By Chris Wild, Jure Rogelj and Mike Singleton

Announcements and Notes
Tuesday 14th September 2004
Here are some screenshots showing the new UI. One also shows of the new sun. We've played around a lot with the effects layers. There are now different suns and moons depending on the time of day etc.

Monday 28th June 2004
Some of you will already know, that Jure is back on the project. We have been reworking all the graphic handling of the engine for ddr. We are creating everything in 24bit with alpha, and using a patch system to allow images to be made on the fly. This allows for every graphic to respond to its environment. The upshot is large variety in the landscaping and tunnels. Here are a few screenshots.

Thursday 19th February 2004
Well, it's be a long time coming, but I placed a new pre-alpha version of the Midnight Engine on the site. I have re-written a lot of the engine to allow it to be easier to use by other developers. The frontend is now all 32 bit with alpha's. The start of a DDR scenario is with the product, but just to allow artist to start developing graphics. I will update as I add all the little features.

Wednesday 11th September 2002
Just wanted to say that this project is hopefully still going to be finished. I have not done much work on it over the past two years due to time constraints caused by starting a family and work. I do intend to finish the project and intend to get back to work ASAP.

Wednesday 16th August
Version 0016 of the engine is finally available. A few bug fixes for possible DirectX problems and a finalising of the scenario code.

Sunday 5th March
Version 0015 of the engine is now available. A few bug fixes, but the main addition is the character memories for the AUTOMAP.

Wednesday 16th February
Version 0014 of the engine is now available. This is a small maintenance release as I messed up a few things in the last version.

Thursday 10th February
Version 0013 of the engine is now available. This has some updated graphics from Jure and some fixes. 

Thursday 6th January
Version 0012 of the engine is now available. This has some updated graphics from Jure, some fixes and some new features. The battle system is almost correct - but please keep me informed. 

Friday 17th December
Version 0011 of the engine is now available. This has all the bug fixes that have been previously patched plus most of the newly reported bugs since the last version. Unfortunately this version is the full install as it has had a large number of graphical changes - but I can assure you, you'll think it worth it. 

Sunday 28th November
I have upload the full install version 0010 of the engine. This has all the bug fixes that have been in patch versions over the last 11 days. If you have been patching since version v0007 you only need the v0010 patch. Thanks to everyone who has helped with reporting bugs.

Tuesday 17th November

the ruin of coroth

Well it's been a long time in coming... but the latest version of The Midnight Engine is finally with us!
New graphics! - Thanks to Jure Rogelj.
The Load and Save is now implemented - apart from saving over old save games ( which just happens without prompt! ).
The Launcher program is implemented. This allows you to set the Frontend, Scenario and graphics mode. The frontend and scenario all give the same result at the moment... but the mechanic is now there.
The Launcher can load a save game from anywhere on your drive and load the required scenario as well as the game.
A few bug fixes.

Thursday 6th May
I've not got as far as I wanted with this release. ( Seems to be the story of this project ) Anyway, this versions has most stuff except the load/save. Please read the .doc file for detailed information. I thought I'd upload this because it is almost a month since the last version and just incase I get further behind with the load and save, at least something is up.

Wednesday 21st April
My time has been pressing me of late and I have been working on WinLom in the morning before work 5:30 - 7:30. So progress has been slow.
I am currently systematically working through some of the features that are missing or need tidying up and hope to have a new version within a week or two. This version should be the 1st Beta of the WinLom99 scenario.

What I am hoping is that this version can be played by as many as wish to and I can get good feedback of what/where the bugs are.
I then intend to leave this version in beta for the next month, this will give me enough time to evaluate the engine and work out the areas I need to address to allow the Doomdark's Revenge scenario to work correctly.
The engine is currently already *very* configurable through the access database and all manner of different things can be done with it. I just need to fix up some of the idiosyncrasies of DDR. About the only thing that can't easily be changed at the moment is the map. This requires an editor which will come later.

