The Ultima Codex The Ultima Fan Network Thu, 17 Aug 2017 19:35:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Ultima Codex 32 32 33386326 Ultima Online: Publish 98 Released Worldwide; New Event Arc May Involve Pagan Thu, 17 Aug 2017 19:35:22 +0000 Something interesting may be afoot in Ultima Online.

Recently, Broadsword Online Games released Publish 98, the fall update for the game, to all servers. You may recall that it was released on the Test Center shard a little while ago; it was pushed to the Origin, Izumo, and Baja shards on August 8th, and then released to all shards a week thereafter:

We are pleased to announce that Publish 98 is in the process of being deployed to all shards. Publish 98 is full of new features, so make sure you patch up your client and check the notes for full release details. Please note that some features will not be available until certain dates.

As mentioned in the notes, Publish 98 brings our latest content arc, The Shattered Obelisk. Check out this page on the Shattered Obelisk for more details!

Now, a couple weeks ago, someone pointed out to me on Discord that there were some early indications, in a discussion on Stratics, that Pagan — the setting of Ultima 8 — would feature in an upcoming event arc in Ultima Online. In particular, this post caught my eye; the attached screenshot is titled pagan_spellbook.png.

And as of yesterday, there’s a rather more overt indication that this is so, with the kickoff of said new event arc. The arc is called The Shattered Obelisk, the first part of which — entitled The Not-So-Ordinary World — is now active.

Two short pieces of lore fiction, both written by EM Malachi, have been released with this part of the event: The Oracle and the Bard, and Enlightenment. Here’s an excerpt from the latter:

The pale stranger held up a silver talisman, a small shimmer of mana glowing across the surface. “I am here to heal you.”

The wretched woman gave a dismissive wave of a skeletal hand. “Magic won’t help us. The greatest mages in Britain turned us away in fear.”

“Their spell circles are children’s toys. I practice a magic far older and purer.” The healer moved the spell focus across the woman’s face, melting away sores and healing the skin. The ash pale face came alive with a rosy bloom.

The healer continued around the room, curing the rest of the outcasts. When she was finished, one who had been near death asked the question on everyone’s mind, “What happens now?”

Note, too, that some cover art (for lack of a better term) for The Shattered Obelisk was also released; it can be seen above. The font choice is one thing; it does invoke Ultima 8 a little bit. The background image is a rather more glaringly obvious reference; the pentagram only ever appeared in Ultima lore in association with Ultima 8, after all.

The Shattered Obelisk will be released in five parts, with each successive part coming out on Wednesdays for the next four weeks.

Oh, and it’s also worth noting that Broadsword Online Games are raffling off six grandfathered castles, which can be placed on the shard of the winner’s choice. Details about how to enter the raffle can be found here.

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Spam Spam Spam Humbug: Episode 87 – Random Dragonly Babble, And Also Dr. Cat Thu, 17 Aug 2017 13:35:37 +0000

Because it has been three weeks — at least! — since the last Spam Spam Spam Humbug episode was published, I’ve taken the unusual turn of diving back into the archives of recorded audio that I maintain, and I’ve pulled out a lengthy segment of the postamble discussion that I recorded after Episode 77. This was, you may recall, the follow-up episode to our discussion about the Ultima Dragons’ 25th Anniversary Bash in Disneyland, and it was the episode that Dr. Cat joined us for.

I have no idea what is discussed in this episode; I left my computer recording audio and went to bed, and woke up to nearly four hours of random conversation, all recorded dutifully by Audacity. Hopefully there’s nothing untoward or inappropriate herein…but you’ll really have to listen for yourself to find out.

Listen to the Episode

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Underworld Ascendant: Alpha Test Underway; Transforming the World Into an Interactive Playground; OtherSide is Hiring Wed, 16 Aug 2017 16:22:29 +0000 OtherSide Entertainment’s Joe Fielder has posted yet another monthly update to the Underworld Ascendant website, in which he rather excitedly details some of the progress made on — and results of — the game’s Improvisation Engine:

As you know, we recently stood up the core tenets of combat, stealth, and magic in an early area of the game called The Challenge of Ishtass. There, the player is first introduced to the array of choices available to them with The Improvisation Engine. We set the challenge, the solution is up to you, and we reward creativity.

Our recent milestone has been a key next step in inspiring and supporting player experimentation: turning the world into an interactive playground. The idea is that the systems that simulate this underground realm make sense. A wooden door can be burned down or chopped down, water can put out torches, physics act in logical fashion, and so on. So, when the player tests something out, they get expected results.

The player might use a glue bulb and a crate to jam a trap, pass by unharmed, then use water to dissolve the glue, just

as an enemy steps into the trap’s path.Or they might cast a the Gravitate spell — a non-offensive magic originally designed as a way of creating bridges — on a pile of crates, setting them on fire, then to hold off encroaching enemies. Or, even better, lining them up just right and blasting them at enemies with a Repulse spell in a fiery rain.

It’s important to note that none of these results were planned in advance, they were discovered.

He also gave some details about what the OtherSide team will be working on next:

Our next major milestone includes work on new areas, new and refined creatures, additional gameplay elements, standing up player growth and quest selection, defining our visual target for animation, and more.

It also involves next steps in combat, stealth, and magic, so it’s about perfect timing to have you play the Pre-Alpha build and get your feedback through our forums, Developer Roundtables, and more. The recent survey was the first step in this; this is the next.

It’s worth clicking on through to read the entirety of the update; in addition to still yet more Improvisation Engine details, there are some new pieces of concept art showcasing the look of skeletons in the game.

More recently, anyone who backed Underworld Ascendant at the Adventurer tier and above (or who purchased the Prototype Access add-on) received — at long last! — access to the Pre-Alpha Backer Build of the game.

That build became available around 1:00 PM Eastern Standard Time on August 10th, and was delivered via Steam. I haven’t had a chance to dive into it yet, but I’d be curious to hear feedback from anyone who has!

It’s also worth noting that the System Shock 3 team at OtherSide is currently looking to hire a Software Engineer at their Austin, Texas studio:

The OtherSide Entertainment Austin studio is looking for a Senior Software Engineer to join our team in working on the System Shock 3 game. The ideal candidate will report to and work closely with the Technical Director to build gameplay systems according to design specifications. The Senior Software Engineer may also be called upon to troubleshoot existing features, optimize game performance, and work with other members of the team to improve the overall quality of the product and mentor other team members.

They’re also looking to bring another artist on board at their Boston studio:

Our Boston area-based game development studio is hard at work on the first-person 3D RPG Underworld Ascendant, the modern sequel to Looking Glass’ Ultima Underworld, which created the ‘immersive sim’ genre and influenced System Shock, BioShock, Deus Ex, and more.

We’re seeking a talented, senior game artist to work with our team to create props and architecture. Must have strong core art and technical art skills, and a minimum of 4 years’ experience working on at least several high-caliber PC or console games that have been commercially released. Part of role will be to provide effective visual direction of a small team of external artists. Should have a proficiency with Unity. Should have passion for making great games.

