Author Topic: [NeoLemmix 1.43] Lemmicks - Lemmings with gimmicks!  (Read 395 times)

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Offline Strato Incendus

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[NeoLemmix 1.43] Lemmicks - Lemmings with gimmicks!
« on: November 01, 2017, 02:22:13 am »

As I announced a while ago, I'm working on a throwback pack for NeoLemmix 1.43 to give all these lovely gimmicks a little more time in the limelight. While gimmicks were removed from later iterations of NeoLemmix for having gone "out of hand", this will try to be a very systematic approach, with a specific set of rules changes for each rank which are discarded once the rank is completed.

I'm aiming more towards Pit Lems philosophy here. Of course, some gimmicks are so much out there that levels including them are likely to end up pretty "whacky". On the other hand, some bear a lot of interesting puzzle potential. Perhaps some middle ground between Paralems and Pit Lems, slightly more tilted towards Pit Lems, is a realistic estimation of the probable outcome.

I have attached the levels I have created thus far as a ZIP-file, because at this early stage compiling them into pack doesn't seem to make much sense to me yet. Speaking of this, I guess I also need an older version of the FlexiToolkit to create the pack in the end?

Keep in mind that this is NeoLemmix 1.43, which means:
- You need the old player and editor to open the individual level files.
- Solid level sides which can be used to climb up or turn around.
- There is no fencer skill available yet.
- No skill blueprints, and athletes don't change their outfits once they're assigned a permanent skill.
- No clear physics mode.
- Instead, we have ghost lemmings at our disposal again! :D Ghosts are unaffected by any kind of objects (exits, traps, water, fire, zombies, pickup-skills / exit unlock buttons...).
- (In the finished pack, level access codes will be necessary, unfortunately.)

Philosophical guidelines (also going by what's favoured among other users ;) ):
- No time limits. You're welcome ;) .
- No hidden traps or objects, unless it's somehow absolutely inevitable. Of course it's tempting to exploit the absence of clear physics mode, but... 8-) The gimmicks should be confusing enough already.
- 10 levels per rank, the set of gimmicks changes reliably from one rank to the next one.
- Zombies and ghosts can appear in all the ranks.
- Contrary to regular packs, a "higher" rank doesn't necessarily mean "greater difficulty", just "different rules". It's a bit like Nepster's "Return of the Tribes", where each rank was dedicated to a tribe.
- That said, I still try to choose my rank names in a fashion that they "increase in intensity". So if you have any suggestions for more suitable rank names, please let me know! ;)
- I've ordered the gimmicks in such a way that the more "mundane" ones should come first, saving the really stupid stuff for the higher ranks :) .

Gimmicks: none

Just some mandatory introduction levels to get the player started. Before the rules get bent and broken, they should be established, right? I haven't included any of them yet, because none of them will be particularly challenging. However, ghosts as a lemming type probably require some introduction, especially for newer players who have only worked with 10.13 or above so far.
Also, many of these levels will have a slight biblical connotaton to them, just to provide some over-arching theme :) .

The 8 commandments

Gimmick: Frenzy (possibly also superlemming)

Let's start with just minor changes: Removing the pause button. This rank will challenge your reaction speed more than your puzzling skills. Keep in mind that rewinding and frame-stepping is technically still possible, though.
Two levels of this type are attached, one is a remake of Paralems' "Throw me a lifeline" (without the radiation / slowfreeze, since it's not possible to combine graphic sets in 1.43); the other one is inspired by a level from the Mac version of Original Lemmings, "Going their separate ways".

Optimal utilization

Gimmick: Rising water (=rising objects)

Just because there won't be any time limits doesn't mean you can take as long as you wish to solve a level. Otherwise, a path might end up blocked by a water- or fire trap. On the other hand, rising water can also help you... by freeing your blockers, providing a lift for swimmers, breaking lethal falls, etc.
I was hoping this gimmick would extent to all objects, but unfortunately it doesn't. So there won't be any levels with moving hatches or exits :D , although that LPIV space exit would have made for a great flying spaceship!

Bathroom leak

Gimmicks: horizontal & vertical wrap

This is the first rank with a combination of gimmicks - horizontal and vertical wraparound will be active on all levels.

Under the waves

Gimmick: Backward walkers

Lemmings walk backwards, but still perform skills in the direction they are facing.

I got your back!

Gimmick: Turn around on assign

Similar to backward walkers, but crucially different in the detail. However, these similarities open up the option of level reruns featuring a different gimmick. One example is the level "Bend over backwards", which appears both in the Twisted and the Whimsical rank.

