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:

Dungeons & DoomKnights Progress, Kubo, and the New 8-Bit Heroes
about 1 year ago – Sun, Jul 26, 2020 at 11:59:05 AM

Dungeons & DoomKnights Progress, Kubo, and the New 8-Bit Heroes

Greetings 8-Bit Undead slayers,

Hope you enjoyed the previous special post #50 telling the story of the DoomKnight, Sepulchure.

Now, here is your regularly scheduled Dungeons & DoomKnights update post!

3 save books? Only one of them is real... which one do you try?

D&DK Progress Update

It has been 3 weeks since I hired that time management coach with the sole task of helping me complete and ship Dungeons & DoomKnights without compromise. >_> It is working.  It feels like I made more progress in the past few weeks than I did during the last year. Most devs would probably not make a public post that they needed some coaching help to bring out their A-game and get back on track, but I want our relationship to be 100% transparent. I am absolutely committed to the success of our retro video game project.

  • Magic Warp Ability - players can now unlock an ability that will warp them between special runes in Chaos Labyrinth.
  • Daimyo physics - Your undead slaying pomeranian ally now works properly on platformer screens (not sure if you tried this, but the issue was pretty comical)
  • Stone Smash Skill - now works correctly on both adventure and platformer mode and smashed stones will show the correct background when gone
  • Tentacle, Sarcophagus, and other special item break skills now working properly
  • Lava damage can now be assigned to work anywhere that there is water.
  • House Interiors - are now "platformer style" (still altering art)
  • Greenguard Forest (19 Overworld screens)
  • Vampire Graveyard (13 Overworld screens)
  • Pyramids of the Sandsea (25 Overworld screens)
  • Ebil Dread Forest (16 Overworld screens... still needs some clean up)
  • Caverns between Darkovia and Sandsea (11 Overworld screens)
  • Tree Monster boss art complete (Also, new pine tree art)

My next one week sprint is to clean up (finalize) the art for the screens between town and the DoomKnight's Castle that lies in the hills to the North.


Design Philosophy

It has been pointed out to me on multiple occasions that our D&DK overworld map is HUGE. Often followed by "We are busy gamers... how are you going to make sure I am not aimlessly wandering around, lost and not sure what to do next?" Other people are worried about back-tracking, or lack of exploration. For example,  "I want to find happy secrets and be rewarded for doing things that other players who beat the game never found." This is so important... so the design philosophy of Dungeons & DoomKnights should intrigue you.

Dungeons & DoomKnights is a big game for busy gamers. It is intended to be fun and rewarding. The world unlocks, granting you more freedom as you gain more powers. Beating an area will unlock shortcuts allowing you to skip most of the backtracking. You will find prominent characters in the game will be standing at important areas of the game until you solve them. Then, that character will move to whatever the next major objective is. This is a strong visual clue as to what you are supposed to do next.

Going out on a limb here, but this guy is the root of all evil.

Each of the strongly themed areas in the game has one major goal... and always a boss monster inside a dungeon. Save points are typically located at the entrances to major new areas and on the first room of big dungeons. (Oh how I love the save feature!)  In the overworld, you can normally "peek" at the dungeons & places you are supposed to go, making your quest just figuring out how to get to the entrance. If you played the intro demo, you have already seen this philosophy in action. The rest of the game expands on this idea. There are, of course, some areas you DEFINITELY want to return to once you have acquired new skills or completed quests. The Town of Battleon and that cliff at the very beginning of the game being very important ones.

Was a sunny day on Sunday, so did a little photoshoot with the kids.

Celebrating some victories!

Would love to share some other victories happening around the NES development community.

Kubo 3 by Seiji... a 7 year old NES Developer!

Dale Coop is a core member of our team, and a very good friend. He has helped solve our biggest technical challenges and written most of the custom code for Dungeons & DoomKnights. Another fun fact... his son is the youngest NES dev on the planet! Read this amazing article about them.

https://www.videogamesage.com/blogs/entry/169-episode-2-kubo-3/?ct=1594753899

D&DK featured on the June 2020 new 8-Bit Heroes Showcase
One of our major goals was to seek a seal of approval from the creators of the NESMaker community. Being featured on their showcase is one heck of a step in the right direction!

https://www.thenew8bitheroes.com/post/featured-user-june-2020-adam-bohn

Space Raft for the NES hits 100% funding in 24 hours

Another friend from the community just launched a game for the band Space Raft yesterday. They hit 100% funding in less than 24 hours! There are 30 days left if this is your jam...

