Author Topic: NeoLemmix - Quo vadis?  (Read 3124 times)

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Offline Nepster

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NeoLemmix - Quo vadis?
« on: November 11, 2017, 11:02:13 pm »
Given the frustration several members of this community voice regarding the removal of several features, I feel the need to present my philosophy about where NeoLemmix should head to.

My main guideline is: How does a change affect the user, who plays a level or a pack?
The reason for my decision to focus on players, not on level designers is actually very simple: Every single level is created by only a single user, but played by a lot of others.

This has a few consequences:
1) All rules should be easily discoverable and if one knows the behavior in similar situations, the player should be able to correctly guess the behavior in the current situation.
2) Ideally all levels should be playable without any of the helps that NeoLemmix offers. The helping features like clear-physics or frame-stepping should never be necessary.
3) All player styles should be viable, be it that they test a lot of things explicitely or be it trying to solve the level in the head first.
4) Already existing levels are unimportant: If a level does not use player-confusing features, then it will automatically work in the future, too. If it relies on edge-cases that change now, then it either can be saved by small changes or it's not a big loss. This is a very harsh point of view, but actually based on two reasons:
- Removing some levels (be it because they don't fit the current culture or have become impossible) is an absolutely normal procedure. This has happened when moving from Lemmix to NeoLemmix, and even at various points during the existing NeoLemmix development (not only due to the removal of gimmicks, but at a lot of other updates, too), and it will continue to happen in the future.
- The given feedback to level packs has (at least up to now) definitely favored levels that use the behavior players expect and know, but do so in interesting, unexpected or new ways. On the other hand levels relying too much on the fine points of the game mechanics or the terrain layout usually generate not quite as enthusiasthic feedback.
5) The amount of code necessary for a feature is absolutely unimportant: If a useful feature needs a lot of code (but is still managable for me), then it will be added. If a feature only needs a single line of code, then that doesn't mean that it should be added or be kept.

Offline IchoTolot

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Re: NeoLemmix - Quo vadis?
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2017, 01:01:22 am »
I don't want to write these anymore, I hate this and I feel as I slowly become the bad guy for a lot of people instead of a helpful person that tests, creates and plays content. :( I want it to stop, but if I don't reply, my concerns and voice is not being heard either and it will all be worse. These topics need to stop popping up, but they just keep on coming. :(

A ton of players and designers are frustrated and confused. More like never before. That's one of the reasons I created the checklist topic to visualise the upcoming changes and ease the confusion. I really want the new formats version to be successful, but I see that more and more wrong decisions are being made. I have long accepted the radiation, slowfreeze and ceiling changes, but this trend needs to stop, as recently the peoples patience with the culls has come to an end.


Addressing your consequences:

1) No player in the world will guess all the behaviors correctly, regardless of how you simplify them and therefore NL's tools are here to support him. Also people's guesses differ significally, therefore the right, expected differs depending on the person. 

2)
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"The helping features like clear-physics or frame-stepping should never be necessary."

Then we would go back to the stone age only solving 1st rank levels. We have these features to be able to provide better levels where the execution isn't the problem anymore.
That's why I even came over from Lemmini!
I needed frame-stepping to support more complex and precise level design, which then can result in more difficult levels.

3) Both styles are needed to be succesful. You need to be able to think things through, but you also need to try them out -- otherwise you keep on missing even very obvious things. Checking true physics is also part of head solving in my opinion.

4) And here comes the hammer....

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"Already existing levels are unimportant"

Then why are we even here? Why are we still following? Why are we even building levels if everything we do is unimportant and doesn't matter? This sentence is a punch in the face for every person who has created a level!
If this is true then we can all stop and call it a day as creating levels is now unimportant.
My whole purpose here is to provide and test content for the people out there and it's now called unimportant. This feels like a knife in the back to be honest.

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"If a level does not use player-confusing features, then it will automatically work in the future, too."

Tell that to the people who used radiation and slowfreeze for example.
Also the confusing part HIGHLY depends on the person. If one single person finds a thing even slightly confusing and 100 people don't, then the whole thing gets under the culling axe and is ruined for everyone else? The definition of confusing is shifting for every single person and therefore is extremely shaky.
What is confusing? Which behaviors can I take as safe and granted? I used to know that, but now I am just scared to create new levels that use new stuff and techniques.

