Author Topic: A Tribute To The Forsaken SuperLemming (1991-1991)  (Read 302 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline WillLem

  • Posts: 530
  • I'm here to create, but I'm also here to learn.
    • View Profile
Re: A Tribute To The Forsaken SuperLemming (1991-1991)
« Reply #15 on: March 23, 2020, 06:13:24 pm »
To reply more directly to this particular comment:

And there is absolutely no randomized elements in the game, so as far as "not always knowing what the result was going to be", the most common case of it is probably when you have a crowd of lemmings and you'd like to assign a skill to someone amongst the crowd facing one specific direction, but the game doesn't have the means to do so making it somewhat a matter of "luck".

At no point did I mention anything about randomized elements. Perhaps I should have been more clear: when referring to "not always knowing the result" of a particular skill assignment or click of the mouse, I was referring to examples such as the following:

- In a crowd of lemmings, not knowing whether you'd select a right or left-facing lemming (as per your example)
- Not knowing whether you'd placed a builder such that the end of the build would reach over a gap, or the top of a wall, or a similar target, until the builder had finished building
- Those truly annoying moments when you assign a basher a frame or two too late, and they turn around before actually starting to bash
- Assigning bombers too early or too late (this was probably one of the game's biggest trial-and-error elements)
- Mining towards a narrow area that includes steel blocks which you may or may not miss
- When attempting to free a blocker with a miner, having to make sure that you assign the miner at the right point so the blocker doesn't turn him around
- In a level like Down, Along, Up... In That Order, positioning the blockers and the builders exactly so that the builder reaches the next platform

I could go on.

The point is that, whilst these aren't all necessarily action-oriented, they require a certain amount of manual precision: and that, without the aid of assign-whilst-paused, direction-select, skill shadows, etc. This, I believe, is where DMA coined the term "action puzzle" - sure, Lemmings a puzzle to be solved, but you've also got to play it just right as well!

Offline ccexplore

  • Administrator
  • Posts: 5206
    • View Profile
Re: A Tribute To The Forsaken SuperLemming (1991-1991)
« Reply #16 on: March 23, 2020, 07:58:17 pm »
I'm not wrong about precise clicking being a big part of the original game, though: try solving levels like Save Me, Mind The Step, No Added Colours or Lemmings, the non-backroute solution of Stepping Stones, Pea Soup, Livin' On The Edge and The Ascending Pillar Scenario without the aid of Assign-Whilst-Paused, Framestepping and Skill Shadows: it's still a huge challenge long after you've figured out the puzzle's solution!

Everyone here who has finished the original games had in fact played through all those levels above without those new features in NeoLemmix.  The execution is obviously not trivial, but I'll leave it to others to say how much they felt challenged by the execution at the time they played.  Granted, it's possible many people don't remember clearly that aspect of it compared to the time spent figuring out the solution in the first place.

If you're focusing specifically on precision clicking, I think the timed bomber levels like Luvly Jubly may be better examples for most people.  My impression is that most people tend to take more effort to pass such levels.

And as far as pausing goes, do you count the very common technique of pausing, then move your mouse cursor to the lemming, then unpause and quickly click to assign the skill?  This is possible in almost all ports of Lemmings AFAIK, unless if pausing cannot be triggered except only through the button on the skills toolbar (which is quite rare--computers often can pause via keyboard, and consoles often have a dedicated pause button on the controller).  It is in many ways basically like an actual assign-whilst-paused.

Also worth pointing out that it's also common to move the cursor ahead of your lemming, then spam-click a bit while waiting for the lemming to finally move into range of cursor and receive the skill assignment.  So rather than dealing with clicking at the right time per se, it's often more about finding the right position to do the clicking at and wait there.

Heck - even some of the Fun levels like Smile If You Love Lemmings, We are Now At LEMCON ONE and even something as innocuous as Origins and Lemmings all become a lot harder when played as originally designed, simply because you have to get the clicks just right, or you're nuking the level and starting again.

