Author Topic: Anticipated Jumper behaviour  (Read 380 times)

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Offline Strato Incendus

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Anticipated Jumper behaviour
« on: June 07, 2019, 02:27:56 pm »
Just like with the Shimmier back in the day, I just wanted to quickly open up a thread long ahead of the development of the Jumper to discuss its behaviour as it is planned to work.

1) Will it be possible to assign a Jumper to a Blocker to free it?
In Lemmings 2, to my knowledge this never comes up, because the Blocker only exists in the Classic tribe, which doesn't feature the Jumper, and vice versa for all the other tribes, which provide you with Attractors instead. And as we all know, having an Attractor jump is probably the most common way to free the crowd at the end of a Lemmings-2 level. Since my guess is that nobody sees a reason why we should bother having Attractors in NeoLemmix, because they'd simply be redundant, the Blocker is going to remain the Attractor's surrogate. Therefore, if Attractors can be freed with Jumpers, the same should be true for Blockers.

Then again, Shimmiers also jump, both in NeoLemmix and Lemmings 2, and Shimmiers (I think that's been set in stone by now) can't free Blockers. So then it would also be plausible to assume for a new player that Jumpers can't accomplish this, either...???

2) Will it be possible to cancel another skill (constructive / destructive) by assigning a Jumper to it?
In Lemmings 2, this is also possible: Cancelling Builders / Platformers with Jumpers is commonplace. In the case of destructive skills, jumping will almost inevitably lead to the Lemming bumping its head (unless you have e.g. a miner jump out at the end of its tunnel to prevent it from going further down). So that's where the old question of "tumbler-physics-or-not" comes into play. But even without tumbler physics, the Jumper should still be able to cancel other skills.

With these two factors, we can already see that the Jumper is going to become, in many regards, almost as powerful as the Walker. I guess that's the reaason why, despite all the skills it featured, Lemmings 2 didn't have a Walker yet - it simply wasn't needed, because the Jumper already performed those functions, and any Lemming turns back into a Walker immediately after that little jump.

3) If a Lemming jumps into a teleporter and reaches the trigger before the jump is completed, is the motion continued after he leaves the receiver?

All other skills moving into teleporters behave this way, even Swimmers used to do so for a while, which caused them to swim on terrain if the receiver wasn't placed in water. Destructive skills still continue once they come out of a receiver.

4a) A Disarmer that jumps into the trigger area of a triggered trap can't disarm if there's no terrain under his feet to stand on while performing the animation, so he should be killed by the trap. Is that correct?
This is an interaction that has never come up so far, obviously, because neither Lemmings 2 nor Lix have Disarmers.

4b) Will it be possible to assign a Jumper to a Lemming who is currently performing the disarming animation?
Because, as can be seen in true-physics mode, the trap trigger actually disappears right away as soon as the Disarmer walks onto it. So one could save time by literally "skipping" the animation with a Jumper, which should not be allowed, I think. ;)

5) If a Climber jumps towards a wall, will he bump against it, turn around and fall down, or will he hold on to it?
Just like the Blocker-Jumper interaction, this interaction is typically avoided in Lemmings 2 by providing the player with a Rock Climber instead of a regular Climber. With the Shimmier, we've decided to make the Climber-Shimmier transition at the ceiling possible, though, so it would be nice to have the Jumper-Climber transition work as well. It would allow pioneer lemmings much more flexibility to take paths that haven't been sealed with constructive skills yet - i.e. paths that the crowd can't just take as well. Pioneer-style levels become much more interesting when the pioneer can / needs to go a completely different route than the one the crowd has to take at the end.

6) Will it be possible to bomb or stone a Lemming in the middle of a jump?
If so, I'd expect the Lemming to explode immediately, without performing the "oh-no" animation (I mention this because in the first iteration, Shimmiers used to fall from the ceiling in order to oh-no, rather than exploding straight away under the ceiling).

