Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Lords of Midnight: 8 bit remake returns

I have some good news regarding my old remake of The Lords of Midnight on Android.

First a reminder of the context. You may recall that Chris Wild and Mike Singleton worked together on an update of the Midnight saga with a planned release on iPhone and iPad. That was before we all learned the sad news that Mike had passed away last year.

After that, Chris finished off the game - albeit at an understandably reduced scope - and he released it on iOS and then later on other platforms.

This new game is available at, and is a much more ambitious update than my 8-bit-style nostalgic remake. You really ought to check it out :-)

Before this all happened, I had created an unofficial remake of LOM on the Game Boy Advance and then later ported it to Android. It was pretty naïve of me, and Mike asked me nicely to remove these as they were using his copyrighted stuff, and would cause confusion for the upcoming official versions. This I did, and these ports have remained unavailable since.

Then a couple of weeks ago Chris got in touch with me. In a rather generous move, Mike's sons have given me permission to re-release the Android port. They feel it is important for as many people as possible to play the games their dad made. Because of this, "The Lords of Midnight: 8 bit" - as it is now known - is available now on the Google Play store!

If you had installed the previous incarnation you may have noticed an update. Apart from the usual Android build system updates and associated yak-shaving, the name has been changed to reflect this new deal. I also fixed some graphical hiccups that were more obvious on my 7" tablet test device, as well as adding the obligatory higher resolution icons. The other noticeable change is that there is now an extra splash screen that says that this port is released under licence (from the Singleton family) with the address of the official website at

I ought to state that this does not indicate a free for all on Mike Singleton's games. The copyright and trademarks are still the property of the Singleton estate. While I have been granted permission for the release of this one port, it is under licence with the understanding that the game remains free and that I "do no evil", so to speak.

What a nice and unexpected early Christmas present, eh folks?

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Blogger Themes That Break With NoScript

Blogger Themes That Break With NoScript TL;DR: here's a Blogger Feed bookmarklet to fix some blogger blogs that fail to load if you're using the Firefox add-on NoScript. Read on for the usual waffle.

I use NoScript with Firefox, and occasionally I'll find a link to a blog that just shows the NoScript icon and a handful of broken links. For example, a recent post on hacker news linked to a security blog post describing a technique to avoid using dangerous C functions with GCC. With NoScript, all I saw was the following:

This is because a new-ish Blogger theme is a big JavaScript application monstrosity that loads the text of the article via an asyncronous call, but does not gracefully degrade for those of us without scripts enabled. The owner of this particular blog has since switched from Blogger to Wordpress, so it's moot in this case.

A poster on HN wrote a bash shell script that downloads the blog, gets the corresponding feed and spits it out in HTML. This is a good idea. However I think that copying the blog link over to a terminal, running the script and then opening the resulting HTML page in the browser is a bit of a pain. Even for me.

Enter some 90s technology - the bookmarklet!

Simply drag the Blogger Feed bookmarklet onto your bookmark toolbar, or right click it and save as a bookmark. Next time you are faced with a NoBlog you just click the button or bookmark and it'll take you straight to the blog's JavaScript-free RSS feed version of the post. I imagine that this will work until Google shuts down Blogger and tries to force us all onto Google+.

In addition, if you want to have an icon for the bookmarklet, here's a tip cribbed from this superuser post:
  1. Find a regular link (without JavaScript) for the website with the favicon you want.
  2. Add that link to your bookmarks toolbar as a regular bookmark.
  3. Finally, change the properties of the bookmark you just added and change the location to be the actual JavaScript bookmarklet you want (you want the location from the bookmarklet that doesn't have the favicon).
These steps turn the bookmark from step 2 into a bookmarklet with the desired favicon and JavaScript. Here's a capture of the bookmarklet with the Blogger icon that I use:

Sadly, if the Blogger blog uses a Feedburner RSS redirect, then this trick doesn't work. However if that's the case then you're probably better off not reading their particular brand of propaganda anyway.