Monday, August 31, 2020

Our Heroes Make Progress in a Cruel, Unforgiving Land

Adventurer's Log

Day 20: We bid farewell to our companion, the dwarf fighter Grognard. He fell to the swamp dwellers, pulled down to a watery grave. We'll bring his axe and shield to Ghrodwir, the mountainous home of the dwarves of Wynmar. We heard they make better ale than even the Captain's Quarters pub, so we'll raise a toast to our friend as well. (In addition to being an awesome pub in Nox Archaist, Captains Quarter's is a fun BBS run on an Apple II computer, accessible by telnet)


Swamp Dweller (Robert Gomez)                                                          Swamp Dweller (Robert Gomez)


Later that evening: After resting and regaining some of our strength and magic, we continued our journey. To save time, we took the coast road. Alas, that proved to be a mistake. The pretty brig that sailed up alongside turned out to be a pirate ship! Poor Thomas - his leather helm was no match for the cannon fire. Another companion gone. We'll bring his body with us, in the hopes of finding a healer.


Day 21: We reached Bayport a little after midnight. The guards glared at us as we approached. Fortunately our writ from Queen Isa made quite an impression and we were permitted entry to this busting port city. We discretely asked around the docks to find out what is going on with the pirates. It turns out that loitering around the docks of Bayport at midnight is not a good idea. Down went Phyrra with a knife in her back. More gold to the healer. Our porters are starting to grumble from carrying the bodies.


Pirates! (Gordon Mackay)


Day 22: Good news! Thomas, Phyrra, and even Grognard are back, as good as new! The healer in Bayport was most kind, although she declined to give us a group discount on resurrection. After a day of rest we'll head back out. We have heard tell of a Haunted Pass through the mountains that promises to be a shortcut to our next destination.


Tester's Log

Earlier this month, Nox Archaist entered the playtesting phase. An intrepid team of sixteen volunteers from our community answered the call, and are working hard to put the game through its paces. So far most of the identified bugs have been minor, such as text corrections and user interface changes. The team also uncovered a few significant hidden bugs as well which we are glad to have behind us!


While we're making excellent progress, there's quite a lot of content to test in Nox Archaist. Our initial estimates are that Nox will have available up to 100+ hours of quests and side quests!  Performing a thorough test is quite an epic undertaking! We expect to need at least one more month of testing to make sure the remaining game content is carefully evaluated for issues.


We know how excited everyone is to finally get their hands on Nox Archaist, and we're happy to announce that we are definitely in the home stretch. By the end of September when we do our next update, we will have a much better idea of the timeline for finally releasing the game to you all! There's a lot of logistics involved in the physical release. For example, we want to wait to print the physical game manual until testing is done, since the content or screenshots might change based on what happens during the testing phase. Plus of course there's the nearly four thousand floppy disk sides that we can't start copying until we know the bugs are squashed. (In case you were wondering, as excited as we are about releasing the game, the team is not exactly on the edge of our seats with joyful anticipation as we near the floppy disk copying phase of this project)  ;-)





Hundreds of boxes and thousands of floppies...




More Testers Wanted

Are you interested in helping us test Nox Archaist? We are recruiting additional testers now. If you are interested and can dedicate the time, please email mark<at>6502workshop.com.

Virtual KansasFest Recap

If you missed our Nox Archaist talk at Virtual KansasFest 2020, you can watch the live stream on the KansasFest YouTube channel.

Moved and Changed Addresses?

If you have moved in the past year and are getting a boxed set, be sure to confirm your address is correct in the Backer Survey:

For changes within the same country: Log into Kickstarter, click on your name in the upper right and navigate to the Nox Archaist kickstarter page. Click "View Survey" and then "Edit Address". You can also change your address in your Kickstarter profile and select "Apply to all" projects.

If you have moved to a different country: You must send us your new address "manually" (changing your main Kickstarter profile address will not update your Nox address). You can send a message by clicking on the "Messages" tab in the "View Survey" window.
As always, we'd love to hear your comments and thoughts!



