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Of course, this doesn't account for difficulty points unrelated to crowd control.

Sure! ;) It's just that a lot of the more challenging levels show the tendency to make the crowd control part of the puzzle - meaning if you spend just one skill too many on crowd- or flow control, you can't get on with the actual solution. That's how these two challenges interact frequently.

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Except that that topic showed that we have a lot of differing opinions about what turns us off from a level. And if we're thinking about new players, how can we know what would turn them off when they are just getting to know the game?

For example: You list "10-of-everything" levels as a massive turn-off; but I think it helps new players to have more sandbox-like levels in which they can play around and find out what the skills do without being in any real danger of losing.

I stand by my point that 10-of-everything levels don't teach the player anything. Except for how the skills work. And that's something that individual levels on the individual skills, such as "Just dig", can accomplish just as well, if not better. Moreover, teaching the individual skills isn't actually the challenging part. You could have all that in a single level, call it "Playground", akin to the Practice section in Lemmings 2. Those levels didn't even have an exit, i.e. they were unsolvable - their only purpose was allowing you to try out all the various skills.

What we're thinking about here, however, is how to get new players to the next level - quite literally - where they are being equipped with the necessary basic knowledge to merely have a shot at the harder packs out there. For that, you need to train the player's eye and mind to discover specific places in a level where a certain skill can go in, and often that insight arises from skill restriction. Most prominently: "Oh, crap, I don't have a blocker, how else do I turn the lemming around now?" Or "I don't have a bomber, how do I get rid of this blocker now?"

And 10-of-everything levels simply don't do any of that. They don't get you any closer to solving actual harder puzzles.

For clarity: I haven't beaten a single hard pack out there. But I have beaten the beginning 10-of-everything levels on all of them. Where did that get me? Exactly - nowhere :P .

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Aside from the fact that some levels don't have a crowd because there are only a small number of lemmings

A crowd to me is any number of lemmings larger than one. In those levels with, say, 1 to 6 lemmings, where you often have to steer every single one of them individually along various paths, I'd regard that as a form of flow control. Characteristic trademark of this: All of them are moving pieces. There is no group of lemmings that you can just leave behind without having to worry about them. ;)

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there's a major consideration you've missed: some levels can have no way to control the crowd, but the save requirement is low enough that you can let the lemmings behind the worker die until the path is created. In GemLems, four of the first five levels are of this type.

I'd agree with namida here, that's level 0: no crowd control required. Unless the save requirement is very tight and you can barely create a splatform or similar before the allowed number of lemmings have died. Then it can indeed feel more like flow control again, just that, rather than worrying "how many can I let slip by here?", it goes right away to "how many can I let die here?"

Regarding GemLems: As far as I recall, you haven't released that pack in its completed state yet, so how would I know? ;)

In most custom packs I've seen so far, having such a low saving requirement is more the exception than the rule - and, as far as I understand you, even in your pack GemLems, it seems to be especially prevalent on the lowest rank.

If however you can manage to create more of such levels though than the average pack, where the question of how many lemmings can die before you construct the correct path, or where a different number of lemmings die depending on the path you choose, that would certainly help your pack stand out from the rest! :thumbsup:
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Tech & Research / Re: 3D Lemmings Memory Hacking
« Last post by namida on Today at 05:08:43 am »
Here's an amusing - though probably not all that useful (I assume it can likely be extracted from a file anyway) - find.

There are also similar "graphics" (maybe actual graphics, that just so happen to be 16px wide) starting at 0x13C000. These are in fact the editor-type graphics we discovered in the data files a while back, confirming that for some reason L3D does load these.
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Tech & Research / 3D Lemmings Memory Hacking
« Last post by namida on Today at 02:52:40 am »
Here's a list of (potentially) useful offsets in memory I've found. You can use the hidden memory-hacking features in L3DUtils, or a debugger version of DOSBox, to make use of these. There's probably also ways to use them with software like Cheat Engine, but that's beyond the scope of what I'm interested in here - if anyone else wants to do a write-up of how to get that working, I'm happy to add it to this first post.

