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Topics - Strato Incendus

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NeoLemmix Graphic Sets / Rain and snow objects
« on: June 26, 2019, 08:18:22 am »
So, as Arty told me, his Rain background object has become part of namida's Sky tileset in New Formats, and his blue fire traps, as we know, are part of the original Fire tileset now.

What I can't seem to find is the Snow object (white circles rather than blue diagonal lines moving downward). Has this been converted to New Formats yet?

Also, when I try to use the Rain object in a new level, the rain is visible during level editing, but not when actually playtesting the level inside the editor (which kinda ruins the point because it's merely an aesthetic feature).

My converted levels from Old Formats using these objects do work with the proper objects in the New Formats player, though.

Then again, I edited the graphic set in Old Formats, where it was all part of a graphic set called "general", by adding some of my own or recoloured pieces (for example, I made a purple version of Arty's Rain for the level "Purple Rain", go figure :D ). Then I converted my version of the general set. Thus, currently, all my converted New-Formats levels using Rain or Snow refer to the conversion of my edited general tileset, rather than to namida_sky.

Thus, I don't know whether it's something about the Rain object placed in namida_sky that makes it invisible while playing (i.e. something that was converted correctly in my edited Rain object), or whether it's about the Editor-vs-Player difference again.

Given that moving background objects, like the bees from the Honeycomb tileset, are supported by the New-Formats NeoLemmix player, but not the editor, I presume the same is true for the Rain object? I didn't expect that to happen, since the placement of the Rain object in its entirety doesn't actually change, so I wouldn't have considered it a moving background object, but of course, it's a background object that does include motion of some sort.

So my questions are:

1) How can I get the Rain object from namida_sky to work in the New-Formats editor?
2) Do we have a converted version of the Snow object somewhere?
(It's neither in Christmas, nor Ohno-Snow, nor raymanni_snow.)

If we don't have a conversion of the Snow object yet, I could include it in my custom edit of the former general tileset (credit to Arty for creating it, of course! ;) ), because I need to share that anyway for the New-Formats version of Lemmings World Tour - and if it's only for the terrain pieces (pre-placed builder staircases) and recoloured background objects (I recoloured the background of the Ancient tileset to look like lava for one level, plus the Rain object to purple, as explained above.)

Meanwhile, everything from the former general tileset that already is present in New Formats, like the blue fire traps and the Rain, I'd simply text-replace then in my levels to point them to the original objects in orig_fire and namida_sky.

But before I do that, I want to be sure the Rain object in namida_sky is actually working. ;)

It's fairly obvious that not only Lemmings 3 (An All New World of Lemmings) built off of the tribe tilesets introduced in Lemmings 2, but also Lemmings 3D (for which namida is currently developing a level editor) definitely has a lot of overlap with Lemmings 2 with regard to its graphic sets.

Shared styles between Lemmings 2 and Lemmings 3D are:
  • Circus
  • Classic
  • Egyptian
  • Medieval
  • Outdoor
  • Space
  • Sports

Both games share the idea of a "classic" tileset, even though those look vastly different, because in L2, it's specifically the Pillar tileset from Classic Lemmings, whereas in L3D, it's just random blocks in all colours.

The "Outdoor" levels in L3D are sometimes also described as "Forest" levels, given the picture of the lemming couple wandering around on the pre-level screen.
The "Sports" levels in L3D are specifically focused on golfing, whereas those in L2 have more of a darts-and-tennis-theme going on, but once we drop the specific name of the single disciplines, it should be clear that these two are equivalent.

"Space" is a little more interesting, because while L3D has the "Alien" tileset, it also contains other spacy levels that actually use other styles, like "Away Team" in the Classic tileset, and "Breakout" in the Computer tileset.

The remaining L2-only styles are:
  • Shadow
  • Cavelem
  • Polar
  • Highland
  • Beach

The remaining L3D-only styles are:
  • Army
  • Jelly-Belly
  • Computer

But a couple of graphic-set designers here on the forums have already started bridging those gaps! ;)

Now, while it would be obviously astronomic at this point to consider the introduction of additional tilesets into the Lemmings 3D level editor that namida is currently creating, there have been a couple of attempts to bring the remaining L3D tilesets into NeoLemmix:

  • The Jelly-Belly tileset has a lot of overlap with namida's Candy tileset, including things like chocolate water, chocolate terrain, sugarcanes etc. There is also Raymanni's food tileset, even though there aren't really any sweets among that "buffet" ;) .
  • For the Computer tileset, there have been several cyber / digital / electric graphic sets, but the one most clearly inspired by L3D is Raymanni's Cyber tileset - not only because Raymanni created several other L3D tilesets, like Circus or Snow, but also because the exit is a computer screen.
  • Levels in the style of the L3D classic tileset can be easily built using the colourful blocks from e.g. Raymanni's Toys style, namida's Abstract or Psychedelic style, Gronkling's Minimal style, or simply the squares and blocks from L2 Circus.

