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Apple II CRPG Nox Archaist has officially been released!

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The 6502 Workshop team is thrilled to announce that 8-bit RPG Nox Archaist has been released!

 

Journey with us back in time to the 1980s an experience an adventure inspired by classics like Ultima and Bard's Tale.  

Lord British himself has traveled to Vali, the world of Nox Archaist, to help thee on thy quest!

 

Game Trailer
https://youtu.be/zeMIDv7xYr0

 

We would love to put a collector's edition box in your hands, featuring cover art by Denis Loubet, or set you up with the Digital Edition. 

Collector's edition includes:

 

*Game box with full color art
*Printed manual (cover painting by Denis Loubet)
*Cloth map 
*Coin of the Realm
*More! 
 

Available to order now!

NoxGroup1 (small file).jpg

Castle Map Icon.png

Castle Interior.png

Waterfall-Mountain Scene.png

Dragon_demo (static).png

Edited by 6502_workshop
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14 minutes ago, 6502_workshop said:

Thanks for your support!

 

 

-Mark

 

Looking forward to it!  Any idea if the boxed editions will arrive before Xmas if shipping to the USA?

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1 hour ago, tuf said:

Looking forward to it!  Any idea if the boxed editions will arrive before Xmas if shipping to the USA?

 

THanks for your question! According to USPS guidelines they *should* if ordered now, but 2020 has been a crazy year for shipping as you can imagine. 

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The spiffy game font looks better, but I can read the simple Apple font quicker.  Had a couple of hours to play, so I went for speed.  No big.  Nice to have the option frankly.

 

There was real love put into this game and it shows!

 

I had a good time exploring the little town and building my party, whomping on the baddies, poking around...

 

Great pixel art.  I have always loved these kinds of games and the Apple has just enough color to make them shine!  One can do anything in 6 colors and a dither.  ANYTHING, lol.  That all got put to good use, from what I have seen so far.

 

I am running the hard disk image on a CFFA 3000 card.  It is my first time playing one of these with something other than floppy disks.  It's great!  

 

The game is a gem at the stock 8 bit 1Mhz.  After the introductory portion, which is very well done and helpful, I chose to play it at the GS like 2.5Mhz.  It is just a bit more snappy.

 

Just to be clear though:  A lot of work went into this game, and it's performance on a stock Apple 8 bit computer shows off that work well.  

 

If you like ULTIMA style games, this one is new, plays well, looks like it has depth and plenty of hours of entertainment in it.  Highly recommended!

Edited by potatohead

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9 hours ago, potatohead said:

The spiffy game font looks better, but I can read the simple Apple font quicker.  Had a couple of hours to play, so I went for speed.  No big.  Nice to have the option frankly.

 

There was real love put into this game and it shows!

 

I had a good time exploring the little town and building my party, whomping on the baddies, poking around...

 

Great pixel art.  I have always loved these kinds of games and the Apple has just enough color to make them shine!  One can do anything in 6 colors and a dither.  ANYTHING, lol.  That all got put to good use, from what I have seen so far.

 

I am running the hard disk image on a CFFA 3000 card.  It is my first time playing one of these with something other than floppy disks.  It's great!  

 

The game is a gem at the stock 8 bit 1Mhz.  After the introductory portion, which is very well done and helpful, I chose to play it at the GS like 2.5Mhz.  It is just a bit more snappy.

 

Just to be clear though:  A lot of work went into this game, and it's performance on a stock Apple 8 bit computer shows off that work well.  

 

If you like ULTIMA style games, this one is new, plays well, looks like it has depth and plenty of hours of entertainment in it.  Highly recommended!

 

I am thrilled to hear you are enjoying the game! Thanks so much for taking the time to check it out and share your impressions!

 

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1 hour ago, 6502_workshop said:

I am thrilled to hear you are enjoying the game

Totally!  Had a nice, long play last night.  Will need to continue on emulation at times though.  No worries on that.  Frankly, it brings a more favorable arrow key arrangement to the experience.  That always has tripped me up and I never seem to get past it.

 

But, there was no way I was going to have my first experience be on anything but original hardware.  I am definitely going to show this off a time or two.  

 

Man, many of us used to spend hours on these kinds of games!  From what I can tell the depth is there.  Good.  I can park this on my laptop and chip away at it in modern life. 

 

Thanks again for this nice labor of love.

 

I do have a GS so it can all happen again one day when that project runs to completion.  8 bit Apple gaming is my fave though.  So glad this one happened first.

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, potatohead said:

Totally!  Had a nice, long play last night.  Will need to continue on emulation at times though.  No worries on that.  Frankly, it brings a more favorable arrow key arrangement to the experience.  That always has tripped me up and I never seem to get past it.

 

But, there was no way I was going to have my first experience be on anything but original hardware.  I am definitely going to show this off a time or two.  

 

Man, many of us used to spend hours on these kinds of games!  From what I can tell the depth is there.  Good.  I can park this on my laptop and chip away at it in modern life. 

