Author Topic: Joke ideas for skills and objects  (Read 13315 times)

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Offline WillLem

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Re: Joke ideas for skills and objects
« Reply #15 on: November 25, 2019, 02:02:34 PM »
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...swimmers are mostly useless unless the terrain either side of the water pit is low enough for them to walk out again.

Having played through both the entire Original and Oh No! levels with only new skills, I'd say the Swimmer was probably the least-used...

While Swimmers are one of the less-useful new skills; that challenge is a very poor testing ground for them. First, of course, any level that uses them will be designed for them anyway. But that aside, there are a few ways they're more useful when used in combination with skills you don't have in that challenge - for starters, you could make the edge one where they can walk out (Fencer could do this, but it's far from ideal for it). Or, if they're a climber, they can climb up the edge.

Don't get me wrong - I think the Swimmer skill is ace (and I had great fun creating a hi-res graphic for it)! ;P

I'm just pointing out that it's the least-used skill in the original levels (which, of course, were never designed to have Lemmings swimming in). There are times when it would have been extremely useful (I'm thinking of Wild 13 ONWARD AND UPWARD, but there are other examples) if it were possible to have the swimmer interact with the sides of the terrain no matter how steep (for example, Fence into the terrain from the water).

I think my comment was more about the potential usefulness of Strato's proposed skills (Scuba Diver and Fisherman) in their interaction with the Swimmer skill, increasing its capabilities; thus, I wouldn't regard them as joke skills.

Incidentally, how can you use a Fencer to make the terrain climb-outable? Surely the Fencer would have to start from the side where the water is...? ???

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: Joke ideas for skills and objects
« Reply #16 on: November 25, 2019, 03:21:45 PM »
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Incidentally, how can you use a Fencer to make the terrain climb-outable? Surely the Fencer would have to start from the side where the water is...?

Not necessarily - you could also have another lemming fence away the edge of the water pit from the other side (if it's too high for the Swimmer to get out by himself). There is a level in Lemmings World Tour that requires this, actually (I think it can be done with either a Fencer or a Miner in that case, though). The reason namida mentioned the Fencer in particular here is because it's the only destructive skill among the new skills, at least for now. In order to have a Swimmer perform any type of skill, you have to get them back on terrain again, which, if needed while they're still inside water, usually requires Stoners. Then again, the Swimmer's natural tendency when encountering a Stoner that was created by another Swimmer is to simply dive under it. So you either need to put several Stoners back-to-back, or find some other way to get the Stoner to touch the bottom of the water pit (e.g. have him enter the pit from the side and stone him before he can float all the way up).

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I'm just pointing out that it's the least-used skill in the original levels (which, of course, were never designed to have Lemmings swimming in).

This is circular logic: The Swimmer isn't useful on the original levels, which weren't designed to have the Swimmer in the first place, so look how useless that makes the Swimmer! :P

The Fencer and Platformer are also somewhat useless on the original levels. Try to solve e.g. "Lemming sanctuary in sight / King of the castle" with new skills, you won't get very far.

When sticking to new skills, with destructive ones you can only go upwards; and with creative ones, you can only stay at the same altitude with the Platformer, or go lower with the Stoner. Towers of regular Stackers are useless, because you don't have Climbers that could climb them; and if you want to somehow replace the Builder, you have to get into the really annoying habit of Stacker staircases (cancelled with Walkers or Shimmiers), or Stoner staircases (which are not much higher and wider and require a bunch of lemmings to die).

Knowledge of the existence of a skill needs to be there in the first place before any level designer can come up with good ideas for that skill. This is probably the most challenging with the Disarmer, because any interesting solution involving it and exploiting the "permanent skill" nature of the Disarmer is likely going to rely on flow control - which is one of the most demanding concepts to master in Lemmings in general.

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I think my comment was more about the potential usefulness of Strato's proposed skills (Scuba Diver and Fisherman) in their interaction with the Swimmer skill, increasing its capabilities; thus, I wouldn't regard them as joke skills.

I think that's precisely the part of the joke that you don't understand yet: :P

A skill that's only worthwhile in combination with at least one other skill is NOT worth implementing. That's precisely why initial plans to add the Runner to NeoLemmix were dropped, because it would pretty much only be somewhat useful as soon as we have the Jumper, and even then only in combination with it.

I do agree that Swimmers could have a wider range of application, and the ability to dive is one of the main things about it. This above-mentioned tactic of using Stoners to press them down gets really annoying quickly, as I'm sure many will agree (especially since I've enforced it on several of my levels :P !).

