Author Topic: Defining the classic 10 skills  (Read 1063 times)

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Offline Strato Incendus

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Defining the classic 10 skills
« on: August 19, 2019, 01:20:29 pm »
No, you didn't misread the title. ;) namida's recent introduction of the 10-skill-panel added a lot more degrees of freedom to NeoLemmix. Still, as we know from earlier years, many people have a tendency to still want to create predominantly levels that feature the classic 8 skills. Since the 10-skill-panel doesn't expand with every new skill added, but simply features 10 slots all the time, I think this feature might actually break up the year-old "bias" for the classic 8 skills: If you want your skill panel to look complete - and let's be honest, who doesn't enjoy that, from a purely visual standpoint? ;) - then you have to add two more skills. And since there are no classic 10 skills officially, everyone will pick something different, thereby creating more diverse levels.

But let's say you want to make a level that feels "classic" and still has a full skill panel. Which of the 10 NeoLemmix skills do you choose?

While the introduction of the Shimmier brought the total number of skill types up to 18, they're not exactly split in half between Classic and Neo, after all.

As of now, I'd go with the two most unique skills that don't feel as if they could be replaced by any other Classic or NeoLemmix skill: Walker and Cloner.

The constructive NeoLemmix skills, i.e. Platformer, Stacker, and Stoner, all bear some similarity to specific skills from the Classic set (Builder, Blocker, and Bomber, respectively). And the Fencer is an upward Miner, the Glider a diagonal Floater. The Disarmer is too narrow in its potential for application to be worth a standard inclusion on a "Classic 10 skills panel", in my opinion. I guess one could make a case for the Swimmer doing something unique, but here something else comes into play:

Both the Walker and the Cloner are not Lemmings 2: The Tribes skills. Consequently, they don't feel like "just another skill from a random pool of many". The Walker is actually from Lemmings 3: An All New World of Lemmings, where skills didn't even really exist anymore as a clear concept: Lemmings could perform any type of "motion" infinitely often (walking, blocking, jumping etc.), while everything else had to be collected like a power-up, leading to the eventual development of pickup skills in NeoLemmix.

Speaking of jumping, though: Longterm, I think a "Classic 10 skills" concept should add the Walker and the Jumper, rather than the Walker and the Cloner, to the Classic 8.

Yes, the Jumper is a Lemmings 2 skill, in contrast to the Cloner. However, it can be considered a cross-platform classic at this point: Not only does Lix have Walker and Jumper as well (but no Cloner), but also other Lemmings adaptations, like the Linux version "Pingus", featured it.

But whether the Jumper or the Cloner should be the "10th Classic skill", I think this will be a continuous ground for debate.

Much like, until recently, there was no way to make a level featuring all NeoLemmix skills - because ever since the introduction of the Fencer, we had 9 NeoLemmix skills next to 8 classic ones. With both the Shimmier and the 10-skills-panel, this is finally possible (again)! :thumbsup:

...but of course, the introduction of the Jumper will remove the option of an All-Neo-Skills level again, by bringing the Neo-Skill count up to 11. As Spinal Tap said: "That's one louder..." :evil:

During the days of 9 NeoLemmix skills vs. 8 slots on the panel, I frequently used to drop the Disarmer - although, historically speaking, it would have to be the Fencer, because the Disarmer was indeed among the first 8 NeoLemmix skills to be introduced.

Thus, in the not-too-distant future, when designing an All-Neo-Skills level, we will still have to decide for one that we drop from the panel, and we will always have two empty slots on the Classic panel.

Unless we define a new "Classic 10". Again, for the overview, here's my suggestion.

Classic Ten: Walker, Jumper, Climber, Floater, Bomber, Blocker, Builder, Basher, Miner, Digger
Neo Nine: Swimmer, Shimmier, Glider, Stoner, Stacker, Platformer, Fencer, Disarmer, Cloner

In the meantime, the Cloner takes the Jumper's spot among the Classic Ten.

