Author Topic: [REVIEW/FEATURE COMPARISON] NeoLemmix, SuperLemmini and Lix  (Read 3462 times)

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Offline WillLem

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[REVIEW/FEATURE COMPARISON] NeoLemmix, SuperLemmini and Lix
« on: December 21, 2020, 01:56:01 PM »
Since I first joined the Forums as a SuperLemmini user, I've had an opportunity to become familiar with (and an extensive user of) NeoLemmix and Lix as well. Existing as lovingly designed and maintained engines for playing Lemmings games on a modern PC, these three engines all have something to offer which is unique to them, and however you like to enjoy Lemmings, it's worth giving them all a try.

I've decided to write a review of each, highlighting what I believe to be the pros and cons. This post therefore reflects my own opinion, but will hopefully help new forum users to find a particular version that will best suit their current preferences, and maybe even discover something new as well.

It's possible to enjoy the game on multiple platforms, and I would personally recommend doing so in order to keep your general Lemmings-playing skills as sharp and versatile as possible!

NeoLemmix


NeoLemmix (click to show/hide)

SuperLemmini


SuperLemmini (click to show/hide)

Lix


Lix (click to show/hide)
« Last Edit: March 30, 2022, 05:54:37 AM by WillLem »

Offline ericderkovits

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Re: [COMPARISON] Platforms for Playing Lemmings on a Modern PC
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2020, 04:28:29 PM »
Of course I have other emulators to play lemmings too.

1) NES Lemmings (using fceux) current rom L1
2) SNES Lemmings (I use snex9x-64, although other ones are availiable) current roms L1(european, japanese, USA), L2 The Tribes
3) SEGA Mastersystem  (I use fusion) (L1), Game Gear (L1), Genesis Megadrive(Genesis L1 MD, L2 The Tribes)
4) PPSSPP (PSP L1, including 36 special levels)   
5) small lemmings app(L1, L2, L3, plays Amiga versions)   

These 5 are the current emulators for Lemmings I have

Offline namida

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Re: [COMPARISON] Platforms for Playing Lemmings on a Modern PC
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2020, 06:06:53 PM »
Lemmix should be among the primary engines listed, more so than Lix in particular which specifically intends to avoid using copyrighted assets and thus isn't ideal for playing the official games. If anything, it should be the highest on the list, as it's very accurate to an official version, while running nicely on modern PCs with little effort.
My Lemmings projects
2D Lemmings: NeoLemmix (engine) | Lemmings Plus Series (level packs) | Doomsday Lemmings (level pack)
3D Lemmings: Loap (engine) | L3DEdit (level / graphics editor) | L3DUtils (replay / etc utility) | Lemmings Plus 3D (level pack)

Online Simon

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Re: [COMPARISON] Platforms for Playing Lemmings on a Modern PC
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2020, 06:14:48 PM »
It's hard to have timed bombers as an option because it affects physics.

Assume it's a feature of the level, i.e., the designer decides whether the exploders are timed. Downside 1 is that exploders will have inconsistent/unexpected behavior between levels. Downside 2 is that 90 % of players will rage when they must time the exploders and cannot deactivate the feature player-side. I would be annoyed enough to write a script that passes through the levels and deactivates timed exploders.

Assume it's an option for the player. Then the player will be unable to solve the handful of levels where you must assign exploder within the first 5 seconds. It will not be obvious in which levels this is; the levels cannot be marked, that marking would be a spoiler.

Same reason will hold for variable/fixed spawn interval during play, this cannot be a player option, it must be a level option. Or just cut the poor man's fast-forward and don't have those fiddly levels in the first place. :8():



The "obvious" reason for why Lix doesn't play L1 levels isn't so obvious to me. I don't ship Lemmings assets to avoid takedown notices from copyright henchmen, this part is obvious. Nonetheless, 2009 trough 2015, the C++ codebase contained code to load L1 and L2 assets, the user merely had to dump his copyright-restricted Lemmings tilesets and levels into certain Lix directories.