It’s good to see that both studios are growing, even incrementally.

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Lawless Legends: Beta Testing Underway Tue, 15 Aug 2017 18:56:26 +0000 The Lawless Legends development team posted news a while ago concerning beta testing for the game (which, evidently, also began recently):

We are almost here! We are beginning beta testing this week! Here are some screen shots and features now working:

Combat and options are fully functional!

NPCs joining your party and controlling them in combat works too!

Ranged combat and ranged weapons work!

It all fits on 2 disks (3 sides)!

If you’re lucky enough to be in the beta testing group for the game, do feel free to share your thoughts about it!

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Corven – The Path of Redemption: Looking For a Permanent 3D Artist Tue, 15 Aug 2017 17:39:46 +0000 The Titans of Ether — the development team working on Corven – Path of Redemption — are looking to bring a 3D artist on board as a permanent (and, I assume, paid) team member:

You are a talented 3D artist and you are trying to get into the game development business? Yes? Then please read on:

We are working with a few freelancers who we pay for each piece of art they create. However since we are just starting out and our budget is very limited we can’t do this for all our additional 3D model needs.

This is why we are looking for a 3D artist who also has some animation experience and most importantly who would be interested in being a permanent part of the core team. The big “issue” with this position is that, for now, we are all working without pay. We believe 100% in our project and in its success and we are looking for someone with the same conviction.

You would be working closely with us, you could give input in the design process and put your mark on this project. In the end you would get a percentage of the earnings.

I think this could be a perfect opportunity for a newcomer with some time on his/her hands to take a big step into the game development business.

For now you would mostly work on armor and loot in general.

If you’d be interested in joining the Titans, avail yourself of their online contact form.

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Age of Ultimacraft: Trinsic Revealed Tue, 15 Aug 2017 15:32:08 +0000 The Age of Ultimacraft team recently — well, if early July can be considered “recent” — tweeted out a few screenshots of Trinsic, which is evidently the latest area they have added to their Ultima-themed Minecraft server:

This is a really quite exceptionally well-realized area; it sort of invokes the Ultima 7-era iteration of the city, but is also quite original in its own right. The dragon statue is particularly impressive!

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Shroud of the Avatar – Update of the Avatar #240 Mon, 14 Aug 2017 15:27:20 +0000 Greetings Fellow Avatars! Here’s what we have for you in this week’s edition of Update of the Avatar:

The Latest Game Progress


Making of Longfall Woods

[A Dev+ Forum Post by Chris “Sea Wolf” Wolf]

Hey folks, today I’ll be sharing some screenshots of Longfall Woods, which is an adventure scene near Blood River. These dark woods draw inspiration from mythical forests such as Fangorn Forest from Lord of the Rings, or The Forbidden Forest from Harry Potter. In the scene, you can find a camp of vigilantes, a spider den, some haunted ruins, and a survivalist family of elves who have been hiding from the vigilantes.

The Woods

The Vigilante Camp

The Ruins

The Survivalists Home

The Spider Den

As always, feedback is welcome!

Chris Wolf
Level Designer

Making of South Paladis Scenes: Middle Downs and South Broken Road


[From a Dev+ Forum Post by Esteben “SorcerousSteve” Zaldivar]

Hey guys! SorcerousSteve here to give you an update on Middle Downs. This week I focused on terrain polish, finishing up the interior of the mounds, and also did some spawning. The Mound of the Sun can be seen below before night time, alongside this there are 4 satellite burial mounds within walking distance nearby…

Interior of the Drovak Mound:

Ancient cave drawings depicting hunts, fauna, and sun worshiping line the inside of the Mound of the Sun:

The Oldon Mound and its collapsed roof bring in light from the starry sky:

Des Morte Bog cuts through the Middle Downs, a burial mound can be seen on a nearby cliff:

Hope you guys are looking forward to exploring the burial mounds of the Middle Downs this R45!

South Broken Road

[From a Dev+ Forum Post by Travis “Vas Corp Por” Koleski]

Hi again all! Here are a few more shots as we wrap up progress (for this release) on South Broken Road! Thanks as always for following!

Rolling Farmland (infested with Plunderers):

A travelling minstrel makes camp for the evening:

Looking forward to meeting all you travelers along the road!

Post Episode 1 Content Plan – Initial Draft

[From a forum post by Starr “Darkstarr” Long]

Greetings Avatars,

The beauty of being an online game is that we can continue to expand the game well beyond the confines of the launch of our first episode. That means we get to dream big! Here is a first draft of everything we would like to add to the game post launch of Episode 1. Some of these will get included in regular monthly updates (yes we plan to do those forever) while some will be part of future episodes. These are presented in no particular order and some are better explained than others.

This was formerly known as the “2 Year Plan” (as made famous by my tongue in cheek vocal rendition in the last telethon) but as we continued to add features to it we quickly realized that there was more to this than might fit in just 2 years so we have renamed it to simply “Post Episode 1 Plan”. This also of course includes the plans for further episodes.

Please note that none of these are committed features and none of these have final designs of any kind. This is just a very early draft that is the result of some quick brainstorms and ideas we accumulated when we are not crazy busy trying to finish Episode 1.


