Midnight home - Older Entries
This weekend I received an official okay from Mike Singleton for the PalmOS version of Lords of Midnight. As long as it is free and his copyright is acknowledged, then he is happy for me to release it. This is great news, as I was having some qualms about releasing the game without permission, and was intending to write an alternative scenario for the first version, which in turn had pushed back the finish and had drained some of my enthusiasm.
Despite the six month layoff between website updates, I have intermittently been working on the project, and in fact now have a playable version of the game on my Palm. It still needs quite a bit of work, and a good bit of testing, but it is definitely possible to lose, and it ought to be possible to win the game.
I am pretty sure there are still some issues, particularly with values not being recalculated at the right time, but there's still plenty of time to get things ironed out before I finish the remaining bits.
Still to do:
I also need to update the main page. I'll try to do that before the next Ice Age.
Progress has been slow since the Remakes compo finished. I have been finding it hard to muster the enthusiasm lately, but I really want to get Midnight to a playable state before embarking on anything new, so I'm trying to pick up the pace a bit.
The first anniversary of my decision to remake the game passed at the end of August. That's probably not a good thing.
I'm considering naming my version Masters of Midnight, mainly because of the alliteration. I really should get some proper titles done for these pages, too, so I'll have a play around and see how it looks.
I am still here, and will be getting back to work on Midnight in a couple of weeks. I've taken a short break to work on an entry for the Retro Remakes competition, which closes at the end of July.
No new release yet, but I thought I'd do a quick diary update to say that things are still moving along. The next release should feature all (or at least most) of the character actions: recruit, hide, seek, fight, etc. I was hoping to implement them one at a time, but it seems that they all pretty much depend on the Think screens anyway, so I might as well do them all in one hit.
I have replaced the ugly grey bar with some less ugly icons, all of which now call out to other screens, as required. The right selection of actions are offered, although I haven't tested this thoroughly yet, and the Think screens are the main thing I need to complete before the next release.
I have changed a few things about the graphics handling for this version, too. The background is no longer drawn from flat-coloured rectangles, but is actually a stored bitmap. Two, in fact: one for day and one for night. This should be helpful for the high-res, greyscale and enhanced versions that I'm trying to keep in mind as I write the game. It will now be possible to have a gradient sky or stars in the night sky. The icon toolbar is incorporated into this background, which saves some messing around with small images, and the other immediate change is that there is a horizon line in the nightscape, although I'm not totally convinced that I like it, or that it is in the right place.
I am also reconsidering my decision to use palette-switching for the night graphics. Maybe I should add a complete separate set of night terrain images. It will add quite a bit to the size of the pdb file, but the potential benefits to an enhanced graphics set are substantial, and the palette-switching is a little ugly to handle well. I think I'll leave this decision until later, though, the current implementation is okay for now.
Version 0.10 finally hits the e-shelves, complete with people and monsters, although you can't actually fight or recruit any of them yet. I came very close to finishing this version two weeks ago, and then didn't have a chance to put the last hour in until my ADSL broke down one evening earlier this week. And then I couldn't upload it, and didn't get another chance until now.
I'm quite happy with the way things are going though. I feel pretty comfortable with the structure of the game and what remains to be done, and hope I can get to a gameplay-complete version before too long. The harder part is going to be polishing it all up for final release, since I tend to lose interest a bit when I have broken the back of a problem and got functional software out (see the other projects on this site for examples).
The people and creature graphics, by the way, are at full Spectrum-size, since I didn't have to worry about colour-clash if they overlap the background. This means that there are only 5 across instead of 8, and it might also mean that some of the background is obscured, but it's very difficult to resize the graphics without losing the character of the originals, and I really don't want to get into completely revamped graphics just yet.
The other change in this version is that I moved the horizon up a bit and put an ugly grey bar across the bottom of the screen. This is just a place-holder for the rest of the UI. It will be replaced by an icon toolbar of some description when I've drawn it. I have more-or-less decided to stick with the current navigation system, with the partitioned screen, and I needed to show where the bottom of the active area was so it's clear where the 180-degree and 135-degree turn zones end and the UI buttons (will) begin.
I've also started a new page for this diary. The earlier entries are here.