But of course, long-term, Classic Ten and Neo Nine seems inconsistent. :D Maybe we can still find a useful and unique 20th skill to add some time in the remote distant future, so that we would end up with two "complete" alternate sets of skills again.

Not only because the NeoLemmix skills are lacking in destructive skills, featuring only the Fencer, but also in general, I'm pretty sure such a skill would somehow revolve around the eternal issue of upward digging... (in L2-terms: either the Laser Blaster, Twister, or Magno-Booter)
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Pit Lems (Old Formats), a more puzzly one, 100 levels - Let's Played by nin10doadict
Lemmicks, a pack for (very old) NeoLemmix 1.43 full of gimmicks, 170 levels

Offline Proxima

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Re: Defining the classic 10 skills
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2019, 05:39:40 pm »
Interesting topic. This is pretty much exactly how I was thinking for RockLems: now that we have a 10-skill panel, it would be fun to choose two additional skills and have all levels draw from the skills in that "pool" rather than just the classic eight.

For RockLems, I chose the walker and shimmier. Shimmier because it's new and I wanted to play with it; walker because it's one of only two skills shared with Lix, so I'm already used to it being part of my pool of skills (and the other shared skill, platformer, behaves very differently in the two games and I don't like NL's version). The walker is also, as you said, unique in being the only skill outside the classic eight that's from an original game other than L2 (other than L3D's turner, which only works in 3D). Finally, walking is an action that lemmings could already take in L1, so adding the skill doesn't add a new action.

In the long term, my preference would be the same as yours: walker plus either the cloner or jumper. Cloners copy a lemming's action, so they also don't add a new action. But adding the cloner has a downside in that levels can have a save requirement above the original number of lemmings, which is fine in NeoLemmix but feels distinctly "non-classic". As for the jumper, again I'm biased towards it as a skill I'm familiar with from Lix.

That sense of familiarity is important to me, not because I understand the skill better -- I know how all NeoLemmix skills behave -- but because I'm familiar with how it can be used in puzzle design. In fact, one of the main uses of the jumper is to get a single lemming separated from the crowd, so it can be seen as a variant of the shimmier. The shimmier can travel longer distances, but requires particular terrain set-ups, so the jumper is often more versatile (although creating terrain for a shimmier is an interesting puzzle concept). So now that I'm already playing with a skill pool including shimmiers, transitioning to jumpers would probably be relatively painless.

Offline ccexplore

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Re: Defining the classic 10 skills
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2019, 06:38:23 pm »
However people decide, I don't think I can ever call it "classic" 10 since by definition, the only skills that are truly classic are the ones from Lemmings 1. ;)

The so-called "bias" for the true classic 8 is obviously not because the skills panel had too few slots, it is simply because many people have only played the original Lemmings games and so the 8 skills are the ones that are most familiar, and naturally people like to design around what they are familiar with.  People who wanted to make levels using the newer skills would've already done so regardless of how many slots had been in the skills panel, and people who have consciously rejected the newer skills would not be swayed by a comparatively miscellaneous change in the user interface.  Even for someone who's open to the newer skills, it's quite sensible that if they were to purposely create a classic-styled level or levelpack, they'd still choose to keep to the original 8 just to keep it truly classic (not unlike how Lemmings 2 purposely disables the otherwise ubiquitous explosion knockback physics just for the Classic Tribe).  For something like that, they'd actually probably also ask for the ability for a level to go back to 8 slots in skills panel if they could.

Walker is the only one that to me intuitively feels like you could potentially include in a classic-style level and not feel too out of place, I think mainly because walking and turning already naturally happens in the classic game in other circumstances.  Neither cloner nor jumper feels quite as classic to me, but if push comes to shove I think the cloner is less non-classical--the motion of jumping just feels way too mobile compared to the classic 8.  I actually feel like stacker, platformer or fencer may in some sense actually be more classical, in that they are all (in my mind anyway) fairly minor variations of the classic building and digging skills.

