Author Topic: DOS Game Club on Lemmings 1  (Read 882 times)

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Online Simon

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DOS Game Club on Lemmings 1
« on: March 15, 2024, 02:36:01 PM »
Edit 2024-04-10: It's released; download here:
DOS Game Club's Lemmings 1 podcast episode
Runs for 2 hours and 9 minutes, as MP3, 148 MB.



Hi,

the DOS Game Club is an online community. Each month, they pick a DOS game to play. Afterwards, they record a podcast (~1 hour) about it, and publish it on their website.

The next podcast will be about DOS Lemmings 1, and I'm invited as an expert. Most likely, we'll record the podcast next week. Let's make sure that I don't forget important topics. Thus:

What's important about DOS Lemmings 1?
  • L1 was the big hit for DMA.
  • I should know the Lemmings History essay.
  • DOS L1 was one of the main ports, with SNES L1 and Atari L1. The original L1 was on Amiga 500.
  • Lemmings 1 in particular serves as the inspiration for most other Lemmings-trademarked games and fan-games.
  • Pure singleplayer (no multiplayer) on DOS.
  • Passwords, unlimited retries, no lives. Still, if you got stuck, you were stuck on a single level.
  • Execution and puzzles went hand-in-hand. E.g., it had All or Nothing, which becomes trivial in modern engines, and even in DOS L1 when you know the cursor-flickering trick.
  • Even the L1 editor manual (on Mike Dailly's site, LF forum topic) tells you: You can hide your exits.
  • The quirky soundtrack and the unused Music from TV show themes.
  • Physics oddities. It's possible to solve They just keep on coming with 0 builders by disabling steel with blocker trigger areas.
What levels from DOS L1 were iconic?
  • No Added Colours or Lemmings
  • It's Hero Time
  • Cascade, with 100 % saved
  • Hunt the Nessy, the quintessential builderfest
  • The Great Lemming Caper
  • Postcard from Lemmingland
  • Save me, it's the hardest level
  • The VGASpec levels: Beast, Menacing, Awesome
What's important about contemporary Lemmings culture?
  • Custom level design!
  • It's common to release ~100 levels as a standalone pack, like Lemmings itself did.
  • We send each other our replays to improve the puzzles.
  • Some levels are about one specific idea. Other levels are open-ended but can still be difficult.
  • Engine design, tileset design. You can get involved in other ways than level making or solving.
  • NeoLemmix is most popular.
  • Lix has single- and multiplayer.
  • 100 % focus on puzzles (ideally, 0 % execution) in NL and singleplayer Lix.
  • Lots of tooling: Rewind, replay tweaking, insert mode, ...
  • Still, ideally, your level should never need the powerful tools. Be lenient where you can.
  • We tell newbies: Don't hide traps! Don't hide anything!
  • SuperLemmix, because it points to other elements of singleplayer than pure puzzle solving.
  • Vanilla Lemmix? Lemmini? Cheapo? CustLemm? Patrick, one other participant in this podcast, has built a 10-level pack for CustLemm -- and, for sure, included a level with hidden exits, because that's fair game in 90's-style Lemmings 1.
  • Community work to find min-skill DOS L1 solutions, DOS L1 challenge solutions, ...
  • Martin Zurlinden's pack is an early quality custom pack of 30 levels, inspiring others.
Even if I'm not 100 % knowledgeable about something, it's fine: The club regulars are good researchers and acheologists. E.g., for their Jazz 1 podcast, they dug through the developers' past, had quirks to tell, and even found my table about Jazz 1 versions and the 2021 GOG patch.

-- Simon
« Last Edit: April 10, 2024, 11:02:18 PM by Simon »

Offline Mindless

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Re: DOS Game Club on Lemmings 1: What's important? What to mention?
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2024, 12:09:41 AM »
The original "original" soundtrack might be some fun trivia (mentioned without any detail in Mike's history).

The latest version of the history is at https://lemmings.info/lemmings-gamehistory/ and also the pictures of the editor manual.

You should get Patrick to post his level pack here.  DOS level packs are still welcome. ;)
« Last Edit: March 16, 2024, 12:16:18 AM by Mindless »

Online Simon

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Re: DOS Game Club on Lemmings 1: What's important? What to mention?
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2024, 01:37:53 AM »
Ah, right, the Amiga mods of TV soundtracks that DMA made before considering copyright. They fit the overall happy theme of the L1 soundtrack.

