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:
New Dungeons & DoomKnights Demo ROM!
8 months ago
– Thu, Jan 28, 2021 at 12:02:43 AM
Greetings and salutations 8-Bit Undead Slayers!
We have just finished testing our 101st ROM on the tester Discord server. To celebrate this important milestone, I am excited to release the new backer-exclusive Dungeons & DoomKnights DEMO ROM! You can download it on Backerkit.
(Not a backer yet? You can still pledge until the physical carts are shipped at www.DungeonsAndDoomKnights.com. Pledging for the digital version or above will get you access to our backer-only discord testing server. We have 35 Gold Carts left if any existing backers would like to bump their Gray carts up to the Collector's edition gold.)
Onward, to the progress update...
It has been way longer than usual since our last update post, and I really want to thank and reward you for your patience. As evidenced by everyone watching on the D&DK Discord server, we have had our nose to the tomb stone... erm.. grind stone.
More Dungeons and DoomKnights in your Dungeons and DoomKnights!
The last month has been a herculean push to get Dungeons & DoomKnights towards the finish line. This new intro demo reflects the vast improvements and hard work of the team & testers.
The early parts of Dungeons & DoomKnights have been redone using the newest art and features. I know that I am building this game for you to enjoy. It is equally important, that in my heart, that this game looks and feels like... well, like it does now! My inner 10-year old voice is screaming that it wants to play this.
About the new ROM
The new demo available for download contains the first part of the game.... It is the first part of the story and represents about 15% of the game's overworld map. We really want your feedback!
New Fixes & Features
There is only one known major bug left in the game. I want to give another MAJOR shout out to Dale Coop for the insane amount of time he spent coding fixes for the deep bugs. (Be sure to check out his 7 year old son's NES game, Kubo, on Itch.io)
Fixed more small bugs than an insect zoo veterinarian!
You now get to fight that guy from the beginning of the game :D
Music and Sounds now works properly
One-Way jump tiles when jumping in platformer mode
New monsters than can spawn minions
Pac-pac-pac skull collection screens for maximum retro reference XD
Levers can now be permanently switched to their on position (So players do not immediately use them again causing certain doom.)
Monsters no longer overlap on top of Dialog text Boxes
Monsters no longer summon their minions into walls...
Monsters "skins" from the alternate banks can now have different AI
Skeletal Archers can now shoot their arrows properly (they were REALLY bad at it before.)
Some NPCs will act as a check point after talking to them. So if you die, you will respawn back in their room instead of the beginning of the game O_O
Daimyo the Undead Slaying Pomeranian can no longer fly. (But you will be able to throw your axe to places he cannot go.)
The D&DK Discord
I really want to thank all of the amazing testers on our discord server. We have created and tested over 100 ROMs together since the server opened.
Would like to give special recognition to....
They have gone above and beyond, testing with us nightly... and on several occasions up til 4am hanging out with us O_O. It has been a lot of fun. During early testing, we were focused on specific parts of the game. But everyone kept finding ways to "jump the walls" and escape to explore the other parts of the world XD.
World Record Speed Runs!
Here is the current world record for running the new intro ROM from start screen to the win screen.
QuincyDao - 5:19
Can you beat it? If so, send us a youtube video link to the Kickstarter group or join us on the D&DK discord.
Music & Sound FX fixed!
We have been having a lot of trouble with our sounds & music. Simply swinging your axe would bork our GGMusic sound engine. So we asked our friend (and new 8-Bit Hero from the recent ByteOff competition) CutterCross for help. He immediately spotted some issues with how we were canceling notes, and also showed Jongaar tricks to reduce the size of our music files. Our music bank was FULL. But after his changes we freed up.... not making this up...
He freed up half of the music bank ($1B) space O_O
CutterCross is a genius. We now have twice as much space as we did. Jongaar, who does our music, is currently re-adding the songs and song parts we removed and composing a bonus track.
Ghosts & Moglins
Dungeons & DoomKnights is my obvious love letter to the things that inspired me when I was little. Knowing that the vast majority of players will never make it to the end of the massive game world (but they should >_<) , it is important that the intro be as packed with as many dark, funny, and funny moments as possible. The goal of this intro is to introduce the characters, and set up the adventure that is about to follow.
Also, I wanted to make sure that the early parts of the game were suitable for the newest generation of (retro) gamers. Thankfully, I genetically bred a few just to test the game.
As a grown up (physically, at least) in the present of 2021, I really want a fun game experience. And that experience should not include wandering aimlessly or mindlessly grinding. So when "re-mastering" the intro, I kept this on the forefront of my mind.
It is my hope that you find this intro to be an enjoyable retro gameplay experience that makes for a very satisfying sitting. At the end... I hope you are salivating for the full game which is coming next.