Personally I find the idea of segregating the skills into old and new to be a bit limiting, though of course I'm not adverse to having a few levels here and there that align to such segregation, and I recognize there's a matter of taste for some level authors.  Keeping to the classic 8 seems to be a combination of nostalgia and perhaps better proficiency at creating levels with only such skills (for some people).  And then I suppose for some people there'd then be an impulse to do the opposite and create levels not using any of the classic 8, I suppose.  But in my mind, it's much more interesting to explore all the different combinations of skills, old and new, to fully utilize all their potential.  There are sure to be many interesting, puzzle-worthy interactions between skills from the "classic" subset and the rest.

Offline namida

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Re: Defining the classic 10 skills
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2019, 07:55:57 pm »
Quote
During the days of 9 NeoLemmix skills vs. 8 slots on the panel, I frequently used to drop the Disarmer - although, historically speaking, it would have to be the Fencer, because the Disarmer was indeed among the first 8 NeoLemmix skills to be introduced.

It's a little-known point that the Cloner is slightly younger than the other 7 original NeoLemmix skills. It came one version later than the rest of them. NeoLemmix wasn't very popular yet at this point - the only dedicated content for it was Lemmings Plus III, aside from that there were just unofficial conversions from Lemmix of the earlier Lemmings Plus packs, and conversions of the official games - so this fact generally flies under the radar. (Holiday Lemmings Plus came soon after, which made use of 7 of the skills. It wasn't until Lemmings Plus Omega that the Disarmer - or as it was known at the time, the "Mechanic" - saw use in a level that didn't specifically exist to show off the disarmer.)

EDIT: No, wait, there was one level earlier than this - I made a 10 level pack with tutorial levels for these new skills, plus two puzzle levels using them. The second one, "Master of the System", used the disarmer. This level was remade in Lemmings Plus Omega as Perplexing 26 "Whisper of the Wind".
« Last Edit: September 11, 2019, 09:19:32 pm by namida »

Offline Proxima

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Re: Defining the classic 10 skills
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2020, 05:45:00 pm »
I feel the original discussion here has run its course, so I'm going to hijack the topic with a related but distinct discussion point. If that's not okay, let me know and I'll get one of the mods to split this out.

If you had to choose just 10 skills to build levels with, which would it be? This is a distinct question from "which 10 are the most classic"; it's about which 10 work together the best and feel the most cohesive as a skillset for an entire game.

I mentioned above that I was thinking of doing something similar for my pack RockLems. This pack isn't abandoned, but I've decided to merge it and GemLems into a single pack for the revival. Since that will already mean cutting some levels, it gives me the chance to reconsider my choice of 10 skills (and I may even go up to 12 -- but 10 would be a nice number to stick with as it's the maximum you can use in one level, which probably won't be changing).

Skills I would definitely keep in my 10:

Climber: One of the best original skills. It's great for separating out single lemmings and getting to high places, but because it's a permanent skill, the climber interacts differently with every wall and it's easy to make this a disadvantage or require the player to construct separate routes for climbers and non-climbers. Also has great synergy with the bomber and jumper.

Bomber: Extremely versatile destructive skill with a unique disadvantage -- it always costs the player a lemming. The fact that it's the only destructive skill you can assign to fallers, climbers and jumpers allows for some great puzzle potential where you have to work out both where to bomb and how to get there.

Blocker: While the old "hold the crowd between two blockers" routine is passé, the blocker still has a number of interesting uses, including turning round a worker lemming (thus requiring multiple workers); isolating the last lemming by blocking with the second-last; bouncing other skills off the blocker. I also like the fact that it often requires sacrificing a lemming, but the blocker can be saved, and that can be a very hard part of the puzzle.

Builder: Goes without saying, as this has always been the game's #1 skill, and dislike of "builder-fests" is more about dislike of long levels where the path is completely obvious than anything against the skill itself. There's just so much you can do with it -- and while that does make it overpowered and prone to causing backroutes, these can be mitigating by providing fewer builders and balancing them with other skills.