In other words: The only thing still truly missing is a NeoLemmix Army tileset! :)

Now, while one could argue that Army is L3D's equivalent to L2's "Polar", given that all the "alpine" levels in L3D are in that tileset, I think there's a clearly visible distinction between the L3D Snow levels (as reflected by Raymanni's Snow tileset) and the "regular" Army levels like "Take a Dive", "Corkscrew Digger", "This is the Army", "Lemhangar" etc.

I've put a recreation of "This is the Army" into my pack Lemmings World Tour, using a combination of the L2 styles Beach, Sports, and Medieval. But obviously, this is only an approximation.

So, do you think NeoLemmix could use such an "Army" style to make the collection of L3D-like tilesets complete?
If so, what should it look like? What pieces should it contain?

The only things obvious to me at this point would be square and rectangular blocks and slopes in various sizes in a camouflage finish, as well as grey stone walls like on "This is the Army", and wooden planks like on "Take a Dive". If we had L2-style trampolins in NeoLemmix, as they appear in "Take a Dive" in L3D, as well, those could also be added; but I guess that those would require tumbler physics, akin to the Jumper skill. Ropes that Climbers and Shimmiers can hold on to could serve as a surrogate for the "rope slide" object in L3D.

The iconic "officer" from the Army tileset, like any other L3D object, is in fact just two-dimensional, merely rotating with the player's camera so that you always look at it from the front.

So I guess that, since namida is currently working on the L3D editor anyway, that graphic could be extracted so that it could be included in NeoLemmix as well as a background object.

NeoLemmix Graphic Sets / TanCastle: Misplaced exit trigger area
« on: June 10, 2019, 07:38:56 pm »
Don't know where to post bugs for graphic sets (i.e. rather than NeoLemmix player or editor itself ;) ), but I just noticed the trigger area for the exit from (mobius's?) TanCastle graphic set is way off to the right in New Formats.

I don't know who's currently responsible for that graphic set, but they might wanna fix that ;) .

NeoLemmix Main / Things supported by the player but not by the editor
« on: June 10, 2019, 05:45:40 pm »
So, I used to think that rotated or flipped exits had been removed from New Formats NeoLemmix, but in the form of converted Old Formats levels, they can actually still exist.

Just like with moving background objects, it seems like the player does still support it, only the editor doesn't (yet).

I know that re-adding support for moving objects is planned, what about rotated / flipped exits? ;)

Because long term, I think everyone's goal is that anything supported by the NeoLemmix player is also supported by the editor, and vice versa.

As some of you might know, I used the flag poles from the L2 Circus tileset a lot in my pack Lemmings World Tour. Whenever these poles were in front of terrain in Old Formats, I obviously set them to "no overwrite".

In New Formats, this doesn't suffice anymore: Even though the poles are already set to "no overwrite" properly after conversion, the poles disappear behind the terrain.

It is possible to make them visible, but only by clicking "only on terrain" - which is the opposite extreme.

If a flag pole is entirely on terrain, it can be made visible.
If a flag pole is entirely not on terrain, it is visible by default.

However, if a flag pole is partly on terrain, partly not, you have to click on the individual pieces, setting some of them to "only on terrain", others not.

This is a workaround, but I don't think that's the way "no overwrite" and "only on terrain" are supposed to operate, is it? ;)

Because as of now, ticking or unticking "no overwrite" doesn't change anything, as far as I can tell. ???

NeoLemmix Main / Constructive skills cut off by the ceiling?
« on: June 09, 2019, 01:56:24 pm »
A lot of my converted levels need re-working, of course, due to the deadly ceiling in New Formats. A strange / funny thing I noticed on one particular level, though, is a stacker dying to the deadly ceiling.

Stackers, as we all know, in contrast to builders remain next to their stack in NeoLemmix, rather than climbing it, like in Lemmings 2: The Tribes. Of course, if a stacker is also a climber and the stack reaches all the way up of the ceiling, the climber will kill itself.

In this case, however, the stacker clearly wasn't a climber. To my understanding, it 6-pixel-jumped / "ascended" onto the stack, rather than climbing it. Usually, this doesn't work with a stack, of course, because it's 8 pixels high.

So I guess the ceiling automatically cuts off any terrain that reaches beyond the level borders? ;)

With builders, this never becomes an issue because the lemming is always on top of the staircase.

