Author Topic: Shmolems  (Read 678 times)

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Offline Shmolem

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Shmolems
« on: May 03, 2019, 12:44:34 am »
I have just started making a level pack and have decided to call it Shmolems based on my username it will have five rankings not sure what to call them yet and not sure on how many levels per rank but I will decide that as time goes on. Quick update nearly finished the Learning rank two more levels to go! :D 
« Last Edit: May 06, 2019, 04:14:11 am by Shmolem »

Offline Shmolem

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Re: Shmolems
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2019, 08:52:03 pm »
I have finished the Learning rank in Shmolems! With 10 levels in it it is supposed to teach you all the lemmings skills or just refresh yourself on them. :D The next rank is called Simple. The level in the first picture is called Look Out! and the second is Burrowing Down.


« Last Edit: May 06, 2019, 04:28:16 am by Shmolem »

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: Shmolems
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2019, 12:11:35 pm »
Do you have any screenshots? ;) You can export images of any given level by pressing "i" for "image" while on the level preview screen when in test mode in the editor.

Uploading some level images (I use Imgur for that) and embedding them into your posts here on the forums via BBCode is a great way to create interest in your pack!

I pretty much made Colorful Arty let's-play my pack Lemmings World Tour more or less solely based on the preview screenshots I shared in the development thread... :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 Shmolem

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Re: Shmolems
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2019, 05:53:29 pm »
Ok I’ll try to get some screenshots soon by the way don’t expect to much of me design wise these are the very first levels I’ve made.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2019, 06:07:18 pm by Shmolem »

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: Shmolems
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2019, 12:16:56 pm »
No problem! ;) Thanks a lot - these look like they are simple, but fun!

A quick tip, before I have even played any of your levels: If you're doing small levels, don't provide an overabundance of skills.

Even small and easy levels can feel very rewarding when the number of skills exactly works out. I think that is the reason why nearly everyone here on the forum loves e.g. "1-of-everything" levels.

In contrast, when such a level just gives you ten of every skill, even though it's clearly visible you don't need that many, such levels become boring right away.

So just keep the skill count low and you should be fine! ;)
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 Shmolem

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Re: Shmolems
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2019, 09:45:31 pm »
Thanks I kept the skill set to the bare minimum on every level. Also some levels from Simple! first picture: level is called Turn Around! Second: level is called The Power of Three.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2019, 01:58:46 am by Shmolem »

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: Shmolems
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2019, 09:18:54 am »
Again, these look simple, but nice! ;)

Are you planning to release some levels in this thread for actual testing? I'm doing that for my upcoming pack Lemmings Open Air - whenever I have completed 30 levels, I post a batch of them so eager backroute-seekers can run them through all the gears, and also comment on their difficulty so as to make suggestions whether they should go in a higher or lower rank in the pack.

Even though, now that I see how many and frequent updates IchoTolot is posting to Lemmings United despite the extensive testing period in which I have participated, I'm starting to doubt how much use pre-release testing has, anyway :D . I was accused by someone for not having done a testing phase for Lemmings World Tour, but honestly, people still seem to find so many backroutes after the official release that it barely makes a difference.

That said, Let's Players usually only start their LPs on YouTube once a pack has been officially release. So if you hope to see your pack LPed on day and want to see fewer backroutes in those videos, pre-releasing some levels might be a good idea. :)
« Last Edit: May 07, 2019, 03:15:34 pm by Flopsy »
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: Shmolems
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2019, 11:49:16 am »
Quote
Even though, now that I see how many and frequent updates IchoTolot is posting to Lemmings United despite the extensive testing period in which I have participated, I'm starting to doubt how much use pre-release testing has, anyway :D . I was accused by someone for not having done a testing phase for Lemmings World Tour, but honestly, people still seem to find so many backroutes after the official release that it barely makes a difference.

As a certified tester by the German Testing Board I cannot let this satement stand there uncommentated. :devil:

For buisness programs more than 50% of the rescources is put into pre-release testing and for a good reason: Fixing bugs early reduces the cost of fixing these by a a large ammount and prevents after-release damage. Just compare it to trying to make massive fixes to a tileset after many users have created levels with it --> lots of broken stuff.

It makes all the difference in the world even for United! It seems like you only counted the number of updates and not how big the updates were and which parts they effected. ;)

Also the testing period was everything else but extensive:

Large parts of United remained untested after the tesing period and as a result I chose a different update strategy in United: Don't gather fixes for an update and get them out as soon as they are ready regardless of the size. That reduces the time backroute heavy levels take to become somewhat stable as new versions get re-tested way more quickly while the players interest is still fresh.