7) If you clone a Lemming in the middle of the jump, the clone is only going to carry out the rest of the jumping animation, I guess?
Just like a cloned builder builds a shorter staircase.
This would make it possible to jump from a wall which has an abyss on the side behind the Jumper, and terrain ahead of the Jumper leading up against that wall.
Now, instead of jumping into said abyss, if you assign the Cloner later during the jump, the clone would rest-jump in a way so that he would still land on the ground before reaching said wall, turning around on it, not on top of the wall, which would lead him into the abyss.
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Offline Proxima

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Re: Anticipated Jumper behaviour
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2019, 03:44:16 pm »
Obviously this has no official standing, but my thoughts on how the behaviour should go:

1) No -- it's consistent across the board that blockers can't be assigned actions, e.g. builder. Behaviour of L2's Attractor is a red herring since NL doesn't feature the skill.

2) Yes, in Lix this has proved a useful mechanism when Walkers cannot be given because their alternative uses would create backroutes.

3) No strong opinion. I consider it a bug that other skills continue in this way. But if that is fixed NL behaviour, it should work with jumpers as well.

4) Should be consistent with disarmer-faller interaction. I believe the disarmer would be killed, though I haven't tested.

5) Jumping and clinging onto a wall is a lot of fun in Lix, and opens a lot of puzzle potential. On the other hand, it would feel a bit weird for the two games to converge when they usually have different mechanics, e.g. platformers.

6) Yes, instant bombers should work anywhere.

7) Yes, and I'm glad I'm not the one who has to code this :P

Offline IchoTolot

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Re: Anticipated Jumper behaviour
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2019, 04:01:36 pm »
My 2 cents:

1) No, for the reason Proxima stated. The walker is special here as it is specifically designed to turn Lemmings around and cancel any skill.

2) Yes, as other non-permanent skills can do it as well, if they are assignable.

3) Yes, as this is consistent with other skills.

4a) As Proxima stated: It should be consistent with disarmer-faller interaction. I would consider a jumping Lemming in mid air as falling with a different direction. So a jump into a trap should be deadly.

4b) No, as other skills can't be assigned during that period as well.

5) Hold on, as I also think the Lix way is good in this case and makes both the jumper and the climber stronger skills overall.

6) Yes, as fallers can be assigned stoners and bombers as well. Again: I would consider a jumping Lemming in mid air as falling with a different direction.

7) Yes, as that is consistent with the cloner behavior.

Another question would be: How should the arc look like in terms of arc type, heigth and width. ???

Offline namida

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Re: Anticipated Jumper behaviour
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2019, 07:12:46 pm »
Nepster would be making the final call, but I would think:

1. I would lean towards no. Walker's purpose is to cancel skills, whereas with other skills it only happens as more of a side effect (because the lemming can't do two things at once). Or if we want to look at this from a different angle, we could consider the rule to be "you can only assign a skill to a blocker, if movement does not occur as part of the skill's effect". Walker fulfills this rule because it only changes the lemming's action, then reverts the lemming to no-skill-assigned behaviour before any movement occurs. Bomber and Stoner fulfill this rule because the lemming stays in the same place for the entire execution of the skill. Permanent skills fulfill this role because they simply give the lemming an attribute (the actual action is a modification to their "no skill assigned" behaviour, rather than an immediate skill-related action). Cloner fulfills this role because it doesn't affect the source lemming at all, although it is instead prohibited due to the "cannot have two blockers in the same place" rule. Jumper does not fulfill the rule.

2. By contrast, it's usually possible to interrupt a constructive or destructive skill with another skill, as long as the skill you're interrupting with is in general possible to assign at that time. With that in mind, I see no reason for the Jumper to be an exception here.

3. The rule of a teleporter is that it changes the position, and possibly the orientation, of a lemming - nothing else, except in edge cases where it changes other things specifically to avoid glitchy behaviour. Thus, a jumper should continue if he's mid-arc.