Steps to reproduce:

1) Open a level in Old Formats level editor to check whether it has a background (e.g. one in a standard Lemmings graphic set like Marble, Fire etc., with mobius's added backgrounds)
2) Check the translation table for that style in New Formats data --> translation to see whether it references background objects
3) Open the same level in New Formats level editor; you'll find that the background is the standard black, even if the appropriate background is mentioned in the translation table

This does not affect the monocoloured backgrounds from e.g. Lemmings 2, because they don't actually refer to image files, but are drawn "on the fly".

Both this and the fact that this error has to do with the New-Formats NeoLemmix player, rather than the editor, were told to me by namida.

NeoLemmix Main / Background assignment during pack conversion
« on: June 08, 2019, 04:48:24 pm »
So, I've done my first conversion of Lemmings World Tour to New Formats, and now while going through the levels to check whether everything works, I notice that a lot of levels don't have the correct background assigned to them.

For some, this is obvious - because I used custom backgrounds for e.g. Sports or Medieval that may or may not have officially been ported to New Formats yet (I uploaded them in the thread for single additional pieces, but I guess the way to have a background officially added is sending it to Nepster?)

For others, however, the correct backgrounds are definitely available - for example, for the original tilesets (Fire, Crystal, Marble, Pillar) which were given non-black backgrounds

I noticed that for the Lemmings 2 tilesets, the converter does indeed pick the correct backgrounds.

Was there a decision during the inception of New Formats to have the default background for the Classic Lemmings tilesets be mono-black again? ;)

Because the terrain-based backgrounds for Fire, Crystal, Marble, and Pillar are available in the editor - it would just be a mess to manually re-assign them all again (especially with 320 levels in total :D ). So I might just leave all these levels with a black background and have the New Formats version of LWT look more like Classic Lemmings again as a consequence.

NeoLemmix Main / Anticipated Jumper behaviour
« on: June 07, 2019, 02:27:56 pm »
Just like with the Shimmier back in the day, I just wanted to quickly open up a thread long ahead of the development of the Jumper to discuss its behaviour as it is planned to work.

1) Will it be possible to assign a Jumper to a Blocker to free it?
In Lemmings 2, to my knowledge this never comes up, because the Blocker only exists in the Classic tribe, which doesn't feature the Jumper, and vice versa for all the other tribes, which provide you with Attractors instead. And as we all know, having an Attractor jump is probably the most common way to free the crowd at the end of a Lemmings-2 level. Since my guess is that nobody sees a reason why we should bother having Attractors in NeoLemmix, because they'd simply be redundant, the Blocker is going to remain the Attractor's surrogate. Therefore, if Attractors can be freed with Jumpers, the same should be true for Blockers.

Then again, Shimmiers also jump, both in NeoLemmix and Lemmings 2, and Shimmiers (I think that's been set in stone by now) can't free Blockers. So then it would also be plausible to assume for a new player that Jumpers can't accomplish this, either...???

2) Will it be possible to cancel another skill (constructive / destructive) by assigning a Jumper to it?
In Lemmings 2, this is also possible: Cancelling Builders / Platformers with Jumpers is commonplace. In the case of destructive skills, jumping will almost inevitably lead to the Lemming bumping its head (unless you have e.g. a miner jump out at the end of its tunnel to prevent it from going further down). So that's where the old question of "tumbler-physics-or-not" comes into play. But even without tumbler physics, the Jumper should still be able to cancel other skills.

With these two factors, we can already see that the Jumper is going to become, in many regards, almost as powerful as the Walker. I guess that's the reaason why, despite all the skills it featured, Lemmings 2 didn't have a Walker yet - it simply wasn't needed, because the Jumper already performed those functions, and any Lemming turns back into a Walker immediately after that little jump.

3) If a Lemming jumps into a teleporter and reaches the trigger before the jump is completed, is the motion continued after he leaves the receiver?

All other skills moving into teleporters behave this way, even Swimmers used to do so for a while, which caused them to swim on terrain if the receiver wasn't placed in water. Destructive skills still continue once they come out of a receiver.

4a) A Disarmer that jumps into the trigger area of a triggered trap can't disarm if there's no terrain under his feet to stand on while performing the animation, so he should be killed by the trap. Is that correct?
This is an interaction that has never come up so far, obviously, because neither Lemmings 2 nor Lix have Disarmers.