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/spaceraftnes/space-raft-nes?ref=user_menu

Packaging Planning

I have also been working with Stryche from our online shop, www.HeroMart.com, on getting the packaging, print materials, T-shirts, etc ready for Dungeons & DoomKnights. As you may recall, we already have all of the carts and boards (we are officially sold out of the gray carts as of the previous post). He had a few questions for you....

QUESTIONS!

  1. Would you like a world map in your instruction manual?
  2. Are you open to a more unique box option? We have found some interesting, and more future proof boxes that we are leaning towards.
  3. One of our stretch goals was a signed instruction manual. Two people indicated that they did not want their instruction manual signed... what if I included "something else" in the box that WAS signed instead? (Backers of our Moglin Kickstarter probably know where this is going XD)

Battle on!

Artix

https://www.Artix.com


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Legend of the DoomKnight!
about 1 year ago – Sun, Jul 26, 2020 at 11:58:50 AM

Artwork of Sepulchure (Pronounced "Sep - Pul - Chur") the DoomKnight by Darkon.

The Legend of the DoomKnight, Sepulchure

Greetings 8-Bit Undead Slayer,

For our 50th update post, let us take a deeper look at the undead villain of our game's story... Sepulchure (Pronounced "Sep - ul - chur".... A little different from the word "Sepulchre", which literally means "stone crypt." We spelled it wrong intentionally, so that if you were to Google Sepulchure, you would only see images of the DoomKnight. Highly recommend trying it...)

Sepulchure

Before he sacrificed his soul to wear that cursed armor and talking sword... he was the King's greatest Knight, and the Queen's best friend. Together, long before they were royalty, they undertook a perilous quest to defeat an ancient evil and free the humans from the monstrous lords. His name was Valen. A true hero of the Kingdom.

Alas, Valen the Knight was doomed. Even if he had never found that wretched skull-hilted blade, his fate was sealed. The darkness had chosen him. It whispered to him from the shadows and infiltrated his dreams. Oh, sure... he resisted through the power of his oath, honor, and loyalty.  But it is so easy to twist and turn all three of those things against a good Knight. Especially when you know what their heart truly desires. The fates can be so cruel.

Ask any LoreMaster and they will defend the official story inked in the history books - that our hero’s former enemies kidnapped the Queen and launched horrific surprise attacks across the Kingdom. Doing his duty, Valen bravely lead the King's troops to protect the people. The pages will go on to say he and his troops heroically fell in battle that night, saving the Kingdom. That even facing certain doom against impossible odds, Valen chose to put the good of the many over the good of the... one.

But it was all a lie.

The real story is that Valen turned his back on the people of the Kingdom, and went to save the Queen instead. Many believe she was pregnant. Alas, Valen, breaking his oath and blinded by foolishness... he fell right into his enemy's trap. Just as it was designed for him. Valen and his troops were slaughtered without a fight. All but one. The old man who told me this story survived. He rode with Valen's troops that tragic night. By his account, Valen had suffered mortal wounds, but dragged himself from the battlefield with one remaining, desperate hope. To obtain that cursed sword and DoomKnight armor.

...And we know he did.

Valen did die that night. What returned in his place was the undead Champion of Darkness. The armor consumed him, granting what remained mastery over the shadows and unspeakable powers.  He returned and raised his former troops as Death Knights. They rode into their foe's lair, slaying everything and everyone in their path... and reanimated them too. Each fallen foe swelling the ranks of their army of horrors.

He had sacrificed everything he believed, and was... all for the Queen.

What happened next? No one knows. The Queen was never heard from again. This part of the story remains a complete mystery. At least, there is no "living" person who can tell the tale.

Nearly 18 years later, rumors started spreading that a castle was being built upon the skeleton of the biggest Dragon in the world. You can see it on the mountain in the distance. He is going to re-animate it too. Undead invasions were reported across the land. Organized skeletal armies marched -- carrying the red and black banner of the Shadowscythe Empire. Their destiny? To engulf our world in darkness. To end all pain, suffering, and war... with the eternal embrace of undeath. Now, this army of the dead is preparing to launch their final assault on Castle Swordhaven, and then the rest of the world.

All hail Sepulchure...

Long un-live the ShadowScythe....

But one question remains.

Who is that cute red headed girl we keep spotting in the window of the DoomKnight Castle?

Play the Dungeons & DoomKnights Intro Kickstarter Demo on BackerKit to find out.
https://dnd.backerkit.com/

Your regularly scheduled game progress update soon to follow!

