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Topics - Proxima

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Engine Bugs / Suggestions / [SUG] Zombies in CPM
« on: June 19, 2020, 12:16:32 pm »
In this topic, an image was posted showing regular lemmings, neutrals and zombies in CPM. It occurs to me: the zombies are hard to distinguish from regular lemmings. I would suggest making them green (dark for without permanent skills, light for with). Green tends to be associated with poison and infection in video games.

Closed / [BUG?] Music selection in 12.9
« on: June 01, 2020, 08:43:40 pm »
Not sure if there's a bug here or if I've just done something stupid.

I am attempting to split the "Extra Levels" pack into separate packs for 2P, Genesis, and so on. I have moved the level subfolders from Extra into the main levels folder, gone into each pack's levels.nxmi, and added "BASE" at the start to show that it's (now) a separate pack. In case it makes a difference, I've done this on a brand-new installation of 12.9 with no other levels other than Redux installed.

To help reproduce the bug, I've attached a zip with the exact current state of my levels folder.

Expected: Each pack starts the music rotation with track 1 (Cancan).
Observed: NL treats all the packs as if they were a single pack, so 2P ends with track 11, and the next pack starts with track 12.

* * *

On a similar note, it was mentioned on discord the other day that it would be desirable if putting a music.nxmi inside a rank folder told NL "use this music rotation for this rank, and start with track 1". An example use-case that came up was WillLem's Amiga Lemmings project, where he would like to have an overall music rotation for the pack, but restart from track 1 with the 2P rank.

After a recent discussion that I won't link to since it involved several different threads and was partly on discord, I am taking over maintenance of the NeoLemmix versions of official levels.

I have attached a zip of the current levelpacks, in the last version offered by namida. I am designating this version 0.1.0 going forward.

Please note that, for challenge purposes, this is a work in progress. I expect that I will only be making cosmetic changes that won't affect gameplay much, if at all. However, if using these levels for challenges, be aware that at the moment, I consider the packs to be a work in progress, and future changes may possibly invalidate results. When I consider the packs to be finished, I'll show that by moving the version number to 1.0.0.

Changes I definitely intend to make:

* Restoring the decorative terrain to "Call in the bomb squad" and "Save Me" (and maybe other levels, but these two stand out);
* Adding WillLem's conversions of the special graphics entrances/exits to the special graphics levels;
* Adding other official levels, where NL conversions exist (L2 Classic tribe, and NES/ZX Spectrum levels);
* Splitting the "Extra Levels" pack into separate packs for 2P, Genesis, PSP, and others.

I will also look through the packs to see if there are other changes that I feel need to be made, or changes namida has made that I disagree with :P If there are, I'll post about any changes I intend to make so that the community can give feedback.

In Development / Updates of Lemmix packs to new-formats NeoLemmix
« on: May 06, 2020, 07:09:56 am »
This is a follow-up to Nepster's "Updates of Lemmix packs to NeoLemmix" topic. I have downloaded the packs from his topic, run them through namida's NXP extractor, and cleansed the levels in NL 12.7. This means the levels are now playable, but there is still a lot of work to be done.

First, I'll go through each pack and make a levels.nxmi for it (and maybe split some of the packs into ranks, where appropriate). Once this step is done, I'll be ready to share the pack as a work in progress.

Then, we will need to create a solving replay for every level. If there any that are not solvable in current versions of NL, these should either be removed or fixed. I can do some of the work here, but as there are a lot of levels and some of them are very hard, I hope I will get some help from the rest of the community, otherwise the task will never be finished! There may also be some levels that should be removed for other reasons, for instance copies of official levels or levels that have already made their way to new formats elsewhere.

I have already removed the following levels:
* exit's cLemmings: This pack is part of a series, and for some reason, only the first instalment was included in Nepster's compilation. I believe the cLemmings series should be treated as a separate project and not part of this one.
* Gaston Splatt's Farlight: Brought to new formats by namida, here.
* MazuLems: Exists as a separate pack in new formats.
* TMChallenge: Exists as a separate pack in new formats.

If anyone doesn't want their levels included in this project, just let me know and they will be removed, no questions asked.

NeoLemmix Levels / TMChallenge (decorative terrain challenges)
« on: May 06, 2020, 02:05:21 am »
TMChallenge is a pack that mobius and I made back in the Lemmix days, and was included in Nepster's updates of Lemmix packs to (old-formats) NL. Thanks to namida's new tool, I have converted the pack to new-formats at last.

