Author Topic: Lemmings 1 music problem in DOSBox  (Read 6015 times)

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Offline Scott5114

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Lemmings 1 music problem in DOSBox
« on: February 26, 2011, 06:00:04 am »
I'm having a bothersome issue with the music on the original Lemmings in DOSBox. When I play the second level in a session, the game will correctly play the second music track the first time. However, if I fail the level (whether by ESCing/nuking, or running out of time, or failing to meet the percentage requirements) when I replay it, the music goes back to the "Canon in D" variant (track #1) until I pass the level. Then it will resume with the third music track, again on the first play-through, going back to the Canon whenever I fail the level.

I'm sure someone here knows exactly what I'm talking about, as I've seen it happen on L1 Let's Play videos on YouTube, so it's not just me. My question is, is there some sort of setting in DOSBox I can twiddle that will fix it, or is it just a DOSBox bug that I can't do anything about? (If it's a DOSBox bug, is there someone that knows enough about the way music selection was done in L1 that could help explain what's wrong in DOSBox so that we could submit a comprehensible bug report?)

I'm playing through Mayhem for the first time so I'm sure if this is unfixable I will be hearing a lot of Canon in D!  :P Thanks in advance for the help!

Offline Minim

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Re: Lemmings 1 music problem in DOSBox
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2011, 06:43:14 am »
I haven't seen you yet so Welcome to the forum! :)

I think this is a bug which cannot be helped, and I do remember having this occasion most of the time while I was playing DOS original lemmings. I don't know how this bug can be helped I'm afraid no matter which level you're playing.
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Offline Simon

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Re: Lemmings 1 music problem in DOSBox
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2011, 06:56:21 am »
ccexplore has made patched versions of the executable to remedy this problem. IIRC they are on the Lemmings File Archive, but that one is a bit elusive currently. I'm sure he'll post the patched exes here anyway soon. :-]

Edit: Attached it to my next post.

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Offline finlay

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Re: Lemmings 1 music problem in DOSBox
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2011, 02:58:29 pm »
That tune is from Canon in D???

Offline Scott5114

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Re: Lemmings 1 music problem in DOSBox
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2011, 03:31:30 am »
I haven't seen you yet so Welcome to the forum! :)

Thanks for the warm welcome! I've been a Lemmings fan since I was 4, but only got the motivation to finally beat it when I realized its 20th anniversary was coming up... I learned to write by copying the Lemmings font! (which meant my capital Q's were a bit weird...  ;P)

ccexplore has made patched versions of the executable to remedy this problem. IIRC they are on the Lemmings File Archive, but that one is a bit elusive currently. I'm sure he'll post the patched exes here anyway soon. :-]

Great! Looking forward to it.

That tune is from Canon in D???

I'm not 100% sure but I've heard the Canon in D connection bandied about. If you listen to the two songs you can sort of hear one in the other if you listen carefully. It's definitely more subtle than, say, Rondo Alla Turca or Dance of the Little Swans.


Offline Simon

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Re: Lemmings 1 music problem in DOSBox
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2011, 01:00:31 pm »
Here it is.

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Offline ccexplore

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Re: Lemmings 1 music problem in DOSBox
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2011, 04:09:48 pm »
Oh good, save me the work of digging it up on my own computer. ;P

By the way, the music problem is not a DOSBox bug, but a bug in the game itself.

That tune is from Canon in D???

I'm not 100% sure but I've heard the Canon in D connection bandied about. If you listen to the two songs you can sort of hear one in the other if you listen carefully.

Basically it uses the same chord progression (or in more modern parlance, the same bass line) as the Canon in D, but the melody is pretty much brand new.

Offline Scott5114

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Re: Lemmings 1 music problem in DOSBox
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2011, 05:42:25 pm »
Here it is.

-- Simon

Thanks a bunch!  :thumbsup: I'm using the #3 fix. Always used to bother me when I'd use a code to jump ahead to a particular level and it'd have the "wrong" music....  :P

Oh good, save me the work of digging it up on my own computer. ;P

By the way, the music problem is not a DOSBox bug, but a bug in the game itself.

Interesting... I never had that issue when I was playing it in actual DOS, so I assumed there was a discrepancy between the DOSBox API and the true MS-DOS API.

Offline ccexplore

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Re: Lemmings 1 music problem in DOSBox
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2011, 11:35:24 pm »
By the way, the music problem is not a DOSBox bug, but a bug in the game itself.

