Lemmings demo versions

Post suggestions, correct errors or omissions, or anything else about the site
Post Reply
User avatar
DOSGuy
Website Administrator
Posts: 1063
Joined: September 2nd, 2005, 8:28 pm
Contact:

Lemmings demo versions

Post by DOSGuy »

Let's get back to the 1991 and 1992 Lemmings games. You correctly noted that they didn't include a freeware license. The blurb about "this game was originally released under a freeware license" was a lazy copy & paste that I've probably used for every freeware game on the site, regardless of whether or not the game included a license. I shouldn't have done that.

The documentation that comes with the Lemmings demos is lousy to say the least. Let's hold our noses and get through this.

Xmas Lemmings: 1991 Christmas Edition

README.TXT states that "This is a demonstration version of the forthcoming game 'Oh NO More Lemmings' from Psygnosis. It is a four level taster, supporting the ega and vga display adapters and may be played with a mouse, joystick or keyboard."

This is identical to the description in the README.COM from the Lemmings demo, other than changing the name of the forthcoming game to 'Oh NO More Lemmings'. That would seem to indicate that this is a demo for ONML. The Requirements section is also changed from the Lemmings' README.COM, stating that the game requires a "CGA or EGA/VGA display adapter", even though a CGA version isn't included. Only the Synopsis mentions that it includes a Tandy version, in place of the CGA version from the Synopsis in the Lemmings demo.

When you start the game, it says that it's to give you a taste of Oh No! More Lemmings and Lemmings, and says that they're available from major software retailers. On exit, it mentions that Oh No! More Lemmings and Lemmings have 220 combined levels. It includes two levels from ONML, but it promotes both games.

Xmas Lemmings: 1992 Holiday Edition

README.DOC states that "This is a 4-level demonstration of Lemmings, a unique mind-boggling game of adventure, romance and salvation. If you are interested in purchasing the full game, which includes 120 levels of irresistably challenging game play, contact your local dealer, or Psygnosis at the number below." and includes a copyright date of April 9, 1991. Some of the files are unchanged from the 1991 version, but the level DAT file is from 1992.10.29 and some of the EXEs are from 1992.11.30. Anyway, README.DOC suggests that the 1992 version is a demo for Lemmings, not Oh No! More Lemmings.

When you start the game, it still says that it's to give you a taste of Oh No! More Lemmings and Lemmings, and on exit it mentions the 220 combined levels. Also, LEMMINGS.BAT still has a Tandy option, though my copy doesn't contain TGALEMMI.BAT, TGAMAIN.DAT, and TGAL.EXE. Did someone exclude/remove them from the archive, or is this more lazy failure to update documentation? When I copied the TGA files from the 1991 version, I was able to play the 1992 levels in PCjr/Tandy Mode 9.

1993 Holiday Lemmings

README.DOC indicates that it's a 4-level demonstration of the 32-level game, and lists a copyright date of October 4, 1993. The Synopsis mentions the "EGA and VGA version of lemmings", but Requirements makes no mention of EGA, indicating only that "Lemmings Demo requires 512k of memory and a VGA (NOT MCGA!) compatible display adaptor with at least 256k of Video memory."

LEMMINGS.BAT no longer lists a Tandy option but, unlike 1992 Holiday Edition, my copy includes TGAMAIN.DAT. By copying TGAL.EXE and TGALEMMI.BAT from the 1991 version, I was able to play the 1993 levels in PCjr/Tandy Mode 09h. Did someone at DMA Design forget to remove TGAMAIN, or did someone exclude/remove the other two TGA files from the archive?

Holiday Lemmings 1994

My copy includes no documents. Was a README.DOC excluded/removed from the archive? No TGA files are included but, by copying TGAMAIN.DAT, TGAL.EXE, and TGALEMMI.BAT, I was able to play the 1994 levels in PCjr/Tandy Mode 09h.

Conclusions

If a decision were to be based on documentation alone, Xmas Lemmings: 1991 Christmas Edition is a playable demo of Oh No! More Lemmings, and Xmas Lemmings: 1992 Holiday Edition is a playable demo of Lemmings. That would be kind of screwed up. The 1991 version mentions being a teaser for ONML, and it includes two levels from ONML, so that makes a strong case for it being a demo for ONML using the same justification as Holiday Hare being included in v1.3 of Jazz Jackrabbit and, thus, a demo of Jazz Jackrabbit. All of the levels in the 1992 version are unique, so documentation is the only argument for it being a demo of Lemmings.