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"Removing some levels (be it because they don't fit the current culture or have become impossible) is an absolutely normal procedure."

The circumstances under which these removals happen now are the key. A skill that isn't even out yet shakes up a core mechanic. A face-left and flip merge threatens to cull a teleporter feature. Even disarmers were discussed to be culled and I don't need to bring up the overly hard radiation thing up again.
Before bugs and glitches were the main source of culling (as from Lemmix to NL) and that was perfectly acceptable! I just helped in finding the most content friendly way to fix them. Now only existing features and mechanics are being culled.

Quote
"On the other hand levels relying too much on the fine points of the game mechanics or the terrain layout usually generate not quite as enthusiasthic feedback."

That I would call untrue and again HIGHLY depends on the person. An excellent level can use the fine points as well as the standard points to it's advantage.

Quote
"The amount of code necessary for a feature is absolutely unimportant"

Complexity still plays a role. If a feature needs a year to be implemented then it's a factor. Also a feature that is only a line worth of code and statisfies a bunch of users is a factor.

And now I will speak free directly from my heart:

I only wanted to create and test levels. I didn't want all this physics discussion to happen. I even don't care about NL consisting of binary blobs or single files. I just want to play and ensure everyones content can be played and enjoyed.
But all these incomming culling frenzys, rants, conversion/maintenance work and feature removals are really pushing my limits.

The recent culling frenzy was absolutely uncalled for and to be 100% honest this is the thing I feared the most when namida left. The qoute you said when I ask you about the clear majority for the ceiling change sent me shivers down the spine: "It consists of me, me and me!" So why are we even discussing anymore?
First I found the culling of both radiation and slowfreeze very harsh, even if I am not a fan of both of the features. Also the decision came quite surprising as most people where more on the middle path of culling just slowfreeze as I recall. Then the ceiling change was decided with that qoute and shortly after teleporters came under fire and I fear the warning voices are not heard by you again.   
Before namida and you were in balance and you found a good middleway between critical changes and backwards compability -- now everything has be turned over to cull and replace, while Simon shouts and I qoute IRC here: "<SimonN> I want more oil poured into the ceiling discussion. The heat is intense, everybody is intense, the popcorn is unbearable."
Yes even more oil into the fire and drag the whole thing down even more.........
Even if this is meant in a more comical way it still is damaging, as I feel a lot of disarray currently. I know and like you Simon, but your fire for ranting and complaining goes too far from time to time. I want harmony not arguing! 

As namida isn't active anymore and even though I despite all these physics discussions, you need a counterpart that stands in for the existing content and I feel the need that I have to fill this void even if I hate to do it and it displays me as the bad guy from time to time.

Cull and keep. Change and tradition needs to be in balance! That is the guideline that stands as my goal.

As a final advice and closing sentence: I accept the decisions made until now, but I highly warn to go further down the culling route!


I want to go through my checklist and be done with it.....

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: NeoLemmix - Quo vadis?
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2017, 01:08:32 am »
Quote
2) Ideally all levels should be playable without any of the helps that NeoLemmix offers. The helping features like clear-physics or frame-stepping should never be necessary.

If framestepping and true physics aren't meant to be used, or only in emergencies, doesn't that render them cheats? ;)

Besides, I have played several levels in Nepster Lems which were absolutely dependant on frame-stepping
("Ninjas in the attic", the last level of Planet, and worst of all "Jump in the ring"). :) These features weren't just necessary there, but absolutely vital! Without them, each and everyone of them would certainly have required more restarts than playing "Save Me" in the original Amiga version.

Quote
4) Already existing levels are unimportant: If a level does not use player-confusing features, then it will automatically work in the future, too.

Well, that's the first very subjective point, as IchoTolot also wrote in the meantime. What is "confusing"? ;) I for one find huge levels, levels that consist of repetitive or similar-looking (almost "copy-paste") patterns, or these "several mini-levels separated into steel compartments" which IchoTolot likes to hate on :) visually confusing.

