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Topics - Strato Incendus

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1
Engine Bugs / Suggestions / [DISC][PLAYER] Midair exit rules
« on: March 20, 2021, 08:13:30 AM »
(Edit by namida: Topic split from [BUG][PLAYER] Using shimmier/jumper to let a normal lemming enter a midair exit.)

Shimmying into the exit should definitely be allowed, though, just like swimming into the exit ;) .

So the prevention of exiting needs to be specific to the Reacher state.

2
Hi everyone,

I'm getting the attached error message when I try to open my level "Holy Mountains" from Lemmings World Tour in the editor. No idea what it means.

I've updated the editor again to make sure I have the latest version, yet the error still occurs. The player meanwhile (latest stable version, not the Release Candidate yet) can run the level without any problems.

The level mainly uses one of GigaLem's Freedom Planet tilesets as well as the Sonic Angelisland tileset. The level itself is also attached.

Any ideas what might be causing this? I've edited the New-Formats version of this level before, so it definitely shouldn't have anything to do with missing or mis-named tilesets anymore. The conversion of Lemmings World Tour for New Formats has been out for a while now, after all, and it functioned perfectly fine, IchoTolot completed it long ago.

(Translation of the German parts: "Assertion error: Cancel = Quit, Repeat = Debug, Ignore = Continue --> referring to the buttons available at the bottom)

3
Closed / [BUG][PLAYER] Slider->Shimmier transition issues
« on: January 11, 2021, 06:44:29 PM »
Yes, the Grenader seems much better now! :thumbsup: I think it should be perfectly fine to accept it the way it is now into the final version!



However, I noticed a weird thing about the Slider:
It seems like it's no longer possible to slide down at the end of a Builder staircase and then transition into a Shimmier. Is this intended?

Since a Builder's staircase only consists of 1-pixel increases, its underside can be used by regular Shimmiers. Sliders can transition into Shimmiers at corners / edges.
So I don't see why it shouldn't be possible here? As a player, I would expect this transition to be possible, just like is has been so far. And we would lose a great interaction with Builders if it isn't! :(

For transparency, on one of my levels, it's a special case, because a Slider has to transition into a Shimmier on the underside of a staircase as it is being built. But I don't see why this should make a difference.

EDIT: Seems like it isn't possible on angled slopes of regular terrain either, if the transition is directly to an angular slope. It only works if there are at least a couple of pixels of a vertical wall before that. I've attached a test level where you can try this out.

I think this is weird. It should be perfectly possible for the Slider to turn around and transition into a Shimmier even if the terrain stripe is just 1 pixel thick. Which doesn't work either (see the second attached level).

4
Level Design / Deliberately restricting yourself to a couple of tilesets
« on: December 16, 2020, 06:04:58 PM »
To start off, let me wax poetic about Lemmings Migration again, which is still one of my favourite packs to this date (yes, despite it only featuring classic skills, and that's saying something, coming from me! :P ). And for a while, I couldn't quite figure out why. Sure, it had great puzzles, but a lot of other packs do as well. Yes, the levels where smaller, which is not as annoying as having to navigate huge landscapes on the majority of levels of a given pack. And yes, the levels looked pretty colour-wise, without depicting anything specific (as in Arty's SubLems or Gronkling's new "Rodents", for comparison). So what was it that made this pack feel so cohesive to me?

And then, while watching kaywhyn's recent LP of it, I realised: I only uses a few different tilesets!

However, at the same time, it doesn't just take the easy route and stick to the original ones either. Instead, it uses a clever mix of original, ONML, and custom tilesets that all form a nice sequence of levels.


First of all, in my view, this gives the two tilesets by namida used so frequently throughout the pack loads of "street credibility", because they are just thrown into this mix of original DMA tilesets, and yet they feel like they've always been part of that group. :thumbsup: This is different from the Lemmings Plus Series, for which they were originally created, because in that context, namida always made a couple of tilesets for one given pack and then only used those tilesets throughout. But of course, especially the earlier ones looked a lot more "rough" than original DMA tilesets, and therefore probably wouldn't have blended with them nicely if a DMA and an early namida tileset had followed each other back-to-back in two consecutive levels.

But the much more important discovery for me is here that giving your pack this a-priori limitation of "I'm only going to use these tilesets" can establish the structure and visual identity of your pack much more strongly than using a bunch of different tilesets in a seemingly random mix, as many of the larger packs do (Lemmings United, SEB Lems, my own Lemmings World Tour etc.). Those huge beasts can be pretty overwhelming, and it's easy to perceive them as chaotic if you as the player don't happen to get certain references that make the logic of why those packs are structured the way they are more apparent to you.

