An Ultima Return Team Member Is Re-Creating Ultima Online’s Britannia in Wurm Online

For those of you unfamiliar with Wurm Online, it is one of the plethora of 3D MMORPGs that exist nowadays, which bills itself as “the MMORPG where the players are in charge…one of the only Sandbox MMOs worthy of the term”. The default Wurm client, available through the game’s website, is a Java applet that will run on Windows, OS X, or Linux. There is also, however, Wurm Unlimited, which is a standalone application.

Wurm Unlimited, in particular, also allows players to host their own custom game servers. And so, Wurm player Malena has spun up a new server, which she is calling Ultima Nostalgia; it will feature a re-creation of Britannia as it appears in Ultima Online:

Hey guys,

Up till now, the only thing I’ve been using Unlimited for is to play around with the god tools so I can test out house and environment designs for WO. Playing around with the magic god wand has become so enjoyable that I decided I’d like to recreate the Ultima Online map. As mentioned in my previous thread, this is going to be a “look but don’t touch” server and the whole server will be one gigantic deed. So I will not be opening it up for other people to live on as I just don’t have time or energy to get into community management at this point. I just want to relax and enjoy building. For now, the server will be offline. Once it’s ready though, I will make it public so all you old Ultima fans out there can come and visit as a tourist if you like.

In this thread, I’ll be documenting the whole process as I go along.

I know there have been some previous Ultima related projects out there, and as far as I can tell, they have died off and are offline. But I just want to reassure those people that my project is not in competition even if y’all decided to restart up your servers. Again, the reason being because my server will not be a community, just a tourist attraction.

The most nostalgic MMO players I know (myself included) are old Ultima Online players. So I’ve named the server accordingly and will do my very best to set it up, build and decorate just like good old UO. When the day comes that it’s ready to be made public, I hope you’ll share a little moistness in your eye, remembering back to the good old days in the lands of Sosaria!

The project has already attracted some gaming media attention, and even caught the attention of Raph Koster, who was one of the original designers that worked on Ultima Online.

And it’s easy to see why; here, for example, are a few screenshots of Malena’s work on just the Britain area of the map:


This reply to Malena’s forum post, from another former Ultima Online developer, really says it all:

Hail and well met, Malena!

I was one of the original Ultima Online engineers almost 20 years ago. Reading this post and seeing these screenshots really does bring back a lot of fond, frustrating, satisfying late nights developing UO. It was and still is a magical experience I will forever treasure and happy to see inspiring others even today.

Keep up the great work!

And here’s a fun fact, from Malena’s comments about how she got started on this project:

Once I’d gotten the hang of generating random maps, it was time to create a UO map. First I was testing out a heightmap shared from the Ultima IX: Redemption project and it actually worked pretty nicely! But when I compared it to the UO map, it had quite a lot of differences. I wanted the map to be laid out exactly like UO!

She ultimately would up building her own heightmap — I think — based on this online map.

At any rate: at this point, there doesn’t appear to be any kind of release; presumably, Malena aims to finish her work on the map before opening up the server to others.

The First Age of Update: Motherboard points out that Malena is, in real life, Ubisoft artist Andrea Fryer…who also did some portrait work for Ultima Return.