Author Topic: Level Review - Lemmings Plus 3D  (Read 499 times)

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Offline kieranmillar

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Level Review - Lemmings Plus 3D
« on: November 10, 2019, 11:03:23 pm »
Release thread: https://www.lemmingsforums.net/index.php?topic=4368.0
Solution playlist (so you can remind yourself of the levels): https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLVWvcY0oGEFyAqIY6HWJ6NunGfl4PiUjM

I am currently playing through this pack ( https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLjmQA_pi2AYTZdoUOD4HKNuyveubQBAeX ) and had more I wanted to say about each level. So here's a thread of me reviewing each level as I play them.

Fun 01 - Called Back To Duty
This is a fantastic opening level to the pack. Given many players may not have played Lemmings 3D for a long time, it really helps to have a level with wide open space to get used to the camera controls. The level is simple with a fun centerpiece (the rope slide) yet has enough flexibilty to really play around in the level and come up with alternate solutions if you're experienced and want something more. Compare to the official first level, which is trial-and-error based on un-guessable physics, the first official level of Lemmings 3D is atrocious really. I wish it was this level instead.

Fun 02 - Security Walls
In the original Lemmings 3D I seem to remember a level that was a maze but you had to shortcut it by bashing through a wall. This feels like the simplest, most obvious implementation of that concept. I feel like there is the possibility that this level is trying to put me in the right mindset for a trickier revisiting of this, but I might be wrong.

Fun 03 - Lemmings On A Train
I really really love the visual effect going on here that makes it look like the train is moving. Very clever. For a level that is mostly about looking like a thing, it does a very good job of providing an interesting and engaging path through the level. Definitely a top tier level, taking into account the difficulty level it's aiming for.

Fun 04 - Performance Tower
A notable uptick in difficulty in terms of parsing the 3D landscape. While the level is still pretty easy in hindsight, the lemmings at the top felt like they were in a somewhat precarious position. I spent a small while thinking about this one while I got back into the swing of thinking in terms of 3D. I am sure there are a number of easier solutions, but I dug down the central column safe in the knowledge that the spiral staircase would save my lemmings from splatting. I really enjoyed this one.

Fun 05 - The Grand Gallery
The tight space in this level is really bad for the camera. The level is very straightforward, but I spent the entire time fighting the camera. The ceiling needs to be higher up so there is more room for the camera to move. It took me a long time to understand what the (admittedly simple) layout of the level even was. And the position of camera 2 is completely incomprehensible when you first switch to it, you don't even understand what you are looking at.

Fun 06 - Indoor Maze
By comparison this level has a really high ceiling and as such there are no camera issues. It's a perfectly fine level, although it didn't really need to be indoors at all and this would have made the camera even better. I'm glad the walls are only as high as they need to be and no more, so clicking on the lemmings isn't made harder. The level itself is OK. Feels slightly like filler, the maze isn't big or complicated enough to make much of a puzzle out of not using too many turners. Is that the splitter texture used for the exit?

Fun 07 - Star Wars
A fantastic level. Really good introduction to the trap lightning floor. In my solution, in order to make sure too many lemmings didn't die I blocked the crowd between the two builds. It's interesting how the addition of turners naturally causes the classic problem of levels devolving into a single worker lemming to not happen and how you have to play around that. I think the final corridor could have done with one of the two traps being removed just because it's very specific, but in L3D's grid-based layouts this sort of precision is actually not a big deal, so I guess it's fine. At first I thought this level would have teleporters between ships and would be a simple turner puzzle, so was pleasantly surprised when that wasn't the case.

Fun 08 - Where Shall They Rest?
Unfortunately I'm sorry to say that this level is terrible. While hidden exit puzzles were an acquired taste, they are even worse and so much more tedious in 3D. Not even any graphical hints as to where they might be or anything. No, nothing, just pure trial and error strip-mining of the level until you find the one block that can't be destroyed somewhere in the middle of a solid mass, and there are multiple solid masses. Come on namida, you can do better than this. This felt like a troll level.

Offline kieranmillar

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Re: Level Review - Lemmings Plus 3D
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2019, 10:50:30 pm »
Fun 09 - Spacewalkers
A good and simple concept executed in its simplest form, where you have two parallel paths and have to keep switching between them. The level can be shortcut slightly, but it's no big deal. Level is good but not too much to say honestly.