For example, if a player could assign a Digger or Miner to a Swimmer and that would make him dive to the bottom of a water pit, this would widen the range of possible applications. Of course, once the Swimmer stops digging or mining, he should immediately float up again, as the standard behaviour would predict. If a Swimmer would be required to dive along the bottom of a water pit, one would have to make him a Basher or Platformer then, and so on.

However, adding such an option now, after all the levels that have been created involving Swimmers, might also introduce a bunch of new possible backroutes that the level creators didn't have to think about originally. So it would be kind of unfair.

As such, I'd rather have the Swimmer with its somewhat limited use than a bunch of different skills that are really just designed for specific corner cases. As outlined in the opening post, that is precisely how you end up with an overload of skills, such as in Lemmings 2: The Tribes. ;) You'd solve one problem by creating another: Now you have a slightly wider application for the Swimmer, but another new skill with very limited use - you just shifted that burden of limited usage to a different skill, but it's still there.


The Scuba Diver could therefore only justify its existence if there are enough applications for it that explicitly do not also require the lemming to be a Swimmer at the same time. They might even be mutually exclusive, like Floater and Glider. ;) That would make sense, because Swimmers always float to the top (else they'd be "diving"), whereas sinking to the bottom of a water pit would be the explicit purpose of the Scuba Diver. Both would protect the lemming from drowning anyway, so there would really be no use for a lemming to be both a Swimmer and a Scuba Diver at the same time.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2019, 03:33:37 PM by Strato Incendus »
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Offline Minim

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Re: Joke ideas for skills and objects
« Reply #17 on: December 05, 2019, 07:22:04 PM »
I remember that an older thread had a similar concept. Even I contributed back then. I hope the ones listed over there are still worthy enough to be discussed about!
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Offline namida

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Re: Joke ideas for skills and objects
« Reply #18 on: December 05, 2019, 07:40:19 PM »
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A skill that's only worthwhile in combination with at least one other skill is NOT worth implementing.

A thought that came to mind just now: I feel this only holds true when it's a case of "in combination with one or two specific skills". A skill that requires interaction with other skills, but can interact with a large number of them in various ways, could be worthwhile. As an example, imagine a variation on the Walker that's identical except you can't assign it to a lemming that's currently walking (thus, you must assign a skill first, except in the rare case of assigning it to a preplaced Shimmier / Blocker) - this would still be justifiable (if it weren't for the similarity to an existing skill, of course).
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Offline Proxima

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Re: Joke ideas for skills and objects
« Reply #19 on: December 05, 2019, 07:50:08 PM »
Objects as Skills

This is extremely radical and has almost no chance of ever being adopted, but it felt like a fun idea to share :P

Any object type can be given a slot in the skill panel, and the level might start with a certain number available, or they might be gained via pick-up skills. When the object type is assigned to a lemming, it builds that object at its current location. You could have puzzles where you have to choose where to build the exit, or you could build traps to ward off zombies, or even build a new hatch to change how the lemmings flow through the level. Endless possibilities 8-)

Offline ccexplore

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Re: Joke ideas for skills and objects
« Reply #20 on: December 05, 2019, 08:14:05 PM »
That actually sounds kind of cool and might not even be too hard to implement physics-wise.  Most likely the biggest challenge is how to generate skills toolbar icons for arbitrary objects, given that objects usually have much larger sizes than a lemming sprite.  I have to say, with NeoLemmix already having so many new behaviors and elements compared to vanilla Lemmings 1, it's good to consider ideas like "objects as skills" or "gravity changes" etc., for which the player doesn't really have to learn brand new set of behaviors, like they would with actual new skills.

Offline mobius

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Re: Joke ideas for skills and objects
« Reply #21 on: December 05, 2019, 11:05:21 PM »
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A skill that's only worthwhile in combination with at least one other skill is NOT worth implementing.

A thought that came to mind just now: I feel this only holds true when it's a case of "in combination with one or two specific skills". A skill that requires interaction with other skills, but can interact with a large number of them in various ways, could be worthwhile. As an example, imagine a variation on the Walker that's identical except you can't assign it to a lemming that's currently walking (thus, you must assign a skill first, except in the rare case of assigning it to a preplaced Shimmier / Blocker) - this would still be justifiable (if it weren't for the similarity to an existing skill, of course).

doesn't this happen in L2?

The only example I can think of off hand is the rock climber shimming and then turning into a climber//although I think this may be a glitch (I saw it in a level by Kieran and he was not familiar with the behavoir at the time)... but I'm certain there are better examples...?
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Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: Joke ideas for skills and objects
« Reply #22 on: December 06, 2019, 09:40:28 AM »
The Rock Climber can also, in contrast to the regular Climber, climb up slopes up to 45 degrees in angle. In NeoLemmix, you need to turn a Climber into a Shimmier for that transition; the Rock Climber can actually do it on his own, without having to become a Shimmier - he will simply look into the other direction.