I abrupted the testing period prematurely as the only tester still sending in replays was "done testing" and wanted to play a full release version. Therefore only rank 1 was tested more than once and only rank 2 and 3 were tested otherwise by 1 person!

Most updates United has received came from parts not tested in the tesing phase and for that I can deliver exact statistics. :8():

Statistics on United's updates up to version 5.6:

Tested parts updates: 18

Multiple testers have tested these parts before: 6

Only 1 testers has tested these parts before 12

Untested parts updates: 28

Updates on both tested+untested parts: 1

Total number of updates: 47

You can clearly see a difference between multiple testers have tested these parts, one tester has tested these parts and no tester has tested these parts.
On top of that the updates on the no tester has tested these parts section was only rank 4 and less than half 5 currently, so not even the full span.

Also after I began letting my contest levels be pre-tested these levels rarely go to V3 if they even reach that number. They had more versions in private testing yes, but exactly there you see the power of it.



After that little section let's get back to Shmolems: :)

I highly recommend picking tester/s for pre-release testing as you can imagine. ;P

Also from the pictures I noticed a few visual things you could improve before a release. Example Burrowing Down (the crystal level):

- Smooth out and align corners and smooth terrain pieces. Look at the pipe rectangle's corners for example, I see them not aligning properly in the top right and both bottom corners making them feel/look kinda off. In quite a few level pictures here I can see not properly aligned blocks and an easy fix could really improve the visual feeling. :)

- Layering. Think about what shall be displayed at the front and what to hide at the back. Example the middle horizontal pipe: Currently it overlapps at the rectangles edges and simply ends there and therefore looking odd. I would bet making it the back layer would improve the visuals. The same with the diagonal pipes: I bet putting them behing the horizontal one looks way smoother. ;)

From the other levels I also noticed 1 more thing:

- Look out for block edges/borders. You used quite a few non-border blocks that are part of bigger ones as single pieces. Without the otherwise present block edges in this tileset they look a bit off again. Another border conflict would be the connection between the red and green block rows at the bottom in the circus level.

If you are looking for a person for pre-release testing you can send me the pack and I'll take a look at it. ;) I might sound a bit unintentionally harsh sometimes, but I can guarantee you that if something feels wrong that I will 100% tell you!
« Last Edit: May 07, 2019, 03:15:59 pm by Flopsy »

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: Shmolems
« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2019, 02:26:58 pm »
@IchoTolot: Thanks for the insight! ;)

I guess this means the problem is not that testing itself wouldn't allow to fix a lot of backroutes - it certainly does, especially if several people play one level and everyone finds their own (=most likely at least partly unintended) solution to it.

But instead, the problem is that, even with a long time period for testing, only few different users actually get to test the entire pack. Due to the small size of our community, this "multiple players find more backroutes faster"-approach often only really starts working once the pack has been released to a "wider" audience.

So while those levels that actually get tested by several people do end up pretty backroute-proof before the final release, a lot of material remains untested.

I'm glad to hear it's been this way for you, as well ;) . Because I had discovered that even if I share levels beforehand, not that many people actually download them, and even fewer send in replays.

In case of Lemmings United, it was not because of a lack of energy on my part, but simply because it became too hard for me as early as the beginning of rank 2. I could solve some of the previously unsolved levels from rank 1, but for all the starters of rank 2 I'm still one skill short in every level.

Quote
As a certified tester by the German Testing Board I cannot let this satement stand there uncommentated. :devil:

For buisness programs more than 50% of the rescources is put into pre-release testing and for a good reason: Fixing bugs early reduces the cost of fixing these by a a large ammount and prevents after-release damage. Just compare it to trying to make massive fixes to a tileset after many users have created levels with it --> lots of broken stuff.

Bugs are a different thing, I'd say - I've been hesitant to share or convert / update my graphic sets for a long time, and for the same reason. It's hard to re-work things once they've already been used by others.

I wouldn't regard backroutes as bugs, though - rather as cheats. ;) Like shortcuts in a racing game, or unfair combos in a trading card game, or some kind of god-mode in an RPG. They require the game to be "nerfed" in order not to be imbalanced, but they don't require bugfixing in the sense of "preventing crashes".

For example: Old Formats NeoLemmix crashing due to too many different graphic sets being used in a short sequence, that was a bug, and no amount of fixing of the individual levels of Lemmings World Tour will change that - only a conversion to New Formats (hopefully... I haven't really done any crazy graphic-set mixing in New Formats yet! :D ). Backroutes, in contrast, would work the same way in either format, and therefore require fixing in both.
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 Shmolem

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Re: Shmolems
« Reply #9 on: May 07, 2019, 02:58:04 pm »
I’ll try to make my level smoother hopefully I can I’m not that great with the editor yet seriously I just figured out how to duplicate terrain yesterday that’s how I made the huge wall in The Power of Three.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2019, 03:06:03 pm by Shmolem »

Offline IchoTolot

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Re: Shmolems
« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2019, 04:18:33 pm »
I’ll try to make my level smoother hopefully I can I’m not that great with the editor yet seriously I just figured out how to duplicate terrain yesterday that’s how I made the huge wall in The Power of Three.

