Author Topic: Objects from Lemmings Revolution - viable for NeoLemmix?  (Read 134 times)

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Offline Strato Incendus

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Objects from Lemmings Revolution - viable for NeoLemmix?
« on: November 07, 2019, 12:13:05 pm »
We've had a lot of discussions about which of the abundance of elements from Lemmings 2 could still be added to NeoLemmix. In comparison, Lemmings Revolution, which is a lot more faithful to classical Lemmings again in its design, has received rather little attention. Pretty much the only object from this game we've ever considered is the anti-gravity pad - which is probably also the most difficult to program. But this game contained other distinctive features, some of which might be easier to introduce into NeoLemmix, while still being worthwhile.

Here's an overview of all the features of the game (aside from the skills, which are just the standard eight from original Lemmings).

My comments on each of these in perspective to NeoLemmix:


Weasels. Their main function is already covered by Zombies - however, Weasels are somewhat less dangerous, since they don't infect Lemmings they encounter, which, in case of Zombies, can then go on to infect other Lemmings, i.e. the effect is cummulative. Weasels are really more comparable to moving traps, like the bird or the "Lemme fatale" in Lemmings 3.

Which would be the next point:

Moving traps. The only one I remember is the spike roll that would circle around the level, killing any Lemming that happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Both Weasels and moving traps make levels harder to predict, because they rely on timing. In that sense, I wouldn't consider them puzzle-friendly. Then again, for some people, timing and flow control are part of the puzzle.

Laser gates and levers. These act basically like exit-opening buttons in NeoLemmix - but they work on a more general level and can be used to "lock" or "unlock" other things. For example, filling up a gap with water, or draining the water from a gap, or opening and closing metal gates to certain areas.
Filling up or draining water would sound reminiscent of the rising water gimmick, but in Lemmings Revolution, it's an all-or-nothing thing: Either there is water in a basin, or there is none. I'd very much love to see this feature - it would allow to make levels about creating Swimmer-friendly paths, much like some levels are about creating paths that only work for Climbers or Floaters - but then, filling water into an area should be instant, not a slowly-rising thing. Essentially, working with active and non-active water trigger areas.

Applying the same logic to terrain (active / non-active), we end up with:

Gates. In general, these are much more versatile than locked or limited-number exits: They can act as one-way terrain (if a Lemming has to get to the other side to push a lever and make the metal pieces retract), they can serve as bridges to cross gaps or barriers to block lemmings, cut off the path to certain pickup skills, only allow a certain number of Lemmings to pass before closing for good, etc.. They might even be able to kill Lemmings (or Zombies / Weasels) if they extend while a Lemming is passing by? In NeoLemmix, such a Lemming would probably only get trapped inside the terrain (although, if that terrain is also considered steel, he would have no chance of ever escaping again).
Essentially, this would mean "active" and "non-active" terrain in NeoLemmix, but clearly identifiable visually. A fair version of the Clock gimmick, so to say (though I've never actually seen this gimmick in action), which, according to my knowledge, made terrain present or absent on a mere timing basis (=execution difficulty). With metal gates like the ones in Lemmings Revolution, we could incorporate this idea into puzzles in a fair and predictable way! ;)

Speed-up pads. These would essentially be to the Lix Runner skill what radiation and slowfreeze were for Bombers and Stoners. They might not be hated as much by the community as a whole, because they don't include a countdown. But they would essentially introduce the Runner skill (or Superlemming gimmick) in specific locations of a level. I actually opposed the introduction of the Runner skill into NeoLemmix in the early days of New Formats, arguing that it would mainly be exploited to create scenarios of difficult execution. Some people pointed out the possible interactions between Jumper and Runner. I still think a skill isn't really viable if it's only worthwhile in combination with specific other skills (like, in this case, increasing the Jumper's distance). But the closer we get to the introduction of the Jumper into NeoLemmix, the more tastes may vary.

Anti-gravity pads. I've stated repeatedly that I'm a big fan of these, because they add all the versatility of L2 skills like the Magno Booter, or other conceivable skills, such as upward digging or downward building, without requiring the introduction of actual new skills. Then again, the reason they do this is because they essentially work like a gimmick - not like the "no gravity" gimmick, of course, but more like an actual application of "Upside-down world". So while I do believe these have huge puzzle potential, I also acknowledge they'd probably be a nightmare to code, especially whenever any new skills get introduced.

