Author Topic: [Suggestion] Ghost as a skill  (Read 3930 times)

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Offline Strato Incendus

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[Suggestion] Ghost as a skill
« on: October 25, 2018, 06:00:41 pm »
In the same vein as Crane proposing the reversal of a change that has been made a while ago :D, I'm going to bring up another thing from the past:

If you remember, around the time of the major format switch last year, the idea of neutral lemmings was being discussed. Skills were not supposed to be assigned to them, like with zombies, but in contrast to zombies, they could still be saved, or even had to be saved.

I don't know if that idea is still being ventilated, but I think a lot more puzzle potential actually lies in a thing we already had back in the day, which was the exact opposite: Ghost lemmings. They could not be saved, however they could be assigned skills, and they didn't interact with any kind of objects. This allowed them to walk through fire, traps, and water alike, doing things like mining or digging at the bottom of a water pit, which isn't possible otherwise.

Ghosts were removed together with gimmicks, and with regard to the latter, I understand how they would have slowed down every new implementation of a feature a lot. Having to balance e.g. a new skill with all these extra rules would have been pretty chaotic, obviously.

Ghosts, however, actually require less interaction in total than even regular lemmings! :) They simply treat all objects, including exits, as if they were background objects. So I can't imagine they would require a lot of code, plus the sprites are already there. Ghost sprites for new skills introduced in the meantime (=fencers and shimmiers) can easily be recoloured, just like we have created different lemmings sprites for the L2 tilesets.

There was one issue with the original ghosts, however: They always came as pre-assigned lemmings, i.e. either they were pre-placed lemmings or came out of pre-assigned hatches, like zombies.

That made me realise what a ghost actually is: Just another skill! :thumbsup: So why not re-introduce ghosts as skills that can be assigned like any other?


This would make the ghost a unique hybrid of lethal skills (like bombers and stoners) and athletic skills (like climbers and floaters):

You can get past certain obstacles with him which no other lemming can get by - for example, fire traps - but in exchange for this enormous power, the lemming itself is sacrificed (since an exit is also an object, so he can't enter it anymore either). Athletes, often employed as pioneers, usually take paths the rest of the crowd can't take, and their task is to then create an alternative path for said crowd.

In some sense, ghosts are actually a more balanced version of the disarmer - because they can go through traps like disarmers can, but leave them active. The disarmer seems to be the least favourite skill at the moment, mainly because levels involving it boil down to
1) collect the disarmer as a pickup skill, the level is auto-solve from there;
2) pure timing-challenges, stalling the crowd until the disarmer gets his job done;
or 3) the crowd takes exactly the same path as the disarmer pioneer, because there's no difference between a disarmer and a regular lemming once a trap has been deactivated.

Some people even advised for disarmers to be culled during the format shift. While I of course will always be against such a move, I do have to say, if we still have even disarmers, there's no reason why we shouldn't have ghosts as well ;) .

Also, it's in spirit (*badum-tss*!) of the Halloween season :evil: ! :P
« Last Edit: October 25, 2018, 06:46:43 pm by Strato Incendus »
Ghost Lemmings - help us test a possible new NeoLemmix skill!
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Lemmicks, a pack for NeoLemmix 1.43 full of gimmicks, 170 levels

Offline IchoTolot

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Re: [Suggestion] Ghost as a skill
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2018, 07:39:54 pm »
I didn't like ghosts back then and that pretty much has not changed.

They just introduce a whole new set of behaviors to the game and as a result making it a lot more complicated. The lemmings fear ghosts thing also can lead to a ton of fiddly stuff.

The shimmier as an example doesn't require to learn a lot of new behaviors, so it's a rather simple skill compared to the ghost mess.

I still support the gimmick and ghost culling back then with all my heart, it was nessesary to remove this clutter and I am a very careful person when it comes to culls.

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: [Suggestion] Ghost as a skill
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2018, 09:35:09 pm »
The main case I'm making here is that the ghost and gimmick removal are not necessarily the same thing. Unless you want to call ghosts a gimmick, too, because they were part of the list, but the same is true for zombies (these two gimmicks were activated by default). So in that case, we could be nitpicky and say gimmicks were never fully removed, becaues zombies are still around :D .

But since the colloquial definition has now become that zombies aren't gimmicks, I consider ghosts and zombies just different types of lemmings, like water lemmings in Lemmings Revolution, whereas gimmicks are legitimate physics changes.

A gimmick changes the rules of everything, at least several skills, if you think of gimmicks like hardworkers, lazy lemmings, wraparound, no gravity etc. Naturally, this is going to come with a lot more coding effort.

Ghosts, in contrast, actually do less than regular lemmings, but precisely in that lies their strength. So if Lemmings were programmed in Python and I wanted to add ghosts, I'd simply copy and paste everything I need for normal lemmings, and then delete everything that defines an interaction with an object. Done! ;) I don't know whether this is more difficult in C++, but on a general level, I can't see how fewer interactions between ingame objects could be more complicated than what we already have now.

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The lemmings fear ghosts thing also can lead to a ton of fiddly stuff.

Well, at least now I finally know why the ghosts push other lemmings around! :D I never thought of flavour reasons for that!

To be honest, that is kind of an odd additional behaviour. One could consider removing that / not re-adding it, in case ghosts should be re-introduced one day. To avoid confusion with original ghosts, call them spirit lemmings from now on, if you prefer.

Zombies have undergone a change as well, from Classic Zombies, which could collect pickup skills and press exit buttons, to the current zombies, which cannot. (Btw, in my first couple of days on the forum, I proposed Zombies should be able to do this, and while people offered me a lot of valid explanations why they shouldn't, I think no one actually mentioned that once, they had indeed been able to do this! :D )

Also, since other skills usually end on "-er", I'd also be fine with "spiriter", or something along those lines. Not "ghoster", though, since by that I'd understand someone who engages in one or another form of activity termed "ghosting" :D .

I think it's just pretty plain to see that ghosts are in many ways strictly more versatile than disarmers, while at the same time not being a lot more additional effort, since the sprites are already there and the coding part should largely just be "regular lemming minus X". Especially if you refrain from re-adding the "intimidate other lemmings" behaviour.

Although people who like using compression method levels, like nin10doadict, might object to that ;) .
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Offline IchoTolot

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Re: [Suggestion] Ghost as a skill
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2018, 10:08:46 pm »
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Unless you want to call ghosts a gimmick, too, because they were part of the list, but the same is true for zombies (these two gimmicks were activated by default). So in that case, we could be nitpicky and say gimmicks were never fully removed, becaues zombies are still around

Then let's call zombies a gimmick. They were used by quite a lot of people and were generally accepted (that was the main reson we wanted to keep them), ghosts saw only use in very very few levels (namida and Giga were the only ones with ghosts levels I recall).

