Author Topic: [SUG] New skill - Ballooner [UPDATED]  (Read 10188 times)

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Offline WillLem

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[SUG] New skill - Ballooner [UPDATED]
« on: July 10, 2023, 10:27:56 AM »
From this topic:

Quote from: Strato Incendus
Ballooner: This one might be interesting without the fan, since it can get up vertical obstacles that the Climber cannot pass. It would require an automatic move into the direction the lemming is currently walking, though, once it finishes. Alternatively, perhaps it could be implemented as an upward Glider, moving diagonally upwards as soon as it is assigned. This would also fit with the NeoLemmix / SuperLemmix version of the Laserer, which is diagonal, too — while L2s Laser Blaster is vertical.
---
something to overcome those pesky not-Climber friendly obstacles that are way too high for a Jumper or single Builder

Quote from: Floyd Brannon
Ballooner! This would be the best upward-vertical option I think. There is also lemmings artwork showing lemmings in balloons.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2024, 12:48:06 AM by WillLem »

Offline WillLem

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Re: [SUG] New skill - Ballooner
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2023, 10:29:01 AM »
Definitely my favourite of the suggestions from Strato's topic; it'd be a fun one to animate as well.

Movement-wise, I like the idea of it drifting upwards mostly vertically, but with a slight diagonal shift in the direction they're facing. Since it's a balloon, the movement could even be somewhat oscillation-based, with a slight side-to-side motion. They should definitely "bounce" off terrain as well, which may or may not turn the lemming to face the other way - both could work.

The only question I'd have here is how does it stop? It could be time-based - the balloon could "deflate" as the lem ascends, finally dropping the lem when it has no more air. Or, it could POP! on contact with overhead terrain and then drop the lem, as per L2. Slight preference for the latter.

Support for this idea? Thoughts? Suggestions?
« Last Edit: July 10, 2023, 11:43:46 AM by WillLem »

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: [SUG] New skill - Ballooner
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2023, 06:25:26 PM »
The deflation sounds interesting, hadn’t thought of that yet. This would make it more similar to the Builder, in that it can “run out of gas”.
The POP! solution is not only the familiar behaviour, though — but should probably also be easier to predict in terms of its trajectory, i.e. result in less needless execution difficulty (even though SuperLemmix of course has more leeway for that than NeoLemmix, due to its different philosophy).

If we do stick with the POP! solution: Would this only happen if the balloon itself hits a ceiling / wall?
Since you mentioned that the Ballooner should be able to bounce off of walls — but that would only be possible if the lemming hits the wall, not the balloon itself. And since the balloon is normally wider than the lemming, I don’t see how to make a lemming bounce against a wall without popping the balloon in the process. Unless of course the wall sticks out further at the lemming’s height than at the height of the balloon. This could easily result in the lemming landing on that ledge, though.



That leads to some other questions:

- Would the lemming stop once his feet touch ground, like a Shimmier stops shimmying when the ground comes up to meet his feet?

- If not, popping the balloon might be one of the primary (interesting) challenges with this skill, to balance out its power — since it can overcome a lot of obstacles that Climbers can handle, but also many walls with irregular shapes that Climbers can’t handle.

- Cancelling the Ballooner with a Walker should be possible, just like the Walker cancels any other skill.

- What about Jumpers, though? Could a lemming jump off the rope that connects him to the balloon? That would be a pretty cool transition! :thumbsup: Also, this might be one way of getting by with even a strictly vertical Ballooner. Much like the planned introduction of the Jumper allowed us to turn the Shimmier’s jump (“reaching”) into a straight vertical jump (whereas in L2, they jump diagonally, much like Jumpers). However, in the interest of not always having to provide Ballooners and Jumpers in tandem, I do agree that at least a slightly diagonal trajectory (probably steeper than the downward trajectory of the Glider) should be more useful in most instances.
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Offline Floyd Brannon

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Re: [SUG] New skill - Ballooner
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2023, 07:05:59 PM »
This is one of my top favorites. We don't have a way to glide upward.

