Author Topic: Lemmings Arcade Prototype  (Read 651 times)

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Offline The Tomato Watcher

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Lemmings Arcade Prototype
« on: November 20, 2018, 04:17:51 am »
I want to have a discussion on the Arcade Prototype of Lemmings, as I rarely see any mention of it on the internet. I've looked at it, and it is a pretty strange game. I find it to be an interesting piece of Lemmings history.

Offline Nepster

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Re: Lemmings Arcade Prototype
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2018, 05:23:18 pm »
Thanks for mentioning the Arcade Prototype. Until now I had no clue somthing like this ever existed! :thumbsup:
Youtube (of course) has some videos of music and gameplay, e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=198upI50R2I
The most interesting aspect for me was the usage of instant bombers instead of the usual timed ones! :lem-mindblown:

Offline The Tomato Watcher

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Re: Lemmings Arcade Prototype
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2018, 03:09:47 am »
After playing it myself, I noticed a ton of tiny differences and quirks (some that are obviously due to it being unfinished, and others that might be intentional).
  • Builders build 13 stairs instead of 12
  • Bombers' explosions are larger (which can be a blessing and a curse)
  • Diggers' positions are inside the ground (especially troublesome when trying to make a digger build)
  • Miners are even slower
  • Bashers are quite... finicky... to say the least
  • Floaters' umbrellas make a sound when they open
  • All of the lemmings' voice clips have been redone
  • Every song plays at an extremely slow pace

I'm sure there's more I failed to mention...

Offline Minim

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Re: Lemmings Arcade Prototype
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2018, 06:43:52 am »
Quote from: Flopsy on Youtube

This actually works very well as an arcade machine, I wonder if it controls with a roller ball type thing for the cursor like some Philips CDi controllers had.
The timer is a bit of a meanie though, the person playing the cabinet was pretty good and still lost a credit only 4 levels in!

I agree with that timer. Why does the clock go down so fast?

Also, I wonder what the mystery levels are? See if there's any unique ones we can add to the Extra Official Levels pack. I also noticed for a split second that in the levels menu the cursor hovered over the "Look Before You Leap" level title. Did they really incorporate Oh No Levels in the arcade?
The user formerly known as minimac

Offline ccexplore

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Re: Lemmings Arcade Prototype
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2018, 11:41:12 am »
I agree with that timer. Why does the clock go down so fast?

Clearly a ploy to get more quarters out of the player. :-\

[edit: quarter = 25-cent coin in US currency, the largest commonly used coin both in physical size and monetary value (half-dollars are rarely seen).  Arcade machines here typically take quarters]
« Last Edit: November 21, 2018, 10:14:04 pm by ccexplore »

Offline Raymanni

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Re: Lemmings Arcade Prototype
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2018, 12:49:32 pm »
Now that this came up, I decided to blow the dust off of my old mame and give this version a shot. I should try to rip sprites from it, maybe there's something interesting to be found.

Offline The Tomato Watcher

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Re: Lemmings Arcade Prototype
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2018, 05:31:35 am »
Quote from: Flopsy on Youtube

Also, I wonder what the mystery levels are? See if there's any unique ones we can add to the Extra Official Levels pack. I also noticed for a split second that in the levels menu the cursor hovered over the "Look Before You Leap" level title. Did they really incorporate Oh No Levels in the arcade?
The "Look Before You Leap" title is just used for a regular Lemmings level. A few levels throughout the game have been given new titles. My personal favorite is the renaming of "From The Boundary Line" (Tricky 23) -- repeat of "Patience" (Fun 12) -- to "Who Used All The Blockers?". As for the "Mystery Levels", so far, there's nothing special. Just late-Mayhem levels. I say so far because they included "Mind The Step...". This wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the fact that builders only turn around when their heads hit terrain, and not their feet. When trying to build out of the thick platform on the far right, the lemming will not turn around, and one of three things happen next:
  • The lemming walks over the wall and falls to the void below
  • The lemming builds through the wall because you clicked him in quick succession out of desperation
  • If you dug to the very bottom out of desperation, the lemming turns around, but most likely off the platform, because you dug too low
If there weren't multiple lemmings on this level on this version, the level would be unbeatable. And even with multiple lemmings, it's still a pain in the neck.
WHOA, I've certainly gone on a tangent, haven't I?

