The Ultima Codex The Ultima Fan Network Fri, 06 Mar 2015 15:01:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter Ends; $859,056 Raised Fri, 06 Mar 2015 14:58:35 +0000 Underworld Ascendant -- Kicktraq Mini

The Resonant Caves

The Resonant Caves

It was an eleventh-hour thing, but the Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter campaign managed to reach the $850,000 stretch goal with less than an hour to go, meaning that the game’s sound effects will be enhanced…and that we’ll all get to explore the Resonant Caves deep within the Abyss.

The pledging system doesn’t seem to have gone live on the Underworld Ascendant website just yet, and indeed I would not be surprised if it took a few days to come online. But once it does, the other stretch goals not reached during the Kickstarter campaign will still be treated as stretch goals, meaning that things like language localization and the Underworld Toolkit (or whatever they’re calling it) are still within the realm of possibility.

Congratulations to OtherSide Entertainment on the success of the Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter campaign. I know that I, for one, look forward to delving into the depths of the Stygian Abyss once more!

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Underworld Ascendant: $800,000 Raised; Future Crowdfunding Plans Detailed Fri, 06 Mar 2015 04:55:15 +0000 underworld-ascendant-companion-critters

The Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter campaign reached its $800,000 milestone today, meaning that both Companion Creatures and Enhanced Music will be added to the game.

The next stretch goal — at the $850,000 total — also features enhancements to the game’s sound:

With this next $850,000 stretch goal, we will be able to add more sound effects to the game, as well as a more sophisticated dynamic contextual in-game audio system. These additions will help make the Stygian Abyss come more alive… and our dreams at night more troubled.

The Webway

The Webway

The same stretch goal will also see the Stygian Abyss itself grow:

When this Stretch Goal is reached we will also build in the Stygian Abyss a new area, the Resonant Caves. This natural wonder seems always to have subterranean airs wafting through it chambers, which softly sound starkly enchanting melodies. It is said that those adventurers who listen and learn to play these melodies will gain a certain magical sway over the subterranean airs.

And, as an added bonus, if we reach $825,000, halfway to the Dynamic Music and Resonant Caves stretch goal, we will add another new area to the Underworld, one that is both beneficial and extremely dangerous, The Forsaken Webway!

There are only nine hours to go in the campaign, and the rate at which the project accumulates both backers and funds is going to have to increase by a fair bit in order to make the next stretch goal.

That said, it is within the realm of possibility that the $850,000 goal could be reached…and if not, OtherSide Entertainment have announced that they will continue crowdfunding the game at its website, and that the stretch goals they have outlined will remain as crowdfunding goals:

We’re also going to continue to crowd-fund the game, so that we can reach at least a few more of the Stretch Goals that are not reached during this Kickstarter. Understand that when other developers have done crowd-funding following a Kickstarter that the pace of funding nearly always slows way down. So it will likely take many fold longer for us to move through the upcoming stretch goals than the pace we’re on now.

A slower pace is fine. Nearly all of our efforts have gone into running this campaign the past month, and it’s time to shift focus to actually making the game now. The other consideration is that we want to do our best to get the game released by November 2016. Doing so means not extending out beyond the end of this year trying to reach new stretch goals, as otherwise we’d keep adding new features to the game and just extend the release date. So we’ll see what Stretch Goals we can reach before the end of this year, then lock things down, and focus on balancing and polish and refinement — which take considerable time to get right.

It’s worth noting that Shroud of the Avatar has gone on to raise more than double what it made on Kickstarter through its website-based crowdfunding efforts. It’s thus possible that OtherSide Entertainment will be pleasantly surprised at how much additional support the accrue once their Kickstarter campaign ends; some people prefer not to use Amazon Payments for these sorts of things, but will happily contribute via PayPal.

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Crowfall: $1,000,000 Raised; New Character and Effects Incoming Fri, 06 Mar 2015 03:43:50 +0000 crowfall-1millionks

The Crowfall Kickstarter campaign crossed the $1,000,000 threshold today, meaning that ArtCraft Entertainment can now hire a dedicated effects artist and put their character artist back to work on…well…characters.

We just crossed two huge thresholds: our first stretch goal, $1 million in pledges (which will will use to hire an FX artist, and to add female centaurs to the game!) and of equal importance — maybe even more so — we’ve rallied over 10,000 backers to our banner… in a little over one week!

That’s unbelievable. Thank you.

They’ve also announced a new stretch goal…this one tied to the number of backers, rather than to the amount of funding raised:

…at 12,000 kickstarter backers, we’re going to give EVERY BACKER a unique All-Father statue to display proudly in their Eternal Kingdom! This will let visitors know that you were here, and supported Crowfall, from the beginning.

And the $1.3 million stretch goal also got a bit of an enhancement:

…as soon as we hit that next stretch goal, we’re going to add — for no additional cost to our new or existing backers — MOUNT FIGURINE rewards to the following tiers:

At the Backer level, you get a rare magical QUARTERHORSE summoning figurine!

At the Bronze patron level, you ALSO get a rare magical WARHORSE summoning figurine!

At the Silver patron level, you ALSO get a rare magical NIGHTMARE summoning figurine!

These figurines are inventory items which allow you to conjure Spirit mounts from the Eternal Kingdoms — and turn them back into figurines, when not in use.