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Ghosts, in contrast, actually do less than regular lemmings, but precisely in that lies their strength.

That still doesn't reduce the actual clutter they are going to add.

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So if Lemmings were programmed in Python and I wanted to add ghosts, I'd simply copy and paste everything I need for normal lemmings, and then delete everything that defines an interaction with an object. Done!

That is exactly what you should not do! Things like this make your code a total mess! :8():

Copying a huge code chunks over and over is not good, you really want to avoid that in large programs.

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I think it's just pretty plain to see that ghosts are in many ways strictly more versatile than disarmers

That is not a clear reason to add a skill. Let's propose a teleporter skill that teleports a lemming, as it is way more versatile than a climber!

Also less versatile skills are often easier to learn for players. This can be a double edged sword. Disarmers are easy to understand, ghosts not (also I wouldn't call them intuitive).

Furthermore I wouldn't call the non-interaction with objects a huge pool for extra level ideas and really mostly just an addition of extra game rules. There are enough ways to go around objects.

Because of things like this we had 20+ gimmicks back in the days. Also there is already a huge list of things we want to implement. We had resons to burry our past sins and we should not open the old graves again.

You won't convince me for the ghost case here really. I disliked them back then and my mind hasn't changed.

Offline Simon

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Re: [Suggestion] Ghost as a skill
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2018, 11:10:27 pm »
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simply copy and paste everything



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Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: [Suggestion] Ghost as a skill
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2018, 10:03:45 am »
@Simon: Trust me, I know that issue ;) ! But isn't that only a problem when programming something entirely new? Regular lemmings, as they currently are, don't seem to have any errors, they work just as they should?

Obviously, the old code for ghosts can't be revived again, because it was a different format. But it should be possible to develop them out of standard lemmings, if there is enough use for them.

@IchoTolot: You wouldn't have to copy it over and over - just once ;) .

The teleporter skill you proposed as an example, in contrast, would be something completely new. It would require a lemming to be clicked twice (once for assigning the skill, the second time for defining a target position), it wouldn't build on anything that is already present, and it would most likely be completely broken, since that lemming could go literally anywhere in a level.

Ghosts, however, have very clearly defined uses and limitations - which makes it easily visible that the disarmer is a lot more limited in design space. ;)

I'd also make the case that disarmers are less intuitive than ghosts, because they only work on triggered traps, whereas ghosts bypass all traps (triggered, fire, water) and benefits (pickup skills, teleporters, buttons, updrafts) alike. Also, disarmers remove the trigger of a trap the second they step on it, even though the animation is still playing. This would confuse me even more as a new player; I'd expect the trigger not to be removed until the disarmer animation is finished.

The most confusing part about the ghost is the intimidation part, and as I said, that could be left out, as far as I'm concerned.

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We had resons to burry our past sins and we should not open the old graves again.

Since this seems to be your standard argument against reintroducing anything that has been removed once, may I remind you of features that got removed from Old to New Formats that are now being considered for reintroduction, like the replace piece function in the editor, or have just been reintroduced, like the level replace function in the pack toolkit. ;)

These changes show that not everything gets removed for a reason; some things just got removed because no one found a use for them back then. This can change however with new members joining the forum.

A lot of people also still don't find a lot of use for many of the NeoLemmix skills, and prefer to stick to classic skills instead. I generally don't get a lot of ideas involving buttons, pre-placed lemmings, and pickup skills. But that may just be a lack of creativity on my part, as far as a given feature is concerned, rather than that feature being useless in general.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2018, 10:08:58 am by Strato Incendus »
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Lemmicks, a pack for NeoLemmix 1.43 full of gimmicks, 170 levels

Offline IchoTolot

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Re: [Suggestion] Ghost as a skill
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2018, 09:49:19 pm »
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@IchoTolot: You wouldn't have to copy it over and over - just once ;) .

That's how it all starts.

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Ghosts, however, have very clearly defined uses and limitations

I'd also make the case that disarmers are less intuitive than ghosts

I know that ghosts can fly so I expect these ghosts to also fly around the map. Ghosts are far far far away from being intuitive.

Also I see the object ignoring not really valuable, there are enough substitutes for it as well. The fear part would be the only thing remotely interesting, but it can lead to very fiddly stuff, which I don't like.

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may I remind you of features that got removed from Old to New Formats that are now being considered for reintroduction

All the cases you mentioned here, came together under vastly different circumstances than the big gimmick cull.

Back then we all actively discussed and decided to remove gimmicks.

All features you mentioned here are casualties to the great tool switch.

Backstory:
Nepster created a personal editor for himself back then. When the new formats came along, this freshly built editor, which was mostly built around Nepster's level creation needs, became the base for the new editor. In the next months we gave a ton of feedback for this editor to make it more generally accepted.
The way of inserting terrain was one of the most criticised things about the old editor, so this one took another route.

The toolkits had to be coded from skretch, so things like the "replace" button never were actively culled, they were just forgotten/overlooked.

Offline namida

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Re: [Suggestion] Ghost as a skill
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2018, 10:49:15 pm »
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Ghosts, however, actually require less interaction in total than even regular lemmings!

This does not mean they will not cause a mess in the code. Consider the regular lemming to be the "base scenario". Any deviation from this - doesn't matter if they do more, do less, or just do something differently - adds complexity to the code. Just because our test is "if the lemming is a ghost, do nothing" rather than "if the lemming is a ghost, do this extra thing" doesn't change that much - it's still an extra test, and an extra special case to handle differently from normal lemmings.

In the case of zombies, there had been a lot of really good puzzles making use of them, that warranted keeping them. Ghosts, on the other hand, turned out to be another one of those ideas that sound great in theory, but are actually really hard to make anything useful of in practice.
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Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: [Suggestion] Ghost as a skill
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2018, 12:44:52 am »
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Also I see the object ignoring not really valuable, there are enough substitutes for it as well.

Fair enough, I just find these ways of circumventing objects disproportionately often result in just building over it ;) . And every builder you have to provide to get past an obstacle, even if it's just the pioneer lemming who has to get past it, rather than the entire crowd, is another builder which might potentially break the level (given that it's widely accepted as the most powerful skill).

Ghosts don't just simply walk past fire and water, but more importantly, also past exits. How many levels do you remember where you had to build over the exit to prevent the pioneer lemming from leaving the level too early? ;) I am already being creative with doing this in different ways than building over them (stack + climb, bash underneath and cancel the basher with a walker, so that the ceiling isn't actually penetrated and lemmings can still walk over it). But I don't want to overdo these tricks either.

