Think about the future…

icon_512x512I finally submitted the OSX version of The Lords of Midnight to Apple last night, it’s been a long time coming, a lot longer than I expected. I didn’t start it as early as I expected due to supporting the mobile version until March. Some of it has been because of technical issues, I struggled to get the code, more accurately the resolution code, to work satisfactory. Another part was being burnt out. I hadn’t realised how much getting the Mobile version out, took out of me. I found myself not really interested in developing the desktop version, so I found myself bitting at it and not staying focused. In fact a lot of the code ended up being developed on a Saturday morning while my daughter was diving, like I am now. I have a an hour and a half to kill while she dives, you can only give your full attention for so long, and that was always a good excuse to have my laptop with my and work on LoM.

All being well with the Apple submission process, the game will be available in the Mac App Store for the Summer Solstice. The Windows version needs a little more testing and I need to find a home for it to be distributed. If that all doesn’t happen during the next week in order to hit the same release date, I suspect it will be the week after.I now find myself thinking about the next steps. Jure has already started work on, if not almost finished, the artwork for Doomdark’s Revenge, so there is nothing to hold me back there. I suspect that the actual next steps will be a new build of the mobile version of LoM to include the scaling map, the keyboard controls ( for bluetooth keyboards ), and a few bug fixes that were dealt with during the desktop development. The desktop code is just a different branch of the mobile version, so I just need to roll everything up. Being truthful, I also need to put an advert in the mobile version for the desktop version, it would be nice to pickup at least another 6k unit sales.

No doubt there will be some support issues over the following weeks, some little tweaks that need to go into the Desktop version. In particular one of my first focuses is going to be on putting the ‘stories’ in the cloud. I want you to be able to share your game across your devices, and I promised myself that I would look at this after the desktop version was released.

At that stage, I can branch the code for Doomdark’s Revenge, and hurtle on. I am actually looking forward to this part, I’ve been waiting to put out a complete working version of the Midnight Engine including DDR for such a long time.

After that, I’m not sure what really follows. I intend to keep pushing out updates for both, some free, some paid for ( I need to keep paying for my Marmalade license after all ), but I’m not quite sure what those updates will be. There are some things that I would like to do, update graphics being a case in point, but I’m not quite sure how far I want or am prepared to push it right now. I guess I’ll have a better feeling for it closer to the time.

I also thought about the resolution of the game this morning. It does look lovely running fullscreen on my 27″ iMac, but to be honest, it might be too much. Part of me thinks that the game should run smaller and use that screen real estate for other things, like having icons available all the time. So I think I might explore this at some stage as an option.

Another thing that I want to do is open up the engine to anyone who wants to use it. The Midnight/MU community for a start have a lot of great maps and scenarios that could drop into the engine. To that end I have someone working on an editor. And again, this will require some tweaks to the engine to remove any hard coded stuff that found its way into the game in order to get it finished.

The next thing is The Citadel. It is my intention to bring The Citadel to the engine, played as the originals were and not how it was released. I feel that a version of The Citadel playing in the style somewhere between The Lords of Midnight and Doomdark’s Revenge would be a great addition, and make it more accessible to people who were put off my its original incarnation. However, I’m not sure how much time I am going to have for this project. I can’t see myself starting it until mid 2014 at the earliest, and that seems such a long time away.

However, I have been giving some thought to tying the last two points together. What if some one else or others wanted to bring The Citadel to the market? It would need at least a programmer and artist, or they would need to convince Jure to help out :), but the majority of the profits would be available. Actually, it might not need a programmer, the majority of the work is going to be in creating the scenario data. I might be able to do whatever coding changes the engine requires. I can make available a lot of data that I have previously extracted from the PC game, including a base map. If you read this and are interested, let me know. Maybe we can coordinate a group of people to work on it.

And that, as they say, is that.

As for Eye of the Moon… you’ve waited 30 years… 😉

8 thoughts on “Think about the future…

  1. Well done Chris – great stuff for sticking at it 🙂

    I bought The Citadel when it came out, played it once and shelved it. I would love to play it in the LOM/DDR format!

    • mm…. I think I played it twice, perhaps even three times !! I just couldn’t get on with it at all 🙁
      Without doing any research (or buying a copy from eBay) does anyone actually remember what it was about ? (I nearly typed ‘or care’ but that might seem disrespectful.) ..but it does have a bearing on its development.

  2. “Actually, it might not need a programmer, the majority of the work is going to be in creating the scenario data. I might be able to do whatever coding changes the engine requires. I can make available a lot of data that I have previously extracted from the PC game, including a base map. If you read this and are interested, let me know. ”

    What would the actual work for the team then be? I’d like to help, but I’m not sure I understand what the work would be…

    • I guess the work breaks down into three distinct areas.

      Firstly the graphics, there will need to be distinct graphics from the work used in LoM and DDR. Graphics for the lords, graphics for new terrain types etc.

      Secondly, the design. Someone would need to work through whatever data we have for The Citadel, and everything we know about the design of the game, and turn it into a coherent new design that fits the old model. This would also include populating what was a very sparse map, with places and people etc. Creating some from of strategy for the computer AI. If you think about the game objectives for Lom and DDR, what exactly are they for The Citadel?

      Lastly, the programming. This would mean adding new code to the base engine to handle whatever new things come out of the new game design. For example, the whole concept of rescuing and releasing someone, how would that work? Flying on dragons… etc…

  3. It sounds like the plan for the citadel conversion would work hand in hand with the creation of the scenario editor. I agree this sounds more like a new scenarionfor an enhanced LOM game than a new game In itself.

    The citadel map will obviously have to be modified to fit the LOM style of gameplay, which will also require some retuning. I dont see this being a huge amount of work, but balancing and tuning will play a much larger part of the process.

    Having an editor available will help this process, plus help trim unneeded parts of the original that really dont fit the ‘new’ style of play.

    As far as art goes, I’d suggest a continuation of the hirez LOM style. Without an original 2d game to emulate, its maybe even more important to stamp with the original Mike Singleton signiture look

  4. No offense, but we have access to all of the midnight games except 1. Eye of the Moon should surely be in “consideration mode” where you are taking Mike’s ideas and working them into a true homage to the great man himself, as well as stamping your own ideas as a fan and half decent programmer into gaming folklore. The torch has been passed to you in respect of that particular project.

    No pressure, but i hope you consider Eye of the Moon as a more important project. Time line wise, can we expect to find Luxor already passed? What of Morkin’s offspring? Is the Eye of the Moon lost? Had Luxor himself seen the Eye of the Moon as a child, or heard about it from His father or Grandfather? Perhaps it is foretold in a legend, with Morkin (half Fey, half Human) finding the Eye of the Moon, to fullfil a destiny, that turned Gryfallon into what eventually became Doomdark?

    Sorry, but i like to speculate. I am a fan too, just not as, perhaps dedicated as yourself.

    I continue to send my best wishes in the coming projects.


  5. perhaps i should add, i am a fan of your work, WinLom was amazing, as well as free, but i will be buying desktop versions of your Midnight games. Dedication deserves reward.

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