Author Topic: [SUG] New skill - Twister/Propeller (vertically-upwards Digger)  (Read 2972 times)

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Offline WillLem

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From this topic:

Quote from: Strato Incendus
Laser Blaster: Referring to the “upward Digger” idea here again. If we decide we could use an upward Digger in SuperLemmix, it should probably be called something different, so that the Laserer remains the way it is. And then we might as well go with a vertical Twister, as described above.

Essentially, that would mean Laserer and Twister swap roles from L2 to SuperLemmix:
- The Laserer is vertical in L2, diagonal in SuperLemmix.
- The Twister often goes diagonally in L2, but might be useful as a vertical skill in SuperLemmix.

Quote from: jkapp76
Twister: I can see some use for digging upward vertically.

Quote from: Floyd Brannon
Vertical laser? It might be nice to have the current laser have both directions. I thought the laser in Lemmings 2 allowed you to fire it in any direction. I know there's some weapon you can aim.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2023, 08:14:15 PM by WillLem »

Offline WillLem

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There seems to be a decent amount of support for this idea, so maybe we can make it happen. I'm sure that if we had a vertically-upwards digger, it should be an on-the-spot skill, like the Laserer.

There are two options here: have the Laserer be directionally-variable (potentially level-breaking and difficult to code), or introduce a new "Twister/Vertical Laserer" skill.

There's also potential for the Twister to replace the Fencer and Laserer as the upwards-diagonal destructive skill, and the Laserer to become a vertical destructive skill.

In any case, an SLX Twister would move exponentially in an upwards direction as opposed to spinning on the spot, like in L2. If vertically-oriented, they could transition to Hoister or Dangler at the top of their destruction tunnel, whichever seems most appropriate based on the terrain layout - either option prevents immediately falling back down, with the latter providing an opportunity to assign a Shimmier or a Floater.

Support for this idea? Thoughts? Suggestions?
« Last Edit: July 10, 2023, 11:44:02 AM by WillLem »

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: [SUG] New skill - Twister (vertically-upwards Digger)
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2023, 06:38:20 PM »
I’m definitely against changing the Fencer’s or Laserer’s behaviour.
As far as I can tell, the main argument for this would be to make SLX more similar to L2: The Tribes. But L2: The Tribes has a lot of drawbacks that are not worthy of imitating, in my book. ;) Notably, the L2 Fencer, which only moves slightly upwards, basically only does what you can achieve in NeoLemmix with a Basher going up a ramp of steel. That’s a very fringe application, most comparable to the L2 Flame Thrower, I would say.

Conversely, the steeper angles of the NeoLemmix Fencer and Laserer are much more versatile — and therefore also much more useful, both from a player’s and level designer’s perspective. The Laserer is arguably more powerful than the Laser Blaster, since it breaks falls more easily. Whereas the Laser Blaster in L2 often accidentally creates splat-height drops — and would do so even more frequently if working with NeoLemmix’s standard splat height, rather than the extended splat height of L2: The Tribes.

I think if we go for the Twister, an even steeper slope that lemmings can still walk up (1:2 ratio) would be too close to the Laserer to warrant inclusion.

A strictly vertical Twister, meanwhile, would occupy a more unique design space: It could jump towards a ceiling like the “Reacher” state of a Shimmier, and then start twisting if it encounters terrain. Then it would keep going, like a Climber passing vertically through terrain, until the terrain stops, and then shift into the horizontal direction it’s facing.

This idea of “climbing through terrain” would instead add another L2 similarity, where lemmings can “crawl up” on the outside of terrain if they get trapped inside terrain. 8-)
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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 WillLem

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Re: [SUG] New skill - Twister (vertically-upwards Digger)
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2023, 10:40:15 PM »
I’m definitely against changing the Fencer’s or Laserer’s behaviour.

Note that, what I'm really saying here is that I'd change which animation results in which destruction mask. We'd still have a "Laserer tunnel" (current Laserer tunnel) and a "Twister tunnel" (proposed vertically-up tunnel), but which does which is up for grabs at this point.

