design-your-own-levels-for-lemmings

You still love lemmings after all these years? Why not create some new levels and share them with Amiga friends/community? For those who don’t know, Lemmings is a puzzle-platformer video game originally developed by DMA Design released in 1991. The objective of the game is to guide a group of anthropomorphised lemmings through a number of obstacles to a designated exit. o successfully complete the level, the player must assign specific skills to certain lemmings. Which skills and how many uses of each are available to the player varies from level to level, and the player must assign the skills carefully to successfully guide the lemmings. There are eight skills that can be assigned….(big thanks to Spud)

What you need

1. A Commodore Amiga or WinUAE configuration capable of running a Lemmings hard drive installation
2. Download ByteKiller 1.0 Pro, available here. Make sure ByteKiller is installed somewhere in your Amiga setup (such as a programs drive) where you can access it from the Amiga shell.
3. A Hex Editor.  Use HxD which can be found here.
4. Four Lemmings levels, using the tilesets from the original Lemmings, saved in .lvl format. (or download 50+ levels here!)

What to do

Stage 1. Creating your level pack.

Firstly the four levels must be joined together. The Amiga Lemmings levels are arranged in packs of 4 levels linked one after another. It is simple enough to do in HxD.

1. Open HxD and create a new file.
2. Then open the first of your four .lvl files, also in HxD. Now hit Ctrl-A (select all), copy, and paste the file contents into your new, empty file.
3. Now open the second .lvl file, select all, and copy its contents at the end of the new file, after the data for the first level.
4. Repeat this for the two remaining levels and save the new file, giving it a temporary name (e.g. l0). Look at the properties for the file you just created, and it should be *EXACTLY* 8KB (8192 bytes). We now have the uncompressed level pack.

Stage 2. Compressing the level pack with ByteKiller.

1. Copy your new l0 file into the directory containing your ByteKiller executable file.
2. Boot your WinUAE Amiga configuration into Workbench and open the shell.
3. Go to wherever you have installed ByteKiller and run it.
4. ByteKiller will ask you to specify the amount of memory for it to use – just enter an amount large enough for it to process the file (I normally enter 8888).
5. Next it will ask for the filename – enter the filename of your uncompressed levelpack: l0.
6. Type c (to crunch) the file and hit enter.
7. At the mode selection screen type 1 (mega crunch) and hit enter.
8. Type d (save data file) and hit enter at the next screen.
9. Enter a filename – Level000 – and hit enter to save it. Now exit the program. The file is now crunched, but the header and footer need fixing.

Stage 3. Fixing the file header/footer

1. Open your new Level000 file in HxD.
2. Delete the first 4 bytes of the file.
3. Cut the next 8 bytes of the file.
4. Scroll to the end of the file, and delete the last 4 bytes (which should read “data”).
5. Paste the 8 bytes you copied earlier at the end of the file.
6. Cut again the first 4 of the 8 bytes you just pasted, and paste them at the end of the file. The values of the last 4 bytes should now be 00 00 20 00.
7. Save the file.

The file you’ve just saved should be compressed in the right way to work with the Amiga Lemmings executable. To test it copy it into the directory containing your Lemmings hard drive installation, and load up the game. Due to the odd data structure of the game, the levels your level pack has replaced are a bit random. The ones you will want to try (assuming the filename of your level pack is Level000) are Tricky 01, Taxing 15, Tricky 14 and Tricky 20. You should now be playing Amiga Lemmings with a custom level pack!

More news: Generation Amiga magazine