Teleporters / Portals. The big thing about teleporters in Lemmings Revolution is that they're not release-rate sensitive: They work just like splitters in NeoLemmix and affect every lemming passing through. That's why I'd call these "portals", to distinguish them from teleporters: Rather than triggering, they just change the position of a lemming. I think introducing these, while it might seem redundant to teleporters at first glance, would accomplish several things:
- being an actual case of the "super teleporter" created by Arty, giving people the option to create teleporter-heavy levels that don't take ages to solve, because the player no longer has to wait for eternity until all the lemmings can be transported
- offer the option for "wraparound" levels without requiring the re-introduction of the gimmick. I've been using regular teleporters in the past to simulate the level wrap gimmick, and it works perfectly fine, except for the release-rate sensitivity of standard teleporters. Portals would provide the option for level wrap in specific locations, without the entire level side or ceiling becoming a doorway to the other side of the level. Actual level wrap can introduce a bunch of backroutes that are difficult to see for the level designer - portals, in contrast, allow to restrict this effect much more, without forcing you to make your level release-rate sensitive.

Break-away floors. I don't actually remember these from playing Lemmings Revolution myself, but these would essentially work like limited-number exits - except that they're limited-number terrain. I wouldn't recommend the terrain falling apart piece by piece, like the rising water gimmick in old NeoLemmix; instead, they could be labeled with a number, just like limited-number exits, and then the terrain would simply disappear once that number reaches zero. Essentially, this could be combined with the idea of gates explained above.



Some of these would probably be rather easy to introduce, especially things like Portals (=non-timing-based teleporters), which could basically rely on the code for something that already exists, and merely slightly adapt it, while still providing many new opportunities for level designers.

What do you all think? ;)

I've labeled those in green which I'd personally approve of in NeoLemmix, and those in red which I'd find redundant or even harmful in light of our standard level-design philosophy.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2019, 12:02:44 am by Strato Incendus »
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Online namida

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Re: Objects from Lemmings Revolution - viable for NeoLemmix?
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2019, 06:00:12 pm »
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Weasels. Their main function is already covered by Zombies - however, Weasels are somewhat less dangerous, since they don't infect Lemmings they encounter, which, in case of Zombies, can then go on to infect other Lemmings, i.e. the effect is cummulative. Weasels are really more comparable to moving traps, like the bird or the "Lemme fatale" in Lemmings 3.

Indeed, weasels are more or less non-infectious zombies. If we were happy to make them exactly non-infectious zombies, except for visual differences and maybe a small pause (for an "eating" animation), then the biggest issues would be (a) do we need yet ANOTHER type of lemming?, and (b) who's going to make the graphics?

Beyond that, I see little technical difficulty with implementing them, though I'd question how many use cases there are that can't with some slight adjustment be made to work with either zombies or a non-moving trap. Until such cases can be shown, I definitely see no reason to bother with all this.

Conclusion: Extremely unlikely, but not ruled out.

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Moving traps. The only one I remember is the spike roll that would circle around the level, killing any Lemming that happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

These in turn would just be weasels, but slightly more different from lemmings - though also likely much easier on the graphical side of things. Most of the same arguments apply outside of graphical ones.

Conclusion: Extremely unlikely, but not ruled out.

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Laser gates and levers. These act basically like exit-opening buttons in NeoLemmix - but they work on a more general level and can be used to "lock" or "unlock" other things. For example, filling up a gap with water, or draining the water from a gap, or opening and closing metal gates to certain areas.

This is an idea I've actually considered personally (though not brought to any discussion so far) in the past. I'm open to considering this one for sure.

Conclusion: Potential candidate for future consideration.

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Filling up or draining water would sound reminiscent of the rising water gimmick, but in Lemmings Revolution, it's an all-or-nothing thing: Either there is water in a basin, or there is none. I'd very much love to see this feature - it would allow to make levels about creating Swimmer-friendly paths, much like some levels are about creating paths that only work for Climbers or Floaters - but then, filling water into an area should be instant, not a slowly-rising thing. Essentially, working with active and non-active water trigger areas.