All along the watchtower

Gimmicks: hardworkers, non-fatal bombers, permanent blockers

Every skill in this rank is eternal - at least as far as possible: Bashers, builders, and platformers go on indefinitely, bombers don't die, blockers always return to blocking once they have solid ground under their feet again. In combination with the anti-gravity gimmick, miners and diggers will also go on indefinitely. Stoners, in contrast, still kill the selected lemming.
The main issue I find in designing these levels is finding the sweet spot between a) The gimmick is absolutely redundant (a basher falling down after bashing will still stop bashing) and b) It completely ruins the level (by e.g. bashing away the exit trigger).

Coming soon: Shimmiers

Gimmick: No gravity

Lemmings don't ever fall down, so they need to be guided downwards by slopes of terrain. These levels are particularly hard to create, oftentimes they are just open-ended, leaving the player with the struggle of getting the lemmings from A to B.

Mission to Mars

Gimmick: Karoshi

Probably my favourite rank, and the only one I have finished so far. For the little sadist in each of us :) . All 10 levels are attached. Keep in mind that falling into the abyss below the screen doesn't count as "killing the lemming", and that the nuke button is disabled here.

Kill Lem all

Gimmicks: ???

And that's where the systematic approach ends: Here all gimmicks can appear in any order and combination. I intend to only combine gimmicks here which have been introduced on the previous ranks, and to announce the set of active gimmicks for each level via the preview text-function. However, currently one of the attached levels has the "nuclear bombers" gimmick enabled, which isn't part of any of the lower ranks thus far.

Eternal endless infinity

That's the basic plan so far. Are there any further gimmicks you'd like to see featured here? Even I didn't get to try them all out yet :) .
« Last Edit: November 18, 2017, 07:52:04 pm by Strato Incendus »
My packs so far:
Paralems, a more flavour-driven one, 150 levels
Pit Lems, a more puzzly one, 100 levels

Offline nin10doadict

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Re: Lemmicks - Lemmings with gimmicks!
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2017, 10:01:21 pm »
The gimmick where you have to kill them I'd say is my favorite. The zero gravity gimmick is awful. I can't figure out how to do anything when that's on.
Man, the old version of NeoLemmix was so clunky...

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: Lemmicks - Lemmings with gimmicks!
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2017, 10:36:22 pm »
The gimmick where you have to kill them I'd say is my favorite.

What a bunch of little sadists we are... :) Always coming up with new and creative ways of killing lemmings!

The zero gravity gimmick is awful. I can't figure out how to do anything when that's on.

I feel for you, which is why this gimmick appears so late in the game. However, it's such a unique and iconic gimmick that I feel it should be part of the pack in general... I'm not saying my levels featuring it thus far can't be improved, there's certainly a lot of room for improvement there. I'd rather look for ways to improve these specific levels than cutting the gimmick out of the pack completely.

Generally, you'll want to create slopes with miners and/or by putting multiple builders behind each other I have a cunning plan-style. Stray climbers going up the edges of the level can be stopped by putting stoners above them.

I must say though, I'm starting to get my head around the Eternal, Twisted and Whimsical levels! :) The problem with hardworker platformers is that they still cancel whenever they hit terrain at the same height as themselves. This is because platformers can only build into gaps in NeoLemmix, contrary to Lemmings 2 where they put elevated bricks on top of ground.

In order to make the Hasty rank more interesting, I thought about adding the "instant pickup skill" gimmick to this rank. It would certainly go along with the "quickness" mentality, without being necessarily relevant on every single level (just like "permanent blockers" or "non-fatal bombers" isn't relevant on every Eternal level). What do you think? Instant pickup seems like a fair puzzly thing to do because it can be seen ahead of time, and it's probably not deserving of an entire rank on its own.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2017, 10:56:51 pm by Strato Incendus »
My packs so far:
Paralems, a more flavour-driven one, 150 levels
Pit Lems, a more puzzly one, 100 levels

Offline Flopsy

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Re: Lemmicks - Lemmings with gimmicks!
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2017, 12:28:02 pm »
Cool, I loved playing the gimmicks in the Neo Lemmix Introduction Pack so I'll keep my eye out for this.

I must admit though, it will be hard to get used to the older version of Neo Lemmix again however.
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Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: Lemmicks - Lemmings with gimmicks!
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2017, 01:14:14 pm »
Yeah, the most annoying thing for me personally is that the currently selected skill jumps back automatically when rewinding or framestepping - if you had a different skill selected at that particular frame. :) It's not a bad thing in general, you return to exactly that frame - it's just something which is handled differently in 10.13, so it requires some time to re-adapt.

Which is why I do this pre-release phase to hopefully make the levels worth the slight drawbacks of the old engine! ;)

I've tried out all the gimmicks yesterday night (with exception for "Clock" and "Bait-and-Switch", for which I couldn't figure out what they do at all).