Remember, each higher pledge level inherits the previous rewards — so a Silver backer (and every level above Silver) will get a Quarterhorse, a Warhorse AND a Nightmare figurine!

For reference, the Backer level is the $60 pledge, the Bronze is the $100 pledge, and the Silver is the $130 pledge.

Projection Cone: Crowfall

As you can see, the game’s funding has kind of plateaued for now, and is increasing at what could be called an incremental rate. That said, the next stretch goal is certainly within easy reach given how much time is left in the campaign.

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Important Update to Richard Garriott’s Offer of Ultima (and Shroud of the Avatar) Completion Certificates Thu, 05 Mar 2015 14:55:42 +0000 Original article:

Since not every Ultima game had a completion certificate, Richard Garriott — after being asked by Sergorn Dragon — has clarified the format that the new certificates he is offering to send out will take. Basically, for those games that had certificates, a copy of the original certificate design will be used. For those games that didn’t have a certificate, a congratulatory note will be sent out instead…unless some enterprising fans want to create completion certificates for the games that don’t already have one.

If any of you do make the effort to create a completion certificate, my suggestion would be to upload it somewhere — your own website, or to a service like imgur if you don’t have one — and then drop a link to it here; I can then bring it to Richard Garriott’s attention. Unless, of course, you’re on Twitter; then you can engage with him directly.

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Richard Garriott Will Issue Ultima (and Shroud of the Avatar) Completion Certificates (Updated!) Thu, 05 Mar 2015 14:30:47 +0000 So this is a pretty awesome thing:

You read that right; Richard Garriott will still issue a completion certificate to you if you follow through with the instruction at the end of most Ultima games and contact him concerning your feat. And he’ll also honour this for Shroud of the Avatar playthroughs.

So, for example, if you reach out to him via Twitter to announce that you’ve finished Ultima 6, he’ll reply to you on Twitter with an official congratulations from Lord British. And there’s more:

And because a few people have already asked…here’s where you can send that envelope:

Portalarium Inc.
3415 Greystone Drive, #300
Austin, TX 78731

And hopefully I didn’t just dox Portalarium there.

The First Age of Update: As has been noted in the comments, the certificates will be based on copies of original certificates (sort of like the one I got). But here’s official confirmation of that, anyway:

That being said…heck, I never did send in for an original Ultima 6 completion certificate, and I’m still floored that I have one now. The fact that it’s printed on card stock, and not on whatever fancy paper Origin used back in the day, matters not at all, in my book.

Revenge of the Update: Sergorn Dragon asked Richard Garriott for a bit of clarification on this, since not every Ultima game had a completion certificate:

So…if you send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Portalarium, Richard Garriott will send you a completion certificate for Ultima 3, Ultima 4, Ultima 5, Ultima 6, Ultima 7 (both The Black Gate and Serpent Isle), Ultima 8, Ultima Underworld (presumably), and the Ultima Trilogy (again, presumably). These certificates will be based on the original certificates for each respective game.

For those Ultima games that never had completion certificates, you will still get…something, perhaps a hand-written note. However, Richard Garriott did have something else to say with respect to this:

So…are there any enterprising fans who want to try their hand at crafting more ornate and elaborate certificates for those Ultima games that didn’t have completion certificates originally?

If any of you do make the effort to create a completion certificate, my suggestion would be to upload it somewhere — your own website, or to a service like imgur if you don’t have one — and then drop a link to it here; I can then bring it to Richard Garriott’s attention. Unless, of course, you’re on Twitter; then you can engage with him directly.

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Underworld Ascendant: $750,000 Raised; Lizardmen Unlocked Thu, 05 Mar 2015 04:11:26 +0000 Thepa thit tosa!

Bica thepa!

The Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter campaign reached the $750,000 fundraising milestone today, which means that the Lizardmen will be added to the game.

Additionally, as the campaign enters its final day, they’ve re-arranged the stretch goals yet again, moving the enhanced music up within reach of the campaign given its current progress. And they’ve also added a new half-goal:

We’ve been listening to our fans and have decided to move Enhanced Music down from the $850,000 stretch goal to the $800,000 goal, alongside the Companion Creatures. This will help ensure that more music tracks and more elaborate scores are added to the game. The music of the original Underworld games is memorable even to this day, and now we will be able to create music to inspire the next generation of CRPG gamers!

In addition when we get to $775,000, halfway through the Stretch Goal, we will build in the Stygian Abyss a new area, the Necrotic Graveyard. This dark and foreboding locale seems to hold an allure for the various monsters and creatures of the Stygian Abyss who, upon arriving at the graveyard, pass away only to be reanimated as the undead.  It is for the player to learn the purpose in this and to perhaps stop this terrible curse from inflicting the denizens of the Underworld.

It’s no toolkit, but hey…a good dungeon delve deserves a fine, haunting soundtrack.

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Nominate an Ultima Game For the World Video Game Hall of Fame Thu, 05 Mar 2015 03:57:01 +0000 video-game-hall-of-fame

The National Museum of Play is now accepting nominations for the inaugural class of the World Video Game Hall of Fame. Nominations are open until March 31, 2015, and the induction(s) will take place in June (also of 2015).