Interesting... I never had that issue when I was playing it in actual DOS, so I assumed there was a discrepancy between the DOSBox API and the true MS-DOS API.

It's easy to remember little details like that wrong.  When was the last time you played the game in actual DOS?  Anyway, I know LemSteven still has an old computer where he can play Lemmings on actual DOS, maybe he can confirm whether or not the music problem occurs.

It's also possible that maybe the copy of the game you are now using is different from what you were using before.  Some copies of the game has the copy protection removed, it's conceivable you get the music problem as a side effect, though when I changed the game to fix it, I don't remember seeing any connection between the code responsible with any copy protection related stuff.

Offline LemSteven

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Re: Lemmings 1 music problem in DOSBox
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2011, 04:27:15 am »
I don't have the music problem in actual DOS. 

Also note that it is installed from of the original copy-protected 3.5-inch floppy, so it very well could be an issue with the hacked version of the game, rather than the hardware.

Offline ccexplore

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Re: Lemmings 1 music problem in DOSBox
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2011, 10:56:28 am »
Oh okay, my bad then.  Based on other people mentioning this problem in the forums in distant past, I had an assumption that the game was always like this (and I don't remember far enough back to when I first played the game whether it had the problem or not), but maybe not.

I do own a floppy-disk version of Lemmings with the box, even though it's not a version I've used much.  I have previously compared it (at the disassembly level) against the abandonia.com version for general game mechanics and didn't find any differences there, but I definitely did not check for any differences in music handling then.  I'll have to do that one of these days.  I guess it's possible that even for versions from originally floppy disks, there could still be multiple versions about, some of which have the music problem while others don't.

Offline DoubleU

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Re: Lemmings 1 music problem in DOSBox
« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2015, 05:33:53 pm »
Hi, I hope I'm not causing problemmings by reviving an old topic.

Anyway, I don't think it's meant to be a bug, any more than the added drop height for the "cracked" version (which also changes the music "problem").  I was under the impression that it was a sort of "punishment", as it were; a way to encourage players to get the level right the first time.  "Made a mistake?  Well, try to pass the level anyway, and then you won't have to reset the music this time."

Offline Proxima

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Re: Lemmings 1 music problem in DOSBox
« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2015, 06:03:12 pm »
That's crazy talk :P No game developer, especially not after making such a great game as Lemmings, would be that harsh to the player -- they would realise that they'd be hurting their own revenue. Besides, if it were intended, wouldn't it be in all versions?

Offline Simon

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Re: Lemmings 1 music problem in DOSBox
« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2015, 09:30:33 pm »

Offline namida

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Re: Lemmings 1 music problem in DOSBox
« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2015, 10:02:22 pm »
When playing Lemmings for the first time - do note I was very young at this time - I always felt that that first tune in DOS had a bit more of an "encouraging" feel to it, and I thought maybe that's why it went back to that one. Now, of course, it simply being a bug makes much more sense.
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Offline ccexplore

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Re: Lemmings 1 music problem in DOSBox
« Reply #15 on: November 20, 2015, 01:45:56 am »
One of these days I'll have to check the floppy version against the abandonia version to see what if anything exactly changed.  Actually, I guess at the moment, I don't even know yet whether my floppy version is actually free of this problem or not.

Offline DoubleU

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Re: Lemmings 1 music problem in DOSBox
« Reply #16 on: December 06, 2015, 01:26:01 am »
I don't honestly think it would have happened by accident, though; it would have been simpler to do it the other way.  And for other versions, perhaps they changed their minds, or had different ideas?

Truth be told, I think the CD version, or the "cracked" version (CD or not), is a bit wussy. In addition to "fixing" the music "bug", they increased the drop height, making some levels much easier than necessary.

Anyway, it's not harsh or malicious; the idea is to be encouraging, even after mistakes have been made - i.e. to discourage players from giving up.

Besides that, have you considered that it might be normal for developers to do things like that? Otherwise, Mario games would have infinite lives, you could skip levels, there would be no need for passwords in Lemmings or other games, etc.

