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:

NEVER... do this...
over 1 year ago – Thu, Jan 16, 2020 at 12:09:26 AM

Just in case you, or any of our other friends here needed to hear it... 

Never Give Up!

Do not give up on the big things. Especially do not give up on the little things. Sometimes, we just gotta dig deep and give it that little extra push. 

Your friend,

Artix

P.S. This was an incredibly short update post :D Normally I send lots of screenshots.... ones that do not contain any spoilers. Which has been hard, because the best screenshots are always the ones from those "awesome moments" during game play. Instead I post things like prototype caves...

... which, I am excited to share because while Clarion using does our pixel art, I actually drew the stalactites and stalagmites! They connect and you can walk behind them sometimes. It looks really cool. Also drew the new door and pillars. Oh, and we finally decided on a final "save game" object...

...which is the book in this pic. Loosely modeled after the Book of Lore, which was modeled after the Evil Dead / Army of Darkness's Necronomicon-- I stuck a 'lil skull on the cover. When you play, you should pretend it talks to you. At least, that is what I see it doing in my head. 

Thanks to Dale Coop, we are now able to do cool things like this water effect. What is really happening, is one of the 4 background pallets is being continually rotated. 

I <3 this effect so much. 

We are going to use it a bunch. Also, if you have an eagle eye for pixel art, do not worry. I already fixed the water tile. 

Glisel: Artix, are you adding more "naturally forming" cave pillars?  

Artix: 8-Bit retro game nature is a mysterious and beautiful thing.   

Glisel: ...

Artix: They are just Stalagmites that rolled a 20 on charisma. 

Glisel: .............................

Last time we talked, I was nose-deep in the intro's boss fight. We uh, immediately ran into some horrific problems. First....

We filled up the bank that stores our animations.... O_O. *gulps*. "That's bad, M'kay?"

While I share this story, I will distract you with a piece of Pumpkin pie my beloved waifu made for me to fuel NES development.

It is gluten free.

So, previously I ran out of room for monsters. We only have room for 64 monsters and 16 player "thingies". Flexing my inner-hacker, I started packing multiple monsters together into one.... giving us the ability to have MORE than 64 monsters.  Not realizing that the 64 limit was put in place because it is not realistic to fit more than that in there animation-wise! LOL. 

Also... we have a lot of "HUGE" monsters. 

Well, huge from a 1985 video game console's perspective. 

So, the good news... is that game is since I cannot just sit there adding new things every night, I will actually have to finish the game now XD

But it does mean there are going to be a lot of things orphaned onto the "cutting room floor". Thankfully we can use those for the CHAOS ROM. 

Whatever it takes to make room for... THIS BAD GUY!

Clarion made A LOT of frames of animation for Sepulchure. Unfortunately, we will not be able to use all of them. 

You can create 8-Bit NES art in any graphics program. Photoshop, Asesprite, Pixel, MS Paint... 

This is the actual sprite sheet for the DoomKnight. 

I always assumed we would spent more time in these posts talking about the process of making and squeezing these things into the NES. 

But why is it RED, GREEN, and BLUE only?

Those colors work like paint masks in the NESMaker Tool. I have some strategies that I came up with for doing this that I would LOVE to share with you in a future post. 

But really want to talk to you about the actual Monster and BOSS Fights!

Because creating this fight, I had hit a serious problem.

If you played our previous Dungeons & DoomKnights tests, there was a sorta common strategy... which was, dodge a bunch, run in and hit the Boss, then run away. 

That was because we had to. But not any more!

Have you ever seen 6502 Assembly Language code before? (I know some of you have... and you guys, no making fun! I know I am just a hedge mage at this :)

O_O

So, this change (along with a few really huge fixes by Dale Coop to the engine) allows you to hit a monster for a certain amount of time. 

In short... you can now hit a monster 3 or 4 times before they go invulnerable and run away. 

