Poll

Do you think antisplat pads should be reintroduced?

Yes
7 (70%)
No - I don't think they're worthwhile in and of themself
2 (20%)
No - I do think they're worthwhile, but I think that we should stick with the decision that was already made
0 (0%)
I have no opinion either way
1 (10%)

Total Members Voted: 10

Voting closes: August 19, 2019, 11:36:18 pm

Author Topic: [SUG][PLAYER] Re-add antisplat pads.  (Read 169 times)

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Offline namida

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[SUG][PLAYER] Re-add antisplat pads.
« on: August 12, 2019, 11:34:17 pm »
EDIT: Very clear support for "yes", so this will be happening. The topic will be closed when I've actually done the implementation.

During the changeover to new-formats, antisplat pads were culled along with some other objects. The others made sense - radiation and slowfreeze were annoying and very execution-focused, against NeoLemmix's general philosophy of focusing on the puzzle and minimizing execution difficulty as far as practical.

However, I feel - and I know several other people do too - that the culling of antisplat pads was not justified. The logic behind this was their similarity to updrafts, but I feel they have enough important differences that they should remain as separate objects. They do not create execution difficulty, and they require very little code so they don't have the "code becomes complicated" issue that many culls were justified by.

Therefore - I want to see, does anyone feel they should remain culled? If not, I will re-implement them for V12.7.0 (or maybe even V12.6.0, depending on how quickly a decision is made, but V12.7.0 is more likely).

Just to be clear now - this re-implementing will not be extended to radiation and slowfreeze. Those are not coming back. This one is a special case where I feel the culling was really unjustified so am prepared to revert it. (I'm open to considering the same thing for triggered animations at some point, but let's decide on this one first.)

For those who were not around when antisplat pads existed: They're basically the opposite of splatpads. Whereas a splatpad will mean any lemming landing in the splatpad's trigger area (unless they're floating / gliding) will splat, an antisplat pad means that lemmings landing in the area will not splat no matter what. The differences from updrafts are (a) they don't slow the lemmings' fall, (b) they have no special interaction with gliders, and (c) they have no effect on a lemming that merely falls through them, the lemming must be inside the trigger area when it lands.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2019, 06:06:08 am by namida »
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Offline Proxima

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Re: [SUG][PLAYER] Re-add antisplat pads.
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2019, 12:21:07 am »
I fully support re-adding them, even though I will probably never use them myself as I prefer to stick to the original objects.

Anti-splat pads are a logical counterpart of splat pads, and if one exists then it makes sense that the other should too. There are reasons why a designer might need an anti-splat pad rather than an updraft, either for the puzzle, or for aesthetic reasons.

Here's a link to the original topic in which this was discussed and decided. Looking back on it, it really seems to me like anti-splat pads didn't get a fair discussion because the topic was focused on six issues at once, and radiation and slowfreeze were by far the most contentious.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2019, 03:05:34 am by Proxima »

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: [SUG][PLAYER] Re-add antisplat pads.
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2019, 07:58:40 am »
Yes, please!!! :thumbsup: I remember trying to outline the differences to Nepster back when the impending cull was being dicussed, namely that updrafts without terrain inside their trigger area which are positioned somewhere in the middle between a drop and the terrain beneath will save falling lemmings, whereas anti-splat pads in the same position will not. You have to actually put terrain into the trigger area of the anti-splat pad, which can be the focal point of an entire level if you chose so.

I had several levels where that difference was relevant, such as "The opportune moment" from Paralems, "Base jumping" from Pit Lems, and later on "Not an updraft and you know it" from Lemmicks - albeit the latter was created when the cull was already set in stone. (Anyone who played the "Nostalgic" rank from Lemmicks has probably noticed that the rank consists out of levels showcasing all the culled features, and, with regards to the way I did so, could definitely also have been called "Salty" :D .)

Nepster considered these fringe uses too negligible to keep the features alive. I think that was what triggered a major part of the arguments about New Formats, because it inevitably brought up the question of how much a feature needs to be used before its existence is labeled as "justified" or not.

That said, such supposed corner-cases also apply to radiation and slowfreeze. I think the number of levels I have which require zombies to explode or stone somewhere is at least on par, if not higher than the number of anti-splat-pad levels I have.

I'd make the case that, since zombies can perform any other skill just like normal lemmings (even the disarmer, which is another fringe usage of an interaction with zombies), they should also be able to explode and stone. And to date there has been no other way to accomplish this than by having them pass through radiation or slowfreeze objects.

