Lords of Midnight Development

Back in 1999 I started work on the Midnight Engine. The scope of the project was to develop an engine that could play Lords of Midnight and Doomdark’s Revenge and help create other Midnight inspired projects.

The development was split into five separate parts.

1. The backend, the actual engine.
This is a self contained library that loads a Midnight database and allows the game to be played. It has no concept of visuals or platform. It works by exposing an interface to anyone that should choose to use it, and is extended using scenarios. The scenarios allow for the code to be modified in game specific situations.

The original scope of the backend was to take both Lords of Midnight and Doomdark’s Revenge and amalgamate them into one entity. I removed all hard coded logic and made everything data driven. I expanded every compressed bit of data and removed any restrictions on size that existed. I then added a number of data items that I believed future games would likely exploit.

2. The Lords of Midnight Scenario
3. The Doomdark’s Revenge Scenario
Although both of these were developed as separate scenarios, most of the differences were in the data, ie: characters, map, etc.. and features from the engine that were turned off and on.

4. The Lords of Midnight Frontend – WinLom99
5. Doomdark’s Revenge Frontend

The frontend’s where the graphical aspect of the games. They were the user interface that drove the Midnight Engine for the specific scenario. WinLom99 was pretty straight forward. Doomdark’s Revenge however was where the graphics started to take on a whole new dimension.

The reason that I mention all this is because, everything I have done before, becomes the start of Lords of Midnight 2011.

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The Midnight Engine

The midnight engine DDR port is about 75% done.

The base engine has been changed to handle most of the differences in a global fashion, however, I have created multiple versions of a mechanic where needed. eg. A scenario writer chooses which type of battle system, recruitment system, etc…

Lately I have got caught up the the frontend – this has been rewritten to allow easy change, the idea being that scenario writers can affect the frontend as well. However this has been much more of a pain than I anticipated and has, to be honest, bogged me down!

I got over a major hurdle today, and thus I hope to get back on track.

The graphics system has completely changed from the LOM version, and anyone who has seen the screenshots will admit it looks lovely. The whole engine works with a patch system allowing for the terrain to change depending on which location it is, this means that the panormics look differently all the time. This process is also used in the tunnles which allows the tunnels to have distinct appearnces depending on where you are.

Ther resolution is 1024x768x32 – which is causing some speed issues at the moment, due to the amount of graphic work being implemented. For example, there is a haze layer that is applied over the seven sizes(distance) of graphics. In some way almost every pixel is adjusted a number of times before being written to the screen. This will all get sped up at the end.

Jure has produced lots of new graphics, and has worked with Bill to use the DDR shield templates and produce TME versions – thus keep consistency across the midnight games.

The last work that I know Jure was working on was the fog system, and we also discussued and inverse landscaping for the sky.

I recently implemented all of Andrews TME mods that he used for WOTS into the new codebase, and will be handing a version of TME over to him real soon so that he can hopefully get moving around the DDR map in the WOTS engine.

Hopefully, once I had it over, requests from Andrew combined with my own needs will move the project along.

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