Offline The Tomato Watcher

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Re: Lemmings Arcade Prototype
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2018, 02:22:46 am »
Alright, I've gotten through the whole game at this point. The last two levels are the same as the last two from the original. After beating the last level, you are taken back to level 45 (yes, that is strange). Something I noticed was that the number of skills would reset after using a continue, which could lead to cheesy solutions at times. :P

Offline Proxima

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Re: Lemmings Arcade Prototype
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2018, 02:25:52 am »
I know it would be a trouble, but would it be possible for you to post a complete list of levels?

Offline The Tomato Watcher

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Re: Lemmings Arcade Prototype
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2018, 03:12:35 am »
Oh, it wouldn't be so bad. Besides, I enjoy making lists. :) You'll just have to wait a while.

Offline ccexplore

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Re: Lemmings Arcade Prototype
« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2018, 12:20:39 pm »
I played it through the holidays and was going to post about it eventually, but in the meantime here's the list of levels I had already compiled as part of that post, so here you go:

(rankings)
Training: 1-8
Beginner: 9-24
Hard: 25-40
Very very hard: 41-56
Mystery: 57-67

1. Just dig!
2. Now use miners and climbers
3. You need bashers this time
4. A task for blockers and bombers
5. Only floaters can survive this
6. Tailor-made for blockers
7. Builders will help you here
8. This should be a doddle!
9. One way digging to freedom
10. Izzie Wizzie lemmings get busy*
11. The ascending pillar scenario*
12. Tribute to M.C. Escher
13. Tightrope City
14. I have a cunning plan
15. We all fall down
16. Better Look Both Ways*  [The Crankshaft / Origin and Lemmings]
17. Rainbow Island
18. Look Before You Leap*  [How Do I Dig Up The Way? / A Ladder Would Be Handy]
19. Every Lemming for himself!!!*
20. Bomboozal
21. Follow the leader...
22. Down, along, up. In that order*
23. Poles Apart
24. Just a Minute...
25. The Steel Mines of Kessel
26. Just a Minute (Part Two)
27. Cascade
28. The Island of the Wicker People
29. Lost something?
30. If at first you don't succeed
31. Compression Method 1
32. The Art Gallery
33. Perseverance
34. Feel the heat!
35. But How Do I Dig Up?*  [King of the Castle / Lemming Sanctuary In Sight]
36. Take a running jump.....
37. It's hero time!
38. The Crossroads
39. Last one out is a rotten egg!*
40. Curse of the Pharaohs*
41. The Great Lemming Caper
42. The Fast Food Kitchen...*
43. With a twist of lemming please
44. All or Nothing
45. Turn around young lemmings!
46. Livin' On The Edge*
47. Upsidedown World*
48. Mary Poppins' land*
49. Walk the web rope
50. POOR WEE CREATURES!
51. Steel Works*
52. The Boiler Room*
53. One way or another
54. Pillars of Hercules*
55. Pea Soup
56. Time to get up!
57. Have a nice day!
58. Who Used All The Blockers?  [From the Boundary Line / Patience]
59. Watch out, there's traps about
60. Come on over to my place
61. Triple Trouble
62. Call in the bomb squad
63. The Far Side*
64. Stepping Stones
65. Mind the step.....
66. Save Me*
67. Rendezvous at the Mountain

Levels marked with * have terrain or object modifications compared to corresponding level in Amiga/DOS Lemmings.  I'll detail them later, but generally the changes are nothing to write home about, and often just shorten a level by placing the exit closer to entrance and vice versa.