 

Thanks again for this nice labor of love.

 

I do have a GS so it can all happen again one day when that project runs to completion.  8 bit Apple gaming is my fave though.  So glad this one happened first.

 

 

 

 

You're welcome!

 

I do know what you mean about the hours spend on games like these. I've spent easily thousands of hours playing Apple II RPGs, and thinking about storylines I'd like to create, so the content for Nox Archaist just flowed out! I think you will be pleased with the depth. Having a rich storyline which intertwined with combat was a high priority for me. 

 

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How much fun was that? 

 

Seriously.  Have you done a postmortem type write up or talk yet?

 

You should.  Plenty of people, myself included, would enjoy your take on things now that you have released and can bask in the glow of it all being done.

 

You know, I was thinking this morning...

 

For me, the best is just kind of open world and discovery.  As one has fun, what needs to happen becomes known.  Makes the time go by.

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19 minutes ago, potatohead said:

How much fun was that? 

 

Seriously.  Have you done a postmortem type write up or talk yet?

 

You should.  Plenty of people, myself included, would enjoy your take on things now that you have released and can bask in the glow of it all being done.

 

You know, I was thinking this morning...

 

For me, the best is just kind of open world and discovery.  As one has fun, what needs to happen becomes known.  Makes the time go by.

 

I did a recorded interview with Spam Spam Spam Humbug (Ultima Dragons podcast), which will get released sometime this week

https://ultimacodex.com/category/spam-spam-spam-humbug/

 

On Tuesday, December 15th (3pm U.S. Central time (GMT -6)) I'll be on the Game Wisdom YouTube channel for a live discussion and Q&A with the chat stream

https://youtube.com/c/game-wisdom

 

And on Dec 21st, (1pm U.S. Central time (GMT -6)), I'll be on Matt Chatt for a livestream of Nox Archaist with some discussion

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCE98xefVUXmbvQfe-wNS8oA

 

On The Lost Sectors YouTube channel I'll be doing a standard interview format recorded event, I am not sure when they will post it but probably late December.  

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiPWulZCIyNwPxOmRBK7snw

 

Do you have any contacts with channels/sites that might be interested? It would be fun to do more, I don't get tired of talking about this project 🙂

 

 

 

 

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6 hours ago, 6502_workshop said:

have any contacts with channels/sites that might be interested? It would be fun to do more, I

I don't, but I am sure the Kansasfest people, Retrocomputing Round Table, amd friends would want to have another conversation.  You have had some in the past, which is how I came to follow your project.

 

But hey!  It is done.  Now it's time to talk about what seeing people enjoy means and the future, assuming you have one in mind.  It is OK if you don't, and you do not need me to say that either.

 

Just want to be clear it's no pressure and all that good human stuff.

 

For me personally, a tech breakdown would be awesome. The font renderer was mentioned, for example.  Deffo interested, and its quick!

 

How you wove the story together?

 

Tools you had to make to make other tools that helped you build the game?

 

Painful tradeoffs?  There had to be some of those, lol.

 

Discoveries?  Along the way, did you have an epiphany, or discover something about the 6502, or Apple that was notable, or maybe was that thing that helped you know it was gonna happen, all come together?

 

How did you choose your tool chain?

 

I love that kind of stuff.

 

 

 

Edited by potatohead

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56 minutes ago, potatohead said:

I don't, but I am sure the Kansasfest people, Retrocomputing Round Table, amd friends would want to have another conversation.  You have had some in the past, which is how I came to follow your project.

 

But hey!  It is done.  Now it's time to talk about what seeing people enjoy means and the future, assuming you have one in mind.  It is OK if you don't, and you do not need me to say that either.

 

Just want to be clear it's no pressure and all that good human stuff.

 

For me personally, a tech breakdown would be awesome. The font renderer was mentioned, for example.  Deffo interested, and its quick!

 

How you wove the story together?

 

Tools you had to make to make other tools that helped you build the game?

 

Painful tradeoffs?  There had to be some of those, lol.

 

Discoveries?  Along the way, did you have an epiphany, or discover something about the 6502, or Apple that was notable, or maybe was that thing that helped you know it was gonna happen, all come together?

 

How did you choose your tool chain?

 

I love that kind of stuff.

 

 

 

 

Good topics! I look forward to discussing them. 

 

I'll share one with you here that comes to mind: how do games like Ultima and Nox Archaist get the screen to scroll so quickly?

 

The logic to draw each shape on the screen is pretty straight forward. Store some shape tables, attached to a tile_ID, create an array of tile_IDs representing the map, run a loop to parse the array, and draw the shapes. It can be written in BASIC and it's entirely too slow. It can be written in this straightforward way in assembly language and it's still too slow - screen refresh can been seen.  

