Author Topic: Best way avoid make backroutes?  (Read 6465 times)

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Offline MASTER-88

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Best way avoid make backroutes?
« on: July 29, 2023, 10:55:04 AM »
Best way avoid backroutes? We everybody lemmings levels builders hate those backroutes. So ask which is good way avoid make this

1: Please enlight always level (Set traps, teleports, splitters & metals correct. That my very casual error myself and i´ll also see most lemmings pack maker make those same errors. I just break most Crane levels, when i got find most backroutes, i used enlight tool. Just be very careful with spiltters. You can even make splitter pointless using single Stacker pass it and make whole spiltter pointless. when i check out my olde levels, im very lucky those not work well enought, its most biggest backroute riski.

2: Buttons usually block rough backroutes easily, but many persons not want use that way.

Those are my ideas. This 1st one is most important.
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Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: Best way avoid make backroutes?
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2023, 11:24:27 AM »
I don't think there are one or two hard-and-fast rules on how to fix backroutes in general. It's specific to the level, the terrain layout, the number and type of skills provided.

I also struggle to understand your post in other ways. ;) Among others, what do you mean by "enlighten the level"? Clear-physics mode?

Buttons can force the player to visit certain locations in a level, much like pickup skills. Pickup skills however additionally limit when a skill can be used (=not before you've visited location X), and are therefore better suited than buttons to enforce a specific order of events / skill assignments.

One-way arrows are a double-edged sword. Because while they limit the direction of destructive skills on the one hand, they can also provide hints from which side to approach an obstacle on the other hand - thereby actually making the level easier than if the one-way arrows weren't there.

A similar thing happened to me with a fire trap on a Lemmings: Hall of Fame level, where the trap being present would force you to dig at one point. Digging there is still necessary, in order to remove a chunk of terrain so that a Shimmier can continue through that section later on. But the fire trap made it obvious / inevitable to dig there, so I actually ended up removing the fire trap, in order to increase the entropy of the level.

The other thing with one-way arrows is that horizontal arrows are far less restrictive than vertical arrows. Because horizontal arrows can also be dug away from above, whereas vertical arrows can't be bashed away from either side. In other words, vertical arrows are "this direction only", whereas horizontal arrows allow all directions except the one opposing them.

The hint-giving aspect of one-way arrows can only be avoided whenever they are used as a fair version of manual steel. Meaning, you're not actually supposed to dig or bash through them in any way - they're merely trying to prevent you from going through chunks of terrain that can't be replaced by steel blocks (since steel often tends to be rectangular, and the level shape isn't always suitable for that). For the reasons just explained, whenever one-way arrows need to serve as pseudo-steel in this manner, vertical arrows are usually more effective, because they block more directions of destructive skills than horizontal arrows. But again, even that will depend on the level layout, and the skills provided.

It used to be the case that upward vertical arrows were the hardest to get through, but with the joint forces of Fencer and Laserer (especially the latter, since it can operate at a range) may have changed that.
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Offline IchoTolot

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Re: Best way avoid make backroutes?
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2023, 02:04:05 PM »
Planning and testing would be my tipp:

Start avoiding them starting in the initial level creation phase.

- Try to envision how ths skills you provide can accidentally open other routes and test that out yourself. If backroutes occur fix it or even change your initial level plan/layout. Sometimes a thing just is not possible without making an unwanted thing possible and changing up the level becomes the better option.
- Some skills tend to open more backroutes than other (stoners, jumpers,...). try to be very careful with those and think about alternative routes they could open up and also that you can maybe include a more restrictive skill instead in a pinch.
- Closing in on the final level try to intentionally solve the level in a different way and bash your head against it a few times. Your own solving skills can help you find quite a few backroutes and I had many instances where I broke my own stuff multiple times and came up with fixes before public testing/release.

In general do not tunnel vision on your intended solution and focus on alternative routes when testing!

Of course backroutes are inevitable in the end and there is no way on earth you will catch everything!

Offline MASTER-88

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Re: Best way avoid make backroutes?
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2023, 03:27:42 PM »
Quote
what do you mean by "enlighten the level"? Clear-physics mode?

I´ll mean that tool Right up in toolbox. Upper replay tool. This show is your traps and metals sets correct. When i watch my old packs i usually sets metals wrong and make backroutes possible. Thats was most reason why i have to fix all my packs again (yes that was really hard progress, but i am glad i make it). Im not use that enlight tool my orginal levels.

Its real fact. When you make nearly 400 levels. Backroutes is more than less impossible avoid. I personally not even care if your solutions is extremely well planned, its not need fix. I´ll fix backroute which are really cheap.

Some backroutes is still really nasty avoid. Thats good example Crane Lemmings Chaos 25 Immortal (Crane are later fix whole level) That was when i used digger cancel thought this arrow pillar. I got find very similar my own pack and that was really nasty to fix, because you need those diggers, so i have build many things over again. Also Crane new fixed version was very hard to make again. Add more other skills. That caused some headache.