4a. Yes, the key question there is "is there terrain under his feet?", not "what action is he performing?". There's no reason the jumper should change this rule.

4b. Disarming becomes part of the lemming's no-skill behaviours once the Disarmer has been assigned to the lemming; and the general rule is that when a lemming is performing such behaviours, other than walking, they cannot be assigned skills that affect their current behaviour except bomber and stoner. There's again, no reason Jumper should have a different rule from everything else.

5. I would be okay with either answer here. If I had to make the call, I'd allow this behaviour.

6. I see no reason why not, and I believe they should not OhNo first.

7. Absolutely; what you describe is 100% consistent with how Cloner works in any other case, and there's no reason why it shouldn't here too.

Quote
5) Jumping and clinging onto a wall is a lot of fun in Lix, and opens a lot of puzzle potential. On the other hand, it would feel a bit weird for the two games to converge when they usually have different mechanics, e.g. platformers.
7) Yes, and I'm glad I'm not the one who has to code this :P

Re 5, NL doesn't specifically decide to follow or not follow Lix. If Lix does something the way we feel is right, we'll copy it. If we disagree, we'll differ from it.
Re 7, what Strato describes would actually be the expected outcome with the existing behaviour of the Cloner, once the Jumper is implemented.

« Last Edit: June 08, 2019, 01:32:58 am by namida »
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Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: Anticipated Jumper behaviour
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2019, 09:31:34 pm »
Great, these answers seem pretty unanimous to me! :thumbsup:

Maybe Nepster can confirm if we're on the right track here, compared to what he had in mind?
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Offline ccexplore

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Re: Anticipated Jumper behaviour
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2019, 11:47:18 am »
Slightly off-topic but since Strato in effect brought it up:  I finally tried out jumpers + blockers in Classic tribe on DOS Lemmings 2 with help of GP's level editor.

Unsurprisingly, no, you cannot assign jumper to blockers.  Like others have said, blockers will not accept assignments of most skills.

But somewhat surprisingly, you apparently cannot reflect (ie. bounce) the jumper's trajectory against a blocker either.  The lemming still gets turned around mid-air and faces the opposite direction from before (and yes, will start walking in that new direction once landed), but the trajectory will continue as before, no reflection.

Also confirm similar behavior with shimmier and hopper as well.  Hopper, with its shorter horizontal span, actually winds up getting turned twice--it lands close enough to the other arm of the blocker to get the second turnaround, so facing direction is restored to pre-hop by time it lands.

And to be clear, other Lemmings 2-specific skills can react to blockers:  testing confirms for example that a shimmier shimmying along a low ceiling will turn around upon a blocker.

Offline kieranmillar

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Re: Anticipated Jumper behaviour
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2019, 02:29:23 pm »
This idea of looking more closely at how skills like jumper react to blockers sounds like a cool idea. If only there was someone who 4 months ago did all this investigation work and even uploaded a level pack themed around the concept.

Also as a general rule I wouldnt really look to how Lemmings 2 does things as a guideline for how things should work in a Neolemmix implementation.

Offline namida

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Re: Anticipated Jumper behaviour
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2019, 08:29:17 pm »
Quote
Also as a general rule I wouldnt really look to how Lemmings 2 does things as a guideline for how things should work in a Neolemmix implementation.

Our philosophy with that where applicable has always been "do give consideration to what L2 does, but don't by any means treat it as a golden rule". In the case of Fencer, we gave consideration to how L2 fencer works - and clearly decided "that's not different enough from a basher, it needs a much steeper tunnel" (as opposed to just ignoring the L2 Fencer altogether), while still keeping the overall general idea of a fencer.