Plus, let's not underestimate the ability to perform skills inside water areas! Fire-related stuff isn't useful for regular lemmings, but swimmers are a thing, however they can only bomb and stone while in water. Ghosts can bash / mine / dig / fence from inside a waterpont to allow swimmers to get into that pont. Or to kill zombies, of course :D , but ghost-zombie interactions are next-level stuff, of course!

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I know that ghosts can fly so I expect these ghosts to also fly around the map. Ghosts are far far far away from being intuitive.

I appreciate you using flavour arguments rather than game-mechanical ones, for a change! ;) :P Usually, it's the other way round... :D

Well, if we go there, I could also say builders are unintuitive because it shouldn't be possible to build in mid-air without the staircase still being firmly connected to terrain at its foot. Or, as said before, when I was new to NeoLemmix, I expected the disarmer to also be able to disarm fire traps.

You can't control subjective player expectations anyway; players get used to what they are being taught by the game. The behaviour of ghosts is very consistent, they ignore all objects equally, even those you may not want them to ignore (like pickup skills, teleporters, and buttons).

The sacrificial nature of the ghost-skill would add in an extra layer of complexity that old ghosts did not have, because you'd have to make a conscious decision as a player how many of them you want to use - like with bombers and stoners. Just like the latter, level creators could even occasionally provide them as red herrings to increase the entropy of a level! ;)

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This does not mean they will not cause a mess in the code. Consider the regular lemming to be the "base scenario". Any deviation from this - doesn't matter if they do more, do less, or just do something differently - adds complexity to the code. Just because our test is "if the lemming is a ghost, do nothing" rather than "if the lemming is a ghost, do this extra thing" doesn't change that much - it's still an extra test, and an extra special case to handle differently from normal lemmings.

Okay, I get that, but isn't that the case for any new skill we introduce? ;) For example, the standard rule that skills get canceled when a lemming loses ground under his feet has to be suspended for the shimmier.

That's why propose to indeed view "ghost" as just another skill, rather than a gimmick or different type of lemming. Currently, it's a skill that has been culled, and in "very Old Formats", it was a skill that could only be pre-assigned to a lemming. Pretty much as if disarmers could only be pre-placed lemmings. That wouldn't make sense either, would it? ;)

Zombies, in contrast, are different types of lemmings, because it wouldn't make sense to have them as a skill and voluntarily make one of your own lemmings a zombie (except in a hypothetical 2-player game, perhaps, to kill off your opponent's lemmings :evil: ).
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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 ccexplore

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Re: [Suggestion] Ghost as a skill
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2018, 01:01:24 am »
They just introduce a whole new set of behaviors to the game and as a result making it a lot more complicated. The lemmings fear ghosts thing also can lead to a ton of fiddly stuff.

I believe Strato's proposal will not include the "fear ghost" behavior.  As I understand it, essentially it just grants immunity to all object interactions to a lemming, but otherwise nothing else changes.  It would be a permanent skill in the vain of climbers and floaters.

As far as programming goes, I believe you would first check whether a lemming is a ghost before going into the code that checks for specific object interactions.  I think that basically might be all there is to it.  So on first glance, it shouldn't require too much changes code-wise (at least to the physics; you'll still have to work out details of the appearance changes that distinguish them from normal lemmings, and to distinguish whether the ghost is also climber or whatever), though ultimately that will depend a lot on how the existing code is structured.

It still sounds somewhat overpowered to me, even with the fact that assigning it automatically excludes the lemming from being able to exit.  But it's hard to judge puzzle potential from just a description of the behavior.  namida's opinion that the old ghost gimmick didn't ultimately contribute much is perhaps a good data point to take into account, even if that gimmick had other extra behaviors (eg. fear ghost) that we don't want nor care about here.

Offline namida

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Re: [Suggestion] Ghost as a skill
« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2018, 06:41:21 am »
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(at least to the physics; you'll still have to work out details of the appearance changes that distinguish them from normal lemmings, and to distinguish whether the ghost is also climber or whatever)

This part would be very little trouble. NeoLemmix already has code to handle recoloring of sprites for special cases (see: athletes, zombies); no separate sprites exist for these, just a small text-based datafile that says what color to swap with what other color. (In cases like the Xmas lemmings where only part of the lemming is recolored? That's simply done by having those parts have a very slightly different color, usually only off by 1 on a single color channel.)

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namida's opinion that the old ghost gimmick didn't ultimately contribute much is perhaps a good data point to take into account, even if that gimmick had other extra behaviors (eg. fear ghost) that we don't want nor care about here.

To be honest, the best (and I still use that term pretty loosely) ghost-based levels, relied more on that than the object-ignoring. A lot of the better ones also relied on the "become ghost upon death" gimmick too. While I can't rule out that there is good potential I just never found, I'd definitely from experience lean towards thinking they're not that useful in practice.
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Offline GigaLem

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Re: [Suggestion] Ghost as a skill
« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2018, 08:34:53 am »
If I had to say anything on the subject, it'd be better to reinvent the ghosts in a new intuitive way. Like having certain objects be affected by ghosts if the check box for em is turned on. And if so an obvious clue would tell you that ghosts can be affected by it and lemmings cannot. Or have a skill that can be assigned to not just ghosts but zombies too, making them come back to life as normal lemmings. A "revitalizer" if you will.

Instead of just declining the idea of the problems it had, why not find a way to turn things on their head and make something better or work. I rather give this a shot if there's a new way to make em work. (Like stated above) because I'm willing to converse and sell ideas to add depth to level creation rather than take away. We can't rely on standard stuff forever and it wouldn't hurt for once to give it shot. Because personally I rather stop with the instant and constant naysaying. Even unconventional things can work if remade and used properly.

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: [Suggestion] Ghost as a skill
« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2018, 08:50:38 am »
"Ghost upon death" was basically the way to make ghost a skill back in the day: Assigning a bomber or stoner with that gimmick switched on essentially translated to "assign a lemming a ghost skill".

I wouldn't mind either if the fear-part remained, especially if other people could profit more from ghosts in that case ;) . In fact, I'd actively try to make good use of that, too. I just wanted to state that this intimidation part isn't top priority for me personally, and thereby meant to offer an option to spare coding effort.

In the end, this mainly comes down to Nepster, how much additional effort the intimidate-part would mean for him ;) . Current top priority seems to be the shimmier, which I fully support.