Selection Criteria

The World Video Game Hall of Fame recognizes individual electronic games of all types—arcade, console, computer, handheld, and mobile—that meet the following criteria:

  • Icon-status: the game is widely recognized and remembered.
  • Longevity: the game is more than a passing fad and has enjoyed popularity over time.
  • Geographical reach: the game meets the above criteria across international boundaries.
  • Influence: The game has exerted significant influence on the design and development of other games, on other forms of entertainment, or on popular culture and society in general. A game may be inducted on the basis of this criterion without necessarily having met all of the first three.

It’s probably the case that several Ultima games have been nominated already; certainly, Ultima 1 graces the cover image above (which was taken from the World Video Game Hall of Fame front page). But hey…I can only assume that the more nominations a game gets (within reason), the better shot it has at being in the inaugural class.

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U3.5 Pax Britannia: Main Output Window Complete; Moon Phases Considered Thu, 05 Mar 2015 03:41:22 +0000 u3.5-consoleAndrew Owen has published a couple of updates on the Pax Britannia subdomains. The first one concerns the main output window of the game (its console is pictured to the right):

A small milestone, but I managed to improve the efficiency of the display code by pre-calculating the Y coordinate. This was being done for each character so it’s quite a time saving. It does mean I will need to work out what the other values should be if I want to print anywhere outside the console window, but I think it’s probably worth it.

He also considered the idea of having a complete day/night cycle with moon phases, but ultimately had to set that idea aside:

I had toyed with the idea of doing a realistic 9-day/14-day cycle. But the code would be much longer than a simple 28 byte lookup table. And space is a concern.

Do you follow the Pax Britannia subdomain? I’d recommend it if you’re at all interested in what Andrew is working on; he posts little updates like these to it on a quite regular basis.

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Underworld Ascendant: $700,000 Raised; Tracy Hickman Novel Available as Add-On Wed, 04 Mar 2015 04:01:42 +0000 underworld-ascendant-novel

The Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter campaign reached the $700,000 milestone earlier today, meaning that Tracy Hickman will pen a novel to fill in some of the game’s backstory:

Tracy’s book, telling the tale of how the Dark Elves arrived in the Abyss, will not only help in establishing the backstory to Underworld Ascendant, but will also provide readers with important clues as to the workings of this enigmatic faction.

Available in digital or physical formats as an Add-On, this is a must read for all fans of Underworld Ascendant!

If you go to the Add-On section of our Kickstarter page you can see the books. To choose one, go to the MANAGE your pledge button, at the top of the Kickstarter page (while you are logged in.) Then add the cost of the item (plus $15 shipping if you choose the hardcover and live outside of the US) to your pledge. At the end of the campaign you will get a survey to fill out and can allocate these additional funds for the items selected.

The next stretch goal — which the campaign could well reach in the two-ish days that remain in it — is the $750,000 milestone, which will see the Lizardmen race added back into the Stygian Abyss, to populate the recently-unlocked Underswamp area.

Additionally, OtherSide Entertainment have announced a mini stretch-goal (I guess you could call it): at $725,000 raised, a special area within the Underswamp will be unlocked:

To help induce the Lizardmen to move in, let’s unlock the Dire Grove, a special area within the Underswamp. The Dire Grove is dominated by a massive species of swamp willow. These willows make fine roosts for Lizardmen treehouses. They also bear a fluorescent green berry, which is said to have an odd magical effect if consumed.

You’ll also want to click on through to this post to see a video of the Improvisation Engine in action, wherein a Rube Goldberg-type contraption is used to dispatch a pair of spiders.

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Pix Plays Ultima Underworld (for PlayStation) Wed, 04 Mar 2015 03:39:09 +0000 pix-underworld-ps1

In part to mark the end of the Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter campaign, Origin historian Pix has launched into a playthrough of Ultima Underworld for the original Sony PlayStation console. This port received some significant graphical adjustments, by the way:

The introduction is now in FMV with newly drawn art and voicing. This is a shot for shot reproduction of the original and I really quite liked it. The acting sounds far more convincing in Japanese than it ever did in English but I’m hardly the person to judge when I don’t understand a word of it. I really like the way this has been handled but I may have been less impressed if I was coming to this as a new player – you could do a whole lot more with FMV after all.

Character models were also made fully 3D:

The biggest difference to the environment is that all the sprite models of the original game have been replaced by all-new 3D ones. Some of the original UW sprites were pretty appalling (e.g. the bat that looked to be about a dozen pixels) but these were much improved in the sequel. Time hasn’t been entirely kind to most 3D modelling of the mid 90’s and these new models do look basic and cartoonish. They don’t move around the world smoothly either and give the impression of being pre-rendered in which case I’d far rather they had skipped the 3D modelling part and just redrawn everything the old-fashioned way. Most of them don’t look too bad — the giant rats are kind of cute, looking more like giant mice. The rotworm is possibly the worst and looks more like something left behind by one of the giant rats.

Of course, this port is only available in Japanese, which language Pix does not speak. As such, he probably won’t stick with it through to the end. Still, his pictures of the game on his television screen — click on through for those — are worth a look; it’s interesting to see the changes that were made in bringing Ultima Underworld to Japanese console gamers.