I for one enjoy blowing up zombies :thumbsup: - they're supposed to be the bad guys, you know? :evil:

Just some food for thought... :P
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Offline namida

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Re: [SUG][PLAYER] Re-add antisplat pads.
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2019, 09:46:22 am »
Quote
That said, such supposed corner-cases also apply to radiation and slowfreeze. I think the number of levels I have which require zombies to explode or stone somewhere is at least on par, if not higher than the number of anti-splat-pad levels I have.

The difference is that radiation and slowfreeze add execution difficulty in the majority of their uses; antisplat pads do not.

Quote
I'd make the case that, since zombies can perform any other skill just like normal lemmings (even the disarmer, which is another fringe usage of an interaction with zombies), they should also be able to explode and stone. And to date there has been no other way to accomplish this than by having them pass through radiation or slowfreeze objects.

Not technically true, see attached replay. :P (For Doomsday Lemmings, Outbreak 1, created using V12.6.0 latest experimental, but should work fine in any version, probably even old-formats.)

But in all seriousness, while I see what you're getting at, I don't think this justifies the existance of those objects overall.
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Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: [SUG][PLAYER] Re-add antisplat pads.
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2019, 11:45:25 am »
Quote
But in all seriousness, while I see what you're getting at, I don't think this justifies the existance of those objects overall.

Probably not. It may justify reconsidering former "gimmicks", such as Instant Pickup Skills and/or Classic Zombies, though. ;) We've already had similar discussions about bringing back the "Wrap" option. So rather than having the overflow of all the different gimmicks that used to exist back in 1.43, selecting single ones that are worthwhile could be an idea going forward.

An instant Bomber or Stoner pickup skill is like radiation / slowfreeze without execution difficulty.

A Zombie that is able to collect pickup skills (and push buttons, as this was also enabled by Classic Zombies) would merely add them to the skill panel.

Only the combination of Instant Pickup Skills + Classic Zombies would allow Zombies to explode or stone without the player's control. Which is kind of the point, because if it were possible to assign skills to Zombies (and merely not being able to save them), they would essentially turn into infectious Ghost lemmings (minus the "ignore objects" and "intimidate" part).

I think the main reason "Classic Zombies" was abolished, and also why IchoTolot argued against the (re-)introduction of button-pressing and skill-collecting zombies, was the old fear of having different game physics for the same type of object.

This could easily be bypassed though by colouring "button-presser / skill-collector zombies" in a different way than regular zombies. Maybe these are more advanced, more "intelligent" zombies that can do those things. I remember zombies being able to collect pickup skills and push buttons was one of the first things I suggested here on this forum, and IchoTolot explained to me how he would rather think of zombies as "too dumb to do that". I don't remember him mentioning Classic Zombies, though, i.e. that zombies indeed used to be able to do precisely the two things I was suggesting.

Remember that we are now actively considering things like Neutral Lemmings; apparently they did indeed come up for the first time back when I suggested button-pressing / skill-collecting zombies, with IchoTolot proposing Neutral Lemmings as a viable alternative.

But anyways, these are future discussions that have nothing to with anti-splat pads, so back 2 topic! :D


Compared to the load of other things we have been considering, some of which have also been implemented already in the meantime, bringing back anti-splat pads really seems unproblematic.

Maybe their temporary absence was a good thing - sometimes people don't know what they've got until they lose it.

After several months with only updrafts at our disposal for all our anti-splat-pad needs, I think more people seem to have become aware of the small but decisive differences between the two.

Prepare for a lot more people to create deliberate "put terrain into the anti-splat pad"-levels when this feature comes back! :) I'm already curious to see what they're going to come up with.


PS: I'll have a look at your replay later when I'm back at home. ;)
« Last Edit: August 13, 2019, 12:58:49 pm by Strato Incendus »
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Offline namida

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Re: [SUG][PLAYER] Re-add antisplat pads.
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2019, 07:29:03 pm »
If wrap were to be re-implemented - which I'm not completely opposed to, although I'd need to see some solid proof that it has potential, which could possibly be done using Lix which does have this feature - it would be implemented less like the old gimmick, and more just "can scroll endlessly and it wraps around".