Many other levels not marked may also have skillset changes; I'll make a note of those in a later post, as it takes time to look up and compare skillsets between arcade vs DOS/Amiga.  The point is, you may see some levels early in the list that come from rather late rankings in Amiga/DOS, but not necessarily with the exact skillset as Amiga/DOS; the arcade version is likely simplified with the addition of some skills that aren't available in the Amiga/DOS counterpart (though rarely if ever like the easy versions in Amiga/DOS where they just give you N of everything).

Levels with [title in DOS/Amiga Lemmings] are where they come up with new level title in the arcade prototype.

After level 67 the game goes back to level 45, so I guess it never ends until you stop feeding it coins, or you just stop playing.  Or maybe they just haven't programmed in a proper ending yet for this prototype.

The most important gameplay differences are:  A) every level starts with 25 lemmings;  B) You only need to save 1 lemming minimum to move onto next level;  C) the timer is global across all levels.

Specifically, whatever timer value you ended previous level with, that's what you'd start the next level with.  It also doesn't reset if you nuke to restart a level.  The timer counts down whenever you are inside a level, even when paused (but does not speed up when you fast forward).  Whenever the timer runs out, player is prompted to spend another credit to continue playing (upon which the timer resets to 3:00 or similar).  So basically the timer is there to make the player spends money proportional to time spent playing.  Oh, and when you continue this way, the game will reset the skills in the current level back to what the level starts with, so in effect you gain extra skills you can use on the level not otherwise available.  Not sure if this is a feature or a bug.

Now, the game does give you bonus time every now and then after you complete a level, I think maybe based on how many lemmings total you've saved so far across all the levels you've played (I haven't really worked out the details on this). [edit: removed incorrect information]  The ranked player list also seems to rank first on total number of lemmings saved, although given the prototype loops back to level 45 after the last level, it seems to me you can still achieve #1 on that list without bothering to save much lemmings per level, if you simply cycle through the levels enough times.

The arcade prototype supports 2-player mode as well, featuring 16 levels, and I don't know how similar or different they are from the Amiga 2-player levels.  Will report more in future.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2018, 02:57:47 pm by ccexplore »

Offline ccexplore

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Re: Lemmings Arcade Prototype
« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2018, 12:38:17 pm »
I say so far because they included "Mind The Step...". This wouldn't be so bad if<snip>

When I played it I decided from the outset it was just too much of a chore to do it the intended way, so I took the ceiling route instead.  Because in this arcade prototype, lemmings can walk all the way up to ceiling level beyond the top level boundary (and survive), and they do clip all the terrain outside the level boundary so it's all walkable up there as long as there is ceiling terrain.  So just build to the ceiling, walk across and dig down.  It also helps that I don't have to save all the lemmings (though it wouldn't be that much more difficult to do so).

I did something similar with "Stepping Stone" as well (where I can climb to the ceiling), just so I don't have to deal with all that building.  Too bad there's no ceiling I can use in "Pea Soup" which is another builder-heavy level.

Offline The Tomato Watcher

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Re: Lemmings Arcade Prototype
« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2018, 02:17:10 pm »
It gives you bonus time after the first level you clear (either after starting a game or using a continue).

Offline ccexplore

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Re: Lemmings Arcade Prototype
« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2018, 03:02:08 pm »
Thanks for clarifying.  I replayed some levels again and it does look like what you said above is the only way to get the bonus time, somehow I fooled myself into thinking initially that it was also related to lemmings saved, even though I later did notice the relation between doing a continue and getting bonus time.  (At that point I also stopped trying to save lots of lemmings, noticing that I only need to save one to move on.)

Offline ccexplore

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Re: Lemmings Arcade Prototype
« Reply #14 on: November 26, 2018, 07:03:50 am »
Here are more details on differences between the arcade levels and their Amiga/DOS counterpart.  (Warning: long post ahead)

(Note: there might be some miscellaneous changes to decorative terrain that I might have missed here and there, where they are totally out of the way of normal solutions.  For the most part though the levels are pretty accurate straight ports of the original, so I expect such changes if any to be rare.  Level area width seems same as original, given levels like "Rendezvous at the Mountain" can be ported as-is.)

