Retro Gamer Sizzler

Retro GamerI’ve had a lot of good reviews for The Lords of Midnight so far. The support from the on-line press has been staggeringly good. But I felt very different when I was handed a copy of this months Retro Gamer. It includes a two page spread review, and the game is awarded 90%, A Retro Gamer Sizzler.
I think that part of it was that it’s the first printed review that I’m aware of. But I think the main thing is that it feels old school, a printed review with a Crash Smash style award. It feels right. Holding the magazine in my hands made me feel really good. It feels properly retro!

“The new touches are practical, the refreshed graphics look great on a retina screen, while the gameplay remains as engrossing as ever – a timeless classic wonderfully remastered for iOS and must have for adventure fans” – 90%, Retro Gamer Sizzler – Retro Gamer.

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Mike Singleton – The Lord of Midwinter

The Lord of Midwinter
Dawn approached stealthily, running swift fingers of light over the Lands of Midnight. Far to the east, it touched the grim Keep of Utarg with a brief golden haze: the Targ sentries yawned and looked around only to see if the next watch approached to relieve them. The dawn moved on, trembling over the Downs of Athoril, cloaking them in scarlet and saffron. The hills which had seemed hunched herds of vast menacing creatures in the absence of light, seemed now to draw apart and unfold.
The daylight spread further westwards, painting the Plains of Dawn first crimson, then amber, then a deep glowing yellow so that they looked, for a fleeting moment. as they did at any noon of the Long Summer, clad in wheaten gold. In lonely hamlets scattered across the broad plains, villagers stirred and smiled to see the warmth of daylight return, then bent themselves to their daily tasks.
Over the Forest of Thrall sped the hand of the Sun. shooting bright arrows of light into the sepulchral darkness of the trees, and then further west to caress the sheer walls and tall towers of the Citadel of Shimeril. As the first blaze of sunlight fell into the Courtyard of the Kings, the great horn sang out over the city. Twelve times the great horn bellowed its simple fanfare, a short, deep boom followed by a longer, more strident note. A-wake, a-wake, it sang and then fell silent. The city roused itself dreamily, with creakings of shutters, rattling of doors and the growing murmur of feet on its cobbled streets.
The dawn did not linger but hurried on its endless journey, ever westward, ever westward till the world ceased to spin. Across the Plains of Blood it shed its own, brighter blood. What men moved there shivered in reluctant remembrance and did not pause to gaze upon the colours of the sunrise. Then, at last, the light grazed the edges of the Forest of Shadows, rose up and flew over a sea of mist- wrapped trees to touch the high stones of the Tower of the Moon.  — Mike Singleton, The Lord of Midwinter, 1951 – 2012

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This is a gift beyond gifts…

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To celebrate what would have been Mike Singleton’s 62nd birthday later this week, The Lords of Midnight will be reduced to half price on all available stores for the whole of this week starting Monday 18th February…

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Is it any less hopeful than defending the Plains of Blood?

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Last night I submitted a new version to the Apple App Store. The review process usually takes a week. So hopefully release 1.06 will be ready for Monday 18th.
Unfortunately during my device testing, I found a problem with one of the new features, and made an 11th hour decision to drop it from this release. The feature in question was the Map Pinch and Zoom. The problem was that not all the graphic elements were scaling correctly and during the zoom the focus point of the map was changing. The end result was that it was a little messy and I wasn’t happy letting it out. An evening of work will see the problem fixed, but to do that would mean delaying this release, and I’m painfully aware that the slow down problem needs resolving. So I decided to pull the feature. I know it would be have easy to just delay the release, but I need a working version ready and available on the 18th…

Thankfully, the Android version doesn’t need to be submitted until the end of the week, so I will make the changes and hopefully have the Android version ship with the feature. As long as testing this week proves everything to be working correctly, I will submit another Apple version with just this new feature as soon as possible.

I will upload the current version to the test servers tonight, as I would like it to take a good test pounding this week.

After this month release schedules will be slowed down, and I will go back to utilising the test process more fully!

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His war-cry rang out across the still dawn

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This weekend should see the submission of Version 1.06 of The Lords of Midnight. It has a number of fixes and a couple of new features.It will likely be the last update, aside from a major bug fix, for the next month or so. Once reason for this is that I think I have exhausted a number of minor additions that I wanted to include. Over the month since the initial release, I have added about 20 new features, tweaked a number of features, and obviously had a number of fixes. I think somewhere in the region of 60 work items have gone into the last month.

Most of the bug fixes have not been major, but they do polish the game. Luckily, most of the changes should not had too much affect on players, unless you are particularly familiar with the workings of the original. I’m pretty happy now that the next release will bring the game as close to the original game play as I can get. I have a couple of more tests to do on a couple of possible problems with the AI over the next few days – just to ascertain if they are problems or not. But my initial gut feeling says they are not, but the proof is in the pudding.

Some of the feature changes again give the game more polish, but also help move toward Doomdark’s Revenge. So they have been worth the extra effort.

The main reason for not pushing out any more changes is that I need to move forward. I need to spend the next month getting the Desktop version complete. To be honest there isn’t much to do, but some of it is fiddly work. The identified changes are currently:-

1. Mouse Pointer – There needs to be one along with the context of what it is doing.
2. Resolution selector – The user needs to be able to choose which resolution to run in.
3. Full screen – The user needs to be able to toggle running full screen or in a window.
4. Graphics – The underlying assets need streamlining.

Of the above, option 4 is of interest, because I am hoping that this will help reduce the size of the assets required for the mobile version, and make it easier to include graphic sets in later releases.

After that, I can’t honestly see much that must be changed to make the desktop version. I play it all the time on my desktop. The above changes just tidy it up.

Once the desktop version is complete and shipped, I can then move on to Doomdark’s Revenge.

Over the months that I develop Revenge, I will trickle more features into LoM. But I will only start that once I break that back of the initial development. I would like to release a version by the middle of the year that includes some difficulty level changes and new scenarios. I would be nice for you to be able to replay the game a number of ways with different challenges.

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