Of course, just like the shimmier, reintroduced ghosts would probably go through a test phase: You could try ghosts without intimidation first, since that means less coding effort, and provide the disclaimer that levels using them at that point may have to slightly change once the final behaviour is fixed. And then you see what people come up with, with and without intimidation. (Unless that disclaimer would intimidate creators from creating levels while the final ghost behaviour hasn't been determined yet :D ...)

I'll certainly create levels for the experimental version of the shimmier, at my own risk, so to say, but I can't speak for others, of course :/ .

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If I had to say anything on the subject, it'd be better to reinvent the ghosts in a new intuitive way. Like having certain objects be affected by ghosts if the check box for em is turned on. And if so an obvious clue would tell you that ghosts can be affected by it and lemmings cannot.

Well, me personally, I'd always welcome such flexibility! :thumbsup: And with the obvious cue telling you, I think there might be less people who object. Others however would probably regard this as inconsistent behaviour. Meaning, if in one level a ghost can push buttons, and in the next one it can't, based on a box in the editor being checked or unchecked, even if there were a cue above the ghost's head, player expectations would be subverted on a regular basis. This would make ghosts a lot more complicated and confusing, i.e. push them into the direction IchoTolot warns of.

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Or have a skill that can be assigned to not just ghosts but zombies too, making them come back to life as normal lemmings. A "revitalizer" if you will.

Sounds like a nice idea in theory, I'm just wondering how that would work in practice. Do you have to kill the ghost or zombie and then revive it (how can you click a lemming whose sprite is no longer there)? Because if the skill exists to invert losses created by a ghost skill, why shouldn't it also reverse bomber and stoner-based deaths?

Basically, if it's just about replacing casualties, that's usually what cloners are for.

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Instead of just declining the idea of the problems it had, why not find a way to turn things on their head and make something better or work. I rather give this a shot if there's a new way to make em work. (Like stated above) because I'm willing to converse and sell ideas to add depth to level creation rather than take away. We can't rely on standard stuff forever and it wouldn't hurt for once to give it shot. Because personally I rather stop with the instant and constant naysaying. Even unconventional things can work if remade and used properly.

That mindset in general I can fully support! ;)
« Last Edit: October 27, 2018, 09:01:44 am by Strato Incendus »
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 IchoTolot

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Re: [Suggestion] Ghost as a skill
« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2018, 10:29:17 am »
We aren't simply recejcting everything! But we simply shouldn't and can't implement everything so that the game becomes hopelessly overloaded with a lot of stuff near to no one cares about (like it was in the past).

We already had a huge list with things we voted on to implement (https://www.lemmingsforums.net/index.php?topic=3399.0), but after the format change basic maintenance needed to come first before adding the new stuff we voted on.
New features are in development, but still need a bit of time and the top things we voted on will come step by step.

Now extra rescources shall go to a long discarded idea that did not work out before (general dislike, only 2 people used it, one of these people even admits it didn't work out now). Additionally with the suggested removing of an effect that failed idea had will make it even less appealing (even if that extra feature was fiddly).
This sounds insane to me and our focus for new stuff should be on the things the majority agreed upon would be good to have.


Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: [Suggestion] Ghost as a skill
« Reply #14 on: October 27, 2018, 12:16:21 pm »
Sure, I'm not saying this should be done right now! ;) It just needs to be proposed at some time in the first place so that the idea is out there; other skills may be suggested in the meantime, too (people have been toying with the idea of a downward builder or an upward digger of some sort). These aren't taking precedent over the shimmier either, but it's good to have them in the back of our heads.

As you can see, GigaLem would welcome the idea, and ccexplore doesn't seem to outright reject it either, since I understand his stance as "we can't predict how many puzzles people are going to create with this, especially if we slightly change the behaviour". namida has outlined where the challenges may lie, but also that some aspects of this are not as complicated as people may believe they are (like the colour change for ghost athletes).
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 IchoTolot

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Re: [Suggestion] Ghost as a skill
« Reply #15 on: October 27, 2018, 04:01:58 pm »
You still seem to miss the other point I made in the last post.

Ghosts were an an idea that:

A) Was discarded and did not work out before.
B) Was mostly disliked.
C) Only 2 people (namida and GigaLem) used it at all, due no interest for them.
D) One of these 2 people even pushed for the removal (namida).
E) The suggested rework (removing the fear effect) will make it even less interesting, while the fear itself is very fiddly.

So I am even against the "try it out later". We've got better things to add and we will have better ideas that the majority of people will enjoy.

Offline Proxima

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Re: [Suggestion] Ghost as a skill
« Reply #16 on: October 27, 2018, 04:04:28 pm »
I mainly ask this out of curiosity, but for how long did the ghost feature exist before its removal?

Offline IchoTolot

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Re: [Suggestion] Ghost as a skill
« Reply #17 on: October 27, 2018, 04:27:08 pm »
I mainly ask this out of curiosity, but for how long did the ghost feature exist before its removal?


The 2 packs featuring them were posted in early Dec 2015 and early July 2016. So they were in there for at least 7 months, which I would deem as enough of a timespan for people making levels with them if they were interested.

Packs:
1st Dec 2015: https://www.lemmingsforums.net/index.php?topic=2313.0
2nd July 2016: https://www.lemmingsforums.net/index.php?topic=2798.0

Offline Proxima

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Re: [Suggestion] Ghost as a skill
« Reply #18 on: October 27, 2018, 04:50:11 pm »
Seven months is not a long time. I've been working on GemLems for five months and I'm still on the first rank. We all have different amounts of real-life commitments, and it can be hard to squeeze in time to work on level creation.

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: [Suggestion] Ghost as a skill
« Reply #19 on: October 27, 2018, 05:22:08 pm »
Thanks for this question, Proxima! ;) Since IchoTolot's main argument seems to be that next to no-one liked and used ghosts when they were removed (failing to consider that several other people have joined the forums in the meantime), this is starting to fall apart right there:

Most packs of decent quality are at least several months in the making, if not a year. My first packs were rushed out pretty quickly, and as a consequence, their quality is a lot less consistent than my younger releases. namida seems to be able to create a lot of challenging levels + graphic sets in a very short amount of time, as demonstrated once again by Lemmings Plus VI. The majority of people however do take their time to develop larger packs:

SEB Lems took 16 months, Lemmings Stampede 1 year, Nepster Lems 10 months, Lemmings Evolution started in 2016 and isn't even finished yet.


If features can be added and removed in a shorter amount of time than it takes to create a level pack of 100 or more levels, that means there wasn't even enough time for someone to develop a pack idea on the basis that it would involve ghosts. In contrast, when I began working on Paralems, I knew there were zombies, and I specifically planned from what rank on I'd start introducing them, etc. Of course, that pack was released pretty quickly, but only because I threw everything in there that somehow came to my mind, I didn't know any specific guidelines or criteria for level quality yet back then. Once I started to get faimiliar with them, my level creation pace slowed down, and that meant Lemmings World Tour took almost a year as well.