This is example Crane non fixed level (so be careful when make arrow and have diggers, diggers not really care about arrows):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CwgmJkozg4&ab_channel=metroidmaster88
« Last Edit: July 29, 2023, 03:51:03 PM by MASTER-88 »
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Offline MASTER-88

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Re: Best way avoid make backroutes?
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2023, 05:01:02 AM »
I am Crane Test player 1.05 version. I only can imagine that Crane frustration levels. Progress solved, fix and fix things over again. And sometimes its seems its infinite vicious circle, where is not way out.

How ever i am learn a lot better player myself and some backroutes not are that cheap ones, but we have to buried most those ones. Crane like his theme system, so we not are allowed break it roughly.

How ever im not want throw trash all my awesome ideas and so i also start build my own new pack which will use some buried ideas I´ll plan 150 levels pack again. This will be very large progress. My custom +series contains 394 levels and its take total 3 years.

I´ll might make some short packs too. Planned Amiga classic 2 which will contains only 30 levels. I´ll also use that my large pack like i use my Amiga 1 my custom+ series.

I´ll focus more my own progress until when Crane 1.05 version are done.

Armani was my test player custom +3. And yes i´ll feel that frustrating levels make EXTREME levels. Its not are fun hobbies. Its just hard work. I´ll personally used some buttons when some backroutes was simply impossible to fix. I´ll also know, buttons will reveal some routes and its not very ideal choice, sometimes its only one at least in large levels, which have a lot skills.

I can only imagine Crane frustration levels at this point. I also was very tired & cranky when i got done my custom +3 Step 5.  But when i was done it i was very glad my pack. Expect Crane levels, my own levels not have real themes, so im not are personally that nitpicking about all things.

How much time its take we reveal all SNES & DOS levels backroutes. We spend that progress over 10 years. There might be still some remain yet.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2023, 05:13:36 AM by MASTER-88 »
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Offline namida

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Re: Best way avoid make backroutes?
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2023, 05:47:04 AM »
Test. Test some more. Get others to test too.

You can try approaching your level as a "skills you can't live without" challenge; Nepster mentioned he frequently did this as a backroute testing strategy. It won't catch everything though.

No matter how thoroughly you test, some backroutes might still slip through. I discovered one in LPII a few years ago that would've worked even in the initial Lemmix version, but went undetected all this time despite being very simple.
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Offline MASTER-88

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Re: Best way avoid make backroutes?
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2023, 07:59:41 AM »
Quote
"skills you can't live without" challenge; Nepster mentioned he frequently did this as a backroute testing strategy. It won't catch everything though.

Thats is one i use myself a lot. I just counted those skills and and skills you cannot solved, i´ll just list those skills pen & paper and try another approach. How ever this strategys is useful levels where is very less skills. But levels where is several skill and much lenght, its quite pointless.

I´ll personally like make speedrun levels, because not need worry about backroutes, but have to throw tons tricks in one go. I did High Speed Steel Wrok (my own version & also amiga version) Those levels are backroute free, just all is enought when you saved all in timelimit. Yes its one Lemmings levels category. If we want make strategy levels its not work here, then we have to think a lot.

Most backroute free levels are speedrunlevels and button smash levels.. Fun to build & hard to completed, but you are allowed use what ever way you want. Only goal is completion. Some individual tricks are really hard to throw., I´ll see this in Crane pack without slip backroutes, its really hard.

I´ll also PM with Crane he is tired. I think he will need some rest. Im not want are that asshole who make his live too hard and spam backroutes all times. So if we i have to keep break we will keep it. Crane is extremely good lemmings builder. But those intention ideas is very hard to got finnish without backroutes. Its not easy for me too. We spend few levels over 8 hours work in row and we both was very tired at this point.

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Offline MASTER-88

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Re: Best way avoid make backroutes?
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2023, 08:14:14 PM »
I´ll always agree how hard its avoid make backroutes and make some "Extreme" ideas work. Armani is very good test player with my progress pack. Also Crane are played some my extreme levels.

My goal is make 1-2 Extreme level per week and bunch easier levels. Extreme levels includes always some sharp things which are really hard got to goal without breaking ideas.

One my work level really loved allow backroutes. I´ll personally not want allow those here, because there is one very unique trick and bunch other cool tricks. IIRC that is 3-4 version test with Armani. I am worked that level 3 day rightnow. Let see did i ever got my idea perfectly working here, but will be happy if i ever got it even accetable enought.

My progress pack contains more trick theme than custom+ series. I´ll learn a lot new tricks when i was testplayer with Crane pack and also more experience about neolemmings total. How ever my custom +3 is extremely good pack and surely my best public pack and first my pack which really are Extreme category and its big thanks with Armani about this. Custom+ 1 & 2 are more cunning packs than extreme packs.