Of course, when there's a ceiling at the top of the slope, that's when you'd have to turn the Rock Climber into a Shimmier as well. However, what you often encounter in Lemmings 2 is straight wall -> diagonal slope "backwards" -> another straight wall. Those are obstacles a Rock Climber can handle on his own, a regular Climber cannot. More importantly, even when you turn a regular Climber into a Shimmier at the slope, the Shimmier can't then turn around and transition back into the Climber at the convergence of the slope and the next straight wall.


Objects as skills sound great to me, as well! :thumbsup: I understood it a little differently at first, though: The object is on your skill panel, and you can place it anywhere you want with your mouse (=i.e. don't need a lemming to do it). However, once you've placed it, it remains there for the rest of the level (of course you can rewind and framestep as usual).

But I guess that would be too powerful, at least if it were also possible to just place exits this way. What could be fun though is having several crowds and just one instance of "place exit". Then, if you place the exit right under the hatch of one crowd, that exit might be unreachable for the other crowds, forcing you to be a little more savvy about it... :thumbsup:
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Offline ccexplore

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Re: Joke ideas for skills and objects
« Reply #23 on: December 06, 2019, 09:45:24 AM »
Here's a wacky object idea from the game "Clones" that was based on Lemmings.  The quantum entanglement chamber.

Imagine a left-right symmetrical object with two halves, one on left and one on right, with a separate trigger area for each half.  When one lemming hits one of the trigger area, the lemming is simply held in place, immobilize by the object.  Then when a second lemming hits the other trigger area, the magic happens:

1) The other lemming is also held in place for a few seconds.

2) After some animation, the object has "entangled" the two lemmings and they are released.  The one on the left will face and go left upon release regardless of which direction it was facing before entanglement.  The one on the right will similarly face and go right upon release.

3) The most important aspect though is the following: whenever you assign a skill to one of the two lemmings in the entangled pair, the other lemming will also act as if the same skill was being assigned to it, but you don't consume an extra skill count for that.  So for the price of one skill you get it assigned to two lemmings.  Because it is a skill assignment, it is possible the other lemming is in a state where the skill assignment is not allowed.  In that case the lemming behaves as normal and won't be performing the skill in a circumstance not normally allowed (you might also consider queueing the skill in some cases).  The entangled lemmings are otherwise independent in their states and movements (though again, you can consider different choices for the physics here).

4) The entanglement condition is permanent, though I think (but never tested in that game) if an already entangled lemming got into an entanglement chamber again, it would de-entangle from the previous lemming and get entangled with whatever new second lemming got into the entanglement chamber.  Though I suppose you can consider a physics where you can actually entangle multiple lemmings through multiple uses of the chamber.  You could also consider a physics where maybe the entanglement effect only lasts for one or a few skill assignments, lest it be too powerful for the condition to be permanent.

In a way this has some flavor of the cloner, in that you can effectively get the use of 2 skills for the price of 1, but you don't produce any new lemmings out of this.  This is actually much more effective on the "2 skills for the price of 1" compared to cloner, since with the cloner, the two lemmings will be literally at the same position when they perform the skill, whereas with entanglement, you can actually arrange for them to end up in separate locations before performing the assigned skill.  On the flipside, because it is permanent, it can also be a curse in that maybe you don't want the skill to go to both lemmings in some cases, but you have no choice and have to deal with the consequences of that, as part of the puzzle.

Offline ccexplore

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Re: Joke ideas for skills and objects
« Reply #24 on: December 06, 2019, 09:52:23 AM »
But I guess that would be too powerful, at least if it were also possible to just place exits this way.

That thought occurred to me as well.  Certainly if you're not careful about it, having the exit be assignable will totally backroute the level.  Your idea of multiple entrances is one way where you'd need more care in where to place the exit.  Another way is, with Proxima's version, since you still need a lemming to actually place the exit, if the entrance is in a splat fall or similar situation where the landing is not generally safe, placing the exit may still require you to do other things to create a safe path for the rest of lemmings to actually reach and use the exit.

Maybe it's more effective puzzle-wise if it's the kind of exit that only accepts a few lemmings before disabling itself?

Offline ccexplore

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Re: Joke ideas for skills and objects
« Reply #25 on: December 06, 2019, 10:45:02 AM »
The entangled lemmings are otherwise independent in their states and movements (though again, you can consider different choices for the physics here).

