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Messages - Simon

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Contests / Re: Lemmings Forums Level Contest #28 - Results
« on: October 03, 2023, 08:31:35 PM »
Congratulations! Lovely levels, cute weasels, and hard puzzles that geoo and I didn't solve even when we worked together. Lost Temple looked exactly how I thought a complex four-corner level should look.

I've had a soft spot for The L-Team Part II.

-- Simon

Loap / Re: Linux build?
« on: October 03, 2023, 08:16:00 PM »

It's excellent to see Loap running with Mono. Mono for running C# is popular and common.

I've been busy these weeks, and and the next weeks will be busy, too. Still, I have the long-term goal of trying Loap and your custom 3D levels. With the Linux build, it will be even more more interesting. At latest, prod me in 2024 to build Loap on Linux and to post feedback.

-- Simon

Loap / Re: [SUG] Replay insert / suspend modes
« on: September 25, 2023, 06:24:59 PM »
Menuless tweaking:

It's worth a shot to implement menuless tweaking. That's uncharted waters. You can be the first to find and nail good UI for it.

I encourage you to mark the previous skill assignment (or even the next?) directly on the main level view. I remember those "block here", "dig here" arrows from vanilla L3D tutorials. If we press a hotkey and see those markings change, we'll have nice feedback from the otherwise abstract replay editing functionality.

With the block-based physics, assignments are often delayed, e.g., assigned digger first walks until he reaches a block centerpoint. I'm envisioning the assignment markers to improve the feedback here, too, i.e., have better feedback directly after the assignment, before the lemming starts its new activity. That sounds helpful even if we never tweak a single assignment.

Menu-based tweaking:

You already have a minimap that you can hide and show with the small red corner button. You can implement the tweaker similarly, hidden by default, and shown on button click instead of the map, or instead of the right-side buttons. It needs a smaller font than the skill numbers.

Markers for most recent skill, or for upcoming skills, are handy even with a menu-based tweaker. There are lots of improvement ideas here across games (NL, Lix, Loap). E.g., if there is an exploder assignment scheduled within 5 seconds, Lix should show the countdown/fuse ahead of time. And why not something similar for other future skills?

-- Simon


I'm back from a 3-week vacation to Vienna.

geoo, Ramond, and Peter live in/near Vienna. I've been there in 2015, and I've always promised them a re-visit. This September, we finally did it. Thanks to Peter and geoo for hosting me for over a week each at their places!

We took long walks, swam in the Danube, rode bicycles, raced Lix singleplayer, cooked Gargantua Blargg's spicy stew, and played a heap of board games. I'll post the stories here after I've got the photos off my laptop computer.

Sneak (card game) already got its own topic for playtesting/development. Nobody of us had played before; we discovered Sneak during my vacation in one of my books.

-- Simon

Non-Lemmings Gaming / Sneak (card game)
« on: September 24, 2023, 08:55:54 AM »

geoo and I are working on Sneak, a card game designed by David Parlett.

3-6 players. One or two standard decks of 52-cards.

Sneak rules on Parlett's website

We started with the above Sneak rules. Technically, we didn't start with the website, but with the Entensuppe book, a German book from 2008 with translations of Parlett's games. But the website and the book appear to agree.

We played with 3 or 4 players and always used 52 cards.

Eventually, we changed some rules:
  • #1: Replace the standard 52-card deck with Five Crowns, but remove the 6 jokers. This new deck contains 110 cards: 3456789TJQK (no aces, no deuces) in 5 suits and 2 copies per card.
  • #2: Rank straight flush higher than matches (a.k.a. tuples, n-lings).
  • #3: Rank flushes higher than straights. (Both still rank below matches.)
The re-rankings feel appropriate for the 5-suited deck, and it's handy that the rankings now agree with Poker.

It's possible that even for the standard double deck of 104 cards, straight flush should be ranked higher than matches, but we didn't playtest that. We went directly from the standard single 52-card deck to the Five Crowns deck.

Longer decks increase the scope of play before the stock runs out. Still, hoarding cards in hand until the end may be too good: Never sneak, rarely challenge other people's plays, and if you challenge, do it only with your very strong hands. At the end of the game, be the one player with cards left in hand and put them into your pile of winnings.

We'd like to encourage a more daring playstyle. Toward that, geoo is considering to change Parlett's endgame rule to:
  • #4: After a player has drawn the last card from the stock, there will be exactly one more round of turns, starting as usual with the player after the drawing player, ending with the drawing player. On your turn, you must flaunt; if you have zero cards in hand, skip your turn. After this final round of turns, leftover cards in hand become worthless. You don't add them to your pile of winnings.
If this proves sensible in playtesting, I'll write down a full ruleset with these adaptions.

-- Simon

SuperLemmix / Re: [BUG] Builder shadow doesn't ignore disabled traps
« on: September 18, 2023, 11:39:08 AM »

-- Simon

geoo and I are going to play!

Thanks for organizing.