Basher: While the miner is the undisputed king of the destructive skills, there are times when it's necessary to restrict vertical movement, and so the basher is indispensable. I also love its potential for challenge solutions (both fewer builders and fewer miners tend to make heavy use of the basher) as I am firmly on the side of levels that add replay value by having multiple solutions possible; in fact, these days my hard levels tend to be more open-ended than my easy levels!

Miner: Another no-brainer; this is almost certainly the original game's second-best skill, even if on the original levels, it's the skill that's absolutely required the least often (simply because it can be replaced with bashers and diggers most of the time). If you want to restrict builders because of backroutes, then the miner is the best tool available for giving the crowd's journey more vertical reach; it's also great for getting down from heights, turning the worker around, or turning a second lemming around in the miner tunnel.

Digger: With basher and miner both on the "confirmed" list, do we absolutely need the digger as well? I think we do. There are times when the digger is simply better than the miner (for instance, making a pit to contain the crowd); there are other times when the miner is too versatile and you want a digger to provide vertical reach without making things too easy (for instance, when the crowd can't follow it because they would splat).

Jumper: Yes, much as I love the original skills, one new skill makes my "definite" list. I gave a list of its utilities in the "jumper physics" topic:
The vanilla Jumper, by itself, can cancel another skill; get one lemming over a gap without using up a builder; get one lemming past a trap; get one lemming over a blocker/stacker (excellent for when your worker lemming needs to die or block and you need a second worker); get a lemming to a higher elevation; get a lemming to a lower elevation without floaters/gliders given a favourable terrain setup; get a lemming partway up a wall or close to a ceiling to bomb/stone there or collect a pickup skill. To all that, we've already agreed to add transitioning to a climber, allowing the climber to wall-jump, and gliding from the peak of the jump.

So, that's a total of 8, and if we still had the old 8-slot skill panel, I would at least consider making a pack that sticks religiously to just those eight skills. But we have ten slots now, so it makes sense to choose two more. The ones I would most strongly consider are, roughly in order with the ones I like best nearer the top:

Walker: Extremely simple and versatile, with its only real disadvantage being that it's sometimes too versatile. Still, this has always been one of my favourite Lix skills just because it has so many uses that it's often hard to determine what is the best way to use it on a given level.

Floater: The last of the classic 8. To some extent, this is less valuable now that we have the Jumper, and might gain the Slider, as other ways to get a single lemming down from a height. But the simplest way of getting down is something I've relied on quite a lot, and it would feel a bit weird to be without it. Also, neither the Jumper nor Slider is any good for "splat hatch" levels like Poor Wee Creatures; only a good old Floater can cope with those.

Shimmier: I liked this a lot when it first came out, and was already using it in the 2019 RockLems; but now that we have the Jumper, I'm a little less convinced that we need both. Still, there are certainly ways to set up terrain that a Shimmier can handle but a Jumper can't, and tricks and interactions unique to each of the skills, so I wouldn't rule out keeping it.

20th skill: We're not sure yet what the 20th skill will be, though at the moment, Slider, Mortar and Spear-thrower look to be the leading candidates. Any of these would be an interesting addition to the NeoLemmix skill set, and it would be fun to be among the first to play around with a new skill. (However, I don't yet know whether I'll want to get busy on the new version of GemLems before the 20th skill is available.)

Platformer: For all my gripes about the NL platformer not being what I'm used to from Lix, it definitely retains a lot of its puzzle potential, and in particular the fact that it's a constructive skill that doesn't gain height, which is often exactly what you need when you want to make gaining height the main challenge. Also brings the numbers of constructive and destructive skills into better balance, which is a consideration for N-of-all type levels.

The remaining seven, I am sure I would not consider. The Swimmer is obsolete now that we have the Jumper and Shimmier for getting across water; I never liked the Glider's inherent fiddliness; the Fencer makes gaining height too easy; the Stoner is extremely backroute-prone, and I don't like the irregular shape of its terrain and the precision tricks that enables; the Stacker is mostly a less interesting Blocker; the Disarmer is less interesting than other ways of dealing with traps, unless you use pick-up skills, which I won't; the Cloner is interesting but I don't like how far it strays from the original game, in particular the possibility of creating more lemmings than you start with.