The aim here is to gain a vertically-upwards destructive skill; we absolutely won't be losing anything in the process, just to be clear on that.

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: [SUG] New skill - Twister (vertically-upwards Digger)
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2023, 06:53:11 PM »
Sure, but if the skill names change alongside the animations, depending on how long it takes to implement this, there might be lots of replay files across a bunch of SLX packs by then which would be in need of updating. :evil: And the levels, too, since any level that currently provides Laserers would have to be modified to provide Twisters instead.

Also, don’t forget the Laserer is a ranged skill, whereas the Twister is not. The distance of the lemming at time of assignment, as well as its position after skill completion, matter a lot.

In short, you can’t just swap out the trajectories and call it a day. The differences go beyond that. :lem-mindblown:
My packs so far:
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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 WillLem

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Re: [SUG] New skill - Twister/Propeller (vertically-upwards Digger)
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2023, 08:13:56 PM »
there might be lots of replay files ... And the levels, too

This is currently not a problem at all, since no SLX levels exist other than the few test levels I've released just so that people have something to play with.

With that said, it's actually very unlikely that we'll end up swapping the skills anyway, since it would be way more work than it's probably worth. I'm just putting the option on the table in case anyone thinks it's a good way forward.



Let's proceed on the basis that the Twister will be our vertically-upwards-oriented destructive skill, then. I'm thinking strictly vertical (let's keep it as straightforward as possible), and it should be a sudden, explosive action, as quick as a Laserer. Maybe we give the lem a "propeller hat" which shoots them upwards, destroying any terrain they encounter in the process.

I then envisage 2 options for stopping the action, ruling out limited range or limited time (neither of which are desirable):

When they no longer have any terrain above them (a 5px check, half the height of the lem, seems appropriate, but it could be anything), they complete a "jumper"-style arc in the direction they were originally facing (during which no further destruction takes place), and then fall. Like this:



Or (and this is probably what I'd prefer), the same overhead check for "no more pixels to destroy", but the lem falls back down the newly-created tunnel. Since they're wearing a "propeller hat", this serves as a "Floater" which allows the lem to descend safely. Like this:



Reasons to prefer the second of these two options:
  • Far simpler to code
  • Less to worry about regarding the "after-arc" in terms of other skill assignments, level design, predictability of movement, skill shadow, etc.
  • If the lem is also a Glider, the Twister propeller takes precedent, since the descent will be a predictable and necessary part of the skill action itself
  • The action is simply a way to create a vertical tunnel, and nothing else - in this way, it's akin to the Laserer's overall action
We can of course consider how a Walker may interact with this skill. If the Walker is a universal "canceller", then maybe the lem transitions to faller, allowing other skills (e.g. Glider) to be assigned and/or take effect.

Also, I think "Propeller" is a more suitable title for this skill as it's currently proposed.

Thoughts?
« Last Edit: July 11, 2023, 08:19:50 PM by WillLem »

Offline jkapp76

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Re: [SUG] New skill - Twister/Propeller (vertically-upwards Digger)
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2023, 01:21:26 AM »
Here's my twister video...
...Jeremy Kapp

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: [SUG] New skill - Twister/Propeller (vertically-upwards Digger)
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2023, 04:56:28 PM »
Mmh, if the lemming falls back down again, the difference to a vertical Laser Blaster becomes minor — since at the end, the lemming will be in the same position where it started. The L2 Laser Blaster would just stand still in place for the entire time. So the only difference is that the Twister could potentially collect pickup skills, push buttons, or be turned into a Zombie on his way up.

If however we go with the Jumper arc at the end (or even just the standard Climber “Hoister” animation), the Twister could help isolate a lemming, just like a Basher can.

If you wanted to do that with the Twister that falls back down the shaft, you’d have to assign a (strictly vertical) Ballooner right afterwards — potentially even use two Twisters before assigning the Ballooner, in order to make the shaft wide enough for the Ballooner to pass through without popping the balloon.
My packs so far:
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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 WillLem

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Re: [SUG] New skill - Twister/Propeller (vertically-upwards Digger)
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2023, 06:28:51 PM »
So the only difference is that the Twister could potentially collect pickup skills, push buttons, or be turned into a Zombie on his way up.