  • Episodes 2 – 5:
    • New Land Masses with new adventure areas and new towns per episode
    • New 40+ hour storyline per episode
    • New opportunities to settle Player Owned Towns and Player Owned Lots in the new land masses
  • Navigable Ships: Boats that can move around in water of multiple sizes. This includes boats previously marked as either decorations (ex. Longboat) or homes (ex Pirate Galleon)
    • Ship to Ship Combat: Be able to shoot cannons and catapults and other ranged weapons between ships
    • Sea Monsters: Creatures that can be fought at sea either while swimming, from shore, or while on ships.
    • Ocean Scenes: fully oceanic scenes including random encounters while taking boats between destinations.
  • Elven Playable Race: At character creation players can choose elves as a race. Elves will have slightly different stats than humans and different customization options
  • Flexible Lot Placement: Allows you to put your house wherever you want on your lot, not just the default location.
  • Player Owned Dungeons: Connects to bottom floor of basement or perhaps a placeable Dungeon entrance in a POT. Imagine a much larger basement specifically tailored to be an adventure space vs. a living space.
    • Placeable Spawners: imagine harvesting spider eggs and then being able to place them in corners for unwary visitors
    • Placeable Traps: imagine crafting an exploding chest!
  • Wildlife Scaling in Town Scenes: As population in town rises the amount of wildlife decreases.
  • Integrate Discord into Game:
    • Voice chat channels for Party, Guild, Town
    • Option to use discord in game
  • True First Person: with visible hands/weapons
    • Limited VR Support: Not a full VR conversion, just support for stereo rendering to enhance first person mode
  • Console / Controller Support: Expand beyond computers to consoles including full support for playing with a controller. Because we are using the Unity engine and we are scene based this is not as challenging as it might be otherwise. The biggest issue is reconfiguring the interface to work with a controller. Plans would be to expand to at least XBox One and PS4.
  • Map Improvements:
    • Notes on Maps: Ability to annotate maps
    • Fog of War: Hide where you haven’t been
  • Character Customization: More facial features, tattoos, scars, face types, body types
  • Animal husbandry: An expansion of Agriculture to raise animals including chickens, pigs, cows, and sheep (and maybe more!)
  • Companion Mobile App: A companion app that allows direct interaction with a selection of game features including the following:
    • Vendor Controls
    • Crafting
    • Chat
    • Maps
    • Mail
    • Player to Player Trade
    • Rent & Taxes
    • Town/Lot Management
  • Rent Automatic Payments: Ability to set and collect automatic payments with tenants
  • Pack Animals: Pets that are mobile containers. Mules, Llamas, Camels
  • Mounts: Slightly faster than running, perhaps less drain on focus.
    • Mounted Combat: Expansion of mount system to allow fighting while mounted.
  • Underwater Swimming: Ability to swim under water
  • Lot Trading: Ability to securely trade lots between players in-game with option to include the currently placed house and basement as well.
  • Crafting:
    • Interactive Crafting: Explosions, Mini-games,
    • Decoration Color changes via Materials / Dyes: Change the color of decorations either through different materials (ex. Different wood types) or dyes (ex. Cushions on a couch)
    • More Skills
    • More Recipes
    • More Patterns
    • Tree Visual Variations
    • More materials to craft with
    • More enchantments and masterwork effects
  • Place Items Anywhere: with timers and limits (per user & per scene)
  • Climbable Ladders/Ropes/Chains/etc: With actual animations
  • More POT Templates:
    • Urban: Denser city style template
    • Underground: more variants
    • Mountain Port City
    • Floating City: Built in the style of Isle of Storms
  • Expanded Quests
    • More side quests
    • Daily quest system
    • More tools to allow player created quests in game
  • Expand Vendor System
    • Expand purchase order system
    • More detailed permissions and controls: being able to remove single items, set limits for specific people, etc.
  • Customizable Convos for Vendors/POT NPCs/Servants: Build custom conversations for your NPCs
  • Expanded Item / Container Permissions: Add a lot more customizable rules and permissions to items and containers (ex Only Take 1, Only Put 1, open only X times, open only during these hours, etc.)
  • Guild vs. Guild Warfare Improvements:
    • Minimum Size Requirement
    • Limited to just the guilds involved (i.e. a big duel)
    • Set Win Conditions / Place Bets / Set time limits
    • Guild Warfare locations
  • Companions / Hirelings / Mercenaries Improvements
    • Customizable Companions / Hirelings: Give them gear to use
    • Companions / Hirelings in Online Mode: Blocks summons for balance purposes?
  • LFG system
    • Register at a lunar rift and allow optionally setting of preferred party role (healer, tank, dps), scene type (PVP, dungeon, outdoor), play duration (0-1hour, 1-4 hours, 4+ hours).  Show name as color coded using monster rules (more than 40 levels below = green, etc)
  • Raid groups: Party of Parties
    • Up to 8 groups of 8
    • All in raid share a /raid channel
    • Those in raid behave as if they are in the same party for rules governing friendly effects.  So no damaging each other if PVP, players can heal/buffs others in raid
    • UI for viewing raid members.
  • Tamed Pet leveling
    • Gain a bonus based on how much experience you’ve gained while they are summoned
    • Lose % of experience on res
    • Gain bonuses to stats, level based on how many experience they have
  • PVP Improvements
    • Level balanced PVP scenes (all players are set to same level and max skills caped) (R45)
    • Ransom system improvements (larger ransom options)
    • Thief system for low risk PVP for casuals
    • Duel with wager: Player to player trade like interface, put up items, both agree to start duel, winner takes all.
  • Siege/Defense Scenarios for PVE & PVP
    • Goal based challenges
    • Teams split by guild/party/virtue
    • Rewards through title, virtue, items, consumables, buffs, and skill unlocks
  • Temporary Title system:
    • Allows for players to gain titles but only for a fixed amount of time
    • Opens up options for temp titles from being the guy who got the killing blow on a boss, winner of a tournament, getting more than X PVP kills in some amount of time, etc
  • Item History and Leveling
    • Track small category of stats per weapon (Killing blows, largest single hit, total damage done, kills by small set of categories)
    • Small bonuses granted based on achievements in various categories
  • New Creatures: We plan to steadily add new creatures including more that can be tamed. The below list is just a sample of ideas. We also plan to continue improving AI and visuals of existing creatures.  Troll should be considered the minimum baseline for a normal AI.
    • Wild Boar
    • Drakes: small tameable dragons
    • Hydra: Lots of heads, lots of attacks, avoid the business end and be sure not to make more heads for it!
    • Doppelganger: Looks like and gains many attributes of players in scene
    • Wendigo: Every point of damage it does makes it more stronger as it consumes your life
    • Yeti: Snow troll. Think troll with ice magic that uses stealth
    • Landvaettir: Powerful spirits that guard powerful resource nodes.
    • Emela-ntouka: Massive rhino like creature, paralyzing growl, and incredibly dangerous straight line attack so don’t stand in the open!
    • Door Mimic: Sticky handle = long root
    • More Clockwork Creatures: Can be looted for clockwork parts
    • Smoke Panther: Lives in darkness, stealth, bleeding attacks, and cancels friendly buffs.
    • Multiple new bosses: Not named here for secrecy reasons
  • Combat:
    • Rework animation state machine to allow for smoother animation transitions
    • Weapon type vs armor type: Impact/Cutting/Piercing vs Cloth/Leather/Chain/Plate breakdown
    • Combos with Heat system
    • Stacking equivalent with Heat system (R45)
    • Expand combo system to include at least 5 combos for each school and combos of combos
    • More refinement on the current resistance system
    • Ammunition types
    • More Ranged Weapons: Flamethrower, Tesla Gun, Gas Gun, Blunderbuss, Net Gun, etc
  • UI Overhaul
    • Everything detachable and movable on screen
    • Chat as separate windows from game window
  • Lua Scripting
    • Expose limited set of functionality to Lua scripting for player added features
    • Expose simp
  • Repeatable Puzzle Based Quests/Unlocks
    • Mastermind like puzzle mechanics to fix items, complete quests, unlock highly desirable game features (Blood Bay Housing?)
    • Scale in difficulty due to number of elements, difficult to acquire elements, and destructibility of the elements
  • More POT and House Decoration Tools: More tools and polish to the ability to place decorations in homes and Player Owned Towns
    • Align to adjacent lot
    • Snap to Grid
    • Multi-Select and Multi-Move
    • Fencing Tools: Snapping together automatically and selecting complete sets to surround your lot.
    • Water lots fully water based
    • Water lots on docks
    • Toggle “View all Lot Markers & Lot Boundaries”
    • Ability to rename teleporter signs
  • Skills
    • Expand existing combat and magic trees
    • Add tier 5 and 6 options for all spell trees

The list is also posted in the forums. If you do not see a feature that you hoped you would then please feel free to suggest it in the forums and we will consider adding it to the plan.