Talking about beating up monsters. We needed a clear way for players to know if something would open up if you killed all of the monsters in the room. Dungeons & DoomKnights is mostly about exploring, gaining powers, and using them to unlocking even more areas and powers. 

So we added those little blocks with skulls on it. If you see those blocks... then you will know that killing all of the monsters in the room will cause it to open. 

We tried a lot of things... mostly trying to think of something more immersive. We needed something that was clear to see no matter if you were on a chaos map, an ice castle, a slime cave, or a magical forest. 

We also added a ton of new features & fixes....

  • JUMP animation! (You no longer look like one of the zombies with rigor mortis when you jump... it is very Belmont-esque)
  • Your weapon can now be "de-activated" by NPCs
  • Multiple hits added to monsters
  • Offloaded a little bit of code space... (every line counts!)
  • Levers can now turn on and off things

Here you can see my brave little play testers hard at work. Except.... 

THEY BROKE THE GAME!

I mean broke it bad. I had my editor up and... somehow they switched to the editor and hit some random keys. I do not even know HOW they broke the game as bad as they did. Took me an hour to find these "extra four zeroes" in one of the screen files:

/facepalm

When you talk about game development troubles... 3 year old hackers is not one of the things you normally think of XD

All fixed now.

Thank you

Hope you enjoyed this post. Actually, if you are one of the few who made it to here... you deserve some sort of special title :D 

If there is anything I have learned from video games, when you are encountering new and  increasingly tough challenges, you are DEFINITELY going the right way!

Happy New Year 8-Bit Undead Slayers!
over 1 year ago – Wed, Jan 01, 2020 at 12:53:25 AM

Happy New Year 8-Bit Undead Slayers!

On behalf of all of us working on Dungeons & DoomKnights, thank you for an incredible year. Get your retro controller bashing thumbs ready... 2020 is the year we finish and ship Dungeons & DoomKnights. Here is a sneak peak at the newly re-re-designed DoomKnight, Sepulchure!

The DoomKnight laughs at the idea that you will be able to beat him in single combat... but little does he know your controller had a turbo button. (Spoiler. It will not help)

Now... it is story time! 

The year in Review

As we bravely march onward into a new decade... let us first take a  moment to look at our video game making adventures together over the  last year.

https://www.artix.com/posts/happy_new_year_2020/

Battle on!

Artix & all of your friends here at the Secret Underground Lab

P.S. We have fireworks (well, technically invading party sneevils which explode into fireworks when you hit them) in AdventureQuest 3D along with a special gift you can pick up. Come on by and bring your 8-bit weapons & Daimyo. Second to fighting the evil undead... Daimyo loves fireworks. 

Our game in the Washington Post!? Also, timeline update.
almost 2 years ago – Thu, Dec 12, 2019 at 02:03:58 AM

We were in the Washington Post!?

Greetings 8-Bit Undead Slayers,

Dungeons & DoomKnights got a mention in the Washington Post! It was an article on developers making new games for the original NES. Check it out for yourself... and pay close attention to their header image :D

https://www.washingtonpost.com/video-games/2019/11/28/nes-console-was-discontinued-these-developers-are-still-making-games-it/

Massive cheers that 3 screenshots from our game were used in their promo image. It fills my armor covered heart with joy seeing 8-Bit Gravelyn in a major news publication XD

Time Line Update

I hate following up such good news with some bad, but it is the second week of December and it is painfully apparent that it will not be possible to have a 100% full game ROM ready for you by the end of the Month :( 

Player: WHAT!? Noooooo! Why? I loved your plan of releasing the Beta ROM this year and shipping the carts in 2020 after everyone helped test it. 

Artix: Yeah, me too. 

Player: So what's the problem?

Artix: Not enough time left before New Years. We are making progress, but there is an overwhelming number of tasks to finish. Right now we are focusing on the early game experience. This combines core game play, dialog, power ups, save, and toggling between platformer and 2.5D walk around into a single release. I would like to take the rest of the month to finish and polish this early game experience, then post a ROM in January for you to play. 

