DUNGEONS & DOOMKNIGHTS: An 8-bit AdventureQuest for the NES
Created by Artix Entertainment, LLC
Battle through a new 8-bit "zeldavania" game in the world of AdventureQuest. Available on a real NES Cartridge and emulators.
Latest Updates from Our Project:
D&DK Update... The Cartoon Edition!
11 days ago
– Sat, Jun 12, 2021 at 04:04:00 AM
D&DK Update... The Cartoon Edition!
Greetings and salutations 8-Bit Undead Slayer,
Today's update post include great news on Dungeons and DoomKnights progress-- and weird AI created cartoons!
Because.... Seriously, is there a better way to deliver 8-bit game dev news than with these creepy uncanny-valley looking pictures?
Final Dungeon - DONE!
The Dragon's Lair - DONE!
Frost Lich Keep - IN PROGRESS!
See. Even my son's lite bright re-creation of 8-bit Daimyo is made horrifyingly weird with this.
Here is the reference sheet if you happen to have a light bright or something and want to do the same.
Here is the original pic for reference.
Since school ended, Aidan (lvl 6) has resumed helping me work on the game. Although, his sister is the only one that likes designing levels. His primary function has been recommending we add "MORE DRAGON HEADS". Which, in fairness pairs nicely with the existing theme of "MORE SKULL!"
Want to take a guess what his favorite Godzilla monster is?
On the topic of Dragons... the Dragon's Lair is now complete. Thanks to help from Dale Coop, I was able to make the fight on the backs of the dragons exactly what was originally envisioned. (Semi Spoiler: It ends on the ground... sorta.)
"Danaaa naaa naa naaa... i'm LAVA'ing it!"
I am working through the Frost Lich's Keep now. I was "talked down" from making it a frustrating as heck lever puzzle. You can thank both Glisel and Clarion. Because this is the 3rd to last dungeon and you will have most of your skills-- going to focus on making you put all those skills to good use.
Bug Fixes & Features
Dale Coop has done so much for this project. We have become super good friends. Here is a cartoon picture of him. If you have not already check out Dale's son's game, Kubo 3... you should definitely do so.
Reflect Shield Skill bug fixed - under some circumstances the reflect shield skill appeared on the wrong side of your character
Reflect Shield Skill no longer uses mana (Feature) - Reflect those projectiles all you want!
Double Death Sparkle bug fixed - We have a death sparkle. A previous fix caused there to be two. But there "can be only one!"
Warping screens after a Dialog bug fixed! - We can now chain dialog cutscenes (which I needed for the end of the game and lots of other places)
Monsters can now have their loot disabled (feature!) - This was a really nice feature to have. It was primarily added because I added Chuckles to the final dungeon and his head ends up on the ground. But if he dropped a spirit skull pickup, it sorta looked like his head which made it a little confusing.
The game now has 3 endings!
I am SUPER excited that the final dungeon of the game is complete and tested. The tester-backers in discord gave some legit kudos on some of the rooms. If 10-year old me played this game and got to see the inn... he would have needed to change underpants.
The final boss fight with the DoomKnight Sepulchure is a mutli-parter. Clarion re-drew the DoomBlade and updated all of the art with it. He also re-drew the transformation cutscene and created multiple versions of some of the monsters you will see at the end. It a feel good skull-filled finale of doom.
I CANNOT WAIT FOR YOU TO PLAY THIS!!!!!!!
And you will play it soon! It should be possible to play the game from the start to the end by next Thursday. Then, we will need at least a week of bug fixin' and clean-up before.... The BETA ROM release!
(As I post this, I am grimly aware that the universe is listening... and is probably scheming brand new exciting problems to hurl our way. But no matter what challenges we face... we are taking this game to the finish line.)
If you need me.... I will be drinking extra hot coffee to stay warm while wading through the snow-filled Frost Lich's lair this weekend.