 

So, it take more than assembly to get the speed necessary (a key lightbulb moment on my journey). The next step is to change the logic. Instead of redrawing each shape on the screen every time the player moves, instead just draw the new shapes that appear (a row or column at the screen edge in the direction of player movement). Then, for the rest of the tiles, shift them over by copying the data in video memory from the current memory addresses to the memory addresses that correlate with a 14 pixel shift onscreen. Much, much faster than drawing everything again.

With the video memory copy, it's fast enough to be playable, no screen refresh visible, but it's still sluggish.

 

The final stage is to go to the very bottom loop of the screen scrolling routine, and use self modifying code to shave a few clock cycles off each iteration of the bottom loop. Since memory can contain machine code or data, the code change change values in memory which in effect change the code itself. Doing this in some cases can be eliminate some of the loop overhead, which at the bottom level of a series of nested loops, can really add up to a lot of clock cycles. 

 

These techniques were the stages of learning I went through on this topic, some of them in the 80s, some of them in the early prototype phase of the Nox Archaist project. And, it's one of the concepts that I found the most fascinating to unravel. 


 

Edited by 6502_workshop
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Thanks for that!

 

Self modify today is voodoo.  Back when I was learning assembly, almost of that was on a 6809.  On that CPU, it is as possible as it is a 6502, but generally not necessary.  

 

A friend and I were working on basics, pixel plotters, blitters, and doing that on 6502 came up as a way to do things quickly.  There was a whole, "should it?" discussion mixed in with how to debug, or "what happens when it goes badly" one.

 

After a time, we settled on, better just get it right.  And the many lectures from others, mainly educators, as this was happening on the school lab machines, were all bad, don't do it, etc...  but, looking at finished programs we could run and what was happening and how quickly did not jive.

 

They had to have done it.

 

Clearly, you had reached that point of code zen where it was no longer a question, just the way forward.  

 

Cool beans!  

 

I will catch the shows.  Should be a good time.

 

Thanks again.

 

 

 

 

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9 hours ago, potatohead said:

Thanks for that!

 

Self modify today is voodoo.  Back when I was learning assembly, almost of that was on a 6809.  On that CPU, it is as possible as it is a 6502, but generally not necessary.  

 

A friend and I were working on basics, pixel plotters, blitters, and doing that on 6502 came up as a way to do things quickly.  There was a whole, "should it?" discussion mixed in with how to debug, or "what happens when it goes badly" one.

 

After a time, we settled on, better just get it right.  And the many lectures from others, mainly educators, as this was happening on the school lab machines, were all bad, don't do it, etc...  but, looking at finished programs we could run and what was happening and how quickly did not jive.

 

They had to have done it.

 

Clearly, you had reached that point of code zen where it was no longer a question, just the way forward.  

 

Cool beans!  

 

I will catch the shows.  Should be a good time.

 

Thanks again.

 

 

 

 

 

LOL, yeah I can totally appreciate the "can we" vs. "should we" dilemma/debate. I love how you guys deduced the truth of what was really going on in professional 6502 development despite the best practices been taught in the school.

 

 

-Mark

 

 

 

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And we ended up seeing it all as this stuff got disassembled and analyzed.  

 

There is a similar pro dev vs school culture today.  Different tools and systems, but similar dynamics.

 

You can bask in being a member of a fun club though.  Assembly game project completed!  With accolades.

 

Whatever you may have gotten in school worked! 

 

Cheers

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7 hours ago, potatohead said:

And we ended up seeing it all as this stuff got disassembled and analyzed.  

 

There is a similar pro dev vs school culture today.  Different tools and systems, but similar dynamics.

 

You can bask in being a member of a fun club though.  Assembly game project completed!  With accolades.

 

Whatever you may have gotten in school worked! 

 

Cheers

 

Thanks!

 

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It's so awesome to see this finally come to fruition!

 

Looking forward to playing the crap out of this over Christmas Break.

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20 minutes ago, Byte Knight said:

It's so awesome to see this finally come to fruition!

 

Looking forward to playing the crap out of this over Christmas Break.

Thanks for your support!

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Looks great!   I don't have an Apple.   If I bought the digital version, do you know which emulators it will run on?

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3 hours ago, zzip said:

Looks great!   I don't have an Apple.   If I bought the digital version, do you know which emulators it will run on?

Thanks for your interest! Nox Archaist actually comes with a stand-alone application (click & go) which has an emulator under the hood.

 

If you prefer to use your own emulator, here are some of the Apple II emulators we have tested the game on:

 

MicroM8  (Windows & Mac)

AppleWin (Windows)
Virtual ][ (Mac)

 

 

 

 

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I would like to play Nox on original hardware (Apple IIe platinum) and have copied the disk images to 5.25 floppies using ProDOS. However, the disks won't boot. I get a "Unable to load ProDOS" message when booting from floppy. I get the same message when trying to boot from my Floppy Emu. I am relatively new to Apple II so maybe I missing something simple. Any ideas? Many thanks! 

Edited by scitari

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