Will encourage Patrick to post here. He already knows the forums and uses ccexplore's music fixes for vanilla L1. Probably after the podcast only. He used to sit in the podcast's IRC channel, but he's been off recently.

Thanks for the links! I've added them to the OP.

-- Simon
« Last Edit: March 16, 2024, 02:07:55 AM by Simon »

Offline kaywhyn

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Re: DOS Game Club on Lemmings 1: What's important? What to mention?
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2024, 08:53:10 AM »
Best of luck, Simon! Do us all here at the Lemmings Forums proud ;)

Surprised you missed this one considering how very vocal both you and geoo are in your dislike of them: Avoid unnecessary time limits. Standard for levels these days to not have a time limit unless it's for backroute prevention or is the main challenge of the level, eg, "It's hero time" from L1. Levels can still have them even if it's for neither reason, as there are still some diehard traditionalists here, but if a level should have one then usually set it arbitrarily high so it isn't a problem at all. Otherwise, just get rid of it and give infinite time.

Though perhaps you're intending to mention in the podcast that your creation Lix in newer versions got rid of time limits completely and similarly no way to change the spawn interval during Lix play.

Maybe also how there's different types of Lemmings too : neutrals/zombies. Your list is already quite huge though and therefore chances of missing some topics during the podcast is increased. Just throwing some suggestions out here, really, in case you want to discuss them for the podcast ;)
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPMqwuqZ206rBWJrUC6wkrA - My YouTube channel and you can also find my playlists of Lemmings level packs that I have LPed
kaywhyn's blog: https://www.lemmingsforums.net/index.php?topic=5363.0

Offline Mindless

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Re: DOS Game Club on Lemmings 1: What's important? What to mention?
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2024, 08:05:56 PM »
Since the focus of the podcast is DOS games, I expect it will be rather light on material related to any aspects of Lemmings fan games that didn't exist in the original.

Online Simon

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Re: DOS Game Club on Lemmings 1: What's important? What to mention?
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2024, 09:05:45 PM »
Avoiding unnecessarily sharp time limits ties well into the general high-level advice: Don't make the level restrictive unless you need it to enforce a core idea. I'll see if it finds its place in the podcast.

After all, the custom level culture and game/software design is my personal background, and it's fine if personal backgrounds make it in. It's not supposed to be a purely objective review. But yes, mainly it will be about DOS L1.

-- Simon

Offline namida

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Re: DOS Game Club on Lemmings 1: What's important? What to mention?
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2024, 09:14:42 PM »
I wonder if Save Me, and the 100% solution to Cascade, are also worthy of mention?
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: DOS Game Club on Lemmings 1: What's important? What to mention?
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2024, 11:37:06 PM »
Excellent news, Simon! Looking forward to hearing it 8-)

DOS L1 was one of the main ports, among Amiga L1 and SNES L1

The Amiga version was in fact the OG; the entire game was programmed and designed using A500 (and later) A500+ computers. The graphics we use in our clones today were originally created in Deluxe Paint III (an art & animation program bundled with A500(+) models).

All other versions are ports, including DOS. I feel this is important to mention since they're covering the DOS version, and it wasn't actually the original; various elements including game physics and UI graphics are different...

Pure singleplayer (no multiplayer) on DOS

...and the Amiga version had multiplayer!

What levels from DOS L1 were iconic?

Save Me and Hunt The Nessy are mention-worthy, the latter because it's the quintessential "builder-fest", the former because it's probably the hardest level in the game, particularly if played in an older version/engine.

SuperLemmix, because it points to other elements of singleplayer than pure puzzle solving

Yes, the Classic Mode is an attempt to keep the original way of playing as part of a modern engine.

I wonder if Save Me, and the 100% solution to Cascade, are also worthy of mention?

+1 :thumbsup:

Offline geoo

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Re: DOS Game Club on Lemmings 1: What's important? What to mention?
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2024, 08:13:19 AM »
I think one major part in community history that you haven't mentioned yet is the challenges:

People put a lot of work into trying to save the maximum amount of lemmings or use the minimum amount of skills, sometimes exploiting crazy glitches in the process (like sliding or lingering blocker fields/moved trigger areas). If the discussion touches upon L2, then of course there's the surprising result that you can save every single lemming, the last find being the crazy pausing glitch abuse by ccexplore to save 100% on Sport 1.