That's three differences. Here are some more: they could be assigned a Glider, or a Shimmier, there could be a teleporter at the top of the Twister/Propeller's tunnel, they could be killed by a trap (rendering the act of creating the tunnel ultimately sacrificial). Or, depending on level layout, a lemming on a lower block could platform across to stop the Propeller from descending all the way back down, like this:



If however we go with the Jumper arc at the end (or even just the standard Climber “Hoister” animation), the Twister could help isolate a lemming ... If you wanted to do that with the Twister that falls back down the shaft, you’d have to assign a (strictly vertical) Ballooner right afterwards

You're thinking of a single specific use case here (i.e. isolating a Lemming) which could be achieved a number of ways after creating a Propeller tunnel: Ballooner would be one (it's unlikely the Ballooner will be strictly vertical, but this remains to be seen), Jumper + Climber another, or if the tunnel happens to have water in it, a Swimmer could work.

Don't forget that another use for a vertical tunnel is to bring lems down from above; for this, it's better if the lem descends.

But OK, maybe we want to be able to have instant access to the top of the tunnel, your hoisting suggestion could achieve that without having to implement too many unpredictable acrobatics.

So, when the overhead 5px check fails, the next check can be for terrain immediately to the left (or right, depending on which way they're facing) of the Propelling lemming; if we find it, the lem "reaches" out and grabs the ledge, then hoists. Otherwise, they descend safely.

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: [SUG] New skill - Twister/Propeller (vertically-upwards Digger)
« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2023, 07:43:00 PM »
I like the idea of the left and right terrain checks. :thumbsup: I don't know if the "otherwise, the lemming descends safely" might make using the Twister too easy? ???
Personally, I'd also be fine with the lemming crashing down the tunnel and splatting if there is no terrain left and right.

Then again, this depends on what enables the lemming to drill upwards in the first place.
If it's a propeller, descending safely makes sense.
If the lemming is just spinning around its own axis, as the L2 Twister seems to do, I don't see how that would help it fall more slowly. Otherwise, Floaters could spin around their own axis to break their falls without a parachute. ^^
My packs so far:
Lemmings World Tour (New & Old Formats), my music-themed flagship pack, 320 levels - Let's Played by Colorful Arty
Lemmings Open Air, my newest release and follow-up to World Tour, 120 levels
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 jkapp76

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Re: [SUG] New skill - Twister/Propeller (vertically-upwards Digger)
« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2023, 10:00:19 PM »
I don't think it would be terrible for the twister to just spin up like the tasmanian devil, bore his way straight up and after
clearing the surface a little, just explode.

When we gained the freezer, we lost a sacrificial lemming. This would restore the planning of whether to sacrifice or not.
...Jeremy Kapp

Offline WillLem

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Re: [SUG] New skill - Twister/Propeller (vertically-upwards Digger)
« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2023, 12:25:21 AM »
I like the idea of the left and right terrain checks

OK, let's give that a go and see if it works.

If it's a propeller, descending safely makes sense.

Very much leaning towards this. I'll probably try with it being a Propeller first, and if we really don't like it then try Twister second.

after clearing the surface a little, just explode.

I suppose if we go with the Twister idea, this would make some sort of cartoonish sense, but if we go with the Propeller idea then we should keep the lem active.

When we gained the freezer, we lost a sacrificial lemming. This would restore the planning of whether to sacrifice or not.

The Freezer, like the Blocker, can be regarded as "semi-sacrificial", in that they essentially are a sacrificial lemming if no skills are provided to rescue them. Of, even if the skills are provided, it may make the solution easier to use the skills elsewhere, in which case the Freezers/Blockers still become strategically sacrificial.

In fact, there is actually more strategy in sacrificing a Blocker or a Freezer, than a Bomber or a Stoner. For the latter, if the solution requires them then it's not so much strategic as it is necessary to use these skills.