Anti-splat pads, in contrast, I do not consider confusing at all. They have a clear name pointing out what they do, they can be easily distinguished from their counterparts by their colour (bright green vs. red), and they have an easily recognisable trigger area in which they function, which is the main thing separating them from updrafts. Also, how are radiation and slowfreeze confusing? They bring execution issues with them, but that's not a matter of confusion, but a matter of visuo-spatial estimation of where to assign skills to a lemming with a countdown.

So I don't see how I am supposed to have used "player-confusing features" by implementing radiation, slowfreeze, or anti-splat pads. We're not talking about fake objects here, after all. Yet, I have an entire rank worth of levels which still won't work in the new formats version, without me seeing where they'd be "confusing".

Finally, while there may have been some "confusing" gimmicks, things like wraparound to me are merely an extension of the aforementioned "visual confusion through level design". :) Levels of yours like "A small step for Lemkind" or "Diagonal disarray" feature a lot of what would be called "distractors" in experimental psychology - elements irrelevant for the task / solution which are only included to confuse the player. Wrap can make a level spatially incompatible - you have to assign a skill on the right for the lemming to come out on the left again, and same for top and bottom - but it's still a predictable thing as long as this rules set is active.

The important aspect about gimmicks would have been to let the player know in advance which gimmicks were active, ideally through a constantly visible symbol on screen while playing the level. Instead, as I have seen now by looking at the old 1.43 packs again, level creators tended to surprise the player with the gimmick. Which is why I believe this issue could have been solved by having such a philosophical debate in the level design thread - "What makes a good level?" etc. - rather than just ditching a bunch of stuff.

Quote
- Removing some levels (be it because they don't fit the current culture or have become impossible) is an absolutely normal procedure. This has happened when moving from Lemmix to NeoLemmix, and even at various points during the existing NeoLemmix development (not only due to the removal of gimmicks, but at a lot of other updates, too), and it will continue to happen in the future.

How is this a "reason", exactly? To me, that just sounds like "it's always been this way, so deal with it".

Quote
- The given feedback to level packs has (at least up to now) definitely favored levels that use the behavior players expect and know, but do so in interesting, unexpected or new ways. On the other hand levels relying too much on the fine points of the game mechanics or the terrain layout usually generate not quite as enthusiasthic feedback.

How is making use of legitimate objects (radiation, slowfreeze, anti-splat pads), which people spend a lot of time and effort on implementing, "relying on the fine points of game mechanics"? Is the use of an anti-splat pad somehow stranger than the use of a fire object or teleporter?

Quote
Already existing levels are unimportant:

Well, what's more important then? The not-yet-existant levels somebody might create in the future? And if so, do these levels become unimportant the minute they start to exist?

If the question of how often a feature has been used to date does not matter, why then were ghosts removed rather than zombies? A type of lemming which is merely immune to objects, but can be assigned skills, has a lot more potential for interaction than just an "enemy creature" which you can't interact with at all. Yet, ghosts had to go, zombies are still here. And the main reason I've heard why zombies were kept is that a bunch of players had already created levels featuring them. ;)

Quote
My main guideline is: How does a change affect the user, who plays a level or a pack?

And that guideline has never let you come up with the question "How does it affect the user when he has less and less new content to play, because creators lose the motivation to create levels at the constant danger of the chopping block"? ;)

@IchoTolot:
Quote
I feel as I slowly become the bad guy for a lot of people instead of a helpful person that tests, creates and plays content.

"Bad guy"? ;) Well, at least between you and me, the only thing we disagreed on was the option of having timed bombers available or not ;) . Apart from that, I'm completely in line with what you're saying here.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2017, 01:34:23 am by Strato Incendus »
Ghost Lemmings - help us test a possible new NeoLemmix skill!
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Lemmings World Tour, my music-themed flagship pack, 320 levels - Let's Played by Colorful Arty
Paralems, a more flavour-driven one, 150 levels
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Lemmicks, a pack for NeoLemmix 1.43 full of gimmicks, 170 levels

Offline nin10doadict

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Re: NeoLemmix - Quo vadis?
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2017, 02:33:20 am »
All of this work in creating the new format has erupted into far more of a war than I think anyone expected it would. I fear that we're turning too much against each other here and that the whole project is just going to melt down. I don't want to see that happen; a lot of work has gone into this to try to make it good. If we can't agree, though, it won't be good.