-Mark, Chris, Jarrod, and the 6502 Workshop team

Website - http://www.6502workshop.com
Discord - http://discord.noxarchaist.com
Twitter - @6502Workshop
Forums - http://forums.noxarchaist.com
Facebook - http://facebook.noxarchaist.com
Kickstarter - http://kickstarter.noxarchaist.com










Wednesday, July 22, 2020

The Best Ale in Wynmar, plus a Splash Screen Sneak Peek

Adventurer's Log

Game Day 13: Why did I listen to that ornery mage? Now we're on a quest to find an uncharted ocean island. Wow, that sea serpent was huge! When it thrashed its tail and swamped the ship, I thought we were goners.

Game Day 15: Made it back to the Captain's Quarters pub. Best ale in Wynmar! We picked up some tips on navigation from a cranky sailer. Also picked up some new, um, vocabulary. Definitely not meant for polite company.

Game Day 16: Well, we've headed down into the Underworld to search for Cultists. Poor Nox Aetros nearly bought it when we were surprised by a group of enraged minotaurs! And what was up with that magic mouth on the wall that seemed to be taunting us? It threatened to taunt us a second time.

Game Day 19: Out of the Underworld. Now we're trudging through the stinking swaps to reach Maldac. Who builds a town in the middle of a swamp? Wait, what is that horrible creature up ahead? I'll send the dwarf ahead to investigate...



Tester's Log

Testing is going slow, but well. Our party is now level 8 of 10. Once we complete the first full play through of the game, a larger tester group will continue to put it through its paces. We've fixed numerous small bugs, tweaked a few prices (magic sword anyone?), and corrected some spelling mistakes.

Release Date Best Guess: It's difficult to predict a release date at this stage as it depends on what bugs and issues we encounter as the testing group expands. August seems unlikely. September seems very possible. We're so close we can taste the ale in the Captain's Quarters pub!

Splash Screen Sneak Peak

Tune in Saturday, July 25, at 9:30am PDT / 11:30am CDT for the Nox Archaist session at the virtual KansasFest 2020! Mark Lemmert, Jarrod Kailef, and Chris Torrence will show off the surprising sound effects in the splash screen, demo the first part of the game, and show off the physical rewards. Watch here: http://www.youtube.com/c/KansasfestOrg. If you miss it you should still be able to catch the replay on that same channel.

If you watch the KansasFest talk, please leave a comment below with any thoughts or questions!


Once again, thanks for all of your support. We really appreciate it!

- Mark and the 6502 Workshop Team


Website - http://www.6502workshop.com
Discord - http://discord.noxarchaist.com
Twitter - @6502Workshop
Forums - http://forums.noxarchaist.com
Facebook - http://facebook.noxarchaist.com
Kickstarter - http://kickstarter.noxarchaist.com









Saturday, July 18, 2020

Nox Archaist at KansasFest

On Saturday July 25, 2020 the 6502 Workshop team is scheduled to give a session at the virtual event, KansasFest 2020.





For the first time we will show the main menu of Nox Archaist, character creation process and the "tutorial" area gameplay starts in.

Additionally, for anyone who'd like to hear an Apple II computer talk with the clarity of a modern PC, we will also share the 5-bit pulse width modulation (PWM) audio we've embedded in the game's splash screen. This is the first time 5-bit PWM has been included in an Apple II game.

To watch the session, head over to the KansasFest YouTube channel and click on the stream next Saturday July 25 at 9:30am PDT / 11:30am CDT.

Hope to see you there!



Mark Lemmert & the 6502 Workshop Team

Website - http://www.6502workshop.com
Discord - http://discord.noxarchaist.com
Twitter - @6502Workshop
Forums - http://forums.noxarchaist.com
Facebook - http://facebook.noxarchaist.com
Kickstarter - http://kickstarter.noxarchaist.com













Monday, June 22, 2020

The Heroes are in the Underworld


Adventurer's Log

Game Day 1: I have survived a terrible shipwreck. What town is this? I must find companions to aid me in my quest. I have a Writ of Authority but will anyone else heed the call?