Battle on!

Artix

www.Artix.com

8-Bit Battleon: "Home is where you hang your helm."
over 1 year ago – Sat, Jun 20, 2020 at 01:53:25 AM

Ooooh, the Dungeons & DoomKnights title screen got a little clean up and polish.

8-Bit Battleon: "Home is where you hang your helm."

Greetings Undead Slayers,

For nearly 18 years, players of the AdventureQuest games have begun their journey from the legendary home town of Battleon. You too will discover this town in your upcoming NES game, Dungeons & DoomKnights. Upon entering, you will be greeted by the friendly red moglin,Twilly and see the world-famous Yulgar's Inn.

Here is a peek of it in its 1985 "state of the art" aesthetic glory XD

Town of Battleon

"There's no place like hom.... The Town of Battleon"

This scene really captures the feeling of the town. If you knew how many times it was redesigned before getting here, I would be super embarrassed. One notable feature... is the cross-roads here, are EXACTLY at the center of the world. Which raises the question...

"So, if the world is a flat 2D grid, where's the edge, huh!?"

This is high comedy...

O_O

"Oh......"

Sepulchure the DoomKnight

In order to reach and defeat the DoomKnight, you will need to gain powers and abilities. The people you meet in town will help! (And do not worry, unlike the characters in the one of the games that inspired ours, the characters do not tell lies X_X.)

Every Hero is an Island...

Just be careful where you go when you find that chair board and start exploring....

Want to talk about graphics a little bit?

Above is a peek at everything in our 3 "background art" graphics banks. I printed out this handy sheet for reference and thought you might enjoy seeing it. Yup, what you are looking at is EVERY t16 by 16 pixel square tile that we can use to build backgrounds. We can only have one big one and one small one loaded from the same bank at a time (also leaving room for the hud and some specialty tiles) You might notice we have room for a few more tiles-- which will certainly be used.

Want to see it in action?

Neo... the 8-bit matrix has you.

Looking under the hood

The pic above is a snapshot of the NES's graphics memory (aka the "Picture Processing Unit") . This is what the town looks like in memory when you are playing it. You can do this too! My favorite emulator is FCEUX. It has tools like the PPU viewer which will let you look at things like the image above. Grab the demo from BackerKit and try it out.

Updated Dungeons & DoomKnights DEMO ROM coming!

Soo cool! A player sent me the photo above. They are running our demo ROM on a hand held device.

You can download the current Kickstarter demo from BackerKit now. There is a  new version is coming your way shortly. Since the last release, we added the jump attack, made the skill icon change when you switch to platformer screens, fixed a TON of bugs & glitches including that super weird one that would happen when transitioning between adventure and platformer modes. A new version will be coming your way soon. We are going to need A LOT of help testing before the final launch. Which brings us to...

Production Schedule!

It has been a long while since our last update post. Too long. But with everything that has been happening in the world, every time I went to write a hype-laden good news and progress post, it just felt inappropriate and tone deaf. Hindsight being 20/20 (A phrase that every major news site will be using for their year in review post), I should have posted something anyway. Even if they just read like stereo instructions. It is important that you continuously get updates on the status of your game project.

I really do appreciate your incredible patience and support of this game.

We are still on track to ship the physical game and all of the merch this year. For full 100% transparency, I (cannot believe I am actually telling you this) hired one of those success coach guys who specializes in time management for high performers. I have worked with him before to finish the project successfully. The first thing we did, was to do a full review of the Dungeons & DoomKnights project. He politely indicated that on the path that I WAS going, it would have "only taken me a decade or so" to finish X_X. (Hey now, I was not doing THAAAAT bad!) The new work schedule & mile stones should have us ready to test and ship in October without compromising any of the things I want to accomplish in this awesome game.

Instead of cats, the ancient Lorians worshipped Moglins

If you would like, I would be happy to share some of the things that I am learning (or re-learning in many cases). Concepts like "batching" -- where you do all of one type of thing instead of switching back and forth between lots of things. For example, previously I was editing one screen at a time. I would go back and forth between editing the tile art, the code, the color palette, and the room data in a non-stop vicious circle. This means I would work on a single screen for an entire night (or nights.) It is important to notice how much time it takes your brain to "switch gears" when switching between complicated tasks. Now, I "batch". That is, I do all of one type of activity at a time. If I am working on maps, I do a cluster of maps (i.e. the 3 Pyramids of the Sand Sea Desert above). When I do a room polish pass, I now go through and polish a giant cluster of rooms. When it is time to assign the room data... yup... I do a cluster of rooms. And finally, when it is time to add the monsters, I now do all of the "monster work" in a single batch. Needless to say, this way of doing things can be helpful to doing anything.

