Classic Ultima Online: Server Offline; Local/Offline Play Now Possible

Shattered Moon seemed poised to close out 2016 with some bad news: the Classic Ultima Online (the project formerly known as Ultima 4 Multiplayer) server had been taken offline due to lack of activity:

After slightly over a year of up-time, I have decided to retire CUO because of lack of interest. It has been months since anyone has logged in, and even when the game was relatively new the average player connected for only 10 minutes and never returned. Perhaps releasing the game in its Alpha phase was a mistake…I understand that the game was considered unplayable by some because it suffered from a number of glitches, but almost no one reported bugs, suggestions, or feedback and I was often unaware of major problems.

At the time — November, to be more precise — he was debating whether to release the game later on in a more polished form; uploading the source to a public repository for the community to poke away at was also an option under consideration.

However, just before Christmas, he decided to take things in a bit of a different direction:

Since CUO was meant to be a multiplayer extension of Ultima I through Ultima IV, I don’t yet know if it’s possible to complete any of it without other players. The Ultima I dungeons were populated with many more monsters, and Ultima III and IV are inherently designed to have companions. Perhaps I’ll add a switch for standalone mode that would allow classic companions to join, or possibly add hireling tech? I’ll also be publishing the source and game assets to either GitHub or Bitbucket soon, so that interested parties can fork the project if desired.

Subsequently, he released two new downloads: installers for local versions of the game client and server software. When installed together, these two programs allow Classic Ultima Online to be played offline, in single-player mode (essentially).

You can grab the client and server installers from the Shattered Moon downloads page, or from the project entry here at the Codex. There’s been no word yet (that I’ve seen) as to the release of the code on GitHub or BitBucket, but I’m sure that will happen at some point this year.