Game Day 7: Our visit to the Captain's Quarters pub did not go well. Nox Aetros should not have tried to out-swear that pirate. We barely escaped the ensuing brawl with our lives. At least we managed to find a ship to purchase.

Game Day 8: Ship sunk in a storm.

Game Day 12: Back in Castle Suurtheld. The undead Guardians that we ran into were tougher than we thought. I was the only one to survive, but I managed to drag my fallen comrades back to the healer. The healer did not appreciate being woken up in the middle of the night...









Progress Report

We are pleased to announce that the first round of final testing has begun!

"Final testing" may sound like a quick double check before shipping, but it's more involved than that. An overview follows of the current status and next steps.

All content has been added to the game, the large backlog of bugs identified during content creation has been resolved, and we're now focused on playtesting the game, tweaking the balance, and fixing more bugs as they crop up. This is a lot of work (and a lot of fun!) and it will take some time. As always, we will provide updates on how things progress.

In other news, we've ordered a test copy of the game manual from Lulu Press. Weighing in at 108 pages, the game manual covers everything from how to play the game, character creation, adventuring, spells and monsters, and even how to avoid those pesky jesters. Plus, this will be our first look at the Denis Loubet manual cover painting in full color on the actual product, and we can't wait to see it!


Game Enhancements

We've decided to upgrade the disk labels from paper-backed gold foil to a much sturdier polypropylene with a glossy laminate. Although it's a bit more expensive, things are going well with the project budget and we hope you agree, they look really cool!







Several of you expressed a desire for an "old-school" Apple II font, with the color-fringed text like the original Wizardry. We managed to squeeze in some extra room on the floppy disks, and now you can choose one of two fonts: Bill Giggie's custom Nox Archaist font, or the old-school Apple II font.









Pub Rumors

Irene in the Everton pub has heard a rumor about a new CRPG on Kickstarter called Corven - Path of Redemption. Billed as a spiritual successor to Ultima, the project is a story-driven, open world, real-time RPG that has the endorsement of Richard Garriott, aka Lord British. Mark and Chris are both backers. You can find more information and download a demo here and back the Kickstarter here.

Be sure to join us at Virtual KansasFest 2020, on July 24-25, for lots of Apple II and other retro computer awesomeness. We'll be doing a presentation on Nox Archaist, showing the Mockingboard music we added to our double hi-res splash screen and more. Register here for KansasFest.

By our next update, we hope to have testing in full swing. At that point we'll be able to give a firmer date for game release. We're still hoping for a late August release, but this depends upon how final testing goes, and whether our local situations with COVID-19 make it practical to physically get together, or whether we need to split the disk copying across multiple locations and then ship the disks to a final location for assembly and fulfillment.

We'll talk to you soon!


-Mark and the 6502 Workshop Team

Website - http://www.6502workshop.com
Discord - http://discord.noxarchaist.com
Twitter - @6502Workshop
Forums - http://forums.noxarchaist.com
Facebook - http://facebook.noxarchaist.com
Kickstarter - http://kickstarter.noxarchaist.com








Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Ultima-Inspired RPG Corven on Kickstarter!

We just backed the exciting upcoming RPG Corven on Kickstarter!



Corven has a beautifully designed 3D world, real time combat, and engaging NPCs - all developed in the Unity engine.






The game is described by the author as story focused, where players will be excited to learn what will happen next.






Combat is real-time and features spells which are described as interactive, such as "a fireball which does 100% critical damage on targets afflicted by your freeze spell."





And, Lord British himself will appear in the game!




It is really great to see an engaging game like this under development!






Sunday, May 17, 2020

Super Secret Stretch Goals?!

Project Summary

Welcome to another update from Nox Archaist! We've made solid progress since our last update. All content is now complete. We are now focused on bugs and polishing items identified during content creation. By next update we estimate that we'll either have started final testing or will be very close to doing so!