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The Ultima 6 Remake: Bringing Things Together Tue, 03 Mar 2015 04:50:50 +0000 u6remake

A short-ish update was recently posted to The Ultima 6 Remake’s Facebook page, in which the team offer up some details about their preparations for an update to the project’s website:

Bringing things together for another site update soon. Crowley has made several new shapes I’m putting in that I’d like to show screenshots of. Grave shapes are made, and functional – use shovel on grave, dig it up, coffin revealed in the grave, with body. Another interaction – cut trees with a knife, get kindling, double click kindling to build a fire, place a frying pan 1 tile next to the fire, double click raw meat, automatically places it on frying pan and cooks it with a small chance of burning the food completely (similar to the UO cooking system). Campfires will start to burn out and get smaller until it burns out completely. I always thought it would have been cool to build your party a campfire out in the wilderness, and now we can!

It’s amazing what you can do with Exult, isn’t it?

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Crowfall: Campaign Export Rules; Knight Poster Tue, 03 Mar 2015 04:32:44 +0000 Crowfall_CastleConstruct_1024

The Crowfall Kickstarter campaign is still around $50,000 (as of this writing) shy of reaching its first stretch goal, but ArtCraft Entertainment have pressed on ahead with updates and information releases on the game’s website. Today, the topic under discussion is the Export Rules used in the game to determine what share of the spoils from a destroyed world each player gets at the end of a campaign.

Here’s a couple of the questions answered in the update:

How are rewards determined at the conclusion of a campaign?

Players can place items, resources, and materials into Embargo – basically, this is a way of “uploading” items to your Account Bank inside a Campaign. This can only be done at certain specific locations inside a Campaign, and items placed there are basically “in quarantine” until the Campaign is over.

When the world is destroyed at the end of a Campaign, some portion of the player’s winnings (i.e. the contents they have placed inside their Embargo vault) will be transferred into that player’s Account Bank. The number of items transferred depends on how well that player fared within the Campaign.

What is the Account Bank? How does it work?

Each player has an Account Bank, which can be used to transfer items between characters on that account. The account bank cannot be accessed when your character is locked into a Campaign.

As usual, I’ll advise you to click on through to read the rest. While you’re there, you’ll also want to check out the new poster for the Knight character class…and the video that steps you through the process by which it was created.

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Ultima Journeys: Into the Depths (Ultima 4) Mon, 02 Mar 2015 19:42:19 +0000
Bring arrows. Lots of arrows.

Bring arrows. Lots of arrows.

Linguistic Dragon has posted another entry in his ongoing chronicle of his journey through Ultima 4. After his last outing, he was…much closer to ending the game, at any rate:

It strikes me that the terminology for an avatar to be can be a little confusing at times. An eight-part avatar is not automatically the Avatar, despite the fact that that’s kind of what it suggests, seeing as there’s eight parts to the code of virtues that Avatar must abide by… I’m not sure what a better term would be for one who’s attained enlightenment in all eight virtues but not yet completed the Quest of the Avatar proper yet. Almost-Avatar? Junior Avatar?

Of course, this still left him with the unenviable task of visiting each of the eight anti-virtue (vice?) dungeons:

Having expanded the party to seven, and with an excursion into the dangerous world of the Britannian underground looming, I opted to take some time to gather what supplies I was able, and outfit my fellows with the best equipment I could get. That meant a trip to Buccaneer’s Den, where I sold a few of the Mystic Weapons I’d obtained in Serpent’s Hold – not that I doubted their strength, but I had learned long ago that range tended to trump power in this age of Britannia. In a sense, that almost seemed fitting, based on the lessons I’d learned – that there are things more important than brute strength and raw power. (I’d be rather surprised if reflecting that idea was a conscious part of the design of Ultima IV’s combat system, but I must admit I do find it fairly fitting for the theme of the game, if only in a small way.) After some negotiations with some questionable merchants (this was Buccaneer’s Den, after all), I along with Iolo and Mariah were brandishing magic wands, while Dupre, Shamino and Julia had magic bows at the ready. Poor Katrina was still stuck with her sling, but she assured the rest of us she was quite content. We were all clad in the mystic robes we’d found in Empath Abbey’s grove, and while we were in the Den we saw fit to spend the rest of our funds on magic gems for mapping purposes within the dungeons, and reagents for whatever magical assistance we could make use of in the depths. We even made a foray into the forest west of Britain in order to gather a little nightshade – not much, but enough to provide that little boost, just in case. Katrina and Mariah earned enough experience during these preparations to gain a level each.

Going into this playthrough, I was determined to refrain from making use of the dungeon teleportation spells, the Up, Down, and X-it spells. They’re useful things, to be sure, and I made copious and repeated use of them during my first time through the game (and many of them after), but I’ve never really taken the time to explore the dungeons proper, or at least try and push my way through them without zapping myself past all (well, most) of the obstacles. It does present an interesting trade-off, though – expediency for experience. Actually pressing through all the obstacles, while time-consuming and taking a toll on resources, provides a fair amount of experience, because these aren’t just the orcs and rogues and skeletons that wander through the overworld — these are the zorns, the balrons, the dragons, the liches, the reapers — the harder monsters that deliver experience at a more rapid rate. Either you can zip through the dungeons and claim their prizes, or you can take your time and get rewarded for the experience. I like the fact both options are possible, as I’ve had uses for both approaches in my past playthroughs.

