The third part in Mike Singleton’s legendary Lords Of Midnight trilogy, eagerly awaited by many.
Eye Of The Moon left off from the previous chapter, and had Morkin searching for the Eye, a device used to look into the future, so the dying Luxor could see what would become of his kingdom.
The game was twice as big as Doomdark’s Revenge, featuring twelve kingdoms, each with its own sub-game. See details from Mike Singleton himself about the game which are thanks to Martyn Carroll.
Mike Singleton had intended to write it back to back with Quake Minus One, but the latter proved a more mammoth task than expected. The release of Quake, coincided with BT’s buy-out of Lords/Doomdark’s publishers Beyond, and Mike was asked to write their Star Trek license, and after that Dark Sceptre – Eye Of The Moon was put on ice. At the time, a C64 version was being developed in tandem by Dave Ollman. At this point the game hadn’t got too far, but a mockup shot from the Spectrum did surface (which can be seen under the scans area). Development froze at the same time as the Spectrum version.
Newly appointed graphic artist Andy Elkerton had created a loading screen around 1988 to try and encourage Mike to get the game completed, but it was never to be. Eventually the idea of the 3rd C64 chapter was closed for good as Mike moved to pastures new.
Many of the ideas from his game were used in Mike’s 16-bit classic Midwinter II – Flames Of Freedom, so the original game all but exists only in his later games which sadly never made the C64. Mike had always intended to come back to the game, but in the end wrote LOM III:The Citadel for the PC in the mid-90’s.
When Dave Ollman was quizzed about the conversion by Richard Hewison, sadly he could not recall much about the development at all. He is hopeful that something COULD exist of his development version, and last year he passed some old Maelstrom disks to an old colleague to sift through.
Could this be something that is someday found and shown? We shall see!
Contributions: Ian Osbourne, Ross Sillifant, Richard Hewison, Andy Elkerton, Mike Singleton, Martyn Carroll, Wobble
Mike Singleton talks about Eye of the Moon to Martyn Carroll:
“Eye of the Moon was partly in development following Doomdark’s Revenge. It was to feature an even bigger map (128×128) and I planned for the complete game to feature 12 different kingdoms, with a sub-game to win in each one before you can actually get the Eye of the Moon itself.
There was an actual map, largely generated but hand-coded to give a more realistic feel. I also had done quite a lot of work on new graphics, which would introduce more variety, so that, for example, each castle would look slightly different to the other castles, allowing you to recognise a place by sight, in theory at least. I had also been working on introducing colour into the landscape itself, using the same sort of masking principles that went into removing colour clash in Dark Sceptre.
And that is about as far as it went. In a nutshell, Telecomsoft took over Beyond and wanted to change the terms of the contract so that I personally did the coding for both the Spectrum and the C64 version but for no more cash than the advance that had already been agreed for just the Specturm version. I refused and they used their get-out cancellation of contract clause.
I always intended to find another publisher for it, but Maelstrom Games was taking up too much time.
So, it’s still waiting to be done and one day…”
[I then asked Mike if anything of Eye of the Moon remained]
“As far as I know, nothing exists anymore. I did have a map print-out (in colour too), and I had prototype Randscape graphics running and working but all of this was still on cassette tape (maybe microdrive too, can’t remember to be honest). I kept a large cardboard box full of over 100 LOM source code tapes for years and years but that finally got abandoned when I left England for California. God knows what happened to the paper map.
I guess the only real remnant at the moment is some of the names of the realms in The Citadel, which I snatched from my Eye of The Moon map. But Citadel was never intended to be Eye of The Moon, I just liked some of the names.”
Andy Elkerton talks about Eye of the Moon:
“”Eye of The Moon” was something Mike was thinking about before I joined Maelstrom, but obviously never came to fruition. Your article is right when it mentions that Mike got distracted by other projects; another one that he often talked about (to the extent that I actually did a loading screen in 1988 to fire his imagination) was a game with the working title “Dawngold”.
I think he saw it as being another title along the lines of Lords of Midnight. That too was brushed under the carpet when he started to concentrate on 16 bit machines and his ideas for Midwinter.”