The flying carpet would be okay too.


Offline WillLem

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Re: [SUG] New skill - Ballooner
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2023, 10:21:18 PM »
The deflation sounds interesting ... The POP! solution is not only the familiar behaviour, though — but should probably also be easier to predict in terms of its trajectory

Having seen the Ballooner in L2, I'm pretty much set on the POP! idea as a means for stopping the balloon.

If we do stick with the POP! solution: Would this only happen if the balloon itself hits a ceiling / wall?
Since you mentioned that the Ballooner should be able to bounce off of walls — but that would only be possible if the lemming hits the wall, not the balloon itself

Lemming check are always calculated from its foot position (the star-shaped marker seen when observing lems in CPM). The Balloon itself would be purely aesthetic, like the Floater's umbrella. So, let's say that the lem is 10px tall and the balloon is another 10px, we'd look for terrain 20px vertically upwards from the lem's foot position, and if we find it, then the balloon pops and the lem falls.

For terrain at the side of the lem, we can calculate how far out the "balloon" sticks from the lem's foot position, and look for terrain there. If we find it, and it's where the balloon is, we bounce away (I'm thinking the Balloon should only pop when it hits terrain above the lem, but this is of course up for discussion). If we find terrain at the lem's foot position, meanwhile, then they "land" on the terrain.

- Would the lemming stop once his feet touch ground, like a Shimmier stops shimmying when the ground comes up to meet his feet?

I imagine so, yes.

- If not, popping the balloon might be one of the primary (interesting) challenges with this skill, to balance out its power

Good point. Maybe we can try both and see which we prefer.

- Cancelling the Ballooner with a Walker should be possible, just like the Walker cancels any other skill.

OK, maybe it pops the balloon wherever the lem is.

- What about Jumpers, though? Could a lemming jump off the rope that connects him to the balloon? That would be a pretty cool transition! :thumbsup:

The Jumper could "jump" away from its current Ballooner trajectory, sure, but for the Balloon to still exist (and continue drifting upwards) it would need to do so as a separate animation. It wouldn't be out of the question to draw it as an overlay, similar to how Freezers are currently handled. That way, the Balloon's animation could be independent of the lem itself. Worth considering, definitely.

In fact, this brings to mind the possibility of the Balloon being an object rather than a skill. Maybe if a lem jumps away from it, it remains in-place, ready for another lem to access it. Popping the balloon, then, effectively disarms the object. Just a thought, whilst we're riffing ;P

Offline Floyd Brannon

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Re: [SUG] New skill - Ballooner
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2023, 02:22:33 AM »
This is a lemmings game. I wouldn't be shy to make the animation something comedic. Have the lemming pull the balloon out of his pocket, blow it up, (hot air) and hold on for a ride. Then, it can simply perform an arc like the glider. The balloon will rise, drift to the right, and shrivel out of air and allow the lemming to land leaving no more balloon. (No one ever asked what happened to the glider after the lemming was done with it. It disappeared and that was okay)

Have it change directions if it hits a wall. If it hits the ceiling it can just stay there until it's time for it's downward arc. Simple is sometimes better. This would easily allow crossing gaps and such.

The arc of travel can be whatever. Maybe straight up, then drift to the right with the lemming holding his feet up for that last bit of distance. I don't think the balloon needs to travel to the ceiling really, it just needs some lift. Unless you have a full hot-air-balloon in mind, which would hit the ceiling and be more like lemmings revolutions exit balloon.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2023, 06:46:05 PM by Floyd Brannon »

Offline jkapp76

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Re: [SUG] New skill - Ballooner
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2023, 05:27:46 PM »
The flying carpet might be easier to create. It's smaller with less to animate.

...But, you might be able to re-use alot of the umbrella frames for the ballooner too, just change it to him
holding the balloon. I like the visual of him lifting his feet up too, especially over water.
...Jeremy Kapp

Offline WillLem

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Re: [SUG] New skill - Ballooner
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2023, 09:42:02 PM »
If we do this one, it'll be a Balloon for sure. As Jeremy's said, we can re-use the Floater animation for the most part.