Offline jkapp76

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Re: [SUG] New skill - Twister/Propeller (vertically-upwards Digger)
« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2023, 03:19:52 PM »
I been thinking about this skill and I've changed my mind a bit.

I think the propellor hat idea is good if the lemming ends up at the top of the tunnel. But it seem that it shouldn't be fast
enough to go up and back down quickly.

I think the twister variant is the best idea if the lemming ends up back at the bottom. I can more easily imagine the lemming
buzzing up and back down quickly as a twister. (the L2 twister does end at the top, if that matters) He's more of a "Driller."
« Last Edit: July 15, 2023, 03:46:48 PM by jkapp76 »
...Jeremy Kapp

Offline WillLem

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Re: [SUG] New skill - Twister/Propeller (vertically-upwards Digger)
« Reply #13 on: July 16, 2023, 12:55:56 AM »
I think the propellor hat idea is good if the lemming ends up at the top of the tunnel
---
I think the twister variant is the best idea if the lemming ends up back at the bottom

Sorry to be disagreeing again, but I think exactly the opposite! The "Propeller hat" idea is mostly based on the Mario Propeller suit in NSMB Wii - buzzes upwards quickly, then descends slowly.

Meanwhile, the Twister seems more like a skill which would have a mostly upwards-oriented action, particularly taking into account its L2 action (which we don't necessarily have to follow by any means, but still worth mentioning). The Twisting action sees the lem potentially being able to move left or right as well, whereas a Propeller hat would make more sense if it was straight up-and-down.

Either way, let's decide which action we prefer, and we can decide on the cosmetics later. In fact, you could theoretically produce an entirely customised set of sprites which re-imagine the skills with different names and animations, but with the exact same in-game effect, ultimately.

Offline jkapp76

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Re: [SUG] New skill - Twister/Propeller (vertically-upwards Digger)
« Reply #14 on: July 16, 2023, 02:40:28 AM »
I think you convinced me. Twister does seem meant to move right and left I suppose. Which is like the L2 version.

Propeller would probably be better. Googling Mario helped :)
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Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: [SUG] New skill - Twister/Propeller (vertically-upwards Digger)
« Reply #15 on: July 16, 2023, 05:39:56 AM »
Yes, I'm also mainly here for the upward digging - so we should go with whatever fits that action best.

Where would the propeller sit? On the lemming's head, like with Mario? That to me would suggest a mere movement skill that allows the lemming to fly, but not necessarily to "drill upwards".

Or would it be a tool in the lemming's hands that drills into the ceiling and also pulls the lemming along with itself? In that case, "Driller" might be a more appropriate term than "Propeller" (I think Driller is also one of the potential skill names we once discussed for this skill idea in NeoLemmix).
My packs so far:
Lemmings World Tour (New & Old Formats), my music-themed flagship pack, 320 levels - Let's Played by Colorful Arty
Lemmings Open Air, my newest release and follow-up to World Tour, 120 levels
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 jkapp76

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Re: [SUG] New skill - Twister/Propeller (vertically-upwards Digger)
« Reply #16 on: July 16, 2023, 03:52:04 PM »
One other possible suggestion.

There's an old game called "Oil's Well" where you basically dig wells and try not to hit moving creatures with your drill.

In this game the player stops and has a drill that extends upward. Only the drill graphic moves upward, then after it cuts all the way through the terrain piece it very quickly returns to the player so he can proceed.

This should be easier to animate, and I think a "Driller" makes alot of sense for a vertical digger-type. Instead of the lemming moving up and back down in a timely manner you only have to account for the drill-bit zipping up and down. The lemming could even be a single frame like the laserer.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2023, 07:46:04 PM by jkapp76 »
...Jeremy Kapp

Offline WillLem

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Re: [SUG] New skill - Twister/Propeller (vertically-upwards Digger)
« Reply #17 on: July 16, 2023, 08:51:37 PM »
Instead of the lemming moving up and back down in a timely manner you only have to account for the drill-bit zipping up and down

This is a brilliant idea. If we go with "Driller", this should definitely be its action, i.e. lem stays still, drill moves up.

