Welcome to the LemEdit tutorial. Within the next twenty-thirty minutes, you will learn everything you need to know to use the Lemmings level editor for DOS.
First, you need to be running an operating system that supports DOS, such as Windows 95 or 98. Alternatively, it may be possible to use DosBox to run LemEdit. Then, you need the following files:
- LemEdit.exe - The executable file you need to create and edit levels.
- LemEdit.dat - The data file supporting LemEdit.
- custlemm.zip - This contains the Custom Lemmings game, and all necessary files to play custom levels.
Unzip custlemm.zip, and put lemedit.exe and lemedit.dat in the directory you just unzipped custlem.zip to. Now you have the necessary files, run LemEdit.exe, and after a few seconds, you should see the 'About' box.
VTM Software is the company that originally made LemEdit, so you can thank them. But unfortunately, they are not around anymore, so future updates from them are very unlikely.
Although it says 'OWNER: UNREGISTERED TRIAL', there is no registered version of LemEdit, and it doesn't have any restricted features or a trial period. The notice is only there to prevent people from selling their levels made in LemEdit (I think this is right.)
Click 'OK', and you will be presented with a black screen with a toolbar at the bottom.
On this toolbar are eight buttons to take you to different menus. These are Files
(miscellaneous), Skill #
, and Objects
. There is also the CuX reading and the CuY reading. These tell you the position of the cursor at any given time.
Below this is the scrollbar, which can be used to scroll the level. You can also do this by moving the cursor to the left or right edge of the screen, or by pressing the left or right arrow keys. The Sp reading tells you the position of the screen in relation to the level.
And finally, the EXIT
button prompts you before quitting the program. You can also exit by pressing Esc. Any dialogue or text box can be exited saving the changes by pressing Enter, or disregarding changes by pressing Esc, or by the obvious buttons. But beware, LemEdit will NOT prompt you to save your level before exiting, so be careful!
Now let's review the menus.
An important thing to know is there are two different ways a Lemmings level can be saved; either in a levelpack, or as an individual file. LemEdit can create levelpacks containing up to ten levels. A levelpack with ten levels is usually from 5 to 12 KB in size, and an individual level file is always 2 KB.
There are six different buttons in this menu. The first three deal with levelpacks, the next two deal with individual level files, and the last one exits the menu.
Load Level from Pack
prompts you to type in the name of the levelpack in the current directory you wish to load from. The levelpacks from the original game are from LEVEL000.dat to LEVEL009.dat, and the levelpack read by CustLemm is levelpak.dat. Once you have typed in the levelpack, you will be presented with a list of levels in that pack. Click on one, or scroll with the mouse to select one, and click 'LOAD' to load the level, or 'CANCEL' to go back. (The previously mentioned keyboard shortcuts also work here.)
Store Level in Pack
gives you a box in which to type in the name of the file you wish to save your level in. If it is already a Lemmings levelpack, you will be presented with a list of levels currently in the levelpack. Click on one, and click either 'Insert Before', 'Replace', or 'Insert After'. 'Insert Before' will store the level currently loaded before the selected level, 'Insert After' will store it after the selected level, and 'Replace' will replace the selected level with the one currently loaded. You can also type in the name of a non-existent file, and LemEdit will create a levelpack with that name containing only one level. More can be added later if you wish.
Remove Level from Pack
gives you a box to type in the name of a levelpack, gives you a list of levels in that pack, and lets you delete ones you don't want. Please note that CustLemm will crash when trying to load a non-existent level, and it assumes that all levelpacks contain 10 levels.
Load Level Directly
lets you type in the name of a directly saved Lemmings level. These levels are uncompressed, and cannot be played in a DOS Lemmings game. They can, however, be played in Lemmings for Windows.
Save Level Directly
lets you type in the filename in which you wish to save your level in the uncompressed format.
And I think you can guess what Cancel
I have to admit that this is probably the menu I least use, probably because most of the functions can be accessed by other means.
displays the properties to the currently selected terrain piece, interactive object, or steel area.
The Type Number
display lets you edit the terrain piece number, either by typing it in, or by using the 'Menu' button to browse through all the ones available in the graphics set.
No Drawing Over Other
lets the terrain piece not be shown when others are in the way.
Draw it Upside-Down
flips the terrain piece vertically. Unfortunately, there is no way to flip them horizontally.
Draw it as Black Area
makes the terrain piece an empty space with the same shape. This does nothing over an already empty space, but it's useful for making holes or smoothing edges. When an interactive object is selected, this function becomes 'Draw on Ground Only', and causes the selected object to only appear if it is against a terrain piece, and not against an empty space. This is mainly useful for one-way arrows.
lets you edit the Z coordinates of the terrain piece. The Z coordinates determine which piece has priority to be drawn. A piece with a lower Z coordinate will always be drawn behind one with a higher Z coordinate unless the higher one has 'No Drawing over Other' selected.
The Piece Position
controls let you manually edit the X and Y coordinates of the piece. This can also be done by dragging the piece, or using the arrow keys when the piece is selected.
Please note that all the functions above except the first one can be accessed in the toolbar when a piece is selected.
makes a copy of the piece. This can also be done by pressing 'Insert' on your keyboard when the piece is selected. Please note that a Lemmings level can contain a maximum of 400 terrain pieces, 32 interactive objects, and 32 steel areas. Also, in my experience, interactive objects besides the trap doors are sometimes ineffective if the Z coordinate is above 15.
deletes the selected piece from the level. This can also be done by pressing 'Delete' on the keyboard.
The above three commands; Properties
, can also be accessed in the right-click menu of a piece.
Add steel Area
adds an area of the screen that cannot be penetrated by a lemming standing on it, and is represented in LemEdit by a flashing area. The good news is that these pieces can be resized using the controls in their 'Properties' box, or in the toolbar.
Clear the Level
removes everything in the level so you can start afresh.
Bring to Front
puts the Z coordinates of the selected piece at the top of the list, so it will always appear over others, while 'Send to Back' puts it behind everything else.
Select by Order
allows you to select a piece by selecting the type, either a terrain piece, an interactive object, or a steel area, then the Z coordinates. This function is useful if you are having trouble selecting a piece, because it is among many others and has a low Z coordinate.
- Sorry guys and girls, this is the one function I have never used!
unselects the current selection. This can be useful if the level is so built up that you can't find an empty space to click on instead.
This menu lets you edit the statistics of the level. The functions are pretty self-explanatory.
box lets you change the title of the level. This will appear in the level introduction screen in the game, and can be a maximum of 32 characters. If the title is quite short, you may want to leave a few spaces before if you want it to appear centred.
Number of Lemmings to be Let Out
lets you decide how many lemmings you want in your level. This value can be from 0 to 80, although setting it to 0 causes the game to crash!
Number of Lemmings to be saved
lets you decide how many lemmings need to be saved in order to pass the level. This value can be from 0 to your number of lemmings, although I canít imagine why anyone would make a level where none have to be saved!
Graphic Set #
lets you choose the graphics set used, but it doesn't display the level in LemEdit in that graphics set. To see how the level will look in a different set, change it in the terrain selection menu.
lets you choose how long the player has to pass the level in minutes. This value can be from 0 to 99. A level with 0 minutes will close before any lemmings come out, and a number of minutes about 9 will be represented by different characters in the game. Please note that the art of some levels is in the perfectly chosen time limit.
lets you choose how fast the lemmings will come out the trap door. This value can be set from 0 to 99. If you have multiple trap doors, the release rate will apply to them all as a whole, and they will fall out at a slower rate from individual trap doors.
lets you choose the starting position of the screen when the level starts. Clicking Set to Current
puts this value at the current screen position.