Starr Long
Executive Producer

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Ultima Online: Publish 98 Now on Test Center Shard Tue, 08 Aug 2017 19:26:41 +0000 Broadsword Online Games released Publish 98 for Ultima Online on the Test Center shard back on July 24th of this year:

We are pleased to announce that Publish 98 will be available for testing on TC1 by 2pm ET July 24, 2017. Publish 98 is full of new features, so make sure you patch up your client and head over to TC1 to check out the latest update. Please note that some features will not be available on TC1, check the notes for full release details.

See you in Britannia

Since then, they have also released a small update for the Publish:

We have updated TC1 with the latest build of Publish 98 to include the following,

  • Resolved issue where non-exploited pets were being flagged incorrectly for stat reverts.
  • Increased spawn in Sorcerer’s Dungeon for Treasures of Halloween event.

Players are encouraged to transfer fresh copies of their pets to TC1 to verify the pet fixes, and to once again battle the Pumpkin King to test the new spawn rate. Please be sure to catch us on TC1 or send in your feedback.

Publish 98 will, as indicated above, bring this year’s Halloween content to the game, and also appears to bring additional enhancements to pet-related systems in Ultima Online. The Publish also includes the various player rewards and treasures that have been created to celebrate UO’s 20th anniversary, which will take place in September.

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The OpenArthurianX6 Engine Has Been Fully Funded Tue, 08 Aug 2017 17:14:46 +0000 I missed reporting on this when it first happened — back in late July — but it’s still worth mentioning: Slashing Dragon’s Ultima 6-like game engine project, OpenArthurianX6, reached its funding goal on Indiegogo with a few days left to go in its crowdfunding campaign.

Ultimately, Slash and Exodus Destiny Dragon were able to raise $3,236 USD to support the engine’s development by the time the funding campaign wrapped up. This should allow them to finish up work on the engine proper, as well as implement some tools to make developing games with it somewhat easier.

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The Ultima 6 Remake: Checking In Tue, 08 Aug 2017 16:48:25 +0000 The Ultima 6 Remake team tend to have the habit of lapsing into long periods of silence while they slowly, but surely, work on their Exult-based remake of Ultima 6. However, they posted an update to their Facebook page back in mid-July:

…it’s been a while! Still working on the mod a little bit every few days, I’m almost finished with the Pirate Cave (where you find the tablet). Next up is Hythloth, then I believe that’s a huge chunk of the game finished (plot essential dungeons and overworld.) An update to the main site will follow once I get the pirate cave all sorted out

Hopefully, once all the plot-essential features of the remake are in place, we will get to try out a demo/alpha version for ourselves.

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The Ultima Dragons Fidget Spinners Have Been Fully Funded Tue, 08 Aug 2017 15:38:19 +0000 Gallara Dragon’s crowdfunding campaign to finance the creation of Ultima Dragons-branded Fidget Spinners wrapped up earlier this week, having raised $2,188 USD in total. This amount is far in excess of the initial $550 USD funding goal, which means a couple of things for those of you who supported the campaign. For starters, it means better Fidget Spinners:

HUGE huge thanks to everyone who contributed to or spread the word about this campaign! Late Sunday night, we rounded out the UDIC Fidget Spinner fundraiser with almost 400% of goal on the books. This is phenomenal and a testament to this awesome community. Every contribution helps to bring us together!

As a result of our success, we’re going to get a higher quality spinner than the one I originally had quoted! The new version will have a bigger printed logo, more durable plastic, and a faster, smoother-spinning aluminum alloy bearing. I’m really excited to bring these high-quality spinners to the UDIC. I’ll show off the new proof as soon as I have it!

It also means that everyone who backed the campaign gets a keychain and a button:

Now every spinner order will also include both one pinback button and one anodized aluminum keychain that can be personalized

I’m looking forward to getting mine; my kids are quite into Fidget Spinners these days, and it’ll be nice to kit them out with UDIC-branded ones.

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Shroud of the Avatar – Update of the Avatar #239 Mon, 07 Aug 2017 13:19:35 +0000 Greetings Friends! Here’s what we have for you in this week’s edition of Update of the Avatar:


Etceter Polish (cont.)

[A Dev+ Forum Post by Scott “Scottie” Jones]

Having finished my part of the polish pass for Etceter, I wanted to share some of the final results for the areas I haven’t had the chance to showcase to you fine folks yet…

When commenting earlier in this post, I hadn’t had the chance to make a beautifying pass on the outer areas of the scene, such as the main entrance and edge conditions. That has now changed, and as you can see by the images, one of my primary focuses was making sure that where areas of nature met areas of old construction and civilized development, there was a very “intentional” feel to the placement of natural objects and built structures. In these initial images you can see the remnants of these walls, which I have used to demarcate the roads more distinctly than they were before, and to beckon travelers toward areas of both commerce as well as the general entrances of the various estates scattered throughout the scene.

In Etceter, for example, descriptions in the book (pertaining to Amanda’s cottage) indicated that chest-high walls often lined the edges of the town’s roads in various places. Since 200 years and an Obsidian occupation has taken its toll, these walls have fallen into disrepair and neglect, but are still a rustic reminder of Etceter in its heyday, when it had been a prosperous port flowing with the wealth of its mine, and rich trade from along the coasts of the Bay of Storms.

I have repainted the roads, which before had a somewhat “spotty” look, moved the stones away from the center of the road towards the edges (where they would naturally migrate as they either got ground down into the dirt, or tossed aside by road-weary travelers), and did my best to make more natural paths that locals might have begun using as holes in the crumbling walls offered easier access. You’ll notice in these images that you are merely seeing placeholder houses instead of the actual fully-decorated player lots that occupy the live scene now, but rest assured that much of what you see has been carefully placed after I diligently scrutinized the real scene in our GM Live build, to make sure I took into account the existing layouts and entry features that well-nestled players have already grown to love. I was urged by our Art Director Hutch to be incredibly cautious about placing anything that might ruin either the convenience or the view of existing properties, and I worked hard to be as respectful of both access as well as beauty when improving the edge conditions of these areas for your business and pleasure…

It’s important to remember, when seeing these images, that though this was once a place in its prime, with a great degree of prosperous development and commerce, it has since fallen on hard times after the Obsidians invaded, its royalty was butchered, many of its houses destroyed, and with only a small population to keep it going even after the end of the wars (now including the dubious presence of satyrs and fauns). Etceter mostly survives today due to what little trade and travel occurs between it and Xenos. All the details I’ve added needed to indicate its past glory while still emphasizing its current state of “developed” decay. Hopefully you’ll all find my changes have provided some new excitement, interest, and immersion to the areas you now call home here!