Those levels don't seem to be good examples since being in rating Fun, their save requirements and skills available are generous enough that even if you screw up, you can probably afford to release and send another lemming to try again, without restarting the level altogether.  Also, I don't remember anyone ever complaining about those levels being hard to execute when played in the original game, they are in rating Fun after all.  It's making me a little curious now what it looks like when you played those levels in the original games for the first times.

But this post is really about celebrating that other part of the game, which I believe the SuperLemming level epitomises: click at the right moment or fail the level!

I know what you're saying, but ultimately the level we ended up with in ONML is no "Living' on the Edge" or "Stepping Stone" when it comes to building, there is no timed bomber, and there isn't even, say, a crowd to create the issue of "would you end up assigning to a left or right lemming".  The digging is actually fairly forgiving since in many places you can even let the lemming walk back and forth a few times before assigning if you want.  The "move the cursor into place then wait" technique seems pretty useful in that level.

The double-speed adds a little to the execution difficulty, sure, but overall even with the double-speed I'm not sure I'd rank the execution difficulty higher than many of the other levels you're brought up actually.  The double-speed could've made a very execution-focused level, but the one and only level we ultimately ended up with featuring the gimmick seems middling when it comes to execution.

Offline WillLem

  • Posts: 530
  • I'm here to create, but I'm also here to learn.
    • View Profile
Re: A Tribute To The Forsaken SuperLemming (1991-1991)
« Reply #17 on: March 23, 2020, 08:13:40 pm »
And as far as pausing goes, do you count the very common technique of pausing, then move your mouse cursor to the lemming, then unpause and quickly click to assign the skill?  This is possible in almost all ports of Lemmings AFAIK, unless if pausing cannot be triggered except only through the button on the skills toolbar (which is quite rare--computers often can pause via keyboard, and consoles often have a dedicated pause button on the controller).  It is in many ways basically like an actual assign-whilst-paused.

I suppose this technique is similar to assign-whilst-paused, and it certainly does allow a bit of thinking time, but it's not quite the same in terms of how much precision it allows: it's still down to the player rather than the engine.

Also worth pointing out that it's also common to move the cursor ahead of your lemming, then spam-click a bit while waiting for the lemming to finally move into range of cursor and receive the skill assignment.  So rather than dealing with clicking at the right time per se, it's often more about finding the right position to do the clicking at and wait there.

It's not quite as satisfying as getting it right with a single click though! ;)

Those levels don't seem to be good examples since being in rating Fun, their save requirements and skills available are generous enough... It's making me a little curious now what it looks like when you played those levels in the original games for the first times.

Haha! I always used to go for saving as many lemmings as possible, and still do. ;P I would often keep playing a level until I got the 100%. So, I guess my experience of playing the Fun levels may have been a bit more challenging than the average player who's happy just to pass with the save requirement. (EDIT: And, of course, my ability to get builder and bomber placement just right improved as a result of my efforts, as did my ability to select lemmings facing in the correct direction; there's a trick to this, at least in the Amiga version!)

That said, my point still stands either way: it's possible to mess up and have to send in another worker but still make the pass, sure; it's also possible to mess up and have to start again completely even if you're not bothered about an all-save. It depends on a player's ability and experience playing the game, both of which are likely to be relatively low if the player is making their way through the Fun levels for the first time. Or, they could be being played by an experienced player with pixel-precise abilities and excellent puzzle-solving skills. In any given scenario, the levels still require a certain amount of precision that needs to be learned and applied.

The double-speed could've made a very execution-focused level, but the one and only level we ultimately ended up with featuring the gimmick seems middling when it comes to execution.

I agree totally: this is exactly why I think people who enjoyed the challenge of the gimmick were a bit disappointed that we only got this one relatively easy level. It's possible that, had the idea been developed upon in Oh No! or maybe a later official Lemmings game, elements such as timed bombers, increasingly precise building and mining, etc, could have been implemented to greater effect.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2020, 08:27:02 pm by WillLem »