Yes, people could potentially have created single ghost levels for contests or similar, but whether that is feasible or not also highly depends on the contest rules.


Considering a) the short amount of time the ghosts existed, and b) the number of people who have joined the forums since then, I'd say it's pretty certain that "no one liked it back then, so no one is going to like it now" is a premature conclusion. ;) It's fine if they are simply available, IchoTolot; it's not like you have to use them if you don't like them! ;)

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 IchoTolot

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Re: [Suggestion] Ghost as a skill
« Reply #20 on: October 27, 2018, 07:48:10 pm »
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Seven months is not a long time. I've been working on GemLems for five months and I'm still on the first rank. We all have different amounts of real-life commitments, and it can be hard to squeeze in time to work on level creation.

Since IchoTolot's main argument seems to be that next to no-one liked and used ghosts when they were removed (failing to consider that several other people have joined the forums in the meantime), this is starting to fall apart right there:

Most packs of decent quality are at least several months in the making, if not a year. My first packs were rushed out pretty quickly, and as a consequence, their quality is a lot less consistent than my younger releases. namida seems to be able to create a lot of challenging levels + graphic sets in a very short amount of time, as demonstrated once again by Lemmings Plus VI. The majority of people however do take their time to develop larger packs:

For packs, yes. But given not even 1 other single level has used them in over half a year and no other packs annouced to use them, this time period seems very appropriate. Also no contest entry made use of them either and no contest rule excluded them.

Also, I miss the huge crowd here demanding ghosts. Where are all the people really starving to use them? Until now only Giga clearly stated he likes them and he was indeed the only other person who used them earlier.
ccexplore stated they feel somewhat overpowered and "namida's opinion that the old ghost gimmick didn't ultimately contribute much is perhaps a good data point to take into account".
Proxima criticised the time period they were available.

If there was a great demand from a lot for them (not just very few people), I would step aside and while still dislikeing and criticising them, try to tolerate them.

Quote
I'd totally go with the "pick the rules for the next contest" option... and then make those rules "create a level involving a ghost or a gimmick"!

That would not be possible. The contest are held in NL new format and Lix only. Both of them don't cover gimmicks. Maybe you can convince Simon to include some more gimmicks in Lix. ;)

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It's fine if they are simply available, IchoTolot; it's not like you have to use them if you don't like them!

Yes, I don't have to use them, but I think they reduce the quality of the program by bringing not much new and increase clutter and complexity by a lot. That is my main concern and when I have to make a huge argument again then so shall it be. I care for the program, therefore I state my concerns (even if that makes me somewaht harsh in the eyes of some).

Also ultimately you will have to convince Nepster, not me. He needs to see the use and demand for them.

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: [Suggestion] Ghost as a skill
« Reply #21 on: October 27, 2018, 08:47:18 pm »
As said before, this is one of many possible skills we may reconsider after the addition of the majority-selected features of the shimmier, the jumper, and the limited-number exits.

While the shimmier and jumper are further Lemmings 2: The Tribes inserts, I always liked about NeoLemmix how it created skills that filled gaps, rather than providing as much redundancy as Lemmings 2. So things like a downward builder, upward digger, or gravity reversal as shown in Lemmings Revolution are all options as well.

For now, I just meant to get an idea of the current stance of the current forum members. I'm happy to see that, while there isn't a real demand for this yet (basically mainly me and GigaLem are pro-ghost), there doesn't seem to be outright disdain for them either (especially compared to recently removed stuff, like radiation and slowfreeze).

I guess / hope that we'll still get quite a few new forum members over the course of the next months or year, so we'll see how the opinion of the then active community may shift, once the shimmier, the jumper, and the limited exits are all implemented and stable ;) .
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 namida

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Re: [Suggestion] Ghost as a skill
« Reply #22 on: October 27, 2018, 10:39:16 pm »
Quote
or gravity reversal as shown in Lemmings Revolution are all options as well.

Gravity reversal has been ruled out on several occasions due to the coding complexity. Downward builder or upwards digger are - while not (as far as I know) in the current plans - feasible, if enough demand and real-world usefulness were to be shown.
My released level packs:
Lemmings Plus Series | Doomsday Lemmings

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: [Suggestion] Ghost as a skill
« Reply #23 on: October 27, 2018, 11:59:59 pm »
Quote
Gravity reversal has been ruled out on several occasions due to the coding complexity.

Ah yeah, that makes sense - it would be basically another gimmick ("no gravity 2.0" ;) ), just in object form. Especially considering how all skills are being inverted in Lemmings Revolution as well... yeah, a downward builder or upward digger would fill that gap equally well. Gravity reversal comes from a game that didn't have the luxury of a fencer, after all ;) .

So gravity reversal and skills that go into opposite directions by themselves would make each other redundant anyway. Genuine, independent skills are much more versatile than other skills having to rely on specific objects to fulfil the same goal. I guess that's also why many prefer bomber- and stoner pickup skills over radiation and slowfreeze.

Consequently, a ghost being an assignable skill would follow the same logic: having a skill > having an object.

So my proposal to reintroduce it in that form actually comes from a mindset that would argue against things like radiation and slowfreeze, rather than for them. It's not just me being attached to old stuff in general, just in case anyone believes that! ;) Reducing fiddly-ness in form of not bringing back the intimidation part is akin to culling radiation and slowfreeze, because where radiation lemmings were moving bombers and slowfreeze lemmings were moving stoners, a ghost with intimidate is a moving blocker.

While I guess you can come up with interesting solutions involving a ghost arriving just in time to turn around a builder or miner mid-performance, this seems even more fiddly than releasing a lemming in time to block in front of such a builder or miner. Because with a blocker, at least you have additional control over when you assign it - the ghost just affects the lemming when it happens to walk by, you can't really do that much to accelerate or delay him at this point.

Yes, you can of course turn the ghost into a blocker, too, but that nullifies its purpose in this regard, because that's what it does anyway. Blocker-stopped radiation / slowfreeze lemmings at least are an interaction, bombing and stoning in a restricted area, blockers to stop the lemming. But a ghost blocker is just a... double blocker? :D

Hence, I tend to view the ghost as a disarmer surrogate, more so than a moving blocker. But hey, I'll happily look at GigaLem's old packs again to see what other uses he's found for ghosts! Actually, his packs were what made me aware of them in the first place! ;)
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 Proxima

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Re: [Suggestion] Ghost as a skill
« Reply #24 on: October 28, 2018, 12:11:54 am »
So gravity reversal and skills that go into opposite directions by themselves would make each other redundant anyway.

