Chip's Challenge - Lynx Mode

General Information

Here's a brief about what Lynx mode is, and what it has do with CCLP3.

About Lynx, MSCC and Tile World

If you're reading this, you've probably played the Microsoft version of Chip's Challenge (MSCC for short). But the original version of Chip's Challenge was created by Chuck Somerville for the Atari Lynx (a handheld game console) in 1989. Microsoft ported this game to Windows in 1992.

In the process of porting the game, some important differences were introduced between the Lynx and MS versions, for various reasons.

  1. The most noticeable difference is that the "animated" gameplay in Lynx was dropped in the MS version - due to limitations of the hardware and OS.
  2. Many of the other differences in the rules of the game are because the MS programmers did not research the original game enough, and implemented their own interpretation of the rules such as would make it possible to solve the original levels.
  3. Some of the differences are weird behaviours in MS, which are due to bugs introduced by sloppy programming.
  4. Lastly, the MSCC levelset file format allows any two types of tiles to be combined, something which was not possible in Lynx. Although invalid tile combinations do not occur in the original levelset, they have been employed in some fan-made levels.

In 2001, Brian Raiter wrote an open source, multi-platform program called Tile World, which emulates both the Lynx and MS versions of Chip's Challenge. But most new levels have been designed with only one ruleset (usually MS) in mind, and cannot always be solved or even played in the other ruleset - due to the differences mentioned above. The use of invalid tiles (4. above) renders a level unplayable in Lynx mode. The other differences (usually 2. and 3., but sometimes 1. as well) may result in the solution of a level becoming either easier, more difficult or even impossible in the other ruleset.

Compatibility and CCLP3 requirements

A level that can be played and solved the same way in both modes is termed as compatible. Most levels are not compatible unless they were designed (or fixed later) with that intent, which requires some understanding of the differences in rules by the designer. Since Lynx mode is smoothly animated, less complicated, well-defined and the original version of Chip's Challenge (and now that Tile World has provided a way for everyone to play in this mode), there is a growing demand to make compatible levels that can be enjoyed by fans of both modes. To this end, it has been decided by the Chip's Challenge community (with the encouragement of Chuck Somerville) that all levels in CCLP3 will be both Lynx and MS compatible.

There are a few variations in the implementation of the Lynx ruleset in Tile World. The one that will be used to judge Lynx compatibility for CCLP3 is the regular Lynx mode of Tile World 1.3.0. The "pedantic" mode (enabled by a special command-line option), which is truer to the original Lynx game, but has some more restrictions (most notably not allowing arbitrary trap or clone machine button connections) will not be compulsory to conform to. Tile World 1.2.1 had a few minor flaws in its Lynx rules. Ideally, a level should be compatible with both versions; but if not, it should work in 1.3.0 - since that's the latest and more accurate version.

The next section of this guide will help you learn how to play a levelset in Lynx mode using Tile World. If you're a designer, or a curious player, the remaining sections will go on to explain the differences between rulesets (starting with the most important ones and leaving the more obscure ones for the end).


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