There are a few packs for which I've noticed this tileset-restricted design strategy - Lemmings Migration is just the best example for me. But I also remember e.g. SQRon's Snack Pack mainly sticking to ONML tilesets. Of course, as said earlier, there are the Lemmings Plus packs, each of which has a unique visual identity because each of them has its own group of tilesets. That strategy is just a little "all or nothing", because the styles were new every time, and since they're all that appear in a given Lemmings Plus pack, either the player likes them, or he/she does not. ;)

I wouldn't really consider packs that only use original DMA tilesets (i.e. from classic Lemmings and ONML) part of this group, since a lot of them were created when no other tilesets were available yet. Meaning, the selection of tilesets to be used for the pack as a whole wasn't necessarily chosen by the pack author. By the same token, I wouldn't count Lemmings 2: The Tribes inspired packs either, like Nepster's "Return of the Tribes" or my upcoming "Lemmings: Hall of Fame", since the L2-inspiration pre-dictates what tilesets you can use (unless you want to create all new tribes of your own).

That said, there don't seem to be that many L2-inspired packs yet, and only using those tilesets exclusively will therefore still give your pack a strong and easily recognisable visual identity. ;) Which is kind of the point of using this strategy.

Since LOA only uses classic and ONML tilesets (plus two of my own, not custom tilesets by others that I deliberately selected as my "chosen few"), and Lemmings: Hall of Fame "made that choice for me", I would argue that I personally have never actually used this strategy consciously yet. :) But now that I've become aware of it, I'm all the more eager to try it out myself! :thumbsup:


I don't think Lemmings Universe, which is my idea of an astronomy-themed pack that got an overwhelming amount of support when I recently put my various ideas up for a poll, will be the right place to try this approach, though. Instead, that pack might become somewhat of a "Lemmings Space Tour", with levels trying to emulate the geology of other planets as much as possible in a visually convincing way. Meaning: Most likely by employing tileset mixing.

In contrast, I think it's safe to say that tileset mixing should be used very sparingly with the approach presented here! ;) Why? Because it blurrs the pack's visual identity - and also that of the individual tilesets - blending them into one. Any piece can now appear on any given level, irrespective of what style it is officially part of.

Naturally, when you're aware of that, you can use this to your advantage, too: For instance, namida has already pointed out that Lemmings 3D doesn't really "think" in graphic sets; you have the different menu screens to establish the "styles" (and the two types of music for each style), but the pieces themselves can be shared between styles much more liberally. (Especially with the Army and the Golf tileset, I often have difficulties which piece is part of what.)


Finally, note that a top-down restriction, given our vast pool of different tilesets, will always feel somewhat artifical at this point.
The original DMA designers didn't have this problem; they were probably in a situation much more akin to namida when making Lemmings Plus: Design a couple new graphic sets, then make a new pack using those exclusively: None of the orig tilesets re-appeared in ONML, for example.

Now however, if we artificially limit ourselves to a specific selection of our favourite tilesets for a given pack, it would make sense to "justify" this in-game with a theme that has these restrictions as well.

Think back to the Lemmings 2: The Tribes example: Anything that involves established factions, tribes, people groups etc., anything that is split up into a few, vastly different looking regions - such themes will probably benefit from an a-priori tileset selection.



The first example that popped up in my mind was indeed to make a pack based upon the Lego Bionicle franchise, settled on an island with six different climate zones linked to the elements (which are the "standard" elements Fire, Water, Earth, and Air, but Stone and Ice are added to that and treated as if they had always been part of that group - everything in the Bionicle Universe comes in sixes, basically). Then you would have "Light" and "Shadow" as less common elements on top of that. And just like that, one could easily create a "Lemmings of Mata Nui" pack following the philosophy presented here with a consistent visual identity.

Alternatively, the "Lemmings: The Gathering" approach (which was one of the candidates in the poll that was won by Lemmings Universe) would also work, with Magic: The Gathering's five colours of mana, and/or with certain colour combinations (either the 10 two-coloured ones or the 10 three-coloured ones) being represented by different tilesets.

For Lemmings Universe, it would only work e.g. within the confines of our own solar system (as I briefly outlined in the poll thread already): One tileset per planet, and then, anytime that tileset re-appears, you know where you are again. But while we do have a Martian tileset, a Tree tileset for Earth, and a Rock tileset for e.g. the Moon or the Asteroid Belt, it's hard to make four visually distinct graphic sets that are all supposed to represent gas giants. :D

Don't worry, I still want to and I'm still going to do Lemmings Universe ;) - I'm just genuinely intrigued by this approach now and feel like I want to try it. :D

5
I just noticed for the first time that, in contrast to fire, traps, buttons etc., trigger areas of updrafts don't actually display any label in clear-physics mode when hovering the mouse over them. This is especially confusing if that trigger area happens to overlap with other trigger areas, e.g. those of traps or exits.

The only other unlabelled objects, as far as I can tell, are hatches. Not sure whether those need a label in CPM. But any other type of object that currently still doesn't have a label in CPM should probably receive one.

6
While trying to make my levels for my next pack, Lemmings: Hall of Fame, as true to Lemmings 2: The Tribes as possible, I sometimes start out by re-building an actual Lemmings 2: The Tribes level in NeoLemmix as closely as possible, and then modifying it from there.