-- Simon

Site Discussion / Re: Why this site enter me always off?
« on: September 09, 2023, 07:20:30 AM »

Do you log in via the top-right area of the home page? Do you choose "Forever"? It's chosen by default.

That should keep you logged in permanently. If that still doesn't help, let me know.

Alternatively: Click "Login" below the forum title banner, above the boards. You'll go to a dedicated login page:

If you do it this way, you must check "Always stay logged in", which is not checked by default.

I always log in via this dedicated login page, and I always check "Always stay logged in". I never get logged out.

-- Simon

Excellent investigation, thanks!

Scrolling wraps around (kinda)

I read that as: L1 (and CustLemm?) duplicates terrain from the level's left edge at the right. Is the duplicate terrain shifted upward by 1 pixel, compared to where it really sits vertically at the left? I'd expect this upward shift from 1-dimensional storage of a 2-dimensional array, and reading across the seam.

(I haven't yet tried your most recent XFILES.LVL, I'm only writing this idea down.)

If this theory holds, it makes sense that DMA prohibited camera movement too far rightward, and that DMA tried to play it overly safe by blocking the scrolling 64 pixels earlier than the lemming-flipping field. After all, DMA had issues with 2-player scrolling. DMA put a thick vertical status bar in the center of the whole screen to cover artifacts that arose from scrolling the two half-screens.

-- Simon

Lix Main / Re: Tooltip to Cancel Replay
« on: September 01, 2023, 03:19:02 AM »
I'll user-test some wordings:

"Replaying. To play, click into air." (as in current 0.10.15 and before)
"Replaying. To cancel, click into air."
"Replaying. To interrupt, click into air."
"Replaying. To cancel the replay, click into air."
"Replay is running. To cut it, click into air."

Forestidia says: WinLemm had two buttons to restart the level:
  • Restart (= restart without replay), and
  • Action Replay (= restart with replay, you can click to interrupt).
Even with these two buttons, the replay was confusing. When you see the mechanism for the first time, you don't exepct the action replay at all because games normally don't do this on their own.

-- Simon

Lix Main / Re: Next Bugs to Prioritize
« on: September 01, 2023, 02:37:41 AM »
github #375: Sound/Music Volume, Apply/Preview Changes Immediately, Before OK]

This is fixed since 0.10.12 from June 2023.

github #362: Warn about MP3 in main menu (unsupported but common format)

This is fixed since 0.10.15 from August 2023 (earlier this week).

You can now copy MP3 files into music/ and Lix will play them.

The fix was: I don't exclude .mp3 anymore in my music handling. MP3 files play well on Windows with contemporary Allegro, e.g., Allegro, if I don't hardcode such an exclusion in Lix. Effectively, I did no hard work at all and the Heinzelmännchen fixed the bug for me.

Curiously, MP3 worked before 0.10.12, but for the sound/music volume previewing fix (#375, see above in this post), I rewrote some music code and added that exclusion of .mp3. Eventually, Flopsy popped into IRC and asked why MP3 didn't work in 0.10.14, as he remembered MP3 to work before.

Allegro needs MiniMP3 on Linux or Mac, which is not provided in, e.g, the Arch Linux Allegro 5 package. Thus, on Linux or Mac, you don't necessarily have MP3 support from the get-go. That's not a bug in Lix. But we should still remember this because people will consider it a bug in Lix; we should then point people to the missig dependencies.

Thus: This fixes #362, "Warn about MP3 in main menu (unsupported but common format)", without adding a warning, because we'll consider MP3 supported. On Windows, where it probably matters most, Allegro 5 supports MP3 very well in practice.

github #367: Rep4Lev, interrupt, re-win: New Replay saved to wrong dir
github #361: Editor: Show Grid Lines

These are still open.

-- Simon

My first NL replays. Amazed how much puzzle potential the shimmier offers, even in the miniatures.

My L-Team solution has a shimmier left over, but still feels reasonable. Everything else looks as if it's 100 % intended.

kaywhyn's videos: Thanks! Gentle Slope is intended, ξ is a minor variant and perfectly acceptable.

Spoiler: ξ (click to show/hide)

-- Simon

General Discussion / Re: Simon blogs
« on: August 30, 2023, 02:14:32 AM »
I filed a bug against PySolFC (Archway doesn't let you pick arbitrary suit from arch). It dovetailed into UI design. :lix-grin: Equally fun as playing!

I've always noticed this in Lix and NL: I play for a while, then get the urge to continue development. The vision of playing an improved version, or allowing others to play an improved version, can be more entertaining than playing the existing version. As a countermeasure, I had scheduled singleplayer livestreams to finally play through Lix seriously. And it's also very enjoyable, I should do that more again. After lemforum, there is NepsterLix, ClamLix, and Rubix's set.

I used to joke how my ideal board gaming night would go: Before the night, choose the game, email everybody a copy of the rules, FAQs, errarta, ..., and expect everybody to arrive well-prepared. Then, on the night, don't play the game, but hold a conference about bugs and corner cases in the rules. The winner is who found the best bugs, or the most bugs, or whose bugs eventually make the maintainers board game authors release an updated rulebook or errata.