Any thoughts on the above, or does anyone want to make their own selection of 10, even if in your case it's hypothetical and you're not actually intending on using your selection as the basis for a pack? :D

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: Defining the classic 10 skills
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2020, 06:44:55 pm »
I just want to object to the notion of the Swimmer being obsolete after the Shimmier and the Jumper ;) . I dare to say many people simply haven't figured out how to set up Swimmer-specific obstacles.

The classic example I've used repeatedly on my levels "Why did you doubt?" (Lemmicks, Basic 04), "Not the incended solution" (Lemmings World Tour, Groupie 39), "Apotheosis exam" (Pit Lems, FML 19) is a water pond where on the one side, there are regular blocks of terrain, and on the other side at the same height, there is a steel wall. The crowd / worker lemming comes from the former side.

This means he can't get to the other side by building, platforming, jumping, or shimmying. He needs to jump into the water first, swim over, and then build the platform or staircase from the other side. It's the Swimmer's equivalent of a one-way wall.

The other major thing about the Swimmer is, similar to the Slider, that it's a situational Floater. It can survive splat-height drops, but only in specific places: The Slider requires a straight vertical wall to get down safely, the Swimmer requires water. Since this same pond of water can be lethal for the crowd, you can have puzzles revolve around proper sequencing - getting the Swimmers down safely first before you close off the water by building or platforming over it. Examples from my levels include "Volunteers first!" from ParaLems, or one of my two new Jumper levels that I just shared today in the thread featuring the experimental build ;).

Finally, since Swimmers always float to the top of water areas, they can act as Climbers as well by Swimming up waterfalls etc. ;)
My packs so far:
Lemmings World Tour (New & Old Formats), my music-themed flagship pack, 320 levels - Let's Played by Colorful Arty
Paralems (Old Formats), a more flavour-driven one, 150 levels
Pit Lems (Old Formats), a more puzzly one, 100 levels - Let's Played by nin10doadict
Lemmicks, a pack for (very old) NeoLemmix 1.43 full of gimmicks, 170 levels

Offline Proxima

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Re: Defining the classic 10 skills
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2020, 08:22:02 pm »
I dare to say many people simply haven't figured out how to set up Swimmer-specific obstacles.

Not at all; I'm aware that it's easy to do so. The question is: supposing we have just the 8 main skills I chose above and we are choosing one or two more, why would we choose the Swimmer? You can construct a water pond that requires a Swimmer to get across, and give the player a Swimmer. You could also make the terrain Shimmier-friendly and give the player a Shimmier. What do you gain by specifically using a Swimmer for this?

Quote
The other major thing about the Swimmer is, similar to the Slider, that it's a situational Floater. It can survive splat-height drops, but only in specific places: The Slider requires a straight vertical wall to get down safely, the Swimmer requires water. Since this same pond of water can be lethal for the crowd, you can have puzzles revolve around proper sequencing - getting the Swimmers down safely first before you close off the water by building or platforming over it.

That is a much better point, although similar set-ups can also be done with other skills, for instance an anti-splat pad that's not directly under a wall, but can be reached with a Jumper. And even if the Swimmer isn't completely redundant, I feel it's definitely lost enough of its unique use cases that it's the least valuable NL skill at this point.

Offline WillLem

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Re: Defining the classic 10 skills
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2020, 10:56:31 pm »
What a glorious topic! This is one to get a cup of tea and a plate of biccies for... :thumbsup:

As far as classic skills go, I never really played Lemmings 2 or any of the games that followed it - my only real experience of Lemmings came from the original game and Oh No!. Thusly, skills like the Walker, Jumper, Disarmer, Swimmer and Cloner all feel completely novel to me and, whilst I love them all, I wouldn't consider them to be classic-style skills.

