Author Topic: Did Lemmings 1 had a scrapped hell level?  (Read 722 times)

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Offline insulfrog

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Did Lemmings 1 had a scrapped hell level?
« on: April 30, 2021, 09:51:04 PM »
I have watched the video of Commodore Amiga 'Cartoon Classics' at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hmhnc2WvqmI for a bit of nostalgia. But as I watched and looked at the rear box art at time index between 1:03 and 1:06, there is a Lemmings 1 screenshot of a hell level that does not seem to appear in the original game. It is the left image, amusingly a massive epic fail with looks like a bomber hole in the floor with a a line of lemmings falling to their doom, a hole in the stair, and a bomber exploding in the lava. The right image depicts the level "Watch out, there's traps about" with already dug/mined tunnels with blockers at the top and a floater mid-float and lemmings roaming around the bottom floor.

Offline namida

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Re: Did Lemmings 1 had a scrapped hell level?
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2021, 09:55:35 PM »
Mike Dailly mentioned in an interview that there were hundreds of levels that didn't make the cut. To the best of my knowledge, only two such levels (three including this one) have been seen publicly in any form - "One Way To Freedom" was included in a demo version, and "The Sky At Night" was shown on-screen in said interview (but has never been playable to the public). It's also plausible that some of the unique / replacement levels in versions released around the same time as Amiga (eg. Amiga budget / bookclub versions, Mac's alternate Tricky 21) could be from the cut levels, but we'll likely never know for sure - it's equally possible they were made on-demand.

I did enquire about the possibility of those levels being released to the community, but apparently while Mike does have a copy of them still, he doesn't have the hardware required to read them. He also mentioned that they were of very bad quality - which does make me wonder whether he really can't access them or just doesn't want them released (could also be legal rather than quality reasons), but I really didn't want to be pushing him too hard. Maybe with some luck, someone else happens to have a copy and will leak them sooner or later. ;)
« Last Edit: April 30, 2021, 10:05:13 PM by namida »

Offline WillLem

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Re: Did Lemmings 1 had a scrapped hell level?
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2021, 11:59:41 PM »
I have watched the video of Commodore Amiga 'Cartoon Classics' at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hmhnc2WvqmI for a bit of nostalgia. But as I watched and looked at the rear box art at time index between 1:03 and 1:06, there is a Lemmings 1 screenshot of a hell level that does not seem to appear in the original game.

Interesting! I wonder if anyone has a copy of the Cartoon Classics box art that they could photograph so we can get a closer look...!

"The Sky At Night" was shown on-screen in said interview

With a closer look at these two levels (i.e. The Sky At Night and the one on the Amiga box), we could maybe re-create them as closely as possible.

Offline namida

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Re: Did Lemmings 1 had a scrapped hell level?
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2021, 12:20:01 AM »
Both cases only show part of the level, so I'm not sure how practical that would be. Also, can't say about the level on the box, but The Sky At Night looked like a pretty tedious (not to Taxing 14 extents but still) X-of-all from what could be seen - certianly not the highest priority level to resurrect, it would mostly be of interest for historical purposes and/or to creative derivatives of.

Offline WillLem

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Re: Did Lemmings 1 had a scrapped hell level?
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2021, 12:27:20 AM »
The Sky At Night looked like a pretty tedious (not to Taxing 14 extents but still) X-of-all from what could be seen - certianly not the highest priority level to resurrect, it would mostly be of interest for historical purposes and/or to creative derivatives of.

Still, do you have a link to the interview?

Offline namida

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Re: Did Lemmings 1 had a scrapped hell level?
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2021, 08:51:46 PM »
The Sky At Night looked like a pretty tedious (not to Taxing 14 extents but still) X-of-all from what could be seen - certianly not the highest priority level to resurrect, it would mostly be of interest for historical purposes and/or to creative derivatives of.

Still, do you have a link to the interview?

https://youtu.be/ybs5FR-uUNI?t=1136

Should link to where the level in question first comes on screen. I don't remember any other unreleased levels being shown in the video (though a few well-known ones, such as Mayhem 2, are shown).

Offline WillLem

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Re: Did Lemmings 1 had a scrapped hell level?
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2021, 01:38:53 AM »
Thanks for the link! This is a fascinating interview, it's great that he talks about the editor and how the levels were put together.