Here are some I still consider as proper ranks for this pack:

Gimmicks: non-permanent skills, possibly with exhaustion and/or lazy lemmings
This would compile all things "temporary" into one rank as a counterpoint to the Eternal rank. Judging from the aforementioned Neo Lemmix Introduction pack however, especially lazy lemmings is particularly annoying, because all creative and destructive skills barely cover any distance before getting interrupted, and even with a bunch of skills at your disposal you'll have to re-assign stuff all the time.
Non-permanent skills is more interesting, because a complete execution of one skill is possible, the lemming just loses it once it's finished with the execution. Essentially, this would turn e.g. a swimmer into a kayaker (makes it across one pont of water no matter how big, but then loses the skill again so it would drown in the next). Also, this allows for a lemming to be a floater first and become a glider second - or vice versa - which are mutually exclusive otherwise.
Exhaustion (Lemmings cancelling their permanent skills after a certain TIME rather than after one complete execution) was less annoying than lazy lemmings on its own; a climber could still make it across several small pillars in sequence, but not over a single huge one. In combination with non-permanent skills however, every climber would only make it across single small altitudes; every floater would have to be assigned shortly before hitting the ground to survive, and for each drop anew; swimmers would only make it across single small water pits, etc.
Therefore I'd say this rank should feature either Exhaustion or Non-permanent skills. Even though on paper I like the idea of combining all three "temporary"-gimmicks, in practice it's very likely to be a pain ;) .

Gimmick: count down other skills

This is probably the most puzzle-friendly gimmick aside from wraparound: Whenever you use a skill, the skill count of that particular skill remains the same, but all the others go down by 1. One could think of this as "skill communism": Suddenly all the skills have effectively the same value, and it's about the total number of skills you use rather than specific ones. This may at first sound easier than regular lemmings in theory; in practice however, e.g. a builder path above several columns or bashing through all of them may require more skills than digging into the ground and bashing through all of them at once (which requires only 2).
I have attached an introductory level for this which I've just created, since it didn't appear in the Neo Lemmix Introduction Pack ;) . If anyone sees an option to beat this level with only 3 of each skill, please tell me. I tried it and would have loved to keep it this way, but it just didn't work for me.

Gimmicks I might use for single levels (which would mean they'd have to go into the BEDLAM rank):

Assign to all
Release rate will probably be a crucial factor with this. Also, the terrain might need to look very specific. Hence I don't think there is enough potential for an entire rank here, but certainly for one or two levels :) .

One skill per lemming
If this would only allow one PERMANENT skill per Lemming, this would be great to enforce the "exits which only permit climbers / floaters / swimmers etc." idea, which was discussed as a possible new feature :) . The problem is, it only allows any particular Lemming to execute one single task (permanent or non-permanent), after which it becomes impossible to click on that lemming. With a huge crowd of Lemmings, this becomes less of an issue, of course. It should mainly affect pioneer-style levels or such with a lemming count between 0 and 10, possibly going up to 20 lemmings.

Unalterable terrain
I thought this would effectively make all terrain steel, but no: Bashers, miners, and diggers can still go through terrain, it's just that they leave it intact so no one else can follow :) . This looks pretty funny, like the lemming becoming permeable and going straight through a wall. I already have an idea of how to combine this with "one skill per lemming".

Steel inversion and fall fatality inversion

Probably qualifies for the obligatory fair trolling level, where a player can rely on the fact that every regular lemmings rule is systematically reversed: Small drops kill a lemming, larger ones don't; steel can be bashed through, regular terrain can't; I should probably throw in "hardworkers", "non-fatal bombers" and "non-permanent skills" as well. Meaning: Builders, platformers, bashers, and bombers are eternal; climbers, floaters, gliders, disarmers, and swimmers, which are normally permanent skills, now are not.

Ghost on death / Zombie on death
Are mutually exclusive (if both are activated, a dying lemming becomes a zombie, as it seems). Some levels might require a ghost, but you have to create one first. Zombie on death is particularly funny with Karoshi of course, because as you may have found out already, turning lemmings into zombies doesn't go towards your kill count.

Clone on assign
Very specific version of "turn around on assign". I'll have to watch out for both terrain shape and saving requirement here (since especially with Pit Lems I often ignored how generous the cloners make saving requirements, as I have learned now!). But one or two levels with this might be fine.

Nuclear bombers
Simply increases the radius of the bomber's effect. Already enabled on one of the levels from the starting post, an currently vital to it's success.


Somewhere between "non-fatal bombers" and turning lemmings into ghosts (they are unaffected by traps, including zombies and water, which means they walk where they'd otherwise drown or swim). Additionally, they can survive any falls.

Solid floor
Lemmings can't drop out at the bottom of the screen. This however is also true for the "no gravity" and the wrap gimmick, so... unless I want to create another "no terrain level", this time without even water at the bottom :) , I don't see where this would provide any extra benefit.