Speaking of its current trade, I had mentioned earlier in the post that I wanted to share some of the changes I’d made to its harbor and dock-side areas. In the image above you can see the treatment I’ve applied to the sea-facing properties along the Western Road, which essentially adds a more “intentional-looking” quality to the path along this part of the coast, and the retaining wall that protects the nearby properties from the high tides that surely arise during storm-swells. It only makes sense that any architecture constructed along such a coast would need to be built either on stilts like some of the shanties in the poorer eastern quarter of the town, upon slightly higher ground as seen above, or upon firmer foundations of stone such as those seen supporting the pier-side shops of the commerce area. At this point, however, I would be remiss not to start the series of coastal images by showing a new feature than can be seen from many areas of town now, but especially along the docks. Seen below is the harbor itself, with its horizon changed to match both the world map, as well as the “Sword of Midras” a bit better. As described in the book, Amanda enjoys wistfully gazing out across the town and the distant bay, where she can sometimes see the outline of Siren Island to the north when the view is not obscured by the squalls that commonly assail the storm-tossed sea…

Of the many new qualities I wanted to capture with my additions to the harbor-side area was a stronger sense of commerce and connection between Etceter and Xenos. In these next few images I wanted to give a hint of the goods often traded here, especially since this is one of the few ports of call where passage to Elysium is easily acquired. Elysian amphorae, exotic rugs and fabrics, pottery, architectural elements, and decorative sculptures can be seen here and there along the docks, either waiting to be bought and sold, or already adorning some of the shops to be found here. Alleys and side-streets are no longer bereft of details, since some of these wares gladly spill over into them. The stone foundations of these portside buildings offer welcoming walkways where tourists stamp sand from their sandals (much of which gathers where the walls meet the granite pavers) before entering to sample the wares within!

And lastly, venturing toward the central marketplace, we can see the crumbling stones of the older walls and foundations hugging the newer shops and domiciles built within the last five decades or so. Again, with an eye to both “developing” and “unifying” the look of the town, I added these details more heavily in areas where permanent NPC buildings and non-decorated areas of homes presented themselves, while carefully indicating remnants of this same style-choice in and around player properties in ways that would accent the chosen “look and feel”, while not directly interfering with already-placed decorative elements, building choices, and points of convenient access…

And with that, my little loving pass over Etceter is complete. Like I said, not nearly as extensive or dramatic as the changes I made to Xenos, but hopefully these simple touches will really tie the various elements of this scene together to help tell the story of its tumultuous history, as well as its present-day predicaments and concerns. I’ll now be passing this scene on to Dan to insure any changes I’ve made to the town and its environs are now reflected in the behaviors of the NPCs that inhabit it!

Have a great week everyone!

Scottie ^_^
Senior Environmental Artist

New Norgard Garments (cont.)


[A Dev+ Forum Post by Fletcher “SkullMuncher34” Kinnear and Kevin “UglyFist” Wells]

Hey everybody!

I finally took a few minutes to get some shots of Norgard guard stuff. All of this Norgard work is in-progress. I still need to make color adjustments, fur-cards, and more — but this is everything so far currently with the player wearable, and also guards’ gear.

Feedback welcome as always. Thanks, all!

Here is the player wearable armor…

Here are female Norgard guards so far…

And finally, some male guards…

Making of South Paladis Scenes: Middle Downs and South Broken Road

Middle Downs

[From a Dev+ Forum Post by Esteben “SorcerousSteve” Zaldivar]

Hey guys! SorcerousSteve here to give you a sneak peek on my latest map, The Middle Downs!
The Middle Downs are located in South Paladis just south of Highvale in a rolling hills region. Serene and peaceful the area is lush, but scattered throughout the region are mysterious burial mounds built hundreds of years ago.

What mysteries do these burial mounds hold? Is there a link between their location/orientation and what puzzles/traps may lay inside? 

The Western Mound 

An abandoned village in the Middle Downs moments before sunset.

Another burial mound located to the South. 

A lowland bog cuts through the center of the Middle Downs. 

Stay tuned for more updates on the Middle Downs!

Esteben “SorcerousSteve” Zaldivar
Level Designer

South Broken Road

[From a Dev+ Forum Post by Travis “Vas Corp Por” Koleski]

Here’s some sneak-preview shots of South Broken Road, a Tier 2 area between Opalis and Jaanford.

Garret The Fabulous, longtime purveyor of fine hair tonics and plague cures, has gone missing somewhere along the South Broken Road. If someone were to find his wares untended, let’s hope they wouldn’t try to make their own mixtures.

Thanks for following!

Travis “Vas Corp Por” Koleski
Level Designer

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There’s Now an Ultima Dragons-Themed Keyboard Available at WASD Keyboards Thu, 03 Aug 2017 19:22:58 +0000 If you’re not familiar with WASD Keyboards, they are manufacturers of highly customized — and customizable — PC keyboards. Moreover, they accept submissions of keyboard templates from their community…so, naturally, Zedex Dragon took it upon himself to create an Ultima Dragons-themed template. The OS key is, naturally, the Ultima Dragons logo, and Britannian Runic features prominently on the letter keys.

The UDIC keyboard is available in the standard 104-key design, and features Cherry MX key switches, fingerprint-reducing texturing on the keyboard casing, and large rubber feet on the bottom. WASD Keyboards are also user-customizable; though they tend to ship in a QWERTY configuration, there are hardware switches in each keyboard that allow the user to switch the input type and output modes of the board.

The UDIC keyboard retails for $155 USD; it’s not cheap. But if you want to add a bit more Ultima to your desktop and you have some spare cash to treat yourself with, this is a great option.

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The Bullock Texas State History Museum Now Houses Richard Garriott’s Old Apple ][ Thu, 03 Aug 2017 16:49:05 +0000 If you’ve been anxious to catch a glimpse of the Apple ][ workstation that Richard Garriott used to create Akalabeth, you’ll need to make a little trip to the Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin:

When you go to the Bullock Texas State History Museum, you usually expect to encounter things like battle-scarred artifacts from the Texas Revolution, the personal effects of cowboys and outlaws, or one of Lance Armstrong’s cycling uniforms scrawled with a message of congratulations from Governor George W. Bush. But starting Saturday, July 29, visitors will be able to explore another important facet of Texas history – video games.

“The gaming industry has strong roots in Texas – and especially in Austin,” said Bullock Museum Deputy Director Margaret Koch. “It was important for us to tell this story and to show how, for the last 50 years, gaming has influenced the way we work, play, and learn every day.”