NOTE: Unless explicitly mentioned otherwise, all multi-byte values are in in-memory order, not taking into account endianness either way. Though FWIW - almost universally (if not completely universally?), L3D uses little-endian values.

0x001938 - The four bytes starting here will have the value 0xFFFFFFFF if Lemmings 3D has terminated, but other values while it's running. Useful as a "Is L3D still running?" check.

0x01090F - The string "V1.13 26/07/95 17:23:11" starts here in the full version of Lemmings 3D, which can be used both to identify versions and to locate L3D in DosBox memory (indeed - this string is what L3DUtils' replay tool uses to locate it!).

0x010952 - These two bytes seem to affect which scene comes up next when leaving the title screen, and also get set during other title screen events. This may be some kind of raw memory / EXE data pointer, as the values are spaced and invalid ones usually cause crashes. Setting this value alone does nothing; it seems to need to be combined with a manual trigger or 0x01D822-triggered transition. Additionally, the title screen ignores input (except mouse movement) when this is not set to 0x0000.
0x010952 known values (click to show/hide)

0x011394 - On the level code screen, contains 0x65 if an invalid password was entered, and 0x54 if a valid password was entered.

0x011396 - On the level code screen, contains the remaining time (unsure of units) before fadeout begins, after confirming a code.

0x0113A6 - On the level code screen, contains the entered code in plain text.

0x0113B1 - On the level code screen, contains the entered code in an encrypted form (00 = "A", and it's XOR'd with something, I forget what off-hand.)

0x011642 - This byte has bitwise flags that have effects in-game, including at the preview / postview screens. So far, I haven't noticed any effects at the title / level-select / code screens, although values do get set to it at these screens.
0x011642 Known Flags (click to show/hide)

0x011688 - 0x11 (17) bytes, the filename of the level file to use, null-terminated.
0x011699 - 0x0F (15) bytes, the filename of the BLK file to use, null-terminated. It may be the case that these strings aren't fixed-length, but simply "one immediately follows the other". I have not bothered to investigate this.

0x016B34 - When in-game, this byte contains the number of lemmings saved (NOT the number displayed as the "IN" value, but the actual saved count).

0x01D300 - Contains a copy of the most recently loaded BLK file. 0x580 (1408) bytes in size.

0x01D882 - This byte contains the time (not sure of measurement unit) until a new screen will be loaded, when fading between screens. A value of 0x00 means "no new screen is being loaded". It's usually set to 0x32 (50) when a transition begins. Note that the fade animation is independent of this - if the transition is delayed by repeatedly setting this byte to a high value, the screen will fade out but the new menu won't load until the value stops being overwritten. Likewise, if the value is immediately set to a value lower than 0x32, the screen will change without fully fading out first.

0x01E1E4 - A two-byte value containing the current level number; if it mismatches, the replay data is cleared when gameplay begins (but otherwise no ill effects of it being wrong). This only gets set when starting gameplay the first time (not while on the preview screens), which is why (prior to me adding a workaround) L3DUtils used to require starting gameplay once before a replay could be loaded. You can use the level / BLK filenames above to get correct data even at these screens.

0x026580 - Contains a copy of the most recently loaded LEVEL file. 0x10200 (66048) bytes in size.

0x065460 - Save data is loaded to here. Limited usefulness, as you can easily obtain a copy on-disk, and it's reloaded from disk almost every time it's actually used for anything.

0x224000 - Replay data is stored here. It's 0xFD22 (64,802) bytes in size. Weird stuff can happen if this is partially overwritten, or overwritten mid-gameplay without immediately restarting, or overwritten during playback.
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Lix Main / Re: Observers should start level zoomed out
« Last post by Simon on July 17, 2019, 07:57:24 pm »
This will be fixed in 0.9.29. Observers will start zoomed out to see the entire map.