Definitely not. At least, gravity reversal would make inverted skills redundant, but not the other way round. Gravity reversal on its own has a ton of potential for interesting puzzles that have no counterparts in single-gravity Lemmings, for example, upright lemmings working on a path to be used by inverted lemmings.

While I'm normally on the side of keeping the game as simple as possible, gravity reversal is one idea I could get behind -- it certainly proved its potential back in the Cheapo days. That said, of course I accept that it's a feature we almost certainly will never get in NL, because of the coding difficulty (as namida mentioned).

Offline IchoTolot

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Re: [Suggestion] Ghost as a skill
« Reply #25 on: October 28, 2018, 12:18:25 am »
I would be all up for a downwards builder for example. It is more difficult to carve a path downwards skillwise, even more diagonally. Stoners are perhaps the best option. A diagonally downwards constructive skill would fill a gap in my opinion.

Offline GigaLem

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Re: [Suggestion] Ghost as a skill
« Reply #26 on: October 28, 2018, 03:17:22 am »
You know, I'm close to putting my foot down on everyone here

1)I don't remember hearing nor reading that "Ghosts" were disliked
2)Barely anyone used them and and were culled before people could take full advantage of them.
3)This is simply a proposal, not a flame war. If you're gonna say we're not constantly rejecting everything, then be more accepting of ideas or suggest compromises or not constantly shoot down potential at every turn! This is why I'm led to believe that Neolemmix is stagnating. constant stress of these suggestion topics. Less gets suggested because most are expecting a huge NO. while more gets culled making pack developers more worried that they have to fix something they REALLY DON'T WANT TO.
4)how about instead of listing 7000 reasons ghosts should be a banned topic. how about instead suggest something that can make them intuitive. Make something that can make them less redundant. C'mon! If you have any ideas. Share them! I'd Like to hear em! seriously I'm to the point where I would literally just suggest that culling things should be halted for a good long while because im sick of Neolemmix being stripped of any fun it can have.

I don't like to snap like this. But seriously, I'm tired of seeing stuff like this on the forums. Now I understand why flopsy left the forums for a good while. This kind of stuff. Suggesting stuff shouldn't be like talking to a wall.

Offline Dullstar

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Re: [Suggestion] Ghost as a skill
« Reply #27 on: October 28, 2018, 04:27:50 am »
Are the older versions still available for download? If so, perhaps a demonstration of the ghost's potential is in order. Maybe someone could even set up a contest to try to make a level using the ghosts to try to get those creative juices flowing. I don't think there's any rule stopping regular users from setting up unofficial contests.

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: [Suggestion] Ghost as a skill
« Reply #28 on: October 28, 2018, 09:23:38 am »
@Dullstar: Indeed, exactly what I suggested! ;) For the official level design contests, IchoTolot has the power to put his own claim to the test :P - make such a contest and see how many people participate! :D

The main thing preventing people from participating at this point in time, though, may also be the technical shortcomings of version 1.43 in general, compared to the convenience of 10.13 and New Formats. Flopsy for example was really keen on gimmicks, but still quit the pack not only due to recording-related difficulties, but also due to the absence of things like true physics mode, splat ruler, skill shadows etc.

So for him, the drawbacks of version 1.43 seemed to outweigh the interesting aspects of gimmicks and ghosts. For me, obviously, they didn't - otherwise I wouldn't have created a pack of 170 levels for it :D . But I can imagine other people not willing to make that tradeoff.

Because yes, that version is still available on the NeoLemmix homepage; it's the one used in my pack Lemmicks. The link in my signature will take you to the pack thread, and there you can find a link taking you to version 1.43. ;)

Lemmicks also includes quite a few levels with ghosts, so give it a shot if you're interested! ;)

[/shameless self promotion]


@GigaLem: I think IchoTolot infers they were disliked from the fact that only the two of you, namida and GigaLem, used them. ;) That's not necessarily the case, though; a lot of people may just have been indifferent to them, or didn't know about them in the first place.

That's also the logic that leads to things being removed if they are only barely used - the default assumption is that no one else likes them, everyone who doesn't outright support them is counted in the "against" camp, and then it seems like a majority decision to remove this stuff, irrespective of the fact that it has no additional use for the remove-faction, but does irreversible damage to levels of the keep-faction.

There haven't been a lot of culls lately, but I can understand why you kept some of your packs in very Old Formats (1.43), because you didn't see a way to reasonably convert these levels to something not involving a ghost.

Quote
I don't think there's any rule stopping regular users from setting up unofficial contests.

There are some users who believe content should only be created for the latest version, but I'm not the only one "rebelling" against that ;) . Some people still like to use the old 10.13 editor, for the piece-replacement feature, if nothing else. I don't even know whether Arty might actually still be working on ArtLems in Old Formats.

And frankly, I don't care either; I have all three stable versions installed anyway, because for each of them there's content that can only be played in said format (GigaLems, Resident Giga Lems, and bsmith's level pack for 1.43; Lemmings Stampede, CasuaLemmings, and Lemmings Squared for 10.13; Clammings and Integral Lemmings for New Formats). So if I have to keep all of them installed anyway if I want to be able to play everything, I can just as well create content for either of them.

I don't regard any version as "outdated" or "old-fashioned" to use; I don't judge these different versions on the basis of their release date, but on the basis of features they can offer. With the impending introduction of the shimmier, New Formats is becoming more attractive to me now, but I still don't have any issues with 10.13 either, and I am always willing to do without some of the modern conveniences if someone comes up with new and interesting stuff that can only be done in 1.43.

Older stable versions are only outdated in the sense that they will no longer be updated and maintained, so issues that still exist in them won't get fixed; but in turn, for a level creator, that also means reliability, because he can be sure nothing will get removed or altered in its behaviour either ;) .


EDIT: So, I just discovered that apparently, it is no longer possible to open new topics in the "Levels for v10 or older" forum. Well, that won't stop ghost-friendly members; we can simply collect our level ideas elsewhere. But this also affects people who have started working on packs while 10.13 was still a thing - ArtLems, GemLems, and Lemmings Evolution come to mind.

This extremely authoritarian behaviour of its proponents is what turns me off New Formats the most! If New Formats were genuinely that superior, there wouldn't be a need to shut down competition like that. People were already gravitating to it by themselves in large measures, and even I have become more accepting of it. Let the free market of ideas take care of that!

Looks like I was really lucky to be able to sneak out Lemmings World Tour into that thread before this change was imposed. Maybe even the release of Lemmings World Tour was what caused that change in the first place.