However, just like WillLem has recently made an attempt to recreate original Amiga Lemmings in NeoLemmix, I thought: Why not make this another community challenge?

Which levels from Lemmings 2: The Tribes can be re-created in (and thus "ported to") NeoLemmix?

I actually love the variety of skills available in Lemmings 2, and the tilesets and music tracks as well. The main thing that really bothers me about it is the horrendous execution difficulty, be it with regards to the fan, the switching between "pause selected / fast-forward selected / fan selected / skill selected", the knockback effects of certain explosive skills, or even just the hassle of restarting the level (the Amiga version doesn't contain the option to simply press ESC, you have to nuke every time you want to restart - and I'm using the Amiga version as a .bat file for the original levels, so that I can simultaneously keep kieranmillar's levels in the folder of my DOS version of Lemmings 2).

But if there's one thing that NeoLemmix can abolish easily, it's precisely this execution difficulty! ;)

So maybe we can increase the fun of playing L2 a little by making levels from it available for NeoLemmix. My first example is a manually recreated version of Beach level 07, "SAND IN YER SARNIES". I could easily replace the Stomper with a Digger. The Runner isn't available in NeoLemmix, but it doesn't add anything apart from increasing execution speed (we have the space bar for that :P ). Also, I didn't add a timelimit, because most of them don't seem to serve a purpose in L2. Everything else is as in L2.



I'm sure the options for "porting levels from L2 over to NeoLemmix" will increase drastically if we do indeed end up getting all new four skills (Laserer, Slider, Spearer, and Grenader) introduced! :thumbsup:

7
Steps to reproduce:
1) Assign a Stacker.
2) Make a lemming a Climber so that he can climb the stack.
3) Assign a Shimmier to the lemming while climbing the stack. At one point, he can transition into a Shimmier (i.e. turn around and shimmy into the opposite direction) as if there were a ceiling, even though there is none. It will only be for a very short time, but it can be used to turn a Climber around who would otherwise just climb straight over the stack.

I discovered this behaviour because some people kept using it to backroute some of my Lemmings Open Air levels. :P

I'm not calling for it to be abolished simply because I want those backroutes broken. In fact, I'm not sure whether I'd personally want to see it abolished at all, because it's a pretty cool trick once you know about it.

The question is just: Is it intentional? And more importantly, would this be in line with what you'd expect? Because it definitely wasn't expected for me at all.
Wouldn't this then also mean that there's a certain point when climbing regular walls where the lemming can transition into a Shimmier, even without a ceiling being there?

8
You may not be able to go to any real open-air festivals right now. And you're definitely not able to go to indoors concerts. But there is an alternative world where all human beings are 8 pixels large, and neither have to worry about infections... nor about how many of them die for other reasons. And in that world, open-air concerts are as possible as ever. ;)

After two years in the making, the follow-up to Lemmings World Tour is finally here!



You can download both the pack itself as well as the required add-on tileset in the attachments.
Please make sure to download this tileset, strato_generalmd, as well, because it adds some miscellaneous pieces that are required to make a couple of levels work.


The music pack is the same as for Lemmings World Tour. If you don't have it yet, you can get it here!
It features my self-recorded rock / metal versions of the original Lemmings and Oh No! More Lemmings music.
(This does not include ONML track 04, because I hate it :P , nor the "cross-promotion" tracks of Beast, Menace, and Awesome).



Lemmings Open Air aims to recreate the feeling of playing original Lemmings while at the same time using NeoLemmix skills and features, and sticking to NeoLemmix puzzle philosophy:

- The new skills Shimmier and Jumper are front and centre in this pack.
On the first two ranks, you will only have to deal with the Shimmier. And you might be glad about that, because these levels run the Shimmier through all its gears, and might possibly demand from you every last trick you can pull off with it. ;)
After that, the Jumper gets introduced on rank 3.

- A lot of levels make use of the expanded 10-slots skill panel.

- The tilesets are mainly the ones from original Lemmings and Oh No! More Lemmings, with a few levels in my two new custom tilesets of mine added. These should however blend nicely with the classic ones:

Autumn tileset:

Fallen leaves

Money tileset:

I need a dollar

Normally, there should be no need to re-download these two styles, since they have been part of the official styles download for a while now.



Lemmings Open Air has 120 levels, 30 for each of four ranks:
Soft, Loud, Heavy, and Hardcore


Just like in Lemmings World Tour, all the levels are named after songs.
However, in reference to the famous metal festival that is Wacken Open Air, the tracks are not ordered by how famous the songs are (as it was the case in Lemmings World Tour).
Instead, they increase in order of "heaviness", starting with largely soft pop songs and ballads and ending with the most brutal death metal ever known to Lemkind. ;)

The title "Open Air" was also chosen because, after Lemmings World Tour, this was the first pack I started developing for New Formats - where the ceiling is no longer solid, but "open" and thus deadly. ;) This is also referenced by one of the later levels in the pack, which was however one of the first levels I made for it, called "Forlorn skies".