Project Status


  • Core game engine - Complete!
  • Game box, map, coins, jewel, writ, postcard, artwork, usb - Complete!
  • Double Hi-Res Splash Screen - Complete!
  • Mockingboard beta sound driver and music for town/castle/combat/dungeon - Complete!
  • Quick Combat stretch goal - Complete!
  • Finish creating content (e.g. maps, NPC schedules and dialog) - Complete!
  • Finish writing game manual, do printing - second draft complete
  • Main game boot menu - Complete!
  • Add music to splash screen - Complete!
  • Combat and economy balancing - Complete!
  • Character creation dialog - Complete!
  • Final testing - Starting soon
  • Bug fixes - Ongoing
  • Duplicate floppy disks and usb drives, assemble boxes, ship!



Poll from Last Update

If you missed the previous update, we asked you whether you planned to play Nox Archaist on an emulator, real hardware with floppy disks, or real hardware with a hard drive card. The results are...

Emulator: 12 people
Hardware (floppy): 4 people
Hardware (hd card): 10 people
So that's 14 people on real hardware versus 12 on emulators! Although some of you admitted that you'd probably start on the metal but switch to an emulator for convenience. It's hard to lug your Apple IIe to the local coffee shop...

Super Secret Stretch Goal #1 - Quest Log

A quest log in an Apple II game? Really? Yup. Mark was not sure we'd have enough memory or disk space for this feature so he kept it secret from everyone until just now.

Fear not, Nox Archaist is still a game designed to be played like CRPGs of old, complete with hand-written notes in a spiral-bound notebook. The quest log was layered on top of that gameplay style as an optional tool to help reduce note taking for those so inclined. And, the quest log will not contain any clues that the player did not learn when the quest was acquired. So it's purely for convenience, it does not affect the difficulty of the puzzles in the game.

Please bear in mind, an Apple II quest log is of course much more limited that the quest logs we are used to in more modern games. It tracks major to-do items, not every opportunity for adventure that crosses the players path. That said, there are 50 defined quests which it manages.

Without further ado, here is a sample screenshot:








Super Secret Stretch Goal #2 - Second Save Slot

Things worked out to squeeze in a second save game slot! In CRPGs we've probably all saved the game after a tough battle and then wished we didn't. Now, in Nox Archaist, when you save the game, press 1 or 2 to choose the slot.

Like the quest log, we saw this as a quality-of-life feature that shouldn't detract from the old school nature of the gameplay itself. You certainly don't need to use the two slots, and if you're going for ironman mode, you can try playing the game in one marathon session with no saves at all.


Informal Poll #2 - What's your Class?

Last month's hardware poll was such a success, we're going for another one. So here goes!

Nox Archaist is a class-free system. You don't have to choose a class up front, instead, you build up specializations in different abilities and skills. But that being said, you can still specialize in certain "classes" - if you want to be a fighter, be sure to build up strength and melee skills. Want to be a mage? Better increase your intelligence!

So here's the poll - in RPG's (either computer or pen & paper), what's your favorite class and why? Please leave your answers in a comment below. Thanks, and see you next month!



-Mark, Chris, and the 6502 Workshop team

Website - http://www.6502workshop.com
Discord - http://discord.noxarchaist.com
Twitter - @6502Workshop
Forums - http://forums.noxarchaist.com
Facebook - http://facebook.noxarchaist.com
Kickstarter - http://kickstarter.noxarchaist.com










Thursday, April 9, 2020

Defending the Realm

The Story Concludes

The water slaps against your face. You find yourself clinging to a broken timber, sand and rocks scraping against your battered limbs. You cannot remember the details, but you have a dim recollection of the shock of icy water, finding the floating timber, and the shouts of men surrounding you. As the night wore on, the cries for help faded away.

You crawl ashore, spluttering out sea water, still clutching your knife. Every muscle aches from struggling against the storm. Now, ship- wrecked and bereft of your sword and armor, how can you hope to investigate the Dark Void and destroy the Cult?

