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:

8-Bit Battleon: "Home is where you hang your helm."
about 2 years 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


"ONE OF US! ONE OF US!"

• Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ArtixKrieger
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• Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/artix/
• YouTube: https://www.artix.com/youtube
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• Website: https://www.Artix.com

Popular Mechanics mentions Dungeons & DoomKnights?
over 2 years 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 2 years 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. 

You should read this one.
over 2 years ago – Fri, Mar 27, 2020 at 02:56:53 AM

NOTE: In the next post, we can talk about Konami Codes, Heavy Metal remixes of the 8-bit sound track, and the entertaining glitch which makes it possible to swing your axe while transformed into something else. We can easily fix it, although it is surprisingly fun. That is for us to talk about another day though.

When we added jump attack... we forgot to disable the attack when you transform XD

Greetings 8-Bit Undead Slayer,

I hope this message finds you and your family well.

Real talk. These are the challenging times that require you to tap deeper into your full inner hero. Never surrender to dread. Do whatever you need to do, and keep pushing through. 

Recently, every company I have ever given an email to has written to tell me how they were handling the pandemic.  Also, a lot of the Kickstarters I backed wrote to tell me why this was going to delay their project's ship date.

So, I first off I wanted to let you know....

The current situation is not going to affect Dungeons & DoomKnights ship date at all.

Because we are already behind schedule >_> ...and that is on me. #Honesty #NoExcuses 

I really appreciate you giving me the extra time needed to make this the best game I have ever made. 

The project is in good shape. As you know, we already ordered and received all of the NES carts & blank circuit boards. So once this game is fully complete and tested, we have everything we need to ship. 

Originally, I started writing a super happy & upbeat post about all of the positive stuff that was happening. And, truthfully, there are a lot of positive things we could focus on and talk about. But as I typed it felt slightly saccharine...  so I hit select all and then pressed delete. Decided it would be better to write you this right now. 

Because maybe, outside of any of this project stuff, you are feeling the way I am right now. 

And we should be talking about what to do about that instead.

You are probably one of those incredible people who mastered life and have total confidence right now. So this next part is for the rest of us. 

What do you do when things get "BAD"? What do we do when the sense of overwhelm, exhaustion, and fear consume us?

First... we pick each other up. 

Because things ARE going to get better. 

Second... you need to make a choice. Because we may not be able to control what happens, but we can $%#! well determine how we react to it.

Look...

  • Whatever you obsess on... becomes your focus.
  • Your focus... determines your actions.
  • Your actions... determine your future.

If you made the mistake that I have been making, and have been filling your head with all the horrifying news and paralyzing yourself into not doing anything-- maybe it is time to change the channel. You can get all the news you need from skimming the headlines once or twice a day. 

Instead, you can fill that time to learning, researching, training, helping others, and planning for WHEN times get good. 

Transparently, that is exactly what I started doing.

The stress is not just in our head.. it is on our bodies too. 

Be sure to sleep and get some exercise however you can. Our bodies need a little extra help clearing out all that stress (cortisol) so we can function normally. I never understood quite how badly until after I went for a short run this week. 

For a while, I felt like I had stared at Medussa and turned to stone. 

I just was not doing anything. For example, writing to you has been on my priority list for over two weeks. But today I actually did it. And a bunch of other things on my list. 

Tiny actions can kick off momentum.

Taking ANY action... will immediately help you feel better. (My first action was to clean my desk) 

Third... have a Routine for your day. 

This is vital.

So many people feel like, "I have no idea what I should be doing!" 

A routine fixes this. It gives you that important feeling of control over your life. 

If you do not already have a routine, write up one. 

Here is mine.

  • 7:00am-9:00am Wake up (1 glass of water, 50 jumping jacks, 20 push ups, 20 sit-ups w/ kids, then coffee and skim news headlines)
  • 9:00am Sit at computer and begin work day (all my tasks are written on paper)
  • 11:30am AdventureQuest 3D Team Meeting
  • 12:30pm Force myself to eat something at my desk... more coffee
  • 6:30pm Dinner with Family
  • 7:00-8:30 Train my kids (Since I cannot go to martial arts, I teach them now-- which doubles as a work out)
  • 8:30pm Shower
  • 9:00pm Back to work... (this is where we are right now as I write this to you)
  • 11:30pm + = My time. (Watching Picard) until Zzzzz

Do I actually follow this exactly every day?

Heck no!

But that simple list answers the question "what SHOULD I be doing right now?" 

It would not matter if I scheduled 9am to noon for video games. (and when I do want to play a game, I do actually write it down planner and schedule it)

Having a routine really, really helps. 

But, "what if I just don't feel like doing... anything?"

Yeah. I hit that low. 

In fact, that is why I am writing this to you right now. 

Several of my team members are reading this part in horror wonder what I am going to say. Because I got hit bad and just sorta shut down for a bit.

And that is OK... 