He ended this session with half of the dungeons completed, though:

So there ended my session for the day, with half of the stones I needed in my pocket and on the doorstep of the hidden city of wisdom. Guess what my plan for next time is!

As always, we look forward to his next outing. It cannot be said that Linguistic does not do an excellent job — as befits his Dragon Name — of telling the tale of his Avatar!

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Ananias Roguelike: Version 1.55 Released; Adds Facebook Sharing Mon, 02 Mar 2015 19:25:08 +0000 ananias-version1.55-2015-03-02-122449Slashing Dragon has released version 1.55 of Ananias Roguelike. In addition to several new bits of in-game content, this version is also notable for adding the ability to share gameplay progress — currently, just the “Game Over” event, which happens a lot — on Facebook.

From a gameplay standpoint, dungeon features can now be examined for details, and something called the Guardian of the Ring has been added to the game. Various bug and UI fixes have also been made. As always, you can find Ananias ready to play both online and for Android (in both Standard and Fellowship Edition varieties).

Slash also provides some details that may be of interest:

  • We have a wiki setup now, if you want to collaborate please create content for it!
  • We are getting close to 30.000 installs for the standard edition; rating has gone up to 3.55 and I hope it continues going up with more polished versions. I also removed support for Android versions prior to 4.0 since they seemed to be causing problems to users (since CocoonJS doesn’t support WebView+ on these)
  • We now have 100+ buyers for the Fellowship edition, thank you all!
  • As expected, the APK for the fellowship edition is now available (for free) in several non official (i.e. pirate) websites. If you use one of these versions, the Curse of Ananiaswill fall over you and your family.

Apart from the piracy issue, this is good news; it’s nice to see Ananias continue to improve and expand its audience.

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Underworld Ascendant: Underswamp Stretch Goal Reached Mon, 02 Mar 2015 04:36:43 +0000 uwa-underswamp-boots

As of a few hours ago, the Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter campaign reached the $650,000 mark, meaning that a new area — the Underswamp — will be added to the Stygian Abyss, and all backers backers at (or above) the $75 Adventurer reward tier will receive Rotworm Skin Swamp Boots to aid in their exploration thereof.

The next stretch goal — unlocking at the $700,000 level — is the Tracy Hickman novel:

The next Stretch Goal to unlock is the NYT best-selling author Tracy Hickman novel about the advent of the Dark Elves to the Stygian Abyss, set some generations before the arrival of the player. Whether you’d prefer a $5 digital download of the book, or the physical $45 COLLECTOR’S EDITION’s, let’s make sure we all have something to read about our favorite place.

Besides having a fun read before the game is completed, having the novel benefits Underworld Ascendant by providing deeper lore, and more extensive back story, that we can tap into for the game’s fiction. So even if you happen to not be a reader, support this goal!

And another $50,000 past that point will see Lizardmen added to the game, as well.

I’m somewhat confident that the Lizardmen stretch goal is within reach, and I’m fairly sure we will at least get the Hickman novel out of the campaign.

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Shroud of the Avatar – Update of the Avatar #114 Sat, 28 Feb 2015 13:33:13 +0000

Greetings Fellow Avatars!

Here’s what we have for you in this week’s edition of Update of the Avatar:

  • Play Release 15 Now!
  • Underworld Funded – Now Entering Final Week!
  • Crowfall Kickstarter Funded in 3 Days!
  • Final Week for Massively Kickstarter
  • First Wedding in New Britannia
  • Rick Holtrop’s Spectral Mines
  • In-game Community Weekend Events

Play Release 15 Now!

Release 15 screenshot courtesy of *Meyaka*[PeV]. Check out more in the Forum’s Release 15 Screenshot Gallery.

Release 15 successfully launched yesterday, February 26, with thousands of backers downloading, patching, logging in, and checking out the new changes! Lots of new content to explore, including:

  • Transitioned to Unity 5, the latest version of the Unity engineUnity5_logo
  • Travel the Perennial Coast on the Novia Overworld
  • 39 new scenes, including Spectral Mines, Verdantis Shardfall, Solania, and Soletown
  • 11 new magic and combat skills (including Stealth)
  • 20 new crafting skills
  • Pledge reward and add-on pets that follow you around
  • …and more!

Check out the Release 15 Instructions update for detailed information about all the new R15 content.

The Grand Tour Quest
Just as in our last few releases, we’ve included a Grand Tour Quest designed to guide you through all the new content. You will be able to get the Silver Jester Carnival Mask by completing the Release 15 Grand Tour Quest. This reward can only be unlocked during Release 15 (did someone say rares?), so be sure to log in soon and talk to all the Tour Guides!


Verdantis Shardfall

We need all your help with testing the new patches, putting more stress on our multiplayer servers, and testing the new game content, so please join us in playing Release 15!

If you have not backed the game yet, you will need to register and login at, select the “Pledge or Send Gift!” button in the right side-bar, and purchase a pledge at the $45 Adventurer level or above. The basic Adventurer level pledge is also available on Steam Early Access.

Release 15 Player Instructions

Release 15 Known Issues

R15 Patch Notes

Thanks to all our community members that jumped right into Release 15 and started reporting bugs. We’ve already fixed quite a few of them and pushed out several patches. Click here for the most up-to-date Patch Notes.

