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Topics - Proxima

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Let's say I want, for whatever reason, to combine two or more packs into a mega-pack, so that the structure is:

Code: [Select]
Mega-Pack > Pack A > Ranks A1, A2, A3
            Pack B > Ranks B1, B2, B3

This is relatively simple in NL: put both packs inside a mega-pack folder, remove "BASE" from their levels.nxmi files, and make a levels.nxmi for the mega-pack.

However, there's one small issue. NL's main menu displays the name and author of the current pack, just above where it displays NL's version number. This information is, correctly, read from either Pack A's or Pack B's info.nxmi, rather than that of the mega-pack.

Now, if I use the arrow keys to select a rank, I move from A1, A2, A3 to B1, B2, B3, but when I move onto the B ranks, the name of pack A is still displayed.

Challenges / [NeoLemmix] Karoshi challenge
« on: March 06, 2021, 11:56:24 PM »
Taken from WillLem's "Ideas for challenges" topic. The idea is to find the fewest number of skills per level to kill all lemmings instead of saving them. Nuke is obviously disallowed, and so is running out of time.

Lemmings Redux

|Rating | 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 |
|Gentle | 2  0  0  *  1  2  6  2  1  1  1  0  1  0  0  0  1  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  1  1  0  0  1  0  1  0 |
|Quirky | 4  0  1  0  1  1  1  2  7  0  0  1  0  1  0  0  1  2  2  0  0  2  1  0  1  0  0  0  1  1  0  2 |
|Zany   | 1  1  0  8  0  3  1  2  0  0  0  0  1  0  2  1  0  0  1  1  0  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  4  0  0  0 |
|Manic  | 1  0  1  0  *  1  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  1  1  0  0  1  0  2  0  1  0  0  0  0 |
|Lunatic| 0  0  0  2  0  3  1  1  1  2  0  0  0  2  1  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  1  3  1 |

* On this level it is impossible to kill all lemmings.

I would like to add high-res graphics to proxima_tile, which is after all my "flagship" tileset in the same way that willlem_lemminas is WillLem's.

The biggest problem with doing so is the spheres:

(Left: the high-res tile as seen in NL. Right: the actual tile, pasted in with GIMP.)

As I understand it, NL deletes pixels where the low-res graphic has an empty pixel. I understand the argument for doing this -- that it makes the physics clearer -- but choosing high-res is in any case a decision to prioritise appearance over physics (look at the lower-right of the sphere; you cannot tell exactly which pixels are solid at all), and the player always has the option of turning on clear physics mode if they need to check the precise physics for any reason.

I want my high-res tiles to look hi-res rather than having the janky, pixellated edge seen in the above screenshot.

Non-Lemmings Gaming / Speedrunning
« on: February 22, 2021, 03:38:26 PM »
Speedrunning the Lemmings games has been getting quite a bit of attention on the forum and Discord lately, but I don't think we have a topic for speedrunning in general, so this feels like a good time to start one! :thumbsup: So... who else here has experience of speedrunning other games? Anyone have any achievements or anecdotes to share?

I know we have at least one speedrunner in our community: Simon is (at the time of writing) the world record holder for Jazz Jackrabbit, and has posted about his experiences in this topic. Of course, trying to go fast is still speedrunning no matter at what level, so please don't feel you have to be a world record holder or contender to participate in this topic!

Some games have time as the sole metric for scoring or competing, so I suppose that my introduction to speedrunning was trying to surpass my personal best times in Minesweeper, which occupied a lot of my free time when I was in college. My best achievement, and my first introduction to the thrill of setting a good time, was an 18 on Intermediate -- my best score on Expert was a much less satisfying 76.

Around the late 2000s, I discovered that my all-time favourite game series, Repton, had been remade for PC, so I bought all three games, completed them within a month, and then started to compete for best scores. In Repton 3, your score has three components: in-game score (diamonds, monsters and crowns); lives bonus (1000 per life remaining after each level); and time bonus (900 minus time taken in seconds). However, if you complete a full scenario (8 levels) in one sitting, then the in-game score will always be the same, since all its components are required for completing the levels at all; lives bonus will always total 24000 for a deathless run; so the difference in two scores will always equal the difference in times. In other words, Repton 3 scoring is speedrunning, just without an explicit statement of time in minutes and seconds.