I definitely think it's worth having a go at recreating that level (even if MD himself thought it was "crap"!) so it's on my to-do list :lemcat:

Offline JB

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Re: Did Lemmings 1 had a scrapped hell level?
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2021, 01:41:31 PM »
Mike Dailly mentioned in an interview that there were hundreds of levels that didn't make the cut. To the best of my knowledge, only two such levels (three including this one) have been seen publicly in any form - "One Way To Freedom" was included in a demo version, and "The Sky At Night" was shown on-screen in said interview (but has never been playable to the public). It's also plausible that some of the unique / replacement levels in versions released around the same time as Amiga (eg. Amiga budget / bookclub versions, Mac's alternate Tricky 21) could be from the cut levels, but we'll likely never know for sure - it's equally possible they were made on-demand.

The history is fascinating.  Is anything known about the following?

a. Was the original Amiga level editor ported to other platforms, or were were the official levels all created on the Amiga?  The youtube video shows that the Amiga editor uses the hardware to show high resolution text under the main low resolution game area, which would not have been possible on a contemporary PC.  I have also noticed that the palettes of the "special" levels in the PC-exclusive Companion and Covox sets have all their RGB levels rounded to a multiple of 4, indicating that they were created on an OCS Amiga (which only had 4 bit RGB resolution, rather than the 6 bits available in VGA).
 
b. Were the unique Genesis levels designed by DMA, or were they outsourced?  Same question for the Companion book and Covox levels. 

Offline WillLem

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Re: Did Lemmings 1 had a scrapped hell level?
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2021, 02:45:24 PM »
a. Was the original Amiga level editor ported to other platforms, or were were the official levels all created on the Amiga?

As far as I'm aware, the entire game was created using Deluxe Paint on the Amiga. The DMA team used this program for creating graphics and animations, and based their level editor on its architecture. Since Lemmings was released in 1991, it's highly likely that the team would have been using either an A500 or A3000 series Amiga, but I can't say for sure.

The level editor was never ported, but still exists on Mike Dailly's old Amiga (probably how he got the videos for the conference); something he's also confirmed in interviews.

The youtube video shows that the Amiga editor uses the hardware to show high resolution text under the main low resolution game area, which would not have been possible on a contemporary PC.

Absolutely - the Amiga was way ahead of its time and one of the most powerful machines at the time. At a time when 16 bit was the standard (particularly for games consoles), the Amiga was rocking 32 bit and doing so impressively. Sure, it had slow loading times but this could be sped up using turbo drives as well as upgraded ram and processors, much like modern PCs. Many developers favoured it for its ability to handle large, complex games with highly detailed graphics and extensive colour schemes.

I'm pretty sure that Lemmings is "high resolution" on the Amiga, so perhaps the entire screen was in fact running at the same resolution. I'm not certain of that, though...
« Last Edit: May 09, 2021, 02:52:07 PM by WillLem »

Offline JB

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Re: Did Lemmings 1 had a scrapped hell level?
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2021, 11:58:06 PM »
Thanks for the reply WIll.  After checking the scoll text in the intro screen of the original "Companion" disk (running in DOSBox) I can see that those levels were not designed by DMA but by Mark Tsai, one of the authors of the book.  There's no information in the scroll text of the Covox disk but I would guess that those levels were also outsourced.

I'm pretty sure that Lemmings is "high resolution" on the Amiga, so perhaps the entire screen was in fact running at the same resolution. I'm not certain of that, though...

The main playing area is low res on the Amiga.  However, the intro screens and in-game icon bar are in "high res" (640 pixel horizontal resolution) so they look crisper than on other versions.  I think the Mac port was the only contemporary version that was high res throughout.

Offline WillLem

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Re: Did Lemmings 1 had a scrapped hell level?
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2021, 12:20:49 AM »
The main playing area is low res on the Amiga.  However, the intro screens and in-game icon bar are in "high res" (640 pixel horizontal resolution) so they look crisper than on other versions.  I think the Mac port was the only contemporary version that was high res throughout.

That makes sense. I'm sure you're right about the Mac port being the only fully hi-res version.