4b) Will it be possible to assign a Jumper to a Lemming who is currently performing the disarming animation?
Because, as can be seen in true-physics mode, the trap trigger actually disappears right away as soon as the Disarmer walks onto it. So one could save time by literally "skipping" the animation with a Jumper, which should not be allowed, I think. ;)

5) If a Climber jumps towards a wall, will he bump against it, turn around and fall down, or will he hold on to it?
Just like the Blocker-Jumper interaction, this interaction is typically avoided in Lemmings 2 by providing the player with a Rock Climber instead of a regular Climber. With the Shimmier, we've decided to make the Climber-Shimmier transition at the ceiling possible, though, so it would be nice to have the Jumper-Climber transition work as well. It would allow pioneer lemmings much more flexibility to take paths that haven't been sealed with constructive skills yet - i.e. paths that the crowd can't just take as well. Pioneer-style levels become much more interesting when the pioneer can / needs to go a completely different route than the one the crowd has to take at the end.

6) Will it be possible to bomb or stone a Lemming in the middle of a jump?
If so, I'd expect the Lemming to explode immediately, without performing the "oh-no" animation (I mention this because in the first iteration, Shimmiers used to fall from the ceiling in order to oh-no, rather than exploding straight away under the ceiling).

7) If you clone a Lemming in the middle of the jump, the clone is only going to carry out the rest of the jumping animation, I guess?
Just like a cloned builder builds a shorter staircase.
This would make it possible to jump from a wall which has an abyss on the side behind the Jumper, and terrain ahead of the Jumper leading up against that wall.
Now, instead of jumping into said abyss, if you assign the Cloner later during the jump, the clone would rest-jump in a way so that he would still land on the ground before reaching said wall, turning around on it, not on top of the wall, which would lead him into the abyss.

In Development / Lemmings Hall of Fame
« on: June 07, 2019, 10:41:50 am »
Lemmings Hall of Fame

(proper logo following soon...) :P

I'm opening up this topic now already, even though I haven't completed Lemmings Open Air yet. The reason is the way I am planning these packs to interact with each other.

All good things come in 3s, so they say, and since Lemmings Open Air is going to be the follow-up to Lemmings World Tour, Lemmings Hall of Fame will be the pack to conclude the trilogy of music-themed levels.

All three packs are supposed to work on their own, but still form a union as well:

Lemmings World Tour (LWT) had the Geography subtheme, containing not only songs as level titles, but specifically as many as possible that reference specific locations in the world, with the flags of the countries they're situated in, famous sights, and the skyline of the city. The focus was on the artistic quality of the levels. Heavy graphic-set mixing ensued as a necessity.

Lemmings Open Air (LOA) is supposed to feel as much like Classical Lemmings as possible: It features the standard graphic sets more than anything else, the level shapes are abstract rather than realistic, and thus, the focus is on cognitive challenge rather than aesthetics. Basically, it's Classical Lemmings, but with more skills (and without the annoying execution parts).

Lemmings Hall of Fame (LHF), finally, will try to do the same thing for Lemmings 2: The Tribes.

What does this mean?

  • 120 levels, just like Lemmings Open Air (since both original and Lemmings 2 had 120 levels each)
  • focus on the L2 graphic sets
  • hand-made, real-instruments music again, but this time of the Lemmings 2 tracks instead of the original and ONML tracks from LWT / LOA
  • no music rotation, instead each instrument track is tied to its respective tribe
  • lots of vertical scrolling (which LOA will explicity not have)
  • trying to make the best out of using as many skills as possible, without causing the redundance of skills present in Lemmings 2
  • the focus will be on the skills that are shared "new" skills between NeoLemmix and Lemmings 2, meaning Swimmer, Stacker, Platformer, Fencer, Shimmier, (Hang) Glider, and (later) Jumper.
  • The remaining NeoLemmix skills, i.e. Disarmer, Stoner, Cloner, and Walker, will also be used, but much less frequently.
  • four ranks, and mixture of the graphic sets throughout (not 10 of the same graphic set in a row like in L2, because that gets boring pretty quickly, both visually and musically)
  • in short: Make a Lemmings 2: The Tribes pack, but in NeoLemmix, so as to contain custom music, have those music tracks mixed-up, and avoid L2's execution-madness  ;)

So far, I have only seen this done in form of Nepster's "Return of the Tribes". However, there are a couple of noteworthy differences:

  • "Return of the Tribes" was created at a time when the variety of skills in NeoLemmix was still much lower, so it still feels closer to Classical Lemmings, simply because not many of the L2 skills were used yet.
  • Nepster's pack also stuck to L2's original structure, urging you to play the levels of each tribe in a row rather than alternating between them.
  • In L2, however, the difficulty increased within each tribe, so the first couple of levels of each tribe were very easy. With a Classical Lemmings rank structure, it makes more sense to have all the easy levels in the beginning and all the hard ones at the end, irrespective of which tribe they belong to.