Because this is a follow-up to Lemmings World Tour, even though stylistically very different, the pack expects you to know all of the tricks that especially the first two ranks of Lemmings World Tour taught you.

Of course, if you already know a lot of tricks and consider yourself an experienced player, feel free to try this even if you haven't played Lemmings World Tour yet
- it's quite a huge bite to swallow, after all.
But don't be surprised if this pack hits you out of nowhere with something you might not know yet... ;-)


SOFT
Just the first two levels have all 18 skills that were available at that time (i.e. minus the Jumper) crammed into them. It's the fastest crash-course possible in NeoLemmix. And immediately after that, you're shoved out on stage and have to deliver! ;) The songs on this rank may be fairly easy-going, but that doesn't necessarily mean the levels will be, as well...

Don't worry, be happy

Always look on the bright side of life

LOUD
Going into slightly harder territory now. Here you will find the occasional punk / rock band, and for the ballads on this rank, they're usually already power ballads, with a little more "oomph" to them. Be prepared to use the Shimmier in all kinds of non-obvious ways!

Born to be wild

November rain

HEAVY
The Jumper gets introduced on level 2. Be prepared to have it interact with the Shimmier right from the start! After all, whether the songs are glam rock or classic old-school heavy metal, we want to see all those lemming hands up in the air! ;)

I believe in a thing called Lems

Poison

HARDCORE
These puzzles will wrench your mind as much as their titles will wrench your guts :evil: . The song titles will become less and less known as I've dredged them from the darkest depths of the Hell dimension. It's pretty much all Death- or Black Metal at this point. The final level is named after an absolute classic of the genre.

Chopped in half

Symphony of destruction


In stark contrast to Lemmings World Tour, the levels in this pack are largely abstract shapes, not specific locations or "realistic-looking" objects. The focus is on the mechanical challenge first, aesthetics come second. If the levels are pretty, that will usually just mean a nice mix of colours. ;)

However, I've put my two very artistic Christmas levels in here (that don't actually make a lot of use of the Christmas tileset). So it feels just fitting to release this pack at the end of November.

Also, there are a few levels which were hard to completely backroute-fix despite extensive testing.
Interestingly enough, though, one level that is known to have backroutes available still managed to stump one of my testers. :thumbsup:
Thus, when even the "unfixable" backroutes are hard to find, you know you've got a difficult pack on your hands! ;)

Many thanks to Armani, kaywhyn, and Flopsy for pre-release testing, as well as nin10doadict (and again Armani) for early testing!
Also thanks to Nepster for introducing the Shimmier, to namida for introducing the Jumper, and obviously to both of them for creating and maintaining New-Formats NeoLemmix. ;)


And with that, I declare this festival open! ;)

9
It's nice that we have so many different graphic sets, but by now it's really getting hard to keep the overview. Not over the standard orig, ONML, and L2 tilesets, which are right at the start (where they should stay, since they are probably the most-frequently-used ones). But when it comes to custom tilesets, the order in the dropdown menu in the editor seems fairly arbitrary.

Yeah, sure, I can understand why namida's Lemmings Plus tilesets are first in the list after the official tilesets - he created and maintains this entire thing, after all, and we all are very thankful for it ;) .

However, even after namida's tilesets, the order doesn't really seem to be alphabetical or anything else: Gronkling comes before Flopsy, then it jumps back to Arty, then Raymanni, then IchoTolot, then the Freedom-Planet tilesets... I often spend a long time just scrolling through this list, even though I know exactly which tileset I want to pick, but I just can't find it quickly.

In addition, each line start's with the name of the tileset, not with that of the author; so sometimes, if the tileset name is long enough that you can't properly see the author, it would be hard to tell the order even if it were alphabetical.

I think it would be in everyone's best interest, for the sake of convenience, if we bring some order into this randomness. ;)

My suggestion would be:
1) Everything from the orig tilesets down to the L3 tilesets remains as it is right now.

2) After that section, the custom tilesets currently start with namida's Lemmings Plus tilesets. I wouldn't necessarily mind them staying there, with the alphabetical order starting after namida. However, especially for those LP tilesets that GigaLem has revamped, most people are probably using those more frequently now. So it doesn't really make sense for the original LP tilesets to take precedent in this regard.
3) Maybe the format shouldn't be "Tileset name (Author)", but "Author: Tileset name"? Since we're reading from left to right, it would be much easier to tell this way where you are in the alphabetical order. But this is just optional.

Whether the naming scheme starts with the author or the tileset name itself:
Just begin the custom-tileset list with authors starting on A, and then continue that all the way down to zanzindorf.
In case of Colorful Arty, we / he need(s) to decide whether he should go by his full name (i.e. letter C), or just by "Arty", as it's written in the editor right now (i.e. letter A). Given the limited width of the dropdown menu, shortening it to "Arty" is probably more practical.

