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:

What 'Elsa' can I get done before the Hurricane?
about 1 year ago – Thu, Jul 08, 2021 at 04:01:29 PM

What 'Elsa' can I get done before the Hurricane?


Greetings 8-Bit Undead Slayers,

As I write to you, it is 3:00am on Tuesday night and despite asking her to just "let it go", Hurricane Elsa is on her way to visit us in Tampa. She is currently a pretty weak category 1 storm. Power outages from hurricanes are about the closest we get to a snow day down here in Florida. I am finishing up the last screen of our Chaos Well dungeon before doing an offsite backup of Dungeons & DoomKnights just to be extra safe.


Our goal remains releasing the Beta ROM to you as soon as possible.


Here is the D&DK progress since the last post....


  • Ending 1 is functional (Some art & screenwork still needed)
  • Ending 2 is functional (Some art & screenwork still needed)
  • Ending 3 is done
  • 10 new songs added by Broomtool and Jongaar O_O
  • SoundFX have been remastered
  • The Mage Tower is 100% complete
  • The Chaos Well is 90% complete
  • Xan the Pyromancer now teleports for his fight
  • Restructured/Fixed early parts of the game that were using hacky code...it is now using new, more proper hacky code.

New Music & SoundFX Improvements

Remember when we ran out of space in the music bank, but then CutterCross showed us how to optimize it and we freed up nearly half the space? Well, Jongaar & Broomtool filled it with new tracks and SoundFX! They also learned how to use some new fancy pants sound features. The new songs and SoundFX sound amazing. They went back and cleaned up a lot of the original tracks. I am so proud of them and the music in the game.


New Songs


  • SadNES (Voted best name for an NES song. Also... it is sad)
  • Heroes Rest (The "You got a new power song")
  • Town of Battleon
  • Subterrane
  • Polyhedron
  • Boss 1 (This is where the good naming apparently stopped)
  • Boss 2
  • HeroMart (Stores get a theme song!)
  • Lich Battle
  • Bad Artix

Old songs

In case you were curious....


  • Dungeons & DoomKnights theme
  • Symphony of the Knight
  • Crypt Crusader
  • Despyramid
  • Labyrinth of Chaos
  • FrostByte
  • Villains of Time (The ChronoKnight Boss song)
  • Heart Beat (new and improved)

Are we there yet?

Oooooh. This is the part of the update where I complain about how hard everything is, and how real-life problems keep jumping in my way and.... Pffft. Just kidding.  I am so grateful to be able to work on and finish this game the way I envisioned it. It is a big game. It is also pretty weird. When I was little and playing games like Zelda, I really wanted to be able to freely explore with the boat. So, in our game, once you get the boat it opens up tons of places to go and use it. And you are free to go anywhere. Also, I wanted to fly. While bat form may be a strange skill for a "paladin", it is super fun and... might even make sense plot wise at the end. Flying will help you get into some very interesting places...



The reflect spell is now in the Mage Tower. It lets you block and reflect projectiles back at enemies. Originally it cost spirit skulls to use.... But it is WAAAY more fun just to be able to use it whenever you want. I highly recommend getting it as early in the game as you can. But you will have to defeat Xan the Pyromancer to get it. Figuring out how to just get to him is hard enough! When you do... beware of his teleport ability. Also the giant fire balls. OK, mostly the giant fireballs.



The Chaos Well is located just north of town. I have spent at least 8 hours re-re-re-re-designing the screen it lives on... plunging me into actual madness. It was really tricky transitioning from the green grassy areas to the purple tentacle areas. Once you fall down the well (Pro tip: just hurl yourself down all the wells in this game... they are all dungeons.) you will quickly find that you made a terrible, terrible mistake. This well requires some skills and powers to defeat that you will not find until after you stumble on it. I always enjoyed when games give a little previews of more challenging areas. Then when you get the skill you think "Ooooh! I can use this new skill to beat it  if I go back there." Which feels really good.



With all the endings structured (which means they actually work), I am no longer scared of "Oh no, what if we run out of space!?" Not any more. With all of the important stuff allocated, now I am free to blow our remaining bits on anything that would make the game better. Which means I have been blowing through them like crazy.


As I review the areas, I keep finding missing stuff, new bugs that were created as the result of fixing something else in the game, and things that really deserve a little improvement. The only way to do this and verify everything is working, is to crawl through the game from the beginning. And that is exactly what we are going to do. This week, after the Chaos Well testing, we are going to start the mega clean-up game crawl.


Once the game is cleanly beatable from start to finish, then we will at long last release that glorious backer-on Beta ROM. Once it goes through your trials by fire-- and we have a release candidate, then we will flash and start shipping the physical carts.



Thank you again for your incredible patience and support. It is my sincere hope that you play it and say, "Oh yeah, this was 100% worth the wait."


Battle on!

Adam (Artix)


P.S. Oh. some peace of mind. Your physical carts are stored safely inside a category 5 hurricane rated building. So unless you see wind speeds of 245+ mph, we should be good.


www.DungeonsAndDoomKnights.com



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D&DK Update... The Cartoon Edition!
about 1 year 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?


PROGRESS UPDATE

  •  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!!!!!!!

I was specifically told by several team members NOT to post this screenshot.

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.)

This is where I sit when I work at home.

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. 


Battle on!

Cartoon Artix and the D&DK Team


P.S. Are these cartoon images cool or creepy?

Sneak Peek! "The Final DoomKnight Dungeon"
about 1 year 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.

The DoomKnight's Castle int he distance

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 Vampire Queen fight... but in platformer mode!?

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.

Save book of the dead

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.

"Let's see what's behind door #3!"

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.)

"Axe-cellent!"

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.

Perfect picture of the worst timed reflect skill usage ever XD

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.
     
When a project is Draggin on, get on Dragons!

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.


Battle on!

Artix and the D&DK team


www.DungeonsAndDoomKnights.com


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!
over 1 year ago – Mon, May 03, 2021 at 01:18:19 AM

Pyramids of the Sandsea

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.

A quite place to focus on building the game

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.

"The Un-Pharaoh"

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.

"Where's the (wall)-Beef?"

The Vampire Castle, and its highly prized wall meat is now complete. Making the wall meat work required some re-coding.

Organic, Non-GMO, 100% Corn-Fed Wall Meat

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.

"Fang you very much!"

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.


Double Death!

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!

He is a cheater! He always plays "Un-Pharaoh"

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!

"Lift your spirits!"

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!

"What!?!?!?!?!"

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.

This is what the art looks like in the game's memory if you look in the PPU

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.)


Looking forward to sending you the next update.

"Getting closer... Go! Go! Go!"

Battle on!

Artix & the D&DK Team

www.DungeonsAndDoomKnights.com

Interview with an 8-Bit Vampire
over 1 year 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.


Spoiler alert!

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. 

Wall Meat

"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?

More I-Frames!

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.

If you need me... I will be in the underworld.


Battle on!

Artix & the 8-Bit Team

www.DungeonsAndDoomKnights.com