Why am I planning this in parallel with Lemmings Open Air?
I want to preserve the feeling of original Lemmings in LOA as much as possible. However, I haven't managed yet to completely stick to original graphic sets in LOA (plus my own graphic sets Money and Autumn, which were deliberately designed to be stylistically similar to classic Lemmings tilesets), and thus, some levels featuring L2 graphic sets have snuck in there.
I'm not saying I'm going to remove all L2-graphic-set levels from LOA and put them into Lemmings Hall of Fame, but now I always have this as an option, if I think a particular level "breaks the Classical-Lemmings feeling" of LOA too much.

That begs some questions, I guess:
  • Am I also going to do real-instruments versions of the Lemmings 3D tracks?
    Currently, this isn't planned, because the sounds used for L3D, even though still synthetic, were already much closer to realistic guitars, drums etc., so the "improvement" (depending on taste, of course) an overhaul with real instruments could provide would be much smaller than for the 8-bit- or MIDI-based instrumentation of Lemmings / ONML / Lemmings 2.
    Some of the Lemmings 2 tracks are a lot less memorable than the Classic Lemmings / ONML tunes, though, so if I really can't wrap my head around making a rock version of a specific track, I may end up replacing that tribe's track with a fitting one from Lemmings 3D.
  • If namida's editor for Lemmings 3D becomes a thing, will I create a(nother) music-themed pack for Lemmings 3D?
    I would have loved to be able to create Lemmings 3D levels as a kid, so yes, this is definitely an option! Whether I'd create hand-made versions of L3D tracks in that case, or simply resort to the original L3D tracks, I'd have to see then. Currently, I'm mainly curious about to what extent namida might be able to add some of NeoLemmix's conveniences like rewinding, skill shadows etc. to Lemmings 3D, or whether this is "only" going to be an editor that allows you to replace the original levels, which you then access with the original game engine, just like with custom Lemmings 2 packs.
  • Wouldn't the logical consequence be that there should also be a Lemmings 3 (All New World of Lemmings)-style pack based on the music theme?
    Yes, it would - however, in contrast to L1 and L2, I have never played L3 during my childhood (never even knew of its existence to begin with), and the concept of having to pick up almost every skill makes this very far from feeling like playing Lemmings to me. Basically, with a NeoLemmix adaptation, the entire pack would have to feature only the three L3 graphic sets (Shadow, Egyptian, and Biolab), and every level would have to be full of pickup skills. Pickup skills always make a level feel more like Super Mario than Lemmings to me, though :D .

All in all, it's good that Lemmings Open Air is in between, because this allows me to already experiment with the Shimmier, as well as getting more use out of all the tracks I recorded for Lemmings World Tour to create that actual Lemmings feeling. In LWT, it was more about the instrumentation matching the theme of the pack; in LOA, the actual melodies provide the Lemmings feeling more so than the instrumentation, because these melodies are what we've all come to associate with the game from playing it in our early days. At the same time, it's good that these are new recordings, because the original 8-bit- and MIDI-tracks that are the default in each pack are probably also the ones we're sick of listening to by now.

I hope that by the time Lemmings Open Air has been released and I can focus fully on working on Lemmings Hall of Fame, the Jumper as an additional skill will have been introduced or will at least be in the making. Then, the Jumper could become the signature new skill of Lemmings Hall of Fame, just like the Shimmier is the primary new feature for Lemmings Open Air compared to Lemmings World Tour.

And of course, it's pretty much impossible to create the feeling of playing Lemmings 2: The Tribes without the Jumper ;) .

Consequently, if any further suggestions for useful skills from Lemmings 2 come up and can be developed for NeoLemmix in the meantime - I remember we had discussions about using the Roper as a downward Builder, or the Laser Blaster or Twister as an upward Digger, some people also thought about the Lix-like interactions of the Jumper with the Runner - then this would be helpful for the feeling of this pack. To me, the execution in Lemmings 2, especially everything relating to the fanning-tool, was much more annoying than the abundance of skills.

Still, I think we all agree that variety of skills is something that can be overdone easily, so I'd also be happy to just work with what we've got now plus the Jumper.

Thus, by having less skill confusion and no execution trouble, I hope Lemmings Hall of Fame will simply result in an improved, more enjoyable version of Lemmings 2: The Tribes. ;)

Hi, just a quick question: Whoever created the official New Formats conversions of the graphic sets grnk_6_electric and grnk_8_digital also must have created the translation tables that point to the two respective "split-up" styles gronkling_cyber, gronkling_cybertrack, and gronkling_technobase.