When I first started scoring Repton 3, the online high scores were dominated by Chris Paul Andrews, except for the "Prelude" scenario, where Peter Van Ek's score was top. I remember that at the time, I felt Peter's score might be completely impossible to surpass -- the Repton games are entirely grid-based, so there are much more limited options for what you can do to improve a time, and the "Prelude" scenario doesn't have the luck-based elements that some other scenarios have -- for example "Egyptian", where on Level 5 one monster must be killed by fungus, which grows randomly. Still, I persisted with working out better routes, eventually surpassing Peter's score by 36 seconds, and claiming first place on all 32 scenarios, with a total score beating CPA's by just over 10,000 points (almost 3 hours!)

The trouble with Repton 3 scoring/speedrunning was that I never really had any competition. My friend Jonathan also did runs (and beat CPA's time on "Oceans" before I did, so he briefly held a world record), and Matthew Thompson was a spirited competitor, but neither was a serious threat. It's now over ten years since I improved any of those scores, and all my records are still standing. I have half a feeling that I'd like to submit the Repton series to so that I can motivate myself to play them again, but without the factor of competing with others, I'm worried that it would feel like drudgery and I'd lose interest quite quickly.

Recently, I've gotten a bit more into speedrunning through Steam achievements. Both Legend of Grimrock games have an achievement for completing the first level under a set time -- LOG 1 gives you four minutes, which is very tight; LOG 2 gives you six, when four would be about the same difficulty as it was in the first game.

But by far the game I've spent most time on is Hollow Knight. Again, my interest was kicked off by Steam achievements: there is one for beating the game in 10 hours, one for 5 hours, and one for 20 hours with 100% completion. The first and third of these are trivial to achieve on a second playthrough when you know where everything is; the 5-hour achievement is the interesting one. That may sound odd, considering the world record is a mere 33 minutes. But Hollow Knight is a metroidvania, with upgrades all over its map. The WR achieves this time by skipping everything that can be skipped -- which makes the boss fights extremely hard. In order to make the 5-hour achievement doable, I had to plan out which upgrades I would get, and what order I would get them in so that every boss in the run would be within my ability with the upgrades I had available. This was a very puzzle-like challenge, which I enjoyed immensely. I intend, if I am ever able to afford a faster computer that can cope with recording HK, to make a video showing the route I constructed, so I have continued to practise on the same route, and got my time down to 2:49. I believe that with my current skill level, I could get my time down even further by skipping some of the upgrades, but again, I don't feel motivated to work on this right now when I am unable to record my progress. I have also done a 100% run in 6:54, which is far above a good leaderboard time, but serves as a starting-point for bringing my time down.

Well, that's my wall of text :P Anyone else want to take a turn?

Engine Bugs / Suggestions / [BUG][PLAYER] File selector keeps mouse trapped
« on: February 18, 2021, 05:26:20 PM »
When saving replays manually, if the "Show file selector" option is chosen, NL brings up a file selector dialogue, but keeps the mouse trapped, making it impossible to click in the browser or the Cancel button.

Editor Bugs / Suggestions / [SUG][EDITOR] Indicate resizable terrain pieces
« on: February 14, 2021, 06:13:35 AM »
I'm putting in quite a bit of work making terrain pieces for my styles resizable, but it does occur to me that other people using these styles may not use this feature to its fullest, just because there's no indication of which pieces are resizable. It should be relatively simple to add this: arrow icons in the top-right of each piece's window, <-> for horizontal and the flip of that for vertical.

Engine Bugs / Suggestions / [SUG][PLAYER] A tweak to the replay editor
« on: February 05, 2021, 04:42:29 PM »
The following situation is extremely frequent: I have a replay, and I want to insert an action. I go back to roughly the right place and insert the action. I don't get it quite right the first time, and I now want to remove the inserted action and try again -- still without disturbing the rest of the replay.

The problem is, of course, that it's hard to tell which action in the replay editor is the newly inserted one. Even the "current frame" indicator often doesn't help much, because the time at which I know whether my insertion was correctly placed is nearly always different from the time of insertion.

Solution: The replay editor should indicate which actions were created in insert mode, by having them in blue text.

When I use the editor's test mode, the NL window opens at varying coordinates, instead of the ones saved in the "settings" file. I'm not sure what exactly determines the coordinates it uses, but just now I had a session where I tested several levels, and the window position was different each time.

I have also observed the NL player itself opening at the wrong coordinates, but this may just be a result of the editor saving the wrong coordinates to "settings".

