The Midnight Engine – iPhone

So I’ve taken, to porting The Midnight Engine to the iPhone. This is a task that I started 3 years ago. But as many of you loyally Midnight followers will know, time is not a friend to my projects.

I have been playing with getting the engine up and running under AirPlay SDK as this will hopefully give me a little more scope. It kinda goes against my normal philosophy with development, in that an engine must offer just the right amount of assistance to your project but not bog you down with far too many features that you don’t need nor want. There are reasons to consider AirPlay which I won’t go into here, but one of the advantages is that it allows me to keep development in C/C++ which is how TME was written. This is a bonus as I can just port the engine without having to rewrite – well that was the theory.

First I had to scrap my porting attempt from 3 years ago. A because there were an awful lot of errors, and B because I had no idea where I was at.

Creating a new project under XCode and Airplay, I had some 20,000 errors and warnings – mainly errors. Part of this problem was that the codebase had been written to cross-compile across OS’s. And it used to. Not any longer.

It’s been nearly 5 years since I did any proper work on TME, and things have moved on. The compiler didn’t like my code anymore. New keywords had been reserved. Warnings popped up for things that I’d never had warnings for before. eg. Comparing signed and unsigned variables. The Compiler was having different affects on areas of the code that previously compiled fine. The GNU compiler doesn’t appear to be as happy with namespaces as Visual Studio used to be. (that said I can’t get the old project to compile under VS2010 anymore!)

So I had to strip it back. And bit by bit put the code back into the project and painstakingly change everything that needed to be done to make it compile.

After a week – I’m done.

Now I need to do some testing and recoding. First is to get the project loading in the LOM database. This will allow me to wrinkle out some of the OS/Hardware issues in the TME libraries. After that I need to painstakingly test large chunks of the code to make sure they are still doing what I want them to…

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Lords of Midnight & Doomdark’s Revenge

Watch this space…

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Lords of Midnight

Just picked up on a Lords of Midnight Article that indirectly talks a little about the atmosphere of Midnight.

However, despite its strong sense of location, there was little impetus to idly explore the countryside. While the land of Midnight has a stark beauty, the limited range of elements leaves little room for any surprises. If you’ve seen one mountain you’ve literally seen them all, so the few times the game does surprise, the impact is all the more for it. One of the more spellbinding moments came late into the game, when I felt like I was further north than any other man had ever been, and I saw ahead of me distant tower. Except that it nestled safely behind the frozen wastes. Having become accustomed to the frozen waste’s role as the implacable edge of the game, this seems like a mirage. Or a bug. Any thought about the campaign at hand was put to one side as I explored this anomaly. And so it was: in one corner of the world it was possible pick a path through the wastes into a little oasis of land. It’s a small, unremarkable thing, but when I was there, surrounded by the claw-like peaks of the frozen wastes, it felt like a real discovery.

I gave it a little thought and wondered what it is about the game that has drawn me to it for 20 years. I think that the beauty of Midnight is in the atmosphere of the imagination. For some reason that game landscape just allowed the imagination to run free. Once I started playing the game I would just get lost in the story of it. I still do. Which is one of the reasons whyI set up the wiki to try an realise all the information that we know about, and create so much more that we don’t. I want the place to be real, I want the place to live. Yes, the story is full of typical fantasy cliches but there are so many oppurtunities to iron them out and create a very interesting place that more people could inhabit. I am closer to the characters of Midnight, than probably any book that I have ever read. Would I rather have Midnight or Lord of the Rings? Midnight every time!

Wayne Britcliffe caught the mood just about right in my Retro Gamer Article..

Even when actually playing the games your imagination takes you beyond, especially in the case of the original’s 8-bit limitations, what you are actually presented with. Swords clash, men scream, the plains fill with marauding enemy armies and smoke rises in the distance as snow begins to fall. Lord Blood dies surrounded by those he has slain in the gatehouse of his overrun Keep – a valiant defence against impossible odds. Shimeril escapes by the skin of his teeth only to have to turn and fight before his Citadels walls.

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Lords of Midnight

Dehumanizer has written a small write up of Lords of Midnight over on his site; Games of My Life.

He discusses the merits of the game when you consider it as a inspired epic.

See Also: Similarties to other Fantasy Stoires…

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Wikipedia Lord of the Rings

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