Author Topic: Lemmings 1 Graphics and Music error  (Read 502 times)

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Offline schlorgadorb

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Lemmings 1 Graphics and Music error
« on: May 15, 2019, 07:29:23 am »
I've got the game running on DOSBox, and for the most part it works great. I feel like I'm 7 again. But... there's a couple problems.

First of all, all the start screens for the stages are incredibly difficult to read due to a color error. Now, I think I've had this problem every time I tried to play the DOS version, including all those 25 (or more) years ago, so it might just be a design flaw, but I've noticed when I see Let's Players doing videos online, they don't have that problem. It looks normal, like the end of level screens.

Here's a screenshot:
https://imgur.com/Gp6cGGU

As for the music, well, again, this is probably more due to the DOS version just being funky, but a lot of the notes are in the wrong place. I've heard DOS versions that sound better, but I'm not sure how to make that happen. Is there a way to emulate a better sound card? Alternatively, maybe I should just try to get an Amiga emulator working?

Offline namida

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Re: Lemmings 1 Graphics and Music error
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2019, 11:05:46 am »
I suggest using Lemmix or NeoLemmix. Both of these (Lemmix slightly more so) keep the overall feel of the DOS games. Lemmix (but not NeoLemmix) specifically has a goal of accurately reproducing every detail of how the DOS games work - right down to you can even perform most of the DOS version glitches in Lemmix (aside from those that result from accessing memory outside the usual regions, and thus are too unpredictable to accurately emulate). Almost every official Lemmings level ever released, is available on both engines.

You can get Lemmix here: https://www.neolemmix.com/?page=download_list&program=42
You might want to also grab the "LemmixPlayerDOSMusics.zip" file. Extract it to the same folder as the Lemmix EXEs, and I suggest looking at the readme. :)



If you'd rather go with NeoLemmix - which is what's also used for most fanmade content these days - see these topics:
Welcome to NeoLemmix
Official Lemmings games in new-formats NeoLemmix format



Now, if you want to get it working on DOSBox... I'm not sure about music, but a post from 2009 on the forums might help with the graphics: https://www.lemmingsforums.net/index.php?topic=958.msg25804#msg25804
« Last Edit: May 16, 2019, 04:36:08 am by namida »
My released level packs:
Lemmings Plus Series | Doomsday Lemmings

Offline schlorgadorb

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Re: Lemmings 1 Graphics and Music error
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2019, 06:54:12 pm »
Thanks for the assist!

I'm aware of Lemmix and NeoLemmix, though I didn't know the goals behind them. My question was more to do with like... how widespread are these problems? Is this something everyone deals with? Am I remembering correctly that the graphical error was there in 1994, or is that a fabricated memory?

I just don't know, and it's kinda driving me a little mad.

As for the music, yeah, I'm pretty sure the off-notes were there in the old version, but I'm pretty sure there was a way to make it sound right too. But maybe that's just wishful thinking. Like, what's the best version of the original game you can get? The... Most True to the Original Vision of the game, I guess. I feel like the SNES and Genesis versions are lacking dramatically due to the lack of Mouse support, and I'm not all that fond of the requirement that every screen have music on it. I kinda liked the silence before and after each level.

Offline Forestidia86

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Re: Lemmings 1 Graphics and Music error
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2019, 07:01:18 pm »
Can't say anything about the music but in DosBox I have the graphical error as well. Never bothered to debug though.
My memory is faint, but I think at least in the floppy version the screens were okay on Dos.

Offline ccexplore

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Re: Lemmings 1 Graphics and Music error
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2019, 07:37:41 pm »
The graphics problem in your screenshot looked vaguely familiar but I'm not sure I'd call it widespread.  Might be related to your DOSBox settings.  Are you running DOSBox in Windows or are you using some other OS like Linux?  Which mode did you select when you first launch the game and it hasn't transitioned to graphics mode yet (the mode selection includes "PC compatible", "High Performance PC" etc., and there were 4 choices IIRC.  "PC compatible" works best on DOSBox, though I think "High Performance PC" had become correctly emulated in current versions of DOSBox as well).

Not sure what you mean exactly about the notes being in wrong place, we'd probably need to see a video/audio of you playing Lemmings in DOSBox to determine what exactly you are hearing.  Certainly if back then you originally played a different port of Lemmings than DOS, maybe you're just not used to how the music sounds like under the somewhat more primitive capabilities of audio hardware on DOS-based PCs at the time.