Supporting L1/L2 tilesets made sense in 2009: Matt and geoo designed tilesets for Lix only after 2011. Lix needed more tilesets than my early programmer art. NL wasn't around, Lemmix was awkward to use, and Lemmini wasn't popular on Lemmings Forums.

D Lix doesn't load L1/L2 assets anymore, even though I could require the user to dump them in. The reason is that I don't see the need to load L1/L2 assets: We have other tilesets by now. NL plays L1 levels about as close to DOS L1 as Lix would. And NL has the L2 tileset conversions.



Why is hi-res listed as a positive and unconditional untimed bombers listed as a negative? Both deviate from DOS/Amiga Lemmings 1, and hi-res is a can of worms on top during developement, so easy to introduce unintuitive solutions (Lix 2x1-pixel rule for solidity).

-- Simon
« Last Edit: December 21, 2020, 06:26:51 PM by Simon »

Offline IchoTolot

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Re: [COMPARISON] Platforms for Playing Lemmings on a Modern PC
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2020, 06:41:03 PM »
Let's just say that quite a few of the pros and cons are really biased. ;)

"No option for Timed Bombers"       This cannot really be categorized as it depens on the person if it's a pro or a con.

"The SUPERLEMMING level works at its intended speed!"   Again, this might be a con for some. :evil:

"Represents original-game nostalgia, keeping to just the original 8 skills and a familiar, execution-focused gameplay style"  The same thing here. :devil:

"Modelled after the Amiga version" This is only a pro if you actually like the amiga port. ;)

"Its focus on innovation rather than nostalgia can be off-putting for some"     When you state "for some" then why it's listed purely under con?


Advice:  Rather than making a pro and con list - simply make a neutral feature list. As a lot of points highly depend on the user if they are a pro or a con.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2020, 10:22:20 PM by IchoTolot »

Offline WillLem

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Re: [COMPARISON] Platforms for Playing Lemmings on a Modern PC
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2020, 07:48:15 PM »
Quote from: ericderkovits
Of course I have other emulators to play lemmings too.

I think emulators can be taken as read, really, tbh. What I've done is group them all together under a category simply titled "Emulators." Rather than give links, I'll let anyone who wishes to play the games this way do their own Googling, as there are so many of them.

Quote from: namida
Lemmix should be among the primary engines listed... If anything, it should be the highest on the list

This isn't necessarily a post about playing original Lemmings (1991), it's more about playing the game of 'Lemmings' generally. This post aims to bring attention to (and compare) the platforms which are most ideal for that.

Quote from: Simon
Assume it's a feature of the level... Downside 1 is that exploders will have inconsistent/unexpected behavior between levels.

How so? If they're always the same number of seconds, then it's perfectly consistent. Maybe I've misunderstood?

Quote from: Simon
Assume it's an option for the player. Then the player will be unable to solve the handful of levels where you must assign exploder within the first 5 seconds.

Solution: have "Timed Bombers" and "Instant Bombers" as separate skills.

Quote from: Simon
Same reason will hold for variable/fixed spawn interval during play... just cut the poor man's fast-forward and don't have those fiddly levels in the first place

There is way more to Variable RR than it just being a "poor man's fast-forward." It's a valid, legitimate strategical tool which can often lead to alternative solutions - great for challenges, for example. My solution to LEMTRIS (which holds the current time record of 01:16.65) is made possible due to variable RR. And it's no more or less fiddly than using Walkers and Jumpers to achieve the same thing.

Quote from: Simon
The "obvious" reason for why Lix doesn't play L1 levels isn't so obvious to me.

What I meant here is that the platform doesn't offer the original levels by default like many of the others do, and even if it did, Lix is a very different game in many ways. To be fair, it would be very interesting to try out the original levels in Lix and see how they're different.

I've modified the OP accordingly.

Quote from: Simon
Why is hi-res listed as a positive and unconditional untimed bombers listed as a negative?

Because, from a user perspective, high-res graphics are generally more pleasing than low-res ones, and the presence of Timed Bombers in a Lemmings game is something which many Lemmings fans expect to see.

Quote from: IchoTolot
"Modelled after the Amiga version" This is only a con if you actually like the amiga port. ;)

I think you mean to say "this is only a pro" - possible typo?

