Author Topic: Rising water  (Read 373 times)

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Offline David

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Rising water
« on: November 21, 2020, 11:23:57 am »
Hello everybody,
I was wondering if the rising water will come back in a new version of NL ? ???
I loved this possibility of raising the water... for more suspense.
It's a shame that this option is no longer possible ! :crylaugh:

Then, I think about it, why didn't we keep the old skill "time bomb (5 seconds)" in addition to the current bomber ? ??? It was nice too !

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: Rising water
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2020, 02:03:40 pm »
Hi David,

Thanks for confirming what I have always been prophecizing: That new forum members would miss these former, now culled features after finding out about them ;).

Both timed Bombers and Rising water are things that would most likely be regarded by the majority of the NeoLemmix community as things that add execution difficulty without adding much to the cognitive challenge, i.e. the puzzle solution itself.

Rising water in particular was one of many gimmicks, which were pretty much removed all at once, as far as I know. The only gimmick that remained was zombies, because they were apparently comparatively popular. The others however of course caused lots of complexity, especially when several gimmicks were combined. If New Formats still had all the gimmicks, introducing any new skill would be a lot more effort, I reckon, because not only the standard behaviour of that skill and all its interactions with other skills have to be programmed, but also its behaviour modification under all possible combiations of gimmicks.

I doubt that rising water will ever be introduced into New Formats.
a) Because NeoLemmix is approaching its final version
b) Because most things that rising water adds to puzzles (=timing restrictions) can also be achieved by simply adding a time limit to a level (exceptions being using waters as "lifts" for Swimmers, to free Swimmer-Blockers, or break falls; or having fire objects rise as well)

You can still play levels with rising water and all the other gimmicks by using NeoLemmix 1.43. Go to the link in my signature to my 1.43 pack "Lemmicks - Lemmings with gimmicks!" You can also download the old editor there, as well as all the graphic sets that were available for that version. That way you can design levels with gimmicks yourself.

Just be aware that version 1.43 comes with quite a few drawbacks. Of course, there are no new drawbacks added to that version. But the furher New Formats NeoLemmix develops, the more "backwards" that old version will feel. ;)


namida discourages creation of levels for "outdated" versions. I for one consider NeoLemmix 1.43 effectively a completely different engine by now: A different file format, different skill set, different objects (radiation and slowfreeze), Ghost lemmings, plus all the gimmicks.

So it's not outdated, it's just different. And yes, probably in sum inferior to New Formats NeoLemmix. Just like I consider SuperLemmini, Lix, WinLems, and Lemmix inferior to NeoLemmix. But at the end of the day, that is up to taste. All of these other engines enjoy just as much of a loyal userbase.

If you want to use gimmicks, you need to use NeoLemmix 1.43 (player, styles, and editor).
If you want to use timed Bombers (as I wanted as well when starting out), you can use Lemmix.
That is the predecessor to NeoLemmix (not to be confused with Lemmicks, which is my aforementioned pack with rising water and other gimmicks for NeoLemmix 1.43 ;) ).
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 David

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Re: Rising water
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2020, 03:02:12 pm »
Thank you very much Strato Incendus (funny pseudo !) for this very comprehensive response. I kept the old version of NeoLemmix on my computer with some levels using rising water ! :P

I really find it a shame to have removed this option because I liked it a lot. In fact, I don't quite agree when you say it's the same as a time limit. It's more subtle than that :

In one of my levels which used this specificity, a lemmings had to save another (a blocker) before the water engulfed it, in a sort of cage. Then they had to run away together and try to open the locked door. The rising water established a time limit for the rescue, and only for the rescue, but not for the rest...
:thumbsup:

I'm less sad about removing timed bombers, but... I liked that feature too ! Lemmings Original's Diet Lemmingaid level (Level 17, Tricky), isn't it a bit too simple now ?
??? :lem-mindblown: :crylaugh:

Offline IchoTolot

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Re: Rising water
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2020, 03:20:58 pm »
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Lemmings Original's Diet Lemmingaid level (Level 17, Tricky), isn't it a bit too simple now ?

Let's say the engine isn't built around the original levels anymore and the core philosophy shifted away from execution difficulty and towards puzzle difficulty.


Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: Rising water
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2020, 05:03:43 pm »
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I really find it a shame to have removed this option because I liked it a lot. In fact, I don't quite agree when you say it's the same as a time limit. It's more subtle than that :

Yes, I am aware of those differences, since I've made plenty of use of them myself in my pack Lemmicks. ;) However, I am also aware that those are corner cases, around which I built the levels specifically to bring out those differences. In the most standard application, i.e. just having a continuous line of water at the bottom of the level that rises while you're playing, it is indeed similar to a time limit, except that it interferes with the puzzle solution more, by potentially cutting off relevant sections earlier.

