We've received quite a few questions over the last several months as more and more people find this project. One of the more popular ones is if we are going to update Lode Runner 2 when we're finally done with Lode Runner Online: The Mad Monks' Revenge...
Lode Runner 2
BEFORE YOU GET EXCITED!!!
I'm not confirming if we are going to do the aforementioned update - we simply haven't decided what's next for us. Having not played LR2 for well over 10 years, I thought I'd dust off my old CD and give it a go. Here you'll find my experience and some ponderings on what could be.
Some of these points might sound nit-picky but most are just things I'd forgotten about. I've split them up into the familiar weekly post categories of general, editor, and game.
- The CD's Autorun doesn't work! No biggie, just run the Setup.exe.
- a Windows message box told me the game required 800x600 16 bit colour mode and asked me if I wanted it to change it. It could not do it and instead told me that the game requires 640x480 16 bit.
- There doesn't seem to be any tooltips in either the game or the editor.
- The 'Configure Controls' dialog is much better than MMR, with visuals to show what action you're mapping rather than vague icons.
- I had forgotten that LR2 doesn't have the editor built in. I'm really not sure why it wasn't as this was a great feature in Presage's previous titles that made testing your puzzles really easy. Possibly because most of the Presage team that worked on TLR/MMR had left the company before development?
- It has a steep learning curve! The movable template does not show depth or height very well. Moving up & down with the A & Z keys whilst also moving the mouse seems to confuse it and I wound up with a mess very quickly.
- Painting items seems hit and miss as to whether they actually get painted. I had to randomly try painting items until it worked again.
- I had forgotten about the pillar boxing.
- Likewise with the black backgrounds in the game and menu screens. I "remember" it having a starfield backdrop.
- Speed can feel slow with no option to adjust.
- Camera movement is very jerky.
- 3D sounds were good, I could only hear the machines & fans as I got close to them.
- The UI is clean and very minimalistic compared to MMR.
- You have to press SHIFT to drop off a hand-over-hand rope. I think pressing the same direction key again or NUMPAD 5 should also do the trick.
I tried to just play it for fun and for a trip down memory lane but I couldn't stop myself from thinking about all the little things I would tweak. Not for the sake of it, but like what we did for MMR - remove the old and clunky feel but also keep it looking and playing the same as it did 20 years ago.
- Support all screen sizes and not force you into changing the resolution
- No pillar boxing - drawing in larger sizes will be edge to edge as it is now (640x480 within your resolution). Only the HUD will need tweaking.
- Add tooltips.
- Integrate the editor inside the game.
- Add the ability to save puzzle groups rather than single puzzles.
- Add support to adjust the game speed.
- Smooth out the camera movement.
- Add common shortcuts and mouse commands to the editor.
- Other bits and pieces such as a themed mouse cursor, themed dialogs, and general polish.
- Windows, Mac, Linux support
You've taken so long doing MMR, will I still be alive?!?
That's a fair point, we have taken over 3 years now. I think that's a pretty good effort considering we aren't programmers by trade and did not start out working on it solidly.
If we were to proceed with LR2, much of the code from MMR could be reused. Things like content handling, animation setup & playing, user interface, and networking would greatly reduce the development time as what we've written so far can easily be adapted to any game.
From my brief playing, I don't think there would be anything too difficult. Unlike before, the movement is grid based so getting a pixel perfect match won't be completely necessary.
Playing Lode Runner 2 again was quite fun and I think re-creating it would be just as much fun too. We are currently adding a marketplace to The Mad Monks' Revenge and have yet to add the actual 'Online' component so we still have several months of work to go.
The Magic 8-ball on my desk is giving the very non-committal "Ask again later"...