This is going to look kind of awkward graphically if it's instant, unless gameplay pauses to show it filling up then resumes, which could get annoying if the switch is repeatedly hit for unreleated reasons. Maybe there's some solution. I definitely do agree that there could be some interesting potential in this one, though the key word is "could", and I think a use-cases trial run (rather than just a bug-testing trial run) would be needed before such a feature would make it into a stable build.

Conclusion: Neutral.

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Gates. In general, these are much more versatile than locked or limited-number exits: They can act as one-way terrain (if a Lemming has to get to the other side to push a lever and make the metal pieces retract), they can serve as bridges to cross gaps or barriers to block lemmings, cut off the path to certain pickup skills, only allow a certain number of Lemmings to pass before closing for good, etc.. They might even be able to kill Lemmings (or Zombies / Weasels) if they extend while a Lemming as passing by? In NeoLemmix, such a Lemming would probably only get trapped inside the terrain (although, if that terrain is also considered steel, he would have no chance of every escaping again).
Essentially, this would mean "active" and "non-active" terrain in NeoLemmix, but clearly identifiable visually. A fair version of the Clock gimmick, so to say (though I've never actually seen this gimmick in action), which, according to my knowledge, made terrain present or absent on a mere timing basis (=execution difficulty). With metal gates like the ones in Lemmings Revolution, we could incorporate this idea into puzzles in a fair and predictable way!

I'm a bit wary of the idea of modifying the terrain based on anything other than skill use, though not to the extent that it's a "this is never happening no matter what" thing. There'd need to be some very solid support for it and some good puzzle ideas during a test period though.

I believe you've overlooked one case where a lemming trapped in steel under such circumstances could escape: If the gate is opened again.


Conclusion: Unlikely, but not ruled out.

Quote
Speed-up pads. These would essentially be to the Lix Runner skill what radiation and slowfreeze were for Bombers and Stoners. They might not be hated as much by the community as a whole, because they don't include a countdown. But they would essentially introduce the Runner skill (or Superlemming gimmick) in specific locations of a level. I actually opposed the introduction of the Runner skill into NeoLemmix in the early days of New Formats, arguing that it would mainly be exploited to create scenarios of difficult execution. Some people pointed out the possible interactions between Jumper and Runner. I still think a skill isn't really viable if it's only worthwhile in combination with specific other skills (like, in this case, increasing the Jumper's distance). But the closer we get to the introduction of the Jumper into NeoLemmix, the more tastes may vary.

Agree; these aren't very useful. If we were ever to get a Runner skill, this could be reconsidered, essentially as an object that gives a lemming the Runner skill. In such a case, I'd probably want to generalise it to objects that give lemmings a permanent skill of the level creator's choice. I'd have to be convinced that there's puzzle potential in this that can't already be achieved, or currently would be too backroute-prone, with pickup skills or teleporters, though.

Conclusion: Ruled out for now. The generalised variant of "an object that puts a permanent skill on lemmings" is unlikely but not conclusively ruled out.

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Anti-gravity pads. I've stated repeatedly that I'm a big fan of these, because they add all the versatility of L2 skills like the Magno Booter, or other conceivable skills, such as upward digging or downward building, without requiring the introduction of actual new skills. Then again, the reason they do this is because they essentially work like a gimmick - not like the "no gravity" gimmick, of course, but more like an actual application of "Upside-down world". So while I do believe these have huge puzzle potential, I also acknowledge they'd probably be a nightmare to code, especially whenever any new skills get introduced.

If we ever get reverse gravity, we will have gravity changing pads. Reverse gravity is on the list of features I'd like to have but would also be a huge difficulty to implement - it's very possibly something we'll get someday when I get in one of those major "let's get something HUGE implemented" moods, although I've got a couple of huge features I already need to attend to first.

Conclusion: We'll probably get this someday, but probably not anytime soon.

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Teleporters / Portals. The big thing about teleporters in Lemmings Revolution is that they're not release-rate sensitive: They work just like splitters in NeoLemmix and affect every lemming passing through. That's why I'd call these "portals", to distinguish them from teleporters: Rather than triggering, they just change the position of a lemming. I think introducing these, while it might seem redundant to teleporters at first glance, would accomplish several things:

This is another idea which I've given consideration to, and I think even briefly brought up in chats a few times, though never had serious discussion around.