February 27, 2015

Build Number 229 6:30 PM CST


  • Fixes for Anti-Aliasing so it does not blur text too much
  • Fix for merchant inventories showing up empty and then shutting immediately
  • Improved feedback for when a purchase fails with a merchant
  • You can now join a party member in a random encounter by double clicking on their marker
  • Stealth spells cast while already in combat are not broken by attacks
  • Blackblade Pass South Entrance now properly displays name
  • Fixed some broken facial hair
  • Fix for stealthed characters being too hard to see by the player operating them
  • Barriers on Novia Overworld now higher to prevent access to unfinished areas
  • Long beards should now sort properly in game
  • Fix bug that was preventing some players from logging in
  • Solania realtor no longer selling reward deeds, now same as housing NPC in Owl’s Head
  • Fixed bug where some cotton nodes were incorrectly named flax
  • First room in Chillblain’s Compendium of Doom (aka Challenge Dungeon) is now filled with wolves instead of stags that run out the room
  • Help text for vendor proceeds in bank (to fix confusion on how to get your proceeds)
  • Particles now longer render when characters are stealthed
  • Fixed the encumbrance issue so that it only prevents interactions (harvesting, crafting, etc.) while not able to move and encumbered
  • If you die and log out while flagged for PvP the flag will be removed when you log back in. You must return to the Oracle to have it restored.

Known Issues:

  • The screen may go completely black except for UI in some cases.  If this occurs, you can open the video options and turn off Tone Mapping as a temporary fix.
  • Many pledge, add on, and stretch goal items have not yet been built and/or do not yet have tech support. These will not be complete until later this year
  • The update to Unity 5 caused a host of general texture and lighting related issues, and not all of these have been resolved.
  • Distant tree billboards may have a white outline that is especially noticeable at night, and some trees may shimmer with white at night.
  • Some scenes in the new Novia overworld are missing visible name scrolls, though they can still be entered and explored.
  • Bugs in the lighting system during this transition to Unity 5 have degraded performance, especially in large towns like Owl’s Head and Ardoris. This will require a sweeping change so unfortunately won’t be fixed until Release 16.
  • Hair is not responding to light correctly
  • Skin tone will sometimes not match properly on different parts of the body
  • Occlusion in Ardoris is not working properly which will result in places in the city where walls are invisible with nothing visible beyond them

[Complete Patch Notes…]


Underworld Funded – Now Entering Final Week!

Former Origin protégé, Paul Neurath, is rebooting the legendary Ultima Underworld games with the Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter campaign, which reached its $600k funding goal yesterday! It has been more than a decade long wait, but the stars have aligned and Paul has at long last freed the rights to move forward with the franchise. We’re especially excited that, just as the original Ultima and Underworld shared a connection on backstory and fictional elements, so too will Shroud of the Avatar and Underworld Ascendant.

SotA is teaming up with Underworld Ascendant (UA) so that backers of both games can get special in-game items. This week they are announcing a new item, Jabbering Bertha!

Jabbering Bertha

SotA_JabberingBertha1When UA reached 10,000 backers, the Chattering Bart reward was added to all UA pledges. Chattering Bart, formerly known as Bartholomew, was the favorite court jester of a long-ago nobleman. Bart was famously sharp-witted. Sadly, Bart drowned in a huge vat of mead one evening after feasting. The nobleman had a necromancer animate Bart’s skull so that, in death, Bart could still chatter up a storm. While wielded in UA, Bart will share his wit and pithy statements with the player, usually at the most inopportune times. Some of Bart’s dialogue are quips penned by UA backers who submit them to OtherSide Entertainment as part of a contest during their Kickstarter campaign!

Well, it turns out that Bart had a wife. After Bart was turned into a chattering skull, his soon to be deceased wife insisted she would be too, and became Jabbering Bertha. The two can talk up a storm! Sadly, Jabbering Bertha got separated from Bart. Indeed, she was taken through a portal to the lands of Shroud of the Avatar. For any players who get Jabbering Bertha as an Add-On in both games, the two will be reunited, and swap some unique quips. Not only that, but Bertha will put on her lipstick for Bart. Please don’t make any ‘lipstick on a pig’ jokes, Bertha can be sensitive about her looks. Jabbering Bertha is currently available in the SotA Add-On Store, and as an Add-On on the Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter page.

Dark Elven “Kinsman” Buckler

SotA_UA_DarkElvenKinsmanBuckler_setThis buckler, inscribed with the Dark Elven symbol, has a moonstone gem inset. If a player owns the buckler in both Shroud of the Avatar and Underworld Ascendant, then the moonstone will glow with the warmth of kinship. This signifies that the Dark Elven clans, though sundered between distant worlds, still are one. The Dark Elven Buckler is currently available in the SotA Add-On Store, and as an Add-On on the Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter page.

Otherside Entertainment has surpassed their $600k funding goal, but needs your help during their final week to start hitting their stretch goals! Be sure and check out the Underworld Kickstarter site, and if you are as excited about it as we are, then show your support and make a pledge to Raise the Underworld!


Crowfall Kickstarter Funded in 3 Days!