I flashed a cart and played on my childhood NES. It runs soooo smooth on the actual hardware! Also, I absolutely love our save feature. (I need to plug it into a better monitor that does not force that widescreen aspect ratio, but still... this is super fun to run on the actual console.) I cannot wait to send you the final game.
Our goal is to have Dungeons & DoomKnights completed by April 1st (NO JOKE!) and ship the moment it is dubbed "bug free." The best way to help us reach this goal is to play the new demo and send feedback, bugs, and also the things you liked.
Really hope you enjoy the new backer-only ROM. Today's release is the biggest and most important milestone of the project yet. After intense months of working on problems, bugs, features, and more moments of staring into the abysmal pit of game-dev despair than I would like to share... it is all finally coming together.
Happy Frostval 8-Bit Undead Slayers!
9 months ago
– Sat, Dec 19, 2020 at 01:40:54 AM
Happy Frostval 8-Bit Undead Slayers!
Wherever you are, I hope you are warm, safe, and slaying the evil forces of the undead.
It has been 2 weeks since we opened the Backer-Only discord server for testing. Since then we have released.... 50 Testing ROMs!? O_O Each one was a micro-test focusing on a small area, group of monsters, feature, or fight. If you backed this project through BackerKit, check the Discord portion of this post later down the page on how to join us.
Time for your progress update!
Behold the entrance to the Vampire Castle. Home to Safiria, Queen of the Vampires. In our most recent test, we have been focusing on unlocking that gate.
In the screenshot above you see Gravelyn (pronounced Grave-Lynn). She will be your guide through most of the game. When you see her, you always know you are going the right way. (Or possibly the wrong way XD)
She received new art!
Previously, I shared the improved the art for Death (The Grim Reaper). Seeing that the monster and the bigger NPC art no longer matched, Clarion (our pixel artist), redrew Death. But then... our main characters no longer matched. F.J. (our map maker and also well known pixel artist) said "hold my moglinberry juice" and re-did Artix & Gravelyn.... without even telling us XD
They look so much better! (Crazy how every pixel matters)
I feel Gravelyn is so much more expressive and lively now. Considering you will be seeing her on screen more than any other character, this really ups the art of the game.
Hard to tell that crazy look in her eyes that she has in his year's Calendar XD
Gravelyn is at the center of all my major 2021 projects. So much that she is the keystone of this year's calendar. It is available at www.HeroMart.com and shipping now.
Talking about physical merch....
We received the 12"x18" Dungeons & DoomKnights posters from the printers. It was drawn by Dioz (same artist who did the calendar) and painted by Dage.They look GREAT! Professionally creased so they will fit perfectly in your package.
Needless to say, I have been stressing over our long past due deadlines and working crazy hours to get the game ship-ready. But after seeing what happened with CyberPunk 2077, I am now more worried about sharing that fate. Thankfully, the testers on our Discord server have been finding hordes of bugs and issues that we have been aggressively fixing.
Join us on the Dungeons & DoomKnights Discord Server
There is a lobby for everyone, and also a VIP Backer-Only testing area
At this time, we would like to invite everyone who is interested in the project to join the Dungeons & DoomKnights Discord server. This server is dedicated just to this game and its development (Not the other Artix Entertainments games, if you would like that, you can find the Artix Discord Server here)
The Dungeons & DoomKnights discord server has a lobby for everyone to hang out and talk. If you are a backer from Kickstarter or BackerKit, send Clarion a message and he will verify you as a backer, awarding you the title of "8-Bit Undead Slayer" which will grant you access to the testing area.
A core group of testers have sort of formed that are extremely good at running through the ROMs (and jumping the walls to sneak around unreleased parts of the game XD). It is pretty casual, very spoiler filled, and generally a good time. If you are interested in this sort of testing you are welcome to join us. If you would like to wait for the full game to be released simply resist the urge of peeking in that room XD
Horrifying new 8-Bit Monsters & Discord Testing Server!
10 months ago
– Sun, Dec 06, 2020 at 11:14:34 PM
Horrifying New 8-Bit Monsters & Discord Testing Server
Greetings 8-Bit Undead Slayers!
It is a skull crushingly awesome week for Dungeons & DoomKnights. Clarion and I have been on a roll. We have been in crunch mode, up every night working on D&DK till 1 to 4am. We have new monsters, new areas, better music, and we just opened a Discord server that you can join if you are a backer who wants to help test! (The official invitation link will be in the backer-only post which immediately follows this one.) The first tests are going to be some super basic monster tests. Because we added a bunch of new monsters and played musical chairs with all of the monster banks-- need to make sure the basic stuff is still working. Read on....
New Monsters & Monster Art
Shadow Lord (Updated art)
Skull Serpent (New Monster)
Seed Spitter (New Monster)
Undead Archer (New Monster)
Undead Mage (New Monster)
Necromancer (New Art)
Hand (New Is it right... or left? XD)
Spider (New Monster)
Bouncing Skull (New Monster)
Chompers the chompy Skull (New Monster)
Big Bones Collector (New Monster)
"Flame on!" Skull (New Monster)
Frogard (New art!)