An alphabetical order is not a value judgment, after all - it's neutral and purely pragmatical. ;)
This should apply to all tilesets which have been "officially approved", i.e. are part of the official styles download.

After the letter z, we could have all the special tilesets at the bottom, followed by whatever the individual level designer maybe added by him- or herself, but what isn't part of the official download (yet). In my case, all my custom sprite recolourings go there.

10
Level Design / Vote on the theme of my next pack!
« on: November 21, 2020, 04:40:06 PM »
So, it looks like the release of Lemmings Open Air (LOA) is finally just around the corner, after two years.
I have two further music-themed packs in development, both of which are intended to feature the final skills that get introduced (and I seriously hope it will be all four of them! :thumbsup:)
Both of these packs (Lemmings: Hall of Fame (LHF) and Lemmings, Drugs, and Rock 'n Roll (LDR)) have strong tileset restrictions attached to them, though, because they're supposed to look and feel like Lemmings 2: The Tribes and Lemmings 3D respectively.

Lemmings Open Air (LOA) will contain all skills which are currently part of the latest stable version of NeoLemmix (12.10), i.e. including the Shimmier and the Jumper.
It will be noticeable though that those skills were introduced alongside development, because the first two ranks only feature the Shimmier, as far as new skills are concerned, whereas the Jumper doesn't appear until rank 3 of 4.

However, I feel like I still want to make at least one pack using classic tilesets (like LOA) that will also feature all the skills the final version of NeoLemmix is going to have.

Once LHF and LDR are finished, I will have done music-themed packs in style of classical Lemmings, Lemmings 2: The Tribes, and Lemmings 3D. So it seems to me like the music-theme will be pretty much (over-)done at that point.

I have already decided that I will NOT make a music-themed pack inspired by Lemmings 3: An All New World of Lemmings. I've never played it during my childhood, haven't played it much either since I joined the forums, and I think it strays so far from original lemmings (including the larger sprites etc.) that it feels completely different. Emulating it in NeoLemmix would require a bunch of pickup skills, plus always providing infinite Walkers, Blockers, Jumpers etc. And I would have to be an avid fan of Lemmings 3 to do it, which I'm not.

If we do end up getting additional objects as well, specifically portals (=non-release-rate sensitive teleporters) and toggles to turn certain terrain sections on and off, I could still see myself making a music-themed pack in style of Lemmings Revolution.
However, we don't have any tilesets that are particularly reminiscent of Lemmings Revolution. Plus, an accurate simulation of Lemmings Revolution may or may not require the presence of (horizontal) level wrap.



Therefore, I would be perfectly fine with dropping the music theme after Lemmings, Drugs, and Rock 'n Roll (Lemmings: Hall of Fame will most likely come out first) and make my next pack about something completely different.

I've kind of always needed an overarching theme ever since I released Pit Lems, which felt a little meaningless to me because it was just an arbitrary collection of (albeit satisfactory) puzzles.
Our community is quite small, so whenever I make a pack full of references to a specific topic, I of course want to choose something that as many people as possible will "get". ;)

That's why I want to determine early in which direction I will be going, theme-wise. Mainly because the current experimental version with the new skills is restricted to classic, ONML, and Christmas tilesets.
(I do get the impression that namida did this on purpose so that I wouldn't use any L2 styles, treating those levels as if I could already make them part of Lemmings Hall of Fame :P . That's why I went with Pillar exclusively so far, because those levels can still become part of the L2 Classic tribe. :D )

I don't know how long the experimental phase for the new skills is going to last, but assuming all four skills get introduced, over the course of the experimental phase, I will probably end up with a bunch of levels in classic tilesets that stylistically won't fit into any of the packs I'm currently working on, once the experimental phase has been completed. (LOA uses classic tilesets, but level creation has already been completed for several weeks now.)



So here are a bunch of alternative themes, other nerd topics, that a future pack of mine designed around all skills equally could be based upon:

1) Magic: The Gathering.
With a player base always ranging in at least two-digit millions, and thus larger than the population of quite a few countries, a Multiverse of Lemming planeswalkers would have a high chance of containing references familiar to fellow "nerds". ;) And I could use the different tilesets to represent different planes of the multiverse. Most likely, it would not suffice to restrict myself to classic and ONML tilesets here, and some levels may tilt towards my "level painting" style again, as represented by the geography levels in Lemmings World Tour. However, I hope that pack has shown that artistic quality doesn't necessarily have to come at the cost of puzzle quality (though some may disagree on that :P ). Most level titles would probably refer to names of individual cards, though I could see references to places, names of editions (sets), or events as well. I could also use differently coloured sprites to represent various species / tribes from the MtG worlds (e.g. a recolouring of GigaLem's Millas to represent Elves).
Pack title: Lemmings: The Gathering
Rank names: Novice, Apprentice, Magician, Adept, Planeswalker