The SNES version has something similar: If you fail a level, you have 10 seconds to opt to try again or you get returned to the main menu.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2017, 05:05:20 am by DoubleU »

Offline DoubleU

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Re: Lemmings 1 music problem in DOSBox
« Reply #17 on: October 27, 2017, 05:10:10 am »
bump

Offline ccexplore

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Re: Lemmings 1 music problem in DOSBox
« Reply #18 on: October 27, 2017, 07:22:40 am »
Wow, you must be really bored to bump on such an old topic from over 2 years ago. :-\

By now I don't even remember where I copied the files from the floppy to.  I'm sure there's a backup somewhere at my place but I'll have to dig it up.  I think I can actually find the floppy disks themselves faster except I don't think I still have any computers that even have floppy disk drives, and I don't remember if I still have the USB floppy drive either.

Anyway, the old laptop with the debugging tools that I used to examine Lemmings EXEs has long been dead and while I backed up most of the files on it, I never bothered to setup any of my new computers so far with the same tools I'd need.   So sadly, I'm not exactly ready to go to look at this again even if I have the time or motivation.

I would ask a simple question though:  IIRC, the Amiga and Atari ST versions are developed basically around the same time as DOS versions, and all 3 by DMA.  If you think the music reset behavior is on purpose then it would make sense for DMA to implement the same behavior on those other two versions as well.  Anyone knows if those versions reset the music?  If memory serves I want to say the Amiga version does not reset the music like that, though to be fair I haven't played that for so long I don't really remember for sure.

Offline DoubleU

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Re: Lemmings 1 music problem in DOSBox
« Reply #19 on: October 27, 2017, 05:18:09 pm »
Actually, no, that doesn't make as much sense as you might think. The Super NES version gives you 10 seconds to choose to retry a failed level; after which it goes back to the menu. It also has a new introduction with different music, and cutscenes in between ratings. The Genesis version does neither of these things, and is more like the Amiga version that way. By your reasoning, shouldn't they be a little more similar? They were both made by Sunsoft.

The DOS music order is also different from the Amiga, Atari ST, and Mac order. Why didn't they keep it the same? (I suppose I'm grasping for straws with this one.)

Back to the point, the entire idea is to encourage players not to give up until their ship's sunk (although, admittedly, the idea doesn't work so well with challenges or certain levels that rely on chance). Anyway, aren't you glad it's such a small penalty rather than something big like resetting the game every time you fail a level, so that you don't need to put in the code every time you wanna play again? It's certainly a lot more lenient than the way Mario or Sonic games work: enough deaths and you must start over.

Offline Dullstar

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Re: Lemmings 1 music problem in DOSBox
« Reply #20 on: October 27, 2017, 07:54:09 pm »
"Encouraging the player not to give up" is an interesting spin on "punishing failure." It's kinda like doing a task at gunpoint (except with much lower stakes) - I'm not sure I'd exactly call the gun "encouraging" even if it does provide a major disincentive for giving up (failure by default).

I'd argue lives serve as a holdover from arcades. My reasoning for this is that they make the most sense in the arcade context - where the player pays money for a set number of tries. As games have progressed, lives have become more rare, and games that still use them tend to be more generous with them, and less punishing for running out of them. In fact, within the Mario series, by Mario 64 game overs were a mere annoyance, but didn't actually cost you any progress (unless you'd been intentionally not saving). As such, I suspect game developers put lives in their games not because they had a design reason to do so, but because "we've always done it this way."

Passwords do not constitute a good example of a failure-punishment mechanism. They were typically used to allow a playthrough to be stopped and resumed later before saving was common. In fact, it is believed that the original Metroid uses a password system to save on production costs (the Japanese FDS version saves, and the North American cartridge uses a similar board to the original Zelda, which has battery-backed saves. They probably didn't want to spend money for the internal batteries, so they replaced the save system with a password system. In many cases, such as the original Metroid and Lemmings, you don't need to use the passwords on failure.

I'd also argue that the SNES's 10 second countdown is a strange design choice rather than a mechanic actually intended to do something. I'd hazard a guess that, "A lot of other games are doing it" was probably involved in the decision-making process.

Offline ccexplore

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Re: Lemmings 1 music problem in DOSBox
« Reply #21 on: October 28, 2017, 12:11:59 am »
Actually, no, that doesn't make as much sense as you might think. The Super NES version gives you 10 seconds to choose to retry a failed level; after which it goes back to the menu. It also has a new introduction with different music, and cutscenes in between ratings. The Genesis version does neither of these things, and is more like the Amiga version that way. By your reasoning, shouldn't they be a little more similar? They were both made by Sunsoft.

