The Solstice is nearly upon us…

The Solstice is nearly upon us and Doomdark is already waking from his slumber. We must reach the Tower of the Moon by tomorrow, yet our ride promises to be long and hazardous.

The last few days have seen many issues knocked off the list for Lords of Midnight, two of them were show stoppers! Right now my actual TODO: list has 3 items on it. That said, every night, before I start working, I run through the game and add all the issues that crop up to my list; it seldom stays short for long… That said, I almost have a product that I am prepared to ship, even if not 100% happy with it. But then, when are we ever 100% happy with something.

Tonight I will be finishing off the tutorial system in the game. It’s not ideal and it’s a little wordy, and to be honest at this moment in time it is so in your face that I’m tempted to remove it. But knocking off the rough edges tonight should do the trick. After that I need to finish the manual, which will be online. And that should be it.

I will make another few passes through the game trying to snag issues that annoy me more than anything else. I suspect most of those issues to be cosmetic ones that drop out of resolution changes, or physical ones raised because of small hit zones on phones. I am the least happy with 480×320, the iPhone 3gs resolution. But hopefully I can get it more acceptable over the next few days.

It’s been a long six weeks since I made the decision to continue with the project in its current form. I’m not sure how much sleep I’ve had. They have been longs days that have often finished at 2am, with the following day still starting early. Then straight from office after an hour drive and into the study to start the process again. But all that said, I am really happy with how it has come together, it looks great. Sure there are loads of things that I would change. But every-time that I write a change on a list, I have asked myself, “how much does this really matter to the person playing this version of the game? And that has been the thing I have had to keep sight of, it’s this version of the game, and this version of the game needs to ship. There are a number of things I can tweak, but I can tweak them later.

So, currently, I plan to submit the iOS version to Apple on Friday, with a scheduled release date of The Winter Solstice, That gives me nearly three weeks for it to bounce in and out of the Apple submission process if necessary.

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21 Replies to “The Solstice is nearly upon us…”

  1. Excellent news. Well done Chris – it has taken you a lot of hard work to get to this point, and I hope it sells by the bucket load.

  2. Fantastic. I can’t wait. I’m not sure if I missed it, but is the AI replicated in this version (from the original)?

  3. Ieuan, the AI will remain the same as the original. Post release however, I hope to push out a version that has options and or difficulty levels to start to alter the AI.

  4. Excellent news Mr Wild, I can’t believe 6 weeks have passed since your decision…

    Ps. Thanks or the Twitter follow.

  5. You rock Chris! I haven’t been this excited for Christmas (*cough*), Winter Solstice in years! I hope the game gets the attention it deserves!

  6. Doomdark has slumbered long, but signs and portents foretell his awakening. Velvet shadows across the stars and harsh cries in the night sky disturb our sleep. In fortresses and keeps across the free lands harness and weapons of war are taken from chests where they have lain idle for decades, and nervous eyes turn northwards once again …

  7. Wow, those 6 weeks have flown by. You’re really done a lot since then – I can’t wait for the Android version of this. LoM is one of those games I’ve always wanted to play but never really had the time to get into; I’m hoping that the tutorial system you mentioned will help me out. I’ll definitely buy it the minute it appears in the Google Play store, that’s for sure!

  8. Sorry, typo there, should’ve been “you’ve” of course. I’ve always been a little jealous when I read the discussions between people who play the game and I’m hoping I’d get at least as much enjoyment out of it as they do. I think I’ll definitely have to make another effort at the original again…

  9. One of the most difficult things in game development is knowing when to draw a line in the sand and having the strength will not to cross over it. Many a potential great game has been ruined by over scoping. How does the quote go:

    “Games are never completed, they escape.”

    Submitting early seems like a very smart way to go- not only does it give you more time to fix any last-minute issues but will get you in a ‘feature lock’ frame of mind, where you are much more sensitive to the risk/reward aspect of any change you make (however seemingly safe and inconsequential).

    As you plan on updated the game anyway, there’s no need to include every tweak and feature you would eventually like on release day. Personally I like my iOS apps being updated with new features rather than just bug fixes.

    The tutorial I’m sure is fine for now, once first-time users get their hands on it they will tell you what needs changing or improving. But I wouldn’t remove it; I don’t think new players will understand the game without one.

    But don’t forget you do have one thing you can be sure of- LOM is a sound and original game idea/play mechanic. Even 30 years on there is nothing like it out there in the market. That is half the battle won already…

  10. Fantastic news Chris, I’m so excited. It is perfect you release it for the Winter Solstice but also fitting that it will be out there just a week or so after the amazing looking The Hobbit film is released in the UK. Tolkien’s influence stretches far and wide no more so than on Mike Singleton. Not many weeks will be as good as this one coming up. I’ve already booked my cinema tickets front row premier seats and will also be first in the queue to buy Mike and yours game once again.

    Many thanks Chris for all your efforts it’s been quite an emotional journey for you. I will raise a glass to Mike and your good self this winter as I trek once again through the snows of Midnight.

    Andy

  11. Great news Chris. Just booked a week off work after Christmas & only one present on my list this year! Hold on Korinel. I’m a comin’!

  12. I looked at the latest version briefly the other night and it’s come a long, long way from the early beta. The graphics look great while still being classic, and everything seems to run smoothly as far as I can see.

    I agree the tutorial is a bit wordy and annoying in the current form – although in the absence of a manual – it does need something.

  13. Hopefully tonight’s build should address the tutorial. Messages marked as important are popped up by default, all others flash a little icon up in the right corner, which allows the player to click and get the information. Other messages occur after a level of inactivity. For example if on the main screen you have not looked around or moved within the first 30 seconds a popup telling you how to do it will be shown.
    If however you have done either of these things, there is no need to show the help ever for that item.
    On the main menu there is a icon that allows you to turn the tutorial off.

  14. Hi Chris,

    Having tested a number of versions, must admit love the finished one (even if I can’t get to keep the ‘testing map’ – that got me out of a few tricky situations).

    Having played (never wasted) for many an hour / day back on the C64 and many hours this year cannot wait to see it on the App Store and hopefully it will be picked up by a new generation of gamers (as well as the older folk who used to play it).

    Hopefully you can have a rest over Christmas – you’ve deserved it.

    Then, only one question, how long until Doomdark’s Revenge?

    Cheers Stuart

  15. Stuart,

    I’m not planning on starting Doomdark’s Revenge until at least February. I need to get all the other versions out of they way first. However I will have the discussion with Jure soon to try and work out a realistic timescale for us to work to.

  16. Hi Chris

    My comment about DR was a little tongue in cheek, so even thinking about starting it in Feb is faster than I would have thought!

    Having one final run through of the game, pre-release!

    Cheers

    Stuart

  17. Hi Chris

    Am playing the release version, but don’t have the link to the bugs page at the moment.

    Just noticed on the “choose” option, Rorath and Luxor have merged onto the same square, so you cannot chose Luxor until after you have moved Rorath and removed characters who have moved from the display.

    Only started when I got 23 lords on the page, am on iPad 2

    Doesn’t distract from gameplay, maybe a fix for r1.01 🙂

    Rgds

    Stu

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