Raising your head, you see a figure approach, carrying a glowing torch. As the figure steps closer, you see that the light comes not from a torch, but from the tip of an oak staff. A black robe envelopes the figure, with a low hood that completely obscures the creature’s face. A Cultist? With a cry you struggle to free your knife from the clinging seaweed. As you look up, you see that the figure is simply standing there, holding out their hand. You slowly take the hand and pull yourself to your feet.

As they lower their hood and smile warmly, you realize that even though you swore to defend the realm from shadow and darkness, perhaps you don’t have to do it alone.

(for earlier installments of the story see our posts on Kickstarter.)

Content Creation

We're 98% complete on the content creation:

Villages - Complete!
Towns - Complete!
Castles - Complete!
Keeps - Complete!
Ruins - Complete!
Underworld - Complete!

The remaining items are a few odds 'n ends like tweaks to boss battles, adding damage to certain tiles (not good to wade through lava), and allowing NPCs to be attacked. Yep, everything's fair game, but watch out for the guards (and the brute squad)!


Uharad Keep - Is that Lady Susan and poor besotted Sir Edgar in the courtyard?




Project Status


  • Core game engine - Complete!
  • Game box, map, coins, jewel, writ, postcard, artwork, usb - Complete!
  • Double Hi-Res Splash Screen - Complete!
  • Mockingboard beta sound driver and music for town/castle/combat/dungeon - Complete!
  • Quick Combat stretch goal - Complete!
  • Finish creating content (e.g. maps, NPC schedules and dialog) - 98% complete
  • Finish writing game manual, do printing - second draft complete
  • Main game boot menu
  • Add music to splash screen - In progress
  • Character creation dialog
  • Final Beta testing
  • Bug fixes, combat, and economy balancing
  • Duplicate floppy disks and usb drives, assemble boxes, ship!


What's Next

By the next update we're aiming to have all content complete, be well into fixing all known bugs in preparation for final beta testing, and possibly be started on the main menu and character creation.


Deep in the Underworld can be found the Secret Apple II Testing Lair - Home of Nox Ffred Dragon


COVID-19

We've taken time to asses the risk to the Nox Archaist project created by this unfortunate development in the world. Overall, we think the risk is low, but not zero. A significant risk reduction for the project is that most of the physical materials for the boxed sets were ordered and received months ago, so we’re not as exposed to supply chain problems as we might be. The manual is the only major physical item which hasn’t been procured yet, and it is being sourced through a supplier who does printing locally.

One possible disruption might be getting people together to do the disk copying and final assembly. We all live in different parts of the world and travel is of course an unknown at this point. Whatever happens, know that we will do everything we can to navigate through the obstacles as quickly as practical and we will of course provide updates as things unfold.

Other Projects

This Kickstarter for a clear case Apple IIe or IIGS caught our eye - Mark and Chris have already backed it. Imagine that clear case computer running Nox Archaist!

Poll

We'd love to know if you plan on playing Nox Archaist on real hardware or emulator and if real hardware whether you plan to play on floppy disks or a hard drive card (CFFA, BOOTI, etc). Nox Archaist will support all of these platforms. We're just curious to know what the current state of retro gaming is in this regard.

If you're up for sharing, please post a comment!


Until next time, stay healthy and safe!


-Mark, Chris and the 6502 Workshop Team

Website - http://www.6502workshop.com
Discord - https://discord.gg/kwcFxVp
Twitter - @6502Workshop
Forums - http://forums.noxarchaist.com
Facebook - http://facebook.noxarchaist.com
Kickstarter - http://kickstarter.noxarchaist.com











Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Nox Archaist on Discord!


We invite you to join our Discord server!





Check out the sneak preview screenshots of our new castle we posted in the Ye Olde Pub channel!