My Martial Arts school has a rule.

When you are fighting... it is OK to take one step back. It is also OK to take two steps back. But after two steps back, you next move better be lunge forward swinging!

There is no one-size-fits all solution for climbing out of the pit of despair.

But here are some helpful hacks that worked for me.

  • Stress drains your body & mind of vitamins. Eat healthy stuff to replenish it (Google-fu)
  • Get in the Sunlight (Make some Vitamin D)
  • Just read the News Headlines (Only do it once or twice a day)
  • Write down your routine
  • Take a tiny action... let the momentum happen
  • Remember those times that were so tough but you pulled through. Cause that confidence will serve you like a champion now.

So what was it that ultimately worked for me?

Taking a tiny action.

I used this trick.

I tell myself I am just going to do something for 2 minutes.

Because most tasks are so big and complicated. If I tell myself I will just do it for 2 minutes it gets me started. 

...and hour later I will suddenly realize I am neck deep in doing amazing things. #BestLifeHackEver

You probably knew most or all of this. Maybe it helped to hear it again. Maybe it was just nice knowing that there are others feeling and going through the same things you are right now. 

I sincerely hope the things in this post are useful to you. 

Do not just read them. Take action. 

As Bruce Lee said, "Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless, and add what is specifically your own"

Battle on!

Artix (Adam) 














Jump attack!
over 2 years ago – Thu, Feb 27, 2020 at 11:00:24 PM

Dungeons & DoomKnights Intro Demo available on BackerKit

You asked for it, you get it... JUMP ATTACK!

Greetings and salutations 8-Bit Undead Slayers,

Thank you for the amazing feedback on the Dungeons & DoomKnights Demo Intro ROM. We got a lot of requests for one specific feature. Our 6502 assembly language special agent, Dale Coop, brewed up some coffee and got to it. This .GIF is from today!  

Jump attack! Work in progress... but working :D

Jump Attack

It feels really good. Clarion is editing the pixel art tonight to tighten up the art. We had to do some extra optimization on our sprite sheet to get the room for it-- but thankfully the treasure chest was symmetrical, letting us chop it in half, giving us the extra 8x16 block of pixels we were short XD

New found space indicated with hastefully drawn smiley face :D

Artix Sprite Sheet

D&DK Sprite Sheet #1: Hero

If you were to peek into the NES's memory (which you can 100% do if you are using any of the emulators I recommended) this is what the upper left part of the graphics memory would look like. 

Each of those little yellow boxes is 8x8 pixels. They can be combined together in different ways to make your character do... all the things the character can do. Run, attack, jump, sail on chairboard, cast spells, turn into a bat, get a new special power, use a magical reflect shield, pull a lever, and see potion/gold/spirit pickups and also contains the icons for the skills on your hud. 

If you have a keen eye, you might spy a few remaining places we can squeeze a few more sprites. (I see 5)

SoundFX & Music

Jongaar & I dug into soundFX issues today. In the current version of the demo we use the Key Pickup sound... everywhere O_O. This was due to a glitch causing the last note of our sounds to hang forever...  piercing our ears with high pitched monotone doom XD

We work in a little Discord server and send files back and forth. Increasing the version number with each attempt. Famitracker is a program that makes 8-bit chiptune music for the NES. Jongar exports them to text files (.txt) -- this is a screenshot from today's chat, LOL!

24 versions of the SoundFX later, we have it mostly working. Mostly. 

WARNING! Do not eat the wall meat.

Darkovia.... and the Vampire Queen's Castle

This week I have went back to working on the Vampire castle. If you are a backer, you got to check out the first version of the boss fight with Safiria the Vampire Queen. Now that we have jump attacks, there are a few things we absolutely MUST add. I am a little tempted to convert most of the vampire castle to be platformer now-- to make it more true to second half of its Zeldavania name sake. The smart thing to do would be to cleverly blend it. I still need to add the little boot icon (Jump skill!) as your special attack button when you are on platformer screens. Currently, it is possible to use your special skills on platformer skills... using the UP + Special Attack button combo which can also be found in one of the two games this was inspired by. 

Thank you for the Intro Demo Testing!

I would like to thank everyone who helped test the intro demo. Thank you so much for the public and private feedback! If you have not played it yet, head to BackerKit and grab it along with your other digital rewards. We have been keeping a big list of everyone's findings and are actively working on the fixes and improvements. 

Shout out to super tester Benjamin H.

Want to give extra special kudos to Benjamin H. who managed to jump the mathematically impossible (or so we thought) jump to get the axe in that cave room XD. Ben, your videos and feedback have helped so much-- thank you!

See you all in the next update. 

Battle on!

Artix

P.S. A bunch of posts ago, I mentioned there was something in all recent versions of the game that no one found yet. The first player to find it and publicly post it gets a special title here in our secret order of undead slayers. >_> Going to have to read back through those old posts to see what it was though, lol.