I don't want to be making a habit of regularly un-culling features. Although I may not have agreed at the time, that was very much coming from a place of "I have lots of content that will be affected by this", and in hindsight I think most were justified. Antisplat pads are a big exception to that; and triggered animations - as something that's purely a decorative feature, has relatively little impact on the code (as almost all of what it would do already exists for other objects - we pretty much take a triggered trap, remove the part of its code that removes the lemming from gameplay, bam, triggered animation), and the non-triggered equivalent of remains in NL - is something I'm also open to re-implementing a bit further down the line.

Anyway, it looks like we've got 6 people who want this re-implemented, vs 2 who don't think they're a worthwhile object (none who don't simply on the grounds of "don't un-cull stuff that was culled"), and one "don't care" vote; with a NL programmer (me) who also supports the idea and is willing to implement them. I think it's very likely then, we're getting antisplat pads back in the future - unless anyone can come up with a really good argument as to why we shouldn't.
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Offline Dullstar

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Re: [SUG][PLAYER] Re-add antisplat pads.
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2019, 09:24:44 pm »
I see no compelling reason not to reimplement this feature.

That said, the original discussion surrounding the cull had too many things discussed at once. If we are to ever consider reimplementing any of the other culled features, or propose any new culls, I think each individual proposal should get its own topic in the future. I feel as if the controversy surrounding radiation/slowfreeze allowed discussion surrounding the other features to fall to the wayside and may have created a false sense of consensus regarding the other cull proposals in the thread.

I'm glad there doesn't seem to be anyone arguing against reimplementation simply because it was culled in the past. I don't think it makes sense to ban reconsideration of old decisions as long as we make sure to consider what the consequences would be. Reimplementing something like this is likely to have little to no negative impact, but some other changes might be potentially problematic. Culls, for example, break content that uses the culled feature, though this isn't necessarily a dealbreaker - I think, for example, that removing radiation and slowfreeze was for the best despite the fact that some content was broken, as those objects were irritating to work with both from a level design and a gameplay perspective. The anti-splat pad, on the other hand, wasn't hurting anything just by existing due to its simplicity, so the cull didn't really give us anything in return for any damage it may have done to older content.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2019, 09:30:19 pm by Dullstar »

Offline Proxima

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Re: [SUG][PLAYER] Re-add antisplat pads.
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2019, 10:55:34 pm »
Remember that we are now actively considering things like Neutral Lemmings; apparently they did indeed come up for the first time back when I suggested button-pressing / skill-collecting zombies, with IchoTolot proposing Neutral Lemmings as a viable alternative.

Nah, the idea has been around a lot longer than that.

I was pretty sure the idea came from Lix, although when I did a forum search, it seems the first mention of the idea was in mobius's long "Ideas for Lemmings gameplay features" topic (2012 -- the earliest Lix mention I can find is from 2014). Still, it's easy to see how the idea would arise from a game like Lix with a heavy multiplayer focus. In multiplayer, other players' lix act as neutrals to you, so it's an easy step to propose true neutrals that are not controlled by anyone. Anyhow, Simon has been keen on the idea of implementing neutrals for years, but hasn't gotten round to it yet :P

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: [SUG][PLAYER] Re-add antisplat pads.
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2019, 08:00:47 am »
@Dullstar: I re-read a lot of that discussion thread yesterday, and another part of the problem seems to have been, as far as I can tell, that many forum members found the thread a little later when a lot of those who had already been discussing for some time had already established some sort of consensus among each other before more objecting voices chimed in later on. It was like several individuals arguing against a constant group, rather than two actual sides of a debate.

Also, there was much more indifference to many of the proposals. Call level designers egocentric for not wanting something to be removed that they personally used in their levels - I'd make the case that preserving as much existing content as possible is in the interest of everyone - but what is definitely at least as egocentric as that is the "I never used it myself, so I don't care if it gets removed (even if it destroys other people's content)" attitude that some people displayed in that thread.

And I'm explicitly not referring to Nepster here, who suggested the culls in the first place, but to forum members who simply responded to that question with that "doesn't affect me, don't care" attitude.

Because obviously, if a measure is initiated with the intention to cull something, any neutral answer can be interpreted as implied consent to the cull.

And as a result, it seems, more features were removed than what the community actually wanted to cull ;) .

Quote
The anti-splat pad, on the other hand, wasn't hurting anything just by existing due to its simplicity, so the cull didn't really give us anything in return for any damage it may have done to older content.

