The Ultima Codex http://ultimacodex.com The Ultima Fan Network Mon, 19 Feb 2018 14:27:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.4 http://ultimacodex.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/cropped-ultima-codex-favicon-150x150.png The Ultima Codex http://ultimacodex.com 32 32 33386326 Shroud of the Avatar – Update of the Avatar #266 http://ultimacodex.com/2018/02/shroud-of-the-avatar-update-of-the-avatar-266-2/ http://ultimacodex.com/2018/02/shroud-of-the-avatar-update-of-the-avatar-266-2/#respond Mon, 19 Feb 2018 14:27:37 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=62904 Greetings Fellow Avatars! Not much for you this week but we do have some updates on upgrades and improvements for a few parts of SoTA.  For this week’s edition of Update of the Avatar, we have:


Vendor Variations & Improvements (cont.)

This week devs added images for the new Male Shopkeepers, Female Vendor variations, and Male Vendor variations.

[From a Dev+ Forum Post by Starr “Darkstarr” Long]

Male Shopkeepers: These player vendor outfits are based on Victorian shopkeeper wear and early concept sketches Denis Loubet made. They come in several outfit colors and face options. In Release 52 we will get female shopkeepers as well based on similar concepts.

Female Player Vendors: These are female versions (including different faces and outfit color variations) of the original player vendor outfit with the fur collar.

Male Player Vendors: These are male versions (including different faces and outfit color variations) of the original player vendor outfit with the fur collar.


New Harvestable Trees

[From a Dev+ Forum Post by Starr “Darkstarr” Long]

We have replaced the placeholder harvestable trees that have been in the game since the very first prototypes with new trees that actually look like the two tree types: Pine and Maple. These trees have died or become diseased so are ideal for clearing. They can be identified by their slightly different coloration from the surrounding trees .

We also updated the tree chopping animation to better align with the trees.

New Pine:

New Maple:

Both New Trees:


The Making of South Fetid Swamp (cont.)

The South Fetid Swamp is a Tier 3 scene located on the western end of the Verdantis region. It is the site of an ancient siege and is now littered with the skeletons of soldiers, battered siege machines, and moss covered encampments. Rumors abound of treasures still hidden in the ruined keep, but the local swamp dwellers scoff at such silliness and laugh at the Outlanders who die trying to find it. Methane is known to rise from the bog on occasion, producing small fires on the surface of the water.

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

Hey guys! SorcerousSteve here to give you the latest on South Fetid Swamp!

Below we catch a glimpse of Irvine Castle long rumored to have a hidden treasure within its walls.

A raised village deep in the fetid swamp.

Alligator hunting is a big sport in the Fetid Swamp, alongside this the swamp locals are master fishermen who constantly tell tales of fish the size of a full grown man!

Deep in the bayou.

Looking north to Irvine Castle, the swamp in the foreground with the remaining signs of a huge battle that shook this region in ages past.

Check out the South Fetid Swamp! Coming R51!

Esteben Zaldivar

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A Year in Ultima Inspired Projects: 2017 in Review http://ultimacodex.com/2018/02/62893/ http://ultimacodex.com/2018/02/62893/#comments Fri, 16 Feb 2018 22:58:57 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=62893 During this past year, a number of projects came to light, were started, or even saw releases.  Each of projects on this list are closely inspired by the Ultima games, often the early games within the series.  Retro gaming is certainly becoming quite popular in recent years.

The total count for 2017 of active inspired projects totaled 15 with some having releases/demos, so check them all out below.

Akaruuk

This old school RPG is styled based on the early Ultima games but include a number of features common from later Ultimas such as advanced scripting, dialogue trees, extensive text, and more involved and developed systems and locations.  This RPG will boast a large, open world with non-linear gameplay.

This project seems to be quite far along already, but share little posted progress since early 2017.

Ananias

This turn-based strategy, rogue-like RPG built by Slashie Dragon.  It allows players to explore 5 ancient realms as one of eight classes.  It is also a rogue-like, which means that every playthrough will be different with new places to explore with different challenges and surprises.  In 2017, this project received its complete release to both Steam and IOS.

