Interview: Christa Agius and Tommy Prentice discuss Lemmings’ Creatorverse update and player-created levels

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    • Fans have been asking for a level editor for some time now.
    • The essence of the level editor comes from the original on the Amiga.
    • Plans are in the works to improve the social aspect.

    You may have noticed that earlier today, we revealed that Exient rolled out the Creatorverse update to Lemmings. As you probably guessed from the name, it allows you to create your own levels for yourself and others to enjoy.

    It’s a notable update, then, and the first time Lemmings fans have had this option in quite some time. So, we decided to talk about it with Christa Agius, COO, and Exient and Tommy Prentice, Product Lead.

    Can you introduce yourself and your character on Lemmings to our readers?

    Christa Agius: Sure! I’m Krista, COO at Exient. I oversee the company’s operations and core teams, including the team working on Lemmings.

    Tommy Prentice: I started at Exient as a programmer on the core tech team and recently transitioned into a product lead role focusing on the product direction of Lemmings.

    What is an elevator pitch to the Creatorverse for the uninitiated?

    Tommy Prentice: Creatorverse is our awesome new in-game level editor for Lemmings. It lets players dive into the playing field where they can design their own levels, experiment with game mechanics and test new ideas. They can then share these levels with friends and the wider Lemmings community. We also have leaderboards to highlight the best levels, offering players a platform to express their creativity and understand the game’s delightfully evil mechanics.

    What made you decide now was the perfect time to introduce a level editor to Lemmings?

    Krista Agius: We’ve been considering adding a level editor tool to Lemmings Mix for quite some time, especially given players’ love for creating levels on original Amiga games.In fact, our own Lemmings mobile community on Facebook and Discord But through communication with us, we have continuously requested a level editor. It’s been a constant theme, and we’re excited to finally bring it to life.

    Tommy Prentice: Absolutely. There’s been a latent demand for an editor, and over the years we’ve watched in awe as fans bring new perspectives to level creation, especially when we’ve met at events. We’ve built robust tools and traps for players to explore, so now is the perfect time to let them take the reins and delve deeper into Lemmings’ mechanics.

    When creating a level editor, achieving accuracy of use is inherently very important. What design choices have you made to make sure it’s as easy to understand and use as possible?

    Tommy Prentice: We started with the internal editor used by our designers and adapted it for players, but obviously we had to go back to basics in terms of UI and usability, otherwise it wouldn’t work very well. Through playtests, we identified and smoothed out rough spots, such as making sure players understood trap placement and how elements like portals connected. We also implemented validation to ensure that players can only publish levels that they have successfully completed.

    The creative essence of the editor remains the same as what players would have found in the original Amiga games – basically players just like to create their own levels and prove their skills. However, our mobile version of Lemmings was already quite different from a UI perspective, and the editor opens up opportunities in addition to new dynamics for social sharing, which we have integrated at a deeper level.

    There is a huge social element to the Creatorverse. What do you hope it will bring to the game?

    Christa Agius: We have already seen increased interaction among VIP players during our early access phase. They quickly began sharing and challenging each other with custom levels, fostering an even more vibrant community. We also think the editor can attract newcomers to the game – people who aren’t just excited to play, but to create.

    Tommy Prentice: We’ve also seen an increase in engagement on platforms like TikTok, where players are reviewing superficial creations for their followers. It’s great to see top creators already making a mark, and we’re excited to see this editor feature fully public now.

    As you mentioned, the level builder was previously only available to VIPs. What did you learn during this trial period and what changed based on player feedback?

    Tommy Prentice: Absolutely. Our Discord community provided valuable feedback during the preview phase, especially our hardcore players who understand the game deeply. We also quickly learned that we needed to balance accessibility for new players while catering to the more advanced skills of experienced users. This has helped us improve this feature which is welcome but challenging.

    What features have you implemented to help with discovery to ensure that the level of good quality is top notch?

    Tommy Prentice: We’ve implemented search filters and backend algorithms that rank by average playtime, difficulty, and fail rate. This system helps players find levels that match their skill and energy levels, ensuring they can quickly access content that matches their preferences.

    Are you planning to reward players for making popular levels?

    Tommy Prentice: Yes, we are working on a number of ways to further enhance the social aspect. For example, we want players to be able to build a following, and we’re even considering integrating popular user-generated levels into the main game development. This can free up our Lemmings designers to focus on new projects featuring top creators.

    Do you have any other future plans for Lemmings after the launch of Creatorverse?

    Christa Agius: We’re also exploring ways for players to create entire planets full of their own levels, even naming them, mimicking the current monthly Lemmings Season x Planets DLC cycle. This gives them a taste of being a game developer and is in line with our vision of fostering a creative and engaged community. Creatorverse complements our regular content updates, offering a new dimension for players looking to explore their creativity and design skills, enriching the overall gameplay experience.

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