Thus, I agree that rising water can put time limits on specific sections of a level, rather than the level as a whole. If I recall correctly, Lemmings Revolution had this option as well, where some of the "gates" (steel sections of terrain that could move in and out of walls) had a timer instead of being switchable by a lever. So every lemming who hadn't moved past them before the countdown expired would not make it past anymore (or get knocked out of the level by the closing gate, just like the traps in Lemmings Revolution knocked the lemmings out of the level cylinder).

I think it would be debatable in the NeoLemmix community to what extent time limits in general are considered part of "puzzle difficulty" or "execution difficulty".
With an overall time limit on a level, I think it's easy to make the case that this is part of puzzle difficulty, because you know in advance how much time you're going to have.
With rising water, in contrast, you can set and individual rising speed for each water object (and fire objects as well, btw! :evil: ).
In order to make this slightly more predictable, I used the same rising speed throughout all my rising-water levels in Lemmicks (=the slowest possible rising speed). But normally, the level designer is free to vary this on an individual basis. Thus, is becomes hard to predict how much time you will have until a given section of the level will be covered by water, and to plan your solution around this limitation accordingly.

Did you share your old 1.43 levels somewhere? ;) My pack Lemmicks is the only one I am aware of that was created after the culling of the gimmicks. Everything else just seems to be a remnant from former times.


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(funny pseudo !)

You think so? :D Do you know where it comes from? ;)

It's not easy to find out, because by now, when you google for these two words, you're going to find more posts by me than links to the actual source of the name...
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 David

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Re: Rising water
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2020, 06:51:26 pm »
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the core philosophy shifted away from execution difficulty and towards puzzle difficulty.

It makes sense IchoTolot, I would rather beat my head to find a solution rather than rack my brains to build ten thousand stairs in one level and find myself losing because a pixel is missing.
;)

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I used a lot myself in my Lemmicks pack.

Strato Incendus, you understood what I explained since you had done the same thing as me. I kept my old levels, even the ones with the water rising, but most of them have been "updated".

Thus, in the pack that I just proposed on the forum a few days ago, the levels "Fuite d'eau" (in "400 metres" rank) and "Scénario de film d'horreur" (in "Marathon" rank) originally featured rising water, which made the game more exciting ! :P

And for me, the difficulty represented by the element "rising water" took the place of both the execution difficulty and puzzle difficulty. In another unpublished and unreleased level, the rising water forced the player to consider a very specific strategy that was not obvious ! Unlike execution difficulty, which was only slightly increased, the puzzle became much more difficult to solve. :thumbsup:

But hey, I'm not going to do NeoLemmix again, it's great as it is ! And it's not his current little flaws that will prevent me from embracing him (or even the Covid : I'm crazy !) :crylaugh:

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As the water rises, on the other hand, you can set an individual ascent rate for each water object (...) it becomes difficult to predict how much time you will have before a given section of the level is covered by water, and plan your solution around this limitation accordingly

For me, the problem arises mainly for the really difficult levels, "mayhem ++++"! Whether the water rises slowly or quickly doesn't necessarily affect the difficulty of a level. Is not it ? Then, I also enjoy the unpredictable. :P

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Did you share your old 1.43 levels somewhere?;) My Lemmicks pack is the only one that I know of that was created after slaughtering the gadgets. Everything else seems to be a holdover from ancient times.

Okay ! I didn't know ! No, this is my first time sharing a level pack on the forum, but Gigalem must have posted a level pack of my levels somewhere on the forum a year or two... or more ago. It was the old version, but... I believe, after removing the gimmicks. :forehead:

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Do you know where it comes from? ;)

Not at all ! I don't speak English very well ... so. But, I am very very very curious ! :evil:

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: Rising water
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2020, 08:14:08 pm »
Well, if you still have intact versions of the old level files (for NeoLemmix 1.43 or older), you could share them in the "Levels for v10 or older" subforum.

Indeed, there's a pack by GigaLem there was well, his very first one (GigaLems), which at least to my knowledge is only available for NeoLemmix 1.43. Which is an especially unfortunate combination, because it contains lots of hidden traps, and that in an engine without true-physics mode. :evil: (In contrast to my very first pack, which was made at a time when there already was true-physics mode, so people could just circumvent my hidden objects.) GigaLems however doesn't contain any objects specific to version 1.43, as far as I recall (unless there is an occasional radiation / slowfreeze level). So it should be possible to convert it to New Formats - one would probably just have to take the interim step to open all the level files in the latest stable editor of version 10.13 first.