Cartoon Artix and the D&DK Team
P.S. Are these cartoon images cool or creepy?
Sneak Peek! "The Final DoomKnight Dungeon"
26 days ago
– Fri, May 28, 2021 at 07:52:39 PM
Sneak Peek! "The Final DoomKnight Dungeon"
Greetings 8-Bit Undead Slayers,
Have you heard the story of the flying undead dragon castle?
You can see it... sitting upon the top of the mountain in the blood red sky.
Rumors say that the DoomKnight built this castle upon the skeleton of the largest dragon that ever lived. Then... he raised that dragon skeleton from the dead.
Experts on the subject of Necromancy all agree that it is capable of flight, even with the castle on its back. Once the DoomKnight has finished gathering his army of the undead, he will take it to the sky... and nothing will stop his undead assault.
This week we have been working on the DoomKnight's castle-- the final boss dungeon! Before I get your hopes up too much-- I am still working on the fire and ice dungeons too. But the light at the end of the tunnel gets much brighter with each day. (Or should we say the darkness at the end of the dungeon?)
...cause this game is getting dark.
The DoomKnight's Castle
The final castle of the game is a boss gauntlet. You will face the unique boss monsters from the game again... but if they were in "adventure mode" before, now you will encounter them in platform mode. It makes the experience horrifyingly different.
I am being super nice though. Once you beat a boss monster it will mark the room as complete and you will not have to fight that boss again. So as you clear rooms in the castle you can just continue walking through it. I welcome any of you crazy elite gamers to do the entire boss gauntlet in just one life-- I could not even make it through the first three! O_O.
Thank goodness for the Save Feature
Also, our game has a save feature. Both the carts and your digital ROM allow you to save your progress at any "Save Book of the Dead". I had a talk with one of my lifelong friends who backed the project (and gives me hell every week on your behalf for it not being released yet) who was surprised that the cart supported the save feature. It is a pretty big game. You are going to need it.
Multiple Choice Ending
At the end of the final dungeon, you will have to make an extremely important decision. If you are a long time fan of the AdventureQuest games, I think you are going to appreciate it. If you are new to our games, then I hope you find it fun and that it piques your interest to follow where one of the endings lead. I already talked to the AdventureQuest Worlds and AdventureQuest 3D team leads about it. I am a little concerned about space for the ending. If I am unable to fit both endings on the cart... I have a unique "above and beyond" solution that no old school game has ever done before (because it was not possible back then.)
Clarion sure did draw a lot of different axe options! The in game axe is known as the "Blinding Light of Destiny." The 8-bit version of it in game received an art upgrade this week. It is weird how adding a little shading and shape can make your character feel so much more powerful! The swing just has... heft to it now.
Bug Fixes & Improvements
Dungeons & DoomKnight's code base is SUPER STABLE right now. All major known bugs have been fixed.
All monsters are now in the game & working
New monster: Fire Imp
New Monster: Eyeball Train
New Monster: Fire Plume
Added room for 8 more NPCs (but a few of those will be used for things you can interact with that are not characters)
Added art for the Dragon Gate Portal
Art upgrade on Artix's Axe
Added a work-around that allows you to fight Dragons in platformer mode.
Created a new special tileset for platformer floors (with SKULLS!)
Re-did Gravelyn's sprite sheet for her cutscene. Using our alt-graphic banks we can use it in... other places :D
Random "diagonal throwing of axe after jumping" bug has been fixed
Also, the throwing the dog at an angle bug has been fixed (it was technically the same bug)
Dale Coop fixed an issue with our AI that caused all Monsters to stop moving when hit.
The Sandsea area, and its pyramids, boss, and rewards are now 100% complete.
Updated Release Schedule
My #1 priority is finishing Dungeons & DoomKnights and sending you a BETA ROM. This will be a test version of the entire, complete game. We will be ready to do this after I finish these 3 remaining dungeons and clean up a few overworld things.