The new exhibit, “Pong to Pokémon: The Evolution of Electronic Gaming,” is dedicated to showcasing the history of video games and the gaming industry here in Texas, which only trails behind California in number of game developers. Visitors to the exhibit will be able to follow the rapid growth of the industry in the Lone Star State and beyond, from the earliest days of mainframe computers and arcade machines to today’s multifaceted and constantly evolving landscape of consoles, PCs, phones, and virtual reality.

One hundred rare artifacts of gaming history will be on display, many of them on loan from personal collections and never before shown to the public. Visitors will be able to catch a glimpse of the Apple II workstation Austin-based developer Richard Garriott used to create the first computer role-playing game, Akalabeth; a page from the Doom “bible,” the blueprint for the legendary first-person shooter; and even a prototype Brown Box, engineer Ralph Baer’s late-Sixties invention that is the grandfather of all video game consoles.

The From Pong to Pokémon exhibition will run through until about the middle of March, 2018.

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Richard Garriott Reflects on Forty Years of Game Development Wed, 02 Aug 2017 15:03:00 +0000 Gamelab Barcelona may be over, but GamesBeat only just got around — well, “just” as in “late July”, but I’m still getting caught up after the birth of Dragonlet #4 — to posting a transcript of an interview they conducted with Richard Garriott at that event. It’s a fairly wide-ranging discussion, as the introduction thereto suggests:

Richard Garriott has had a wonderful life in video games. But the founder of Portalarium and creator of the Ultima series has also done quite a bit outside of video games, with enough adventures to last five lifetimes.

He coached a featherweight boxing champion. He almost starved during a journey on the Amazon River. He almost had a fatal rock climbing accident. He had to pull a gun on an overly enthusiastic fan who broke into his home in Austin, Texas. Yet, he creates legendary haunted houses for Halloween, welcoming everybody into his home. Like his father before him, Garriott journeyed into space. While he was up there, he showed a secret message to his Tabula Rasa online game fans while on a communications link back to Earth. And he journeyed to the bottom of the sea to get a close-up look at the Titanic.

Garriott published his first video game, Akalabeth, in 1979 while he was still in high school. He went on to create Ultima I: The Age of Darkness in 1981. The fantasy role-playing game led to a long career in games and spawned his studio Origin Systems. He and his brother Robert made numerous Ultima games and eventually sold the company to Electronic Arts in 1992. While at EA, he created the groundbreaking massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) Ultima Online.

Garriott left EA to found Destination Games in 2000, and he sold the company to NCSoft in 2001. Garriott worked on the sci-fi online game Tabula Rasa, which debuted in 2007. The game didn’t sell as well as hoped, and Garriott left NCSoft in 2008. In 2009, he founded Portalarium, and raised $11.6 million via crowdfunding for Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues. Recently, he started an additional equity crowdfunding campaign for the game.

Garriott chronicled his life in Explore/Create: My Life in Pursuit of New Frontiers, Hidden Worlds, and the Creative Spark earlier this year. I interviewed Garriott onstage at the Gamelab event in Barcelona, Spain, where he received the Honor Award from the Spanish Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences.

You’ll want to click on through to read the whole thing.

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Shroud of the Avatar to be Published by Travian Games in Europe Tue, 01 Aug 2017 14:45:32 +0000 Portalarium have announced that they have struck a deal with Travian Games — publishers of such titles as Travian, Imperion, and Rail Nation — to publish Shroud of the Avatar in Europe:

AUSTIN, Texas, July 31, 2017 —Portalarium®, an Austin, Texas based game developer, and Travian Games, a Munich, Germany based publisher and developer, are pleased to announce today a formal partnership to bring Shroud of the Avatar™, the much-anticipated fantasy role-playing game from legendary game designer Richard “Lord British” Garriott to Europe, South America, Central America, the Middle East and North Africa. Travian Games will be coming on board as a partner immediately as Shroud is moving closer to the game’s commercial launch later this year.

“We were looking to for the best upcoming MMORPGs in our industry as well as a strong cultural fit, so we are truly excited about the opportunity to work with Richard and the Shroud of the Avatar team on bringing another great game to our community,” notes Lars Janssen, CEO of Travian Games. “Portalarium’s vision is very similar to ours and we believe this is the start of a long-term relationship between our two teams.”

“Europe has always been a strong market for the Ultima games so we wanted to be sure we found the very best partner who could who truly understands what we wanted to accomplish with Shroud,” explains Richard Garriott. “Travian Games is that partner because they really understand community and development which has allowed them to build a huge base of millions of players.”

The announcement also contains some details concerning where Shroud of the Avatar is in its development cycle (in case you’re curious):

Shroud of the Avatar, the spiritual successor to Garriott’s Ultima series of fantasy role-playing games, is a “selectively multiplayer” game, and includes a deep story crafted by Garriott and New York Times bestselling author, Tracy Hickman (Dragonlance series). The game combines a detailed sandbox style Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) with a single player narrative mode. With Release 44, players can now complete the paths of Truth, Love and Courage and ultimately discover the secrets of the Shroud of the Avatar.

“The story craft is not at an end,” said Garriott. “More side quests and revisions to improve quality, will continue to be added to the game month after month, yet this is the first time the full plot has been playable, and is among the last major milestones needed for a commercial launch later in the year.”

The remainder of the game is already in what would traditionally be considered a beta state. There are some skill trees and recipes still needing to be completed, and plenty of balance and debugging remains, but Portalarium is now shifting its team and company into the stance of a publisher as the commercial release approaches.

“This marks the 44th monthly release for Shroud of the Avatar,” exclaimed Garriott. “And these updates have occurred on the last Thursday of the month on time, and the servers have had nearly four years of continuous software stability. In Release 45, players actively testing the game will receive the ability to ‘reset’ their story status, and thus be able to get a fresh run through the now completed main quests, without having to start a new character.”

Honestly, this partnership strikes me as a bit of an odd choice. Travian have produced a number of games, but their entire product portfolio to date has comprised browser-based titles. That being said, all games have been MMOs, so they’re certainly at least somewhat adept at marketing and supporting multiplayer titles.

And it’s worth noting that they are also the European publisher of ArtCraft Entertainment’s Crowfall; maybe it was ArtCraft’s partnership with Travian that inspired Portalarium to approach them.

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Shroud of the Avatar – Update of the Avatar #238 Mon, 31 Jul 2017 15:21:19 +0000 Greetings Fellow Avatars! Here’s what we have for you in this week’s edition of Update of the Avatar:

Play Release 44 Now!

Release 44 successfully launched , July 27, with backers downloading, patching, and logging in to check out the changes! There’s lots of new content to explore, including:

  • Story Complete
  • Grannus Colossus
  • Hallowed Plains
  • Cities of Truth Polish (Aerie, Vertas, Jaanaford)
  • Path of Courage Polish
  • Guards Fines for Stealing
  • Dread Artifacts and Dread Spells
  • Shroud of the Avatar
  • Combat Balance
  • Healing Blast (New Life Spell)
  • Rent
  • Titan of Truth Boreas
  • Female Elves
  • Elite Elven Gear
  • New Emotes
  • Shogun Ship Water Home
  • Clothing as Decorations
  • Recipes as Loot
  • R43 Lot Deed Raffle Winners

…and much more

Check out the Release 44 Instructions update for detailed information about all the new content.


