Poll

Should we use Amiga or Genesis for the special graphics levels?

Amiga for all four
3 (33.3%)
Genesis for "Beast" and "MENACING"
6 (66.7%)
Genesis for all four
0 (0%)

Total Members Voted: 9

Voting closed: November 05, 2017, 08:14:01 pm

Author Topic: "Lemmings Redux": A "remake" of official games for NeoLemmix.  (Read 35387 times)

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Offline namida

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Over on the NeoLemmix Bugs & Suggestions forum, I suggested some modifications to the NeoLemmix conversions of the official games. Proxima suggested keeping these as is, but creating a seperate, "updated" version using levels from the official games, under the title "Lemmings Redux".

I don't know how I feel about the name, but it works as a working title. The idea itself however, I do like.

My idea of what this should be - a single pack, as large as nessecary, using most or all content from the official games, including the Genesis version, Covox and Prima. Not sure whether we should also include Holiday in this. The content could be re-ordered, and solutions we think are likely to be backroutes fixed, as nessecary.

In the future, when NeoLemmix gets a proper level browser rather than the current "load one game at a time" setup, it could also be included (alongside the NeoLemmix Introduction Pack) as a default pack.

Some thoughts on changes to be made:

1. Get rid of repeats.
Usually this would be done by removing the earlier level, though in some cases it should be done by removing the later one instead (Fun 18 / Taxing 19, and Fun 30 / Mayhem 24, are good examples of this case). Some pairs where this may be questionable are the repeats of training levels, where if we remove the earlier version we lose a valuable introduction level; if we remove the later version, we lose a very good level (in one case, the level that was voted to be the best of all the official levels). Perhaps exceptions only in the case of the training levels is the best way to handle this. In regards of losing the easier levels to fill an early rank, I feel that the Tame levels, some of Covox and Prima, and perhaps even some of the very-misplaced later levels can fill this void.

2. Get rid of time limits where they aren't nessecary.
This one is quite self-explanatory. Some discussion may be needed as to what is or isn't nessecary.

3. Reorder levels.
We should try and improve the difficulty curve. We can split these over more than just four / five ranks if need be; indeed, we should try to stick to (although not consider it the "critical" goal) an equal number of levels per rank.

4. Ditch some of the levels that don't generally conform to modern standards.
The first level to come to mind here would be Tricky 28. Some others that do include the special graphics levels (which perhaps should just be excluded automatically anyway, or maybe replaced with their less-long-and-boring Genesis variants), Taxing 14, etc.

5. Backroute-fix existing levels.
This one may be quite controversial, as we don't really know what is or isn't a backroute. Particularly around the middle of the games, it's likely that many levels are intended to have more than one way to solve them.


For clarification: I'm not proposing we remake, or even to much of an extent alter, the existing levels. It would be more about trimming certain ones, combining into one large pack, and maybe fixing up a few that have functional issues (major backroutes, etc). The majority of levels would, in and of themself, remain unmodified, and the decision is more on where they fit into the overall order (and whether or not to include them at all).
« Last Edit: March 26, 2016, 04:00:10 am by namida »

Offline namida

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Re: "Lemmings Redux": A "remake" of official games for NeoLemmix.
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2016, 03:20:44 am »
Let's take a look at how many total levels we have available to choose from:

Covox / Prima - 22 levels (click to show/hide)

Holiday Lemmings? - 70 levels (click to show/hide)

So, we have 308 levels to choose from (378 if we include Holiday Lemmings). Chances are we'll probably trim the list a bit further, so some fairly "nice-looking" numbers we could aim for are:

300 levels - (15 ranks x 20 levels) or (10 ranks x 30 levels) or (6 ranks x 50 levels) or (5 ranks x 60 levels)
280 levels - (14 ranks x 20 levels) or (7 ranks x 40 levels)
275 levels - (11 ranks x 25 levels)
270 levels - (9 ranks x 30 levels)
250 levels - (10 ranks x 25 levels) or (5 ranks x 50 levels)

One advantage of the 270 levels across 9 ranks option is we don't need to invent any new rank names (or pick and choose which ones to keep) - we can just combine those from Orig and OhNo; some decision as to the ordering may still be needed.

EDIT: It appears I somewhat miscounted. I used more advanced methods to get a count of useful levels (read: actually put all the candidates into an NXP, looked through and removed obvious problem ones at a glance, used a duplicate file checker on an image dump to look for any duplicates I missed), and also removed a Genesis level that had much the same problem as Tricky 28 (I forget the position, but the name was "Stray Sheep" I think, and it was in Sunsoft).