Once the game is fully tested we will flash the boards, assemble them in your carts, and at long last, ship your complete in box games! (That day cannot come soon enough.)
Thank you for making Dungeons & DoomKnights possible. I hope it goes down in history as being one of the biggest, funnest, most surprising, and humorous "new" old games ever made.
P.S. Thank you to Nasylum and Animee from the D&DK backer tester discord for proof reading this post!
P.P.S. The funniest part was when Nasylum had to fix the spelling of his own name in the previous sentence X_X
Vacation... to 100% work on Dungeons & DoomKnights!
about 2 months ago
– Mon, May 03, 2021 at 01:18:19 AM
Vacation... to work 100% on Dungeons & DoomKnights!
Greetings and salutations 8-Bit Undead Slayers,
Feeling the unbearable pressure of our timeline, I just took an entire week off of my day work... to work 100% on Dungeons & DoomKnights.
Today is the end of that 11 day work sprint. (days 8 through 11 were the weekends on both ends.) Between you and I... it was really nice to be able to focus on just one thing. Up till now, I had been working on D&DK every night and on the weekends. But we needed a big push to move this to the finish line.
So I treated this past week like a game jam. The production results matter more than the hours put in... but Monday was a 12 work hour day and it set the pace for the sprint. I made a whole lotta D&DK progress. But nothing short of being done was going to really satisfy me.
The Vampire Castle, and its highly prized wall meat is now complete. Making the wall meat work required some re-coding.
Actually, we re-arranged a lot of stuff, including the monsters. We added a Vampire Lord monster. You will encounter him as the second mini-boss in the castle. He is a ranged fighter that hides behind his Vampire Knights and casts a small fireball spell at you. Although, you only have to hit him once. Then he turns into his bat form.
Once again, I want to give a huge shout out to the super testers in our D&DK Backer Discord server. We are now on ROM #169. It is insane how good they are at testing every tile, finding every bug, and exploiting the living heck out of new rooms XD. So if you see Caddeus, Ululat, QuincyDao, Animee, RelaxBleu, TechnicStudios, Jbyrd, Slajerek or the other regulars... be sure to give them a digital high five!
On the topic of bugs... Dale Coop fixed some new ones the testers found! Also some improvements.
New Feature: "Change screens when the last monster is defeated"
There are a few places in the game that warp you to a cutscene or the next part of the fight after all of the monsters in the room are defeated. It used to do this instantly.... Like, the second you hit the monster on your killing blow... before the monster even seemed to finish getting hit, "POOF!" you teleported. But we re-did the way monster death works so there is now a controllable delay. It feels sooooo much better.
The Large Projectile Bug
There was an edge case where.... Projectiles would literally get stuck if they hit the edge.
Monsters were secretly double dying when you defeated them resulting in some of the weird sparkles and monster summon issues. This has now been fixed!
The Pyramids of the Sandsea
There are three Pyramids in the Sandsea Desert. Rumor has it the secret to the undying Pharoah's eternal life is in the third one.
We wanted to do an Indiana Jones-style boulder experience... you know, you take something or pull a lever and then a boulder starts chasing you. It was so cool that we got a little carried away. Also...
I made an elevator!
This was probably my favorite moment working on this game! Now... we are NOT using bank switching. All our graphics banks are already full of stuff! So to pull this off, I had to get super clever....
I created this tile block and used palette rotation!
Yeah... the elevator effect is because I use this tile as the background. The red-green-blue colors are just paint masks. I can set them to be anything I want. In this case... I set them all to black! Except one. I make ONE the brown color. Then... I rotate the brown to each color. The end effect is it looks like the wall is going down.
The 1st Pyramid is officially my favorite dungeon in the game. It is... really unique. Because you do not reach the desert until after the 50% point of the game, it is really cool to have a new experience. The way skills & things unlock in the game is pretty satisfying.