Another former Origin protégés, Gordon Walton (Ultima Online, Star Wars Galaxies), has teamed up with J. Todd Coleman (Shadowbane, Wizard 101), to create an awesome sounding game called Crowfall. They describe it as a seamless blend of an MMO with a large-scale Strategy game! Think “…Game of Thrones meets Eve Online”. They’ve enlisted the aid of yet another former Origin protégé, Raph Koster (Ultima Online, Star Wars Galaxies), as a design consultant!

Game characters are persistent, but the Campaign Worlds are not. Players are Crows – Champions who travel from one world to the next, fighting an endless War of the Gods. There are two types of Worlds in the Crowfall Universe: the Campaign Worlds, which produce materials such as stone, iron, and wood (and last until some “win condition is met” – typically 1 to 3 months), and the Eternal Kingdoms, which are barren of resources — but last forever. When a campaign ends, a victor is declared, the map is wiped and the World goes offline forever. The players – the Crows – then fly back to their Home Worlds, to either count their spoils or lick their wounds before they choose a new Campaign and fight again.

Another really cool feature is that the worlds are made of voxels (like Minecraft, only much smaller) – which means the entire world is destructible. They are harnessing VoxelFarm technology to generate an endless succession of unique and interesting Campaign Worlds for you to mine, shape, conquer and destroy.

Sounds pretty awesome, right? A lot of gamers think so because they reached their $800k funding goal in just 3 days! Check out their Kickstarter page and if you like what you see then help them build Crowfall with your pledge!

Final Week of Massively Kickstarter


The Massively Kickstarter campaign has surpassed their funding goal and already has their new website up and running, with lots of great articles in the Massively tradition, so check it out if you haven’t seen it yet!

This is the last week of their Kickstarter campaign and they are working toward their $75k Stretch Goal, which includes Convention Coverage. So, head on over to the Massively Overpowered Kickstarter site and if you like what you see then pledge your support!


First Wedding in New Britannia

Join us in congratulating Roper and Keira on their wedding, this past Wednesday, February 24th. They hold the distinct honor of being the first couple to wed in New Britannia. The wedding was held at the beautiful Lord of the Manor estate of Night Fury and deftly decorated by 4B and Athanil.




Officiation was performed by High Priestess of Chaos Amber Raine and Master Bard Holt Ironfell composed and dedicated the song “Vows & Virtues” to the guests of honor. There were royal visits by Lady Firelotus, Rustica Dragon, Lord Darkstarr, Lord British and other noble dignitaries of the Shroud of the Avatar community; as well as some interesting surprises.

Duke Ezekiel Cooper of the Britannian Mining Company surprised the wedding party by gifting the lucky groom the now infamous “Flaming Sword of Lord British”. This sword is the first enchanted item in the game with the maker’s mark of Lord British!

SotA_Wedding6 SotA_Wedding7 SotA_Wedding8

Thanks to community member The Mad Hermit for creating this video of the momentous event:

“A Bear Tavern wedding without at least one brawl is considered a dull affair.”
-The Mad Hermit

Rick Holtrop’s Spectral Mines

For Release 15, Rick Holtrop put on his Level Designer hat and crafted the Spectral Mines (part of the R15 Grand Tour Quest):

“Long ago, an effort was made to mine the Spectral Peaks but miners stumbled upon some ancient crypts full of undead. The miners abandoned the unstarted mines, but the Order of the Ebon Dawn have since taken over and seek to resurrect the ancient power of the Obsidians.”






In-game Weekend Community Events

Our amazing community has another great lineup of in-game events planned for this weekend. Here is the latest schedule of player events from the Avatar’s Circle Community Events calendar and the Events of the Avatars community calendar:

Friday, February 27
7:00pm CST – Dungeon Run – A No-Host Event (Braemar Cemetery)
9:00pm CST – Mass Assassination – 1v1 Double Elimination – By League of Assassins – (Braemar – Arena TBA; details)

Saturday, February 28
9:00am CST – PaxLair Working Hours – Host Winfield (Valemark)
9:30am CST – All Player Towns Gathering – templates (PaxLair, Valmark; “/zone Winfield”; details)
10:00am CST – BMC Recruitment Run (meet Zenie Zen in Braemar)
11:00am CST – Church of the Dark Star – Saturday Service (PaxLair, Valemark; details)
12:00pm CST – Welcome Quest in R15 (NorthShire or “/zone Dara Brae”; details)
2:00pm CST – Owl’s Head Hippodrome Extravaganza (Tantalus Consortium, Owl’s Head Castle; details)
4:00pm CST – All Player Towns Gathering – templates (PaxLair, Valmark; “/zone William Serenite”; details)
6:00pm CST – Oov – Crafting in Vengeance (Brave Coast)
7:00pm CST – Escort the Baroness – PvE Event (“/zone Jenny Phoenixfyre or Kazyn Phoenixfyre)

Sunday, March 1
5:30am CST – Explore Novia with royalsexy (Owl’s Head entrance)
2:00pm CST – MidBoss Beta Launch Event (Salty Dog Cafe – Dungeon Basement – Kingsport or “/zone Kazyn Phoenixfyre or Eniko”)
5:00pm CST – BMC Grid Iron Feast and Registration (details)
6:00pm CST – BMC First Blood at Grid-Iron (details)
7:00pm CST – PaxLair Meeting (Valemark, or “/zone Winfield”)
8:00pm CST – New Britannia Press Meeting (Paxlair and Avatar’s Circle Teamspeak)

Be sure and check out the Release 15 Events thread in the SotA forums for additional events that may not be included here.