Mark Lemmert & the 6502 Workshop Team

Website - http://www.6502workshop.com
Forums - http://forums.noxarchaist.com
Twitter - @6502Workshop
Facebook - http://facebook.noxarchaist.com
Kickstarter - http://kickstarter.noxarchaist.com
Discord - https://discord.gg/kwcFxVp











Saturday, January 18, 2020

Nox Archaist Live Stream! (Sunday, January 19th)

Jarrod Kailef of 6502 Workshop and Kailef Dragon of the UDIC, will be hosting a live stream of the current pre-alpha build of Nox Archaist tomorrow, Sunday, January 19th at 1 PM Pacific time!


Come check out some of the awesome content and gameplay that we’ve created since our Kickstarter last spring!

Click here to watch.

If you visit that link early and “follow” Jarrod's Twitch account, you will get a notification when the stream goes live!"



Mark Lemmert & the 6502 Workshop Team

Website - http://www.6502workshop.com
Forums - http://forums.noxarchaist.com
Twitter - @6502Workshop
Facebook - http://facebook.noxarchaist.com
Kickstarter - http://kickstarter.noxarchaist.com

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Nox Archaist Target Release Date

Target Date


All of us here at 6502 Workshop hope that you all had a great holiday season! We look forward to the new year and putting Nox Archaist in your hands. On that note, as we draw closer to release, we've gotten a much stronger idea of when we'll be able to ship the game. We have every major remaining step defined and documented, and will continue to give you regular progress updates. 

The team is fully committed to spending the time necessary to realize the vision of Nox Archaist, and to do so without cutting corners on quality. It has always been our plan to produce a game that looks and feels like what you would have purchased off the shelf at your local computer store in 1990. If the legendary game developers of that era had continued to produce AAA-level RPG games for the Apple II, you would have found something like Nox Archaist!

Based on the scope of the remaining tasks, we estimate that our target release date is August 2020 (see below for details). 



Project Status


The core functionality of the game engine is complete. We occasionally add code in order to create  scenarios for specific quest lines or in a few cases adjust feature code to better align with the content. 

We are confident that the vast majority of the technical risk is behind us. The road map to completion is clear:

  • Core game engine - Complete! 
  • Game box, map, coins, jewel, writ, postcard, artwork, usb - Complete! 
  • Double Hi-Res Splash Screen - Complete! 
  • Mockingboard beta sound driver and music for town/castle/combat/dungeon - Complete! 
  • Quick Combat stretch goal - Complete! 
  • Finish creating content (e.g. maps, NPC schedules and dialog)
  • Finish writing game manual, do printing
  • Main game boot menu
  • Add music to splash screen
  • Character creation dialog
  • Beta testing
  • Bug fixes, combat, and economy balancing
  • Duplicate floppy disks and usb drives, assemble boxes, ship!


Content Creation

We're 70% complete on the content creation. Here's an outline of what's left:

  • Villages - 4 remaining
  • Towns - 1 remaining
  • Castles - 1 remaining
  • Keeps - 3 remaining
  • Ruins - Complete! 
  • Underworld - 0.5 remaining

For context, a great deal of time was spent creating the engine and also scalable content development tools and processes. We've only recently reached peak efficiency for creating content. 

Content Samples


Ghrodwir is the mountainous home of the dwarves of Wynmar. Like other towns in Nox Archaist it has it's own unique style and personality.

Bayport is a bustling port town on the Siderean sea:





















Nox Archaist Live Stream!

Jarrod Kailef (your very own Kailef Dragon of the UDIC) will be hosting a live stream of the current pre-alpha build of Nox Archaist on Sunday, January 19th at 1 PM Pacific time!


Come check out some of the awesome content and gameplay that we’ve created since our Kickstarter last spring! 

Click here to watch.

If you visit that link early and “follow” Jarrod's Twitch account, you will get a notification when the stream goes live!"



Mark Lemmert & the 6502 Workshop Team

Website - http://www.6502workshop.com
Forums - http://forums.noxarchaist.com
Twitter - @6502Workshop
Facebook - http://facebook.noxarchaist.com
Kickstarter - http://kickstarter.noxarchaist.com