Nox Archaist: An 8-bit RPG for Apple II, Mac, and PC
A retro computer game inspired by Ultima and The Bard's Tale. Playable on Apple II or on a modern Mac or PC. Defend the realm!
This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Fri, May 31 2019 10:00 PM UTC +00:00.
Nox Archaist is a tile-based, 8-bit, sword-and-sorcery role-playing game modeled after the iconic games of the 1980s.
Our goals for this project are to capture the retro-gaming experience from the 1980s and explore what might have happened if commercial RPG development had continued on 8-bit computers to the present day. Nox Archaist will be playable on both original Apple II hardware (128k enhanced Apple //e, Apple IIc, and Apple IIGS) and modern Mac and Windows PCs through emulators. For real hardware you'll need either dual floppy drives or a hard drive (such as the CFFA3000 or FloppyEMU).
We are developing Nox Archaist from scratch, in assembly language, on real Apple II hardware. We're talking handmade quality bits here. All 8 of them.
The Nox Archaist kickstarter has multiple reward tiers, containing items such as:
- Digital download of the game, manual, and music
- Full-color sturdy game box
- Paper or cloth map of the realm
- Printed game manual
- Unique game artifacts
- In-game rewards such as naming rights and dungeon design
- Special titles such as Baron, Count, or Lord
You crawl ashore, spluttering out sea water, still clutching your sword. Every muscle aches from struggling against the storm, then later, against the waves. You were so close to discovering the secret of the magical barrier that threatens your homeland. Your investigations led you to a mysterious cult. But, after hearing fell voices on the winds of the storm that rose up out of nowhere, you fear that larger forces may be at play. You thought you heard the name Vazarath whispered among them. Now, shipwrecked and with your companions dead, how can you hope to accomplish your mission?
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 sword 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.
Nox Archaist is set in a sinister realm ruled by swords and sorcery. Adventurers brave enough to explore Nox Archaist will encounter engaging NPCs and a vast storyline within a sandbox world with linear storyline elements. Hordes of vile enemies will block your path to fame and riches.
Much more than just a "hack and slash" game, Nox Archaist will offer a rich and rewarding world to explore and discover, with many secrets, interesting stories, and a deep history to unravel.
Gamers will enjoy features like skills-driven character development and strategic turn-based combat scenarios which integrate with the game's storyline and push the boundaries of the Apple II platform.
Features that push the Apple II envelope include:
- Complex world with both linear storyline and non-linear sandbox elements
- Hiding in tall grass, horse jumping, swimming
- NPCs with independent movement and adaptive behavior
- Advanced mob combat tactics
- Popup windows and other modern user interface elements
6502 Workshop is the grassroots game-development effort of a small team of technology and graphics professionals. The Nox Archaist project was born in the early 1980s while we explored new worlds created by the Ultima and Bard's Tale series. Since then we've been driven to create our own fantasy RPG.
The original Workshop crew was fortunate enough to team up with old-school Apple II veterans who are excited to help make Nox Archaist the best gaming experience that it can be. These include:
- Elizabeth Daggert, former lead programmer for Lode Runner Online.
- Peter Ferrie, aka Qkumba, software developer for companies like Microsoft and Symantec by day and grandmaster assembly-language programmer by night.
- Jarrod Kailef: veteran of projects such as Richard Garriott's Shroud of the Avatar and Sun Dog: Resurrection.
- Michael Pohoreski: professional game developer with experience at several studios including Electronic Arts.
- $6 Anywhere in the U.S.
- $25 Canada
- $35 Anywhere else in the world
Backers outside the U.S. are responsible for any VAT and/or customs charges where applicable.
Stretch Goals for Nox Archaist include:
* At $30,000 we will commission a custom painting by Denis Loubet to be used as a piece of artwork within the boxed set, along with a digital download to all backers. Denis Loubet has done artwork for games such as Ultima, Wing Commander, and Car Wars, including the covers of Ultima IV, V, and VI. You can see his artwork here.
** At $40,000 we will add a quick combat option to the Nox Archaist game engine, for all backers. Nox Archaist is designed with tactical combat on a tile-based screen. With the addition of this option, before each battle you can choose to do tactical combat or quick combat where the outcome is rapidly computed.
Risks and challenges
While no project is risk free, we believe the risks associated with Nox Archaist are relatively low.
We have completed the core game engine along with most of the art work and game assets. Fully playable sections of the game have been created and tested by our team and the Lost Sectors Podcast (see http://preview.noxarchaist.com). The storyline and main quest line details have been fleshed out. Our focus now is on creating additional content, more testing, and polishing.
To mitigate risk, we are using a development method that is similar to that advocated by Richard Garriott, which allows the story to flow out of the engine rather than design an engine to tell a specific story. Finally, we have chosen a conservative completion date to ensure that we can devote the time necessary to make Nox Archaist into a cohesive, complex, and engaging story that is fun to play.
We have created prototypes for the physical reward items and have lined up vendors. Although the reward photos show prototypes, they are representative of the final items and any changes to the artwork or materials will be minor.
The final production involves managing finances, coordinating with suppliers, and creating processes for efficient assembly and delivery. We are confident in our ability to tackle these challenges: 6502 Workshop co-founder Mark Lemmert is a CPA and MBA with decades of experience in finance and business management in entrepreneurial technology companies (see https://www.linkedin.com/in/marklemmert). Co-founder Mike Reimer has years of experience procuring and shipping physical goods.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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