The end result is - 296 levels. Of course, this is without taking into account that we may want to re-introduce some other duplicates, though I do think we should be very selective about it.

EDIT: General opinion is in favor of including Holiday, so we now have 366 levels to consider (and that's without taking into account how repeats may be treated).
« Last Edit: March 28, 2016, 06:47:33 pm by namida »

Offline namida

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Re: "Lemmings Redux": A "remake" of official games for NeoLemmix.
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2016, 03:20:51 am »
(reserved)

Offline Proxima

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Re: "Lemmings Redux": A "remake" of official games for NeoLemmix.
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2016, 03:51:12 am »
Hmm. I don't agree with entirely getting rid of repeats -- for one thing, Genesis has a few examples where both levels are interesting puzzles. For another, in my opinion the Fun rating as it stands is a lot more fun than the majority of the Tame levels. It could be streamlined, but removing every level that has a repeat would leave the pack without a good supply of decent easy levels.

However, a possible source of further easy levels is taking some of the more pointless later levels, such as Highland Fling, and giving them 20 of everything  8-)

Offline namida

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Re: "Lemmings Redux": A "remake" of official games for NeoLemmix.
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2016, 04:01:18 am »
I put a quick overview of how many levels we're likely dealing with in the second post above. I also clarified in the first post (in regards to some misunderstanding on IRC), that the goal isn't to remake any levels, or even modify most of them, but more about compiling the official levels into a single pack, in a more suitable order, and with some of the more pointless or low-quality levels removed; maybe a few of them getting backroute fixes.

Offline namida

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Re: "Lemmings Redux": A "remake" of official games for NeoLemmix.
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2016, 05:21:00 am »
Alright, so here's a very-very-very preliminary version. As in, don't consider it even close to final; it's really just a first attempt to compile together the probably-will-be-used levels.

It includes:

1. Original Lemmings (Amiga). All unique, non-special-graphics levels, except for Tricky 28. In the case of levels that have repeats, the later (/latest, in the case of WAFD) version was used, except in six cases: Both versions are retained for Fun 2 / Tricky 18; Fun 4 / Mayhem 20; Fun 5 / Tricky 16; and Fun 7 / Tricky 19. In the case of Fun 18 / Taxing 19; and Fun 30 / Mayhem 24, the earlier version has been retained.
2. Original Lemmings (Genesis). All unique levels are retained, using the same rule of "later version in case of duplicates". The exceptions are (a) remakes of ONML levels, (b) "Stray Sheep" (similar reasoning to Tricky 28), and (c) the extra special graphics levels. However, the Genesis versions of the also-found-in-other-ports special graphics levels have been retained.
3. Original Lemmings (Master System). The earlier versions of the 5 Sega levels are retained.
4. Original Lemmings (other versions). Added all the levels found in the "Others" rank of the Extra Levels NXP, except "The Apple Computer Level". (Including Vacation in Gemland)
5. Oh No! More Lemmings!. Added all levels.
6. Prima and Covox. Added all levels except the two special graphics ones.

At the moment, the first 9 ranks are named after Orig / ONML ranks, which I like as a possible final structure. All levels have been grouped by the rank they were originally in (which will obviously not be the final structure); in the case of the two levels that don't really have an original rank as such ("One Way To Freedom" and "Vacation In Gemland"), I used my own judgement as to where to put them (Taxing and Wild respectively), but this will probably change as the pack develops. To avoid having to make judgement-based decisions at this stage for a large number of levels, I simply added extra "Present" and "Sunsoft" ranks and put the respective levels in those for now.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/0jnt81iyxmwd0at/LemmingsRedux.nxp


So - no need to try and seriously play it at this stage, as the levels are unmodified from the versions found in other NXPs (apart from removing any use of oddtabling, and changing Genesis levels to use regular version graphic sets). It's just to see what levels have been included.

So the next part of discussion should be:
1. Should any of the removed levels in fact be added back in? If so, why? In the case of duplicates, should the retained version be swapped with the removed one, or should both be included (I would like to lean away from doing this as much as possible, but there are cases where it may be justified - there are four examples of this already; five if you count the two versions of Just A Minute from Mayhem).
2. Which further levels should be removed? I've essentially removed only on account of repeats, completely worthless levels (eg. The Apple Computer Level), and two levels that go against the "no hidden exits" guideline (although I didn't remove Taxing 17; we probably need more discussion around this one as it has perfectly-accessible visible exits as well as a hidden one). I have avoided removing, for now, even almost-universally-disliked levels like Taxing 14, though. In particular, what should we do about the special graphics levels, now that we don't have one per rank anyway (unless we make four extremely large ranks as the final structure)?
3. We also probably want to decide fairly soon about whether or not to include Holiday Lemmings. I'm leaning towards no.