I'm going to work on converting more of the packs from Nepster's topic, but there are a lot of levels, many of which I haven't seen or solved before, so please be patient -- it's going to be a long haul.

TMChallenge contains 10 levels, all taken from original Lemmings with exits (and sometimes trapdoors) moved into the decorative terrain. The original skillsets were unchanged, but (I believe) all levels are still solvable. The one level I haven't been able to confirm as solvable is "Forgive Me", which was originally intended to require steel glitches, but Clam was able to solve it (in Lemmix) without glitches, so this solution might work in NL. Please let me know if you are able to solve this level 8-) (Confirmed by namida -- thank you!)

Suppose you have a level less than single-screen, so there are grey inactive areas around the play area. Now have two lemmings close to the edge, so you need your cursor to overlap A but not B, in order to assign to A. Sometimes the cursor will have to move off the play area for this. If it does, NL will refuse to let the cursor "see" the lemming and assign it the skill, even though it's within normal overlapping distance.

Engine Bugs / Suggestions / [BUG?] Priority of postview messages
« on: April 24, 2020, 02:14:16 pm »
As seen in Roundthewheel's LP of Lemmings Redux, part 32, at 11:32, he saved 15 on a level requiring 16/20, and got "A little more practice on the level is definitely recommended".

Being 1 short of the target should always give the "OH NO, So near and yet so far" failure message.

According to the NeoLemmix tutorials, "For the most part the priority is 'the later it is in the file, the higher priority it has', but there are a few special cases." Redux has the same postview.nxmi as Original Lemmings, in which the "OH NO" message is indeed later than "A little more practice...", so either something's up or else this is one of those "special cases". If the latter, could the tutorial explain the special cases so that I know how to fix the postview.nxmi file?

Closed / [SUG] Don't allow packs to customise helper graphics
« on: April 21, 2020, 05:52:52 pm »
According to WillLem's tutorial, packs can include custom helper graphics in the same way as custom panels and so forth.

This seems like a really bad idea. Sure, allow the user to customise their splat ruler if they don't like the default. But I cannot see any reason why a pack designer should have the power to impose a different splat ruler on the user. These tools are part of the way the player interacts with the levels, not part of the levels, and should remain outside the scope of pack-level customisation.

We have a separate discussion thread for each of the other skills under consideration, so the bazooker/mortar should have its own one as well :P

First, I want to list some of the decisions that could go one way or the other, so as to make clearer the range of possibilities we are talking about.

* The projectile could be fired horizontally (L2's Bazooker) or in an arc (L2's Mortar). Of course, we don't have to keep the L2 names in either case. The projectile could also be fired straight upwards or in a diagonal line, but I don't think those are under serious consideration; they seem to be strictly less versatile than either of the main options.

* For the Mortar, we'd have to decide on the size of its arc. Strato Incendus seems to envisage the Mortar having a Jumper-sized arc (roughly 18 pixels up, 36 across), but I think at minimum it should be double this, maybe even larger (such as 64/128). (Remember that skill shadows will aid with placement, so this should not be much of a consideration.) I don't know what the arc size is in L2.

* The explosion could kill zombies, or all lemmings. (The explosion having a flinging effect as in L2 is not under consideration.)

* The explosion crater could be differently shaped or sized, compared to the bomber's crater.

* The projectile itself, while in motion, is a unique object whose interactions should be considered. Does it explode when it hits a lemming or another projectile? Can it teleport? Does it bounce off one-way fields?

A minor issue: loose levels (ones in the main levels folder and not any subfolder) are treated as a rank -- the first one gets track 1 in the rotation, the second gets track 2, and so forth. This is okay but personally I'd prefer it if loose levels got a randomly chosen track.

Much more importantly, I would like to be able to give levels an ordered selection of tracks, so for instance "MUSIC smstitle; orig_01" would play smstitle if the user has that track in their music folder, and orig_01 otherwise.

Use cases for this: firstly, I'd like to be able to refer to tracks from other packs, while also having a fallback for users who don't have a particular pack installed. WillLem has said he's happy for other users to use his Lemminas music, but at the moment, if I set a level to a Lemminas track and a user doesn't have it, it will fall back to the default rotation, which isn't what I want.

Secondly, when I release GemLems and its music pack, I'd like my levels to have a fallback option for users who choose not to install the GemLems music. I know this has been a touchy subject in the past, but the fact remains: music packs take up so much disc space and download time that some users won't bother with them at all, or will be selective about which ones they install.

Level Design / Splat and danger hatches: yay or nay?
« on: April 04, 2020, 06:27:32 pm »
I want to talk about splat and danger hatches, but first let's be clear about terminology. By a "splat hatch" I mean one that's an unsafe distance above terrain so the lemmings immediately splat on landing, as in Bitter Lemming and Poor Wee Creatures. By a "danger hatch" I mean one above a deadly object (water, fire, or the bottom edge) so that its lemmings don't land on terrain at all. I am not considering levels like Mary Poppins' Land where the lemmings drop onto terrain above a deadly fall; these can be similar to splat hatch levels in many ways, but they are really a very different kettle of fish because it's usually possible to trap the crowd on the terrain while waiting for a landing platform to be ready.

The two types are very different in the original game, since a danger hatch must be rescued by a lemming from another hatch, but in NeoLemmix that's not true (gliders, swimmers if the hatch is above water) so a danger hatch can be approached like a splat hatch, as well as vice versa.

Before discussing these levels in general, I think it's helpful to consider the various possible types of level that can be made with these hatches. There are borderline cases, and maybe some types I haven't thought of, but I think they can be roughly classified as follows:

(1) No issue: You can make the hatch safe with a Stoner.

(2) Floater frenzy: You have enough floaters/gliders for every lemming.

(3) Fun-type level: You have lots of skills and a low save requirement. Usually, it's possible to save 100% by continually assigning floaters until a landing platform is ready, but you don't have to do this to pass the level.

(4) High save: The level is a puzzle where you have to work out how to build a landing platform in time, with a limited skillset. There is a high save requirement so you have to keep assigning floaters until the landing platform is ready.

(5) Low save: Also a puzzle level, but now you just get one or two floaters and have to allow lemmings to die until the landing platform is ready.

(6) Rescue by lemmings from another hatch: Almost always goes with the "low save" type.

(7) No Problemming: the splat/danger hatch is a red herring and all its lemmings should be allowed to die.

* * *

So, I want to ask: are splat and danger hatches always bad, or are some of the types acceptable? Which ones are sometimes bad or always bad?

When I was putting this list together, I thought the "no issue" type was rather pointless -- why not just put regular terrain and have one less Stoner? -- but I realised that the Stoner allows for some very interesting puzzles where you have to decide whether or not to use the Stoner in this way. Sure, that's a very powerful way to use it, but it's a very useful skill and you might need it elsewhere!

Levels where you just have to assign a lot of floaters/gliders are boring, and when you have to do that before starting the real puzzle (as on With a twist of lemming, please) then it's tedious busywork, but I don't think "floater frenzy" levels should be entirely dismissed. For one thing, it can make a difference which lemmings are assigned floaters and which gliders (or gliders versus swimmers with a hatch over water), so it could be part of a puzzle to work this out. When you assign the floaters/gliders can also make a difference.

The "low save" type (exemplified by classic levels like Poor Wee Creatures and No hurry, relax) is definitely my favourite, and for me, the strongest reason for accepting splat hatch levels as a valid part of the game. For one thing, it's a way to enforce getting a task done in time without using a time limit. I'm not dead against time limits like some people :P but a splat hatch is a cleaner enforcement mechanism because it measures speed in more discrete chunks, so you're never in the position of being just a few frames short. Also, being faster than required results in saving more lemmings, which is a lot more satisfying than just improving a time record.

This means I have to be okay with levels where a lot of lemmings die. (On original Lemmings, Poor Wee Creatures is the only level where more than 5 die in the max saved solution. Similarly, No hurry, relax has the highest loss on Genesis Lemmings.) For whatever reason, I have always been okay with that. Some lemmings dying to save others is just part of the game, so it isn't a big deal that some levels require more losses than others. Of course, while there are none in the original game, custom packs often include nuke levels, which tend to have much higher losses than splat hatch levels. (I don't like nuke levels much, just because except in the very simplest cases, you can never be sure when you've saved the maximum possible. With splat hatch levels, it's harder to be sure, but you can investigate through various possibilities, as we've done in the "skills you can't live without" challenge, and end up with a reasonably firm result.)