Offline 607

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Re: Lemmings 1 Graphics and Music error
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2019, 08:06:35 pm »
The regular DOS version does have a music bug, but it has nothing to do with notes being in the wrong place. The issue is that the music cycle restarts whenever you fail a level or start a new game. In case you haven't got the fix for that yet, here it is. If you want to make sure the music is sounding right, compare against this video.
I guess the colours on the level preview screen are indeed a bug. I've gotten used to it, but yeah, it's likely indeed supposed to look like the results screen. :P I don't find it hard to read, maybe you just need to get used to it? I would like to see one of the videos you mention! Are you sure it's the DOS version?
 In case you didn't know, you can choose for high-quality colours on the skillbar, that also differ depending on the graphic set used, by pressing 2 instead of 1 on the pc selection screen. This also makes the fade-outs be slower, which can help on levels with a tight time limit. ;)
Have fun! :)

Offline schlorgadorb

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Re: Lemmings 1 Graphics and Music error
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2019, 02:47:16 am »
The link Namdia gave me had the answer!

So, if you go into your settings in DOSBox, switch the "machine" setting to vgaonly and that will resolve the issue.

As for the music, I would chalk it up to the limitations of the system. Probably, on the hardware it was programmed for, it works great, and I'm trying to play it with later end DOS emulation. Or maybe I had a bad sound card growing up. Maybe I always selected the wrong option.

Offline ccexplore

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Re: Lemmings 1 Graphics and Music error
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2019, 06:11:00 am »
Does your music in DOSBox sound like in the youtube video 607 linked to?  It should and I don't think it'd sound too much different on an actual DOS PC of the day.  The PC sound hardware at the time is somewhat primitive, remember, and Lemmings 1 does not even really take full advantage of the hardware capabilities available at the time.

IIRC, (most versions of) DOS Lemmings 1 only comes with adlib.dat and tandysnd.dat, so only two possible choices of sound hardware--and actually IIRC most PCs don't even support the sound hardware specific to Tandy computers.  So it actually shouldn't matter what hardware you have if you can hear music at all.  Maybe there are some DOSBox settings to tweak that can improve the sound emulation on your computer?

Offline Simon

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Re: Lemmings 1 Graphics and Music error
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2019, 04:51:19 pm »
Quote from: schlorgadorb
So, if you go into your settings in DOSBox, switch the "machine" setting to vgaonly and that will resolve the issue.

Thanks for confirming the solution in good detail!

My guess is that, in the graphics bug, Lemmings 1 wishes to display the level preview in 16 colors, then needs a different 16-color-palette for the blue-brown statistics section below, but fails to switch palettes. Both seem to be VGA modes, interesting that the machine setting has an effect on this.

-- Simon

Offline ccexplore

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Re: Lemmings 1 Graphics and Music error
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2019, 06:30:35 pm »
Yeah, your guess is spot-on.  Lemmings (amongst many other games as well) uses the trick of switching palettes mid-frame to effectively work around the 16-color limitation.  Specifically it does so on the level preview screen to allow the level preview on the top to use a separate palette from the bottom.  This requires the graphics emulation to be line-by-line rather than something more coarse-grained.

Based on various threads found by Google, it looks like vgaonly mode has line-by-line emulation turned on, but for whatever reasons the default "super vga" mode does not, which is why you get the messed up colors with the default emulation settings.

It used to be that IIRC, before version 0.73 of DOSBox the default was different and more akin to the "vgaonly" mode of 0.73+, so for some time the default settings work fine for Lemmings.  But looks like after 0.73 you have to change to vgaonly, since the default changed and new default not compatible with what Lemmings does on the preview screen.  I've long done that on my own computer as I saw that thread about the setting in the past, so I forgot it was needed.  Some people may also have never upgraded DOSBox to a higher version given that issue.  It's fair to say that the problem is indeed widespread nowadays for new DOSBox users, given what happened.

I guess it'd be good to create a sticky post on this board analogous to the ones kieranmillar already created for L2 and L3 on DOSBox.  Even though I think Lemmix or NeoLemmix are far better options for L1, there may be nostalgic reasons for a user to prefer the DOSBox way.

Offline Forestidia86

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Re: Lemmings 1 Graphics and Music error
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2019, 06:53:46 pm »
It used to be that IIRC, before version 0.73 of DOSBox the default was different and more akin to the "vgaonly" mode of 0.73+, so for some time the default settings work fine for Lemmings. 

I use DosBox 0.71 and have the graphics issue. Config says: 'machine=vga' but problem nevertheless there. So maybe it's the other way around, that vgaonly mode introduced a possible fix?

Offline 607

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Re: Lemmings 1 Graphics and Music error
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2019, 08:35:13 pm »
Huh, that is interesting! So you can fix it, and if I understand correctly in versions of DOSBox before a certain time the default settings had the issue not occur? Now I can imagine not having the issue as a kid, but I have gotten so used to it that I feel like I've always had it. :P But I guess it did indeed start occuring when I reinstalled DOSBox after getting a new pc. I have had such recall issues with games before!
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
And thanks for explaining the issue, as well. :)

Offline Forestidia86

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Re: Lemmings 1 Graphics and Music error
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2019, 08:47:42 pm »
Yeah DosBox 0.65 has the graphics fine (whereas 0.70 has the graphics bug), so the issue was introduced with 0.7 and then fixed with a non-default mode again, as I see it.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2019, 08:53:49 pm by Forestidia86 »