Offline Minim

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Re: "Lemmings Redux": A "remake" of official games for NeoLemmix.
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2016, 10:28:35 am »
Generally, I think we should include the Holiday levels; although I do know one level that shouldn't make the cut at all: Blitz 14. That one, as the title says, has a hidden exit. The Two Presents of Mind levels actually have slightly altered level designs (e.g. the snowman on the right in II), but as one level has just fewer skills than the other, should we remove either one? The time limits of some levels, such as Flurry 13, Hail 5, Hail 6, should be removed because of a low release-rate. Hail 8's time limit should also be removed because the player may run out of time freeing the lemmings after the path is completed by the worker Frost 10's time limit is also too low for roughly the same reason. (There may be more to come, though. I'll double-check). Flurry 3 and 4 are different level designs, but have exactly the same solution and are therefore redundant. Should we keep both levels because of different level design?

Edit: Frost 8 is an interesting one. The level layout has two exits, although we do know that one exit cannot be reached by the required number of lemmings. The other one is possible but involves changing the release rate. This time limit is obviously there to prevent multiple solutions. I'm not sure what to do about this level. Maybe we should keep this one?

Frost 13 fits in the unnecessary criteria of low release rate and low time limit levels, as does Frost 16, Flurry 11, Flurry 14 and Blitz 8. Maybe we should change the title of the first one to 5 minutes? ;P
« Last Edit: March 26, 2016, 11:40:04 am by Minim »
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Offline Proxima

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Re: "Lemmings Redux": A "remake" of official games for NeoLemmix.
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2016, 11:53:18 am »
It depends on what direction you want to steer the project in. If you want it to be a way for new players to experience the original levels, then it should be as inclusive as possible, omitting only levels we think don't come up to modern standards; that means adding Holiday (and keeping Tame). If you want it to be a way for new players to experience Lemmings as a game, then the number of retained levels should be much lower, and the vast majority of Holiday wouldn't make the cut. My preference is for the latter.

While falling asleep last night I thought some more about your idea of removing all repeats, and now I think it could work. There are quite a few repeat pairs where the later one is not a very interesting level, and we could keep the earlier one so as to have more easy levels. One pair not on your list where we should certainly keep the earlier one is Fun 11 / Taxing 18; the former serves to introduce one-way walls to a new player, and the latter is a bomber-timing level.

I had a go at drafting an order for the new Fun set, and I'll post this soon -- have to go out right now :)

Offline namida

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Re: "Lemmings Redux": A "remake" of official games for NeoLemmix.
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2016, 12:04:49 pm »
I wasn't really considering removing Tame (perhaps a couple of levels if need be, but not the rank as a whole).

With earlier repeats cut out, this does leave somewhat of a shortage of easy levels, and keeping Tame is one way to increase the count of them without keeping duplicates or cutting the later versions. As far as Orig Amiga goes, we have a total of 9 levels kept - the 7 training levels, "Let's Block And Blow", and "Lock Up Your Lemmings". Adding Genesis version to this adds just 3 more levels - "Catch more floaters", "A Beast of a Level" and "Dark Dawn". The various other ports, and Covox and Prima, add a handful more, but I suspect a lot of these will be chosen to move to later ranks during the course of this project.

Even if we look at Tricky as well, the only levels (from Orig Amiga; may be some more from other ports) which may fit into a first rank would be "This should be a doddle", and maybe "All The 6's" if placed towards the end of it. We might be able to find a few more from Present and Sunsoft, as while these levels get extremely hard at some points, many are also very easy.

Keep in mind that we should be thinking of the ordering of the levels as a whole, not on a per-rank basis. They're organised corresponding to their original ranks for now, but this is not intended to be their final division - more just an aid for putting a very preliminary draft together. It should only really be thought of as "what levels are in at all?" (and even for that, a starting point only).

In regards to Fun 11 / Taxing 18, it is true that we need more early levels, and quite possibly, a level that introduces one-way arrows - something that Fun 11 does very nicely. However, I wouldn't consider Taxing 18 to be just "a bomber-timing level" either; it has a variety of solutions and I would consider it a fairly good level. Since Fun 11 serves a similar purpose to training levels (even if it can be beaten without actually making use of what the game is trying to teach on it), perhaps this can be another case where we allow a duplicate. I'm not entirely against having them at all; more I just think they should be kept to a minimum. In cases where it's "two different levels on the same layout" (which happens in some cases with Genesis, and I will need to take a closer look at the levels in question), or like this where one serves a training purpose and the other is a general puzzle, I feel it's okay to have them.