Honestly, I've mostly been sitting on the sidelines for these discussions because I don't like jumping into the fire. It hasn't really worked for me in the past. I've been watching this fire get bigger and bigger though, and I don't want to see people at each other's throats. We're supposed to be tormenting each other by making devious puzzles, not by arguing over the tools we have to make those puzzles with. :-\

A lot of people are getting frustrated about this whole thing, and I just want it to remain civil.

Offline GigaLem

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Re: NeoLemmix - Quo vadis?
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2017, 02:45:59 am »
All of this work in creating the new format has erupted into far more of a war than I think anyone expected it would. I fear that we're turning too much against each other here and that the whole project is just going to melt down. I don't want to see that happen; a lot of work has gone into this to try to make it good. If we can't agree, though, it won't be good.

Honestly, I've mostly been sitting on the sidelines for these discussions because I don't like jumping into the fire. It hasn't really worked for me in the past. I've been watching this fire get bigger and bigger though, and I don't want to see people at each other's throats. We're supposed to be tormenting each other by making devious puzzles, not by arguing over the tools we have to make those puzzles with. :-\

A lot of people are getting frustrated about this whole thing, and I just want it to remain civil.

I agree with him here, see this happen is hampering my motivating to continue making levels, I've been doing this for about 8 years and if this community falls, I'll be heart broken beyond belief.
We're essentially what's left of the Lemmings franchise, we must take the high road. I can't stress this enough, this community opened me up to things I thought weren't possible. I've started spriting and animating (if you count sprites as animation) because of this. I don't want my door to passion and creativity fall into the abyss.

The only thing I can think of as a worse case scenario is this: Reboot the new format project, or continue with the messy old formats coding.

Offline Yung Gotenks

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Re: NeoLemmix - Quo vadis?
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2017, 04:56:54 am »
4) Already existing levels are unimportant
So you're telling me everything i'm doing right now is pointless?

You know, i can just quit right now if you want me to.

My Packs:
Yung's First Level Pack: A pack with 15 levels. Basic knowledge of the new NeoLemmix skills is required.
http://www.lemmingsforums.net/index.php?topic=3362.0
The Hell Pack: Every level is hell themed. Basic knowledge of the new NeoLemmix Skills is required.
https://www.lemmingsforums.net/index.php?topic=3551.msg67577#msg67577

Offline namida

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Re: NeoLemmix - Quo vadis?
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2017, 08:30:09 am »
GigaLem: Rebooting it is hardly nessecary. The significant recent culls could actually be very easily undone, especially thanks to that NeoLemmix uses Git for version control.
My released level packs:
Lemmings Plus Series | Doomsday Lemmings

Offline kieranmillar

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Re: NeoLemmix - Quo vadis?
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2017, 08:48:16 am »
If there is an ideological split, perhaps the best solution is to leave Neolemmix at the last stable version Namida made and rename new-formats Neolemmix to Nepsterlemmix, and force Nepsterlemmix to be 100% non-backward compatible with Neolemmix (it won't load non-new formats levels at all). Then nobody needs to make any changes to existing Neolemmix levels and you can make whatever changes you want to Nepsterlemmix without stepping on anyone's toes.

Offline Raymanni

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Re: NeoLemmix - Quo vadis?
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2017, 09:24:30 am »
Honestly, I've mostly been sitting on the sidelines for these discussions because I don't like jumping into the fire. It hasn't really worked for me in the past. I've been watching this fire get bigger and bigger though, and I don't want to see people at each other's throats. We're supposed to be tormenting each other by making devious puzzles, not by arguing over the tools we have to make those puzzles with. :-\
This is pretty much exactly how I feel.