First let's start with the few that are meaningfully different:

16. Better Look Both Ways (Crankshaft)

This level is turned into the first 2-entrance level in the game.  The exit is moved two sections over left from where it used to be, and the section where the exit used to be is the other entrance.  Also 10 bashers are added to the skillset compared to DOS Crankshaft (so now 10 of everything).  No terrain changes.

18. Look Before You Leap (How Do I Dig Up The Way?)

Another conversion to 2-entrance level.  The second entrance is of course on the right side.  The exit is moved to the valley in the middle just above the water, on an extra platform at the middle of the lake, with a gap each on both its left and right sides that you need to build over.  No other terrain nor skillset changes.

35. But How Do I Dig Up?  (King of the Castle)

Um, just see attached screenshot for the terrain and skillset changes.  Basically made the level somewhat more like "The Boiler Room", though I guess you can also take an outside route as well.

-----

Now the other levels with more minor terrain or object changes.  In many cases the changes seem to specifically reduce the amount of building needed.
[unless otherwise noted, assume no terrain nor skillset changes.  Unlike DOS version, the water/lava/acid etc. you see in Amiga version are all kept in the arcade port.]

10. Izzie Wizzie lemmings get busy:  entrance moved two over to the right, to the 3rd "bowl" from the left, with lemmings landing on left side of bowl rather than in its middle.

11. The ascending pillar scenario:  entrance moved to middle (4th) pillar.  10 blockers and 10 bombers added to skillset.

19. Every Lemming for himself:  exit moved two over to the left, so you only need to build over 1 gap instead of 3.  Skillset changed to 5 of each skill except for miners and diggers (still none for those two).

22. Down, along, up. In that order:  exit moved down to the bottom-most of the 5 floating platform, the other 4 floating platforms are removed.

39. Last one out is a rotten egg:  the one-way wall (just the object, not the wall terrain itself) is removed, so you can mine through it from the left if you want.  (one-way walls do exist in this port so it's not just a general removal of one-way walls.)

40. Curse of the Pharaohs:  the pyramid has some weird gaps, almost makes me wonder if they are really intended or not.  See attached screenshot.

42. The Fast Food Kitchen:  The two entrances are both moved closer to the exit, specifically over to the other side of the obstacles you'd normally have to bash or otherwise trailblaze through.

46. Livin' On The Edge:  The exit is moved two over to the left so that you only have to build across 4 gaps instead of 6.  The pillar to the right of the one where the exit is now moved to, is removed, as are the bricks (but not the other terrain) where the exit used to sit.

47. Upsidedown World:  The one-way wall object (but not the terrain) near the exit is removed.

48. Mary Poppin's land:  the uphill and steel column is followed immediately on the right by an added symmetric downhill, instead of the usual sheer vertical drop.  See attached screenshot.

51. Steel Works:  the exit is moved to sit on the floating steel block at the middle of the lake.

52. The Boiler Room:  miscellaneous terrain changes near the exit area, but doesn't really affect the solution.  See attached screenshot.

54. Pillars of Hercules:  the two exits are placed at floor level rather than on top of tall pillars.  The two tall pillars with the exits are removed.

63. The Far Side:  exit is moved to ground level rather than sitting on the row of 4 steels blocks, which are removed.

66. Save Me:  the steel platforms at the exit area are much more offset from each other, so you don't need to do the build+block trick there, you can just block.  6 bombers are added to skillset and number of builders increased to 40.