Exactly! :thumbsup: That's pretty much what I've been saying all along - I'm just going a step further and think that culls in general don't give anything in return, aside from possibly simplifying the code for the programmer. If a feature is unpopular, fewer people will use it anyway, and those who do will experience that less people might play their levels - but at least the room for improvement always remains there, and ocassionally someone creates a genius level that puts even fringe features to excellent use.
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Offline namida

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Re: [SUG][PLAYER] Re-add antisplat pads.
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2019, 08:20:09 pm »
As one of the programmers, simplifying the code for us is a very good reason. It's of course not a reason by itself - after all, simplest of all would be to remove everything and have nothing left at all - but some of these things were pretty messy.

Another thing is, that certain object types conflict with the overall intentions of NeoLemmix. We have frame-stepping, clear physics mode, etc, to help with execution, because NeoLemmix's philosophy is that the focus is the puzzle, not the execution difficulty and/or figuring out the true layout or workings of the level. Radiation and slowfreeze were far more harmful than helpful to this goal - yes, there were some new puzzles that became possible as a result of them, but almost every use case for them fell into one of two groups - (a) a level that was needlessly difficult to execute, or (b) a level where the only purpose those objects served was a trap. And again, the key word here is "almost" every use case.

While I do feel that there are valid points regarding how those culls were handled and discussed, ultimately, "what do people want" is a factor, but not even nearly the sole factor, in making these kinds of decisions. It can definitely be the difference between an idea we're on the fence about being implemented or not; or it can mean we give some serious consideration to an idea that we wouldn't have if it was purely on a "what do the programmers want to include?" basis (for example, I likely wouldn't've put in the limited-count exits and entrances if it weren't for that there was a clear demand for them); but it isn't the ultimate authority on what NL does or doesn't get.

And in this case - I'm saying, as the programmer, that -
- Slowfreeze and radiation won't be coming back. They don't fit well with NL's general philosophy.
- The majority of gimmicks will not be coming back. Wrap is the only one that might, but it will be much less like the old NL wrap, and much more like Lix's wrap. Even here, I would need some serious convincing, as from what I've heard from the Lix community, it's rarely useful in single-player levels, and is more suited to multiplayer ones. This is because of both code tidiness, and that it makes things too complicated for the player if they have to remember, identify, and deal with a large number of gimmicks.
- Just to clarify, the above means that ghosts will not be coming back.
- The removed talisman conditions will not be coming back. This is almost solely due to the code complications that arise from them; I might reconsider some of these if I can think of a much cleaner way to implement them.
- The behaviour of level edges will not change again. Every time this changes, levels break. Had I been in charge of NL at the time the change to the ceiling was made, I would not have made that change; but this would have been precisely on the grounds of "keep it as-is, because of the level breaking potential a change has", and this is an argument for "pick one and keep it", not an argument for either specific behaviour.
- Triggered animations have a decent chance of returning, if there's interest. This would need to be interest from people who actually plan to use it, not just from people who think it'd be nice if other people used it.
- Anything not listed here, feel free to ask me, and I'll let you know whether it's "yes, let's look into that right away", "it could be considered", or "no, that won't happen". As a general guideline, my starting point will be "let's not re-add too much stuff, we don't want to get into a state of repeated culls and unculls" - but if there's a really good argument for a specific feature, that might override. But let's keep that in a new topic, or on PM or Discord.

Consider the above to be final for as long as I'm in charge of NL - and if Nepster takes back over, then I suspect his stance will be even more strongly in favor of not reimplementing any of the above.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2019, 10:06:41 pm by namida »
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Offline Proxima

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Re: [SUG][PLAYER] Re-add antisplat pads.
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2019, 12:36:50 am »
The majority of gimmicks will not be coming back. Wrap is the only one that might, but it will be much less like the old NL wrap, and much more like Lix's wrap. Even here, I would need some serious convincing, as from what I've heard from the Lix community, it's rarely useful in single-player levels, and is more suited to multiplayer ones.

I wouldn't take that as definitive. Many levels of the community set, Nepster's pack, etc are remakes of levels from LemEdit, Lemmix, Cheapo etc., so these would be without wrap by default. (I had a quick look through the community set just now -- I think that of 240 levels, roughly 150 are original in Lix, and of those, 9 use wrap. So it's low frequency, but not very low, in proportion to the number of levels. I haven't looked at other packs such as Clam's and Rubix's -- those might have a higher or lower frequency according to the taste of the author.)