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: NeoLemmix - Quo vadis?
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2017, 10:36:02 am »
Quote
If there is an ideological split, perhaps the best solution is to leave Neolemmix at the last stable version Namida made and rename new-formats Neolemmix to Nepsterlemmix,

I'd agree with that, because this seems to be where the new formats version is headed anyway. :) Of course, the programmer has the final say in the end, because he has put in the effort to learn the skills and thereby has the power to decide. The issue is that, although we're having democratic debates about every decision, oftentimes a tiny majority for any decision is enough for it to be executed merely on this numbers count, irrespective of the content of the concerns uttered against it. After all, this community is small enough for individual positions to be heard, and also for most majority effects to be hardly significant - like when the difference between the majority and the minority boils down to 1 or 2 people. Then there should still be a cost-benefit analysis, how much gain is achieved, how much existing content is harmed, rather than merely counting the number of supporting or dissenting opinions.

Until recently, whenever a change was proposed which was not favoured by a huge part of the community, the general advise given was: "You're free to create your own engine and do exactly what you want!" Isn't that what the new format does, effectively? Since it is a new file format, there is no precise reason for why this should be regarded as the same thing as NeoLemmix. Both new format and old format could go for peaceful co-existence.

My impression however was that the original intention of the new format was to migrate all content and level creation from NeoLemmix to it. This means a claim of exclusivity for the new format, and the monopoly on newly created levels. But with the apparent division of the community, I think we can pretty much say for certain that this goal has already gone out of the window. People will most definitely also keep creating content for older formats, whether it's 10.13 or even 1.43 (perhaps "Lemmicks" will revive other people's interest in gimmicks as well? :D ).

I might create stuff for the new format, but not until it has something interesting to offer. Until then, I will only attempt to play new formats-exclusive level packs on the player, but not create my own. Shimmiers and later on jumpers might be a reason to test the new waters. But it can hardly be considered a good trade if you lose 5 features for getting 1 new one.

After all, it doesn't feel like a sustainable effort to invest time and work into a format which has this philosophy:

Quote
4) Already existing levels are unimportant

I asked the question a couple of weeks ago whether level packs are regarded as throwaway content. Like "once it's solved, the mystery of the puzzle is gone, so you move on to the next". I thought I was exaggerating the position back then, but unfortunately, it seems to have been quite an accurate representation.

In fact, it's surprising how easily one can forget already found solutions, even for your own levels. Watch Arty playing SubLems if you need proof for that :P !

And with some people putting in 12-18 months to develop a pack, I don't want all this to be regarded merely as "fast food".
Ghost Lemmings - help us test a possible new NeoLemmix skill!
My packs so far:
Lemmings World Tour, my music-themed flagship pack, 320 levels - Let's Played by Colorful Arty
Paralems, a more flavour-driven one, 150 levels
Pit Lems, a more puzzly one, 100 levels - Let's Played by nin10doadict
Lemmicks, a pack for NeoLemmix 1.43 full of gimmicks, 170 levels

Offline Nepster

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Re: NeoLemmix - Quo vadis?
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2017, 01:40:52 pm »
All of this work in creating the new format has erupted into far more of a war than I think anyone expected it would. I fear that we're turning too much against each other here and that the whole project is just going to melt down. I don't want to see that happen; a lot of work has gone into this to try to make it good. If we can't agree, though, it won't be good.

A lot of people are getting frustrated about this whole thing, and I just want it to remain civil.
Yes, with all of radiation, slowfreeze, turning teleporters and deadly ceiling, I actually expected a big majority one way or the other. But unfortunately the community (or at least the ones who are very vocal about their opinions) are evenly split. That makes it extremely difficult for me to make everyone happy. I really don't know what the best solution is. Whatever I decide, it's going to make people unhappy. :( :(
Up to now I took the view that some people grumbling now during the conversion is preferrable to people grumbling over the next few years due to problematic designs being kept.

The issue is that, although we're having democratic debates about every decision, oftentimes a tiny majority for any decision is enough for it to be executed merely on this numbers count, irrespective of the content of the concerns uttered against it. After all, this community is small enough for individual positions to be heard, and also for most majority effects to be hardly significant - like when the difference between the majority and the minority boils down to 1 or 2 people. Then there should still be a cost-benefit analysis, how much gain is achieved, how much existing content is harmed, rather than merely counting the number of supporting or dissenting opinions.