Conclusion: This is a potential candidate.

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Break-away floors. I don't actually remember these from playing Lemmings Revolution myself, but these would essentially work like limited-number exits - except that they're limited-number terrain. I wouldn't recommend the terrain falling apart piece by piece, like the rising water gimmick in old NeoLemmix; instead, they could be labeled with a number, just like limited-number exits, and then the terrain would simply disappear once that number reaches zero. Essentially, this could be combined with the idea of gates explained above.

Implementation could get quite messy here, and similar to gates, it's terrain that varies based on conditions other than "a skill has been used".

Conclusion: Unlikely, but not conclusively ruled out.



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Some of these would probably be rather easy to introduce, especially things like Portals (=non-timing-based teleporters), which could basically rely on the code for something that already exists, and merely slightly adapt it, while still providing many new opportunities for level designers.

Relying on existing teleporter code for portals would be overkill if the warp is instant (much simpler to just immediately change the lemming's position upon meeting the trigger area), and not useful if there's an animation (think similar to L3D teleporters, except that multiple lemmings can use it at once) due to the way it's written. Regardless though, portals would still be a relatively easy one to implement.

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: Objects from Lemmings Revolution - viable for NeoLemmix?
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2019, 12:15:12 pm »
Thanks for your detailed response, namida, including the clarification of the Clock gimmick. That explains why I could never figure it out for myself while designing "Lemmicks".

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The generalised variant of "an object that puts a permanent skill on lemmings" is unlikely but not conclusively ruled out.

Wouldn't this just be a slight modification of the former "instant-pickup-skills" gimmick? ;) Merely with slightly different-looking sprites for these objects, so that they can be distinguished from regular pickup skills. This would be preferable to the gimmick, because a) pickup skills and skill objects would be clearly distinguishable, i.e. the "gimmick" would be obvious from the terrain rather than hidden information, and b) it wouldn't force the level designer to have all pickup skills on a given level be instant.

I think these skill-giving objects would be extremely useful in case we ever get skill-specific exits (i.e. exits that only Climbers can exit, exits only for Floaters, etc.). This was an idea brought up together with limited-number exits, which we already have by now. In fact, many levels in IchoTolot's new Introduction Pack that make use of limited-number exits revolve around making lemmings with different skills go to a matching exit each.

Of course, you can already enforce certain exits only being accessible to lemmings with specific skills - like placing an exit in mid-air so that only Floaters and Gliders can hit the trigger, or covering the trigger area entirely in water so that only Swimmers can reach it. But more often than not, you might simply have a regular exit standing on regular terrain, but it's supposed to e.g. pick all the Floaters out of a crowd, so that anyone who walks onwards towards a steep drop needs a different solution to get down safely.



The combination of skill-specific exits and objects that can give skills to lemmings would both take inspirations from another puzzle game I have repeatedly quoted, namely Star Wars: Pit Droids (the game that inspired the name of my second pack, "Pit Lems").

In this game, you have to set up the entire solution in advance and can no longer interfere once the droids start walking. Basically, imagine a puzzle with just Walkers and Blockers, maybe Cloners, and then a bunch of objects, where you have to steer each crowd into the proper direction. Pit Droids could be coloured into four different colours by walking into "spraying objects", then their head could be coloured separately, plus they could be equipped with various tools at certain locations containing these tools.

Then, for each of these, there were barriers that only droids of the given colour / with the given tool could pass (or barriers that everyone EXCEPT droids of a certain colour or with a certain tool could pass), as well as exits only specifically coloured or equipped droids could access.
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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

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Re: Objects from Lemmings Revolution - viable for NeoLemmix?
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2019, 05:21:09 pm »
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Wouldn't this just be a slight modification of the former "instant-pickup-skills" gimmick? ;) Merely with slightly different-looking sprites for these objects, so that they can be distinguished from regular pickup skills. This would be preferable to the gimmick, because a) pickup skills and skill objects would be clearly distinguishable, i.e. the "gimmick" would be obvious from the terrain rather than hidden information, and b) it wouldn't force the level designer to have all pickup skills on a given level be instant.