2) Horror Films. Movies were on the above-linked list of themes I made two years ago, and because that topic would be just a little too vast in my book, I'd focus on the "disturbing" side of cinema (or usually: direct-to-DVD releases ^^) specifically. A couple of years ago, I took a little dive into the cesspool of the most f*ed-up sh*t that writers and directors have come up with so far. So if you ever wanted to see a "Lemming Centipede" or play "The 120 levels of Sodom", this would be the place to go ;) .
Again, I could see myself using other tilesets than classic ones for this - in particular, there have been quite a few Horror- / Halloween related tilesets. Those tend to be more on the spooky than the gory side, though. So there would definitely also be frequent appearances of the Menace tileset for "Splatter levels". The level titles would probably just refer to the movie names, or to a quote from the movies, if there are particularly memorable or (in-)famous ones. Zombies would probably be more frequent again, and the lemming death toll per level would most likely be higher than usual. :evil:
Pack title: Lemmings Slaughterhouse
Rank names (taken from Paralems): Harmless, Disturbing, Disgusting, Abhorrent, Demented

3) Memes. We already have Rickrolling as a tileset, and Pepe the Frog on the L2 Outdoor tileset. And some memes that are based on other songs (e.g. Numa Numa, Trololo) I have already featured in Lemmings World Tour. Those few levels may therefore be worth using again, or I would just create a separate level, referring to the meme specifically instead of the song it's based on. From a Climber-introduction level named "Well that escalated quickly" over "You keep using that skill" and "I don't always play Lemmings (but when I do)..." to puzzles that are so confusing that they just deserve a straight-up Captain Picard "What the f*ck...?" meme, the level titles in such a pack should be understandable to anyone who is somewhat regularly active on the internet. ;)
Pack title: Lemmings Social Network
Rank names: P-C, Mainstream, Offensive, Edgy, Shitlord

4) Astronomy. Starting on Earth, traveling through the solar system, to Alpha Centauri and beyond, eventually leaving the Milky Way towards Andromeda until we reach the edge of the DMA universe, we will search the depths of the cosmos for other forms of unintelligent life. :evil: This presents a possible opportunity for the re-appearance of the level "I'm your Venus" from Lemmings World Tour, as well as for a follow-up level named "Uranus" from Lemmings, Drugs, and Rock 'n Roll. Apart from that, lemming space is pretty much still unexplored. ;) The different tilesets could be used to represent different planets and moons, or at least different types of worlds (rocky planets, water worlds, gas giants etc.). Level titles wouldn't come up quite as easily as with the other themes, but it should still be doable.
Music-wise, I would consider doing orchestral versions of the original Lemmings tracks this time. Those would be much easier to record, because I could do it all via MIDI. And it would be stylistically more similar to film music from actual SciFi movies and series. ;)
Pack title: Lemmings Universe
Rank names: Planetary, Stellar, Galactic, Universal (the first three are taken from the Kardashev scale, and Universal would just be the next possible utopian extension after "Galactic")

5) Music. If I were to stick to the music theme (i.e. every level title is a song title), I could try to simulate a Lemmings-Revolution experience in NeoLemmix - using Zombies for the occasional Weasels. Colorful Arty's Water Lemmings would also appear somewhat frequently. In the absence of gravity reversal, Shimmiers and other skills that can affect the ceiling (like Fencers, and eventually Spearers and Laserers) would fill that gap. If we don't get portals, regular teleporters would be used instead. And if we don't get level wrap, teleporters can partly simulate that as well. I'd have to check the Lemmings Revolution music tracks again to see whether it would be worthwhile to create self-recorded versions of those. That would be another novelty then.
Alternatively, I could create a second music-themed pack with classic tilesets, i.e. similar to Lemmings Open Air, but maybe actually easier than that.
Pack title: Lemmings Band Camp
Rank names: Noob, Punk, Shredder, Virtuoso, Maestro



I haven't decided on the size of the pack yet - it might be smaller than most of those I've done so far.
Thus, those ideas don't necessarily have to be mutually exclusive.
It's reasonable to assume though that a pack featuring all skills would require a good deal of introductory levels, and should therefore have an appropriate minimum size so that those introductory levels don't make up a majority share of the entire pack.

I gave every user two votes at first to narrow down the choices; in the end, I might put up a second poll to decide between the top two candidates, in case the race is close.

11
NeoLemmix Main / NeoLemmix Old Formats Installer Files?
« on: September 26, 2020, 06:10:22 PM »
So, once again my laptop crashed during the development of a pack. :devil: It happened for the first time two years ago during the final stages of Lemmings World Tour, and now of course it had to happen again during the final stages of Lemmings Open Air.

Fortunately, I had backups of all the levels in both cases - in this case I had everything in Dropbox. However, while last time it was only the hard drive that needed to be replaced, this time my laptop was thrown into a loop of constant rebooting. I was able to fix it with a system image recovery, resetting my laptop to December 2018, and then dropping all my New-Formats level packs back in from Dropbox.