But its fact most those "extreme levels" custom+ 3 was very easy to first public versions. Just added more sharp elements later update versions and make those levels extreme category. I never was got my pack good like this myself.

Its very important use test players if you want make very hard-extreme levels. When you make your own levels, you will more focus your main idea and forget check out other ideas. When someone else look same level and don´t know completion solution, he/she will look it way different.

We got Crane pack 1.05 version very well.  I think its very hard find backroutes Chaos modes anymore. How ever its will always possible. We patch those leves like mad. Few levels take 8-12 version to fix correct.
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Offline Armani

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Re: Best way avoid make backroutes?
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2023, 05:52:10 AM »
From my level designing experience, if you try to make a level which features all the fancy tricks crammed into a single level that doesn't tend to go very well. Even more so if the level is small in size. It would be flooded by backroutes and ends up being a mess with a lot of backroute-fixing OWWs, fires, steel pieces and pick-ups. At worst, you are not going to properly fix the level despite all of these.

So these days I much prefer making logic-based levels.(levels that are centred around the placements and order of skills / decision making) And whenever I want to introduce some advanced tricks, I try not to include any other complicated tricks and focus on the main fancy trick I want to showcase.

My recent levels don't get backroutes as much as my old levels did. My upcoming pack(Lemmings Halloween 2023 :D) hasn't been backrouted so far by my pre-tester and I'm happy with that. (To be fair, she hasn't been able to solve several levels that supposed to be the hardest so there might be some backroutes to be found yet...) My levels were very vunerable to backroutes back in the day when I loved to make levels heavily based on complicated tricks.

As a tester of your levels, you are doing pretty good at backroute proofing your levels. Of course some of them take several versions but majority of them are quite solid from the first version.
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Offline MASTER-88

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Re: Best way avoid make backroutes?
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2023, 02:32:25 PM »
Quote
As a tester of your levels, you are doing pretty good at backroute proofing your levels. Of course some of them take several versions but majority of them are quite solid from the first version.

I´ll appericate this a lot. ;) You might change your mind when we progress that "cursed level" Cunning freeze circle. IIRC that 5-6 patched version. Maybe 4th with under your testing. :D

There is intented at least one advance trick i´ll want to show and combine few others cunning tricks.

My main idea my progress pack is Step 1, 2 & 3 levels most show basic & advance trick or tricks with easy situations. Step 4 & 5 levels you have figured out that thing and also add some other tricks or sharp elements make level harder. I think very good level might max contains 3 advance tricks or other sharph elements. Its usually very hard make more than 2.

BTW
My custom+ series (2 & 3)  contains a lot speedrun levels, button smash levels and zombie apocalypse levels. At least those levels are always techinically backroute free, because you are allowed use all your tricks make buttons down and open exit or survive alive middle of hundreds zombies. Those levels are actually quite fun to make, will add more different style levels with this time.

Long levels always requires some special theme. I was very glad my final level my custom+ 3. It is 25 minutes long, but definitely backroute free. Custom +2 final level is 10 minutes, but its quite bit same idea level.

IIRC my custom +3 contains another very long level 10-15 minutes: Red Sun Rise Step 5 level 27. That was simply too way impossible to build without allow your breaking it. I´ll forced add those two buttons. Its not my orginal intention reveal this route, but thats level not give me other choices.
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Offline Crane

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Re: Best way avoid make backroutes?
« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2023, 03:20:52 PM »
One thing I learnt from Armani is that levels that make use of Builders are much more likely to be backrouted because of how powerful the tool is, so levels that rely on Builder tricks generally can't rely on much else.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Offline MASTER-88

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Re: Best way avoid make backroutes?
« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2023, 06:13:03 PM »
Much progress my own pack. Making whole 10 EXTREME level and anotuher 10 Intense levelsin few weeks

Few levels goes totally broken with testing. So i have design those levels both over again, because there not was possible fix those levels with my old setup. Let see if does break those anymore.

Armani keep some holidays, so i am alone my levels rightnow. But its very okay, because i founded many rude backroutes my own levels when i test those again.

Its surprise. I started play neolemmings year 2020 IIRC. And still new tricks always got find. Armani are show me many new things i never are see before.

In my whole life im not have time play all lemmings packs through. Only Crane pack take me 6 months, and im not are beat 1.05 version and maybe never even beat it, because its very strong rightnow.. Namida pack take me also few months. That was my all around first lemming pack i played through. Yeah that was good pack with noobies, like my custom +1 both are releativily easy packs with startings.

I´ll plan attempt Armani Uncharted when i goes bored my own pack or lost ideas here. Test playing Crane pack give me tons ideas. How ever Crane never not uses new skills like sliders/lasers, so most slider tricks are pretty unknow for me. I got find many though. Slider and cloners are maybe most hardest skills lemmings IMO and laser are always most backroute risk skill. Technically i always break my levels when i add laser.
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