What I was envisioning when I wrote this was a bit different, specifically in that any lemming that reaches the object would attain the skill (instead of it being single-use), as well as it being limited to permanent skills. I didn't have a specific thought in mind (the distinction only came to mind now) as to whether this works like a triggered trap, or just gives the skill to any lemming that walks through it. This of course doesn't mean that's the only possible proposal that I'd consider; just that it's how I was envisioning things when I wrote that.

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I think these skill-giving objects would be extremely useful in case we ever get skill-specific exits (i.e. exits that only Climbers can exit, exits only for Floaters, etc.). This was an idea brought up together with limited-number exits, which we already have by now. In fact, many levels in IchoTolot's new Introduction Pack that make use of limited-number exits revolve around making lemmings with different skills go to a matching exit each.

I think these objects would be useful even without those exits - which while I'm not ruling out conclusively, I can't say I'm particularly keen on, even more so after seeing IchoTolot manage essentially the same effect without needing explicit support. (Of course, the Disarmer is a special case here - there isn't really any way you can make an exit Disarmer-exclusive currently. You can require a Disarmer to create a path to an exit, but you cannot require a Disarmer to traverse the path.)

Of course, even outside of the Disarmer case, there are situations that would call for this - such as the example you give there. So this is by no means a conclusive "not going to happen" on them.

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like placing an exit in mid-air so that only Floaters and Gliders can hit the trigger,

Midair exiting of Floaters / Gliders was culled a long time ago if I'm not mistaken - though this was during the time where Nepster was sole developer so I could be wrong.

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: Objects from Lemmings Revolution - viable for NeoLemmix?
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2019, 09:36:46 pm »
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Midair exiting of Floaters / Gliders was culled a long time ago if I'm not mistaken - though this was during the time where Nepster was sole developer so I could be wrong.

Nope, this still works. I just watched IchoTolot's replays of the first half of the Amateur rank of Lemmings World Tour; one of the levels includes a "direct drop to exit" with both Gliders and Floaters. ;)

I think you might be confusing this with regular Fallers entering exits? That indeed has been removed, but already ages ago - I think it was already no longer present in Old Formats. I definitely never made a level using it.
Ghost Lemmings - help us test a possible new NeoLemmix skill!
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 mobius

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Re: Objects from Lemmings Revolution - viable for NeoLemmix?
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2019, 11:15:51 pm »
The moving spike/saw trap is much more complicated than that:

Firstly; its quite different from weasels or zombies because it doesn't follow the rules of them (it doesn't need to walk on ground) and they can move in different directions; vertical, horizontal or diagonal. (for example one level featured them moving in a 10 or so degree direction super fast in a big zig-zag pattern). And they can move at different speeds; much slower to much faster than lemmings. And they can be turned on or off (made to stop moving or start) with switches. And they can cut through terrain even! And they can do your laundry!
Just for arguments sake I do find them puzzle-friendly. Though I'm not certain if the game had any really good examples. "It's going to take time" might be though. There's a saw moving around near the exit and you must get the group to go through at a good time and doing so isn't simple; that level is actually quite the skill crunch. Swarthy Sea Dogs was also fun when I solved it the first time, but not sure how good of an example it is for this though.

Break-away floors exist in only three levels in the game: Speedy Gonzolas, T is for Teamwork, Which Switch is Which? This apparently existed in L3 as well but I've never seen it.

There were also 'time doors' which was a gate with a number counter by it and after a certain number of lemmings passed the gate closes. It could sometimes be opened again however with a switch (And the counter reset)

The Gates, believe it or not, imo were one of the best used features in the game. Unfortunately many examples I can think of are levels that suffer from other problems that will make people turn away. But I think the principle is pretty sound. There are quite a few levels in the game that make decent use of them imo. They can keep weasels in, lock lemmings in, or let them to danger, or kill weasels or lemmings (by closing on them as you mentioned). Off hand I think "Turn on Tune in Switch on" or "Just you wait" is the best example of them; The former being a really cool concept and my favorite level.

A much simpler mechanic that was used to very good effect in the game was having different types of lemmings that needed to go to specific exits. There was regular, water and acid lemmings. The latter two which of course had other interesting properties; water lemmings could walk on water and that was used in conjunction with draining pools a lot. You can kind of achieve this effect (to a point) in present NL by using pre-assigned skill hatches and places exists in specific places only reachable by athletes of certain types.
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