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Topics - Crane

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1
Closed / [SUG][PLAYER/EDITOR] Hidden talismans
« on: July 15, 2021, 09:42:37 PM »
A brief discussion on the forum mentioned the possibility of platinum and diamond talismans after I was shown a replay of my level "Deep Freeze" where all 80 lemmings are saved (anything above 78 requires extremely precise and fiddly gameplay).

Besides challenges that are harder than gold-level talismans (although this is open to debate), I am in support of a higher level, such as emerald or diamond, for those challenges that require ridiculous precision, but I'm wondering if actually a better option would be to have a level of talisman that is hidden in the player... that is, you can see the level has a diamond talisman, but you don't know its prerequisites, possibly because very few people know about the solution or the prequisites give too much of a clue as to what you have to do.  For example:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Granted you can cheat by opening the level in a text editor or the NeoLemmix Editor, and there may be other ways to disguise the solution.  Still, maybe something can be salvaged from this.

2
Currently, zombie trapdoors show the "lemmings remaining" count on trapdoors all the time (tested on level "Last Lemming Standing").  I can sort of understand the need for this because you haven't got the counter on the toolbar to go by - nevertheless, can I suggest the number only appears in "clear physics mode" rather than all the time?  It looks rather unneat and might cause confusion if there's terrain above the trapdoor that can get removed.

3
Non-Lemmings Projects / Doom levels
« on: March 06, 2021, 07:28:00 PM »
Hi everyone!

So one set of games that I design levels for, besides Lemmings, is the original Doom games, namely Doom II.  I'm still getting to grips with making levels that are beautiful to look at, as compatible as possible with the original DOS executables (and not just source ports) and are fair despite their difficulty, and not based so much on blind luck.

I've got 2 complete levels so far, although I'm still polishing them up where I can (specifically, I may need help at some point to develop some nice 'curtain' textures, since I have a placeholder for a closed curtain in MAP19 of the attached WAD below).

I would love feedback if you're up for it.  Find attached my first two levels and their supporting files (as a standard WAD file).  Note that my levels take the slots of map 6 and map 19, so you will need to type IDCLEV06 and IDCLEV19 to actually play them once you enter a game.  Enjoy!

NOTE: These levels are not easy.  Even if you've completed the original games on Ultra-Violence, I would recommend playing these on Hurt Me Plenty first (I think John Romero made the same recommendation for this recent Sigil episode).

UPDATED - SEE BELOW

4
I apologise but I think this has been discussed before, but I can't find the topic in question.

I would like to suggest two new configuration options for the engine:

1. Three 'radio' buttons (the circular boxes that you can only choose one of) for choosing the engine's behaviour if you run out of time:
  • Exit level (original behaviour - takes you to the score screen)
  • Pause (game pauses at 0:00, allowing you to step back or restart etc.  You can unpause if you like, which leads to...)
  • Continue (what happens currently - timer turns pink, the level continues playing, but lemmings can no longer exit)

2. A "on/off" option for if a sound effect should be played if you run out of time: (e.g. a boxer bell: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TvvTacquttk - this would play even if "Exit level" is selected above)

Thoughts?

ADDENDUM: A combo box (drop-down list) instead of radio buttons might be a better design choice if space is limited.

5
Closed / [SUG][PLAYER] New skill: Rocketer / Rocketeer
« on: April 07, 2020, 03:26:50 PM »
Just another idea I thought of.  This is an 'instant' skill in the same category as Walker, Cloner and Jumper.

When assigned, the Lemming accelerates straight upwards with a flame jet coming from their feet (or a jetpack).  They continue until they hit their head on an obstruction or die by hitting a trap or the deadly ceiling.

Some thoughts on the mechanics and their uses:

* If the lemming is assigned a Shimmier just before they hit their head, they will latch on and attempt to shimmy across the ceiling.
* The lemming cannot be interrupted while rocketing skywards (even with a Walker), although they can be sacrificed in their current position with a Bomber or Stoner.
* A Rocketer will explode instantly when given a Bomber or when the countdown reaches 0 with the nuke.
* Cloning a Rocketer will create a 2nd Rocketer facing the other direction.
* Gliders and Floaters can be assigned the skill, and will fly straight up from their current position.  After hitting their head, they will resume gliding or floating, whichever is applicable.
* Drowners can be assigned the skill and will save them from death (assuming they don't hit their head and fall straight back in the drink).
* Swimmers can be assigned the skill.
* Fallers can be assigned the skill.
* Jumpers can be assigned the skill.
* Blockers cannot be assigned the skill.
* Climbers cannot be assigned the skill.
* Lemmings performing constructive (e.g. Builder) or destructive tasks (e.g. Basher) can be assigned the skill and will stop their current task to become a Rocketer.