Corven – Path of Redemption

The project that sprang up from the former developers of Ultima IX redemption.  Corven is a project that seeks to create “a story-driven, single-player, interactive open-world adventure-RPG” set inside an original world with some inspiration by the Ultima Series.  This project started late in 2016 and has since released some media including music and character portraits. Their work this past year including world-building and story elements of the starting island, developing skill, combat, and interaction systems.

Crimson Twilight

This Commodore 64 RPG by Arkanix Labs takes inspiration from Questron, Legacy of the Ancients, the Legend of Blacksilver, and the early Ultimas.  News posts are rare, but their forum is quite active with regular posting to a variety of forums throughout 2017. A preview download has provided in 2012.

The Dark Unknown

This project by GoldenFlame is a spiritual prequel to Ultima 1 and built as a browser-based tiled RPG.  By March of 2017, a demo of the game was released with a number of updates based on user responses.  Since then, a number of features have been implemented including experience and karma systems along with significant progress of NPC scheduling and day/night cycles.

Dungeons of Chaos

This retro pixel RPG was originally released in 2014 for iPad with a release in the Mobile stores in 2016.  In September of 2017, a PC/Mac/Linux version was released on STEAM after years of continued development and improvement on mobile systems.

El Somni Quas

This MMORPG is inspired by Utima Online and built within the Unigine Engine.  Since late 2016, news updates have been exclusive to their Facebook page.  Towards the end of the year, the project was gearing up towards an Alpha Test build of the client side system.

Lawless Legends

This fantasy RPG set in the wild west is being built to run on both Apple II and C64 systems as well as modern platforms.  In July of 2017, the project had reached beta testing to a closed group.  At present, they are actively progressing through their beta-testing and improvements.

Lowlander II

The project is a sequel to the Ultima 2-inspired, mobile RPG Lowlander released in 2015.  This sequel was released in the Summer of 2017 on mobile platforms.  The game boosts 16 hours of main story with large world to explore and expansive dungeons.

Lurking

This old-school CRPG styled and inspired by Ultima 3 and Wizardry includes classless characters, a party system, a rich skill tree, a large open-world, and a non-linear story.  The project was released in 2016 and has been updated multiple times since release culminating in a 2.0 version released in 2017.

Mage Duels

This project is an arena fighting game inspired by Ultima Online and World of Warcraft PvP duels.  This particular project will be a mage dueling PvP experience.  There was little news in 2017 until October in which the developer Erik Ashcraft is combining a variety of prototype components into the main code branch.  They also lost a developer but gained a new game designer.

Nox Archaist

The project is a sword-and-sorcery CRPG based on the RPGs from the Apple II era and built for that system.  Work continued steadily throughout 2017 with a release expected in December 2018.  The engine is practically complete and much of the remaining work is developing and completing the content.  At present an 8-bit is being worked on with a 16-bit version planned after the 8-bit release.

Omega

In 2017, this project was started by Fregas Baratis.  It is a Unity game styled like the 2D Ultimas in an effort to learn Unity game programming.  The game thus far has basic map movement, entering/exiting towns/dungeons, a basic HUD, tile animations, and player-following camera. Work was continued in October after a break.

OpenArthurianX6

This project by Slashing Dragon and Exodus Destiny Dragon was started as a crowdfunded classic computer RPG creation kit.  The game is creating an Ultima 6 like game engine to allow users to create 90s-style RPGs.  As of November 2017, combat is nearly complete, progress continues on level transitions and chunked world model, talking module, and inventory system (plus pick up/drop functionality.  During 2017, multiple dev stream videos were released updating on the development of various features.  With the end of 2017, work continues to push forward an Alpha version as well as more basic public developer version for devs to start building scenarios.

Planet X2

Released late in 2017, this game is an 8-bit sci-fi RTS for the C64. Though it is an RTS, the HUD and style is reminiscent of Ultima 4 game. The game is a sequel to PlanetX released some years ago for the Commodore VIC-20.