Death (New art!)
Zombie (Updated art & animation)
Lich (New Casting art frame)
Old vs New skeleton
We added and improved a bunch of the game's monsters. The new skeletons are sooooo much better than our previous ones! We did more than that...
Crunching Monsters into Memory Banks
The NES has a super tiny about of memory for Graphics. At least, compared to today's video game systems. That image above is our total space for monsters at a single time. In this "Undead Pack" you can see the skeleton, undead knight, necromancer, flaming skull, and some fireballs and giant skulls. Of course, this image was blown up. Here is the actual size...
I honestly find squeezing the monsters into these sheets to be really fun. But it is very challenging determining which monsters will be grouped together. The Necromancer and Skeleton need to be on the same sheet, because the Necromancer summons skeletons. Now their death crawl out of the ground looks more intentional.
There are two types of skeletons. The ones that crawl up out of the ground, and the sort that just sorta lurch around. It also makes sense to pair them with the Undead Knight. An Undead Knight mini-boss and a few minion skeletons makes a lot of sense. However, it is not possible to have the monsters from this sheet on the screen at the same time as something located on another sheet... for example: the undead archer, chicken cow, dragon, or lich.
With the "still relatively new" alt-banks feature, we now have roughly twice the amount of space for monster graphics. So Clarion remade death to occupy the same huge dimensions as the Lich.
"If only we could exclusively create the dark parts of death with Dead Pixels"
Rebuilding the Graphics banks (We need to test this!)
I do not want to get too technical here, but over the past two week, I organized, optimized, and re-built all of the graphic sheets. (Sheets, tilesets, texture atlases... whatever you prefer to call them.) Which means, I had to rebuild all of the animations too. Which was a great opportunity to free up some animation space (we were pretty much out) by removing animations that were either too big or less important than an entire other monster. The end result is really good. But oh boy do we need to test it.
We need to test every monster... every direction... every attack. Think I will make a bunch of mini-ROMs with one monster each for our 1st test. Because I broke all of the current monster groups, I will need to re-add them back to all of the maps. That is probably a good thing too. With the new monsters, some might naturally fit better.
The music sounds sooooo much better! Jongaar spent 13-ish hours re-mastering the chip tunes for Dungeons & DoomKnights (The actual game music, not the heavy metal remixes). Then we spent more time together figuring out how to squeeze one extra song onto the bank. What we know now, versus what we knew at the beginning of this project is like night and day. He has a little clean up left on two songs, then we are going to be doing a final lock down on our music and SoundFX.
What is the new song? We have officially added the song "ChronoKnight" to Dungeons and DoomKnights! Since we already did a heavy metal remix for it, it will go nicely with your rewards. It is almost my favorite boss fight music... ever.... O_O EVER!
Remember how I said we ran out of space in our code bank?
Dale Coop freed us up ~3K of code space!!! The morning after I made the last post, I woke up to a freshly posted patch file from Dale Coop. I thought we were tapped on bank switching, but he did some clever magic freeing us up plenty of space for more scope creep.... <_< Do not worry, we will just use this for essential monster stuff and emergencies. It is time to finish this project.
Shadow Vision now only affects the underworld (because certain areas in the overworld were turning dark when you did not have the skill XD)
The mysterious skull floating on the title screen has been exorcised!
The shoot at player script now uses proper direction (before those Undead Archers were shooting arrows in silly directions.)
The player will always face right when entering a cutscene. (before, it was possible to make your character face the wrong direction.)
Axe no longer teleports to random places when you die.
Corrupted Tile after beating a boss monster has been fixed (Bank Switching error)
Modified collision so the player will not get stuck if they move down onto a screen that has exactly the player's height worth of space.
Fixed my mislabeled AI code which was causing monsters to do completely wrong things O_O
Fixed the connection between the intro and Greenguard forest... the dialog now only plays once, and allows you to freely go back and forth between the dungeon and the forest.
And, of course... Dale Coop freed up ~3K of code bank space!
Other notable news
Today is Clarion's birthday! (Happy birthday)
The Ultimately Gilby and his wife just discovered they are now expecting Player 3! (Congrats guys)
Jongaar and I recorded some video at the lab on Thursday... we got a super unusual request from TheNew8Bit Heroes. When we find out what it is used for... I will link you!
Join us on the testing server!
Immediately after this one, there will be a backer-only message with an invite to our testing server. The goal of this server is to test small blocks of the game, one piece at a time and work out the bugs. Step #1 will be verifying backers, which we will have to do manually. Thank you in advance for your patience. Clarion offered to handle this responsibility, so you can message him when you join the server.