Lemmings Main / NES Lemmings
« on: January 22, 2021, 08:14:41 PM »
As part of the ongoing project to restore, and fix any lingering issues, in the NL conversions of official Lemmings games, I am looking at Ron Stard's conversions of the unique levels from NES Lemmings. Since I'm not familiar with this port at all, I decided that the best thing to do was to play through it from start to finish.

The NES version has quite a few unique levels, and also a lot of changes to familiar levels. So in many cases it's a judgement call as to whether a particular level is different enough from the Amiga/DOS version to be worth including as a separate level in the level pack. So I'm going to look at every level and compare it to the original. This will also serve as an overview of which levels were included and what changes were made, which might be of interest to anyone who doesn't have time to play through the game for themselves :P

NES Lemmings, level by level (click to show/hide)

(to be continued...)

Engine Bugs / Suggestions / [SUG][PLAYER] Calcuation of postview messages
« on: January 22, 2021, 05:18:58 PM »
I've spent a long time today thinking about the algorithm for calculating which postview message to display, and whether I could get the results I want with the current algorithm, simply by reordering the messages in the postview.nxmi, maybe even with duplication of some messages.

And, as far as I can see, it's impossible -- hence the request for an engine change.

The big problem is the "You got pretty close that time" message, which original Lemmings displays when you are within 5% of the requirement. But NL works on absolute counts rather than percentages, and it's become conventional for levels to have smaller lemming counts than the old "default" of 80 or 100 (and in particular, Redux reduces lemming counts to 50 or below except for a handful of levels that required leaving it unchanged). Because of this, the NL default is to display this message when the player is 2 to 5 lemmings short of the requirement.

I'm fine with this change in most cases, but it means that on a level like Speed Trap (15 lemmings, 15 required) you get the "pretty close" message even when you saved 10, which is not close at all.

I should note that this is a small nitpick, and I'm okay with it if the outcome is "no change". In that case I will replace Redux's postview.nxmi with the default one and just accept that there are oddities on levels with a small number of lemmings.

However, just in case, I would like to put forward the suggestion that conditions in the postview.nxmi can be boolean: for instance, "CONDITION -20% AND -5" would mean this message displays if N (the number saved) is at least R - 5 (R is the requirement) and N is at least 80% of R (and, of course, if the player doesn't meet the requirements for a higher message that would override this one).

Challenges / NeoLemmix: Other challenges
« on: January 12, 2021, 07:00:29 PM »
This topic collects results for pass/fail challenges, i.e. ones where we ask "Which levels are possible with a given condition?" and don't have a numerical component to the results. These tend to give rise to shorter topics than numerical challenges, simply because there is no room for improving on existing results, so after a discussion on discord we decided to combine them into a single topic. If any of them become popular enough to move on to other packs beyond Redux, we can split them out into separate topics, but for now, we'll combine them and see how it goes.

And now, on to the results! :thumbsup:

Assign skills to only one lemming - Lemmings Redux

Gentle: All except 3, 4, 6, 28, 30, 32
Quirky: All except 2, 3, 10, 13, 15, 20, 21, 24, 28, 29
Zany: 1-4, 6-10, 16, 18-21, 24-26, 28, 31
Manic: 7, 13, 16-19, 21, 22, 24*, 25, 29, 30
Lunatic: 1, 9, 15, 25, 30

* theoretical but not confirmed yet

One skill per lemming - Lemmings Redux

Gentle: All except 4, 18, 23, 28, 29, 32
Quirky: 1, 2, 4, 11-13, 16, 19-21, 25, 27, 28, 32
Zany: 2-10, 13, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 28, 30
Manic: 15, 17, 18, 28
Lunatic: 2, 6, 7, 11, 25, 31

One of each skill - Lemmings Redux

Gentle: 1-12, 14, 17, 18, 20, 22, 27, 30, 32
Quirky: 1, 2, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 19, 20, 25
Zany: 6, 7, 9-11, 19, 20, 24, 28, 30
Manic: 6, 7, 12, 17, 20-25, 29
Lunatic: 1, 3, 4, 21, 25, 27, 31, 32

Undamaged levels - Lemmings Redux

Gentle: 2, 3, 7, 9-14, 19, 20, 22, 24, 27, 30, 32
Quirky: 8, 16, 18, 20, 26, 32
Zany: 5, 10, 12, 16, 21, 24, 25, 30
Manic: 2, 7, 14, 23, 30-32
Lunatic: 10, 11, 18, 26, 27

Fixed RR 99 - Lemmings Redux

Gentle: All levels solved!
Quirky: All except 2, 13, 28
Zany: All except 27 and 30
Manic: Al except 9
Lunatic: All except 3, 5, 12, 13, 20

In Development / GemLems reboot (22/120 levels done)
« on: December 15, 2020, 06:29:49 PM »
As some of you already know or have guessed, I am in the process of rebooting GemLems, the pack I was working on last year.