1991 and 1992 both advertise Lemmings and Oh No! More Lemmings, as does 1993 Holiday Lemmings. 1993 Holiday Lemmings is indisputably a standalone game because you can purchase the full, 32-level version. My copy of 1994 Holiday Lemmings includes no documentation, and also doesn't promote Lemmings or Oh No! More Lemmings in the in-game information; it only describes itself as a mini-version of the full, 32-level game. Lots of games advertise other games by the same publisher, so this means nothing to me.

1993 and 1994 are definitely separate games; I won't even entertain the idea of merging them into Lemmings or Oh No! More Lemmings. 1991 and 1992 are not 4-level demos of a 32-level game, but neither are they exactly 4-level demos of a 120- or 100-level game. I'm willing to merge them into one (but not both) of the regular Lemmings games, but it seems messed up to me for 1991 to be merged into ONML and 1992 to be merged into the older Lemmings. Since 1992 contains only original levels, it could remain a separate game while 1991 is merged into ONML on the basis of two shared levels. That still feels kind of wrong.

Since there isn't a clean way to merge both the 1991 and 1992 versions, I prefer to keep them as separate games using the justification that they are not "episodes", the way the two Holiday Hares are "Episode X", despite only one of them actually being Episode X of Jazz Jackrabbit. Since they contain no license whatsoever, I'm going to list them as freeware because they appear to be freely redistributable and don't ask you to register them, but I will no longer indicate that they have a freeware license. (A license is always preferable. Copyright is always assumed unless explicitly rescinded, but I think that a right to redistribute can sometimes be assumed based on the method of distribution and the lack of a license forbidding redistribution.) They are demonstrations of Lemmings games generally, but they are not entirely demos of any specific Lemmings game -- even the two shared levels are modified. That makes them separate games in my book.
Today entirely the maniac there is no excuse with the article.
User avatar
MrFlibble
Forum Administrator
Posts: 1784
Joined: December 9th, 2010, 7:19 am

Re: Lemmings demo versions

Post by MrFlibble »

I hope you don't mind that I split this into separate discussion.

A while ago I did some relatively thorough search of Lemmings demos (using Hallfiry's catalogue), and man, they are such a confusing mess I almost hate them (although I really appreciate the game itself, maybe not as much as the devilishly cunning puzzles though!). First off, here are my notes based on the different VGA version binary sizes:

Code: Select all

VGALEMMI.EXE	34 898	early demo
VGAL.EXE	29 809	regular demo
VGAL.EXE	30 550	German demo
VGALEMMI.EXE	31 410	Xmas 93
VGALEMMI.EXE	31 523	Xmas 93 PC Player
VGAL.EXE	30 469	Xmas 92
VGALEMMI.EXE	30 432	Oh No More Lemmings
VGAL.EXE	30 517  Covox Lemmings
VGALEMMI.EXE	31 344	Xmas 94 (Joystick HS 07/2)
VGALEMMI.EXE	31 354	Xmas 94 (no compatibility settings)
Note that some were found in unpacked form on CDs, others zipped or ARJ'd or whatever. But I guess none were distributed by Psygnosis as zip downloads, rather as floppy disk copies.

Both 1994 Holiday versions that I found have a readme. I'm attaching them here for your convenience.
XMASLEMS(94).zip
XMASLEM(94).zip
The original Lemmings demo is not only the pre-release version that you have, but there's also a later one, with a variant that has German documentation (but the in-game text is still in English). I also found a broken version of this demo on a disk at cd.texfiles.com, which would hang in VGA mode because of a corrupted data file.

Here's the German version (it was a ZIP of another cd.textfiles.com disk):
lemmings(Ger).zip
The English demo of this is available as both a ZIP and an LZH archive for whichever reason. They are downloadable here.

Here's the other version of 1993 Holiday Lemmings that I found on a PC Player coverdisk. I think the levels are the same, but somehow it has more data files.
XMASL93.zip
DOSGuy wrote: April 1st, 2021, 3:01 am Since there isn't a clean way to merge both the 1991 and 1992 versions, I prefer to keep them as separate games using the justification that they are not "episodes", the way the two Holiday Hares are "Episode X", despite only one of them actually being Episode X of Jazz Jackrabbit. Since they contain no license whatsoever, I'm going to list them as freeware because they appear to be freely redistributable and don't ask you to register them, but I will no longer indicate that they have a freeware license. (A license is always preferable. Copyright is always assumed unless explicitly rescinded, but I think that a right to redistribute can sometimes be assumed based on the method of distribution and the lack of a license forbidding redistribution.) They are demonstrations of Lemmings games generally, but they are not entirely demos of any specific Lemmings game -- even the two shared levels are modified. That makes them separate games in my book.
I do not object to your decision here, but I think that the logic you're using has potential for confusion.