Unknown Realm: The Siege Perlious

This 8-bit commercial RPG for PC and C64 by Stirring Dragon Games started with amazing crowdfunding success early in the year and reached well over $135,000 beyond many of its stretch goals.  The game when finished will include open world exploration, a non-linear plot, fast/turn-based combat, keyword highlight dialogue, multiple NPCs and communicative monsters, and a unique skill-based character system. During 2017, the project received Greenlit status on Steam, significant progress towards development of pledge extras, there were continued updates throughout the year regarding progress on art, manual illustrations, and a professional score for the game.  The game currently is slated for a release in Spring of 2018 with a presentation at GDC in March.

The year 2017 has certainly been an amazing year for both categories of projects.  The releases and progress being made this past year is encouraging for the prospects of 2018. So check out the projects and releases on these two lists and vote for your favorites at the site poll before the poll closes.

 

First Age of Update

Forgot to add the links.

Revenge of the Update

Unknown Realm was added to the list.  Note that due to Stirring wishes, the game is not included in the annual project poll.   Also I moved “The Dark Unknown” higher in the list so it is more alphabetically placed.

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Meet the man who runs the Origin Museum, collecting the history of Wing Commander and Ultima | Rock, Paper, Shotgun http://ultimacodex.com/2018/02/meet-the-man-who-runs-the-origin-museum-collecting-the-history-of-wing-commander-and-ultima-rock-paper-shotgun/ http://ultimacodex.com/2018/02/meet-the-man-who-runs-the-origin-museum-collecting-the-history-of-wing-commander-and-ultima-rock-paper-shotgun/#respond Fri, 16 Feb 2018 21:08:59 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=62880

In the basement of an unassuming suburban home just outside Washington, D.C., you’ll find one of the largest collections of documents, data, images and props from Origin Systems, the company behind the Ultima and Wing Commander game series of the 80s and 90s.

The Origin Museum is owned and curated by Joe Garrity, and has been running since 1999, when Garrity lived in Virginia. Over the past 18 years, former Origin staff have donated entire offices worth of documents and even source code to the museum.

When Electronic Arts needed someone to catalogue their Origin Systems holdings, it was Garrity that they turned to. The museum’s collection of continuity polaroids from the production of Wing Commander: Prophecy were scanned and used in the 2003 Game Boy Advance version of the game.

And the development documents that GOG.com bundles with its Origin games were all originally scanned by the museum before being published on the Ultima Codex and Wing Commander Combat Information Centre fan sites by Garitty’s long-time collaborators Kenneth Kully and Ben Lesnick.

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A Year in Ultima Fan Projects: 2017 in Review http://ultimacodex.com/2018/02/a-year-in-ultima-fan-projects-2017-in-review/ http://ultimacodex.com/2018/02/a-year-in-ultima-fan-projects-2017-in-review/#comments Fri, 16 Feb 2018 20:04:27 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=62878 This previous year was a veritable cornucopia of fan projects both large and small.  With so many fan projects, it is hard to keep up with what each project did this year and if there were any notable releases.  Below is a round-up of the various fan projects that were specifically for Ultima and not just inspired by the Ultima games. The count of projects reached 28 for this year, and that does not include the 15 inspired by Ultima projects.

 

So without further preamble, here are the Ultima Fan Projects for 2017:

Age of Ultimacraft

This minecraft project inspired by Ultima Online, seeks to provide a player-driven world of Britannia.  This year the project has seen notable progress with multiple areas of Britannia reaching completion including Lord’s British’s Castle and Britain and Trinsic.  Work also continued with underlying systems for their servers as well.

Custom Ultima Dragons Keyboard

During the second half of 2017, Zedex Dragon created an UDIC theme keyboard template both in 87-key and 101-key variants.  These are available for order from WASD keyboards.

El Portal Negro

The Outer_-_Gamer presented his Unity project, which seeks to remake Ultima VII as a first-person RPG.  The project presented some notable progress earlier in 2017.  Britannia is completed built with several systems including combat and water implemented.  There is even a video showcasing the remake’s intro, which appears to be a playable segment of their remake rather than the traditional FMV sequence of the original.  There has been no word regarding the project since the middle of this 2017, but it is likely Outer_-_Game will return to this project in the future.

Exult

In 2017, Exult did not receive a proper release.  Bug fixes and improvements continue with the engine.  Marzo has written much of the code necessary to get the original extended version of the Serpent Isle intro video incorporated into Exult; only some computer issues delay adding to code to the Exult Codebase.  The iOS branch also saw continued development becoming more and more playable.