Online Simon

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Re: DOS Game Club on Lemmings 1: What's important? What to mention?
« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2024, 08:24:18 PM »
Yes, Cascade 100 % is more notable than, e.g., The Great Lemming Caper. Cascade 100 % is such a drastic difference of intended solution (already not trivial) and what the community can find.

This will indeed tie in nicely with the community research on DOS L1 min-skill solutions, physics bugs, ... It's been a while that we investigated DOS L1 full-time, but in the early 2000s, we dug into L1 thoroguhly with excellent and surprising results.

Right, DOS is one of the first ports, and the development was on Amiga. DOS cuts many water objects. And DOS gives 12 builders on Triple Trouble, where Amiga gave only 10. With 10, Triple Trouble is far harder to execute.

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Offline mobius

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Re: DOS Game Club on Lemmings 1: What's important? What to mention?
« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2024, 11:51:07 PM »
thanks for the heads up, interesting podcast
everything by me: https://www.lemmingsforums.net/index.php?topic=5982.msg96035#msg96035

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Offline Ron_Stard

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Re: DOS Game Club on Lemmings 1: What's important? What to mention?
« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2024, 12:04:25 AM »
It would be interesting to talk about the timed bomber controversy on modern playing :devil:

Also, there are two iconic levels you missed: Just Dig! - the classic introduction to the game, and the (in)famous We All Fall Down. It's worth noting that the cleverest levels were on the Sega Mega Drive/Sega Genesis: Let's Get Together, Lemmings Ark, Fall And No Life Parts I & II, I Am A.T., Private Room Available, and my favorite: Let's Go Camping, despite the embarrasing backroute - the intended solution is the pinnacle of Lemmings puzzles, in my opinion.

You can also talk about the numerous play on words and culture references that the level names have.

Oh, and also, please, talk about MazuLems, the most famous, creative and original custom level pack EVER! A truly inspiration for anyone that wants to make his/her own levels!
« Last Edit: March 19, 2024, 12:09:56 AM by Ron_Stard »

Offline Pieuw

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Re: DOS Game Club on Lemmings 1: What's important? What to mention?
« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2024, 09:18:55 AM »
Awesome, will definitely listen to this podcast :thumbsup:
About iconic levels, I would suggest Compression Method 1 because I think it brings/teaches something new, and maybe Poles Apart (don't know why this one always sticks in my mind as a signature level :cute:)
It also could be interesting to talk about repeat levels, especially how playing a level in the fun rank and finding it again later as a harder puzzle can make the it more engaging. It's also a cheap way to cram more levels into a pack :crylaugh:

Offline Proxima

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Re: DOS Game Club on Lemmings 1: What's important? What to mention?
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2024, 11:59:23 AM »
When talking about contemporary level design, don't forget to mention one of the biggest differences between modern and old engines: the glitches are fixed! Indeed, this was the big difference between the LPII engine (which became NeoLemmix) and old Lemmix; all the convenience features (except untimed bombers) came later.

In the Cheapo/CustLemm days, it was just taken for granted that glitches were part of the game, and glitch solutions were considered legitimate backroutes and had to be proofed against. (Cheapo, incidentally, had perfect steel long before NL, and I don't think it had sliding, but it had many glitches of its own.) It was especially frustrating because those who investigated glitches (mostly ccexplore but also Clam, geoo, tseug and others) kept them semi-secret, usually announcing challenge results using the glitches instead of explaining them.

It's weird now to look back and think how different the culture was in those days, and to remember that back then, we had no idea about how much things would change :P

Offline kaywhyn

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Re: DOS Game Club on Lemmings 1: What's important? What to mention?
« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2024, 09:28:51 PM »
Best of luck, Simon! Do us all here at the Lemmings Forums proud ;)

Surprised you missed this one considering how very vocal both you and geoo are in your dislike of them: Avoid unnecessary time limits. Standard for levels these days to not have a time limit unless it's for backroute prevention or is the main challenge of the level, eg, "It's hero time" from L1. Levels can still have them even if it's for neither reason, as there are still some diehard traditionalists here, but if a level should have one then usually set it arbitrarily high so it isn't a problem at all. Otherwise, just get rid of it and give infinite time.

Though perhaps you're intending to mention in the podcast that your creation Lix in newer versions got rid of time limits completely and similarly no way to change the spawn interval during Lix play.