I was always under the impression that splat hatch levels were generally felt to be acceptable, but I have seen a bit of grumbling against them lately, so I felt I should ask: how does everyone else feel? (This is an issue of some importance to me, because in the reboot of GemLems, I intend to choose just 10 of the 20 skills as the skill pool for the entire pack. As I said in the "classic 10 skills" thread, floater would just edge a place on my top 10 skills, because it enables this type of puzzle. If they really are generally disliked, then I could change my mind about that.)

Reviews / Proxima's Reviews
« on: April 03, 2020, 05:05:02 pm »
Welcome to Proxima's Reviews!

So, this is an idea I've had for a while; it wasn't inspired by DireKrow's thread, although we have been talking about our threads in discord and mutually encouraging each other.

I've been around the custom Lemmings scene for a long time now, but I haven't actually finished very many packs. So I decided, as a way to motivate myself, that every time I finish a pack, I will post a review -- not level by level as with DireKrow's thread, but of the pack as a whole. I will concentrate on the following aspects:

Identity -- Pack name and date, name of original author and current maintainer (if any)
Statistics -- Number of levels and ranks, talismans
Features -- Does the pack use NeoLemmix's new skills and objects? Does it have any special gimmicks? (I am not trying to make a point about the new skills/objects being good or bad. It's just that because of the way NeoLemmix has developed and many level packs from older engines have been ported to NL, there is a fairly sharp divide between packs that use the new features and ones that don't; so this is a point of interest for anyone reading about the pack.)
Historical context -- What engine the pack was originally made for; features of interest about the process of converting it for NL (such as added or removed levels); the impact the pack has had on the development of the community. Here in particular, I'll try to do my research, but there will often be a lot I don't know and I'm open to adding information if anyone has anything to contribute.
Difficulty -- What level of player would I recommend it for? Is the difficulty fairly steady throughout the pack or is there a wide range?
Overall impressions -- The meat of the review :P Here I will talk about how much I enjoyed the pack as a whole; any particular favourite levels; I'll try to concentrate on the positives, but if there are any un-favourite levels I might mention that too 8-)

I was hoping to start with either Lemmings Plus I or GeoffLems, but I haven't been able to finish either of those yet, and since DireKrow is reviewing MazuLems, and I've played that pack before in Lix but some of the Lix mechanics are not exactly true to the original game, I decided to quickly play through MazuLems so I could read DireKrow's reviews without spoilers. So, MazuLems ended up being the first pack (other than Lemmings Redux) I've truly finished in NeoLemmix, and will be my first review.

Requesting a review

If you would like me to review your pack, or have a suggestion for a pack I should play, that's great, but please be patient. My #1 rule is that before reviewing a pack, I have to solve every level without help. I also don't want to have too many packs I'm in the middle of playing at any one time. Also, I will only review packs playable on NL 12.7 or later, so no old-formats or gimmicks packs, or packs for other engines.

Packs I am currently playing

Lemmings Plus I

Review index

#1 MazuLems
#2 MiniLems
#3 Sammings
#4 Tame Gone Wild

No, I'm not re-opening the rejected suggestion to combine multiple lemming types on one level. But with the recent explosion of variety of lemming (and lemmina) sprites available, it makes no sense to keep this chained to theme selection. Especially because that forces every lemming sprite type to be installed as a separate style.

Engine Bugs / Suggestions / [SUG] Talismans for "max N skill types"
« on: March 16, 2020, 04:11:43 pm »
"Fewest different skill types" was an interesting challenge, and while the talisman system partially supports this challenge (in that we can have "use only skill X" talismans), it would be good to expand this to support levels that require more than one skill type.

Closed / [BUG] NL sometimes fails to mark a level complete
« on: March 03, 2020, 05:37:41 am »
This has happened to me a couple of times recently -- most recently on Lemmings Recurring, Fun 6. I completed the level, but the postview screen said "You rescued 99 / You needed 99 / Your record 0" (normally a successful completion would replace a previous record, so it should have said 99). NL didn't save a replay (I have automatic replay saving on), the level wasn't marked as complete nor the talisman as obtained. I later solved the same level again and everything was okay and it completed normally.

At the moment I don't know what triggers this bug, but I'll keep an eye out for if it happens again so that we can look for common features.

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