Release 44 Player Instructions

Release 44 Known Issues

Dragon Polish

Previously, the color variations of the Dragons in the game were done as simple color overlays but that resulted in unnatural monochrome and overly bright tones. The devs spent Release 44 creating color variations that are much more natural and then updated all the existing Dragon variations in the game like The Sisters.

Have a look at the current lineup!

Making of Grannus Colossus (cont.)


[From a Dev+ Forum Post by Travis “Vas Corp Por” Koleski]

An Update:

First of the Cannibal Camps

Poisonous Bog Approach

Failing a land assault against the cannibal tribes, Norgarders attempted to land on the beach approach. It is rumored they were delicious. (Remember, our friends here the Bandits will be art-swapped for ‘Northerner’ character art, which is looking cool so far i.m.o.!)


Dev+ Asset Pack Program Reinstated

[From a forum post by Starr “Darkstarr” Long]

Greetings Dev+ Avatars,

With the original Kickstarter pledges there was a pledge level called Developer. At that pledge level (or higher) backers received periodic delivery of Asset Packs of Shroud of the Avatar original art assets and were granted a perpetual non-exclusive license to use however they wished.

The program was slightly complex because we could not use assets that we purchased (Unity Asset Store, Turbosquid) or any assets that included purchased textures (we sometimes build unique objects but use textures from purchased assets).

Even with that complexity, while the Asset Pack Program was active we delivered over a dozen Asset Packs which included hundreds of individual assets. Here is a list of those asset packs that were part of the original program:

  • Clockwork Pets
  • Automaton
  • Chess & Checkers Set
  • Wind and Geothermal Power
  • All Avatar Animations
  • Male/Female: Leather and Cloth Armor
  • Platemail and helms
  • Female Plates and Helm
  • 3ds Max Rigged Avatar model
  • Furniture Pack
  • Unity Asset House Pack #1
  • Unity Asset House Pack #2
  • Crafting Table Pack
  • Dungeon Kit
  • Dungeon Props

We would like to apologize that we were not clear that the Asset Pack Program expired when we expired all the pledges in the Summer of 2016. That is why delivery of Asset Packs has stopped completely, until now.

Even though the Asset Pack Program reward has been fulfilled, we are going to temporarily reinstate it as a thank you for the amazing support we get from our Developer+ level backers and those backers who have access to the Dev+ forums through Bundle purchases. We are truly humbled by everything you do for the game.

Please note that we will deliver these as often as we can but we cannot commit to any particular frequency of delivery.

The first Asset Packs are:

  • Arabella Armor
  • Cloaks
  • Norgard Wearables
  • Shock Monkey
  • Titan Statue
  • Wealthy Merchants
  • Weapons (note pictures are only partial representation)


R44 Postmortem Mini-Telethon Aug 7!

Typically Portalarium has done telethons quarterly and had them last typically 12 hours or 24 hours. Typically they covered a hnumber of topics but you can tell it fatigued them and sometimes showed an overindulgence of alcohol. The shorter telethons they have done, like for Lord British’s birthday, Were by far their better ones because they had less wasted time.  So, starting with Release 44, the devs are going to experiment with extended Postmortems that are also Mini-Telethons. This will increase the frequency of our telethons to monthly but also keep them short (around 4 hours).

Since these are shorter telethons the devs are going to extend the amount of time that your purchases can be eligible for the stretch goals. It will not be 12 hours from 12:00 PM CDT to Midnight. NOTE: They will still stop tracking towards stretch goals at the end of the telethon at 7:00 PM CDT, but everyone will have another 5 hours to spend $5 to get the stretch goals.


Telethons are livestreamed on Twitch and include answers to your gameplay questions, world building tours, prize giveaways, sales on items, and more! See what we have planned below beginning at 3pm CT on August 7:

  • 3:00 PM: Introductions and R44 Postmortem Q&A
  • 4:30 PM: World Building Tour
  • 5:30 PM: Postmortem Q&A Continues
  • 7:00 PM: End of Mini-Telethon!
Schedule is subject to change. 


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Spam Spam Spam Humbug: Episode 86 – Learning Through Games: The Pixel Generation Wed, 26 Jul 2017 21:46:32 +0000

This week, for a topic, we focused on this article in Forbes by Neil Herndon, in which he proposes that the micro-generation between Generation X and the Millennials be called The Pixel Generation. He makes the case for this name by noting that this was the first generation to grow up with widely available video games, and indeed was the first generation to learn significantly from and by playing video games.

Listen to the Episode

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Shroud of the Avatar – Update of the Avatar #237 Mon, 24 Jul 2017 12:46:21 +0000 Greetings Fellow Avatars! Here’s what we have for you in this week’s edition of Update of the Avatar:

New Norgard Garments

The devs have begun creating the Viking-inspired clothing for the NPCs in the Northwest regions of Novia, including Norgard and Verdantis. This will complement the already established architectural character of the region and help to better define the area as a whole. We are creating garments for Guards, Citizens, and Merchants/Nobility, all of whom “courageously” display the color yellow which everyone knows drives the Kobolds mad, or so they say.

[A Dev+ Forum Post by Fletcher “SkullMuncher34” Kinnear and Kevin “UglyFist” Wells]

Hey all! So we thought we’d make a post showing our current progress with Norgard clothing. So far we’ve modeled out a few variations of basic shirts and pants for NPCs and are starting to create player wearable versions of everything. Keep in mind that these images are subject to revision as we move forward. Cheers!


Fletcher Kinnear
Character Artist

Etceter Polish


[A Dev+ Forum Post by Scott “Scottie” Jones]

Hello my friends!

It’s time for another update from yours truly! For the last few weeks I’ve been working to revamp the town of Etceter, one of the southern gateways to the tempestuous Bay of Storms, and the old stomping ground of the pirate lords in the centuries before the rise of the Obsidians, when the small seaside port generated enormous wealth from the now-abandoned Etceter Crag Mines. You will see from my following images how this old port-of-call has begun to change its face!

Though little has changed near the common entrance into the scene, passing through the town will eventually lead to the primary crossroads, where the port-side commerce and housing district (seen on the right) gives way to the richer estates that once belonged to the wealthiest privateers (seen up the rise of the hill to the left) who made their fortunes when the Etceter Crag Mines were at the height of production! From here we can get a better view of some of the newest points of interest I’ve added.

Turning left to look up the hill past the occupied estates, one can see the somewhat overgrown remnants of the main road leading straight from the docks below, to the abandoned ruins of the Baroness’ Keep! Just downhill and across the road from the keep is the walled, crumbling remnants of the stockade building that once served the keep, and further up the hill you can glimpse the rotting and moss-covered remains of smaller houses, both inside and outside of the wooden barricades built soon after the occupation of the Obsidians nearly 200 years ago. Among those ramshackle hovels is the long-abandoned cottage of Amanda, sister of Syenna.