Maybe also how there's different types of Lemmings too : neutrals/zombies. Your list is already quite huge though and therefore chances of missing some topics during the podcast is increased. Just throwing some suggestions out here, really, in case you want to discuss them for the podcast ;)

Avoiding unnecessarily sharp time limits ties well into the general high-level advice: Don't make the level restrictive unless you need it to enforce a core idea. I'll see if it finds its place in the podcast.

After all, the custom level culture and game/software design is my personal background, and it's fine if personal backgrounds make it in. It's not supposed to be a purely objective review. But yes, mainly it will be about DOS L1.

-- Simon

Right, these were merely suggestions I threw around :P It's up to you if you want to bring them up and discuss them. It would be cool if you did use at least one suggestion from each person who posted here, though ;) Looking forward to listening to it myself when it's ready!

That reminds me: I still need to fix the problem of not having yet watched all of the 30th anniversary of Lemmings documentary! I started watching it not long after it was released but I only watched like about 20 mins of it. I'm going to try and rectify that this weekend and if not sometime next week or weekend!
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPMqwuqZ206rBWJrUC6wkrA - My YouTube channel and you can also find my playlists of Lemmings level packs that I have LPed
kaywhyn's blog: https://www.lemmingsforums.net/index.php?topic=5363.0

Online Simon

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Re: DOS Game Club on Lemmings 1: Want to join?
« Reply #15 on: March 19, 2024, 10:09:33 PM »
Right, we fix bugs in the physics nowadays. Indeed, the cultural difference is surprising in hindsight. Thanks!

MazuLems, I haven't played it properly. >_>;; I'll try to remember it for the podcast, but I'm not sure if I'm the most qualified to bring that one up. Which brings me to:

Who would like to join?

Since yesterday night, we have an open seat. Patrick, the player from their community who built a CustLemm pack, has dropped out of the planning. Nobody else but the two main organizers and I are on it, and they would be happy to have a 4th person on the podcast. The recording will be this Sunday, March 24th, some time during the European afternoon. Podcast participant guide, they use a Jitsi conference call that runs in the browser, and you're supposed to record yourself locally and submit the ~2-hour recording to them afterwards.

Hop on IRC: #dosgameclob on AfterNET.

-- Simon
« Last Edit: March 19, 2024, 10:29:09 PM by Simon »

Offline WillLem

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Re: DOS Game Club on Lemmings 1: Want to join?
« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2024, 02:03:05 AM »
I could potentially do this. I'll have to make sure I'm definitely available (which will mean asking people who are currently asleep about weekend plans/arrangements!) - I'll get back to you on this.

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Re: DOS Game Club on Lemmings 1: Want to join?
« Reply #17 on: March 21, 2024, 10:03:37 PM »
WillLem, yep, happy to have you join. Haven't yet heard back from you yet. How is it?

Would somebody else be up to join if WillLem can't make it? It's well possible that you're deeper into custom levels than I've been, that you've been around Lemmings Forums longer, ...

In a pinch, it's fine if I'm the only one from the forums here to join.

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Re: DOS Game Club on Lemmings 1: Want to join?
« Reply #18 on: March 22, 2024, 03:25:48 PM »
12:00 UTC on Sunday, March, 24th we will start the call and the recording. Ideally,

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Re: DOS Game Club on Lemmings 1
« Reply #19 on: March 24, 2024, 04:09:16 PM »
Recording done. Editing usually takes a few weeks for them. I'll link it here when it's published.

Mostly Lemmings 1 with its history and oddities. Some tenets of custom level design. Short glimpse into L2, L3, other licensed games.

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Re: DOS Game Club on Lemmings 1
« Reply #20 on: April 10, 2024, 09:41:11 PM »
It's released! Download it here:
DOS Games Club's Lemmings 1 podcast episode

Runs for 2 hours and 9 minutes, as MP3, 148 MB.

-- Simon

Offline Mindless

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Re: DOS Game Club on Lemmings 1
« Reply #21 on: April 11, 2024, 01:20:01 PM »
:thumbsup: There was more discussion about the Lemmings community than I expected based on listening to a few other DGC episodes, but I suppose few other DOS games still have an active playerbase and new game content being created.

Offline Pieuw

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Re: DOS Game Club on Lemmings 1
« Reply #22 on: April 12, 2024, 08:46:04 AM »
Just listened to the podcast. It was great, I learned a lot of little things. Well done :thumbsup: