Riamel: Black Prophecy

1994 Steve Postma

Platform: Commodore Amiga

Riamel was a follow up to Lords of Time, which was created by Steve Postma back in 1994. A very exciting RPG that would span 3 disks, but sadly didn’t seem to get experienced as it should have been.

For years, a demo has been floating around, but even that was quite obscure and not within the usual channels to download and check out. Within the demo, it talks about how you can send off for a full copy of the game – though it seems that it may never have reached any hands.

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Darren Gurney was doing some detective work back in 2018 regarding Lords of Time, contacting David Joiner regarding the title as his Faery Tale Adventure game was very similar. He created a post regarding his findings.

Darren was then messaged about his post from someone who had completed Lords of Time, and wanted to ask the developed Steve Postma some questions. After searching high and low, they found him – but during their investigations, they stumbled across a video of the rare demo of Riamel.

Suddenly, it became about trying to see if anything more could be preserved. Steve confirmed to Darren that the game had been completed, but only a handful of copies ever got out after deciding to move on after the bankruptcy of Commodore. However, he didn’t have anything apart from the source code.

After some nudging, Steve got his dev machine up and running, but had issues trying to compile and get everything going. Thankfully, his brother came over and brought lots of copies of the game. Then Covid-19 struck, meaning it would be a few years until everything was able to be posted to Darren.

In June 2022, Darren finally received copies of the disks and the manual and has been able to fully preserve the game, so it can be properly released and enjoyed for the first time.

So after years of investigations and much patience, here it is for you to enjoy after being missing for 27 years. And further on is a bonus Q/A session that Darren did with Steve about his work, which includes some details about his time on Riamel.

To load, you will need to first load Workbench and ensure that you have more than 1Meg of memory available. The game should work on all Amigas. Darren also mentions that when installed on hard-drive, AGA owners might have to use SETPATCH before execution to turn off FMODE (otherwise graphics might be garbled) There are options for installing to hard-disk if you don’t fancy swapping disks.

A huge thank you to Darren Gurney for his amazing preservation efforts, True Lokharn (Greg) for helping to find Steve Postma’s brother, and also Steve Postma for very kindly entrusting with his work and allowing its preservation.

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Gallery

Short Q/A with Steve Postma (courtesy of Darren Gurney)

1) How did you get in to programming?

I think I was in 5th or 6th grade and my Dad came home with a Vic 20.  I learned Basic first and often entered in the code for simple games from magazines (at the time they would post pages of numbers you could enter in to get the game, hoping you didn’t make a mistake).  After that I had a Commodore 64, Commodore 128 and then finally the Amiga.  As I got older I taught myself assembly language and that is what I wrote Lords of Time and Riamel with.

2) What machines did you use for development, graphics, sounds etc?

I did most of the development on my Amiga 1000.  If I remember correctly the graphics were done with Electronic Art’s DeluxePaint and I recorded the sounds using a Future Sound audio digitizer.  I also had the Live video digitizer which I used to capture still images of action figures which I then later edited and coloured for use in the game.  Certain other images in the game were also taken from either photos or drawings I had done and then captured using Live

3) Was the Amiga easy to program for

It wasn’t like it is today where you can look up answers in a few minutes on various websites.  I had to order the programming manuals from Commodore and then struggle through the documentation.  It was particularly difficult for me to get different aspects of the blitter working in conjunction with the interrupts to achieve the speed I needed.

4) Apart from Lords of Time and Riamel, did you create any other titles for the Amiga or any other systems?

Nope, those were the only two.  I finished Riamel right around the time I graduated university and started working full time.  Sitting in front of a computer for 8 hours a day took the fun out of programming in the evenings and I moved on to other things.

5) How long was the development on Lords of Time?

It was probably about 3 years although the first year was spent working on the various techniques I would use to do the graphics and learning how to use the blitter.

6) Did you encounter any major technical obsticals  during the development of LOT?

I struggled really hard to try and get the flow of graphics smooth as the character walked through the world.   I think I got it working fairly well in the end but there are times there is a slight pause as you walk from one frame to the next.   The music was another weak point of mine – I wish I could have gotten somebody to write me some decent music for the game  (the music in there is just something I cobbled together – I was never very good in music class).

7) Were you at all influenced by any games at the time

Some of the games I liked to play at the time were role playing games such as Bard’s Tale and Ultima.  Like you, I also enjoyed playing the Faery Tale Adventure.  Combined they inspired me to write my own game.

8) When did development finish on LOT and begin on Riamel

The development of LOT was wrapping up sometime in 1991 and then I immediately launched into Riamel.  Since I had learned a lot with Lords of Time, I had fun pushing the boundaries with Riamel, making the interior scenes 3D and improving the graphics.

Unfortunately by the time I was done Riamel, Commodore had gone bankrupt and no one wanted to bother with it.  I tried publishing it myself but only ever sent a few copies out.  My life may have unfolded differently if they had had something like the App Store at the time.

9) Do you play any games at all?  if so..which ones.

The games I play today are usually ones that I can finish pretty quickly since I don’t have the free time I used too.  Some of the games I’ve enjoyed playing over the last few years were iOS titles like World of Goo, Monument Valley, The Room, etc.

One Response to Riamel: Black Prophecy

  1. Wow, that is very good news. I have played demo and I have seen that topic on English Amiga Board. I remember that game starts from some questions, You can answer them bad and game starts. I wonder where those questions related to player stats or was that some kind of copy protection?

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