Release-rate fluctuation
Whenever you assign the skill, the release rate either switches up to 99 or back to the starting release rate. Again, a very specific level design seems necessary to make this relevant. But it might still be doable.

Gimmicks which I consider pretty useless:
Reverse skill count / Overflow skill counts
Doesn't this just give you an infinite number of skills?

If I want a level without any working skills, I just don't provide any skills at all :) , easy as that. Have already done so twice ("You can't even" from Paralems and "Apraxia" from Pit Lems), don't need a gimmick for that!

Classic Zombies
What exactly does this change compared to "normal" zombies?

Clock, Cheapo Mode and Bait-and-Switch
Though I admit I haven't even found out yet what these gimmicks do, so perhaps someone can inform me? ;)

Finally, a special thing is the "gimmick" called "deadly sides": In current NeoLemmix, this isn't a gimmick anymore; it's the new standard. :)
What do you think, should I enable it on all the levels, just to reduce the "adaptation costs" for newer players returning to this?
Or should I leave the solid walls intact, because that's what players would expect when going back to NeoLemmix 1.43?

And should I introduce the two new ranks "CONSEQUENTIAL" and "EPHEMERAL"?
My packs so far:
Paralems, a more flavour-driven one, 150 levels
Pit Lems, a more puzzly one, 100 levels

Offline Proxima

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Re: Lemmicks - Lemmings with gimmicks!
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2017, 02:18:33 pm »
Clock, Cheapo Mode and Bait-and-Switch
Though I admit I haven't even found out yet what these gimmicks do, so perhaps someone can inform me? ;)

Clock: Terrain pieces may exist or not, depending on the real time the level is played. A trolling gimmick that doesn't have much other use.

Cheapo Mode: This isn't really a gimmick as such, but a compatibility option for levels imported from Cheapo (an older Lemmings editor). Safe fall height is 75, and lemmings can walk over diagonally connected pixels, as in the chains from the ONML Brick style.

Bait and switch: The preview screen shows a different level. This exists simply because one of namida's packs used it for a Rickroll.

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: Lemmicks - Lemmings with gimmicks!
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2017, 12:02:32 am »
First of all, thanks to Proxima for the clarification! :)

Here's what I intend to be the last level, which I just created. Originally I wanted it to include all gimmicks which weren't mutually exclusive. But especially No Gravity and Karoshi have the habit of warping the entire level around their rules. Which is why I used pretty much everything else except for these two :) . At first, it even had Frenzy enabled, but I decided quickly that was a bit too nasty with all this multitasking going on.

Descent into insanity

Feel free to backroute this baby in any way possible! :D Perhaps I can finally get rid of the curse of my last levels being easily broken. Also, this is the first time the last level is not a snow level - the more you know :) .
My packs so far:
Paralems, a more flavour-driven one, 150 levels
Pit Lems, a more puzzly one, 100 levels

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: Lemmicks - Lemmings with gimmicks!
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2017, 06:55:36 pm »
Here are two level ideas for the Ephemeral rank - both of which have a mechanical aspect about them which I don't understand, though. I have attached replays for the intended solutions, too.

The current idea is to split this rank rules-wise:
The first five levels will have "non-permanent skills" enabled, i.e. climbers, floaters etc. stop after one full execution of their respective tasks, then can be assigned agian.
The second group of levels will have "exhaustion" and "lazy lemmings" enabled, i.e. climbers, floaters etc. stop after a certain time rather than a certain number of executions. They will still remain climbers, floaters etc., but can only cover small distances with their respective skill.
The final level of the rank (see below, "In th blink of an eye") will then combine both rules sets.

Similarly, since I have exactly five levels for each the "backwards walkers" and the "turn around on assign" gimmick, I thought those might make more sense in a combined rank, too.

These are however just temporary solutions, to get a first draft of a compiled pack out more quickly, because levels are much more convenient to play and test that way, rather than having to open single level files. In the end release, I really only want the rules sets (i.e. list of enabled gimmicks) to change from one rank to another, not in the middle of a rank, not even exactly in the middle.

On to the mechanical issues:

The average Joe

Here the glider sails through the piece of steel at the end. Is this a glitch? If so, what can I do to prevent it from happening? I don't really want to include an extra builder or platformer, which could end up breaking the level.

In the blink of an eye

Here I'm just curious whether the exhaustion gimmick apllies to the swimmer or not. Because other NeoLemmix skills, like the glider, definitely are affected by it. Shouldn't the swimmer stop halfway through the pont and drown?
My packs so far:
Paralems, a more flavour-driven one, 150 levels
Pit Lems, a more puzzly one, 100 levels