Fun 10 - The Underlems
A nice obstacle course with lots of variety in the type of obstacle. This is like an early level in the original Lemmings game, but in 3D, where your just given some simple landscape and your choice of ways through it. The 4 paths to the final chamber, each with their own obstacle, was a cool touch.

Fun 11 - Device Upgrade
I'm not sure if this level is named because the computer monitor has changed to a flatscreen one instead of the old bulky monitor in the original level this is clearly inspired by, but if so then that's a nice touch. Obviously the main gimmick here is the hilarious joke that made me laugh. A worthy inclusion but the level itself is nothing special, although it's a good introduction to some of the peculiarities of blockers on builders in this game, that can cause some unexpected issues the first time around.

Fun 12 - The Armageddon Machine
A top tier level. While this might not be anything special if it were a standard lemmings game this level asks you to do some interesting digging which is something the official 3D levels didn't really do much of. The exit being on such a thin platform really challenges you to understand what you're doing to get down there, while not actually being very challenging in the grand scheme of things. I guess this level does highlight at this stage how digging in the middle of big solid obstacles can be a challenge solely for camera reasons and a part of the challenge of the level is dealing with that restriction, but it does so in an environment that's both fairly simple and also has enough interesting wrinkles like not having crowds of lemmings go the wrong side of the exit that it makes you think.

Fun 13 - Resist the Temptation
I felt like this level was set up by level 11 and now asks you to think more cleverly along those lines. A bunch of floating platforms where in reality most if not all of them are red herrings. If you look ahead carefully you'll notice you don't have enough turners for a more complex path, it certainly caused me to stop and think the first time I looked at the level. A good, simple challenge that checks if the player has learned the proper spatial awareness yet. Not much too this level but I'm glad it's included where it is in the pack.

Fun 14 - Pac-Lems
There are a ton of possible paths here, very flexible level, kind of glad it wasn't too much more complicated than it was. Could have been a tedious maze, but the limited turners and plentiful builders given by the 5 of everything restriction meant that I was encouraged to look for solutions that cared more about the layout beyond being a simple maze, and the level was much more interesting as a result I think. If this was in the official levels, it would have just been a boring turner maze I'm sure of it.

Fun 15 - The Mansion
An extremely good level. When it dawned on me that I had no turners I was thrown for a loop. This is a level where the symmetry works in its favour, as you can't just use the same solution on both sides and have to bring the two sides together in a way that doesn't ruin your critical deflector wall. An excellent introduction to how you can really take advantage of the 3D nature of the game without any turners. This level was very enjoyable to solve.

Fun 16 - Sea of Sugar
It was only after solving this level that I realised I was being an idiot with crowd control. This level was a good challenge with dealing with the oncoming crowds when I accidentally made things way harder for myself than I should have. Another good "obstacle course" level, but this time requiring you to bring a number of worker lemmings along to do turner duty. How you deal with that requirement is up to you as the level is flexible, which means that even dumb approaches like mine can still work and feel good, which is great for the Fun rank.

Offline kieranmillar

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Re: Level Review - Lemmings Plus 3D
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2019, 11:37:00 pm »
Fun 17 - Quadcore
4 connected islands each with their own trapdoor and a bunch of different stuff happening on each island ... this level was actually pretty complicated, but mainly because there's just a lot going on. There's also splitters, which complicate the possible pathing more. But ultimately this level is flexible, there are probably a whole ton of possible solutions, so the complexity is not so bad in practice. I found a solution that seemed to ignore most of it. Lemmings 3D's ability to make levels that loop adds a very cool unique flavour to things.

Fun 18 - Just Let It Bee
I love these levels made out of blocks designed to look like something. I think this level succeeded in making it an enjoyable level too. A lot like the train level from earlier in the rank. However, I don't know if it's possible in L3D to have the trapdoors not release lemmings at exactly the same time? It would be useful in these cases to prevent the pausing and going back and forth to assign things to two groups at the same time.

Fun 19 - The Side Act
An excellent level, and one where the bug of not being able to turn on builder bridges is actually to its benefit. Not going to post anything about the solution, but this was a real stumper while at the same time making me feel like a huge idiot when I figured out the easy solution. Very well done on this level. However I'm feeling a little worried about devious levels will get in the future...