Until recently, whenever a change was proposed which was not favoured by a huge part of the community, the general advise given was: "You're free to create your own engine and do exactly what you want!" Isn't that what the new format does, effectively? Since it is a new file format, there is no precise reason for why this should be regarded as the same thing as NeoLemmix. Both new format and old format could go for peaceful co-existence.
Well, until recently we didn't have any discussions at all about stuff like radiation objects or similar. namida just decided himself that radiation objects will be added and no discussion could change that. Similarly for the fencer: There was a discussion thread before implementing it, but already there shimmiers were better liked. namida still implemented the fencer instead and even though it was first announced as "test version only - will be discussed later whether to keep it", this discussion never took place at all and suddenly the addition of the fencer was a fixed thing. Regarding the removal of features: There was actually a majority for keeping the Karoshi gimmick, but namida still decided to cull it.

When I took over, I wanted to include the community a bit more in the decisions. That was apparently a mistake, as it only created dissens among the community.

Regarding your cost-benefit analysis: I try to do that with the discussions here. However the main problem is that there are greatly differing opinions how to weight the costs and benefits. For me the cost of a few levels less is negleglible, but the gain in reducing the complexity for players (not of levels, but regarding game mechanics) is tremendous. I know that you and IchoTolot see this differently. So how can we do a cost-benefit analysis that satisfies everyone?

Finally: My plans are to keep V11.13.18 available, in the same way V1.43 is still available.

4) Already existing levels are unimportant
So you're telling me everything i'm doing right now is pointless?
You know, i can just quit right now if you want me to.
No, please read the sentences afterwards, too. Far over 90% of the game mechanics, objects and features are totally fine and logical and won't be changed at all. For 90% of the rest, levels need to be adapted, but can be kept. Only the remaining 1% need to be removed.
Moreover this does not mean that I won't retain backwards-compatibility whenever possible. I only means that when discussing changes in the game mechanics, keeping all existing content won't be the most important consideration.

If framestepping and true physics aren't meant to be used, or only in emergencies, doesn't that render them cheats? ;)

Besides, I have played several levels in Nepster Lems which were absolutely dependant on frame-stepping
("Ninjas in the attic", the last level of Planet, and worst of all "Jump in the ring"). :) These features weren't just necessary there, but absolutely vital! Without them, each and everyone of them would certainly have required more restarts than playing "Save Me" in the original Amiga version.
Yes, they are cheats, but acceptable ones. ;) And I am sorry that you found very precise solutions to my levels "Ninjas in the attic" and "Jump in the ring", but neither actually requires framestepping. I am still waiting for your feedback on NepsterLems, and without feedback, I cannot improve my levels! You yourself (correctly) criticized me for using non-backroute fixed examples of levels made by yourself, so please don't make the same mistake yourself.

But it can hardly be considered a good trade if you lose 5 features for getting 1 new one.
Again you consider this only from a level designer perpective. Players will have a lot more advantages, like being able to switch between packs, having preview images already in the level selection menu, faster loading time for levels, no more "DIB Handle"-bugs in levels that use a lot of different styles... And they get a game with less objects to learn, less objects to confuse with each other, and less objects that only differ in very subtle ways.

If there is an ideological split, perhaps the best solution is to leave Neolemmix at the last stable version Namida made and rename new-formats Neolemmix to Nepsterlemmix,
While I am against the name "Nepsterlemmix", I am open regarding a name change. But this it more of a flavor change, but doesn't change the problem that the community is somewhat devided on the question whether to cull/change certain features or not.

Cull and keep. Change and tradition needs to be in balance! That is the guideline that stands as my goal.

As a final advice and closing sentence: I accept the decisions made until now, but I highly warn to go further down the culling route
The problem here is, that it wasn't balanced until now. It was basically always adding features and never removing ones.
Secondly I have to repeat what I said earlier: I would like to bundle all feature cullings in the change to the new-formats version, instead of having some every few months over the next years. That's why we are having lots of culling discussions now. But I promise that they will stop once the new-formats version is the stable version. If you want to space out the culling discussions over the next years, then just tell me and we will do it that way. :P

Offline bsmith

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Re: NeoLemmix - Quo vadis?
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2017, 03:05:13 pm »
I have been following all the design discussions, but not commenting on them much.  To me Lemmings has always been about using skills to navigate the terrain.  In a lot of the culling discussions the items being culled were secondary to that vision, so I had no problems seeing things like splat pads and radiation removed.