The Stacker, perhaps, could be considered classic because of its similarity to a Builder and its interchangeability with a Blocker. However, ironically I wouldn't include it in a "classic" skill panel for much the same reasons!

If you had to choose just 10 skills to build levels with, which would it be? This is a distinct question from "which 10 are the most classic"; it's about which 10 work together the best and feel the most cohesive as a skillset for an entire game.

Brilliant question.

My Main 10 - I'd be happy using these as the exclusive skill panel for a level pack:

Walker - This has become one of my favourite skills. It has a multitude of uses, and is also great for speed-solving purposes. It's backroute prone, sure, but with the right application it can be the most powerful skill on the panel without opening up backroutes at all!

Climber - For much the same reasons Proxima said (gaining height, separating a worker, etc), and particularly its up-and-coming interaction with Jumpers.

Swimmer - I completely agree with Strato here: the Swimmer is a great skill for way more than just getting across water. You can use it to separate a worker, make a drop safe, gain height (in quite a unique way); also check out my use of the Swimmer in the new-skills-challenge version of ROCKY VI - it's the key skill that made this solution possible! Also, it makes solving Hunt The Nessy a breeze! :crylaugh:

Glider - This was a tough one, because I prefer the way the Floater looks with its red and white umbrella (I guess I could just customise the sprite :P), but the Glider is just so much more useful.

Blocker - Beats the Stacker and Stoner hands down as an instant way to hold back or separate a crowd into sections; also useful for turning workers, and they can be rescued.

Builder - For all reasons already mentioned, it's simply an indispensable skill with power and puzzle potential.

Basher - This is probably the most tentative addition to this list, but earns its spot simply because it's too useful not to. Bash-cancelling can be a great way to gain height through a block of terrain, plus it's an instant way to get through thin terrain without sacrificing a lemming with a Bomber. That, plus its worker-separating and safety-pit potential gets it past the mark. Just!

Miner - Another definite; instant way to remove a couple of pixels of ground, you can use it to rescue Blockers, get past traps, create safety pits, make your way downwards through terrain whilst also creating a safety drop, and it responds to Blockers. You can also use it to turn lemmings around as well. Proxima's declaration of it being the "King of the destructive skills" is, I feel, no exaggeration.

Cloner - I just love this skill. Its puzzle potential for making a lemming perform the same task in two directions whilst only using one of the skill initially is very powerful. It can also be used to create a worker lem facing the opposite direction, and it opens up multiple-solution possibilities.

Jumper - It's not been officially released yet, but what a skill this is turning out to be! I can already think of a handful of levels in Lemminas that I'd like to use this skill for, and there may well be another release version of the pack once this skill has been fully implemented into NeoLemmix. I think that fact alone puts it quite firmly on my list.

Guest List - I'd feature these as guest skills in a pack with otherwise just the above panel; these are all skills I use extensively:

(in order of preference)

Disarmer - I will always feel an affinity for the Disarmer, having created the currently-used sprite for it, and it makes a valuable pick-up skill as well as having more puzzle and even action potential than people give it credit for (especially at high release rates or other tight-crowd situations). This would be a regular guest skill, for sure.

Platformer - A great alternative to the Builder for gaining ground horizontally whilst restricting vertical movement, but also great for quickly closing gaps, making safety platforms, and building underneath low ceilings. It was very difficult not to put this on my main list, but it's just too close to the builder, ultimately. A worthy guest skill.

Shimmier - A great skill, but the Jumper, Walker and Swimmer are all better alternatives for its main uses. I do enjoy creating Shimmier puzzles and levels though, so this is one I'd miss if it weren't there at all.

