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Topics - Strato Incendus

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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-)

Levels for v10 or older / Ghost level sharing topic
« on: October 28, 2018, 12:34:22 pm »
:8(): Welcome to our testing thread for what might become a new skill for NeoLemmix some time in the future: Ghosts! :8():

A pre-placed ghost lemming

What is a ghost?
- Ghosts walk past any kind of object: Fire, water, and traps as well as buttons, teleporters, updrafts, pickup skills - and exits. Ghosts therefore can't be saved, but they can help you save other lemmings, since they can be assigned skills like regular lemmings.
- Other lemmings are afraid of ghosts and therefore turn around and walk into the opposite direction whenever they meet one.

How can I make a Lemming a ghost?
- Currently, ghosts can only be pre-assigned to a lemming, meaning they are either pre-placed in the level, or they come out of hatches that only release ghosts. Therefore, some regard ghosts as a type of lemming, like zombie; others regard it as a skill, just like climbers and floaters can be pre-assigned to lemmings. The eventual goal of this thread is to introduce ghosts as a skill, to make them more flexible in their applicability.
- The gimmick "ghost on death" allows to turn a lemming into a ghost by killing him, for example with a bomber or stoner, or by having him splat or drown in water. Since the ghost spawns in exactly the same spot the lemming died, you cannot create a ghost by having a lemming fall into the abyss at the bottom of a level. The "ghost on death" gimmick is the closest thing we currently have to making Ghost an assignable skill.

How can I play ghost levels?
Ghosts were created by namida and are only available in an older version of NeoLemmix, 1.43. Everything you need to use that version (player, editor, as well as all styles available at the time) is attached to this post. Please use the styles from this zip-file here in this post, because especially the Lemmings 2: The Tribes and Lemmings 3 graphic sets require these specific versions in order to work in NL 1.43. The download on the NeoLemmix homepage doesn't contain all of them.

Why were ghosts removed?
Ghosts were only around a couple of months, and only namida and GigaLem made use of them during this short period of time. In this thread, we want to explore the potential of this skill. If there are enough ideas for them, thus creating sufficient interest and demand, hopefully ghosts can be reintroduced into the New Formats version of NeoLemmix some time in the future! ;)

Got an idea for some levels involving ghosts? ;) Download the NeoLemmix 1.43 player, editor, and styles from this post, and upload your level here! Everyone is welcome to contribute! ;)

As examples, I'm going to show you some select levels from a pack I created for NeoLemmix 1.43, "Lemmicks - Lemmings with Gimmicks!". All of them are also attached for you to play!

In your hands I commit my Lems - featuring a pre-placed ghost

For the greater good - this one involves the "ghost on death" gimmick

Give up the ghost - here ghosts come out of one of the two hatches

And here, some demonstrations of what ghosts can do:

A ghost walking through fire

A ghost floater falling through a flame trap

A ghost walking through water. If this weren't steel at the bottom, the ghost could even mine or dig here!

A ghost walking past the exit. No need to build over it! ;)

The type of object really doesn't matter - ghosts will walk past all of them. Since therefore, interactions with slowfreeze or radiation aren't possible anyway, nothing gets lost if we bring ghosts to New Formats! ;)

A ghost climber. Ghosts can be assigned skills like any other lemming can.

Intimidation. Other lemmings are afraid of ghosts. Here, this is used to compress them.

Even zombies are afraid of ghosts! ;)

Since ghosts cannot enter exits, once they've done their duty, they are more expendable than other lemmings. You have a bomber and still need to save everyone? That doesn't mean this bomber is a red herring-skill!
Here, the ghost is used to blow up the ground under a trap trigger. Of course, the ghost himself could also walk past the trap safely.

Bugs & Suggestions / [Suggestion] Ghost as a skill
« on: October 25, 2018, 06:00:41 pm »
In the same vein as Crane proposing the reversal of a change that has been made a while ago :D, I'm going to bring up another thing from the past:

If you remember, around the time of the major format switch last year, the idea of neutral lemmings was being discussed. Skills were not supposed to be assigned to them, like with zombies, but in contrast to zombies, they could still be saved, or even had to be saved.

I don't know if that idea is still being ventilated, but I think a lot more puzzle potential actually lies in a thing we already had back in the day, which was the exact opposite: Ghost lemmings. They could not be saved, however they could be assigned skills, and they didn't interact with any kind of objects. This allowed them to walk through fire, traps, and water alike, doing things like mining or digging at the bottom of a water pit, which isn't possible otherwise.

