In the bleak Midwinter

profile It is with a touch of regret that I have decided to leave the Midwinter Project.

Over twelve months ago I started sowing the seeds that would allow for a remake, and had many ideas and plans for it. The team have covered a lot of ground and many great ideas have come out of a lot of discussions and work.

For me there are many reasons why I have now come to this decision, but ultimately, it just boils down to me not being able to make the project work in a way that I originally envisaged.

The rest of the team are continuing with the project and I leave it in the capable hands of Dan Whitehead and Dave Gautrey.

I wish the team all the best and hope they have much success with the game.

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From Bedroom to Billions – Lost Mike Singleton Interview

BEDROOMS_TO_BILLIONSAnthony and Nicola Caulfield of Gracious Films have been making a documentary about the games industry, titled ‘From Bedrooms to Billions‘ @FromBedrooms

‘From Bedrooms to Billions’ ‘A 90 minute feature length documentary film telling the remarkable, true story of the British Video Games Industry between 1979 – 1996. The film shows how the creativity and vision of a relatively small number of individuals allowed the UK to play a key, pioneering role in the shaping of the billion dollar video games industry which today, dominates the modern world’s entertainment landscape.

They originally contacted Mike Singleton for an Interview which he agreed to, but due to his health at the time was unable to do. To put it in perspective he’d just had a chunk of his jaw and tongue removed, and even by the time of his death he was not talking clearly, although close friends and family were able to understand him.

The only known footage of Mike was from a BBC interview for the program Get Set which was transmitted Saturday 28th May 1983.

Unfortunately, the BBC have long since deleted this VT!

Anthony and Nicola are trying to track down anyone who may have recorded this program, and still have it.

Of note, Ultravox and China Crisis performed on the show, and therefore it is likely to have been recorded for either of those performances.

If you can help, please get in contact at

Here is the full details of the show.

GET SET – Broadcast 28/05/1983

NMRN314N TX 28/05/1983 (programme Junked by BBC!)

MAG PROG 1:37:10

Kids mag prog pres live from NBH M’cr by Mark CURRY & Deborah APPLEBY.
Guests Ultravox, China Crisis, Mike SINGLETON, Mike READ. Items; competitions, music, cartoons, the VideoVote, guests, COMPUTER GAMES, dinghy sailing & fun, fun, fun!
live studio; sp s, ex-lib & cpyt film inserts; sp s, ex-lib & cpyt promo

ITEMS; MUSIC: Ultravox perf 3 songs live – ‘Hymn’ (5m26s), ‘We Came to Dance’ (3m52s) & ‘Serenade’ (3m24s). Videovote – viewers phone to choose their fave pop video from 4 clips; winner – ‘Bad Boys’ by Wham! China Crisis – Mark

INTVs Eddie LONDON & Gary DALY from China Crisis & intros promo vt of their new single ‘Tragedy & Mystery’.
Demonstration of latest COMPUTER GAMES with Mike SINGLETON.
Summer Scene -vt/film round-up of events around UK. Also; dinghy sailing,

INTV with Mike READ re ‘Great Rock & Roll Trivia Show’, Book Tokens competition, cartoons.



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A Trilogy in Two Parts

1001004006264943_Hunger-GamesI’ve been reading The Hunger Games recently. I enjoyed the first book, and upon watching the film, was reasonably happy with the adaptation. In fact, there are parts of the film that are more coherent than the book. With maybe another thirty minutes, the film could have been a near perfect adaptation.

I finished the second book, Catching Fire, and it confirmed something that has been nagging me for a while, ie: some trilogies need to be reduced to two books. Don’t get me wrong, I like a long story told over a number of books, but there seems to be a need to squeeze more out of a story than there actually is. It’s similar to the need to split films into multiples, Hobbit, Twilight:Breaking Dawn, Hunger Games:Mockingjay.

Catching Fire is an ok book, but it feels like a transition, it feels like its only purpose is to move the story from book one to book three. That in itself is not a unworthy goal, it’s just that it meanders. The Hunger Games part of the book only takes up about a hundred and fifty pages, so it feels a little stilted. The first act is just a tad boring. My overall impression was that the book could have lost an act at the front, and gained one at the end; drag in some of the material from Mockingjay. My daughter doesn’t like the second film, although she loved the books and the first film. I think that the source material is probably to blame here. I’ll let you know when I’ve watched it.

Mockingjay redeems the series. It’s a very different style of book than book one, and I like that change in tone. The subject matter is interesting even if the progression through the book is not necessarily so.

