NeoLemmix. Displaying all skills means that every new skill fills the UI further.

I've considered hiding skills that aren't available in a level, but NaOH wanted to always show those unavailable skills. Reason: It's easier to find a skill when it's always in the same absolute spot. Downside is of course the cluttered UI.

-- Simon

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