Quote from: IchoTolot
"Its focus on innovation rather than nostalgia can be off-putting for some"     When you state "for some" then why it's listed purely under con?

Because this would be a con to those people. Just as all of its innovative features have been listed as pros, i.e. there may be some people who would regard the presence of player-assist tools to be a con which makes playing through levels far too easy, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be listed as pros. They are pros to people who appreciate the fact that they remove the execution difficulty from the game.

Quote from: IchoTolot
Advice:  Rather than making a pro and con list - simply make a neutral feature list. As a lot of points highly depend on the user if they are a pro or a con.

Fair comment. It took me a while to write this post so I'm not going to make any major changes to it right now, but I will absolutely consider simply designing it as a list of features/benefits rather than presenting those features as pros or cons.

That said, things like lack of Multiplayer or cross-platform Compatibility is a fairly widely accepted mark against any video game for which these features may be desirable, so - to some extent - these features can only be presented as such, i.e. you can't really list "No Multiplayer" as a beneficial feature, and not mentioning it all means you're presenting less information.

I may even present it as a review topic, making it clear that it represents my own opinion.

My main aim with this post is to help people to find the platform that's right for them, so I do need to try and sell each platform on its merits whilst also pointing to what some players may consider a detraction. I believe my post has already achieved this, but it could possibly benefit from further refinement.

Online Simon

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Re: [COMPARISON] Platforms for Playing Lemmings on a Modern PC
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2020, 08:14:35 PM »
Quote
Quote
Assume it's an option for the player. Then the player will be unable to solve the handful of levels where you must assign exploder within the first 5 seconds.
Solution: have "Timed Bombers" and "Instant Bombers" as separate skills.

Okay, you want the level author to force it onto the player.

Then people will rage how they must time, convert the maps by script to untimed, or just skip the maps with timed bombers.

The fundamental effect is that timed exploder as separate skill will generate levels that are completely against what NL and singleplayer Lix are trying to do, ease execution. The engines don't play chess either and it's not listed as a negative. (irrelevant no matter how this would be listed, I apologize) I'd expect untimed bombers in every level to be as good or as bad as e.g. the replay tweaker.

Quote
Because, from a user perspective, high-res graphics are generally more pleasing than low-res ones

Nearly everybody uses lo-res if they have the choice. And bad choices during development have a direct impact on users.

I wager that most Lemmings fans expect lo-res. You accept the lack of meeting expectations as a sole reason to list purely untimed bombers as a minus. Therefore I'm still baffled that hi-res-only is a positive for Lix.

-- Simon
« Last Edit: December 21, 2020, 08:54:53 PM by Simon »

Online Simon

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Re: [COMPARISON] Platforms for Playing Lemmings on a Modern PC
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2020, 09:33:33 PM »
Quote from: Simon
The engines don't play chess either and it's not listed as a negative

I retract this and apologize; this irrelevant no matter how this would be listed. The point is: I'd expect untimed bombers in every level to be as good or as bad as e.g. the replay tweaker.



If you plan to rewrite with these points as neutral, there are many more such things that aren't universally good or bad either:

Pacing of physics changes that might require maintenance work from level authors. NL is more aggressive with patching physics bugs. Lix has left even subtle physics bugs in for 3.5 years for fear of breaking netplay in Debian that updates only every 2 years. That's no good either, and I should find a strategy to not break netplay for any old version whenever physics bugs appear.

Standalone program to edit maps or built into the game. I believe standalone program is superior, but it's not 100 % clear-cut. It's extra work for the devs to maintain two programs in two languages/over two different gui libraries that can't easily share code.

NL needs proprietary tooling to build itself, Delphi. The Java Runtime is beh as a dependency, can't just ship the game binary and DLLs, always have to tell people to install Java. And D is uncommon, hard to encourage people to send patches for Lix.

NL is the most popular and that's usually good enough a reason to learn it first. You get more content, and more people will play your own content later.