In regards to Holiday, I'm just not sure how I feel about it still. It feels like it should remain seperate more so than the others should... I would think perhaps a Holiday Lemmings Redux as a second project, but there aren't so many changes to propose there - perhaps a few levels dropped (such as Blitz 14 as Minim mentions; or "Check Your Hints", etc), de-time-limiting, but overall the result would be much the same game apart from reordering. Maybe it's better to just leave those as they are.

Offline namida

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Re: "Lemmings Redux": A "remake" of official games for NeoLemmix.
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2016, 01:14:24 pm »
I've looked through the levels, and given a rough division of them into ranks.

I've listed this as 5 ranks so far; I know that isn't an ideal target (and nor is it very balanced between them; some have way more levels than others), but it's easier for me to mentally divide them up this way. Note that I haven't paid very much attention to the order withink a rank, but mostly just put each level either at the start, at the end, or occasionally roughly in the middle. The finer details can come later. Also note, for the overwhelming majority I've gone from memory here. There's only a few where I actually re-played the level while deciding this. So, especially for those I haven't played as extensively (read: everything that isn't DOS / Amiga Orig), chances are this isn't optimal. This is why feedback is needed!

So I guess, as usual, this is a starting point.

I've also added comments with some levels.

Note that this list is assuming no backroute fixes, but generally ignoring time limits in levels where the time limit is likely to be removed.

List (click to show/hide)
« Last Edit: March 26, 2016, 02:18:03 pm by namida »

Offline Proxima

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Re: "Lemmings Redux": A "remake" of official games for NeoLemmix.
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2016, 01:57:18 pm »
So this is turning into something very different from what I originally envisioned, which is fine if that's how the community wants to take it. I think we should pause and give everyone a chance to weigh in on this, since this is a big question that affects all the decisions we make from here on.

The question is: should this be an inclusive project, in which we try to keep as many levels as possible, or an exclusive project, in which the main aim is to make a pack that's fun to play through as a whole, and is probably 100 or so levels shorter than the inclusive version? Or do we make both?

Offline namida

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Re: "Lemmings Redux": A "remake" of official games for NeoLemmix.
« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2016, 02:17:10 pm »
I don't feel we should make two versions. Rather, in regards to inclusivity or exclusivity, I think the main questions are (if you think there are others, feel free to mention them!):

1. Do we include Holiday Lemmings or not?
2. Do we avoid repeats for the most part, perhaps retaining them where both versions are interesting (or where one version serves a training purpose)?
3. Do we remove levels purely on concerns of quality, or only in cases where they're outright redundant?

My preference is not to include Holiday Lemmings (I can't really explain why, it just feels strange to me), avoid repeats as a rule of thumb but allow exceptions if there's a good reason, and do remove levels if they're considered low quality.

I've made some suggestions, particularly in regards to the 3rd point, in my above list. But please don't consider this anywhere near final - if you have input you'd like to give, give it! This is especially important for those who are more familiar with ONML / Genesis version, as I'm probably not nearly as familiar with those as many people here are, even though I have played both (well, in the latter case, played the levels from it via Lemmix).
« Last Edit: March 26, 2016, 02:27:26 pm by namida »

Offline namida

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Re: "Lemmings Redux": A "remake" of official games for NeoLemmix.
« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2016, 02:53:14 pm »
Other thoughts:

An additional possible structure for the pack is to have an introductory training rank, including the 7 training levels (and perhaps "Keep Your Hair On Mr. Lemming"). Then, divide the remaining levels across 5 or so ranks; this will result in really large ranks, but I would also think it's most likely people will try to play in order regardless (especially if new to Lemmings) so I'm not sure how much this matters.

Since all the special graphics levels fall under first rank difficulty, I'm even more strongly leaning towards removing these now. Using the DOS / Amiga versions instead of the Genesis ones doesn't really make them any harder either; just longer, and therefore, more likely to be removed due to being fairly boring levels.

How strict do we want to be in terms of difficulty curve? I do think it's a good idea to not emphasize "every level is harder than the last one", but rather have somewhat of an up-and-down curve (although overall increasing, and no major out-of-place levels). Either way, my above list will still need much improving.