Now, a little history might be in order to help explain what you are about to see.

Etceter was a small coastal mining town first and foremost, but its wealth eventually drew in raiding pirates, first on the seas, and then overtaking the town itself as they decided to involve themselves directly in the mining operations. Over time, it slowly became a more respectable town as the wealthy pirate lords chose to settle down and involve themselves in the less-dangerous pastime of trade. It is here that the culture that eventually blossomed in Norgard was born, and it was here that the Council of Might convened to discuss the rising Obsidian threat more than two centuries ago. This offense to the Obsidians was not forgotten, and before their eventual collapse they descended on Etceter, slaughtered its nobility, shattered the Baroness’ Keep, set up a garrison here with satyrs and fauns as a workforce, and continued to draw wealth from the mines until the fateful day the miners uncovered something terrible in the depths of those distant mountains. Eventually, after the Obsidian’s defeat, the town grew back again, with all the old structures still fairly intact, and an addition to the population in the form of the satyrs and fauns that escaped their dark masters toward the end…

The old stockade had housed some of the Obsidian garrison in those days, and though abandoned and decrepit now, it can still be visited by those who might not mind a broken ankle or two.

Just up the hill from that is an abandoned hovel or two, including the cottage of Amanda, the sister of Syenna, described in “The Sword of Midras” as having beautiful yet somewhat Elvin features, the product of the terrible Obsidian Reshaper experiments that left her somewhat crippled.

There is little left of her life there centuries ago, and its barren interior bespeaks of sadness and loss. Syenna had hoped for a cure for Amanda, but in the end realized that the only cure the Obsidians would offer her sister was a vial of poison, and the release of death. Though little is known of Syenna’s fate, for it is said that she followed Aren Bennis to the northeast after the fall of Opalis 200 years ago, it is written that Amanda once loved to rest upon the stairs at her doorstep and chat over the stone fence with her neighbors, and to sit with great yearning inside her bay window, from which she could gaze down the earthen main road toward the center of town and the harbor beyond in the vain hope that one day she would see her beloved sister Syenna walking up that long path to finally come home for good.

Across the road and just down from Amanda’s cottage still stands the shattered and crumbling remains of the Baroness’ Keep. Here Aren Bennis was taken, Sword of Midras in hand, to speak before the Council of Might and be interrogated about the activities of the Obsidians before their fall. Within those somewhat treacherous ruins can still be seen the Great Hall where Aren stood before the seven chairs which contained the Baroness’ guests from distant lands. In retaliation for this affront, the Obsidians came and dealt a terrible blow to Etceter, and left this great Keep broken but still impressive despite its ruined state. May it forever stand as a testament to the sacrifice of those that helped to bring an end to the Obsidian Empire!

Heading back down the long hill towards town, the main road offers a great vantage point for checking out the changes I’m now making to improve the look of the town itself, and specifically the various approaches to the numerous properties and estates. My hope, of course, is to add a bit of personal touch to insure they seem authentic and welcoming, while maintaining the look and feel of centuries of varied habitation and development. I’ll be adding retaining walls, more obvious paths, stairs, more lanterns, and a broader degree of cultivation and flora.

Since this is such a small scene by comparison to places I’ve touched before (such as Xenos), there won’t be near the amount of time and resources invested in it, but hopefully it will eventually feel much more developed and “lived in” by the time I’m done with it. There will be at least one more post to show you other improvements as I continue, but as a last stop this evening you can get a gander at what has now become a sort of “market square” near the center of town, where the main road now passes beside the crafting pavilion. I’ve opened this area up, improved the view of those living nearby a tad bit, and hopefully upgraded the look of the area in general!

Ah well, time to call it a night. Join me here later as I reveal some coastal/dock-side details and final polish! Take care, my friends!

Scottie ^_^
Senior Environmental Artist

Vertas Polish 

[From a Dev+ Forum Post by Esteben “SorcerousSteve” Zaldivar]

Hey guys! SorcerousSteve here to give you a look at another town on the Path of Truth that we took a visual polish pass this R44!

In order to emphasize that Vertas is on the Truth Path the color blue was used throughout the town alongside the green that represents the elves.

A new elven structure now lies in the town center and houses a library.

Pennants, banners, and awnings now cover the town streets alongside manicured walkways and potted plants.

Library inside the central building in Vertas.

The Elven Symbol can be seen on a banner just south of an elven glass home.

For a tie-in to Vertas, check out my work on Aerie last week (which is making its way into Release 44 next week!).

See you next time!

Esteben Zaldivar
Level Designer

Making of Hallowed Plains (cont.)

On the outskirts of the Boundless Forest and to one side of the Broken Road is the Hallowed Plains, a sacred site to humans because of a massive battle once fought in this location. Kobolds do not have the same respect for this land and have begun building along the road despite protests from locals. This scene was temporarily a clone of another scene but is being completely rebuilt. Devs hope to have the Hallowed Plains ready for Release 44.

Last week Sea Wolf revealed the first images and this week reveals more of this haunted battle plain.

[A Dev+ Forum Post by Chris “Sea Wolf” Wolf]

I have new updated screenshots of Hallowed Plains! Check them out:

The Kobold Construction Site

The Kobold Checkpoint

The Trenches

No Man’s Land

The Revenant Fortress

The Tunnels

Chris Wolf
Level Designer

Making of Grannus Colossus (cont.)


[From a Dev+ Forum Post by Travis “Vas Corp Por” Koleski]

Here’s a sneak peak at progress on the Grannus Colossus! This Colossus map is located in northern Novia, and houses the giant Colossus statue of Grannus, titan of courage.

As Boreas was to the path of truth, with solving puzzles and using clues to progress to the colossus, this area is to courage (pitched battle against barbarian cannibal tribes of the north).

More to come soon! Thanks for following our progress!

Travis “Vas Corp Por” Koleski
Level Designer

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Spam Spam Spam Humbug: Episode 85 – When Two Games Become One Wed, 19 Jul 2017 16:20:55 +0000

In 1993, New World Computing released the fourth and fifth entries in their Might & Magic series: Clouds of Xeen, followed soon by Darkside of Xeen. These two games, if co-installed on a PC, were playable simultaneously; you could transit between the two sides of the seed world of Xeen at various portals throughout the land, enabling you to explore the stories and quest chains of both games at the same time. And, when both of those quest chains were finished, the two games combined to offer players a third, shorter quest chain to unite the two sides of the world. Collectively, the two Xeen games were known as World of Xeen, and indeed are often found released together under this label today.

It was a very novel thing to do in the RPG space, and remains so to this day; the Xeen games didn’t inspire any notable follow-ups. Why is that?

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