I must admit that I expected the books to be more violent than they were. Overall I liked the series, I just could have done with it in two books or one big one!

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Colourblindness – a rant

For some reason recently, I have seen a number of posts aimed at web developers, pointing them to sites that will show them how a colourblind ( colour deficient if you prefer ) person will see their site. Now, let me let you into a little secret, it’s not about how I see your site; we don’t after all know how I will see your site compared to how you can see your site. We can only guess by use of algorithms that simulate the theory of how colourblind people are affected. We can’t even guaranty how two people with ‘normal’ colour vision see your site. I’m probably not coming to your site because it looks pretty.

The real issue is, how does a colourblind person experiences your site. And by experience all I mean is the functionality of it. I’ve lived with colourblindness for 43 years. I get by. The world is not a miserable looking place for me, devoid of pretty colours, it’s one where every now and then, someone has used colour to help someone else make a decision, and sometimes, their choice of colour stops me from being able to make that decision.

So imagine this… 10% of males are red-green colourblind ( other types of colourblindness are available). What two colours do you imagine might be bad to use together in order to allow a male to make a decision? Now if your site, or app makes the following statement, “press the green button to exit” you’ve failed the colourblind test. If you happen to have a red AND a green button, you need a slap to boot.

For the record, I drive, and I can happily use the red, green, amber traffic lights. The reason? I can see their position and I can tell the difference of when they are on or off. If you are using lights, and they are red and green, that’s a problem. I can’t play laser tag by the way. I can’t tell when a single LED is trying to tell me that something is wrong unless the state is on/off or on/flashing – not green, red, amber.

If you have a colour legend for a graph or diagram, I’m going to be in trouble unless you’be managed to find enough different colours to represent each of the elements. Not shades of green. Not reds and green. Let’s say I even manage to distinguish the colours on the diagram, by the time I look across the page to look at the legend, I will not be able to associate the colours on the legend to the colour I just looked at unless you have used light blue and dark red.

I present to you the London Tube map, I struggle to use it. But one small change would make the map work for me; it’s not changing the colours, it’s adding the name of the line, either at the end of the line, or on the line somewhere. Then I could just trace my finger along the line until I find the name I need to know. It will take me longer than you to work it out, but I don’t mind, I can live with that. I’m just happy that I can now use it to find my way around.

We don’t generally direct people to a building, give them wheelchairs and say, experience how someone in a wheelchair will experience your building. We generally know that if you have steps, or high things that need pressing, or thin paths and doors etc, your building is not wheelchair friendly.

So let’s not focus on what I see, but on how I use your site. If you can avoid using colour as a decision process, then do, if you can supplement it with something else that isn’t a coloor, that will help. That way you won’t need to overly worry about your choice of colours, and I won’t either.

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It’s been a while…

I haven’t spent much time on my personal blog lately. Mostly I’ve been writing on The Lords of Midnight Blog.

I’ve managed to release two games in the last 18 months, something I need to be mindful of. I have to remind myself that that is no small feat in itself, even if the financial rewards don’t back it up, the personal satisfaction does. Although, it can become quite frustrating when you are a single developer and in direct contact with your customers. Every negative comment cuts like a knife. Every problem is amplified. I find myself rushing around trying to release fixes and updates.

I’m also working about four different contracts. That can be difficult when you are juggling your time. I spend a lot of time with my laptop in hotel lobbies, bars, and restaurants, so much of my evenings are filled with work and not pleasure.

When both worlds collide you get a perfect storm, and I end up mentally exhausted and lost.

If I was writing a Novel or a Film, I would say it is difficult to find the scenes that drive the plot forward, but some of them do in an ever so small way. Maybe I just have to question the plot. I miss the family terribly. And even though I know that I wouldn’t spend that much more time with them if I was at home, their social lives being what they are, and me still being busy, but still, that fleeting amount of contact makes a big difference.

As I transition away from The Lords of Midnight and Doomdark’s Revenge, I am trying to move over to working on my Novel, The Lily Wood Trail. I spent some time working on it  last night, and realised that my writing is now so rusty that I think I might need to get a Tetanus jab. I’ve committed myself to getting a first draft written by the end of the year so I need to get myself up to speed very quickly. It could just be that if it’s tedious to write, then it is likely boring to read…

It’s also difficult to not think about new game ideas, but I really must try hard to park them. I have Timbles to finish first…



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