By itself, the skill can be used to delay a lemming but otherwise doesn't do much else.  The skill's main use would be its synergy with other tasks, like reaching very high ceilings with a Shimmier, a degree of flight control with a Glider, or attempting to land on a Builder or Platformer's bridge above them while it is being built.  As one example, if you need to traverse a stretch of water with a relatively low ceiling and don't have a Swimmer available, it can be traversed with a Glider and one or two Rocketers.

If the dead vertical direction is too restrictive, then it could be slightly changed to be a very sharp angle instead, so there is a small element of horizontal motion so they can land on high ledges (e.g. 4 pixels up for every 1 pixel across).  Hitting a wall would act the same way as hitting the roof (not sure if the should instantly start climbing if they're a Climber).

6
Contests / Level Solving Contest #6
« on: November 10, 2019, 06:00:02 PM »
Roll up, roll up for the first contest since neutral lemmings were revealed!  How good are you at saving apathetic civilians on the brink of a zombie apocalypse?!

I'm going to try something a bit different this time... there will be two categories.
----

Category 1 - Speed

Primary: Time taken to save the required number of lemmings.
Secondary: Number of lemmings saved.
Tertiary: Number of skills used.

Category 2 - Conservation

Primary: Number of skills used.
Secondary: Number of lemmings saved.
Tertiary: Time taken to save the required number of lemmings.

----

Note... this level uses neutral lemmings, so you will need the most recent release of NeoLemmix to play it.

----

To judge the speed category, I'll be looking at the time displayed in the stats screen, and for the conservation category, I'll be looking at the number of assignments in the replay file.

----

Deadline for this contest will be Sunday, 1st December 2019 at 23:59 GMT.  When submitting replays, make sure you specify clearly which category it's for.  Above all, enjoy yourself!

----

Submissions for speed category:

* Minim
* Nessy
* möbius

Submissions for conservation category:

* Minim
* Nessy
* möbius

7
Currently, the in-game timer is displayed in red digits if it is not infinite.  I would like to propose a change to this:

I would request that the timer only have red digits if you have a minute left or less - I say "a minute or less" and not "less than a minute" because it starting green on a 1:00 level then immediately turning red at 0:59 would be a bit distracting.

The reason behind this is that the digits suddenly turning red would catch the player's eye and remind them of the urgency, while a lot of old levels have a time limit that is quite high and is usually not a concern.  Usually it might only become a problem if you forget to up the release rate after making a path to the exit.

8
Closed / [SUGGESTION][DISCUSSION] New skill: Shielder
« on: September 27, 2019, 01:09:38 AM »
So as randomly suggested on Discord, I have an idea for a new skill, the Shielder.

The lemming deploys a large tower shield (either medieval-style or a riot shield) then begins pushing slowly forward, as if trying to shove a heavy box by pushing their shoulder into it.  Any lemmings in front of the Shielder get turned around - in effect it's a moving Blocker, but it only affects lemmings in one direction (lemmings coming from behind the Shielder are not affected).
  • The Shielder moves at about the same speed as a Basher
  • The Shielder stops if they start falling or hit a wall they cannot step up, but don't immediately turn around (in case they're a climber)
  • The Shielder can be assigned a skill to make them stop; a Walker won't make them change direction
  • Because they have a large shield deployed, the Shielder is actually immune to zombies that walk into it. Conversely, a Zombie Shielder won't infect lemmings that they're pushing with their shield.  However, if the Shielder pushes the lemmings into a wall, everyone will get infected the moment the Shielder reverts to a walker.  The Shielder can still get infected by zombies coming from behind (and will infect regular lemmings coming from behind in the case of a Zombie Shielder)

The idea behind the skill is that it's a new means of crowd control, specifically they can sweep an entire section of floor from one end to the other, as a means of compressing a crowd to get through a trap, say, and it also has the secondary use of slowing an individual lemming down for a long period.  It's also a unique, special and potentially cruel way of dealing with zombie lemmings (e.g. pushing them all into a pool of water!).

