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Saturday, August 12, 2017

Nox Archaist Presentation: KansasFest 2017

I had a great time this year giving a presentation on Nox Archaist at KansasFest 2017!

Presentation highlights:
  • Castle Tour
    • Tour the first castle in Nox Archaist, complete with drawbridge and battlements!
  • Combat Demonstration 
    • Watch combat unfold with narration about strategies and tactics available to players.
  • Technical Overview
    • Some information about how Nox Archaist works under the hood. 
  • Announcement
    • Nox Archaist Kickstarter will launch September 2017!

A video of the presentation is available here:

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Nox Archaist: What's Happening in August 2017

What will the game be like?

Earlier this year we gave you guys a progress report on Nox Archaist as well as insights into what the full release of the game will be like.

There has been a lot of activity in the Nox Archaist world in the last few months and we thought it was time for an update.

If you saw our KansasFest 2017 presentation you may still find this post interesting as it contains some information we did not cover due to time constraints, especially in the "What Will the Game Be Like?" section below. Thanks for attending or watching via the live stream!

What We've Done So Far

Developing Nox Archaist over the last two years has been an exciting experience. In this time the project team quadrupled from two people to eight. Much of the game engine was completed, including fundamentals such as map movement, towns, NPC conversation, combat scenarios and day/night transitions. Dynamic features new to tile-based Apple II RPGs were developed such as swimming, horse jumping, tall grass (where mobs can hide), and many more which we’ve saved to surprise you in-game.

Thank you very much to all the retro computing fans who have taken the time to post a comment. We really enjoy hearing from you!

Current Status

  • The core elements of the Nox Archaist game engine are complete. 
  • Core features have been stress tested: Traversing maps, transport objects (ships/horses/etc), combat, movable objects, spells, inventory and more.
  • Several game environments have been tested, each with unique features: Villages, towns, castles, dungeons and a few that will be a surprise for you to find in-game.
  • Artists Bill Giggie and Robert Padovan have used their years of experience as professional graphics animators in the movie industry to create hundreds of beautiful static and animated hi-res tile graphics. They are working on many more.  
  • Artist Gordon Mackay has created artwork for our prototype physical items including game  box cover, map, and game manuals.
  • The Nameless One has been working hard to create musical tracks which will be available as a download or on CD. These are expected to be available with some boxed versions of Nox Archaist. Prototype tracks can be heard in recent gameplay videos.    
  • Peter Ferrie (/aka qkumba) is hard at work creating an innovative copy protection scheme for folks who enjoy cracking games.
  • Beth Daggert is lending her extensive experience in both vintage and modern gaming to provide guidance to the creative process and help the team to maximize gameplay potential and avoid pitfalls.

What Will the Game Be Like?

Our development approach has been to build the game engine first, then tell the best story possible using the feature set we created. This method has been passionately espoused by Lord British himself on several occasions including the Book of Ultima and various interviews. With the game engine core elements complete, we will soon focus on turning our high level storyline concepts into specific goals, quests and puzzles. 

While the concepts are subject to change, we thought you might enjoy a glimpse of the type of game we envision that Nox Archaist will be. 

Nox Archaist will be a fairly dark game. The powers of good will certainly be present but some of the most notorious bad asses in the fantasy genre will be integral to the story line.  Heavy hitters such as demon lords, death knights, as well as our own blood chilling supernatural creations will be found within. The Nox Archaist game engine has the capability to make their appearance more dramatic than mobs were in 1980s Apple II tile-based RPGs and we plan to push the limits of the platform as far as possible.

One of the most important design elements we are focusing on is the balance between combat and non-combat activities. Personally, I love both tactical combat and a rich story with interesting quests and puzzles. As a result, Nox Archaist will offer a complex story line set in a non-linear world and will feature a comprehensive combat system. In fact, the player will face challenging combat scenarios that will require a combination of battle tactics and clues found within the game to overcome. Quests, puzzles, and combat found in one area of the Nox Archaist world may contain clues relevant or necessary to challenges the player will encounter elsewhere in the game.

Player characters can wage battles with multiple mobs using their wits, weapons, and spells. If that's not enough, you'll be able to summon allies to join the fray.

Combat in Nox Archaist will take place on the tile grid, enabling the player to make tactical decisions such as:
  • placing spell casters and archers behind fighters.
  • select a specific mob target for each player attack.
  • aim area of effect spells at large groups of mobs.
  • collaboration between thief/assassin and fighter types for increased critical hit chances.

Combat will offer many opportunities for varied tactics character development. A skill based system will allow the player to guide their character toward a specialty (melee weapons, ranged weapons, spell casting, etc) or blend abilities as they see fit. Damage and hit/miss will be determined by a number of factors including skill, base stats (strength, dexterity, etc), the physical size of the target, and various innate abilities.

Characters will be able to choose separate armor to protect their head, torso, feet, and hands. Lucky adventurers may find gear with magical properties, however be aware that not all enemies will be affected the same way.

While our skill based system provides flexibility to blend traditional character classes, those who enjoy classics such as thieves, assassins or mages will find robust role playing opportunities through skills such as critical hit and through the comprehensive spell effects in the game. Expect to see fireballs explode and lightning bolts fly as spell casters do battle.

These mechanics will be implemented in a way so that combat is not one-size fits all, and players will need to use different strategies and tactics to survive and thrive in the Nox Archaist world.

Release Date

We are shooting for a release date in late 2018. Our team is focused on creating an awesome new Apple II game and I am extremely confident that Nox Archaist will be completed.

Seriously. This game is going to get done. Period. If you haven’t already, check out this post on the Origins of the Nox Archaist Project and you’ll understand why :-)

-Mark Lemmert
6502 Workshop