Forgotten World

There was a spark of progress at the beginning of the year, but the project went quiet.  It should be noted that while the goal of patching Ultima IX is not limited by technology or tools, the main portion of the project is tied to progress with New Project Britannia.

 

Speaking personally as the head of Forgotten World, real-life time constraints in 2017 disrupted regular progress on the patching side.  Furthermore, work on New Project Britannia has been limited to the time constraints of all of its staff.

Hex’s Ultima 5 Box Art Poster

Early in 2017, Hex provided a massive, poster-sized re-creation of the Ultima 5 box art.

Jason Walton’s Ultima VI Remastered Soundtrack

At end of the 2016, Jason Walton posted to his youtube channel his remastered version of the Ultima VI soundtrack.  This remastered album has been posted to Sound-Cloud by RoosterCastille with permission for better access by fans.

Morgaelin

The browser-based Ultima VIII demake, one of many projects worked on by Slashing Dragon, received some additional support for cutscenes and browser support upgrades during January of 2017.

Nuvie

Nuvie saw incremental development of some scripting logic as well as bugfixes and minor improvements over the past year.  Most of this work was directed toward Martian Dreams specific elements and features.  One major piece of news during the middle of the year was the addition of a tileset import and export feature was added to allow for custom tilesets to be used in the game.

Pieces of 8-Bit Ultima Music Remixes

Early in 2018, five Ultima songs were discovered to have been faithfully recreated with modern musical technology by Pieces of 8-bit.

RelExpo’s Ultima Online Soundboard

For those with Android phones and that love Ultima Online’s sound effects and music, RelExpo created a soundboard app (released late 2017) that allows users to play with the tunes and effects from Ultima Online on their Android devices.

Shadow Over Moonglow

This project is a standalone campaign for Divinity Original Sin 2, which started up fairly late in 2017.  It seeks to create within two years a short (10-12 hour) campaign set mostly on Verity Isle in the lead-up to Ultima V.  Windmere picked up some team members and they were able to implement an Ultima-style character creation system.

The Exodus Project

Voyager Dragons’ Ultima 3 upgrade project continued its progress in 2017.  In addition to bug fixing certain issues with his 3.2 patch, he introduced a “Start a new game” option to the main menu of Ultima 3.  Voyager Dragon also announced last year, the Sosaria mod – an attempt to bring the world maps of Ultima 2 and 3 in-line with the Lands of Lord British from Ultima 1.  His focus thus far is on altering Ultima 3’s map first before moving onto Ultima 2’s map.  The 3.3 patch with the Sosaria Mod included reached beta testing in early 2017. The patch, however, did not receive a full release last year due to several issues found during testing – most notable of these were installation/setup difficulties and the Fawn region requiring some improvements.  Available time was, of course, the limitation to addressing these issues during 2017.

Ultima 1 Revenge

Dino Dragon’s recreation of the Ultima 1 engine compatible with modern systems received new life in 2017.  The most recent iteration of this fan project/learning environment is using C++ and SDL2 to provide a solid coding base for compatible on Windows systems.  An early demo was released in January and work continued on the project into April.

Ultima 3 Remake in Python

Dan Duda’s python remake of Ultima 3 had notable process early in 2017.  By March, the remake has several game commands (ie game actions), moongates and whirlpool travel, sound control, Dawn disappearing with the phases, and a rudimentary combat system. Recently, Dan Duda has returned to continue development.

Ultima IV/V Map Explorer

Grumdrig’s map viewer of Ultima 4 and Ultima 5’s world maps (and underworld map) was released in 2017.  You navigate the maps primarily by way of an avatar who is limited by terrain. The project is seemingly complete.

Ultima IX: Redemption “Libre Edition”

This project started shortly after the release of the Redemption files early in 2017.  This project seeks to provide a less copyright fraught version of the Redemption file release.  This primarily entails adding the Creative Commons license to the materials and gathering permissions from various former staff members of the Titans of Ether who created various assets with the intention that those assets be released as part of the Ultima IX Redemption full project release, and not as free assets for more general use.

