Baby Steps

I have been looking into a couple of issues still plaguing Doomdark’s Revenge game play.

The first one is movement. I have to admit, I dropped the ball on this one. I wrote this code so long ago, that I assumed it was working. Well it isn’t. And there are three issues at play.

The first issue is actually a bug fix.

There are two versions of movement tables, one that the Spectrum used, and one that the c64 used. What these tables do, is decide which terrain the character gets for free. The problem is, the spectrum version had a bug. It didn’t point to the required table, it pointed to random memory. Therefore movement on the Spectrum doesn’t work as intended. I had fixed this bug. Which means, movement on the new version isn’t the same as either the Spectrum version of the C64.

Secondly, The Lords of Midnight movement code is based on leaving the current location. Doomdark’s Revenge is actually based on the location you are moving into. I had this wrong.

And thirdly, if you move into a location with a critter, you take a penalty. However because of the difference in the way I implemented the critters on the map, ie: 0 = NONE, whereas 0xff is NONE in the original. My critter check was always triggering. Thus you always got a penalty.

The three items combined, make for pretty shoddy movement, when compared directly to the original.

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The Forest Keeper

When Mike and I were talking about The Lords of Midnight remake, one of the things we were going to do, was start the game earlier.

The Novella starts with Luxor and Morkin at the Forest Keeper’s hut. They are on their way to The Tower of the Moon in order to be part of the Council of the Wise.

The Novella is effectively all exposition. It’s about giving you the player, the information you need to know, in order to continue on and immerse yourself with the game.

This came to mind the other day because I was asked about remaking The Lords of Midnight, again. It is something I would love to do. I’m just not fully sure anymore what it would mean. However, there was one thing that I remembered that we did want to do, and that was change the Novella into a Animated Graphic Novel, and split it up with the initial game play which would then start from the Forest Keeper’s hut.

The game would place in you a restricted map, inside of the Forest of the Moon, and you need to find your way to the Tower. This would allow for the Narrative to be blended with the tutorial, and thus, by the time the game starts proper, at the start of the Solstice, you would have all the information you needed without having to read any manuals.

Once you start to increase the production values, then maybe there is something that could be for a larger audience.

I’ve already had some conversations about the audio. About how to score the game.

And visually, we have an idea of how it would look. Most of you already have an idea from Jure’s art that was non-original style for The Lords of Midnight and Doomdark’s Revenge. But I place a gallery at the end of this post. But if you then take into account this image the Jure sent me the other day when were were discussing how we would make the game look…

A Vision of Midnight

The real issues comes down to the interface and the gameplay. What would we need to change in the actual game. The main thing is to stay in the narrative. Every decision we make must be based on the story, and staying in story. We would probably need to make a few slight changes to the original just to give it some breathing space.
And all that text… it’s problematic but it’s also the charm of the original, you wouldn’t want to get rid of it, but should some of it be lost? I really don’t know the answer to that yet. What if it was all spoken?

Now, if I could just find some money to allow me and Jure to work on it full time… or almost full time…

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First week snagging…

20140220-084247.jpgRelease week is always frustrating. On Android I just cannot test on enough devices, so I know that something is always going to bite me, and Monday morning it did. None of my Android testers had had any problems with the game loading, but Monday morning a number of devices were reporting that the game wouldn’t load. Later that night I spent a few fraught hours fighting with hotel WiFi trying to get an update tested by the affected customers, and then released.

In this instance it was an easy fix. In fact, I had already addressed the issue the previous week for the Windows release. Some last minute testing on my Mac Desktop running a windows VM, full screen, highlighted an issue of loading the splash screen. At the high resolution the splash screen was larger than 2048. When this image was being loaded, it was converted into a power-of-two texture and thus a 4096×4096 texture. The texture loader I was using was choking on that. A quick change to the affected images, across all resolutions, resulted in a fix, and a 5mb reduction in app size to boot!

This was the problem that affected some Android devices. So all I needed to do was rebuild the current version for Android and send it back out. In the end, the Android release was probably a lot smoother than The Lords of Midnight.
Continue reading

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I leave on the morrow for the Blood March

300x300I’m just going to put this out there for now.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I would like to see The Lords of Midnight:The Citadel, retro-fitted into the same 2d landscaping technique of the originals.

I have spoke to Jure about it, and he hasn’t said no. It will really come down to how much work it is going to be. And he is busy with his Legions of Ashworld at the moment.

I’m not ready to start it yet as I have a number of things that I want/need to do before this. However, it will need a lot of design work in order to work out how the original actually worked and to then transpose that. So what I am thinking is that this might be on the slate for 2015. I have until then to work out all the details.

What I am looking for is anyone who was interested and actually enjoyed the original, who would like to help out trying to work out the design of the game.

the-blood-march_overview

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Doomdark’s Revenge Status Update

Quick update. The release of Doomdark’s Revenge was not too bad in the scheme of things. Online press has been good, good coverage on Twitter, sales numbers seem to be in line with The Lords of Midnight release.

All platforms were released simultaneously, which in itself isn’t too be sniffed at. The only problem was that OSX on the Mac App Store didn’t make it. Hopefully the issues there will be resolved soon.

The only Major glitch was a graphic memory problem that was hitting a few Android devices, but with the help of some supportive customers, I was able to iron that out last night an get and update out overnight. Interesting, the problem also affects The Lords of Midnight and probably explains some of the random startup crashes and incompatibilities I’ve had there. So as soon as things settle I will update that.

Despite a stressful few hours, I think the Android release probably went better than The Lords of Midnight Android release. Biggest problem was releasing while staying in a hotel where the Wifi decided to be very very poor!

There are a few issues that have cropped up. Mainly recruiting and battles, and a few cosmetics. The Recruitment issues make the game easier, the battles make it harder. I will try and resolve all of them ASAP.

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No ice, no storm, no sword or shaft shall keep me from thy side

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Just in case you missed it… Doomdark’s Revenge is out on all formats.

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