Forgotten World: Christmas Update, Next Patch Plans, and Other News

Iceblade has, since Christmas Day, posted three updates to the Forgotten World website. The Christmas update – subtitled We’re not dead! — basically explains why we haven’t heard much about patches and updates to Ultima 9 for the last year or so:

For those of you who are regularly on UDIC Facebook, you will probably have seen me comment on Forgotten World’s status. For those who haven’t seen my comments, the gist is that I’ve been pre-occupied with my Dissertation over the past two years and this effort involved a significantly greater portion of my attention. Since I’ve graduated, I am now able to devote some decent amount of time per week to Forgotten World.

The post also outlines options for moving the Forgotten World project forward in 2017:

There are two possible directions for the Forgotten World moving forward. The first to create a Pseudo-Exult of Ultima IX using Unity. This would create a more stable version of Ultima IX less prone to scripting bugs and AI issues, better combat implementation from the code side, and fewer pathfinding issues. The second path is just to import/read-in select portions of Ultima IX’s external files and focus the development exclusively on systems for Forgotten World. The largest difference between the two would be a reduced emphasis on recreating all of U9’s hardcoded features and ignoring some or all of U9’s map files. Either plan would require a copy of Ultima IX to function.}

In the end, though, time saved by not implementing U9 in every way is eaten up by starting from scratch on portions that aren’t imported. Also we already have developed tools to convert many of U9’s external files into other formats, so it would mostly be a matter of adjusting the output of these algorithms for structures that will be used with Project Britannia 2.0. (So not a large expense in time)

In addition, it has been decided that a full final patch for Ultima IX (the original one) will be produced using all of the work completed thus far with this engine. As part of this effort, I will be giving the game a bit of polish. Based on the results of a recent poll; however, it is clear that most everyone falls in two camps. One camp wants to see just the last couple of significant bugs fixed with Ultima IX and call it done. The other camp wants the full polish including a illusory version of npc schedules.

I suggest clicking on through to continue reading; Iceblade goes into some additional detail about ways that the illusion of NPC schedules could be realized.

Just before the end of the year, Iceblade also published some details about the next patch for Ultima 9 that Forgotten World will produce:

As I have previously mentioned, I will be providing two “Final Ultimate Patches” for Ultima IX. I have just drafted the list of 52 items for development for the first of these patches. It will cover all of the remaining correctable Serious Faults and Major Bugs in Ultima IX.

This list contains 8 Serious Problems, 12 Major Bugs, 13 Minor Issues, 14 Aspects for Polish, and 5 Parts that will have additions made. While this seems like a large list in and of itself, it is board in scope and difficulty, which can be broken down into 5 categories. There are 20 issues that involve heavy scripting changes/examination and 13 issues that require only minor scripting work. For the remaining issues, they are primarily fixed via worldbuilding (adding/changing objects and their properties), of which, only 6 involve major work of this kind with 12 that only require adding or adjusting a couple of objects. The last issue is where I changed the type name for an incorrectly named object.

I will point out that this list includes cleaner implementations of features already corrected in previous patches, so portions of this work have already been partially or fully completed.

I will be focusing on these issues over the coming months spending at least an hour on them everyday to ensure the patch is completed within a reasonable timeframe. I plan on attempting to complete the full, final, npc-scheduled patch by around this time next year.

And finally, just this morning, there’s a short(er) progress update that has been posted to the Forgotten World website:

Progress continues on the patch. You can read more about that at the Patch Updates page, which is now up to 4 articles. I have also been silently updating the Patch Status page. The last update date is on the page, so you can see when the latest progress occurred.

One major note about the patch is that I will need to finish my trigger editor in order to fix some of the more involved scripting bugs, so the patch won’t be finished until March or April. This is because I will be spending the rest of January finishing off 38 of the 52 issues (ie those that I can fix without a complete trigger editor). February will be spent finishing out my tools. Note that while I won’t be using these tools directly for Forgotten World, I can adapt much of the tool’s code to build an algorithm to convert external scripting files from Ultima IX to our own formats within Unity.

In addition to patch-related development, I have been finishing my work on the Ultima IX pages at the Codex wiki. Primarily, this has been on the Ultima IX dungeon solutions page. A long overdue page to complete.

In addition to the Dungeon Solution for Ultima IX page at the wiki, Iceblade also added a new page entirely: the Key Locations in Ultima IX page.