Questions that I haven't figured out an answer to yet:
  • Should the Shielder stop at a completely impassable wall (more than 6 pixels high) or also at a wall they need to ascend (more than 3 pixels high)?
  • What happens if a lemming performing a skill (e.g. a Builder) hits the Shielder's shield? Do they stop what they're doing or do they continue building but change direction? (The Shielder would end up overtaking the Builder or might stop completely because of the need to ascend the Builder's steps).
  • What happens if they hit a Blocker? Does the Blocker start walking, or does the Shielder reverse direction? Does the Blocker then face the original direction of the Shielder? (e.g. if a Shielder moving left touches a Blocker facing right, the Shielder will reverse direction, now moving right, but the Blocker will now be facing left).
  • What happens if two Shielders push into each other?

I'm sure there's a few other edge cases that I haven't thought about, but how does it look on the surface?

9
Closed / [BUG][PLAYER] Zombies don't always infect Blockers
« on: September 25, 2019, 03:08:29 PM »
If a Blocker is on a 45-degree slope, zombies walking downhill towards it will get turned around, but will not turn the Blocker into a zombie (unlike what happens if the Blocker is on flat ground).

My suggestion here to fix it, so as to not mess up some of the more precise levels when it comes to their field of influence, is to make an exceptional check... if a zombie is to be turned around by a Blocker's force field, it will always infect the Blocker that owns it.

10
Normally, if a climbing Lemming is about to hit their head on the ceiling, they have a few grace frames where they can be assigned the Shimmier tool so they traverse along the roof instead of falling back down.  However, the Shimmier cannot be assigned via right-click on a highlighted Lemming who is in that situation.

11
This is a suggestion on the new numbered entrances and exits suggestion...

When a trapdoor count reaches zero, can it close up again (play its opening animation in reverse)? Similarly for the exit, when its count reaches zero, it plays its unlocking animation in reverse? With the big "0" over the exit, it shouldn't be mistaken for a locked exit after that, or even if it is, the fact it says zero means you can't use it.

[edit by ccexplore: hope you don't mind me updating the thread title to be more clear]

12
Tech & Research / Debate: Digger-Blocker trick
« on: July 24, 2019, 11:46:17 PM »
This has given me some grief lately because this is a trick that's apparently known within the community for 15 years, but which I only discovered recently after being shown it as a backroute to my level.  And that is a Digger-Blocker trick, also known as the Wild 15 Glitch.

I'll do my best to explain it in words... you start with a digger facing right... at some point another lemming enters the tunnel and is turned into a blocker on the right side of the digger... the blocker is released a split second later due to the ground from under his feet being removed, but the digger, having been inside the blocker's field of effect, is now facing left.

This trick, while its internal logic is sound, I feel is very counter-intuitive and is very unlikely going to be discovered by a player independently except maybe by complete accident.  My reasoning is as follows:

  • The Blocker is immediately released with no other apparent effect, so it initially looks like a waste of a skill
  • Unlike the interaction of Builders and Miners with Blockers, there is no visual indication that anything has changed with the Digger
  • Builder/Blocker and Miner/Blocker interactions are something you might discover by accident during the playing of the original games (e.g. Tricky 24), and you can immediately see their effects, and then you're properly introduced to the trick of "reflecting" Builders in Mayhem 5
  • The Digger-Blocker trick is very hard to pull off in the original games because of the timing and the fact you're much more likely to select the Digger instead
  • Using Blockers in such close proximity to other Lemmings in the original games tends to be unreliable because of the coarseness of trigger areas (technical limitation), so the trick may not always work

The big thing that gets me is the lack of immediate visual feedback and it being hidden by another event (the Blocker being released), which to me feels very unfriendly from a UI perspective.  I personally really don't like the way that the digger is turned around by a blocker like that because the lack of visual feedback, as well as the large leap in logic required to try such a trick, is very counter-intuitive in my opinion.  And maybe this is selfish of me, but the revelation of the trick has broken a number of my levels that use the traditional eight skills, and to be told to use Stoners instead or not use Blockers because they're rare in Mayhem (wrong... 19 of the Mayhem levels have Blockers, and in levels like 5, 20 and 29, their use is fundamental to the solution) just feels like it's avoiding the issue and eschewing a traditional skill for a new creation.