A good bunch of people will look at Lix and see that it's not Lemmings and that's already enough deterrent. Today, with so many forms of entertainment competing, the survival instinct tells us to, for each option, quickly find something that we don't like about it, and then ditch the option without looking back.

-- Simon

Offline namida

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Re: [REVIEW/FEATURE COMPARISON] Platforms for Playing Lemmings on a Modern PC
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2020, 10:23:20 PM »
Quote
NL needs proprietary tooling to build itself, Delphi

I would note that there is a free edition of Delphi available nowdays. I haven't specifically checked if NL will compile on it; but the version being used for NL development currently is only one minor version behind the latest free edition (10.3 vs 10.4) and I don't believe it uses any features that the lower-tier versions do not support; there also would be no licencing issues with using the free edition as far as I can tell. Longer-term I do hope to port to Lazarus (open source Delphi clone, though code compatibility is not perfect in particular due to RTL differences), or even better, rewrite in something more mainstream (most likely C#), but realistically that is likely a long way away, if it ever happens at all - it would be more likely that I would look at that after everything else is "final", so that I'm only reproducing known existing features, not having to leave room for new ones.
My Lemmings projects
2D Lemmings: NeoLemmix (engine) | Lemmings Plus Series (level packs) | Doomsday Lemmings (level pack)
3D Lemmings: Loap (engine) | L3DEdit (level / graphics editor) | L3DUtils (replay / etc utility) | Lemmings Plus 3D (level pack)

Offline WillLem

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Re: [COMPARISON] Platforms for Playing Lemmings on a Modern PC
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2020, 11:01:01 PM »
Okay, you want the level author to force it onto the player.

Not necessarily. Player-side option would be most ideal, but - as you've correctly pointed out - logistically difficult to implement (but not impossible).

Therefore I'm still baffled that hi-res-only is a positive for Lix.

It's a positive because it makes for an attractive interface. Take it as a compliment!

I retract this and apologize; this irrelevant no matter how this would be listed. The point is: I'd expect untimed bombers in every level to be as good or as bad as e.g. the replay tweaker.

Understood, no worries. It's a valid point, worth making.

If you plan to rewrite with these points as neutral

I've actually re-written the OP as a review, stating clearly that I'm expressing my own opinions about the engines, which other users may or may not find useful in their own quest to seek a Lemmings-playing engine which fulfils their own preferences. A neutral stating-of-the-facts is not really my style, I'm too darn opinionated ;P
« Last Edit: December 21, 2020, 11:11:35 PM by WillLem »

Offline WillLem

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Re: [REVIEW/FEATURE COMPARISON] NeoLemmix, SuperLemmini and Lix
« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2020, 11:03:58 PM »
I've opted to re-write this topic as a review, stating my own opinions on the three engines, since I think this is more useful than attempting to present the features without any bias at all: players will either agree with what I've written, or not, and they will either have a similar view to me, or not. Either way, hopefully it will help people to figure out which engine is best for which features/gameplay style/etc.

All have their merits, that's the bottom line. I have all 3 side by side on my desktop, and I love them :lemcat:

Offline namida

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Re: [REVIEW/FEATURE COMPARISON] NeoLemmix, SuperLemmini and Lix
« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2020, 11:11:50 PM »
Quote
(NeoLemmix) Windows-only compatibility

This is not completely true. It's only natively built for Windows, but it is possible to run on Mac and Linux via a tool called WINE (which is similar to, but on a technical level not actually, an emulator). Hopefully an actual Linux build will exist in the future (Mac is probably not going to happen, sadly - my Mac Mini is now too outdated to run the newest Mac OS, and I have zero intention of buying a new Mac anytime soon).
My Lemmings projects
2D Lemmings: NeoLemmix (engine) | Lemmings Plus Series (level packs) | Doomsday Lemmings (level pack)
3D Lemmings: Loap (engine) | L3DEdit (level / graphics editor) | L3DUtils (replay / etc utility) | Lemmings Plus 3D (level pack)

Offline WillLem

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Re: [REVIEW/FEATURE COMPARISON] NeoLemmix, SuperLemmini and Lix
« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2020, 11:21:38 PM »
It's only natively built for Windows, but it is possible to run on Mac and Linux via a tool called WINE (which is similar to, but on a technical level not actually, an emulator)

Updated the OP accordingly, and provided a link to WINE.