Ghosts were removed together with gimmicks, and with regard to the latter, I understand how they would have slowed down every new implementation of a feature a lot. Having to balance e.g. a new skill with all these extra rules would have been pretty chaotic, obviously.

Ghosts, however, actually require less interaction in total than even regular lemmings! :) They simply treat all objects, including exits, as if they were background objects. So I can't imagine they would require a lot of code, plus the sprites are already there. Ghost sprites for new skills introduced in the meantime (=fencers and shimmiers) can easily be recoloured, just like we have created different lemmings sprites for the L2 tilesets.

There was one issue with the original ghosts, however: They always came as pre-assigned lemmings, i.e. either they were pre-placed lemmings or came out of pre-assigned hatches, like zombies.

That made me realise what a ghost actually is: Just another skill! :thumbsup: So why not re-introduce ghosts as skills that can be assigned like any other?

This would make the ghost a unique hybrid of lethal skills (like bombers and stoners) and athletic skills (like climbers and floaters):

You can get past certain obstacles with him which no other lemming can get by - for example, fire traps - but in exchange for this enormous power, the lemming itself is sacrificed (since an exit is also an object, so he can't enter it anymore either). Athletes, often employed as pioneers, usually take paths the rest of the crowd can't take, and their task is to then create an alternative path for said crowd.

In some sense, ghosts are actually a more balanced version of the disarmer - because they can go through traps like disarmers can, but leave them active. The disarmer seems to be the least favourite skill at the moment, mainly because levels involving it boil down to
1) collect the disarmer as a pickup skill, the level is auto-solve from there;
2) pure timing-challenges, stalling the crowd until the disarmer gets his job done;
or 3) the crowd takes exactly the same path as the disarmer pioneer, because there's no difference between a disarmer and a regular lemming once a trap has been deactivated.

Some people even advised for disarmers to be culled during the format shift. While I of course will always be against such a move, I do have to say, if we still have even disarmers, there's no reason why we shouldn't have ghosts as well ;) .

Also, it's in spirit (*badum-tss*!) of the Halloween season :evil: ! :P

NeoLemmix Graphic Sets / Old panel icons
« on: October 20, 2018, 02:34:11 pm »
I remade the old panel icons, since I like the reflections on the replay-R to be the same as on the rest of the font. That old R indeed was not available anymore in New Formats, because in Old Formats, it was one long PNG-file with the panel icons and the panel font in one, whereas in New Formats, panel font and panel icons are two separate PNGs.

So I cut off that part from the old long PNG and overlayed it with the new panel icons to get the length and placement right. Since the Old Formats file did not contain a blue replay R (I guess that was handled inside the code back then, rather than by using a different image), I duplicated the layer, removed everything except for the R and did a colour replacement.

For all who want to use it: Just backup your existing panel_icons.png in styles --> default and replace it with this one.

Level Design / Reduce entropy to prevent frustration?
« on: October 19, 2018, 06:00:31 pm »
So, turns out that both Colorful Arty and Flopsy experienced considerable frustration on a couple of single levels (albeit fortunately on different ones for each person ;) ) from my pack Lemmings World Tour, arising from pixel precision caused by minor but decisive conceptual mistakes. Meaning, this pixel precision was not at all part of the intended solution, but the level didn't outright prevent you from attempting the pixel-precise approach either.

Hence, I'm beginning to wonder whether I should purposefully reduce the complexity of levels on a conceptual level to prevent people from inflicting such unintended pixel precision on themselves.

We all agree that we usually don't want to put pixel precision into levels intentionally; however, we do want our levels do be challenging on a conceptual level, and as IchoTolot pointed out, one main factor that creates difficult level concepts is entropy, i.e. "it's not very obvious which skill has to go where, or which path you can take".

If I want to decrease player frustration by preventing them from getting on tracks that lead to self-inflicted pixel precision, I necessarily also have to reduce the entropy of the level, so that the player doesn't even consider going along a path that might lead to frustration.

Let me show you an older example, not from Lemmings World Tour, but from Lemmicks, where the consequences were less drastic ;) (meaning Flopsy didn't get too angry about this, but it still took him about half an hour to solve the level):

Here comes the flood

In his LP, Flopsy tried for a brief period of time to climb up the right hand side of the level. I'm not refering to the solid level sides in version 1.43 here, but about building towards the steel wall next to the exit so that a climber can reach it and go up. Eventually, he found out this isn't possible, and I didn't even consider anyone attempting this, because the intended solution is the path on the left.