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Not at all ! I don't speak English very well ... so. But, I am very very very curious !

It doesn't have anything to do with English... in fact, it's made to sound like Latin, but it isn't Latin either.

It's the name of a dragon from the Fire & Ice Dragons series by MegaBloks, which is basically a Canadian version of Lego (no, I'm not Canadian, these sets were available here in Germany as well). There was even an animated movie made about that series (albeit Strato Incendus didn't appear in it). Well... let's say I liked it more than the first Dungeons & Dragons movie, but that isn't saying much, obviously... :P

As expected, a Google search for "Strato Incendus" just brings up a bunch of my profiles on various forums, until the very last entry on the last (fourth) page, where somebody is selling the set "Fire Storm Fortress" / "Fire Ambush" (renamed second edition of the set) on eBay. :D

I'm actually not quite sure where my own Strato Incendus is... probably sitting in a box somewhere in my attic. My brother appropriately named himself after another MegaBloks dragon, "Lumendraconis". Which is another fake Latin name, albeit closer to something you could actually translate ("lumen draconis" = "light of the dragon").

The funny thing is that this MegaBloks phase was really just a very short one in both my and my brother's lives... we've been much more involved with actual Lego franchises, like Bionicle. It just happened to be the case that this MegaBloks phase was around the time I set up my first mail address and online accounts, and ever since, I just kept using that nickname. So even I myself now probably associate this name more with myself than with that toy dragon.

If you look at a picture of that toy dragon, though, you can see why I chose the avatar I'm using here on the forums. Even though that artwork (by Den Beauvais) is actually supposed to be a phoenix, not a burning dragon.
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

Online kaywhyn

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Re: Rising water
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2020, 08:50:05 pm »
Indeed, there's a pack by GigaLem there was well, his very first one (GigaLems), which at least to my knowledge is only available for NeoLemmix 1.43. Which is an especially unfortunate combination, because it contains lots of hidden traps, and that in an engine without true-physics mode. :evil: (In contrast to my very first pack, which was made at a time when there already was true-physics mode, so people could just circumvent my hidden objects.) GigaLems however doesn't contain any objects specific to version 1.43, as far as I recall (unless there is an occasional radiation / slowfreeze level).

I don't recall there being many hidden traps in Gigalems, but it could just be me remembering wrong. And no, there's no radiation/slowfreeze. Just a pack using only the classic skills, so yes it can be converted to New Formats. Also, it's important to note that Strato's first pack was for Old Formats (any v10 of NL), which does have CPM, while very Old Formats (v1.43 and older) doesn't, and so in the latter it's very problematic anytime there's hidden stuff.

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So it should be possible to convert it to New Formats - one would probably just have to take the interim step to open all the level files in the latest stable editor of version 10.13 first.

It's already been done lol. Not by me, though (I still don't know how to use a NL/level editor). It's been done for months :P

Offline namida

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Re: Rising water
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2020, 09:24:14 pm »
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GigaLems however doesn't contain any objects specific to version 1.43, as far as I recall (unless there is an occasional radiation / slowfreeze level). So it should be possible to convert it to New Formats - one would probably just have to take the interim step to open all the level files in the latest stable editor of version 10.13 first.

You should be able to directly run the levels from it through Cleanse Levels using V12.7.X to V12.9.X of NL (it won't work on V12.10.X as that no longer supports LVL files). I suspect most replays will break, though.

Offline WillLem

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Re: Rising water
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2020, 01:16:17 am »
I would greatly support the return of Rising Water, Timed Bombers, Superlemming and Karoshi - all of which are perfectly acceptable game elements which I enjoy. However, they were unfortunately lumped in with a lot of other much more tiresome gimmicks (in particular, those that directly affect the skill assignments) which very quickly lose their novelty value.

The problem is, there are others who may take the exact opposite view (i.e. that the skill-affecting gimmicks were better, and that things like Rising Water were tiresome). And there are others still that think all gimmicks are bad. So, to keep everyone (un)happy, all gimmicks were removed. And, I can kind of understand that now, after having played NeoLemmix for a while and come round to the way of thinking that permeates Forum culture.

The only one I still disagree with to this day is the removal of Timed Bombers, mainly because these were a key feature of the first 2 games but also because I am really good at working with timed bombers, and NeoLemmix doesn't need this skill which I spent a small part of my youth developing! :crylaugh:

That said, I can accept that they aren't relevant any more, and the advancements that NeoLemmix has made in other areas of the game far outweigh the absence of this relatively minor game mechanic. And, there are still other platforms on which to enjoy it (Amiga emulators, Windows Lemmings, older versions of Lemmix and Lemmini, etc).