The first crash occured while I was working on a level for Lemmings Open Air - I was able to recreate it from my hand-drawing and from memory this morning. I also still got the opportunity to fix some levels from LOA that had broken due to the Glider-Faller physics change. But eventually, the rebooting loop returned. Well, that laptop was 10 years old, after all; I had just upgraded its hard drive and RAM to the maximum that was possible after the last crash in 2018. So I hoped it would still last longer. But even attempting to re-install Windows from USB disk or CD didn't work.

Long story short: I rushed to the store and got myself a new laptop. I am still going to try to access my SSD hard drive from the old laptop to extract all the files. But of course, the system image recovery that reset it back to December 2018, even though it was the best chance of saving the laptop as a whole, of course deprived me of all of my newer files. I just took the risk because basically everything I worked on since that last crash in August 2018 I immediately saved in Dropbox, so I knew I wouldn't lose much.

So now I need to re-install NeoLemmix - and not just New Formats, but also Old Formats (10.13) and Very Old Formats (1.43). ;) Most importantly because I want to continue maintaininig Lemmings World Tour in both formats. But also because kaywhyn picked up my first two packs (Paralems and Pit Lems) this weekend. So of course, I at least need to be able to play them again myself to evaluate his feedback. And if for nothing else, ensuring playability of older packs is why we always keep old versions available.

However, on the NeoLemmix website, I now only find the Old-Formats player exe file, but not the rest? Meaning, whatever folders I need for the skill panel, gfx, editor etc. The styles I can all get from my Old-Formats Lemmings World Tour thread (which is especially important because I modified some of them, as you might remember).

I assume it's still possible to download version 10.13 (and version 1.43) somewhere - otherwise kaywhyn and ericderkovits (who recently replay-watched Lemmicks) wouldn't have been able to look at these older packs of mine just recently. ;) I just don't know where to get them from?

As I said, I might be able to salvage them from the SSD of my old laptop, since I already had those older versions installed back in December 2018. And this time, I assume it was not the hard drive itself that broke (as a storage space), but "just" the operating system. But I might be wrong. So I'd feel a lot safer if I simply knew from which online resource I could retreive those older versions.

12
Level Design / [DON'T] Binary win conditions
« on: September 24, 2020, 11:11:41 AM »
I've been noticing a pattern recently across various games that seems to spark frustration in players, both in me and others. Once I had become aware of this, I started thinking back whether I had encountered it in Lemmings level as well - and yes, I did. It just didn't occur to me back then that this design choice might be a general flaw, if not to say a cardinal sin of game design, instead of something specific to (custom) Lemmings packs.

Thus, most of my "ranting" in this thread will refer to other games than Lemmings ;) . And I'm not planning to hit on any specific custom level pack here. I'm just sure that we all can think of levels where we encountered this type of obstacle.

I'm talking about what I've heard being described as "binary win conditions".
A case in which the difference between success and failure comes down to a single aspect that also happens to be hard to control.
Consequently, the chance of hit or miss basically amounts to the toss of a coin. In other words: It's random. ;) As a result, frustration arises with both outcomes.
- In case of failure, the player is frustrated because they feel there is little they can control to improve the outcome. All they can do is try again and hope for the best.
- In case of success, the player can't really attribute it to their own skill, because (unless they're extremely lucky and succeed on the first attempt) through the previous failures they know the outcome is basically random. Meaning, they externalise their success as "I've just been lucky this time". They will be glad it's over, yes, but it's not something they will enjoy looking back on as a proud achievement.



Here are some examples of games that made me aware of this general pattern:

Magic: The Gathering (click to show/hide)


Star Wars Episode I Racer (click to show/hide)

With examples 2 and 3, because both are video games, knowing that these binary win conditions appear at certain fix points of the game is also hugely detrimental to their replay value: Because you always know you have this huge roadblock ahead of you that basically comes down to chance. This divides every repeated playing experience into a "before" and "after". Kind of like what traumatised people report about their lives... :lem-mindblown:
During the "before" stage, you can't really enjoy the game, because you know the binary win condition is still coming, the dreaded thing is still ahead of you.
During the roadblock, you don't enjoy it, for the reasons stated above - you're just all tense the entire time and simply want to get it over with (again).
And afterwards, while you may be relieved about it being over, a good chunk of the game is now already over, as well. Usually the best part (because most developers tend to put more effort into the early parts of a game, while at the end, they're under time pressure to finish up the product and start losing their creativity). But the best part of the game you couldn't enjoy as much as you would have liked to, because at that time you still had the known roadblock ahead of you.



In original Lemmings, the classical example of a binary win condition is the aptly named Mayhem level "All or nothing":

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

In NeoLemmix
, we rarely have such binary win conditions in terms of execution difficulty. We do however have them in terms of puzzle difficulty.

In particular, this comes up when a certain obscure skill  trick is required, and, similarly to "All or nothing", this trick is the main or even the only thing the level requires:

- If the player happens to know the trick is possible, the level is an auto solve.
- If the player doesn't know the trick is possible, and the level isn't set up in such a way that the player is bound to find out eventually, the level becomes a complete roadblock. Because the knowledge required for the intended solution isn't even part of the player's considerations.