-- Simon
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NeoLemmix Levels / Re: [NeoLemmix] Lemmings United [Difficulty: Hard-Extreme]
« Last post by IchoTolot on July 17, 2019, 06:40:19 pm »
V 7.2 is out! :)

The following levels have received a backroute fix:

- 2 13 (added a OWW and changed some terrain)
- 2 14 (changed some terrain)
- 2 27 (a miner is now a pick-up skill)
- 2 34 (a miner is now a pick-up skill)
- 2 37 (2 bombers are now pick-up skills)

1 level has received some non-backroute related changes:

- 2 22  (+5 bashers)
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I would say those two situations fall outside the spectrum, or could be considered a Level 0 (no control required, not even blockers). This would also cover levels where lemmings are unable or unlikely to die so crowd control isn't needed, too, such as (to pick the easiest example imaginable) Just Dig.

Further to this, I'd say levels like Bitter Lemming also fall into level 1, where the terrain contains the lemmings and separating a worker is trivial (in this case simply by using a climber).

Of course, this doesn't account for difficulty points unrelated to crowd control.
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I think a good starting point for that would be our discussions about immediate turn-offs when seeing a new level for the first time.

Except that that topic showed that we have a lot of differing opinions about what turns us off from a level. And if we're thinking about new players, how can we know what would turn them off when they are just getting to know the game?

For example: You list "10-of-everything" levels as a massive turn-off; but I think it helps new players to have more sandbox-like levels in which they can play around and find out what the skills do without being in any real danger of losing.

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Crowd control as an overarching term is a necessary part of pretty much every level, and I think there are clearly three tiers to it:

Level 1: crowd containment with blockers (--> "Noob strategy" :P )
Level 2: crowd containment with digger pits & Co., usually enforced by requiring to save everyone, or simply not providing any blockers (--> Intermediate)
Level 3: flow control, i.e. no ways to contain the crowd at all, it's all about keeping them busy and timing things just right (--> Professional)

Aside from the fact that some levels don't have a crowd because there are only a small number of lemmings, there's a major consideration you've missed: some levels can have no way to control the crowd, but the save requirement is low enough that you can let the lemmings behind the worker die until the path is created. In GemLems, four of the first five levels are of this type.
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Contests / Re: Level Design Contest #18
« Last post by Crane on July 17, 2019, 01:32:11 pm »
I had fun choosing these ones!  Good luck, have fun everyone!

If anyone needs clarity on what counds as valid for Rule 1 in terms of water, I consider "Origins and Lemmings" from the original game to be a valid level, since the level only has water at the very bottom of the level and it doesn't interfere with any meaningful solution - it's there for decoration.  And other than the water, the only other interactive objects are the single trapdoor and exit, with no steel anywhere.
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Contests / Re: Level Design Contest #18
« Last post by Minim on July 17, 2019, 11:00:36 am »
Rule 2 - Subset

    - Take a pre-existing level from the original Lemmings, Oh No! More Lemmings, Genesis Lemmings, SNES Lemmings or any of the official Holiday Lemmings games

I like this rule for the contest! And I'm looking forward to see what I can come up with. I don't remember seeing one before where levels must be submitted out of a pre-created template from the official games.  Hopefully my laptop will be fixed before the deadline.
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Since a lot of my earlier packs tend to have been on the easier side, I might chime in regarding my conversion plans ;) .

The first thing on my list is definitely converting Lemmings World Tour. As I said though, that is on a halt until the 10-skills-panel is a thing.

I don't want to start converting something else in the meantime, because I think I'd get confused easily when jumping around between packs, trying to update them all at the same time.

That said, though, I don't believe I've used any Graphic Sets in Paralems or Pit Lems that weren't part of Lemmings World Tour, as well. So all the graphic-set conversions I did for World Tour should, as a side effect, allow me to also convert Paralems and Pit Lems in principle. Those two would probably fill this "gap" of easy packs quite nicely, at least to some extent.

Paralems is really easy and might be a great intro pack, since it includes remakes of Original Lemmings levels, but for the NeoLemmix skills ("Just fence", "Only gliders can survive this", etc.). However, I'm not sure how fare playing this pack can actually take a new player, because it diverges from the core "puzzle philosophy" so much. It doesn't really do much with regard to making people aware of obscure solutions.

Pit Lems therefore would most likely be converted first after LWT, then - precisely because it's more challenging than Paralems. The reason it's called Pit Lems in the first place was a reference to Star Wars: Pit Droids (hence also the Star Wars font in the pack title), the very first game I played that described itself completely as a "puzzle" game (compared to Lemmings being an "action puzzle").