Floater - Again, it was hard not to put this on my list, but I generally do perceive the Glider as being more useful for getting lems down from a height, and the Floater is the more reactive of the two skills. I'd probably either use it as a guest skill or assign it to the occasional entrance hatch. ;P

Bomber - As much as I love all-save solutions, I have to admit that the Bomber remains the secret best of the destructive skills for its versatility, ease and quickness of application, and universal assignability. With NeoLemmix's removal of the timer to boot, I'd definitely use it as an occasional guest skill, albeit sparingly. And, I'd just have to use talismans for all-save versions of my Bomber levels! ;P

Stacker - This one only just makes the Guest List, and then only for its special-trick potential. It can be useful for creating vertical terrain for Climbers, but most of its other main uses can be covered by Blockers, Builders and Platformers to slightly better effect. The less obvious Stacker tricks are what earn it this last spot in my Guest List; it does occasionally feature in my levels as one of the tougher puzzle elements (see With A Twist Of Lemmina Please and Milkshake Party, currently rated as the most difficult levels in the Lemminas pack and both of which use the Stacker as a main part of the puzzle!). Also, I recently discovered a trick involving Stacker>Climber>Jumper thanks to one of DireKrow's Jumper levels which could prove to be very nifty! So... I wouldn't ever want to see it disappear, but it would be a guest skill I'd only use very sparingly.

Skills I Wouldn't Miss - I acknowledge that these skills have their use, and as a result of this post I might start looking at ways to use them more creatively, but for now they're off the list:

Fencer - Easier than bash-cancelling to gain height through terrain, granted. Buuut I dunno, there's something about the Fencer that, whilst I use it regularly (and probably favour it more than some of the skills mentioned above, ironically), I can't quite put my finger on why I wouldn't consciously count it as a go-to skill. I likely won't stop using it, and it's by no means my least favourite skill, but I think I could do without it.

Stoner - This is a skill I've never really liked, and I've never used it in a level. I can think of better ways to break a fall that don't require sacrificing a lemming, and neither Blockers nor Stackers are sacrificial either, which is the Stoner's other main use. That being said, it can be used to create terrain for a Swimmer to stand on (but again - it doesn't feel like this is worth sacrificing a lemming).

However! The appearance of the Jumper skill is the first thing to spark my interest in the Stoner: all of a sudden, you can create terrain above the lemmings very quickly, and also give other Jumpers something to turn around on (thanks to the much debated hit wall-turn-fall mechanic of the Jumper!). So, whilst for now I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want it in my Main 10 or even my Guest List, I am beginning to see the skill in a new light.

And finally, the Digger - What can I say... I just feel I could do without it it if I absolutely had to. Digger pits are a pain to get right, and there are more useful and entertaining crowd-control methods. Also, the vertical shaft they create is often lethal if left unchecked. Whilst these things are, admittedly, less of a pain in NeoLemmix than they were in the original game, they seem to have left me with a general disdain for the Digger skill in general. I'll use it if I need to, but its not one of my favourites.

So that's it! Looking forward to reading others' choices! :lemcat:

ALSO: As a possible extension to this thread, how about making a challenge to solve the original game (or some other level pack of choice) with only your chosen 10! I think it would be interesting to see how that turns out!

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: Defining the classic 10 skills
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2020, 11:34:07 pm »
As I said in the starting post, my new "classic 10" skills would be the classic 8 plus Walker and Jumper. That is Walker, Jumper, Climber, Floater, Bomber, Blocker, Builder, Basher, Miner, Digger. Though I may be biased from having played the Linux Lemmings clone "Pingus" (with penguins instead of lemmings :D ) as a kid, which gave you the classic 8 plus the Jumper. This was also one of the main reasons why I was so keen on finally seeing the Jumper introduced into NeoLemmix for real! :thumbsup:

And the Walker is just... well, a lemming's default state. As a skill, it's often quite broken. You always find a use for it: Free a Blocker, cancel a skill mid-performance (Basher staircases), turn lemmings around way too easily, get a lemming ahead by having him turn around earlier than everyone else... Therefore, I probably wouldn't provide many of them, just like the higher-rank original levels by DMA provided fewer and fewer Blockers, to teach the player about more inventive ways of containing the crowd than simply trapping them between two Blockers.