In the case of jumper-blocker interaction, I again would feel that L2's rule does not fit with how NL handles other skills and how a user would expect NL to handle Jumper + Blocker.
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Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: Anticipated Jumper behaviour
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2019, 12:14:24 pm »
Here's a little "Bumper for the Jumper" :D . Since Nepster never chimed in on these thoughts, I just wanted to ask how things are going on the Jumper front? namida has done a lot of work on both Lemmings 3D and NeoLemmix recently, adding in a bunch of new features. The Jumper, however, if I understood correctly, is still Nepster's domain, I guess?

I think I remember from the discussions during the transition to New Formats that Shimmier and Jumper were planned to be introduced about one year apart. The Shimmier is now making its way into official NeoLemmix, however, of course it was available for preliminary testing as early as the end of last year.

It might be too early for Christmas wishes, but does it seem like a reasonable prospect to get a somewhat functional version of the Jumper running until then? :D

To my layman understanding, the main issue with the Jumper are not the graphics / sprites, which can be taken from Lemmings 2, but all the questions surrounding tumbler physics.

But I guess it's intended for tumbler physics to only affect the Jumper exclusively? i.e., introducing the Jumper does not necessarily require introducing tumbler physics into NeoLemmix for all skills in general?

I'm asking because Lemmings 2 of course has general tumbler physics, i.e. even skills that we're used to behaving differently in Lemmings 1, like the Bomber, result in Lemmings being tossed around. I don't think anyone wants that kind of "chaos" in NeoLemmix.

In Lix, in contrast, it seems to me that only certain skills use tumbler physics, namely the Knockback Bomber (=the equivalent of the L2 Bomber in contrast to the L2 / NeoLemmix Exploder), the Baseball Bat, and of course the Jumper (the Runner maybe by extension when it interacts with the Jumper).

Consequently, I wouldn't expect skills like e.g. the Glider to be affected by tumbler physics and bounce off of walls in a different way than they do now.

I'm not trying to create a hurry for anyone here, I'm just curious. :D



In fact, in the meantime, the introduction of the increased 10-skill-types-limit per level gave me a way to simulate Jumper usage in a similar way like I used to simulate Shimmiers before they were introduced (see my level "Coming Soon: Shimmiers" from Lemmicks, where Gliders hover along an updraft below a Platformer's bridge as if they we're shimmying on it):

Now that we have Shimmiers at our disposal, a Glider which is assigned a Shimmier skill can make upward together with tiny little forward jumps - it's enough to get on a Stacker's stack if the Lemming is standing right in front of it, for example. Likewise, a little gap that's supposed to be crossed by using a Jumper eventually can be temporarily crossed by placing an updraft across it, then assigning a Shimmier to give a Glider sufficient height to float across the gap on the updraft.

The crucial point is that this requires two skills to simulate one, which of course reduces the number of other available skill types in a given level. But with the maximum skill-type limit increased to 10, I could have a level featuring "normal" different 8 skills plus a "simulated Jumper" by adding in Shimmier + Glider as skills 9 and 10. Of course, the main danger is that those two skills shouldn't unexpectedly break the level elsewhere, but this can be accomplished by providing the Shimmier and Glider as pickup skills only shortly before they're supposed to be used. That still leaves the issue that the updraft spoils where the Jumper is supposed to go eventually, obviously - but hey, we're only talking about interim solutions here anyway.

At least that's what I like to do when I have a level idea already that involves an upcoming skill, and want to create the terrain it advance.

For the Shimmier, I can confidently say that this reportedly went down very well: Most of the levels I had created prior to the introduction of the Shimmier worked exactly the way I had intended them to when it finally arrived. Some merely required a couple of pixels in height adjustment so that the Shimmier could reach or not reach a certain ceiling, but everything else about the skill behaved exactly as I had hoped for.

And since we probably all have a rough estimate of how far the Jumper should be able to leap - mainly from playing Lemmings 2 - I think it might be possible to create Jumper-friendly terrain as early as now, at least for anyone who is coming up with ideas?