Ultima Mapper

This dungeon map viewer project by Fenyx4 is a tool for the Codex of Ultima Wisdom wiki to support display of various Ultima’s dungeon maps.  In November of 2017, this viewer was released as a stand-alone utility.  Only Ultima 4 dungeon maps are supported.

Ultima Nostalgia

This project by Malena seeks to create a “look but don’t touch” server based on the Ultima Online maps.  It was first announced in April 2017 and by February of this year, a number of areas of the map were completed including Trinsic, Dagger Isle, Player Housing, Britain, Vesper, and more.  Malena has reached half way through her development plan.

Ultima VI – Nitpicker’s Delight Patch

This patch was released in June 2017 after working on a German translation project.  This patch fixed a number of continuity “errors” and other nitpicking issues as presented on Hacki’s nitpicking website for Ultima VI.

Ultima VII German Translation and Ultima VI German Translation

Begun in 2015, this project is a translation patch that would add a full German translation onto the English version of Ultima VII currently available.  This patch was released in September of 2017 and now includes a translation for Forge of Virtue in addition to a better translation of the game into German without game-breaking bugs that were present in the original German release.

 

The Ultima VI German translation project saw continue progress in 2017, with their fourth beta release of the German translation patch in May of 2017 and a final release in September of that year.

Ultima VI Remake (Exult)

This remake of Ultima VI in Exult lead by Zygon Dragon does not often release developmental progress, but there was a big update in April 2017.  Several notable elements of the remake were noted as being completed including several plot-critical dungeons and multiple NPC conversation trees.  In total, nearly half of the game has been completed from a plot perspective.  Additionally, an original side plot and scripting for the Balloon were worked upon prior to April.

Ultima: Resurrection

This Tabletop RPG from the early 2000s was inspired by Ultima Online mechanics and set after in the era after the Ascension of the Avatar.  The materials to play and gamemaster this ruleset have been reposted online in a concise website in 2017.  The ruleset also received some tweaks and updates from its original incarnation.  A forum for discussion was also added, but has not received much attention.

Classic Ultima Online

After a release of a standalone server and client at the end of 2016, CUO saw various bug fixes throughout 2017. At the end of the year, the project was fully released as open source and various videos were released detailing the differences to be found in CUO, the first of which can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lLlufPJOO4.

Ultima-Themed Paper Dolls

Cakeforge released images of his work crafting paper dolls of the Avatar and Dupre including separate pieces of armor and weapons.  A template to create your own Dupre paper doll was also released.

Underworld Exporter

This project by Hank Morgan to convert Ultima Underworld 1 and 2 as well as system shock 1 levels into Unity saw continued development this year.  This project, which streamlines the remake process was already well on its way to provide a complete Ultima Underworld 1 remake in Unity at the beginning of the year.  Version 1.02 was released at the beginning of September with UUW1 fully supported, UUW2 only partially supported and still somewhat incomplete in many respects.  It has since then gone through several additional releases adding more features and a more complete playing experience.

uUltima

The UUltima project is a unity project to perform a one-to-one conversion of Ultima 1 into Unity. This project started in March of 2017 and the latest update was late April.  Player character generation and an event log were completed along with work on UI, keyboard interaction, and player status/attribute systems.

VisElEchNon’s Composite Map of Britannia

VisElEchNon released a series of Britannia maps made as a composite of Ultimas 4, 5, and 6.  Each map represents a different presentation of the composite map:  Terrain Only and versions with Runic or English fonts on the map in both PNG and JPG and a variety of resolutions.

There was a lot of good development this past year both in variety, depth, and breadth.  There were so many projects in fact, that the inspired by works had to be separated into a second post, which will hopefully be released by next week.

___________________________

First Age of Update

Thank you Shattered Moon for the Classic Ultima Online Update.

Revenge of the Update

Links to project pages were added to the entries.