Fun 20 - Arctic Mission
A really cool concept, but let down slightly by the textures making it really not obvious what the layout of the terrain is like. The ice walls look identical from every angle, so it's really hard to tell which ones are deflector blocks and which aren't, which left me stuck on this level for far longer than I should have. Given the camera restrictions, this sort of level would ideally make important terrain layout as clear as possible.

Offline namida

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Re: Level Review - Lemmings Plus 3D
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2019, 04:36:42 am »
I saw a few times in your videos you commented wondering whether lose-1 etc solutions were possible. Just so you know, there's a list of records (mostly my own, but some come from Pooty or Nessy) in the LP3D topic, so I won't comment on those - see the list if you're interested.

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Fun 02 - Security Walls
In the original Lemmings 3D I seem to remember a level that was a maze but you had to shortcut it by bashing through a wall. This feels like the simplest, most obvious implementation of that concept. I feel like there is the possibility that this level is trying to put me in the right mindset for a trickier revisiting of this, but I might be wrong.

Nope, no repeats here (except for a single Part 1 / Part 2 pair, but even that isn't an exact repeat, more just "has common elements").

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Fun 05 - The Grand Gallery
The tight space in this level is really bad for the camera. The level is very straightforward, but I spent the entire time fighting the camera. The ceiling needs to be higher up so there is more room for the camera to move. It took me a long time to understand what the (admittedly simple) layout of the level even was. And the position of camera 2 is completely incomprehensible when you first switch to it, you don't even understand what you are looking at.

There's a technical issue which often necessitates the camera movement space being quite restricted in indoor levels - if a level has too many visible block faces, the game starts to not render all of them, and can also have glitches with destructive skills. So please keep in mind that sometimes it's just not possible to expand the space for camera movement, even when it would be convenient. With that being said - this level can handle some extra, and I was able to safely increase the ceiling height in the recent update to the pack. :)

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Fun 06 - Indoor Maze
By comparison this level has a really high ceiling and as such there are no camera issues. It's a perfectly fine level, although it didn't really need to be indoors at all and this would have made the camera even better. I'm glad the walls are only as high as they need to be and no more, so clicking on the lemmings isn't made harder. The level itself is OK. Feels slightly like filler, the maze isn't big or complicated enough to make much of a puzzle out of not using too many turners. Is that the splitter texture used for the exit?

The (intended to be) most obvious path does actually use too many turners - but I think that by virtue of luck with where the camera angles ended up, you never spotted this path. I mostly made this level indoors because I wanted to produce a specific effect, that may not have worked reliably (or triggered the bug mentioned under the previous level) on a level much larger than this - specifically, that whole "you're indoors, but you can look out the windows" effect. Another oddity that's there because of this intention - the level actually uses a castle texture set, despite the Maze wallpaper and music. And yes, there's a splitter-like graphic over the exit to provide the "arch" - using the actual exit texture would've given away what was going on with the textureset, so I used the entrance bottom texture with this wall graphic over it instead.

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Fun 08 - Where Shall They Rest?
Unfortunately I'm sorry to say that this level is terrible. While hidden exit puzzles were an acquired taste, they are even worse and so much more tedious in 3D. Not even any graphical hints as to where they might be or anything. No, nothing, just pure trial and error strip-mining of the level until you find the one block that can't be destroyed somewhere in the middle of a solid mass, and there are multiple solid masses. Come on namida, you can do better than this. This felt like a troll level.

The way I envisioned this one being approached is by gathering lemmings on a pyramid, then nuking them, to quickly look through the entire thing. Nonetheless, yeah, it's still annoying even with such a strategy. I can assure you there's no other "find the exit hidden in one of many potential spots buried in terrain" levels here; I just felt I had to do this once because there are people who enjoy such levels, even if they're a minority. The same logic is behind a couple of other levels that I suspect the majority of players won't like later in the pack - though I assure you, such levels are very infrequent, and none are as annoying as this one.