Now, I could close that gap on the right with even more steel, so that it would be clear right away that you can't climb up there. That means players won't even attempt to fiddle around at that spot. At the same time, this reduces the entropy of the level, because everything points you towards going along the left right away. So, would you seal the gap on the right, or wouldn't you? ;)

This question can be extended to one-way arrows: While they are good to patch out backroutes, they also have the tendency of quite literally pointing the player towards a certain path they are supposed to take. So while they prevent certain unwanted alternative solutions, they also simultaneously give away a little more about the intended solution. Which is why I generally only want to use as many one-way arrows as necessary, even if it comes at the cost of a backroute in the first release of a pack.

I have come to recognise that I tend to be the "libertarian" voice on the forums, so just like I generally want as many design elements as possible to remain available to people and see culls as a form of "censorship" ;) , I'd also prefer to leave more responsibility to the player, rather than patronising them by showing them too clearly what they can and cannot do. I'm not talking about actually hiding things from them, like hidden traps or exits, but about the forum-consensus ideal of "hiding things in plain sight".

So with that mindset, every player remains the architect of their own (mis-)fortune. I've brought it on myself with two of Nepster's and two of Nessy's levels, where I went for a more precise solution rather than the intended one. Since then, if something seems overly fiddly to pull off, I tend to seek the fault with myself for not having found the actual intended solution yet. But maybe that mindset just comes to me easily, given that I could barely complete any custom packs so far, but usually get stuck somewhere in the low middle :D . So in general, it's more likely that I as a player mess up than that the creator messed up.

But there are probably going to be different stances on this ;) . The problem with self-inflicted pixel precision is that you don't see it coming, because those are unintended solutions, like backroutes.

We all agree that backroutes need to be patched out: Backroutes make the level easier than it's supposed to be.
Cases of self-caused pixel precision are the opposite of backroutes: They make the level harder than they're supposed to be.

So would you patch out "garden paths", too, even if it comes at the cost of giving away major aspects of the intended solution? ;)

Level Design / What makes a level / pack feel like Lemmings?
« on: October 17, 2018, 10:17:26 pm »
This is a big one :) . Probably the one most subjective and therefore hardest to grasp.

While there are a lot of great packs out there, and a lot of levels with very clever solutions, many of them stray from what would be considered Lemmings at first glance quite a bit. I've asked you guys before about what stuff turns you off immediately in a level, as well as what makes a level rewarding to you. Even though the latter may be the counterpart of the former, "reward" is something that can only be assessed after the level has been completed. This here, in contrast, is more about what draws you in, when you see the first glance of a level, what makes you think "Oh, I really wanna play this thing!"?

It's also about what we associate with Lemmings directly and indirectly. In a nutshell, given the age of most forum members, we're talking about nothing less than "how can we convincingly revive our childhood?" :D

Ideally, a pack or level fulfilling these criteria should feel as if DMA had just decided to do another Lemmings release. You know, the thing we were basically all hoping for after having played through (or gotten stuck on) Oh no! More Lemmings back in the day? ;)