If I had to modify the classic 8, as I said earlier, I think I could do without the Floater, forcing the player to find more creative ways for each individual level to get a lemming down safely. The Glider is more versatile and can accomplish the same things as the Floater if you just assign it a little later.

The Blocker might be the hallmark of many advanced levels that require you to repeatedly assign one and then free him again. But when it comes to crowd control, I think I use the Stacker much more frequently. Having to work with the lemmings that slip past the Stacker while he's building the stack is already a good start, but the fact that Climbers can also go over it makes it less of a reliable barrier. Instead, it can also be used as a tool to close gaps and allow Climbers to continue past them.

Finally, I thought about which destructive skill I could afford sacrificing for the Fencer. The Basher maybe, but there are too many situations involving horizontal one-way arrows where the Fencer would come out at a point too high to allow the crowd to get into the tunnel. So I'd probably cut the Digger and go with Basher, Fencer, Miner. The Miner can often accomplish the things the Digger does, unless there is very little room (horizontally) to go down. Hence, one horizontal, one upward, one downward destructive skill seems fair enough.

That would make my "modified 10-skill panel" consist of:

Walker, Jumper, Climber, Glider, Bomber, Stacker, Builder, Basher, Fencer, Miner
My packs so far:
Lemmings World Tour (New & Old Formats), my music-themed flagship pack, 320 levels - Let's Played by Colorful Arty
Paralems (Old Formats), a more flavour-driven one, 150 levels
Pit Lems (Old Formats), a more puzzly one, 100 levels - Let's Played by nin10doadict
Lemmicks, a pack for (very old) NeoLemmix 1.43 full of gimmicks, 170 levels

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: Defining the classic 10 skills
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2020, 09:29:01 am »
I think I have to slightly adapt my choice from my previous post regarding the new "Classic 10 skills". Based on the principle "watch what I do, not what I say", I've noticed that a lot of the "classical" levels I designed for my Lemmings 2: The Tribes-inspired pack Lemmings: Hall of Fame feature, if they go beyond the classic 8 at all, Shimmiers and Jumpers, not Walkers and Jumpers.

Thus, my classic 10 skills, as established empirically by my level design, would be:
Jumper, Shimmier, Climber, Floater, Bomber, Blocker, Builder, Basher, Miner, Digger



I believe the reason is that the Shimmier is slightly less broken than the Walker while at the same time adding more design options to a level.

Both the Shimmier and the Jumper can still be (ab-)used to cancel other skills, especially destructive skills mid-swipe.

They are however much more situational if you want to use them to turn a lemming around:
- A Shimmier needs to land on a ledge leading towards a wall (assuming there isn't one already on the ground where he was walking before, because then he would turn around anyway)
- A Jumper needs to jump into a wall (again, assuming it doesn't touch the ground, because such a wall would make him turn around no matter what)

In other words, both the Shimmier and the Jumper still require some sort of wall, as any other lemmings do, to turn around. The Walker is the only skill that gives lemmings the option of turning around on a whim, out of thin air. Plus, Walkers can free Blockers, which neither Shimmiers nor Jumpers can. And freeing Blockers in creative ways is often one of the main challenges of highly advanced puzzles.
My packs so far:
Lemmings World Tour (New & Old Formats), my music-themed flagship pack, 320 levels - Let's Played by Colorful Arty
Paralems (Old Formats), a more flavour-driven one, 150 levels
Pit Lems (Old Formats), a more puzzly one, 100 levels - Let's Played by nin10doadict
Lemmicks, a pack for (very old) NeoLemmix 1.43 full of gimmicks, 170 levels

Offline WillLem

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Re: Defining the classic 10 skills
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2020, 01:20:10 am »
Good choices, I can see why you've favoured the Jumper and Shimmier over the Walker, for sure. Freeing Blockers and turning lemmings around often forms a large part of the puzzle for many levels. Also, the Jumper and the Shimmier are more specific in what they do, and so are more likely to be used where actually needed.

Walkers can be used fairly creatively though. It can be a challenge to build a level that requires Walkers but also makes sure they aren't used in a way that's unintended.