Still, wrap levels are often easy to recreate without wrap, by stretching the level and, if necessary, duplicating part of it. Just to take one example, "A Soulful Bounding Leap" has one lemming who, after building part of the route for the crowd, must go the other way round the level to reach the exit. You could remake this without wrap by cutting the level just after the exit, and having an exit on both sides. And NL makes things even easier, since teleporters can substitute for wrap in many cases.

I think the main reason "Classic Zombies" was abolished, and also why IchoTolot argued against the (re-)introduction of button-pressing and skill-collecting zombies, was the old fear of having different game physics for the same type of object.

This could easily be bypassed though by colouring "button-presser / skill-collector zombies" in a different way than regular zombies.

True, but then you have another problem: new object types that are a variant on an old one are necessarily limited in puzzle yield (since many of their use cases will be shared), while adding confusion for the player, who has to not only learn to identify which is which, but also remember which rules are different between the two and which are the same.

In addition, neutrals are a much more promising element, and also overlap in potential use cases with classic zombies (since they are also capable of button-pressing and skill-collecting while not being capable of skill assignment).

(And yes, this is wandering off-topic, but with 70% of the vote in favour of anti-splat pads, I think it's safe to consider that settled now.)

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: [SUG][PLAYER] Re-add antisplat pads.
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2019, 08:51:19 am »
Quote
As one of the programmers, simplifying the code for us is a very good reason.

For me, as not one of the programmers, as well! :thumbsup: In fact, it seems like the single best reason in my view. Hence, it was even more striking to me that for Nepster, this factor didn't seem to matter at all. Instead, he tried to convince me of all other kinds of benefits to removing stuff that I still fail to see to this day.

Quote
Wrap is the only one that might, but it will be much less like the old NL wrap, and much more like Lix's wrap. Even here, I would need some serious convincing, as from what I've heard from the Lix community, it's rarely useful in single-player levels, and is more suited to multiplayer ones.

Another often-overlooked example of this type of wrap is Lemmings Revolution. I haven't spent a great amount of time on that game, mainly due to getting stuck (and one level actually requires a patch to even be solvable, IIRC). So I can't really judge how "useful" the endless horizontal wrap in this game is, with the cylindric levels, and how many of these levels would or wouldn't work without it. Basically, as soon as there's a straight steel wall somewhere in a level that prevents you from shortcutting by going the other way round, such a level could also be built in 2-D without wrap, whereas a level that has lemmings going back and forth between both "ends" of the level couldn't.

Speaking of Lemmings Revolution: Wrap can be perfectly "simulated" with teleporters. They main problem is that teleporters are time-restricted. Hence, if we could create a Lemmings Revolution-style teleporter for some graphic sets at some point, we could get wrap as a side effect.

In case you don't remember, teleporters in Lemmings Revolution were more like "portals" (these small contraptions of red laser beams, when lemmings walk through they come out on the other side of the receiver counterpart, no matter how close they are together) and not like the teleporters we've come to know from Lemmings 2 or Lemmings 3D.

Quote
(And yes, this is wandering off-topic, but with 70% of the vote in favour of anti-splat pads, I think it's safe to consider that settled now.)

Yes, I hope so! :thumbsup:

I do think that anti-splat pads (ASPs) will become much more interesting and even more different from updrafts once they can interact with the Jumper. So far, any level that is about "putting terrain in the ASP trigger area" will revolve around either building, platforming, stacking, or stoning into it. With builders and platformers, this isn't much different from creating a regular splatform without an ASP, stacking is only useful if the ASP is hovering just slightly above the ground, or several stacks have to be placed on top of each other by a climber. Stoners can pretty much only end up inside an ASP due to a lemming falling through it, i.e. straight from above. And Stoners are already being used to break falls anyway, so it must be a really high drop in order for a Stoner not to be sufficient on its own, but requiring an ASP.

With Jumpers, this becomes much more versatile. For example, you can have a lemming approach the ASP from the side, but not being able to build or platform into it. Instead, he must jump and then stone inside the ASP. Or there is a platformer / builder, but the ASP is too far in the distance. Jump first, stone the Jumper, then jump on the Stoner, build or platform from there. Now the ASP is filled with terrain, but there is no direct connection to where the pioneer lemming was coming from. This in turn can be used for new challenges, rather than simply having a straight, continuous bridge that directly connects the ASP to the pioneer's path.
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