Author Topic: Challenges board: How it works  (Read 220 times)

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Offline Minim

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Challenges board: How it works
« on: October 21, 2019, 08:07:08 am »
Welcome to the Challenges board. To avoid confusion, here is an introduction as well as some reminders as to how they work, and how you can take part.

The results for each challenge are used by a certain engine. Each engine has different physics which can affect the solution for the same level. The engine must be displayed before the thread's title, written in square brackets. If a topic doesn't have an engine / version tag, you should assume it relates to the DOS version.

The format needs to be used like this:

Code: [Select]
[NeoLemmix] My NeoLemmix Challenge
The link to these engines can be found here. For DOS challenges, DOSBox and LemmixPlayer are acceptable engines. NeoLemmix is not allowed.

Incomplete Challenges
Any challenges that are incomplete will be displayed in paraphrases (circular brackets) at the end of the thread if needed. The incomplete tag should only be applied to the main set of levels of each Lemmings game only. Games such as Oh No! More Lemmings and Xmas Lemmings are regarded as expansion packs rather than a main set; whereas Lemmings 2 and 3 are regarded as main groups of levels because they play completely different to each other.

Replays
For solutions to more complicated challenges, a replay is recommended.

LemmixPlayer's replay files use the .lrb file extension. The controls are:
L = Load replay
U = Save replay
R = Restart level

NeoLemmix is able to save your level automatically (Unless you've turned this off) when the level is passed. The "Load Replay" icon appears on the far bottom right corner of the full-size skill panel. If you can't find it, Go to the Main Menu, press F3 and click on the "Interface" tab. Uncheck the "Compact Skill Panel" checkbox and the icon should be there the next time you play a level. Modern versions of NeoLemmix use the .nxrp file extension.

For games involving the DOSBox (2, 3, and 3D), you can use a video recorder - There's a useful document here on how to use it - but if you don't know how then using screenshots is fine, as long as you include text as well as precise cursor locations and lemming placements. A .png file is preferred for uploading screenshots.

For Lemmings Revolution, unfortunately I haven't found any information on how to save replays there. You'll probably have to record a video or make some screenshots with descriptions.

Uploading the replay is easy. Clicking the "Attachments and other options" button followed by "browse" should open up a window for you to find the replay you want to upload.

So there you go. Hope everything is clear. Have fun playing the Challenges board! 8-)
« Last Edit: October 21, 2019, 01:04:36 pm by Minim »
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Offline ccexplore

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Re: Challenges board: How it works
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2019, 10:05:05 am »
A .png or .jpg file is preferred for uploading screenshots.

I would go slight further and say to use PNG only, especially for the games that have pixel-precise physics (so I guess the ones based on Lemmings 1 or Lemmings 2 physics).  JPG's compression is lossy and will tend to blur out some pixel-precise details, and with challenge solutions you can bet there often will be critical moves that are pixel-precise.

For screenshots, one key thing would be to depict any precise locations and/or timing a lemming needs to be assigned skill to.  Or for something like Lemmings 2's archer or roper skills, I would also try to make sure the screenshot depicts the precise cursor placement for the target point of the skill, especially if it needs to be pixel-precise.

A video is likely easier in explaining all the intricacies of a solution.  If you can't do videos, consider having some text as well as screenshots.  Note that DOSBox has video capturing feature built-in, please consult documentation on use.

Offline Minim

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Re: Challenges board: How it works
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2019, 12:56:57 pm »
Thanks for your useful technical input. 8-) I'll see if I can reword this.
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Offline WillLem

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Re: Challenges board: How it works
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2019, 05:41:10 pm »
Thanks for the clarification on these points. I'm guessing that NeoLemmix is not an acceptable engine for challenges due to its precision capabilities (timestepping, etc)...?

Offline Proxima

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Re: Challenges board: How it works
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2019, 06:46:24 pm »
Not at all. Lemmix has all that and is perfectly acceptable. The difference is that Lemmix is a perfect clone of the mechanics of DOS Lemmings, while NeoLemmix has many, many mechanics differences (steel glitches are fixed, there is no "sliding", etc). That means that results for NeoLemmix don't give us any confidence about what would and would not be possible on the original game.

Online namida

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Re: Challenges board: How it works
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2019, 06:53:02 pm »
I don't see any issue with using NeoLemmix for challenges, as long as NeoLemmix results are kept clearly separate from DOS / Lemmix results - they should probably be their own separate topic, and we'd need to also agree on which version of the levels to use (as the official-pack-conversions and the Redux versions of levels are not always identical; eg. Redux removes most time limits and often reduces the lemming counts).

Likewise, NeoLemmix results would need to be kept separate from, say, SuperLemmini results.

The main concern is, yeah, we do not want to mix entirely different engines together. We generally even separate almost-but-not-quite identical ports, such as Amiga vs DOS (almost identical, but Amiga lacks the nuke glitch and has slightly different digger physics, and has water across the bottom of most levels which usually doesn't matter but can make a difference in some levels, such as Save Me).

Let's also not suddenly spam the board up with every possible engine-challenge combination. We should start with a simple and common challenge on one engine, perhaps "maximum saveable on NeoLemmix". If there's enough interest, it could then expand to other common challenges (skills you can't live without*, or minimum total skills, are usually the next step). If interest still sticks around, it very well might be time to try some of the crazier ones. I really don't think SuperLemmini challenges are worthwhile; I know you're personally a fan of it but you're part of a very small minority (ie: pretty much just yourself) on that one so unless you intend to go through the entire game yourself for that challenge...

* In short, the "skills you can't live without" challenge is about finding what skill(s) are common to all possible solutions. For example, if a level has three solutions - one of which uses 2 builders + 2 bashers, one of which uses 5 builders + 1 basher + 2 miners, and the last uses 10 bashers + 10 miners; the "skills you can't live without" is 1 basher, because no matter which solution you use you need to use 1 basher; everything else can be avoided by using a different solution. If I remember correctly, this challenge has been done for all L1-style games as well as 3D Lemmings.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2019, 06:59:18 pm by namida »