-- Simon

Lix Main / Re: Lix 0.10.15 released
« on: August 29, 2023, 10:58:11 PM »
Lix 0.10.15 released.

:lix-cool: Download for Windows 64-bit -- recommended
:lix: Download for Windows 32-bit -- fallback for ancient machines
:lix: Download for Linux 64-bit
:lix-evil: Source code
:8(): Changelog
:8:()[: Issue tracker

How to update (click to show/hide)
  • Fix a performance bug: In insert mode (e.g., when, assuming default user options, the tweaker was open), new assignments would always recompute all physics since the beginning, even if nothing needed recomputation. Now, we recompute only as necessary.
  • Fix #448: Prevent tumblers from repeatedly crying "Ouch" when they're trapped in a permanent flinger.
  • Add user option: Allow blurry zoom. It's on by default. If you deactivate this, you force Lix to use only crisp integer zoom factors (1x, 2x, 3x, ...) that won't always fit the level to the screen size.
  • Re-label the tweaker's [◂], [▸] buttons with "−" and "+". Reason: These buttons move assignments to a different tick, not left or right. It was confusing with left-facing walkers.
  • Narrow the tweaker to fit more level on the screen.
  • Allow .mp3 in the music/ directory. This works out of the box on Windows. On Linux or Mac, you must build Allegro 5 with the MiniMP3 library to hear the .mp3 files that you put in music/.

-- Simon

Lix Main / Re: Implement Rewind to Last Assignment Like NL?
« on: August 29, 2023, 09:09:58 PM »
to fix this number in the title of your jumper skill shadow bug report then ;)

Changed 12.5.5 to 12.12.5 in NL jump arc shadow topic, thanks!

Quote from: kaywhyn
Quote from: Simon
you want this out of habit, regardless of why NL 12.12.5 has it in this surprising way.
annoying to hold down the rewind 1 second

Right, I see why rewind-to-previous-assignment is useful.

With "you want this out of habit", I meant: When NL rewinds to before the assignment, why do you consider it natural/desirable/correct/... that it rewinds to exactly 2 ticks before the assignment's effect (1 tick before the click), and not to the immediate tick before the assignments effect (the tick of the click).

I don't question the usefulness of rewinding to some tick near the assignment.

Quote from: kaywhyn
This can work too. I'm fine with seeing your idea of the behavior implemented, and again can be another thing that Lix does differently from NL ;)

Okay, I see now that you don't mind as much exactly how far before the assignment it goes.

I think I'll keep the rewind to the tick immediately before the visible effect of the assignment, then. If you begin to miss some deep importance of NL's behavior, let me know.

Quote from: kaywhyn
Quote from: Simon
this is a leftover bug workaround.
I disagree about it being a bug.

By "bug", I didn't mean this rewinding behavior.

I called this a workaround for a different bug, and that bug was: LMB advances physics before cancelling replay. This has long been fixed. I reported it in 2016-02 and namida fixed it around middle 2016.

I didn't dig for the history of the rewind-to-previous-assignment in NL. I merely remembered that I filed that replay-cancelling bug. It's possible that rewind-to-previous-assignment is entirely unrelated to that replay-cancelling bug.

Then why do I bring this history up at all? I copy a feature from NL here. It's possible that NL's rewinding to precisely 2 ticks before the assignment's effect is somehow really useful/natural/smart/..., compared to rewinding to the immediate tick before the effect. What importance might I be missing when I implement it in Lix to rewind to the frame immediate before?

The main deeper meaning I can imagine is: Rewinding to 2 ticks before the assignment would have been useful when NL had that replay-cancelling bug. Under that bug, and under NL's rewind-to-2-ticks-before-assignment, you can { activate that rewind, then left-click to cancel replay } and still see the replay cancelled; compared to being under that bug, but with Lix's proposed rewind-to-1-tick-before-assignment, you would { activate that rewind, then left-click to cancel replay }, but thereby run into the bug where NL replays the unwanted previous assignment that you didn't see yet on screen, but you wanted to cancel with the left-click.

Since Lix hasn't had such a replay-cancelling bug, I don't need that workaround.

The second possible reason is that NL's rewind-to-2-ticks-before-assignment makes it easier to pull the assignment exactly one tick earlier (omits need to use the 1-tick-rewind before reassinging), at the cost of unnaturality of the feature. If this is your only use case, I recommend the tweaker. It's designed to do exactly that: Tweak assignments that were mistimed by a few ticks.

Given that I could have recommended the tweaker in the first place, why do I still jump on this opportunity to implement rewind-to-previous-assignment at all? The answer is: I've considered to add this functionality to the tweaker, too: Click on an assignment line in the tweaker to skip/rewind to the time of that assignment. Now, suddenly, you want this even outside the tweaker, and you have lots of experience with that feature to boot. I'm considering you the expert for this. If I deviate from exactly what you know (exactly to what tick around the assignment to rewind/skip), I'll better know what I'm doing.

That's the reason why I'm making this discussion feel like pulling teeth.

-- Simon

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