PS: Although I see that GigaLem is a moderator in the v10-subforum as well, so he could probably remove that limitation again, since he seems to be veeery friendly towards ghosts :P ...
« Last Edit: October 28, 2018, 10:03:47 am by Strato Incendus »
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 Strato Incendus

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Re: [Suggestion] Ghost as a skill
« Reply #29 on: October 28, 2018, 12:37:21 pm »
Alright then, I've opened a thread for everyone who's eager to put those spooky Ghost lemmings to the test! GigaLem, Dullstar, anyone? ;)

https://www.lemmingsforums.net/index.php?topic=4031.0

I'm also going to carry that link around in my signature now, to make as many people as possible aware of it :D !
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 Simon

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Re: [Suggestion] Ghost as a skill
« Reply #30 on: October 28, 2018, 01:57:24 pm »
Unlock NL v10 level board: I assume namida locked it? I'll leave this decision to Nepster and namida.

I would keep it open: Either people have nothing about v10 to post, then the lock has no effect. Or people have already decided against the suggestion to work with v12 only, then the lock produces topics in less-related boards.

-- Simon

Offline IchoTolot

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Re: [Suggestion] Ghost as a skill
« Reply #31 on: October 28, 2018, 04:01:05 pm »
I'm done. :8():

Do what you seem is right.

I'm sick of people getting all riled up in conversations, get emotional and try to blame persons, because someone is not on their side in a conversation or does not support their believes.

Try to convince Nepster, then you get your wish.

Icho out. 8-)

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: [Suggestion] Ghost as a skill
« Reply #32 on: October 28, 2018, 04:19:07 pm »
Thanks, Simon, that would be very helpful indeed! ;)
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 namida

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Re: [Suggestion] Ghost as a skill
« Reply #33 on: October 28, 2018, 09:34:45 pm »
The block on new topics can be removed if Nepster wishes so (as the main maintainer of NeoLemmix); but until then, I believe keeping it closed is the best option, to reinforce the message that the old versions are kept available (and their packs listed) to avoid destroying old content that cannot be upgraded (or the creator is no longer around to update it, or in a few cases, the creator refuses to update it despite no barries to doing so), not to encourage creation of new content for outdated versions.
My released level packs:
Lemmings Plus Series | Doomsday Lemmings

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: [Suggestion] Ghost as a skill
« Reply #34 on: October 29, 2018, 11:03:30 pm »
Leaving a forum open in itself doesn't encourage anything; the only thing that can make people voluntarily use an older version are shortcomings of the newer version :P . Otherwise, why would anyone go back in the first place, if the new version did everything better than the former one?

And people who want to do that can simply post their packs in "In Development" and have them remain there. Or, as Simon correctly recognised, they're going to post them randomly in other subforums. Maybe just in the main "NeoLemmix levels" forum, where only packs for v12 are supposed to go.

At that point, you only have two options:
1) Move the thread to the closed v10 subforum, i.e. circumventing the block and thereby proving it pointless
2) Delete the thread hosting the new pack for v10. I don't believe anyone would favour that route ;) ...
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: [Suggestion] Ghost as a skill
« Reply #35 on: October 30, 2018, 05:27:06 pm »
Sorry for being somewhat late to the party... :-[

closed v10 subforum
As far as I can see, the "levels for V10" subboard is not locked at all. Has someone opened it in the meantime? I am totally ok with it being open.

Ghost as a skill - Do we need less code or will it be better readable?
I really don't see the big difference between having them as a skill and as a feature like zombies from a code-perspective. As a skill requires marginally less code for reading level files, but all the other code would basically be the same. Especially the interaction code of ghosts with skills, objects, normal lemmings, ... would be exactly the same - and this part was the major cause of pain in NeoLemmix V10.

Ghost as a skill - Does it really act like a skill?
If ghost would be implemented as a (permanent) skill, then you would get lots of weird interactions, because currently no lemming can use two skills at the same time. Permanent skills are only used to change the skill state under certain conditions: So either we would have some state "ghost" for lemmings, which would mean that ghost could do nothing else (and would even transform to usual lemmings upon falling down). Or the permanent ghost skill would trigger some state change upon certain conditions, like finding some trigger area, but this has two problems: In all other states it would be a perfectly normal lemming (so we can't implement fear e.g. and there might be a lot of other more subtle issues) and secondly it is not obvious to what state it should transform to? Even if we add another ghost state just for that purpose, then it would simply stop doing any other skill when encountering such a trigger, which we certainly don't want. And even more problematic is transforming from the "falling" state to the "ghost" state... 
What I want to say with all of this: If we want ghosts as a skill, they will have to behave drastically different from the old ghosts. Otherwise the base assumptions about what a skill is will be violated.

Just copy-paste the code
Even in Python this wouldn't work nearly as well as you would think: There are a lot of other classes that tie in with the lemmings, which would have to behave differently when encountering a ghost. Even ignoring that lemmings currently aren't even honest objects and assuming you could just subclass them to create ghosts (which would be a LOT better than just copying the code and would fix most the copy-paste problems Simon mentioned very early on in this thread), you would have to:
- Of course overwrite all the object interaction code, as you already mentioned.
- Overwrite a lot of the recoloring code: First of all to create the usual ghosts sprites, then to get variations on special occasions like when hovering over them with the mouse cursor.
- Overwrite a lot of the lemming counting code, e.g. to determine when there are still enough lemmings around to complete the level, when to quit a level as there are no more living lemmings, ...
- Overwrite a lot of the lemming state change code, e.g. because ghosts will not drown when falling into water and will not splat when hitting from high above assuming they land in water.
- Add a lot of to the general skill-handling code: From displaying a skill image in the skill bar to checking for this skill in talismans, there are a lot of places, where new skills have some impact. Most of them will automatically adapt once you add the ghost skill to the correct enums, but there are a few cases, which need manual modifications.
- If you code the "fear" aspect (which was in my opinion the major point in favor of keeping ghosts in the first place, because it was something really unique), you would have to write a lot of completely new code to handle this, or you would have to copy all the zombie trigger area map and adapt to to the fear aspect. But this would mean copying a lot of code, which is distributed among a lot of different methods and is not at all in one place.
Even then you will have to make sure this code is bug-free. And given all the problems and glitches we had with getting static force fields working correctly, I really don't want to deal with moving ones...

