Author Topic: Quick Guide to Using NeoLemmix Features in the Editor  (Read 2143 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline namida

  • Administrator
  • Posts: 10094
    • View Profile
    • NeoLemmix Website
Quick Guide to Using NeoLemmix Features in the Editor
« on: April 25, 2015, 01:25:35 pm »
Welcome! This post is to give a quick guide about how to use the new NeoLemmix object types, gimmicks and unique properties when designing levels. This assumes you're using the NeoLemmix Editor. Many of these are also applicable to SuperLemmini, but this post is created purely with NeoLemmix in mind.

This is currently, and probably always will be, a work-in-progress, so if what you're interested in isn't here, check back later (or send me a PM / create a topic to ask, and mention that you think it should be included here).

Contents

-= Level Properties =-

How to copy layout changes to another level (for repeats, etc)

Under "Edit" on the menu bar, there's an option called "Import Level Layout". When you select this option, you'll be prompted to choose a LVL file. The layout of the level file you load here will be copied to the currently-open level, but the stats and skillset will remain unchanged.


Specifying a music track

In recent versions, the option to specify a track number has been replaced with an option to specify a track name. You can simply type this in the "Music File" box. If you're making a custom pack, you'll need to know the names of your own music files. NeoLemmix also includes built-in all tracks from Original Lemmings (except the special graphics level ones), Oh No! More Lemmings!, and the Lemmings Plus II Frenzy and Gimmick tracks.

The names for these default tracks are "orig_01" to "orig_17" (in Amiga order), "ohno_01" to "ohno_06" (in DOS order), "gimmick" and "frenzy".

Do not include any extension when specifying these - ie: put "orig_01", not "orig_01.it" or "orig_01.ogg".


Specifying the entrance order

It is possible to specify the order of entrances that lemmings will fall from. This is done by opening the Window Ordering menu (under "View", or just press F12). This gives you a list of the window ordering (which may be blank). To add an entry in the list, first select the desired window object (note: it must not be set to "fake", for obvious reasons), then click "Add". You can also reorder the list, or overwrite an entry on the list with a different one (by selecting the desired window, clicking the desired entry in the list, and then clicking "From Selection").

There is no limit on how long this list can be, and the same window may occur more than once in the list (eg: a window order of A, A, B, A, B is perfectly fine). Windows that are not on this list will not release any lemmings and thus effectively act as fake.

The list may be left completely blank. In this case, the window ordering will simply be one lemming from each window, in order of their positions in the object list.


Autosteel / One-way settings

You may be wondering about the checkboxes at the bottom of the Level Properties window. By default, "Autosteel" will be checked but the others unchecked on a new level. The effects are as follows:
           Autosteel - When this is enabled, all steel terrain pieces in the level automatically have steel areas applied to them; avoiding the need to set them manually.
    Simple Autosteel - This option only works if Autosteel is also turned on. Normally, if a non-steel terrain piece overlaps the steel piece, the non-steel terrain piece's pixels will not have a steel area applied. This option overrides this, and causes the entire steel piece to become steel, even if non-steel overlaps it.
Disable Manual Steel - When this option is enabled, all steel areas in the level are ignored (autosteel still functions if it's enabled). This can be useful when porting levels from Lemmix / Lemmini, to avoid having to manually remove all the steel pieces.
   One-Way Inversion - Usually in NeoLemmix, terrain pieces will not become one-way walls (regardless of where you place one-way wall objects) unless they have a "One-Way" property set. This option inverts the effect; in other words, terrain pieces will become one-way walls (if a one-way wall object is placed on top of them) unless they have the "One-Way" property set.

-= Item Properties =-

How to use One-Way Walls

Under traditional Lemmix (and Lemmini), setting a one-way wall simply required placing a one-way wall object on top of some terrain, and (ideally) setting the "Only On Terrain" flag for those one-way wall objects. Under NeoLemmix, it's slightly more complicated, with the upside being that you don't have to either cut off one-way walls earlier than the edge or have them somewhat overlap unintended terrain. In NeoLemmix, only terrain pieces that have the "One-Way" attribute set can become one-way walls (or, if you have "One-Way Invert" set, then only pieces without that attribute set can become one-way walls). This allows you to have, for example, rough-edged one-way-walls that meet other rough-edged terrain, without the one-way "spilling" onto the unintended pieces.

One thing worth noting is that NeoLemmix has an additional type of one-way wall, as well as the traditional One-Way Left and One-Way Right. These extra ones are "One-Way Down Walls". They cannot be bashed at all, but can be dug, bombed, or mined (in either direction).