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Fun 11 - Device Upgrade
I'm not sure if this level is named because the computer monitor has changed to a flatscreen one instead of the old bulky monitor in the original level this is clearly inspired by, but if so then that's a nice touch. Obviously the main gimmick here is the hilarious joke that made me laugh. A worthy inclusion but the level itself is nothing special, although it's a good introduction to some of the peculiarities of blockers on builders in this game, that can cause some unexpected issues the first time around.

Yep, spot on with your theory about the title. In addition to that, the floppy drive has been removed from the PC, and the keyboard and mouse are slimmer too. And yeah, that particular "gimmick" was the entire reason I decided to reuse this level. (L3DEdit is perfectly capable of activating the Fun 8 effect on any given level, so there would be no obstacle to using it again here, but I only made this level because I had the idea to put that on the screen instead.)

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Fun 12 - The Armageddon Machine
A top tier level. While this might not be anything special if it were a standard lemmings game this level asks you to do some interesting digging which is something the official 3D levels didn't really do much of. The exit being on such a thin platform really challenges you to understand what you're doing to get down there, while not actually being very challenging in the grand scheme of things. I guess this level does highlight at this stage how digging in the middle of big solid obstacles can be a challenge solely for camera reasons and a part of the challenge of the level is dealing with that restriction, but it does so in an environment that's both fairly simple and also has enough interesting wrinkles like not having crowds of lemmings go the wrong side of the exit that it makes you think.

As a side note, the level's layout inspiration is the world map of Commander Keen 5. Obviously, it's a bit simplified from the Keen 5 design, but the basic shape should be recognizable (I hope).

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Fun 17 - Quadcore
4 connected islands each with their own trapdoor and a bunch of different stuff happening on each island ... this level was actually pretty complicated, but mainly because there's just a lot going on. There's also splitters, which complicate the possible pathing more. But ultimately this level is flexible, there are probably a whole ton of possible solutions, so the complexity is not so bad in practice. I found a solution that seemed to ignore most of it. Lemmings 3D's ability to make levels that loop adds a very cool unique flavour to things.

There are a LOT of different ways to complete this one, even compared to other Fun levels. There's actually two more exits you didn't notice in your videos - they're both immediately either side of the one you used, but facing the opposite direction. This makes even more potential solutions.

On a side note, what you observed regarding the bridges being invisible from their reverse side was the result of an incorrectly-set flag; I corrected this in the V1.01 update.

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Fun 18 - Just Let It Bee
I love these levels made out of blocks designed to look like something. I think this level succeeded in making it an enjoyable level too. A lot like the train level from earlier in the rank. However, I don't know if it's possible in L3D to have the trapdoors not release lemmings at exactly the same time? It would be useful in these cases to prevent the pausing and going back and forth to assign things to two groups at the same time.

Nope, multiple trapdoors in L3D always release simultaneously. It's also limited to four on a level, with any additional ones refusing to work (you can see this on Tricky 48 "Rescue Team" in the official levels - it contains 5 entrances, and nothing to suggest that one of them is intentionally non-functional, but only four actually work due to this limit).

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Fun 19 - The Side Act
An excellent level, and one where the bug of not being able to turn on builder bridges is actually to its benefit. Not going to post anything about the solution, but this was a real stumper while at the same time making me feel like a huge idiot when I figured out the easy solution. Very well done on this level. However I'm feeling a little worried about devious levels will get in the future...

Yeah, basically, there's plenty of "you need to think in 3D, but it's obvious that you need to do that, and where you need to do it" so far; this level's point is "this looks like it's more or less 2D, you need to think about how to use the 3D aspect even where it's not so obvious".

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Fun 20 - Arctic Mission
A really cool concept, but let down slightly by the textures making it really not obvious what the layout of the terrain is like. The ice walls look identical from every angle, so it's really hard to tell which ones are deflector blocks and which aren't, which left me stuck on this level for far longer than I should have. Given the camera restrictions, this sort of level would ideally make important terrain layout as clear as possible.

It's hard to spot those deflectors regardless of texture, simply due to viewing angle and their position. But I've made some tweaks to this level in V1.01 of the pack that should help a little bit, at least.



Looking forward to seeing you take on Tricky now. As you've probably guessed, you won't be getting 5 of everything all the time anymore; though the first few levels are still relatively easy despite that. Don't worry; they get harder soon enough. ;)