That said, instant bombers can be fun, and are certainly more convenient. I personally think this is a situation where both would be best; i.e. if Timed Bombers could make an appearance maybe as an alternative version of regular instant Bombers, so that either could be used in a NeoLemmix level, that may be a good way to bring it back without upsetting too many people. Maybe. I won't get my hopes up though ;P

Offline Proxima

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Re: Rising water
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2020, 02:12:30 am »
I would greatly support the return of Rising Water, Timed Bombers, Superlemming and Karoshi - all of which are perfectly acceptable game elements which I enjoy. However, they were unfortunately lumped in with a lot of other much more tiresome gimmicks (in particular, those that directly affect the skill assignments) which very quickly lose their novelty value.

Timed bombers were not part of the gimmicks removal. They were removed in January 2016, after a period of time in which NL offered pack designers the option of either timed or untimed bombers on a per-pack basis (as opposed to gimmicks, which were set per-level). Everyone had chosen untimed bombers, with the sole exception of GeoffLems (and that might be because it was exported from Lemmix), so namida asked the community whether the option should remain at all. The topic only got a couple of responses, all supporting removing the option.

Entirely separately, in February 2016 (I hadn't realised until I looked back at the dates that they were so close together!) namida started a topic suggesting reducing the number of gimmicks; that thread got a lot more attention, with a lot of people giving a full list of which gimmicks they liked and didn't like. I don't think anyone called for the removal of all gimmicks; that was (at the time) a very surprising outcome, and the decision certainly wasn't made on the basis of "forum culture". I don't want to speak for namida here, but I think that since he knows the code better than anyone, he wanted to get rid of all the gimmicks to make the code cleaner and make it easier to add new features.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2020, 02:21:24 am by Proxima »

Offline namida

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Re: Rising water
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2020, 04:25:01 am »
I don't fully remember what my train of thought was, but keeping the code clean was definitely a big part of it. Some of those gimmicks needed little "if" sections in a dozen or so places, which quickly got messy.

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: Rising water
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2020, 11:37:42 am »
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It's already been done lol. Not by me, though (I still don't know how to use a NL/level editor). It's been done for months

Thanks for the clarification, kaywhyn! :thumbsup: I wasn't sure anymore... I had something in the back of my head that it might have been converted by now, but I didn't bother to check.

I should probably give it another shot, then! Without all that hidden stuff that can't be checked for via CPM, it should be a lot of fun. The puzzles were actually great, considering this was (probably?) GigaLem's first pack.

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You should be able to directly run the levels from it through Cleanse Levels using V12.7.X to V12.9.X of NL (it won't work on V12.10.X as that no longer supports LVL files). I suspect most replays will break, though.

Good to know, thanks! ;) I always have this certain bias of trying to open individual level files in the editor first. And none of the New-Formats editors supported these very old (1.43) level files. But the player by itself seems to be quite a bit more forgiving.

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The only one I still disagree with to this day is the removal of Timed Bombers, mainly because these were a key feature of the first 2 games but also because I am really good at working with timed bombers, and NeoLemmix doesn't need this skill which I spent a small part of my youth developing! :crylaugh:

That said, I can accept that they aren't relevant any more, and the advancements that NeoLemmix has made in other areas of the game far outweigh the absence of this relatively minor game mechanic. And, there are still other platforms on which to enjoy it (Amiga emulators, Windows Lemmings, older versions of Lemmix and Lemmini, etc).

That said, instant bombers can be fun, and are certainly more convenient. I personally think this is a situation where both would be best; i.e. if Timed Bombers could make an appearance maybe as an alternative version of regular instant Bombers, so that either could be used in a NeoLemmix level, that may be a good way to bring it back without upsetting too many people. Maybe. I won't get my hopes up though

Well, that's one reason I enjoyed radiation and slowfreeze ;) . Although it was weird that they set the countdown to 9 instead of 5... maybe namida originally came up with those objects more as a delayed trap than something that's actually useful? A countdown from 9 instead of 5 gave lemmings more time to reach the exit before they exploded / stoned.

The Stoner is one important factor to remember here, though: Since its main application is breaking falls, the fact that they are instant is crucial to many levels that have lethal drops early on. If Bombers were timed, Stoners consequently would have to be timed as well. And that would make them a lot less useful / powerful. While you could make the execution difficulty of timed lethal skills easy via skill shadows (i.e. show how far the lemming will walk until he goes oh-no), if a level requires a Stoner within the first 5 seconds if in-game time, that wouldn't help a lot.

