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How "His Dark Majesty" has been created?


The idea to create "His Dark Majesty" came to me after playing the Reign of Swords during a long journey. Some years ago I played "Advance Wars", "Ancient Empires", "Final Fantasy Tactics" and other games of this type and I liked them too. I started to think how the AI works in this kind of game and after a few days I had a working proof-of-concept demo. The AI was so fast on a modern computer, that a big battle (AI vs AI) took less than one second. It was not challenging to work on it any more, until I found a CC65 compiler a few months later. I realised, that the AI can be ported to 6502 CPU. That was more fun!

The first Atari version (July 2009) was very slow and did not have any graphics. The simple view of memory was not very intersting for anyone but me. But it worked! I belived that the game can be great but I was not able to convince anyone to help me with this project. Therefore I had to create the graphics by my own. Therefore the first version of tiles was very, very ugly :)

Having the static screen was not very exciting, so I used those terrible tiles to show what is happening on the map. Still no user interface was done and only sample AI vs AI demo battle was visible. I could not stand this ugly graphics and not beeing a graphician it took me two weeks to create something better. It got some attention on the Polish Atari forum, but still nobody wanted to help.

The working game with user interface had to be created. I pixelated a few more icons (ugly again) and did the joystick control. I also created animated attacks that imitate fights seen in jRPGs. Finally the first demo of player versus AI was available to play!

The time has come to create a story and a campaign. I wanted to create a story of loyalty, hope, determination, friendship and fighting for freedom. Well, Mel Gibson had more resources to tell it "Braveheart", but I did my best to tell a story in 8bit world. I hope you will enjoy the plot.

I have been calling for help for a long time and a few people answered, however they resigned probably seeing the amount of work to be done. However in September 2009 Adam 'Powrooz' Powroznik answered my call and started to work on the graphics. I was extremely happy to see that, because his work in field of 8bit graphics is amazing. He started to do graphics for the intro, outro and then he fixed all the graphics that I have prepared.

In August 2009 I read on the the interview with Jakub Husak, who was the most known musician involved in game development in Poland in the nineties. I asked him if he would like to compose something for my game. He refused. I was not surprised - he has not been doing 8bit music for a long time. I was shocked a month later, when his first tune for the game intro was ready! Then Jakub did the in-game music, outro music and all the sound effects for the game.

At the end of November 2009 Marok joined the team and started to work on the intro. The main idea was clear, but there was a hundred of details to discuss... The intro changed a few times before it got to the current form.

Krzysztof 'Kaz' Ziembik started to work on the chapter graphics. This is a great amount of work (23 pictures to draw) and not all of them are ready yet. Therefore they are not included in the current version.

Then the hardest part came - to finish the game... Many hours have been spent to remove all known bugs in the code, fix the language (Shawn Jefferson) and balance the game (thanks to Xeen and Andys for testing).

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