Do we want some additional training levels, perhaps for features such as traps? It'd be very preferable to not introduce any completely new levels, but perhaps some of the removed earlier-repeats (or new earlier-repeats of included levels, even) could serve this purpose. Or are these things the player should be left to figure out as they play - keeping in mind that what may have existed in the official game as early examples, are no longer present. (For example, traps would previously have been introduced out-of-the-way in Fun 15; avoidable but likely to be encountered at first in Fun 17; and nearly unavoidable in Fun 21; none of these levels are in the above list, though SEGA One and Through The Graveyard could serve similar purposes.)

Offline Flopsy

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Re: "Lemmings Redux": A "remake" of official games for NeoLemmix.
« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2016, 03:53:42 pm »
Throwing in my 2 cents

First of all, I can't really comment on the difficulty of the Genesis levels since I have yet to play that game myself.
For that reason, I'm probably not going to be much help with the ordering of the list itself since a lot of the levels I don't recognize.

On the subject of level names with Part 1, Part 2 etc. If they are in the correct order still on the list then they don't need changing obviously but if they are in the wrong order then they do need a name change to reflect the out of order-ness.
Something I thought of while scrolling through the list is making sure there isn't multiple levels in consecutive order which uses the same graphic set. The only thing that comes to mind is late in ONML there were a lot of Brick graphic set levels in a row and it was noticeable and a bit annoying (for just me maybe?!)
Anyway noticed it happens quite low down in Rank 3.
Got Anything... Lemmingy?
Introducing SuperLemming
Last Lemming To Lemmingcentral
A Towering Problem

With regards to the Special graphic set levels, I'm a fan of these levels. Even if they are close together, in the first rank and easy that doesn't make me want them any less. Couldn't help noticing the Sunsoft Special is missing aswell, one Genesis level I do know about :P

I'm generally in agreement with the list at the bottom of levels which will be removed as the reasoning is justified, although again don't know anything about the Genesis levels. Just wish King of the Castle could join them :P

Holiday Lemmings, not a fan of the game in general there were some good levels in the harder ranks of HL93 and HL94, Lemmy in the Cold, Cold Ground and Emmings! (No L) are some good ones to include but I wouldn't miss the levels too much if they weren't included.
Good levels to be included if we went for a small number of them.
Hail 10 - Lemmy.... (above) - Fun level overall, 3 entrances and you have to work together to save the left most lemmings. Skill set is a bit limited also.
Hail 11 - Emmings - 2 entrances aligned one above the other, bringing them together is a fun solution.
Frost 10 - Four Play - 4 Lemmings and tightish time limit.
Blizzard 8 - Presents of Mind II - Solution is not obvious in this one, a bit of a puzzle.
Blizzard 15 - The Needs of the Many - A few builders in this one but the skillset is limited in other skills.
These are the only levels I considered memorable in the Holiday Lemmings series.

I'd be for separating out the training levels into a separate rank as well, I'd consider the Tame levels as Training levels.
Also on the point of Tame, please don't remove any of the last 5 levels in the rank because I've only ever played the first 15 of them due to the last 5 being omitted from the PS1 and Win95 Lemmings for some bizaare reason. On the ONML side of the game, they removed Superlemming and the last 5 levels of Tame and I could never understand why the Tame levels?
Luckily we lost the 60 version of We All Fall Down on the Lemmings side but we lost all the Special graphic sets levels and All the 6's :lem-mindblown:

Other than what I've said, I'm very much in agreement with what's been said so far :thumbsup:
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Offline namida

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Re: "Lemmings Redux": A "remake" of official games for NeoLemmix.
« Reply #14 on: March 26, 2016, 03:59:02 pm »
I very much doubt any Tame levels will be removed. As mentioned, there's a shortage of easy levels to a degree. (Also, for the record - it's only the last 4, not the last 5, that are missing from Win95 Lemmings. I'm not sure about the PS1 version. Also - I thought it was the 20 version of WAFD that was removed?)

But I wouldn't consider them "training levels" either; but just very easy levels. If there's a training rank, they won't be in it. On the other hand, if we simply put the training levels in the first rank, then the Tame levels would likely more or less follow directly on from these.

In regards to consecutive levels in the same graphic set - don't worry too much about this for now; as mentioned, for now, the focus is on dividing by rank rather than ordering (although to a degree, these overlap). But it probably is worth keeping in mind at a later point. A lot of brick levels also have remakes in the Genesis version, so if we're a bit too brick-heavy, we could use those versions instead.

I wouldn't want to include just a small number of Holiday levels. As Mayhem 24 says, "(Almost) All or nothing". Which is somewhat ironic, since that level is one of the ones that isn't being included.