Patches & Updates for the GOG.com Ultima Releases

Akalaupdate: The patches discussed below for Ultima 1-7 are all covered by and automatically applied (along with necessary fixes — e.g. DPMI) by Pix’s Ultima Patcher (Windows-only). Xarton Dragon’s Portable Ultima Patches are also compatible with the GOG versions of the games.

Original Post: So, you’ve gone and bought and/or downloaded yourself a copy of some Ultima titles fromGood Old Games, and you’re wondering: are there any updates for these? Any patches? Anything else I should know?

Well, as it happens, the answer might well be “yes”.

Good Old Games (GOG) is admirably committed to releasing games in as close to their original form as possible; they tend to eschew reworked versions of games which the publishers may have shipped at a later time with graphics updates and whatnot. And to be fair, that’s an entirely commendable position; these games were classics in their unmodified form, and people should understand that and enjoy the games in their original state.

But over the years, Ultima fans and developers alike have taken it upon themselves to publish little improvements to the games, in the form of patches, graphics updates, and suchlike. This article will attempt to outline what can be done to improve, enhance, or in some ways modify your Ultima-playing experience with your newly purchased copies from GOG.

Ultima 1

There isn’t much you need to do — or can do — for Ultima 1; there is only a single graphics patch available for the game, which is recommended as it corrects a known glitch in the original display driver executable.

Ultima 2

There are two updates for Ultima 2 that you should consider applying. The first of these is a maps patch, which corrects for a bug in the original version of the game caused by a file which was overwritten multiple times during the installation process.

Note: It is possible that the Good Old Games version of Ultima 2 has this patch applied already; this has not been verified.

The other thing you may want to consider doing is applying the Ultima 2 Upgrade in whole or in part. This comprehensive update applies some speed tweaks to the game and also improves the graphics. It also includes the maps patch; if you install the full upgrade, don’t worry about installing the patch.

Note: the upgrade patch requires DPMI, which is not supported natively in DOSbox (which the Good Old Games version of the game uses as a wrapper/launcher). To get DPMI working, extract this file to the root folder of the game.

Ultima 3

There are two updates for Ultima 3, both of which update the graphics of the game.

The first update is the Ultima 3 Upgrade, which adds more colourful graphics and improved MIDI music to the game. The second is the the EGA graphics patch, a modified SHAPES.EGA file that incorporates a number of graphics from an enhanced graphics patch for Ultima 4. The EGA patch requires the Ultima 3 Upgrade.

Ultima 4

There are a few different updates that can be applied to Ultima 4.

The EGA graphics patch improves the look of the game somewhat, although the more dramatic improvement comes from the Ultima 4 Upgrade package, which adds VGA graphics and the original (and better) musical score from the Apple and Commodore versions of the game.

Note: the upgrade patch requires DPMI, which is not supported natively in DOSbox (which the Good Old Games version of the game uses as a wrapper/launcher). To get DPMI working, extract this file to the root folder of the game.

Additionally, the upgrade can’t be installed under DOS, as one of its files, “avpatch.exe”, is a Windows console application. A patched, DOS-friendly version is available here.

Also, it is critically important that, in Good Old Games’ version of Ultima 4, you create and save a characterbefore applying the upgrade; failure to do so will render the game unplayable.

Patches you may want to apply include this fix for the dungeon of Hythloth, and the runic font replacement patch if you are feeling particularly brave and want all the English-language signage in the game to be presented in a runic font instead.

Finally, if you feel like cheating, there is a character editor for Ultima 4, a cheat program for Ultima 1,Ultima 3, Ultima 4, and Ultima 5, and a savegame editor for the first five Ultima titles.

Ultima 5

There are a number of patches available for Ultima 5, including the comprehensive Ultima 5 Upgrade , amusic patch, a patch that lets you use the numeric keypad properly, and (of course) a patch to remove the runic font used at various points in the game.

Note: the upgrade patch presumably requires DPMI, which is not supported natively in DOSbox (which the Good Old Games version of the game uses as a wrapper/launcher). To get DPMI working, extract this file to the root folder of the game.

Ultima 6

There isn’t much in the way of patching needed to play Ultima 6. If you configure it to use the PC speaker,this timing patch might be of use if you are noticing odd sound errors, and there are also patches for MTU-32 and Soundblaster sound, and for AdLib sound.

Use as necessary.

Ultima Underworld & Ultima Underworld 2

The Good Old Games versions of both these games already include the official patches released by Origin Systems.

If you want a bit of mood music in the first game, there is a patch which adds a MIDI soundtrack, which I can only assume works with the GOG version of the game as well.

There are also Spanish and Portuguese translation patches available for Ultima Underworld.

As well, the GOG versions of the Underworld games are configured, by default, to use Roland MT-32 sound. If this causes issues for you (and it may), see this forum post at GOG.com for a workaround.

Finally, if you feel like cheating, there is a character editor for Ultima Underworld 2, and a general editor for both games.

Ultima 7 & Serpent Isle

A good and easy way to play Ultima 7 and Serpent Isle is with Exult, which is a mature cross-platform engine for the original game data files that incorporates a number of graphical scalers (so you can run the game at higher resolutions), bug fixes, and enhancements. If you use Exult, there’s no need to install any other patches.

If, however, you want to play the games in their pure form, they are well-supported by DOSBox, and the Good Old Games versions of the games come with DOSBox included as the “launcher”.

As far as patching the games goes, you shouldn’t need much in the way of patches to run the game under DOSBox. If, however, you want a bit of additional atmosphere in the game, there is a patch that adds support for MIDI music in Ultima 7 (and a similar patch for Serpent Isle). The Good Old Games versions of both these games already include the official patches released by Origin Systems.

That is the sum total of what can be done for the Ultima titles currently available on Good Old Games. If they release the rest of the series or the World of Ultima spinoffs at some point, this post will be updated with information about any other titles that come out.

The First Age of Update: Suggestions for Ultima 5 and Ultima 6 have been added. But as Pix’s Ultima Patcher (link above) has been updated as well, it is still recommended that you use it instead. Or Xarton Dragon’s Portable Ultima Patches (link above); those will also work.

Revenge of the Update: Suggestions for Ultima 7 and Serpent Isle have been added. But, again, as Pix’s Ultima Patcher (link above) has been updated as well, it is still recommended that you use it instead. Or, again, Xarton Dragon’s Portable Ultima Patches (link above); those will also work.

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