It feels to me that when namida was in charge of development he added anything he could implement.  That is not a bad thing but the result is a lot of 'random' features.  Now that Nepster is in charge he wants to try to keep Lemmings to fit a certain vision, and as a result many of the secondary things namida added and are in the current build no longer fit with the vision.  That is what is spurring so many culling discussions, and I think for the long term health of the game it is a good thing.  We take the hit all at once and when the new formats version is out we will have a clean base to add upon.  In his last post Nepster states that currently NeoLemmix is unbalanced and I agree with that sentiment.

I suspect my idea of what NeoLemmix should be like is actually much closer to Nepster's vision than namida's.  But regardless of what my vision is I want NeoLemmix to be a healthy, well polished game.  To do that we need to figure out what is essential and what is not, and if that means some semi-popular things need to be cut then we just need to do it and move on.

Offline Yung Gotenks

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Re: NeoLemmix - Quo vadis?
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2017, 04:07:27 pm »
Is the old format really that bad?

Can we still not work with the old format? I love it. I don't really see any issues with it expect the editor.

I'm sure there's gotta be a workaround.. right?

If not then, oh well i guess.

My Packs:
Yung's First Level Pack: A pack with 15 levels. Basic knowledge of the new NeoLemmix skills is required.
http://www.lemmingsforums.net/index.php?topic=3362.0
The Hell Pack: Every level is hell themed. Basic knowledge of the new NeoLemmix Skills is required.
https://www.lemmingsforums.net/index.php?topic=3551.msg67577#msg67577

Offline Nepster

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Re: NeoLemmix - Quo vadis?
« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2017, 04:19:20 pm »
The old formats has one huge problem: I don't know anything about how the data is stored in the .lvl, .dat and .nxp files. So it's basically impossible for me to add any new features to the old formats, or to improve the existing editor. Moreover the new-formats level selection menu relies on single files for each level. So there are some improvements that really need the new formats version.
But of course you can still continue to work with the old formats version, but I won't bug-fix anything for it and you might lose some players who only have the new-formats at some point.

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: NeoLemmix - Quo vadis?
« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2017, 05:36:19 pm »
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That makes it extremely difficult for me to make everyone happy. I really don't know what the best solution is. Whatever I decide, it's going to make people unhappy. :( :(

The elephant in the room is that I still don't see the benefit of culling stuff, especially not since you dismissed the argument I would have shown most understanding for - complexity of code - as irrelevant. I still don't understand what people supporting the cull of feature X actually get from this measure as a benefit. A lot of arguments I've seen so far which are at least not opposing culls are more along the lines of "eh, I never used it, so I don't care". Which is understandable, but also quite reckless. I in contrast even defend features I haven't used so far, like the turning teleporters, a) because I know other people have used them, and b) because their ideas might inspire me to use this feature in the future.

I don't really bother about namida having added stuff single-handedly - if no one uses certain features, they don't do any harm. Where's the problem with the fencer existing? No one forces you to include it in your levels.

If people remove features single-handedly or based on a tiny majority, that's an entirely different issue. Because then you're forced to not include certain things in a level anymore, and either modify or throw away the level completely.

I certainly regard the Karoshi gimmick as one of the best, possibly even better than zombies, because in both cases lemmings have to be killed, but with regular lemmings, as you have to kill them for Karoshi, you can interact with them, whereas with zombies you can't. If namida did indeed remove that single-handedly against a majority for keeping it, that's quite sad.

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However the main problem is that there are greatly differing opinions how to weight the costs and benefits. For me the cost of a few levels less is negleglible, but the gain in reducing the complexity for players (not of levels, but regarding game mechanics) is tremendous.