One potentially interesting physics choice to explore is for entanglement to also affect the facing direction state of the two lemmings, such that if one lemming changes their facing direction as a result of processing their movement for the frame, the other lemming's facing direction is immediately reversed, regardless of what that lemming is doing.  This would allow you to use entanglement to execute some moves not otherwise possible, such as zigzagging build staircases or mining tunnels done only with one builder/miner, using entanglement to change the lemming's direction as it builds/mines.  Of course, on the flip side, this deeper level of entanglement could make it quite awkward to walk the entangled lemmings to where you want them to go, since one lemming turning would cause the other to also turn even when you don't want it to.  In some cases you might even need to de-entangle to avoid this problem, by either re-entangling the partner with some other lemming, or just outright kill the partner.

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: Joke ideas for skills and objects
« Reply #26 on: December 06, 2019, 10:48:39 AM »
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Maybe it's more effective puzzle-wise if it's the kind of exit that only accepts a few lemmings before disabling itself?

Good point; I hadn't thought of that! ;)

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The quantum entanglement chamber.

This sounds like a more contained version of the former gimmick "assign to all". I actually made two levels featuring this gimmick for my pack "Lemmicks"; they're both on the Bedlam rank. ;)

There was also "Clone on assign", which comes to mind given the fact that you mentioned this object is from a game called "Clones".

The Cloner would also be the prime example of this:

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A skill that requires interaction with other skills, but can interact with a large number of them in various ways, could be worthwhile.

The Cloner interacts with almost all all other skills, except lemming types that can't be cloned for various reasons (Blockers, Bombers, and Stoners, for example - I'm not sure about Diggers? Either they can't be cloned at all, or they get cloned, but one of the two Diggers gets released by the other right away, and therefore stops digging).

Few of the "joke" skills proposed here so far would have that universal applicability for interactions, though. ;)
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Offline Ron_Stard

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Re: Joke ideas for skills and objects
« Reply #27 on: December 06, 2019, 03:09:41 PM »
I was going to start a new thread regarding a curious possible skill, but then I saw this one and well, this is my comment:
Did you notice the Caber Tosser lemming on the Highland Tribe drawing, on the screen that introduces levels in Lemmings 2? It would have been funny if the original programmers had released such a skill, in order to build bridges quickly :thumbsup:

Offline ccexplore

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Re: Joke ideas for skills and objects
« Reply #28 on: December 06, 2019, 06:53:26 PM »
Well, I guess the spear thrower skill would basically be a non-Highland-specific caber tosser.  Most skills in Lemmings 2 are not strongly associated to any tribe, which makes sense as it allows the skill to be potentially used in any levels of any tribes.  Skater and skier are the only two I can think of that, while technically usable in any tribe, makes the most sense for Polar tribe only.  The blocker is also only usable in Classic tribe (it doesn't work at all if you try to use it in other tribes via level editing).

Offline WillLem

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Re: Joke ideas for skills and objects
« Reply #29 on: December 12, 2019, 11:55:29 PM »
Here's some ideas which may or may not be silly (they probably are):

The Exorcist! - This Lemming dons a priest's robe and "exorcises" the zombie Lemmings so that they become either neutral or normal!

The Sleeper - This Lemming curls up and goes to sleep in the spot where they are until a skill is assigned to them.

The Librarian - This Lemming puts on a pair of glasses and begins sorting books according to the Dewey Decimal System.

The Guitarist - This Lemming remains in the spot where they are, shredding some solos, until a skill is assigned to them. They then sleep with another Lemming's girlfriend.

The Freezer - This Lemming freezes all Lemmings it touches, leaving them standing exactly where they are until a skill is assigned to them, or until they "thaw".

The Rebel Without A Cause - This Lemming walks away in the opposite direction from any other Lemming it touches, for seemingly no reason.

The Banana - This Lemming turns into a banana until another skill is assigned to them.

The Daft Cat - This Lemming becomes distracted by shiny objects and its own tail for the remainder of the level. They also intermittently fall asleep.

The Mario - This Lemming turns into Mario, gaining the ability to jump to a specified location (within a certain radius) when clicked.

The Invisible Lemming - This Lemming becomes invisible for the remainder of the level, and is unaffected by any trigger other than the exit.

The SuperHero - This Lemming automatically saves all of the other Lemmings, either by magically transporting the exit to wherever they are, or by flying across the terrain distributing whatever is needed for the rest to walk safely across it.

The Reverse Nuke - This spontaneously creates twice the amount of Lemmings as are currently on the screen.