See you in the next update post. 

Battle on!

Artix

Photos! The Carts & Boards just started arriving at our lab....
almost 2 years ago – Wed, Nov 27, 2019 at 01:37:52 AM

Photos! The Carts & Boards just started arriving...

Greetings Undead Slayer,

I love this post. Because this is the post that will be positively remembered as the one where this game project definitively shifted in the minds of backers from "IF" to "WHEN"!

Gray Carts

Gray Carts!

We just received all of our gray cartridges for Dungeons & DoomKnights.

That is a lot of carts!

If you ordered a Gray cart... one of these is yours XD

Twilly & Zorbak open this one to reveal....

72 Pin Circuit Boards & Flashers

In this photo, we see the soul of your cartridge... the legendary 72 pin boards which will hold the game. Mapper 30 boards with 512K of storage each and they will allow your NES to save your progress. 

>_> Hey, that is my desk!

... and I have never gazed upon my desk with such extreme joy :D 

This shipment also included a few flashers to program the boards with. 

Gold Carts

Gold Carts

You may recall the previous posts where we obtained the golden carts for the collectors edition. The physical part of this project has gone extremely smooth. I am so grateful to Infinite NES Lives for their hard work and quality.


A glorious glimpse behind the scenes

We only have one more shipment of boards coming... then we will have all of the complicated bits in one place! 

We do not expect assembling these to be easy. But we have a small army of devs, a good number of flashers, and plenty of extra parts.  

This is my favorite part about this process. When we originally made this photo, we created it by using two of my favorite NES games and photoshopping our game's cart art on it. The next time we create this photo... I will get to hold two, real, 100% working Dungeons & DoomKnights carts. 

As you may already know, I am very passionate about the creative process. I have built a lot of video games, action figures, plush, armor shirts, and interesting things... including a lot of one-of-a-kind oddities (Remember that A-B-Z book I made for Warlic's Daughter's 2nd Birthday? "i is for integer!"). Never... not once... has it been easy. I am sure you 100% understand what I mean when I say taking an idea that is in your head and turning it into a real thing takes relentless persistence. Because you must push through challenges, negativity, and a never ending stream of outta-no-where problems (how does the universe even come up with all of them!?)... and keep going until you reach your ultimate goal. Every single big thing we do requires this.

To the truly committed, it is never a matter of "IF"... is always a matter of "WHEN."

With the carts on my desk as a daily inspiration, we are in an all out assault to complete Dungeons and DoomKnights and send the BETA ROM to you if you would like to help test. We will need the help. Because we will only get once chance to flash those boards with a 100% complete, bug-free, undead-filled NES game!

See you in the next update post.

Battle on!

Artix

P.S. Those carts & boards should look pretty!

P.P.S. It is Thanksging, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. Be sure to check out all the releases & stuff we have going on in our games at Artix.com & HeroMart.com

Dungeons & DoomKnights featured in Dev Cart Magazine!
almost 2 years ago – Fri, Nov 22, 2019 at 01:24:16 AM

Woah! Our 8-Bit game was just featured in Dev Cart Magazine!

Dungeons & DoomKnights, our 8-Bit NES game, was just featured in issue #4 of Dev Cart Magazine! This is such an honor.

Wait... we are in the magazine twice!

This issue also covers the NESMaker Byte-Off competition!  So technically, we are in this issue  twice... because our submission "Artix: Knight of the Living Dead" was in the ByteOff section too.  A lot of my friends from the NESMaker community have screenshots of their game submissions featured in there. Way to go guys!

Carts & Boards on route!

I got a shipping notification today that our gray carts & half of our blank boards should be arriving tomorrow. 

Thank you again

I just want to say, sincerely, from the bottom of my heart.... thank you for allowing me to build Dungeons & DoomKnights for the NES. Words can not express the joy this project has brought in my life. I am so excited and eager for the day when you sit down to play it. 

Battle on!

Artix

www.Artix.com