Now, I will be the first one to argue that Stoners are often too powerful, precisely because of their ability to break falls. But Stoner backroutes usually don't occur at the beginning of a level, but elsewhere where you can simply cut an otherwise lethal fall short. And later in a level, a timed Stoner could of course still be exploited for taht. Thus, timed Stoners would pose almost the same danger with regards to backroute potential, while only having the additional downside of being pretty much useless for the first five seconds of a level.

Thus, the main reasons why I enjoyed radiation and slowfreeze was not the timing itself, but
a) the ability to limit Bomber / Stoner usage to specific areas of a level, like a geo-restricted pickup skill
b) the ability to clone Bombers and Stoners (since they oh-no or die right away, you can't do that with regular Bomber and Stoner skills)
c) the ability to have Zombies walk into them, so that you would have to use the enemy lemmings instead of "just" killing them (of course, they still died in the process of bombing / stoning). If radiation and slowfreeze had been taken to New Formats, this usage would apply to Neutral lemmings as well, since they can't be assigned skills. Maybe that was a small missed design opportunity.

But I don't want to restart that discussion again, even I no longer really miss radiation and slowfreeze anymore now. ;) I still encourage everyone who plays packs of mine that feature those objects to do so in Old Formats, because I really went out of my way to make these objects work in a fair way. But I probably wouldn't want to try and come up with any new radiation and slowfreeze puzzles anymore, even if they were available today. Not because I personally hate them, but I've realised that a lot of forum members do, so who would go out of their way to intentionally design something that's unlikely to be enjoyed by the majority of players?

And gimmicks seem to be a similar thing. WillLem and I briefly discussed the idea of making a follow-up to Lemmicks, i.e. a second gimmick pack to be created long after the culling of gimmicks. But as WillLem outlined, preferences for individual gimmicks vary in the community, so it was hard to find common ground there, especially for a collaborative pack.

That said, if WillLem - or anyone else, for that matter - still wants to design a gimmick pack by him- or herself, I will be the first one to play it! :thumbsup: ;)
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

Online kaywhyn

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Re: Rising water
« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2020, 12:06:02 pm »
I should probably give it another shot, then! Without all that hidden stuff that can't be checked for via CPM, it should be a lot of fun. The puzzles were actually great, considering this was (probably?) GigaLem's first pack.

Funny that you mentioned about checking out Gigalems again, because I'm currently finishing up playing through the pack on very Old Formats. I'm down to the final 5 levels of the pack, aka, the dreadnought levels. This is my second playthrough of the pack, as I played through the pack several months ago, but once again I didn't have the setting of replays saving if successful enabled. Yea, you were right about the numerous hidden traps in the pack. For some reason, I didn't recall there being that many hidden traps in the pack the first time I played the pack earlier this year (I think April?), but apparently there are! :evil: I do remember it being a really good pack though, just like Geofflems.

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You should be able to directly run the levels from it through Cleanse Levels using V12.7.X to V12.9.X of NL (it won't work on V12.10.X as that no longer supports LVL files). I suspect most replays will break, though.

Can someone explain to me what the "cleanse levels" feature is? I know it makes an up-to-date version of the levels, but when does one use it? How often should it be done? After every major NL release? Should players be doing it too, not just level designers?

Offline David

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Re: Rising water
« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2020, 04:32:48 pm »
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It's the name of a dragon from the Fire & Ice Dragons series by MegaBloks, which is basically a Canadian version of Lego

Thank you for this explanation Strato Incendus. I didn't know. Your profile picture is beautiful ! I hadn't noticed it was a phoenix. :thumbsup:
Me, I have less imagination than you : David is my first name ! ;P

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Well, if you still have intact versions of the old level files (for NeoLemmix 1.43 or older), you could share them in the "Levels for v10 or older" subforum.

Yes, I kept the versions intact. I don't know if it's useful, but if anyone is interested I might do it in a few days. ;)

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That said, instant bombers can be fun, and are certainly more convenient. I personally think this is a situation where both would be best; i.e. if Timed Bombers could make an appearance maybe as an alternative version of regular instant Bombers, so that either could be used in a NeoLemmix level, that may be a good way to bring it back without upsetting too many people. Maybe. I won't get my hopes up though ;P

Hi WillLem, this is exactly the idea I had concerning Timed Bomber, as another skill, like to Bomber. Isn't that a good idea ? :eyeroll: :D