I want to take the next month off as I need a break from WinLom and I want to refresh some areas of my web site, which I have neglected lately.
After that month I will resume work to finish off the Midnight Engine and start on the editor. ( ie: unless someone wants to take up this task! )
I will probably release this first version of the source code to allow others to look at it and we can start the process of fixing up the areas that don't make it portable etc. With this version anyone interested in building new scenarios should be able to make a start and get a general idea of what they can/can't do. This will all help for improving the engine further.

Again, if anyone has any noticeable areas that DDR is different than LOM I would be interested to know.

Monday 8th Feb
I've not had much time to code for the last week or so and I've had to re-code a few areas in order to restructure. This was to allow me to separate out my standard library stuff from the rest of the project. This now gives me the front-end, backend and library setup.

Everything is now back up and running - except text and night processing
of doomdark.

The night processing is missing because I never finished it in the first place and the text is due to not wanting to use certain proprietary graphic formats.

To explain:
I have a lot of code and utilities which handles generic graphic stuff, which I have used from company to company, project to project. I chose not to use my own sprite/graphic format and stick with BMP's, mainly because you would need all the utilities to add graphics to the engine and I cannot distribute them. Not to mention the fact that that particular utility isn't very pretty - plus I'm not using any of the features that the graphic format/utility gives.

All this is fine, except for the fonts. I have routines that alpha edge blend/anti alias the fonts to give a nice font smoothing affect.  So in order to use these fonts and allow others to change them I need to re-code a simplified version of my font maker. ( time time time )

I will stick in a windows font for now and fixup the font util later. The text won't look as pretty - unless anyone knows how to get Windows GDI to render a font to a DDRAW surface with font smoothing on! ( I just couldn't get that to work last time I tried. )

Anyway, enough rambling... I'm hoping to get a version up on my site for
you all to look at by Sat 13th Feb.

Sunday 31st Jan
Since my announcement of WinLom99 the scope and rules of the project have changed, and thus I think it important to clarify my thoughts on the subject.

The project shall now be known by the term "The Midnight Project" and this will include;

1. The Midnight Engine ( back-end )
2. A Default Front-end
3. WinLom99 Scenario
4. The Editor

In order to facilitate the release and actual fulfilment of the project, a basic skeleton of the engine (alpha1.00) will be released with the Lom Scenario ASAP.

This will allow me to evaluate and structure all future enhancements, features etc.. accordingly.

The database for the LOM scenario will be in a format that is easy to modify and understand but will only be the basis on which the project will grow. No detailed specification will be implemented or suggested.

The editor will follow later when a better overall picture is available. This will allow for further consultation with all would be authors. Maybe someone else may want to take on this part of the project.

Nothing about the project is or will be fixed by the release of alpha1.00 I just want to place the project out into the public domain as quick as possible to allow for a gradual but better development of the engine. It may even be that certain elements of the engine may be hard- wired at this initial stage until better analysis has be given on the first release. I will however try my best to avoid such issues.

In order to get to actual alpha1.0 I may have to ignore bigger scope suggestions; but don't think they will have been dropped I will just have to feel my way through this initial stage.

Monday 1th Jan
May I first point out that; I hope this doesn't conflict with or cause problems with anyone else doing a LOM conversion. Please email me directly if this does. I just thought it important to make my intentions clear.

As you are all aware from previous postings or my Web site etc. I have always intended on doing a Windows Version of LOM. I have bitted at this since 1991 ( time of the conversion! ) and started and restarted a number of times. Some of these versions are currently being used by others to help with their conversions or have proved more than a little useful in explaining how LOM works.

I finally sat down a few weeks before Christmas to start looking at the new version. I mocked up a few screens (will try an put on web site soon ) and wrote the basis of the following document - I then wrote the skeleton code of the system which has pretty much everything apart from a few night features.
I then took a Christmas break.

I'm about to start the process again and thought I would post this document for your comments before I get too entwined in the project.

Tower of the Moon