It wouldn't be quite as easy as you think to animate, though. Yes, the lem could stay still, but we then have to animate a potentially infinite drill-bit. The code for the laser is extensive, for example. Doable though, and the idea is sound.

Either of the other two ideas (Propeller or Twister), then, should maybe end with the lem "landing" at the top of their newly-created tunnel.

We can then distill this down to two options. Before discussing visualisation/animation ideas any further, let's decide which of these two actions we prefer.:

1) Lem stays where they are when creating tunnel
2) Lem arrives at the top of whatever tunnel they create

I probably prefer (2), but either could work.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2024, 02:14:46 PM by WillLem »

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: [SUG] New skill - Twister/Propeller (vertically-upwards Digger)
« Reply #18 on: July 17, 2023, 07:45:30 AM »
I also prefer 2 (Lem arrives at the top of the tunnel they create).
Everything else is just a rebranded version of the L2 Laser Blaster, merely using a different tool to avoid confusion with the NeoLemmix diagonal Laserer.

At that point, a "flexible Laserer" that works more like a destructive version of the L2 Roper or Archer (i.e., with the player being able to decide the angle with a second mouseclick) would make more sense to me. :evil: Obviously, that would require both changes to the established Laserer AND be a lot of programming effort (there is a reason we've ruled out the Roper and Archer early, and went with the more straightforward Spearer instead).

And since I always warn about making more changes to established skills (as much as I do enjoy the Freezer now), I only brought this up as a thought experiment. ;) I actually still think the diagonal Laserer is versatile enough, even more useful than a vertical Laserer, oftentimes - because
a) the shafts are Walker- and Shimmier-friendly, not just Climber-friendly, and
b) they're also Faller-friendly, not just Floater/Glider/Slider friendly :D.



For the same reason that we don't need a vertical Laserer, though, I also think we don't need a Driller that stands still on the ground.


The unique features of an upward Digger are not merely restricted to the angle of the shaft, but also to the position of the lemming.
The Twister / Driller / Propeller could move upwards through terrain, which neither the Climber nor the Laserer nor the Ballooner (or a Glider in an updraft) can.

Many advanced levels rely on having to manipulate the positions and directions of movement of individual worker lemmings (oftentimes several workers at once, rather than a single "pioneer").
The Laserer is pretty useless in such levels - aside from its ability to shoot a Shimmier from a ceiling, if timed correctly. :D
In NeoLemmix, that's your only option; in SuperLemmix, you can also do this with a Spearer or Grenader.

The Twister / Driller / Propeller, meanwhile, could easily swap positions with another lemming, by moving upwards through terrain and, in doing so, creating a shaft for other lemmings to fall down.
My packs so far:
Lemmings World Tour (New & Old Formats), my music-themed flagship pack, 320 levels - Let's Played by Colorful Arty
Lemmings Open Air, my newest release and follow-up to World Tour, 120 levels
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 jkapp76

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Re: [SUG] New skill - Twister/Propeller (vertically-upwards Digger)
« Reply #19 on: July 19, 2023, 04:36:24 AM »
I'm starting to think the best option is for the lemming to end up at the top.

Leaving him at the bottom is indeed too similar to the laserer and limits his usefulness.

I would side with the (propeller)... Over my own suggested driller.
...Jeremy Kapp

Offline Floyd Brannon

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Re: [SUG] New skill - Twister/Propeller (vertically-upwards Digger)
« Reply #20 on: August 14, 2023, 11:24:48 PM »
What would happen if you propelled upward through terrain that had a layer of steel at the top of it? I think we should ohno the lemming with the ohno sound too. This would be a sacrifice but maybe be a good way to deal with what to do with it.

Offline WillLem

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Re: [SUG] New skill - Twister/Propeller (vertically-upwards Digger)
« Reply #21 on: August 14, 2023, 11:52:15 PM »
What would happen if you propelled upward through terrain that had a layer of steel at the top of it?

I imagine they would simply fall back down the tunnel in this scenario.