Everyone starts somewhere and if any questions regarding the editor come up, don't hesitate to ask! :)

Also I could recommend a tutorial video where I create an easy level live in the editor to you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=asE8U9eZ_CY&list=PLKR1N9oJTTlLTZNfvUzr8bGDI21YLNkSk

Additionally I would advice saving solving replays of your intended solutions to your levels, so you can confirm solvability and don't forget the solutions yourself in the future (yes this happens ;)).

Offline Shmolem

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Re: Shmolems
« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2019, 10:47:43 pm »
Just another level I thought I would share called A Hole in the Castle! Not my best when it comes to design but I like the solution.

Offline grams88

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Re: Shmolems
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2019, 11:13:30 pm »
Hi Shmolem

I like the idea of picking someone to test the levels or letting a group of testers. Sometimes when a backroute is found within a level it can feel like it sort of destroys a level, try not to think this way as in some cases you can allow the backroute but in other cases it can be best to stop the backroute being used altogether and sometimes it can be tricky to think what to do to stop the backroute being used.

I notice you like the lemmings two the tribes levels or tilesets I should say.

Go for gold Shmolem.  :tal-gold:

Offline Shmolem

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Re: Shmolems
« Reply #13 on: May 08, 2019, 12:20:17 am »
Thanks I do like the lemmings 2 tilesets but I used them mainly because I want I huge amount of different tilesets in my pack. :D

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: Shmolems
« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2019, 09:07:12 am »
That Medieval level still looks a little rough, in my opinion. There are special "corner-stones" in the Medieval tileset which you can put on the outsides of the wall. Try and add those; the structure in the middle will look a lot more complete if you put them at the edges! ;)
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 Shmolem

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Re: Shmolems
« Reply #15 on: May 10, 2019, 10:04:04 pm »
So far Simple has just been showing off a bunch of tricks

Offline Shmolem

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Re: Shmolems
« Reply #16 on: May 11, 2019, 06:41:49 pm »
This is my latest level called Four Corners I decided to share it because I think it's my best level yet!

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: Shmolems
« Reply #17 on: May 11, 2019, 07:08:12 pm »
Well, we won't be able to judge that until you share the level itself! ;)
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 Shmolem

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Re: Shmolems
« Reply #18 on: May 12, 2019, 03:52:30 pm »
So I figured out what I’m going to do for my level pack: other than learning there is going to be four rankings with twenty levels in each plus the ten learning levels that makes ninety levels in total. I’m debating if I should release the pack after I’m finished Simple for a early version or something like that or I could just wait until I finish the whole thing.

Offline namida

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Re: Shmolems
« Reply #19 on: May 13, 2019, 12:47:12 am »
The most common approach is to release a demo that contains several levels from throughout the pack. With my packs, I generally aim for the same amount of levels from each rank, or sometimes something like "2 each from the easier ranks, 1 each from the harder ranks".

I would also advise against trying to specifically create each rank one at a time. My suggestion is to have a rough plan of how many ranks and how difficult each one will be, then create levels, and put them into whichever rank you feel they fit in - and be open to possibly changing this later. Generally speaking, the level order shouldn't be finalized until very shortly before release - some people even make changes to the order after release; personally, I prefer to avoid doing this, but I will do it if I think it's really justified. I'm speaking from experience here - when I first started creating packs, I mostly went with the "create every level in order" approach, and it tended to result in very erratic difficulty curves, and often, not-so-great levels because I'm so focused on how easy or hard the level should be.
My released level packs:
Lemmings Plus Series | Doomsday Lemmings

Offline Shmolem

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Re: Shmolems
« Reply #20 on: May 13, 2019, 03:03:08 pm »
Yeah I’ve been going with the “ Create every level in order” technique and so far I’m sure I haven’t created any crazy random difficulty spikes but I guess I’ll never know until other people play it.

Offline Shmolem

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Re: Shmolems
« Reply #21 on: July 11, 2019, 08:39:11 pm »
I actually made my first level where I didn’t want to use it in my level pack the solution was to dig into the ground with your 1 digger and go through a hidden teleporter that would teleport you to the end but I scratched the idea because it seemed like a good idea at first but then it just looked like some boring filler type level.