So it would be helpful if that user shared those translation tables. I did one for Ancient myself, and I believe I have already uploaded it here (splitting it up and translating the levels into the two tilesets gronkling_angelisland and gronkling_chaosangel).

Having to go through each individual piece and check where exactly the split from one tileset to the next is supposed to take place is not only tedious, though, it's also superfluous if other people have to do the same, as well, anyway. ;)

I re-downloaded all the styles again, however, translation tables are part of the data folder. Since there are currently different versions of NeoLemmix (one with the Shimmier and one with moving animations for triggered objects), I don't know which is the most current version that won't remove the Shimmier again.

Anyone active on YouTube probably knows what I'm talking about: Since last year, the EU has been adamant to get a copyright reform passed. Despite a massive public outcry, demonstrations, politicians getting drowned in mails by citizens begging them to vote against the reform, and the largest online petition in European history with almost 5 million participants, all the objections are being ignored thus far. The load of mails is simply dismissed as supposedly generated by bots controlled by Google, who are major opponents of the reform.

So what is this copyright reform about, for those who might not know yet?

Specifically, article 11 entails a tax on hyperlinks, and article 13 makes platform owners liable for any copyright infringement committed by their users (instead of the users themselves). Additionally, the platform owners must prove they're doing anything in their power to prevent copyrighted material from being uploaded in the first place. Experts agree this is only possible via expensive automatic upload filtering software.

Smaller sites, like this one, are probably just going to run into the issue of not being able to afford this software, thereby being forced to shut down (for international sites this means "pull out of the EU"), otherwise they're risking a great deal of legal trouble.

On larger platforms, like YouTube, the filters are going to be established, however, people fear they won't be able to distinguish a genuine copyright infringement (like somebody uploading a whole movie) from fair-use applications like using snippets for reviews or creating cover versions of songs. (Note that the concept of fair-use doesn't exist in the EU, despite that being the actual copyright reform we would need!)

Moreover, in contrast to the current principle on YouTube where something is only removed if the rights owner flags it, these bots are going to work the other way around:
They're going to block everything from being uploaded in the first place unless there is explicit permission by the rights holder. Meaning, platforms have to spend additional money to acquire licenses from all possible stuff any person might possibly try to upload (images, videos, music, even text).

That's the situation in a nutshell to the best of my knowledge.

Of course I'm going to be personally affected due to my YouTube channel about metal cover versions, but I'm also wondering how this is going to affect Lemmings.

Is the game really completely public domain now, with no remaining copyright by Psygnosis / DMA? Or is Team 17 the current rights holder, meaning YouTube would have to get a license from them in order for Lemmings content to be uploaded?

Furthermore, the issue of what type of music we can put into our levels is going to reach wholly new... well... levels. Because it's not only about Let's Plays anymore, but also about what music people can upload just here on the forum.

A major part of the community is located inside the EU (predominantly Germany and Finland). I doubt the UK is still going to put these regulations into place before Brexit, especially considering that the member states have 2 years time to transform these EU rules into national law. But as far as I know, the final vote on the bill by the EU parliament is going to take place on 23rd March, i.e. before Brexit (29th March).

And given that the main initiator of this reform, Axel Voss, is from Germany (CDU, Merkel's party), I'm pretty sure at least my country is going to transform EU- into national law pretty quickly in this case.

For the American users and namida in New Zealand, obviously you're not going to be immediately affected; however, in case Lemmings Let's Plays should come into conflict with those upload filters for whatever reason - bet it the game itself, custom graphic sets like Sonic / Freedom Planet, or the music in the background - then I don't know whether viewers in the EU will be able to watch them. We may just see a return of the geo-blocking notice "This video cannot be viewed in your country".

Given the already small size of our community and the low view count Let's Plays of custom Lemmings packs are getting anyway, this would therefore also negatively impact you guys.

The latest experimental version of the player containing the Shimmier features a minor annoyance which doesn't seem to have anything to do with the introduction of the new skill at all:

The "Let's go!" sound at the beginning of a level is only presented on the left ear exclusively, no matter how far to the right the hatch is placed. Since the location of the sound usually tries to emulate the position of the hatch relative to the camera, meaning the sound will wander from left to right if you move the camera around before releasing the pause button, I guess there's something off with that location-determining routine? Because the sound file itself did not change, so there's nothing wrong with the inherent panorama information of the WAV file.

It's especially striking because the hatch opening sound which comes immediately afterwards is presented on both ears again, dead centre :D .