This seems to be especially true when it comes to Lemmings 2- and other block-heavy graphic sets. Jumpers typically make it across one of those square L2 blocks, either in height or in width, meaning they can jump on top of such a block, or over a gap of that width, but not over such a block in one jump.
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Offline namida

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Re: Anticipated Jumper behaviour
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2019, 07:38:59 pm »
Okay so - basically, the biggest reason I've been much more active on NL lately, is that Nepster has been absent from the site for a long time. Prior to this, while I made a few contributions, I backed off (and indeed, that's why I turned my attention to L3D for a while) because he was in charge of NL at the time, and I was starting to feel like maybe I was going a bit faster than he'd like. However, since he's absent now, and IchoTolot wants to focus more on improving the content base, it's pretty much up to me to maintain NL itself.

So for this reason - chances are, if the Jumper gets implemented, which I'm still willing to do, it will not follow Nepster's intended timeline. We'll probably be getting it a bit sooner than "a year from when the Shimmier becomes available", though I also don't tend to make any promises regarding timing.

As for physics - I'd have to first look at any prior discussions on the subject and see what came of those. All I recall off the top of my head, was that it was fairly agreed that tumbler physics would not be a thing - if the jump finishes in mid-air, the lemming would from there fall straight down. Regarding jump size, that would be a matter of finding something that's far and high enough to be useful, but not enough so to be completely broken. My instinctive thought is that a jumper's distance should be approximately the width of a full-size steel piece in the Orig / OhNo styles, and the height somewhere between half and three-quarters of that, but of course, I would have to test this in practice, and see what others think, before any final decision.

My best advice is "don't actually try to make such levels now. By all means, think of ideas, but it's too early to be actually creating the designs". If you get a really good idea that you feel must be created now, perhaps consider creating it as a Lix level, as Lix has a pretty stable Jumper skill (although it doesn't have many of the other NL skills - it has the Walker and Platformer, and the Cuber is very similar to the Stoner, but IIRC it has no equivalent to the rest).
« Last Edit: August 13, 2019, 08:32:55 pm by namida »
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Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: Anticipated Jumper behaviour
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2019, 08:14:38 am »
Thanks for the update, namida! :thumbsup: I was mainly curious about the technical feasibility. If, from a technical standpoint, it would be possible to implement the Jumper even earlier, that's certainly great news! I rather would have expected the opposite. Of course, there will be much more design choices to be discussed, as you pointed out - but at least, when it's more about choices than about technical difficulties, the whole thing becomes more of an art than a science.

Speaking of art: I often use the Level editor precisely for simply containing ideas, because the alternative is merely drawing the level by hand. Not only is it easy to lose a sheet of paper somewhere, because guess what, level ideas can hit you any time of the day, but also, it's easier not to forget the intended solution if the proper number of skills is already stored in a level file. When I have a spontaneous idea, yes, usually I'll draw in arrows to remember which skill is supposed to go there, but that's literally just a rough sketch. Usually, the skill panel won't be confined to those couple of choices, even though I do like to create levels with a comparatively small skillset.

I have indeed already created a couple of Jumper-based levels for Lix; however, as you guessed, many of my level ideas revolve around the interaction with other NeoLemmix skills. Also, the graphic sets are very different, except for a couple which have been ported from Lix to NeoLemmix, so imagining what a level should look like in your head will be very different, depending on whether you approach it from a Lix- or a NeoLemmix perspective. ;)

Personally, I'm totally fine with no tumbler physics and the Jumper simply falling straight down again! :thumbsup: That would also be consistent with established NeoLemmix behaviour, since so far Gliders are the only skill that even allow lemmings to fall somewhat diagonally.

Jumping into a one-way field, and thus also jumping into a Blocker's trigger areas (since both count as "Force" in NeoLemmix) should probably just mirror the Jumper's movement into the opposite direction at whatever point in the parabolic curve he currently is - much like cloning a Jumper mid-jump, as discussed above.
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Lemmicks, a pack for NeoLemmix 1.43 full of gimmicks, 170 levels