It looks like you changed your mind though and merged the 1991 and 1992 Xmas Lemmings into the ONML entry.

Here's how I understand this issue: there exist demo versions of games that have unique levels not found in the retail/commercial versions of the respective titles. This is not very common, but it's not an extreme rarity either.

Let's imagine we have a game that only has a demo with a unique level. Obviously, if you add this game to the site, it will be the sole download on that page.

Now there are games with several demo versions, one has levels from the full game, another a unique level. E.g.: Extreme Assault by Blue Byte. I think that it's entirely to your discretion whether to make a separate page for this unique level demo or not.

This is not a trivial issue at all because there is always the dilemma of games versus releases (I guess Indra was here from MobyGames could tell us a thing of two about this!). I think it is useful to keep this distinction in mind in such cases, perhaps it would be helpful with your Lemmings classification problem at hand.

You're trying to fit everything into being either separate games or the same game. But any game has numerous different releases, which not only include trivial distinctions like floppy versus CD version (and even these may not be so trivial due to possible extra content squeezed on the CD: briefing speech in Warcraft, extra animations and even additional levels in ShadowCaster etc.). Any demo or shareware, or whatever you call it, is actually also a different release of a game in its own right.

Simply put, for many "blue" pages on your site (and for some of the "green" pages too, like Evasive Action or Abuse), you do not actually have the entire respective games, but you still have some releases (shareware or demo), often more than one.

From this perspective, Xmas Lemmings 1991 and 1992 do not constitute separate games, but they are certainly separate, distinct special (demo) releases. In fact, the same goes for both Holiday Hare versions. I think it is perfectly possible to retain separate pages for every one of them, with an explanation that these are Christmas specials. In fact, this was a very common thing back then, I guess you could have up to 10 or so special Christmas editions of various shareware games that were free downloads with unique levels, in addition to the respective regular shareware versions.

I don't think this would break any kind of consistency of presentation on the site if you did that. However I would still suggest listing these as "blue" games not "green", because I think that "greening" them could be a source of confusion for users. A freeware game should be expected to be an entirely free, complete game, and a demo/shareware that is four levels long does not cut it in my opinion.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
User avatar
DOSGuy
Website Administrator
Posts: 1063
Joined: September 2nd, 2005, 8:28 pm
Contact:

Re: Lemmings demo versions

Post by DOSGuy »

I appreciate you sharing the results of your search. Lemmings demos are indeed messy. They were released too early for the World Wide Web, but could have been distributed by BBSes, which likely would have prevented this confusion. They were most likely distributed by floppy/CD-ROM as you mentioned, and then zipped by different people, resulting in there being no official version of any Lemmings demo.

I had already merged 1991 and 1992 into ONML before I stayed up all night going through the documentation and testing whether or not I could get each of the Xmas Lemmings demos to work in Tandy mode. Each of them did, so I'm forced to wonder if DMA/Psygnosis chose not to include the TGA files from some demos due to a lack of disk space or an assumption that no one wanted them, or if those who created the archives chose not to distribute them. Since they all use the same engine, they each can support CGA and TGA, if only the DAT file and EXE that convert the level file would be included. Since the work had already been done, it cost them nothing but disk space to include that support for each demo.

Anyway, I've changed my mind about the merge and will unmerge later.
MrFlibble wrote: April 1st, 2021, 7:33 am Here's how I understand this issue: there exist demo versions of games that have unique levels not found in the retail/commercial versions of the respective titles. This is not very common, but it's not an extreme rarity either.

...

From this perspective, Xmas Lemmings 1991 and 1992 do not constitute separate games, but they are certainly separate, distinct special (demo) releases. In fact, the same goes for both Holiday Hare versions. I think it is perfectly possible to retain separate pages for every one of them, with an explanation that these are Christmas specials. In fact, this was a very common thing back then, I guess you could have up to 10 or so special Christmas editions of various shareware games that were free downloads with unique levels, in addition to the respective regular shareware versions.