Here's what I could boil my list down to:
  • It all starts with the main menu: The big Lemmings title logo, perhaps slightly modified, like in "Oh no! More Lemmings", but still recognisable. And then, new rank names, preferably adjectives, increasing in intensity, and the font must be somewhat warped, slightly raised to the right. No straight letters, no custom backgrounds, just white font with a black outer border on the green background of the rank sign. And don't forget the yellow bars below to indicate the difficulty! ;)
  • Next, the level preview screen: The feeling when it "rolls open" starting from the middle, revealing the first sight at a new selection of levels. This is, as said before multiple times, the biggest immersion-breaking aspect of the New Formats player, currently. Because the change was made for talismans, and original packs didn't have talismans. Neither did they have an author field. So don't put your name here if the entire pack was made by you anyway. ;)
  • No level preview-texts.
  • Tileset choice. As awesome as many of the custom-made tilesets look, many of them were directly taken from other video games. Custom-made sprites, in contrast, often can't quite keep up with the original Lemmings and ONML tilesets, or at least have a very different tone to them. L2 tilesets are also fine, although many of them look very similar in shape (very block-ish). So I'd probably restrict myself to mostly original and ONML graphic sets, and avoid graphic set mixing wherever possible. If you add new graphic sets, make sure they blend with the existing original Lemmings ones as well as possible. This can be easily achieved by e.g. taking original hatches and exits and merely recolouring them. The rest of the terrain and objects can look whatever way you want, but don't go all crazy with the design of the hatches and exits if they are going to look drastically different in one tileset while all the others are very similar to each other.
  • Level shape. Most original Lemmings levels looked abstract, but still very much like a landscape. No copy-and-paste sections of repetitive terrain, no disjoint-unions or "miniature levels", no large number of unconnected, free-floating platforms, no long detour paths or awkwardly placed hatches to enforce specific timing-based solutions, no random flags planted everywhere across the level, and most of all: No vertical scrolling! :) Just a landscape you can navigate through, and that you can cover with your camera only moving left and right.
  • Music. Sticking to the original Lemmings and ONML music is certainly a good start; a lot of the L2 tunes, in contrast, are not very memorable, at least to my ear. That said, there are a couple of pieces that fit well among the original tracks, as if they had always been part of that selection. For me, Amiga 02 / DOS 01 is THE most iconic Lemmings soundtrack, and since it is very heavy on strings and piano, other songs relying on these same instruments might fit as well. For example, there are two songs by Vanessa Carlton which always seem to remind me of the Amiga 02 / DOS 01 track, "Ordinary Day" and "A Thousand Miles".
  • Level concept. In contrast to original Lemmings however, I don't need execution difficulty ("All or nothing") or repetitive reaction-time challenges ("We all fall down") for a pack to feel like Lemmings; an entire pack worth of "No added colors or lemmings"-like puzzles will feel just as much like Lemmings, while at the same time being a lot more entertaining and challenging for the average NeoLemmix user :) .
  • Skill choice. And here comes the funny part: One would expect to say "Stick to classic skills only" here. And a lot of packs already do that anyway, in fact it's possibly the only point from my list a lot of packs stick to rigorously. For me however, skills somehow are not the main determinant of what makes original Lemmings feel like Lemmings to me. Actually, a lot of the negative aspects of original Lemmings are associated with classic skill restriction, for example, iffy builder-fests in places where you'd rather want a platformer to go beneath a low ceiling. Stubbornly sticking to classic skills in such a case just makes the execution fiddly and annoying. Likewise, the reason Lemmings 2 doesn't feel like Lemmings to me at all is more associated with the vertical scrolling, the un-catchy music, and the jump-and-run-style platform structure of the similarly unmemorable levels - not with the abundance of skills that Lemmings 2 provides. Since NeoLemmix doesn't even include all those weird and redundant skills from Lemmings 2, but only has had a comparatively small number of skills added, each of them after careful consideration, I don't see a reason to refrain from using them, even in a scenario where one tries to recreate an "authentic" Lemmings experience.

As you can see, none of my packs really fulfil a lot of the criteria on this list. :D
Paralems started out with original Lemmings reruns, but in the end evolved into a huge mess of movie- and politics references, tileset mixing, oversized levels with vertical scrolling, and not clearly defined music choices.
Pit Lems was just a collection of mechanically semi-challenging random puzzles.
Lemmicks was all about the gimmicks, thereby deliberately getting away from original Lemmings as much as possible.
And Lemmings World Tour, while doing a twist on the original music, through its artistic approach made clear right from the getgo that heavy tileset mixing and more realistic-looking levels, rather than the above mentioned abstract landscapes, would makes this feel very different to a DMA-made Lemmings expansion.

So that is probably what I'm going to shoot for in my next pack, whenever that may be: Mechanically-driven puzzles, largely in original Lemmings tilesets, featuring only a couple of levels in new graphic sets that blend well with the classic ones. I'll likely keep the music theme from Lemmings World Tour, meaning the music I've recorded + the level titles refering to songs. Because otherwise, without an overarching theme, I fear this would simply devolve into Pit Lems 2.0. I don't like level titles that feel as if they had been randomly selected; it severely reduces the sense of "progression" when solving them one after another.

Finally, other stuff Lemmings is associated with in my childhood: Star Trek: The Next Generation; Bryan Adams; Jingle Bells (Christmas Lemmings was actually the very first Lemmings game I played, even before original Lemmings). Bryan Adams was pretty much the only musician I was familiar with at that time. And Star Trek: The Next Generation used to be aired here in Germany on the channel Sat.1 - a channel whose logo looked very similar to the loading icon on the old Macintosh I used to play Lemmings on :D .