In Development / Lemmings Open Air [40/120 levels completed]
« on: December 31, 2018, 12:12:54 am »
Thanks to Nepster's release of the Shimmier ending the year on a high note, I was able to finish the last couple of levels of the first set of 30 from my upcoming pack.
Obviously, with the Shimmier included, it's going to be a New Formats-exclusive at last! :thumbsup:

I hereby announce the successor to Lemmings World Tour:

I'm still sticking to the music theme, as evident - all the levels are still going to be named after songs, and the tracks are still the ones I recorded for LWT.
Hence, please simply download the music pack from the Lemmings World Tour thread (link is in my signature).
You're also going to need my two custom tilesets for this pack, Money and Autumn. Get them here.

However, this pack is supposed to feel more like classical Lemmings again - meaning mostly original and ONML tilesets and more abstract level shapes, rather than the specific geographic locations you can find in LWT.

That's also the reason why I'm going with the classic level distribution of 4 x 30. The rank names so far are intended to be:

Soft, Loud, Heavy, Hardcore

Meaning we don't go from unknown to very popular songs, but levels are arranged in increasing order of heaviness! :evil: Which means this time the levels from the lower ranks are probably going to be the more famous ones, because they are more mainstream ;) .

These current 30 levels however are taken from all four ranks, only roughly sorted by difficulty relative to each other and compiled into a single rank called "Demo Tape". Since there are no introductory levels, I as the creator have a hard time assessing their difficulty; I just threw every nasty thing at the player I could come up with :thumbsup: .

Hence, I think it's safe to say that knowledge of the tricks from the Noisemaker rank in Lemmings World Tour is required to beat these levels! Whether you've acquired this knowledge by actually playing Lemmings World Tour, or already knew those tricks prior to that from elsewhere, that is completely up to you. ;)

There's certainly going to be a focus on Metal songs in the higher ranks, and that is also the flavour behind this pack: This time, we're not touring the world; instead, all the world is going to gather in one place for a huge open air festival. Hence, I made the logo a little darker and swapped out the globe for an additional guitar that looks the part :D .
The title is obviously a homage to one of the biggest metal festivals on Earth, Wacken Open Air.

I already recoloured the background and the rank signs. Let me know how you like this darker look; I'm a little undecided on it so far. On the one hand, it seems like a nice switch from Lemmings World Tour; on the other hand, I want this pack to feel like original Lemmings, so using the standard brown- or the green background (like on standard Lemmings for Mac) would increase the Nostalgia.

Since my New Year's Resolution is "I'm going to make my levels more backroute-proof!", here are 30 of the eventual 120 levels for you to enjoy and test.
I'm not going to pick any private testers, I like to test my packs "in the field". Meaning: Everyone who is interested can have early access, but don't be disappointed if you find a backroute! ;) In fact, that's the main purpose of playing at this stage. So if you're someone who enjoys discovering such unintended solutions ;) , you're invited to take a shot at it!

Speaking of shots, here are some example pictures of the "classical" levels in standard styles, plus one of each in my custom graphic sets:

Lems just wanna have fun

I was made for loving you, Lemming

Both sides now

I need a dollar

Wake me up when September ends

"Both sides now" is one of three Shimmier levels so far.
"I need a dollar" showcases the Money tileset; "Wake me up when September ends" is another demonstration of the Autumn tileset, which you may already be familiar with.

One last thing: The first level of this demo is also intended to be the actual first level of the pack, just like the very last level of the demo is supposed to be the last level of the final rank.

Since I already mentioned there are going to be four ranks, feel free to make suggestions on which levels should go higher or lower. The title may probably change in the process, because if a level goes lower, it shouldn't be a metal song, and if it goes higher, I need to find a metal title that goes along with it. But in general, all the levels are free to move around.

Also, I'm always open for suggestions which song titles should go in here! ;) One of the main things I want to avoid at all costs is that this pack could end up just looking like "the rest of all the semi-famous songs that didn't make it into Lemmings World Tour". It should be able to stand on its own as a music-themed pack, still feeling somewhat complete, not like an arbitrary selection of titles where so many legendary ones are missing (because they already appeared in LWT).

Finally, my custom success- and failure jingles are part of the pack again, included as .ogg-files. If anyone knows how to make them work in New Formats, please let me know! ;) Simply putting them in the overarching levels folder apparently isn't enough.

Happy new year everyone, and I hope you're going to have fun in this Lemmings Rehearsal Room! :)

General Discussion / The concept of the backroute applied to other purposes
« on: November 28, 2018, 11:27:26 pm »
Well, what this seemingly useless hobby of creating fictional problems for fictional little green-haired people can be useful for sometimes :thumbsup: : I'm currently trying to backroute my own stuff.
Not so much my Lemmings levels, though (Arty is taking care of that! ;) ), but my writing.