Delicious "wall meat" awaits you soon!

There are over 500 game screens in Dungeons & DoomKnights. Our overworld is about twice the size of the original Legend of Zelda. 

See you in the next exciting Dungeons & DoomKnights post.

Battle on!

Artix


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Popular Mechanics mentions Dungeons & DoomKnights?
over 1 year ago – Tue, May 05, 2020 at 08:44:46 AM

Dungeons & DoomKnights got a mention in Popular Mechanics! O_O

My jaw is still on the floor. Congratulations everyone! Your game project just got name dropped in the recent Popular Mechanics article "Cracking the Chip: How Hacking the NES Made it Even Better"

We were one of 5 games features on a carousel of new games for the NES. 

So crazy!

I am so eager to finish Dungeons & DoomKnights and get it in your hands. Currently, I am still finishing the Vampire Castle and the seemless horizontal "wrap around" of the world.  I will update you more in the next post.

Battle on!

Artix & the 8-Bit Order of Under Slayers

www.Artix.com/NES

Dungeons & DoomKnights Anniversary! Konami Codes, Heavy Metal Mixes, and Transformations
over 1 year ago – Wed, Apr 01, 2020 at 10:57:13 PM

Dungeons & DoomKnights Anniversary! Konami Codes, Heavy Metal Mixes, and Transformations

Greetings 8-Bit Undead Slayer,

Happy Anniversary! To celebrate... here is a WORLD PREMIERE of Jongaar & Broomtool's Heavy Metal remix, of the 8-Bit chiptune remake, of "Artix's Theme!"

Listen to the Heavy Metal Remix of Artix's Theme on YouTube

"Artix's Theme" Heavy Metal Remix of the 8-Bit Chip Tune

Does this song sound familiar? You may remember it from the original Artix vs the Undead short film which scored millions of views between YouTube and Google Video back in the early 2000s --remember back before Google owned Youtube? Or perhaps you recall the retro mix of it from Undead Assault, the first Flash minigame we ever made... which had over 50 million plays world wide. Or perhaps you heard it in the mobile-game remake of Undead Assault. It has appeared in a plethora of our games. Wherever there is undead slaying, there is this epic song to slay them to.  This song was originally created by my good friend Warlic. It is extremely special to me. I hope it becomes special to you too.

Listen to the Heavy Metal Remix of Artix's Theme

Konami Code

Konami Codes

Congratulations to ArchPaladin Christopher Ge for discovering Dungeons & DoomKnights biggest secret. Hidden in plain sight for quite a few releases is the cheat code you can enter at the start screen. The original creator of this legendary code, Kazuhisa Hashimoto, passed away in February.  We will keep it in game to honor him. Currently this cheat grants you max everything. We will have to adjust it later... but for now, if you are having trouble testing, enjoy :D It is possible to use this with both a new game and a previously saved one. You just need to start entering the code with the little skull icon in front of the opposite start option. 

Bat Transformations

One of Dungeons & DoomKnights features is the ability to turn into... other things. When we added the JUMP ATTACK ability, we sorta forgot to check to see what happens when you are....say, flying in bat form. The result is hilarious. You are this little swarm of bats swinging a giant golden battleaxe. It is a pretty easy fix, but so funny... that it might be worth making a "use your axe when you are a swarm of bats" power up.


Thank you for being a part of Dungeons & DoomKnights

The Heavy Metal remix is SOOOO GOOOD! Sincerely, thank you for giving us the opportunity to make this new NES video game for you. I actually followed my own advice from the last post, and have been making progress towards the finish line. Jongaar finished the 8-Bit version of the soundtrack quite a while ago, and has been working on these bonus Heavy Metal remixes. My jaw dropped when I heard the final version of the first time last night... stayed up till 3am putting the little visualizer video together for it. 100% worth it. Jongaar never expected he would be mastering an entire album for this project, LOL. Collector's edition backers are in for a treat. I am currently focusing on the Vampire Castle interior. Going to put that new 8-bit wall meat that Clarion drew to good use XD. Will send you screenshots in our next update post.

Thank you again and...

Battle on!

Artix

P.S. We have light hearted and fun special April Fools events happening across our games today. Be sure to check them out at www.Artix.com as they go live.