The boss fight of the 3rd pyramid is pretty cool. I figured if you did all of the work to unlock it, you should be rewarded with a little treasure room and then go straight to the Boss Fight. Right now, the fight is too hard (even for me) so we will be playing around with that this week.
Squeezing that giant boulder into the desert monster sprite sheet was fun. Here you can see every sprite needed for the Sandshark, Mummy, Royal mummy, Pharaoh, Serpent Spirals, Scarabs, and the pieces of mummy-wrap that certain mummies will rip off themselves and chuck at you. I love Clarion's pixel art. The only monster bank I have left is the fire/chaos one.
The next ROM test will be for Pyramid #2 which will feature Boulder/Bat puzzles, and then the Fire Cave where you learn "Weapon Throw". I am pretty amped for the fight scene on dragon back.
Then, to complete Dungeons & DoomKnights we just need the Frost Castle and the Final DoomKnight dungeon.... (and a whole lotta polish.)
Interview with an 8-Bit Vampire
2 months ago
– Thu, Apr 15, 2021 at 10:22:12 PM
Interview with an 8-Bit Vampire
Greetings and salutations 8-Bit Undead Slayers,
We have been making huge progress towards our goal of finishing and sending you the Beta Test Rom.
As I write you today's update, Dungeons & DoomKnight's overworld is explorable and full of monsters, we added a brand new song, our two big remaining bugs have been fixed, the invulnerability time after being hit has been significantly increased, and now we are neck-deep in finishing the interior of the Vampire Castle. A pretty good two weeks!
Read on for details...
The Vampire Castle
The Vampire Queen, Safiria, awaits you at the top. Between you and her... a castle full of vampires, ghouls, ghosts, bats, and savory wall meats.
When we attempted to interview Safiria the Vampire Queen, we received no comment. In fact, we have not heard back from a single reporter sent to interview her yet. Do not worry, we have plenty more journalists to send in.
This is what I am working on tonight as I write this update to you. Originally, the Vampire Castle was waaaaay too big. It ate up nearly a quarter of the total size of the underworld and was filled with redundant rooms. Which makes sense, it was one of the first dungeons ever made for Dungeons & DoomKnights. It is now a solid 33-ish screens of fang filled adventure with both adventure and platformer sections.
New Song "Frost Byte"
Jongaar created a new track called Frost Byte for our Frozen North area. It is a beautiful and fitting ear-worm that I cannot get out of my head. We finished up the Frost area last week, introducing a small sky jumping puzzle that unlocks the Mirror/Ice smash ability allowing you to access the Frost Lich's Castle.
"I am deeply amused by your commitment to making sure there's wall meat in this game, Artix." - Clarion, 2021
I realize we are on a deadline crunch here, but I am still tinkering with the best way to implement Wall Meat. Currently, it can replenish both your health and spirit energy... but it would be better if it actually hurt you until you acquired some sort of way to properly digest it. A sprinkle of holy wasabi might help it settle in your tummy better. Thoughts?
iFrames, or "Invulnerability frames" is the number of frames of animation your character is invulnerable after being hit. Based on feedback, we increased your iFrames... a lot. So standing inside a monster will no longer seem to insta-kill you. This also makes the heal skill more useful, because you can now heal faster than you can take damage. (Which, of course is balanced by your very limited pool of spirit energy.)
The 2 remaining major bugs have been fixed!
As of the last post, there were only two major bugs left in the game... thanks to the hard work of Dale Coop and an insane amount of testing by Caddeus and the other testers, I am excited to announce *knocks on wood* that both are now fixed!
#1 Graphics Memory Corruption Bug (Fixed!)
There was 5% chance that after you opened a door by killing monsters, that re-entering the room would cause a weird graphical glitch. This may sound like a small issue, but it was horrible when you encountered it. Also confusing since it could cause the door to look like it had closed again! What was the problem? Short answer: The code was taking too long to scan all of the tiles for the things that needed changed, and then change them. The solution? Dale Coop did his 6502 Assembly Language magic and rewrote the code that scanned for and changed tiles on a screen. Now it does everything in a single, super efficient pass.