If a player wants less complexity, meaning less objects and less skills to choose from, they should probably play original Lemmings or ONML first. Custom packs aren't for beginners, as has been pointed out again in the recent thread about introductory levels. And if a player has tackled the DMA-based packs in NeoLemmix, there are still plenty of more restrictive packs to choose from, as you and Nessy and many other people have created them, packs which e.g. stick to classic skills only.

I do however highly doubt that a reduced number of features equals reduced complexity. Unless you consider Nepster Lems non-complex. It doesn't use a lot of skills, tilesets, or objects, which is probably also due to the time it was first created, but it's complex simply by the size of its levels and the design of its terrain.

Paralems, on the other hand, employs nearly every feature NeoLemmix has to offer - but I doubt anyone here found it particularly complex to play through ;) . It simply has a lot of variety, but it is not a very challenging pack.

Bottom line is: Players who look for challenges will actively seek out complexity of some kind, out of their own - be it complexity of terrain design, complexity of skills (those are the people playing Lemmings 2, I guess ;) ), or objects. Players who want something reduced can be pointed specifically to packs offering this, and they should probably start with the official levels, or a comprehensive collection of these, like Lemmings Redux.

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And I am sorry that you found very precise solutions to my levels "Ninjas in the attic" and "Jump in the ring", but neither actually requires framestepping. I am still waiting for your feedback on NepsterLems, and without feedback, I cannot improve my levels! You yourself (correctly) criticized me for using non-backroute fixed examples of levels made by yourself, so please don't make the same mistake yourself.

I know it's easy to bring pixel precision on oneself ;) . And on some levels I did indeed feel I might still have found a backroute. I just considered it very unlikely, since this pack has existed for quite some time now, and both IchoTolot and namida have done LPs of it, that any backroutes could still be remaining in there.

I admire the genius stuff you have come up with on many of these levels, but the fact that they are so challenging is simultaneously their downfall: I just can't play a lot of these in succession to each other. Each level is a mystery to solve on its own; however, the only thing which happens once you do succeed is unveiling another mindf*ck riddle.

IchoTolot once talked about himself wanting to "beat the player", and doing so fair and square, and cited your levels as prime examples. And it's true, they certainly aim for beating the player, as if each single one of them asked "Am I the level where you're finally going to quit?" This is great for providing challenges, but comes at the cost of easily killing the player's motivation.

So I find it somewhat strange that from all forum members, you are the one to push for reduced complexity and more player-friendliness ;) . Because to me your puzzles are the epitome of complex, positively and negatively. The only way in which they are non-complex is that they stick to classic skills.

Imagine if a significant portion of the forum decided that they don't like huge levels, because they take a lot of time to execute and are mainly just about conservative skill use rather than a specific solution. And therefore, they'd decide to limit the maximum width a level can have to, lets say, 720 pixels. Suddenly a lot of your levels would meet the axe for being "too complex" in other people's eyes.

See the picture now? ;)

The amplifying factor of all of this is the experience that to this day, no feature which has been removed once ever got added back in again. Someone told me this with regard to timed bombers, but it also holds true for all of the gimmicks as well as ghosts.  So people fight hard for keeping the stuff they have, because for any things we lose it feels certain that we are going to lose them forever.

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The old formats has one huge problem: I don't know anything about how the data is stored in the .lvl, .dat and .nxp files. So it's basically impossible for me to add any new features to the old formats, or to improve the existing editor.

Is namida the only one with any knowledge about the old format code? :) If it's written in an entirely different language, I know this kind of knowledge can't just easily be transferred from one person to another (I just experienced that because some fellow students basically hoped for me to quickly explain half a year worth of Python stuff to them last week :D ). But if this is mainly a case of "namida understands format A, I understand format B", then a "NepsterNeoLemmix" would make even more sense. Because it's two entirely different people with entirely different philosophies designing two entirely different engines.
Ghost Lemmings - help us test a possible new NeoLemmix skill!
My packs so far:
Lemmings World Tour, my music-themed flagship pack, 320 levels - Let's Played by Colorful Arty
Paralems, a more flavour-driven one, 150 levels
Pit Lems, a more puzzly one, 100 levels - Let's Played by nin10doadict
Lemmicks, a pack for NeoLemmix 1.43 full of gimmicks, 170 levels