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Crowfall Also Reached its Kickstarter Goal Today Sat, 28 Feb 2015 04:35:11 +0000 crowfall_KS_TileShare2_1024

The Crowfall Kickstarter campaign also reached its base goal today, and as of this writing has accumulated $867,651 in crowdfunding pledges. With 26 days to go, its stretch goals should be easily attained.

ArtCraft Entertainment seem to be pretty happy about this, as they should be:

Wow. I’m writing this just before dawn on Friday the 27th. We are now at the end of day 3 of our kickstarter — less than 72 hours since we started. …and you guys just funded us!

$800,000. That’s unbelievable.

This is a huge vote of confidence for our vision, and our Company. We are inspired by your passion and honored by the faith that you have placed in us. We won’t let you down.

We set out to find an audience to support us in creating something different, something innovative… and now we have, we are going to do exactly that. Thank you for making this happen.

Allies, Enemies, Empires, Betrayal, Risk, Conquest!

We’re doing this, together. We’re going to make Crowfall a reality.

From all of us at ArtCraft: thank you, sincerely.

In short, a good day on Kickstarter for projects that, in some way or other, have a bit (or a lot) of Ultima in their history.

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Underworld Ascendant: Stretch Goals Reworked; Lizardmen Take Priority Fri, 27 Feb 2015 17:11:56 +0000
Thepa thit tosa!

Thepa thit tosa!

Having reached their base Kickstarter goal, OtherSide Entertainment have taken a look at the Underworld Ascendant stretch goals, and have decided to re-prioritize some of them:

Once it became apparent that we would not necessarily be zooming up and past the $1.2M stretch goal, we decided that it made more sense to break out the $150,000 big stretch goals into 3 smaller $50,000 chunks each. Breaking it out like this gives the community a better chance to reach at least 1 or 2 of the 3 original features within whatever stretch goal we end up in, rather than making it an all-or-nothing proposition.

We have also taken this as an opportunity to shift around a couple of the features. Most notably, we swapped the Necropolis and Haunt, with the Underswamp and Lizardmen. These are both very similar scoped features. We made the swap because we’ve seen a lot of chatter about the Lizardmen, which seem to be a fan favorite, and we wanted to up the odds that they would get reached.

So, here are the updated stretch goals, in charty form:


It really wouldn’t be the Stygian Abyss of Ultima Underworld fame without the Lizardmen, would it?

I know that Kicktraq projections aren’t to be taken as being particularly accurate, but…$750,000 seems to be within the realm of possibility here. The Kickstarter campaign isn’t over yet; there are still six days left to go!

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Underworld Ascendant: Kickstarter Goal Reached; Oculus Rift Support Being Considered Fri, 27 Feb 2015 16:58:50 +0000 underworld-ascendant-banner

As of maybe fifteen minutes ago, the Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter campaign has reached its base funding goal of $600,000, meaning that it will in fact be funded…and will, as such, get made.

Watch thy step.

Watch thy step.

It’s also worth noting that the latest update posted to the campaign page teases the possibility of VR support:

…we have been working with an Oculus Rift developer kit. We’ve only spent a day so far experimenting with the kit on Underworld Ascendant, but already the prototype is running with full Oculus Rift support.

Playing it myself, it’s pretty darn cool! In the chamber shown in the prototype with the rickety wooden bridge over the pit of lava, I actually hesitated for a few moments, before stepping out over the void.

Which, of course, hearkens back to some experimentation that was done at Looking Glass, back in the day:

On a side note, some of us actually did VR headset support at LookingGlass in 1996. This was the first generation of consumer VR, and we experimented using it for Terra Nova and Flight Unlimited. We quickly concluded the technology was far from ready.

And it should be noted that, for the moment, OtherSide have not come to a decision about whether they’ll work to support VR in Underworld Ascendant:

…we are well aware that VR hardware, and a sufficiently powerful PC and graphics card to drive it, don’t come cheap. Most who play Underworld Ascendant would not have access to VR, at least not for a few years to come. So even if we were to support VR, it is essential that the game play wonderfully well without VR.

…based on these considerations we are not prepared to make a decision yet as to if we might support VR for Underworld Ascendant. We will be staying on top of upcoming advances in the technology, and spending a bit more time doing experiments over the coming months. But until we get to a point where we are confident that the hardware is ready, and that we could deliver a great experience, we need to wait and see.

It’s probably enough for now that VR support is being considered, at least. VR technology has become significantly more viable than it was in the mid-90s, after all.

But really, that’s just a long and interesting side point to the main thrust of this article, which is to say:

Underworld Ascendant has (finally) been funded!

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Underworld Ascendant: Under $3,000 Away From Its Kickstarter Goal Fri, 27 Feb 2015 14:57:32 +0000 Hnnnnnnngh!

The Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter campaign has raised, as of this writing, $597,103. They’re less than $3,000 away from their base funding goal, with 6 days to go…which means that one (or possibly more) of these stretch goals might just be in sight after all.

Underworld Ascendant Stretch Goals

Have you pledged yet, Avatar?

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