Offline Dullstar

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Re: [REVIEW/FEATURE COMPARISON] NeoLemmix, SuperLemmini and Lix
« Reply #13 on: December 22, 2020, 07:24:04 AM »
Quote from: WillLem
Because, from a user perspective, high-res graphics are generally more pleasing than low-res ones

Nearly everybody uses lo-res if they have the choice. And bad choices during development have a direct impact on users.

I'd disagree with both of these claims. Ideal graphics res depends on the art style a lot - compare the art of Celeste and Hollow Knight, for example. Celeste's art is intentionally low-res, while Hollow Knight's art is much higher res. The resolution of those games is part of their visual identity. Hollow Knight would be a very different-looking game in low-res, and Celeste would be a very different-looking game in high res. The change would probably not improve either of them - at the very least, they'd lose their current visual identity.

Most, if not all high-res modern-ish lemmings engines take their graphics from the Windows 95 version, which I'd say is a little unfortunate, considering it's not a particularly well-done remaster. The Mac version also uses high-res graphics, but they're much better looking. I should do a proper review of what it is I don't like about WinLemm's graphics sometime.

The problem with slapping high-res graphics on top of an existing engine in a game where individual pixels matter is that it creates a mismatch between low-res graphics and high-res physics. And, of course, upscaling well is hard when the entire library of graphics is low-res and nobody wants to redraw them in high-res, especially when the game, for many of us, has a low-res visual identity.

Edit Simon: Java discussion moved to: Dullstar's Java Rant
« Last Edit: December 24, 2020, 09:10:36 AM by Simon »

Offline WillLem

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Re: [REVIEW/FEATURE COMPARISON] NeoLemmix, SuperLemmini and Lix
« Reply #14 on: December 22, 2020, 12:17:54 PM »
Ideal graphics res depends on the art style a lot

Yes, this is definitely true.

However, take a game like Mario: traditionally, it's a low-res game. However, the game and its artwork are undeniably better in high-res. New SMB is exactly what the franchise needed, IMHO; now, those who prefer low-res Mario can moan about how it's all gone cartoony (which allows them to love the old-school stuff even more), and those who prefer high-res Mario can, well, enjoy high-res Mario! It's a WIN-WIN.

The examples you gave, as you say, rely on their resolution (to some extent) for their identity, so that's a slightly different argument. I generally agree with you here by the way, resolution definitely matters one way or the other, but it's another of those things that comes down to personal preference, so it's basically impossible to quantify meaningfully. Case in point...

Most, if not all high-res modern-ish lemmings engines take their graphics from the Windows 95 version, which I'd say is a little unfortunate, considering it's not a particularly well-done remaster. The Mac version also uses high-res graphics, but they're much better looking

I disagree. The Mac graphics look...wierd, to be honest. They're a different shape to the originals, the Fire exit looks more like a hamster than a demon (likely intentional, tbf) and it's almost too high-res. Lemmings benefits from being pixellated to some extent.

The problem with slapping high-res graphics on top of an existing engine in a game where individual pixels matter is that it creates a mismatch between low-res graphics and high-res physics

As the only NL user who actually plays in high-res: I'd say that this makes absolutely no difference to the gameplay whatsoever. Even with fine-detail stuff like Bash-cancel staircases, splat height falls, single-Builder-brick stuff and anything else you could care to mention, it all works perfectly fine in high-res. I rarely, if ever, get a sense that there is any kind of separation between what I'm seeing vs. what's going on under the hood.

Edit Simon: Java discussion moved to: Dullstar's Java Rant
« Last Edit: December 24, 2020, 09:10:47 AM by Simon »

Offline WillLem

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Re: [REVIEW/FEATURE COMPARISON] NeoLemmix, SuperLemmini and Lix
« Reply #15 on: March 30, 2022, 05:56:06 AM »
The OP has now been updated to include links to SuperLemminiToo.