S Value and L Value

The effect of these two properties depends on the object type they're being used on. On a lot of types of objects, they don't do anything at all. What they do will be listed with the object types below.

The S Value can be set to any number between 0 and 15, while the L Value can be set to any number between 0 and 255.

Recent editor versions have an extra panel that lets you set these properties in a more intuitive way, rather than having to know what the values represent. It's still possible to edit the values directly if you prefer.


Extra properties of Windows (aka Entrances)

Windows in NeoLemmix are capable of spawning left-facing lemmings, or lemmings with permanent skills already applied to them.

To have a window spawn left-facing lemmings, simply check the "Face Left" option of the window's properties.

Pre-assigning skills can also be done. When the current selection solely includes windows (and/or preplaced lemmings), there'll be an extra panel that lets you select the preassigned skills. Alternatively, you can select them via setting the L Value of the window. There are a few values which can be used:
1 - Climbers
2 - Swimmers
4 - Floaters
8 - Gliders
16 - Disarmers
64 - Zombies

It is possible to use more than one of these; all that needs to be done is adding the values together. For example, if you wanted it to spawn lemmings that were both Climbers and Floaters, you'd enter (1 + 4 = ) 5. It's more convenient to use the quick panel, though.


One-Way Fields

Not to be confused with one-way walls, one-way fields are a semi-new object type in NeoLemmix - I say "semi" new because in fact DOS / Lemmix fully support them, but no graphic sets actually use them (they are used internally for technical purposes). There's no special stuff needing to be done when using them, but they're mentioned here just to cover what they do - they basically act like walls that can only be passed in one direction. Some examples of graphic sets containing these are the Psychedelic set, the Metal set and the Lab set.


Teleporters and Receivers

As expected, a teleporter teleports a lemming to the corresponding receiver. These work similar to traps, in that only one lemming can use them at a time.

Which receiver will pair with which teleporter is determined by two factors - the object index order, and the objects' S values. A teleporter will link to the next receiver in the object list (wrapping around if need be) that has the same S value as the teleporter. If you select one or more teleporters, plus a single receiver, at the same time, you can click a "Link Selected Teleporters" button to quickly ensure that all selected objects have the same S value as each other (and not shared with any other teleporters or receivers).


Pre-Placed Lemmings

Pre-placed lemmings do exactly what the name suggest - place a single lemming at a pre-determined position on the map. Apart from that they only give a single lemming rather than continuously spawning them, they in fact work much the same way as windows. You can set "Face Left" to make them initially face left, or set the L Value (in the same way as on a window) or use the quick select panel to pre-assign them permanent skills. They do have one extra option for setting the L value (and like the others, you can add it together with other values for a combined effect):
32 - Blocker

A pre-placed lemming placed in mid-air will start its life as a faller. This overrides the "Blocker" setting for obvious reasons.

Pre-placed Lemmings can be found in virtually every NeoLemmix graphic set.


Pickup Skill

A pickup skill is also pretty much what the name suggests - a skill which can be picked up and will be added to the available skills for the level. Note that if you set a pickup skill for a type of skill that isn't on the skillset, it will still appear in the level, and can still be "picked up", but won't actually add anything to the available skills. Thus, if you wish to intiially have zero of a skill but be able to pick it up, make sure to add the skill to the level's skillset with a quantity of zero.

Setting the type of skill given can be done via the S Value; however there is a quicker way. Just to the right of the Objects settings section on the piece properties, there's a blank dropdown box. If you click it, it presents a list of all 16 skills, and you can choose a skill from this list. The S Value will be set to the correct value for the skill you choose.

If for any reason you want/need to set it manually, then the S Value corresponds to (in order, from 0 to 15) Climber, Floater, Bomber, Blocker, Builder, Basher, Miner, Digger, Walker, Swimmer, Glider, Disarmer, Stoner, Platformer, Stacker, Cloner.

Pickup Skills can be found in virtually every NeoLemmix graphic set.


Locked Exits and Unlock Buttons

These two objects go hand-in-hand. A locked exit is like a normal exit, except it can't be used until all the unlock buttons have been pushed (by having a lemming walk over them). No special setup is needed for them; just place them in the level and they'll work. In the event that a locked exit is placed in a level that has no unlock buttons, it will immediately be unlocked at the start of the level.

Keep in mind that usually, the locked exit is a seperate object from the regular exit (this also means you can have both locked and non-locked exits in the same level). If you use the regular exit, it will not be locked even if the level contains buttons.