I feel like that if a level is broken by this trick and it's shown in walkthrough videos by experts if a novice gets stumped on a level, they will feel somewhat irritated because there's likely no way they would have thought to try that even after 10 years of thought.  I would much rather the Digger is unaffected and be an exception to the rule for the sake of user-friendliness, especially as the Digger is going straight down and shouldn't be affected by direction in the interim, except for when they finish (or given another skill).

Now I know that there are levels out there that require the trick to solve it, and the internal logic behind the trick is perfectly within the physics rules of NeoLemmix, so there are arguments for keeping the behaviour.  I will, however, offer a compromise, and this goes for all advanced tricks:
  • If you can introduce the trick within the confines and mechanics of a single level, with no text hints, and have a relative novice (who doesn't know the trick) be able to solve it, then I will accept the trick as acceptable.
I suppose I should define "a relative novice" as someone who can get through Mayhem, or at least most of the original game, so they're introduced to levels like "Compression Method 1" that introduces the quirk of traps only killing a single lemming, and "No added colours or Lemmings" that properly introduce Blocker undermining.

13
General Discussion / Crane's resignation
« on: July 23, 2019, 10:08:32 PM »
It is a sad day that I have to announce this, but I don't think I can design levels any longer.  My theme has always been to use the traditional 8 tools and the original tilesets.  But recently I was introduced to a trick that I never knew existed, but when I brought it up, it turned out that many players knew about it and had decided it wasn't a glitch and was even required to solve some of the levels (which is why I had not solved them).

The problem is, this trick (a Blocker can change the direction of a Digger when a lemming is made a Blocker while inside the Digger's tunnel, even though the Blocker is released a split second later) completely breaks a number of my levels and for one reason or another is impossible to patch (either because a Builder breaks the level in some other way or I can't use a Stoner to turn lemmings around elsewhere because it's not one of the traditional tools), but this was decided to not be a glitch a long time ago, and I can't argue with the logic of how it all works - setting it up so a Digger is not turned would be argued to be an arbitrary exception and will break levels that rely on the trick that was already decided to not be a glitch.

The thing is, I've now revealed that this trick breaks my levels and so will be instantly used to break my Contest 18 submission.  I am completely broken and I simply cannot live with this revelation.  Call it childish if you like, but there's no way I can go on now that I know that this trick exists and I'm also deeply ashamed that it never crossed my mind to try it.  It's too late now.

I'm sorry everyone.  Goodbye.

14
Contests / Level Solving Contest #4
« on: May 08, 2019, 02:11:35 AM »
Welcome to the 4th instalment of this contest.  This is the first contest that I've hosted, so go easy on me.

This one is unfortunately NeoLemmix only, and uses an existing level.  I just had to wait until the end of the Level of the Year contest or at least until the level was eliminated, so as to not influence the vote.  The level in question is "It's Lemmings, Doofus!", and the challenge, should you choose to accept, is to solve it using as few different types of skill as possible - e.g. solving it with 5 Bashers counts as 1 type, but solving it with 2 Bashers and 1 Miner counts as 2 types, so scores lower.  If there's a tie, the secondary category is highest number of Lemmings saved, and if that is also tied, then the tertiary category is the lowest number of skills used overall.  Winner gets to host the next contest, or nominate another to run it.

Submit replays via PM.  Deadline for solutions is 8th June 2019, 11:59pm.  In case Colorful Arty releases a new version of the level, find attached the version that will be used for this contest.

So to reiterate, judgment is based on categories in the following order:
  • Primary: Fewest types of skill used
  • Secondary: Most Lemmings saved
  • Tertiary: Fewest skills used overall
Good luck, have fun!

----

Submissions so far:
  • Forestidia / Simon (joint effort)
  • Minim

15
I would like to suggest a couple of new statistics saved for completed levels, and that's "Fewest Skills Used", which is the total count of individual tasks assigned to lemmings, and "Largest Excess Saved", or something to that effect, which is the number of lemmings saved minus the number required (so 0 is exactly the number required).  This would cut the need to have lots of talismans for saving 100% except on the most difficult levels, but also allow a challenge for everyone in saving as many lemmings as they can on all levels.

I would suggest having these statistics on the level select pane from the main menu, and also adding "Best time" to that list too.

This will also help in tracking one's progress on some of the level completion contests.

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