Development Diary

Lords of Midnight for PalmOS

This is the home page for my PalmOS port of the Sinclair ZX Spectrum classic, Lords of Midnight.


Lords of Midnight is a fantasy first-person strategy game, originally written for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum in 1984, by Mike Singleton. This version owes a huge amount to Chris Wild's DOS port, and the information on his Icemark site.

Mike Singleton has graciously given his permission, and I only hope I can get the game finished and do it justice.

I thought the game was a good fit for the Palm, with its static screens, turn-based nature and small memory size, although there will be some difficulties reworking the UI and fitting everything onto the screen. It is also a game I have very fond memories of, and thanks to Chris Wild, plenty of information about, so it seemed a good choice as a project to expand my PalmOS programming skills.

I started work in September 2002 but, after making some good progress initially, got pretty bogged down converting the DOS Assembly to C. Later, I decided to change tack, and try to get features working on the Palm one-by-one, which seemed a more productive way of working, but has left things pretty untidy in the later stages. Other projects and Real Life have continued to get in the way, but I haven't abandoned this and will get it done one day.


Tech preview

midnight.zip (48k) - Requires PalmOS 3.5 or greater.

v0.71 - 2004-05-31 - Theoretically playable, but very much an alpha. As seen on the Retro Gamer 5 cover disc.

v0.10 - 2003-04-05 - Added the people and creature graphics.

v0.091 - 2003-03-17 - Thought of a better way to handle darkness on non-colour devices.

v0.09 - 2003-03-16 - Added the passage of time, including night graphics and the night screen.

v0.07 - 2003-03-04 - Fixed it to work properly on greyscale devices.

v0.06 - 2003-02-27 - Fixed some text and selection screen bugs. Changed the scenery graphics to bitmaps.

v0.05 - 2003-02-15 - Added shield graphics and the character selection screen.

v0.04 - 2003-02-09 - Added the name and description text.

v0.03 - 2003-01-26 - Not all that much changed on-screen, but quite a lot of new stuff going on behind the scenes.

v0.01 - 2003-01-06 - Initial release. Install both midnight.prc and midnight.pdb on the Palm (or emulator).



A full description of the gameplay and goals will probably appear here at some point, but for now this section just contains a basic description of the control system.


To move around the map, either tap the main part of the screen as shown below, or use the movement icons in the icon bar.

Turn Left 45° MOVE Turn Right 45°
Turn Left 90° Turn Right 90°
Turn Left 135° U-turn 180° Turn Right 135°

Icon Bar

The bottom of the screen contains the icon bar, which gives access to all other parts of the game.

Icon Bar


Choose. Brings up a list of options for the current character, allowing recruitment of men and characters, hiding, fighting and searching for useful items. The options available depend on who or what is nearby, and sometimes this screen will appear if you try to move while unable. Use Look to return to the main screen.


Think. Brings up the Think screens describing the character and location, including details of other forces in the area. Tap again or tap the main screen to page through the information. Use Look to return to the main view.


Look. Return to the main landscape view from one of the other screens.


Move. Move forwards if possible. The same as tapping the centre of the landscape view. Sometimes the Choose screen will appear if movement is not allowed (eg. you are hidden).

Pan left

Pan Left. Turn left one compass point (forty-five degrees). Same as tapping the top left corner of the screen.

Pan right

Pan Right. Turn right one compass point (forty-five degrees). Same as tapping the top right corner of the screen.

Select character

Select Character. Choose another character from the currently available selection. There are four to begin with, and many more to be recruited.


Map. Show a rough map of midnight. Tap Look to return to the main view. This feature is not yet implemented.

Go to night

Night. When all characters have moved, tap this icon to end your turn and allow Doomdark's hordes to move.


Save/Load. Save and load games, or start a new game. Save and load are not yet implemented; the current game is automatically saved.

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