Locked Exits and Unlock Buttons can be found in (among others) the Metal style, the Circuit style and the Sega style.


Updraft

An updraft slows the fall of any lemmings that fall through it. This also results in them being able to survive longer falls - the fall distance is measured from when they come out of the updraft, rather than when they started falling. Floaters will fall even slower again when in an updraft. The most spectacular effect is when Gliders encounter them - updrafts will cause gliders to move upwards instead of downwards! No special settings are needed on these; just place them and they'll work.

Updrafts can be found in (among others) the Fire set, the Tree set and the Sky set.


Splitter

Splitters are kind of like one-way fields that change directions each time a lemming goes through them. The first lemming to walk through a splitter will walk out of it to the right, regardless of what direction he was facing before. The next one will walk out to the left, again regardless of what direction he was facing before. This continues in alternation.

Mostly, splitters are just a matter of "set them and they work", but if you enable the "Face Left" property, the first lemming to encounter it will go left instead (then the second will go right, third will go left again, etc).

Splitters can be found in (among others) the Brick, Psychedelic and Horror sets.


Radiation and Slowfreeze

Radiation and Slowfreeze objeects are very closely-related. Both of them are just a matter of "place them and they work". When a lemming walks through one of these, a 9-second countdown will appear above his head. When the countdown runs out, the lemming will become a Bomber (in the case of radiation) or a Stoner (in the case of slowfreeze).

Radiation can be found in (among others) the Psychedelic, Sky and Lab sets.
Slowfreeze can be found in (among others) the Crystal, Snow and Purple sets.


Triggered Animation

A "triggered animation" is kind of like a cross between a no-effect object and a trap. Like a no-effect object, it has no effect on the lemmings or anything else. Like a trap, it stays dormant until a lemming gets close enough, at which point it plays its sound and animation (but doesn't affect the lemming in any way).

None of the default graphic sets contain these. Some custom sets might.


Hint

A "hint" currently does nothing and will not even be displayed during playing a level. They initially were implemented solely as a cross-compatibility feature for converted Cheapo graphic sets / levels. As such, they will likely never be found in NeoLemmix graphic sets, but generally exist in almost any converted Cheapo graphic set. They are mentioned here just for completeness's sake. A proper use for them will probably be implemented in the future.


Splat Pads and Anti-Splat Pads

These two closely-related objects are both "place and they work" type objects; they affect lemmings that land on them after falling (the lemming must actually land within the pad's trigger area; not simply pass through it). A "splat pad" will make landing lemmings splat regardless of how far the fall was (or wasn't), unless they're floaters/gliders*. An "antisplat pad" is the opposite - a lemming falling onto them will survive the fall no matter how far it was.

Currently, the only NeoLemmix graphic set that contains these is the Wasteland set (from Lemmings Plus IV), though some converted Cheapo graphic sets may also contain them.

* Note that if they land *before* they at least start to pull out their parachute / glider, they will splat.


Moving Background

A moving background object is exactly what it says on the tin - a background animation that moves. It will wrap around the level if it reaches the edge. The editor doesn't always correctly draw them behind other objects / terrain, but the game itself always will, regardless of index order or no overwrite settings (however, these settings do still affect how moving background objects are drawn in relation to other moving background objects).

The S Value and L Value are used to set the direction and speed of movement respectively. An S value of 0 represents straight upwards, with each increase of one corresponding to a 22.5 degree (clockwise) increment - so 4 is to the right, 6 is to the bottom-right, etc. The L value is how many pixels it should move per game-time second (which is equal to 17 frames). There is also a quick select panel for these.

Do note that non-multiple-of-45 degree angles (ie: those with odd S values) tend to act like the closest non-diagonal line if the speeds are very slow. Also, do note that the formulas are not always 100% reliable due to rounding, so you may need some trial-and-error if for some reason you want a moving background object's position to be overly precise.

The only default graphic set that contains these is the Space graphic set from Lemmings Plus IV. Some custom graphic sets (such as the Honeycomb set from Lemmings Plus V) also contain these.


Single-Use Trap

A single-use trap is just like an ordinary trap. The only difference is that once it's been set off once, it becomes harmless. They're a matter of simply place them and they work.

The only default set that contains a single-use trap is the Wasteland set.


Background Image

These do not need to be placed at all. Simply by making a level with a graphic set that contains one, you'll get a level with the background.


-= Other =-

How do I make the "Play this level" option work?