Okay, that's enough on my part. What requirements does a pack need to meet in order to feel like authentic Lemmings to you? ;)

Just in case this hasn't become clear: This is not meant to be a dogmatic list of rules, more of an associations game... :P

I created a custom sound for my leaf trap in the Autumn tileset. I inserted it into the Old Formats graphic set tool, because I'm more familiar with that one. The conversion of the tileset itself went fine, but the trap is silent in New Formats.

I know there is a sounds folder, and I put the sound in there, too. But I have no idea on how I have to name it in order for it to be recognised. This doesn't seem to be part of the translation table or anything along those lines.

If it's too difficult to make the Graphic Set Conversion tool take care of custom sounds as well, please at least make it part of the graphic set conversion instructions, so that any graphic set creator knows how to do this manually.

In Old Formats you could save level images as PNGs. Is this option still available and am I merely too dumb to find it? If it has been removed, why? Everyone likes to spice up their pack release topics with images of select levels ;) .

Yes, you can create them with the Snipping Tool, but those tend to get much larger in size (as I've learned right after releasing Paralems last year). And level images in a thread are pretty pointless if you have to hide them in spoiler tags or scroll so far to the right that you can't read the rest of the post.

Bugs & Suggestions / [Bug][Editor] Moving background objects don't move
« on: October 17, 2018, 02:18:40 pm »
I don't know whether this is a bug or intentional (in the latter case, it would mean yet another culled feature), but moving background objects do not move in the editor. In fact, it isn't even possible to enter a direction of movement for them.

Inside the player, it works for a level from SEB Lems I tried out - Mother O'Donoghue - but not for my converted Autumn tileset level (the leaves remain static in the air).

I know that triggered decorations have been removed in New Formats, but moving background objects are a different category. ;)

I also mentioned this in my graphic sets thread, but I think it gets lost there easily, so I bring it up here again.

NeoLemmix Main / Changed release rate in New Formats?
« on: October 13, 2018, 10:34:46 am »
I do get the feeling that Release Rate 1 is a lot slower in New Formats than in Old Formats, meaning the interval between the Lemmings is a lot larger.

Has the scale on which this is measured been changed? And if so, is this accounted for when converting levels to New Formats?

Bugs & Suggestions / [Suggestion] [Editor] Bring back the replace feature
« on: October 12, 2018, 12:29:12 am »
I think I've found a way to solve two remaining issues with the new editor and level conversion at one fell swoop! :)

One of the few remaining distinctive features of the old formats editor - and one of the main reasons why people like Arty and me oftentimes still prefer the old editor - is the option to replace a piece that has already been placed in the level by hitting F9 and selecting a different piece from the list. This allows for several things:

1) Quickly selecting a new piece from the same tileset as the selected piece while the main graphic set may be a different one (for example, your main tileset is pillar, but you've taken a trap from dirt, and want to exchange it for another trap from dirt)
2) Replacing a piece with a tile from a different graphic set while keeping it in the exact same spot

It is the latter that would simultaneously also solve the issue we currently still have going on with the Ancient tileset (and also my custom edits to the old original Lemmings graphic sets, btw!) :D .

If a replace feature, as it has already been present in the old editor, also existed in new formats, one could do the following:

1) Create a temporary conversion of the complete old Ancient tileset.
2) Load up the level in the new editor.
3) Select the pieces from the ancient tileset and replace them with the identical pieces from "angel island" or "chaos angel", in this case. Everything now remains in the exact same spot as before!
4) Once all tiles have been replaced with their counterparts, delete the temporary conversion of the Ancient tileset. The level from now on consists of tiles from "angel island" and "chaos angel".

I could do the same with my custom edits of the fire, brick, and pillar tileset, of course: Temporarily convert mine, replace all tiles with the identical ones from the standard new formats versions, then delete my custom conversion.

I wouldn't be requesting this if it were only to fix my own mess with regards to the custom edits of the standard lemmings graphic sets :) . As I said, it also solves the issue with the Ancient tileset that has been split up into two sets in new formats, and that affects anyone who has ever used Ancient.

And, most of all, this tile replacement option is simply a generally useful and convenient feature that has been present in the old formats version anyway, and many users have come to enjoy it! :thumbsup:

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