And indeed I think the concept of the backroute might be a good idea for any hobby writer or similar in order to clear up inconsistencies in their stories:

As someone who is guilty of somewhat enjoying criticising other people's works for plotholes and similar, of course I try to be equally strict with myself - even though it's just a hobby of mine :D . And one thing I've noticed is that a lot of logical missteps in stories arise from overpowered skills or items - kinda like in Lemmings :) .

One famous example would be the time reversal tool in Harry Potter (don't know what exactly it's called in the English original); as soon as an author adds something as powerful as time travel / teleportation / telepathy / telekinesis (funny how these all start with t :D ), that always begs the question: "Well, why didn't the characters use this in situation A / B / C?"

Likewise, in Lemmings, once a skill is on the panel, you must always consider the option of the player employing that skill in a totally different place than you expected them to - and that is just as valid, until you come up with a way to prevent it without simultaneously preventing it from being used in the intended location as well. ;)

Harry Potter example (click to show/hide)

Human beings, both while playing Lemmings as well as in real life, like to take the path of least resistance. Which means, if there is an easier solution to something and it's apparent to them, they will usually use it. In essence, you could consider backroute searching an application of Ockham's razor, always asking the question: "Is there an easier way to do this?"

So it's nothing new, far from it; however, thinking of plotholes as backroutes to intended solutions gave me somewhat of a new incentive to actively try looking for such inconsistencies in my stories myself :D . It feels like a more "scientific" approach, where you actively try to falsify your own claims.

So, why did it take playing a lot of Lemmings in order for me to discover this for myself? :D

Maybe it is due to the more or less established mindset of a backroute in a level being usually regarded as the level designer's fault - combined with the awareness that it is in a level designer's power, and thereby their responsibility, to fix it. With plotholes in stories, in contrast, you often find both the authors as well as devoted fans rationalising the events after the fact, making additional assumptions in order to make excuses. This is because both the loyal fans and, obviously, the authors themselves, have already "locked in" on the intended solution, and now try their best to enforce it.

Hence, in both cases, it is usually easier for level testers / beta readers to discover "backroutes". And I think this is down to the same phenomenon that prevents a level designer or story author from finding it ;) : I've already mentioned functional fixedness and mental set before on this forum - aspects of problem solving which mean that once we found a working solution to a given problem, we have a hard time coming up with possible alternatives.

This affects both level designers / authors and players / readers:
1) The author knows the intended solution, which obviously works, so they have trouble contemplating other solutions that might also work - because it would require them to actively stray from an already successful approach.
2) The reader is presumed to have a natural scepticism that needs to be overcome in order to achieve immersion in the story (suspension of disbelief); if common sense would suggest a less complex and more obvious approach to a problem, and a character still decides to do it in a more complicated way, it's going to ruin the immersion, because usually people don't act this way in real life.
The Lemmings player, likewise, is naturally "lazy" in the sense that he doesn't want to waste more time on a level than necessary. So once he finds a solution that works, there's no need to keep fiddling around to try something else: You find a backroute, you go for it. And then, later, once that backroute has been removed, re-solving these levels is often harder than solving new ones, because now you have to actively bypass the formerly successful approach which you still have somewhere in the back of your head.

Thus, the author can't stop not finding backroutes, and the player can't stop using them if they find them. The reader can't ignore a plothole once it's discovered, and trying to ignore them in order to  re-immerse onself in the story requires active endeavour on one's own part.

The irony is that this mechanism is probably usually beneficial: The Rubicon model makes a clear distinction between considering different options at first, and then, once you have decided on the one you're going to use, initiating action. Meaning: You don't go back to the planning phase anymore ;) . No way "back to the drawing board". I also like to think of this as "putting blinders on a horse before having it move forward" :D .

But backroutes and plotholes fall into the category "what must not be cannot be", and in those cases, you have to force yourself to go back to the drawing board. So for such purposes, this mechanism seems to be disadvantageous.

Don't really know how useful or interesting this might be to anyone of you, but I like discovering such "patterns" by drawing analogies between seemingly totally unrelated fields. Sometimes, these analogies may end up a little too forced. (That's why my brother and I refer to these shitty analogies as analogies :evil:.)

But if I didn't enjoy looking for abstract patterns and ways to connect the dots between them, I probably wouldn't enjoy playing Lemmings either in the first place. So I guess we've come full circle here :D .

Any other "life lessons" you guys learned from playing Lemmings, no matter how arbitrary they may seem? 8-)

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