Usually, you can get this to work by simply putting NeoLemmix.exe in the same folder as NeoLemmixEditor.exe. Recently, the editor download already comes with a copy of NeoLemmix.exe in the correct place.

If this option doesn't work for you, the first thing to check is that your editor and player are both completely up-to-date. Significant version mismatches can sometimes cause problems with this feature; though if they're close, it generally won't matter if they're not perfectly matched. (In particular, Editor V1.47n and Player V1.47n both won't work with older versions of the other half; you need the new versions of both.)

If you have NeoLemmix.exe in the same folder, the latest version of both the player and the editor, and it still isn't working, one last thing that might work is - try running NeoLemmix.exe (the copy that's in the editor's folder) directly. If you get a warning message popping up saying something like "This was downloaded from the internet, are you sure you want to run it?", uncheck the box that says "Always ask before running this program" and run it. If you don't have a checkbox (eg. on Windows 10), then simply clicking "More Info" (if nessecary) then "Run Anyway" should do the trick. As a last resort, try right-clicking the EXE, click "Properties", check the "Unblock" checkbox near the bottom, then click "OK".


How to make a custom graphic set

Making a custom graphic set is beyond both the scope of this guide, and the editor's capabilities (the editor is, however, fully capable of using your custom graphic set once you've made one).

If you already have a custom graphic set and just want to add it to the editor, all you need to do is copy it into the "styles". You can then edit the "styles.ini" file if you like to configure a more user-friendly display name in the editor and/or customize the ordering; this is optional, however.

If you're actually wanting to create a graphic set, you may want to check out the NeoLemmix Graphic Set Tool.


How to make a "special graphics" (aka VGASPEC) level

Please note that now that mixing graphic sets in a single level is supported, it is preferable to instead use this feature to achieve a VGASPEC-like effect.

Actually making the level is quite simple - just select the special graphic in its respective submenu from the level properties window in the editor. The two input boxes next to that are for the position of the special graphic.

Adding a special graphic file to the editor's styles is also simple - just copy/paste it into the appropriate subfolder under the "styles" folder; generally this will be the "NeoLemmix" folder. The filename must follow the following naming scheme:
x_<name>.dat  (where <name> is any name no longer than 16 characters, and not starting or ending with a space; it is fine to have spaces in the middle)

However, what you're probably most interested in is how to make the special graphics file. To do this, you'll need the NeoLemmix Graphic Set Tool. You'll need to look elsewhere for help on how to use it exactly, but what you're wanting to do is make a graphic set with no objects. The first terrain piece should be the special graphic image. This will generally be the entire level's layout, though there is no reason at all why you can't use a special graphic image in combination with normal terrain pieces if that suits your design better.

You may want to have steel areas in your level. While you can do it the old-fashioned way (adding steel areas to the level), you'd probably prefer the VGASPEC file itself to contain the information on what is or isn't steel, so that you can simply check the "Autosteel" box and that's that. Well - that can be done too! If you want to do this, add a second terrain piece to the level. This piece should be the same size as the first one; any pixel that's solid in it will be treated as steel.

What about one-way walls? As mentioned in an earlier section of this post, with normal terrain pieces, they can be marked as to whether or not they can become one-way walls. VGASPEC terrain can too! For this, add a third terrain piece, also of the same size. Any pixel that's solid in this can become one-way walls (or, in levels with "One-Way Invert" set, can't become one-way walls). Do note that they won't automatically become one-way walls; doing this simply makes them able to have one-way wall objects placed on them.

For reference, it doesn't matter what color the pixels in the second and third pieces are; only whether they're solid or not. When I've used this feature, I've simply copied the main image and erased all the parts that aren't steel or one-way respectively, but if you prefer, you can simply use colored squares or something like that.

If there's no second terrain piece, none of the image will have steel automatically applied to it - but you can absolutely still use manually-placed steel areas if you like! If there's no third terrain piece, all of the image is treated as being able to have one-way walls placed on it.

Now, this should be obvious but just in case - what if you want to use the one-way feature, but don't want any of the level to be automatically made into steel? That's simple - just make the second terrain piece entirely blank, then add the third one as normal! :)


How do I avoid backroutes?

Test your level for backroutes. Get someone else to test your level for backroutes. Get yet another person to test your level for backroutes. Alternatively, you can get rid of them much quicker by using the super-duper-secret "Backroute Removal" hidden menu. Using this is fairly complicated, so rather than trying to explain it in writing here, check out this video.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2016, 10:07:24 am by namida »