Lemmicks definitely won't be converted to New Formats, except for the select levels that re-appear in Lemmings World Tour. That's because for those levels, I've already figured out a non-gimmick solution. A lot of the other levels don't actually work without the gimmick in the first place.


All of my packs, as you probably know, include some amount of radiation and slowfreeze levels.

Lemmicks, as I just said, is out of the question.

Paralems has comparatively many levels involving zombies, including at least one where zombies need to walk into radiation and slowfreeze areas, as well as another level where you need to clone radiating lemmings. Cloning radiating lemmings can sometimes be replicated with enough bomber pickup skills - that is the way I converted a World-Tour level, "Ayo Technology" - but bombing and stoning zombies is something that was effectively removed together with radiation and slowfreeze.

Pit Lems barely has any zombie levels, and those that are there don't require them to interact with radiation or slowfreeze, as far as I remember. The issue with Pit Lems is that some of the best levels (including 2 of the 3 LOTY nominees) included radiation and/or slowfreeze. More precisely, at least one of them I can't even modify into a pickup-skills level, because that level itself already is part of the pack (the version with radiation and slowfreeze is the rerun of said level, "Controlled overload" vs. "The long way down").

The only other option would be to create a massive redux pack of my own levels, either combining all the non-radiation/slowfreeze levels from Paralems and Pit Lems, or simply creating a "Best of" collection of all the levels I still consider worthwhile. A "Best of" of all my levels in general however should probably also contain levels from Lemmings World Tour and Lemmicks... partly because I'm not sure whether just Pit Lems and Paralems together would provide enough material to work with.

It does sound like fun though to go over my old levels again and simply cherry-pick the best ones into a single combined pack :D .


When it comes to other people's packs, I think New Formats would greatly profit from having Arty's SubLems and nin10doadict's CasuaLemmings available.

CasuaLemmings was one of the first packs I attempted, because it was one of the few packs I even had a chance at solving. As a consequence, it was largely fun, also because it featured some slightly trolling, Paralems-like levels to loosen things up (with one of them even being explicitly inspired by Paralems ;) ). But it also had some surprisingly difficult puzzles that stumped me out of nowhere. And those are precisely the ones that offer a new player the opportunity to grow and get better.

SubLems simply has what I would describe as a perfect difficulty curve. The beautiful architecture of most of the levels also does its part in preventing the pack from annoying the hell out of a new player.



Hence, that is definitely my main advice for IchoTolot and anyone else trying to deliberately design an easier pack: Start by simply trying not to annoy the player! ;)

I think a good starting point for that would be our discussions about immediate turn-offs when seeing a new level for the first time.

When I see whacky terrain that just instantly looks like it's a mess to navigate through (best example: the dreaded "thin-terrain-pieces chaos maze"), or massive amounts of flow control without any possibility to contain the crowd (a popular device on "Hard-for-Flopsy" levels), I'm just willing to throw in the towel much more quickly than in a nice 1-of-everything level or so, with lots of connected terrain pieces (=not a builder fest). The latter type of level can then happily be challenging and obscure, having me wonder "okay, where does that miner go; how the heck do I get to turn this lemming around just one more time", etc. :D

If there's one thing to take away from this in short, I'd say "no flow control in easy packs". Keep in mind that original Lemmings actually never even teaches you how to properly contain the crowd in different ways than with blockers. Digger pits, cutting off the pioneer's builder-staircase behind him, sealing off the pioneer's basher tunnel, freeing a blocker by mining etc., all that is just stuff that some players figure out by themselves, and those who don't get stuck as early as the Tricky rank.

Crowd control as an overarching term is a necessary part of pretty much every level, and I think there are clearly three tiers to it:

Level 1: crowd containment with blockers (--> "Noob strategy" :P )
Level 2: crowd containment with digger pits & Co., usually enforced by requiring to save everyone, or simply not providing any blockers (--> Intermediate)
Level 3: flow control, i.e. no ways to contain the crowd at all, it's all about keeping them busy and timing things just right (--> Professional)
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