I don't think this would break any kind of consistency of presentation on the site if you did that. However I would still suggest listing these as "blue" games not "green", because I think that "greening" them could be a source of confusion for users. A freeware game should be expected to be an entirely free, complete game, and a demo/shareware that is four levels long does not cut it in my opinion.
Indeed, it's not unusual for a game to have a demo that includes a training campaign that isn't present in the standard game. I still disagree that the Xmas Lemmings games don't constitute separate games. If they're not separate games, are they demos of Lemmings or ONML? It's hard to resolve that unless you decide that ONML is technically an expansion of Lemmings, and merge all four!

The menu screen for Lemmings says "Lemmings", and the menu screen for ONML says "Oh no! More Lemmings". The menu screen for 1991 and 1992 both say "Xmas Lemmings". The ticker says "Xmas Lemmings Demo". The menu screen for 1993 and 1994 say "Holiday Lemmings 199[3/4]", despite the ticker saying "1993 Holiday Lemmings Demo" and "Holiday Lemmings 1994 Demo", respectively. I think this is reason enough to consider Lemmings and ONML to be different games. It might mean that 1991 and 1992 should both be considered a separate game called "Xmas Lemmings". That's a decent option. With regard to Holiday Lemmings 93/94, it's the same as MLB/NBA/NFL/NHL 2K2 is a different game from 2K3. A new release every year is still a different game, so HL93 and HL94 are different games. I could go either way on XL91 and XL92 being two games or separate releases of a game called Xmas Lemmings, but my preference would be to be consistent and make each year's release a separate game.

Besides the difficulty of deciding which game to merge XL91 and 92 into, I also think they're separate games by virtue of being so different from Lemmings and ONML, both in terms of graphics and music. The only question, for me, is whether a game to only exist as a demo. Normally, I would say no; a demo is a demonstration of a larger game. This could be a unique case of a game being a demonstration of two or more other games, so that there is no option but to consider them standalone. And, of course, there's the whole demo scene, which produces nothing but free "demos". Those are demonstrating programming skills, but it's also not unusual for someone to abandon development of a game and distribute an unfinished -- or commercially unviable -- game as a demo. The point is that there are examples of software that only exists as a demo.

As for blue or green, I think it would be confusing to make them blue and suggest that they can and should be registered. I think they are freeware demos for a series of commercial games. I don't think that indicating that XL91 and XL92 are freeware implies that Lemmings or ONML are freeware. I don't even think it's unprecedented for a game to have been given away in order to promote other games in the series, much like when Rockstar was temporarily giving away GTA, etc.
Last edited by DOSGuy on April 1st, 2021, 12:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Today entirely the maniac there is no excuse with the article.
User avatar
MrFlibble
Forum Administrator
Posts: 1784
Joined: December 9th, 2010, 7:19 am

Re: Lemmings demo versions

Post by MrFlibble »

Some of the demos come with an installer, which was obviously intended to be run from the floppy on which the demo came. IIRC these installers also allow you to select the PC/video mode, which could be telling if the Tandy or other modes were left out on purpose by the devs or by some third party.

For a quick test, I installed the PC Player Holiday 1993 version:
Image
I picked VGA and it offered me to select either "PC Compatible, Tandy" or "High Performance"
Image
It then installed the demo, omitting the README.DOC file:
Image
It also created a file LEMMINGS.BAT that starts the game straight in EGA mode:

Code: Select all

echo off
vgalemmi -e -x %1 %2 %3 %4
I think it is not implausible to suppose that every demo of these Lemmings 1 games (to differentiate this variety from all further titles starting with Lemmings 2) originally came on floppies with such an installer. But what we find in secondary sources like FTPs and magazine coverdisks/shovelware CDs are either direct copies of the floppy content (hence they have the installer and the readme), or copies of the games as installed on a hard disk from such floppy (so no installer and no readme file).

BTW, you are aware that the VGA mode only works correctly with machine=vgaonly in DOSBox, right?
User avatar
DOSGuy
Website Administrator
Posts: 1063
Joined: September 2nd, 2005, 8:28 pm
Contact:

Re: Lemmings demo versions

Post by DOSGuy »

Yes, I know about the vgaonly requirement. I just posted on Vogons about DOSBox screenshots not matching emulator output when using other machines. That's a pretty clever trick, switching palette colors in the middle of a screen draw.