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Spam Spam Spam Humbug 98 – It’s Good That Nobody Else Owns EA http://ultimacodex.com/2018/02/spam-spam-spam-humbug-98-its-good-that-nobody-else-owns-ea/ http://ultimacodex.com/2018/02/spam-spam-spam-humbug-98-its-good-that-nobody-else-owns-ea/#respond Fri, 16 Feb 2018 18:27:32 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=62875
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Co-Producers

This episode of Spam Spam Spam Humbug is brought to you by our Patreon backers; thank you to everyone who supports Spam Spam Spam Humbug and the Ultima Codex by that means. And, as always, a hearty thank you to our Patreon co-producers: Seth, Dominik, Chris, Violation, Adam, Erik, Thorwan, Pascal, Helgraf, Aaron, the Hearth of Britannia, Edward, Stirring Dragon, Cranberry, Slegnor, and Bruce.

New Patrons & Shout-Outs

We’d like to give a shout-out to Dennis, who wrote in thusly:

I just wanted to say how much I’ve enjoyed the Spam Spam Spam Humbug podcast. I caught up with all the episodes over the last few months and they are great! Keep it up!

I grew up playing the Ultimas with my older brother. Such good memories. I’m replaying Ultima 7 now, and plan to replay 6 soon after.

Thanks a bunch for your email, Dennis; we appreciate hearing from people. Indeed, sometimes it’s just the shot in the arm we need to keep the podcast going!

Podcast Topic(s)

A few weeks ago, some rumours started circulating that Microsoft was looking at the possibility of buying up Electronic Arts. Or possibly the developers of Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG). Or, perhaps, Valve. Some of these possibilities make a degree of sense; buying Valve would give Microsoft an ironclad hold on PC gaming, as well as access to a stable of IPs that would make for quite compelling platform exclusives for the Xbox (which said platform sorely needs).

And while some might salivate at the idea of EA being itself acquired — and, presumably, dissolved as a label — those of us involved in the Ultima fan project community should really take pause before entertaining (or wishing for) that particular fever dream to come true. Because whatever other criticisms can be directed at EA, one thing we cannot despise them for is the very laid back approach they’ve taken to the fan project community.

And, sure…Microsoft is very open to the idea of mods (see: Minecraft). But there’s more to the Ultima fan project scene than just mods; there are fan-made patches, and even projects like Exult and Nuvie (which could be considered re-engineering of extant, licensed game engines). Would Microsoft be as laid back about these sorts of things? Some publishers certainly wouldn’t be (e.g. Disney or Square Enix).

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Music

Ultima VI Gates of Creation by OC ReMix

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Shroud of the Avatar – Update of the Avatar #266 http://ultimacodex.com/2018/02/shroud-of-the-avatar-update-of-the-avatar-266/ http://ultimacodex.com/2018/02/shroud-of-the-avatar-update-of-the-avatar-266/#respond Mon, 12 Feb 2018 15:10:37 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=62866 Greetings Friends! Here’s what we have for you in this week’s edition of Update of the Avatar:

Game Development

 


The Making of South Midmaer Way

South Midmaer Way used to be the location of a thriving city with lovely canals on the shore of a large lake in an otherwise arid region. The city grew rich on trade through the area as it sat astride the main road. The rulers of the city built tombs to themselves amongst the cliffs and hid their treasures in them, defended by traps of course! However the lake dried up and the town was abandoned. Now opportunistic Satyrs have set up a bazaar in the ruins and Plunderers raid the tombs.

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

Hey folks, I have a few screenshots to share of our updates to South Midmaer Way. The visuals are inspired by African grasslands like the Kalahari, as well as the ruins and rough terrain of the Valley of The Kings. A Satyr bazaar lies at the heart of the grasslands, nestled within the canals of an ancient city. In the mountainous ravines, plunderers and Satyrs alike are raiding the tombs of ancient kings which are scattered throughout the map.

Satyr Bazaar

The Grasslands

The Plunderers’ Airship

The Tomb of the Child King

Chris Wolf
Level Designer


The Making of South Fetid Swamp

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

Hey guys, SorcerousSteve here to give you the latest on my newest map: South Fetid Swamp!

Located on the western end of Verdantis it is the site of an ancient siege now littered with pungent skeletons, battered siege machines, and moss covered encampments. Methane is known to come out of the bog from time to time and produce small fires on the surface of the water.

The Ancient Siege of Castle Irvine

After a prolonged siege the attacking forces, consisting of elves, assaulted the South side of the castle. Waves of boats crossed the swamp but upon landing on shore they were met with unrelenting arrow fire. Few managed to get ashore and those that did then had to scale the mud cliffs. The slippery damp mud made utilizing ladders and ropes difficult. Casualties mounted but a brave few managed to break inside the castle courtyard…

A mysterious mudhouse dwelling deep within the fetid swamp.