Examples from original Lemmings would famously "I have a cunning plan" and "No added colours or Lemmings".
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
"No added colours or Lemmings" usually gets a pass, because it has a clever solution overall that even makes it the best level in original Lemmings in the eyes of many.
"I have a cunning plan" is the worse offender here, because it's really just about knowing or not knowing the trick. There is an alternative solution, the one that I've been using at a kid. But it basically just requires you to have knowledge of the "No added colours or Lemmings" trick at this earlier level, plus it's much harder to execute:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

In custom packs, I've encountered binary win conditions e.g. on two levels that both used the Blocker-Basher turnaround / cancel trick. Even though I was later told by the level designer that neither of the two levels where I saw somebody else use this trick actually required it, to this day I still can't think of any other solution for it than using this trick.

With a bunch of skills - and a bunch of tricks regarding their combinations - being available by now, binary win conditions also explain the split that we've been observing in the player base for a while now: Meaning between very skilled and very casual players. And this has been reflected by a split in pack difficulty, between a lot of very hard packs (designed by players who know all the tricks) and very easy packs (designed by newcomers), with few packs in the middle or intermediate difficulty category:

Once you know about the tricks, they become self-evident. You start looking for all kinds of affordances in the level landscape where you can employ them.
However, as long as you don't know them, levels requiring such tricks from you as part of their intended solution (and doing a good job at enforcing them, i.e. being backroute-proof) will be complete roadblocks until you read up on the fact that trick X is even possibly in the first place.

As someone who likes inventing solutions revolving around obscure skill tricks and combinations, this is something I should probably take to heart more frequently
- considering how much such binary win conditions frustrate me whenever I encounter them in other games. ;)

I think the main reason I resort to levels based on skill tricks so much is because I suck at hiding things in plain sight. I can of course create "resource-conservation" levels, but such levels are generally open-ended and will usually leave the player with a lot of remaining skills, instead of all skills being accounted for. This is basically not much different from the issues I've been criticising about X-of-everything levels, yet this is what even my own resource-conservation levels often end up looking like.

Meanwhile, some of the most amazing puzzles I've seen are technically just "additive" challenges, meaning all the skills are used in fairly standard ways, not in obscure skill combinations. And yet, when you approach these levels in a standard manner, you always find yourself one skill short, and you can't figure out why, until you do. This is explicitly not a binary win condition ;) - the level just somehow makes you overlook the obvious, but there are many ways you can ultimately arrive at the correct conclusion.

I've tried to bridge the gap between the "trick-aware" and "non-trick-aware" players via the Noisemaker rank in my pack Lemmings World Tour. However, some of the hints instructing the trick where clearly too vague in the beginning. Thus, I probably created a roadblock of a binary win condition as early as level 08 in the pack, "Glide and joy", which I could only remove by spelling out the trick in the pre-level text explicitly.


So it seems like this is something we all occasionally do. ;) Maybe we should try doing it less in our future levels?

13
Lemmings Main / Menu backgrounds for Lemmings 2 and Lemmings 3D?
« on: September 18, 2020, 06:21:40 PM »
For my custom packs Lemmings: Hall of Fame and Lemmings, Drugs, and Rock 'n Roll, which are inspired by Lemmings 2: The Tribes and Lemmings 3D, respectively, I'm using the menu backgrounds from those packs.

However, I had to take them from a google image of a level pre- or post-view screen, and then cut out a small piece of background that wasn't covered by fonts or images. Thus, the best I can currently do is repeating those sections, but you can of course still see the lines between the "puzzle pieces" that form the background.

Does anyone have a larger image of the blank level-selection-menu background for Lemmings 2 and/or Lemmings 3D?

namida, maybe, is that part of your L3D editor? ;)

14
NeoLemmix Levels / Was: TeleLems
« on: June 09, 2020, 12:01:26 PM »
Edit Simon: mantha16 has unpublished TeleLems and prefers the original publication topic removed. Here are only the replies by others.



One quick general note: When you change the 0 at the end of the dropbox link to a 1, people can download it directly instead of having to open it in Dropbox. This also allows people who don't have a Dropbox account themselves to still download the music pack.

(I also learned that here on the forums for the first time ;) ).

15
Until now, in the editor, the background of a chosen tileset was also applied to the images of the terrain and object pieces on the panel at the bottom of the screen.

The newest version of the editor seems to have a slightly different approach to background selection again. When designing levels with very dark terrain pieces, like L2 Shadow, these pieces are incredibly hard to see now because the background in the menu at the bottom is black, even if a brighter background has been selected for the level itself. Thus, it becomes quite tedious to select the correct terrain piece.

Therefore, it would be nice if whatever background is selected for the level landscape itself could also be transferred to the images of the terrain and object pieces on the panel.

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