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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


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!


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 -
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Twitter - @6502Workshop
Forums -
Facebook -
Kickstarter -


  1. I will probably start on real hardware for nostalgia, eventually transfer to emulator for realistic ease of use considering how home is configured and to benefit from machine state saving when I only have a few minutes to play at a time. Hopefully the data disk is easy to transfer back and forth with ADTPro?

    1. Josh, thanks for sharing!

      Yes, all of the floppy disks can easily be transferred to floppy disk images via ADTPro.

  2. I would love to find the Secret Apple II Testing Lair - looks very cool!

  3. With luck I’ll be playing it first on the same Apple II+ I used to play Ultima IV. My parents bought it in 1980 but it was boxed up in 1992 and hasn’t been unpacked since. Assuming No capacitors have leaked while it was mothballed, it’ll be ready to fly again with its 16k upgrade, dual Disk ][s and Hitachi monitor. I may even have an 80-col card and lowercase rom for it by the time the game drops.

    @josh: if you can justify the cost I highly recommend getting the Floppy Disk Emulator from Big Mess O’ Wires: that way you can use it to boot your real hardware but then pull out the SD card and use the same disk image in your emulator.

    1. Thanks for sharing Matthew!

      FYI, Nox was designed around a 128k machine with memory organized into a 64k main bank and 64 aux bank. The typical way to get this is with an Apple IIe with the 80 column card, an Apple IIc or Apple IIgs. Even though there are memory expansions on the Apple II+, I have never seen one that produces this config.

      I played my first games, including Ultima, on an Apple II+ in the 80s and I do appreciate the system, it was just one of the trade-offs we had to make to realize the vision.

    2. You’re right about the 128k thing, I didn’t read everything properly. Good thing I have a //c (from a yard sale in 1994) and a IIgs from eBay (2012) I can use instead :)

    3. Great, glad you've got some other real hardware options!

  4. I plan to play Nox on real hardware, my //c with color monitor and an external floppy drive. If I could find an emulator that emulated the phosphor of a CRT of the era and an emulator that emulated the seeking sounds of the floppy then I would use that, but until then that's part and parcel of the full Nox experience for me. My only wish is to have a Mockingboard for the //c.

  5. I will be playing on my Apple IIc with floppy discs. Can't wait!

  6. Thanks much everyone for sharing your plans!

  7. Little late to the game, but we'll be playing on a IIgs with TransWarp and IIc+. Love the storytelling and all the detailed artwork. Super impressed it looks like you're actually ahead of schedule. Keep up the great work! :)

    1. PS - will likely use FloppyEmu (with seek noisemaker) and CFFA3000 for convenience's sake over standard floppy drives.

    2. Thanks for the encouragement, and sharing your hardware plans!