-----

Finally, RR- and/or skillset-only changes (again, nothing to write home about; generally you get more than the original version):

(training levels):  release rates [RR] are changed to 80 where they used to be 50, except for the builder level where it is changed to 60.  The miner+climber level also has RR changed to 60.  (However, see later remark on how the arcade version's RR value translates differently to spawn interval. So the RR changes are actually not as radical as it might sound, in fact it seems more like it's done to keep things similar to the spawn intervals used in the original versions.  That said, of the other 59 levels, only 4 have their RR values changed from the original.)

"Just dig!" has 10 bashers and 10 miners added to the skillset in addition to the usual 10 diggers.
miner+climber level has number of climbers increased to 25 to match every level having 25 lemmings in the arcade port.  Similarly, the floater level now has 30 floaters.

Tribute to M.C. Escher: skillset changed to 5 climbers, 5 floaters, 5 bombers, 5 blockers, 10 builders and 5 bashers.
Tightrope City:  number of builders increased from 3 to 5 (so 5 of each skill).
We all fall down: RR changed to 60.  Interestingly number of diggers stay at 20, even though level has 25 lemmings.
Follow the leader:  RR changed to 30, number of builders increased from 7 to 10.
Poles Apart:  skillset changed to 4 climbers, no floaters, 2 bombers, 2 blockers, 6 builders, 6 bashers and 4 diggers.
Just a Minute:  skillset changed to 80(!) climbers, 80 floaters, and 10 each of the other six skills.
The Steel Mines of Kessel:  1 basher added to skillset.  Like the Amiga/Mac etc. versions and unlike DOS version, you get 10 each (instead of 20 each as in DOS) of bombers, blockers and builders.
Just a Minute (Part Two):  the 5 bombers in the original skillset are removed.
Cascade:  skillset changed to 1 climber, 30 floaters, 5 bombers, 2 blockers, 10 builders, 2 bashers, 2 miners and 5 diggers.
If at first you don't succeed:  skillset changed to 10 of each skill.
Compression Method 1:  skillset changed to 2 floaters, 5 bombers, 5 blockers, 5 builders, 10 bashers and 4 diggers.
The Crossroads:  number of bashers reduced from 20 to 10.
The Great Lemming Caper:  skillset changed to 2 of each skill.
With a twist of lemming please:  number of builders increased from 4 to 5.
All or Nothing:  skillset changed to 10 bombers, 10 builders and 10 bashers.
POOR WEE CREATURES:  RR changed to 50, no skillset change.
Who Used All The Blockers? (From the Boundary Line):  RR changed to 70, no skillset change.
Triple Trouble:  skillset changed to 20 of each skill.  Also, the pattern in which lemmings come out of the 3 entrances is ABCABC... rather than ABCBABCB... of the original.
Mind the step:  skillset changed to 10 bombers, 10 blockers, 30 builders, 30 bashers and 30 diggers.

[edit: one more thing below]

Rendezvous at the Mountain has no apparent terrain, object nor skillset changes, but the fall from the left entrance is fatal in the arcade port.  Also on the right side, it seems the level area's right boundary is located more to the left on this port, so the lemmings can't fall off on the right end in this level, instead they hit the invisible boundary and do a glitchy turnaround (more details in another post).

------------

Miscellaneous remarks:

In this arcade port it seems generally objects cannot be made to be displayed behind terrain.  In most cases this just results in ugly looking water where it meets terrain that normally covers up the water edges.  Then again, this also causes "Lost Something?" to be pointless due to the exit not properly hidden from view, and similarly the traps in "Compression Method 1" are visible at all times (though one might argue that's an improvement).

RR in the original game works as follows: at RR 99 the spawn interval (distance between consecutive lemmings in pixels) is 4, then for every decrease of 2 in RR, the spawn interval increases by 1.
RR in the arcade port works instead as follows: at RR 99 the spawn interval is 2, but then for every decrease of just 1 in RR, the spawn interval increases by 1.

So while at RR 99 the lemmings are packed twice as dense as the original, in other levels where the RR value is kept same as original, the lemmings are actually coming out almost twice as slow as original.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2018, 09:33:26 am by ccexplore »