Lemmings code is really stable now - Is it really?
Physics-wise it probably is, though you would still have to do a major change to the copied code once the shimmier comes out, because the shimmier requires changes to a lot of other skills to define the correct skill (state) interaction. If you then had modified any part in the ghost code, I wish you a lot of happy merging all the changes. ;P (or rather :devil::devil:)
However there are still quite a few bugs in the sourrounding code, which might require changes to the lemmings code: IchoTolot found a bug recently, that allows you to assign two skills on the same frame, if you edit the replay file. If you copy the ghost code, are you really sure that any fix for usual lemmings would automatically avoid assinging a skill to both a normal lemming and a ghost in the same frame?

TL;DR: I don't think "ghosts" will work as a skill in the gimmick fashion at all, due to the definition of a "skill" that NeoLemmix uses. Moreover the "fear" mechanic would be incredibly susceptible to glitches in corner-cases, so would need a lot of work.

PS: At the time when we were discussing culling the ghost gimmick, I initially argued for keeping ghosts as I felt it had even more potential than zombies. However due to the code mess and the possible glitch problems, namida and others convinced me that removing it was (and still is) the correct decision.

Offline Simon

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Re: [Suggestion] Ghost as a skill
« Reply #36 on: October 30, 2018, 06:01:07 pm »
All right, changed v10 level board from (No New Topics) to (Default) and moved the Ghost level sharing topic to 10 levels.

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Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: [Suggestion] Ghost as a skill
« Reply #37 on: October 30, 2018, 06:10:46 pm »
Thanks for the reply and the detailed explanations, Nepster!

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Sorry for being somewhat late to the party... :-[

No problem, we all know you've been busy with a lot of other stuff lately ;) !

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As far as I can see, the "levels for V10" subboard is not locked at all. Has someone opened it in the meantime? I am totally ok with it being open.

It looks like that, since the description has just been changed, too, only containing the line that content creation for v10 and older is discouraged. ;) Great that this has been dealt with quickly, and to know that you're on board with it! ;)

Just to be clear, I was not even arguing out of self-interest here ;) ; my next pack is going to be for New Formats anyway, since I'm quite sure the shimmier will be available by that time. I just think if I had the chance to release Lemmings World Tour for Old Formats, so should other content creators, especially those who have been working on their packs for quite a while (because I'm not certain that ArtLems, Lemmings Evolution, GemLems etc. are all entirely New Formats already).

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If ghost would be implemented as a (permanent) skill, then you would get lots of weird interactions, because currently no lemming can use two skills at the same time.

Good point, I hadn't thought of that! :) I only considered that it's obviously possible for one lemming to have several skills at a time (like an X-Athlete, who can still additionally go on to build / platform / bash / mine / fence / dig etc.)., but not that it's impossible to perform two skills at a time.

So the question would be whether a ghost is always performing his skill, or if he only switches to ghost form whenever he encounters an object he has to slip by. If so, many of the tricks I mentioned, like mining at the bottom of a water pit or building out of fire, would not be possible, because the ghost would be busy... well, "ghosting" :D .

Of course, the main counter argument here would be that a walker is also a skill; yet, Lemmings are being walkers constantly, and walkers can also be assigned other skills. ;) The same is true for the cloner.

The main issue with the ghost is that it would have to be a permanent skill, and the trademark of all permanent skills to date is that you cannot assign anything to them while they are being performed - apart from bombers and stoners.

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- Overwrite a lot of the lemming counting code, e.g. to determine when there are still enough lemmings around to complete the level, when to quit a level as there are no more living lemmings, ...

Yes, in that regard, ghosts indeed would have to be treated like zombies again: Lemmings that are around, but do not count. Other lethal skills obviously don't have this problem, because bombers and stoners remove the lemming from the map entirely.

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- If you code the "fear" aspect (which was in my opinion the major point in favor of keeping ghosts in the first place, because it was something really unique), you would have to write a lot of completely new code to handle this, or you would have to copy all the zombie trigger area map and adapt to to the fear aspect. But this would mean copying a lot of code, which is distributed among a lot of different methods and is not at all in one place.
Even then you will have to make sure this code is bug-free. And given all the problems and glitches we had with getting static force fields working correctly, I really don't want to deal with moving ones...

The fear aspect really has me thinking now; I'm beginning to realise that I used it in more of my own ghost levels than I was consciously aware of. This is also the strongest argument for ghost being a type of lemming, like zombie, rather than a skill, because the "ignore objects" and "intimidate lemmings" parts are to completely different things.

I'd say the only other skill that really does two different things is the glider, considering it's regular behaviour vs. how that behaviour is altered considerably when they come into contact with updrafts (and then again, only if they open up their gliding sail at the correct height to still be inside the trigger area, and not even just with the sail, but with their feet, etc.). At the same time, gliders are what I repeatedly called the most versatile skill in NeoLemmix, for precisely the same reason, thereby also offering a lot of "design space" for level creators. This means you can create level ideas involving gliders going in totally different directions, and the same is likely true for ghosts. This is what I want to explore in the "Ghost level sharing thread" ;) .

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because ghosts will not drown when falling into water and will not splat when hitting from high above assuming they land in water.

I know this was just meant to be an example, so I don't want to be overly nit-picky, but the latter part is not correct: Since ghosts ignore water like any other objects, they will indeed splat at the bottom of a water pit if there's ground underneath, and fall out of the screen if there is none, i.e. if the water is the last piece before the edge of the level.

What you are describing there is the behaviour of swimmers ;) . Since ghosts can't ever interact with water at all, in theory one wouldn't even need swimmer sprites for ghosts. That said, ghosts still can be assigned the swimmer skill, if the player choses to, it's just pointless. Just like making a ghost a disarmer :D .

Ghosts also don't interact with updrafts, however, the glider isn't completely wasted on them, because they can still move in the regular glider-like fashion, i.e. to cross downward-trending gaps that haven't been sealed yet with builders or platformers.

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All right, changed v10 level board from (No New Topics) to (Default) and moved the Ghost level sharing topic to 10 levels.

Thanks, Simon! That topic is for "v10 and older", after all (because ghosts aren't available in v10 either).


TL;DR: GigaLem, me, and whoever else wants to join the spooky party :D are going to keep running ghosts through all their gears in the ghost level sharing topic, and just see what we can come up with for fun. No one of us is expecting this matter to be settled for New Formats anytime soon. There are other skills that the majority of the forum has voted on, and they obviously should be focused on first :) . In the meantime, ghosts are just one of many possible ways to add skills or "lemming types" in the future; adding new lemming types, after all, isn't a completely foreign idea in New Formats, harking back to the discussion of "neutral lemmings" (=non-assignable, but saveable, i.e. the opposite of ghosts).

So if one day it comes down to whether we should rather add neutral lemmings or bring back ghosts, I'd always go with ghosts first! :D
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