Due to what's been suggested so far, my current thoughts are that it probably would make more sense to have the balloon "POP!" as a separate graphic which is displayed upon any cancellation of the Ballooner skill, whether by contact with terrain or by assigning a Walker, Jumper, or other interactive skill.

This allows the new action to be performed immediately (necessary, even if the new action is simply falling), whilst the balloon popping can be animated as a single "explosion" frame (like the Bomber) or even across 2-3 frames like it is in L2. It'd get drawn to the same layer as the Freezer overlays, so it would always appear behind the Highlight arrow or Countdown animation, if applicable.

Incidentally, if anyone happens to have access to the L2 Ballooner/balloon popping graphics and sound, please do share!



Does anyone like the idea of this being an independent object rather than a skill? I'm probably leaning towards "no", but if anyone likes the idea please do speak up.

Offline jkapp76

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Re: [SUG] New skill - Ballooner
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2023, 12:32:37 AM »
You can start the game in practice mode and use this right off.  I'm trying to capture every frame of the video.
...He does blow it up himself and take off

Here is a link for Lemmings 2 if anyone else wants to try. Level 6 on the first beach map has a balloon.
https://u.pcloud.link/publink/show?code=XZAHhOVZqUmQzmyvPnRJqtcULY4T5L8sNvkX

I attached a video

The pop is just one frame of the standard bomb explosion.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2023, 12:59:08 AM by jkapp76 »
...Jeremy Kapp

Offline jkapp76

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Re: [SUG] New skill - Ballooner
« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2023, 01:06:41 AM »
Here's a video of the flying carpet. It follows terrain very differently.
...Jeremy Kapp

Offline WillLem

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Re: [SUG] New skill - Ballooner
« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2023, 02:08:40 PM »
The pop is just one frame of the standard bomb explosion.

Which version are you using? In the Amiga version, the balloon seems to have its own "pop" graphic (also only 1 frame). It has its own sound as well.

Note that the "popped" balloon is the same colour as the inflated balloon for each of the style sets (i.e. rather than being a generic "explosion", as in the video Jeremy shared):




I also began attempting to get each frame of the animation by screenshotting, but tbh it would be far easier if someone knows how to extract the .DAT files from L2. I've attached the assets here - VLEMMS.DAT is, I guess, likely to be where the sprites are, but I've also attached the full set of assets just in case. If anyone can help with this, it'd be much appreciated!

P.S. These were downloaded from MyAbandonware, I highly doubt we'd have any problems using these.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2024, 04:48:58 PM by WillLem »

Offline jkapp76

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Re: [SUG] New skill - Ballooner
« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2023, 03:52:37 PM »
It looks like the balloon being blown up is just a few frames of different circle sizes.

I think I salvaged the balloon pop from your screenshot here...
« Last Edit: July 12, 2023, 04:08:00 PM by jkapp76 »
...Jeremy Kapp

Offline jkapp76

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Re: [SUG] New skill - Ballooner
« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2023, 04:56:37 PM »
Here's three screenshots that show all four frames of the balloon.
...Jeremy Kapp

Offline WillLem

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Re: [SUG] New skill - Ballooner
« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2023, 06:11:14 PM »
I think I salvaged the balloon pop from your screenshot here...

Thanks for this :)

I took a quick video of the Ballooner and analyzed it on ezgif.com - it seems that the Ballooner animation is a total of 18 frames (including the POP!) with a loopback to frame 10.

If we can get those assets extracted, that would be great. Does anyone know a way to extract .DAT files? I've tried an unpacker that I found online, that didn't work. Maybe the formatting of these is slightly different.

Offline jkapp76

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Re: [SUG] New skill - Ballooner
« Reply #14 on: July 12, 2023, 07:38:37 PM »
I slowed the video to a crawl and counted every frame of the lemming's footstep movements against the balloon frames.
I definitely can only see 8.
...Jeremy Kapp