Amethyst 12 - Big Bad John

GemLems was originally going to be a pack using just the classic 8 skills, but then the shimmier and jumper came out, and I got excited and wanted to play around with them :P so I started a separate pack, RockLems. It got to be a bit too much for me, and progress on both packs ground to a halt.

So I've decided to start over, combining the two packs into one -- but even the first rank will have some brand-new levels. As before, there will be four ranks: Amethyst, Topaz, Sapphire and Diamond (in ascending order of hardness); I'm aiming for 30 levels in each.

All levels will be exactly 800 x 160 -- some don't use all that space, so I get to indulge my love of decorative terrain :P Most will use the original (including ONML) styles, but similarly to how the original game had one special graphics level per rank, I will be playing a little with other styles, including the Green Hill style I made over the weekend.

This topic is just for me to post about my progress, and maybe show off some individual levels -- I am not going to post a demo or partial release, so you'll just have to sit tight until the pack is ready to go! :thumbsup:

Closed / [SUG][PLAYER] More options for layout customisation
« on: December 08, 2020, 05:01:15 AM »
So... this is just a "would be nice to have" thing, I really don't want to sound like I'm making demands when not only has namida put a ton of work into NeoLemmix, but the result is that 12.10 looks really, really nice and is a huge step up from previous versions :thumbsup:

However, there are still problems, as evidenced by this recent topic and my own struggles to find a window size that's exactly what I want.

NL's menu and preview screen have a native size of, I believe, 864 x 486. However, if I set my window to exactly that, then at 3x zoom, a 160-tall level doesn't quite fit and becomes vertically scrolling; but at 2x zoom there's a lot of unused space.

So, I've set my window to 864 x 560, which works best for me: 3 x 160 = 480 for the level and 2 x 40 = 80 for the skill panel. But then the menu isn't using the full space and there are black bars at top and bottom of both the main menu and the level preview. Not a huge problem, but not ideal.

Now suppose I want to try out high-res mode. The level area then has to be either 320 or 640 pixels tall, and I don't like how small the window is if I go with 320, so let's go with 640. I then have to have the skill panel at 80, since 640 + 160 = 800 is already too tall for my monitor. So I set my window to 1280 x 720 and put high-res mode on. The result: everything works fine if I am using the full skill panel, but if I have the compact skill panel, the skill panel decides it wants the extra space and takes it away from the level area.

And even if I make suggestions that would be dead right for my monitor and preferences, that may well end up messing things around for someone who has a different monitor size or different preferences.

So, here are my suggestions, ordered from (what I guess would be) least to most radical:

* If the window isn't exactly in 16:9 proportions, the main menu should tile the background rather than having black bars.

* Settings should allow the user to control the zoom levels of level area and skill panel separately, to avert the "skill panel hogs the space" problem.

* Have a setting for how the preview window is split between level area and text space. If the text space is made taller than 9/16 of the width, centre the text and again, tile the background instead of black space.

* Instead of having to choose either the full or compact skill panel, allow the user to decide which buttons they want to have. (Of course, release rate and skill buttons would be mandatory, since even you have hotkeys, you need the buttons to see how many of each skill are available. Everything else, even pause and nuke, could be optional, since we assume that a user knowledgeable enough to go into settings and remove the pause button would also be able to set up a hotkey for pausing.) There could also be a setting for width of the minimap.

Closed / [BUG][PLAYER] Talismans and zombies
« on: November 30, 2020, 05:29:17 AM »
When clicking on a talisman with a save requirement, the popup displays the requirement in the form "Save XX / YY" where YY is the total number of lemmings + neutrals + zombies on the level.

Zombies should not be included, because they are hostile entities and saving them isn't part of the goal.

Closed / [SUG][PLAYER] Suggestions for menu icons
« on: November 27, 2020, 08:03:23 AM »
Firstly, now that it's decided that the save requirement icon will use the Crystal exit, the release rate icon should use the Crystal trapdoor to match.

Secondly, I just noticed this, but the hourglass icon has a little sand in its lower half, while the upper half is full. The falling of sand would obviously leave some empty space in the upper half. (The in-game icon gets this right.)

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