There are of course differences between even the Amiga, Atari ST and PC DOS versions, like the music ordering you mentioned.  My point is more that it would be far more convincing of an intentional design if they actually adopted the same music reset behavior across all 3 versions.  For example, like you mentioned, you can see that all 3 versions kept a password system and did not have anything that would eventually force the player to have to replay from "the beginning", so the evidence is much clearer and stronger that we have an intentional design there with the passwords system.  Heck, it would be more convincing if we even just see the music reset behavior on more than merely the DOS version as it seems to be the case.

The fact that DMA didn't have consistency with the music reset behavior across the 3 versions that were co-developed at basically the same time, suggests that even if it were intentional and not a programming error, it was at least not universally agreed upon even within DMA.

Sometimes some version differences can be attributed to accommodating differences between the respective platforms, like the reduction from 100 to 80 lemmings and removal of many water objects in DOS version, likely for performance reasons.  The difference in music reset behavior does not seem to be something that can be explained that way either.

I don't remember for the SNES and Genesis cases whether Sunsoft is just the game publisher or is also game developer.  Either way, I think those two versions weren't developed quite at the same time like the case with DMA, and probably had less overlap of personnel compared to the DMA situation.

Offline DoubleU

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Re: Lemmings 1 music problem in DOSBox
« Reply #22 on: October 31, 2017, 11:21:17 pm »
"Encouraging the player not to give up" is an interesting spin on "punishing failure." It's kinda like doing a task at gunpoint (except with much lower stakes) - I'm not sure I'd exactly call the gun "encouraging" even if it does provide a major disincentive for giving up (failure by default).
I'd call that an exaggeration. This idea isn't like a gun, just something cosmetic. That is, the music doesn't affect the gameplay, the way that (say) being forced to start from a checkpoint in Super Mario just past a powerup does. You have the same advantages and disadvantages as before, you just can't go on to more music until you beat the level. Therefore, the more often you beat a level (esp. the first time), the more different kinds of music you hear, while hearing "Lemming 1" less often.

A question of my own, that I might ask, is that it was programmed that way by accident, how would that have come about? It seems more complicated to me than just tying music to levels, or the other DOS versions of starting with #1 and changing under the sole condition of victory. True, there's another version that might be so described (i.e. doesn't reset to Lemming 1 each time, like on the CD version), but it also increases the splat height from 63 to 66, making some levels a lot less fun, being a lot less challenging. (Like, um, Lemmingology. Well, heck, "Snow Dragon" seems to disagree with me, but still.) I'm all for not being to harsh with players, but I know I like a good challenge.

Offline ccexplore

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Re: Lemmings 1 music problem in DOSBox
« Reply #23 on: November 02, 2017, 08:43:46 am »
A question of my own, that I might ask, is that it was programmed that way by accident, how would that have come about?

One class of programming errors involves changing more data in memory than intended, resulting in corrupting data that is unrelated to the thing the programming is trying to achieve, leading to unintended side effects.  So you can imagine one case where during the programming's processing of "stop playing music" (as would be the case when you leave the level, victorious or otherwise), a programming error like this always ends up resetting the music to track #0 or similar.  It doesn't matter on victory because the game has to load the next level and there is already programming there to update the music accordingly, but on losing, the level is already loaded and does not need to be reloaded, so no code was run that would undo the resetting done earlier.  If the game is actually intentionally programmed to reset the music on the condition of losing, you would expect the code to do so to reside alongside all the related programming around detecting and handling losing a level, rather than in the sound-handling programming as something that would happen whenever it is stopping music for any reasons.

Anyway, I stress that the above hypothetical is complete speculation and not based on any actual examination of the game's programming.

It is especially interesting to me that the thread suggests either a version difference, or possibly a difference between running the game in the environment of DOSBox versus an actual running of DOS, as causing some seeing the music resetting behavior in DOS Lemmings but not others.  Examining the game's programming should provide useful clues in further understanding those cases.

Offline DoubleU

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Re: Lemmings 1 music problem in DOSBox
« Reply #24 on: November 02, 2017, 05:54:22 pm »
It is especially interesting to me that the thread suggests either a version difference, or possibly a difference between running the game in the environment of DOSBox versus an actual running of DOS, as causing some seeing the music resetting behavior in DOS Lemmings but not others.  Examining the game's programming should provide useful clues in further understanding those cases.
If it helps, I can attest to the fact that, at least in the demo, that's exactly what happened with DOS Lemmings, which I'd often play in Windows 3.x before discovering 95 and DOSBox.