#2 The Rock Smash Teleport Bug (Fixed!)
I often joke that "I am not allowed to code anymore" but after this bug, I was literally told to stop coding, O_O (...or at the least send any code changes over for review.) What happened? Well, I made some changes to "optimize" monster death. And... under certain situations, slaying a monster would silently mess with the wrong memory locations causing other things to break in completely baffling, unpredictable ways. Like... slaying a monster while running into a certain breakable block would cause you to randomly warp. This has now been fixed... likely solving some of the other weird things we have seen happen in the previous, uh, 100 test ROMs of the game XD (Achievement unlocked!)
Production, testing, & Shipping Schedule
My top goal is to finish and release Dungeon & DoomKnight's Beta Test ROM to you and the other amazing backers. Then, we need heavy testing before we green light a release candidate and start flashing the boards on your carts. We will only get one shot at making the carts, because the 1985 NES does not give us the ability to do a hotfix patch XD With the overworld looking pretty good, we are currently hard at work on finalizing the dungeons of the underworld. Our pixel artist, Clarion, has dived into actually working on setting up the screens with me which has been a huge help!
Oh, you can see how big the Vampire Castle used to be on this (officially out of date) map. Overworld is on the top, underworld is on the bottom.
Dungeons & Underworld Tasks
The underworld push includes the Vampire Castle, Tower of Magic, 3 Pyramids, Frost Lich's Castle, the small underworld part of the Chaos Labyrinth, and those "one off doors" which you will discover across the world.
We want to have the Vampire Castle up for backers testers on our Discord server by Thursday night.
The "No Joke", April 1st Dungeons & DoomKnights update!
3 months ago
– Wed, Mar 31, 2021 at 11:40:52 PM
The "No Joke", April 1st Dungeons & DoomKnights update!
Greetings 8-Bit Undead Slayer,
Our top goal was to get the overworld explorable from the start of the game, through each of the major areas, and to the DoomKnight's flying undead dragon fortress by April 1st....
Behold, the Dungeons & DoomKnight's overworld and underworld maps! Also, um, spoiler alert?
The top half is the overworld, and the bottom half is the current dungeons... although, just like the overlord did last month, the dungeons are about to get a major overhaul during the next 30 days.
After working on this so hard for so long, it feels so good nearly being able to walk all the way through the start of the game to the end. We are soooo close. We are adding a new song to the Frozen North and an upgrade to your axe that will let you break windows (or ice... close enough) which is required to access the Frost Lich's tower.
Meanwhile, a lot of the "backtrack shortcut" areas have been added. As you progress in the game, it gets easier and easier to return to previous areas using these bat/boat/teleport shortcuts.
For the past two weeks, the focus has been a frenzy of overworld work. But we have had some happy little discoveries and made other minor improvements too. We upgraded the art for our "Monster Locks". Clarion changed the perspective on them so they matched the angled view of our world better. It also sticks with our important persisting theme "MORE SKULLS!" We also changed the quick sand so it is very obvious when you will sink.
The Time Table & Testing Schedule
Hey Testers! We are ready to start rapid firing ROMS into our D&DK testing Discord server again. Our first goal is to do what we did to the intro and greenguard forest for the rest of the Overworld areas. I would like to dedicate the next week to that.Then, we will dive into the dungeons starting with the Vampire Castle.
Thank you, and Battle on!
I sincerely appreciate all of your support for the creation of our project. This game is... very weird. That is, it does not play like one game. True to the "Zeldavania" genre we tagged it with, Dungeons & DoomKnights is a chaotic mixture of unusual gameplay... laced with "bit"-sized humor and things that are special to you and the rest of our video game community. If nothing else... the finished game will be a very unique NES game! XD