I've been deciding whether or not to include Mode 9 screenshots for each of the Lemmings games, despite some of them (apparently) not including the Tandy executables. One of my ongoing projects is testing all of the Win9x GDI and WinG games in Windows 3.11 to see if they work under Win32s. A few of them do, despite not indicating such support. I think it's worth listing them as compatible even when compatibility is unofficial, because it increases the available library for Win16 users. I am, likewise, leaning towards indicating Tandy compatibility for each of the Lemmings games (with a note explaining how to enable it) in order to increase the available library for PCjr/Tandy users.
Last edited by DOSGuy on April 1st, 2021, 12:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Today entirely the maniac there is no excuse with the article.
User avatar
MrFlibble
Forum Administrator
Posts: 1784
Joined: December 9th, 2010, 7:19 am

Re: Lemmings demo versions

Post by MrFlibble »

DOSGuy wrote: April 1st, 2021, 12:20 pm I think it's worth listing them as compatible even when compatibility is unofficial, because it increases the available library for Win16 users.
I wonder how many people actually download(ed) a Win16 game from the site and play it on a real Win16 machine though?

I think it would be a good thing to list winevdm among utilities for running Win16 games.
User avatar
DOSGuy
Website Administrator
Posts: 1063
Joined: September 2nd, 2005, 8:28 pm
Contact:

Re: Lemmings demo versions

Post by DOSGuy »

MrFlibble wrote: April 1st, 2021, 12:38 pm I wonder how many people actually download(ed) a Win16 game from the site and play it on a real Win16 machine though?.
Probably not a real Win16 machine, but maybe a copy of Windows 3.1 in vanilla DOSBox. It's a bit trickier getting Windows 95 to run in DOSBox because of the need to use an image file, and drivers, etc. Windows 98 runs slowly for me, and Windows Me will boot and then immediately hourglass in DOSBox. Also, Win9x is virtually useless in VirtualBox because there are no Guest Additions. I had to use SciTech Display Doctor to get out of Mode 12, and there's no simple way of getting files onto the VDI. I use 86Box for Win9x whenever DOSBox can't do what I need, which is a bit trickier to use than DOSBox and, thus, not as great for casual users.

Also, you're limited to what you have. Some people don't have a copy of Windows 98 but do have a copy of Windows 3.x.
MrFlibble wrote: April 1st, 2021, 12:38 pm I think it would be a good thing to list winevdm among utilities for running Win16 games.
I've had mixed results with winevdm. A few simple games worked great, whereas more sophisticated games (using Shockwave, for example) crashed and burned. It's not as good as I'd like it to be.
Today entirely the maniac there is no excuse with the article.
User avatar
MrFlibble
Forum Administrator
Posts: 1784
Joined: December 9th, 2010, 7:19 am

Re: Lemmings demo versions

Post by MrFlibble »

DOSGuy wrote: April 1st, 2021, 12:43 pm I've had mixed results with winevdm. A few simple games worked great, whereas more sophisticated games (using Shockwave, for example) crashed and burned. It's not as good as I'd like it to be.
I'm not sure if I should read this as your declining to add winevdm to the list of utilities. I believe users would benefit to know of this option even if it's far from perfect.

Personally I don't have a copy of either Win3.x or Win9x, even if I wanted to mess with Win3.x in DOSBox, so these are not an option to me for certain. And ever since I had to do a complete OS reinstall I cannot get Linux working either.
User avatar
DOSGuy
Website Administrator
Posts: 1063
Joined: September 2nd, 2005, 8:28 pm
Contact:

Re: Lemmings demo versions

Post by DOSGuy »

I'll add it to my todo list, but the list is already so long that it overwhelms me. That's partly because a number of things I was working on turned out much better than I expected, so I guess it's a nice problem to have, but it's still exhausting.
Today entirely the maniac there is no excuse with the article.
User avatar
MrFlibble
Forum Administrator
Posts: 1784
Joined: December 9th, 2010, 7:19 am

Re: Lemmings demo versions

Post by MrFlibble »

Maybe you'll find it interesting that there are two demo versions of All New World of Lemmings / Lemmings Chronicles with different levels:
https://archive.org/details/TheLemmingsChronicles_1020
https://archive.org/details/l3124x

BTW, I take it that you own a copy of the original Lemmings and are a fan of the game, right? I wonder what you think about the inspired games: Hamsters and Lix? I think the latter seems to replicate the original look & feel quite well.
Post Reply