Many of the swamp locals like to keep to themselves in this neck of the woods.

Inside of the mysterious mudhouse dwelling.

Looking down the heavily forested swamp littered with cypress knees, fish can be seen through the green water.

Stay tuned for another update on South Fetid Swamp!


New Bears to Roam New Britannia

The bears, like many assets purchased early in development for SotA, have been in need of a major update. This is something I know I am excited for. I am just hoping the textures models look amazing once the final versions are put together. The bears below look very flat, texture wise, but I hope they look far better in game.

[From a Dev+ Forum Post by Starr “Darkstarr” Long]

We originally purchased our bears from the Unity Asset store to save time and money, but they were not visually competitive. To address this shortcoming Kevin @UglyFist Wells completely rebuilt the bears for Release 51 including all the variations, the bear headdresses, bear mask, and the bear clan barbarians. 

Brown Bear:

Grizzly Bear

Polar Bear:

Patriarch Bear:

Obsidian Bear:


Vendor Variations & Improvements

[From a Dev+ Forum Post by Starr “Darkstarr” Long]

In Release 51 we will begin improving Player Vendors through a series of technical and visual improvements. The first thing we will try to improve is visual variation. Long term we plan to support customization of vendors via equipment choice but for now we are focusing on providing that visual variation through our pattern system.

These patterns will include a female version of the current vendor, a completely new outfit based on Victorian shopkeeper uniforms (with gender and skin tone variations), and a cash register that will act as a fully functioning player vendor (even though it does not appear as an NPC).

We are also moving player vendors to actual NPCs with AI behaviors (vs just being interfaces) so that they can animate, sit down, etc. (instead of being statues that are just interfaces). This will allow us to do things like have vendors who don’t have inventory or haven’t had any sales in a long time sit down as an example. This is part of a much larger (and VERY cool) tech task where npcs on lots and towns can now act independently of their owner. This is going to allow us to finally have pets move and behave when the owners isn’t around instead of just being statues.

Finally we are also adding a new date column to the vendor UI so you can sort by the latest item added. This is just the first of many interface improvements that will be coming. Later we plan to do some major improvements to permissions and controls in vendors.

As part of all this we will be posting here some shots of these visual improvements as they are completed.

Merchant Cash Register & Pattern: This is a simple in-game commision charging version and will be available for purchase in-game in the same locations you can purchase in-game vendors now. You can also purchase the pattern to apply to any existing vendor (commision or commision free).

Ornate Cash Register & Pattern: This is an ornate commision charging version and will be available for purchase in the Add On Store. You can also purchase the pattern to apply to any existing vendor (commision or commision free).

Bundle Cash Register Pattern: This is a pattern that comes with bundles. Note that pledges that came with vendors will also receive one of these patterns. 


The Making of The Lost Vale (continued…)

“The Lost Vale” is a new adventure area (originally promised during the Kickstarter campaign) that is accessible only during special astronomical alignments. Note this is not to be confused with the Hidden Vale which is an entire island of both adventuring areas and towns that is accessible at all times.

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


Heraldry Items (cont.)

This week devs iterated further on the armor to ensure that the Founder versions were visually distinct and the Founder Cloth Heraldry Armor is making it’s first appearance.

[From a Dev+ Forum Post by Starr “Darkstarr” Long]

UPDATE Feb 8: Founder heraldry items will have unique visuals including collars on the tabards, longer bottom cloth sections with angled designs, shinier cloth, thicker/more detailed edging, and other details. We have updated the pictures in the post and the Sketchfab links with these updated visuals as well as adding the latest version of the Founder Cloth Armor.

Founder Cloth Heraldry Armor

Founder Leather Heraldry Armor

Founder Plate Heraldry Armor 

Founder Chain Heraldry Armor 


R50 Postmortem Telethon YouTube Video & Missed Questions

YouTube: Devs got the video of the Postmortem posted to YouTube for those of us who missed it. (Not surprising the first few minutes were cut off due to “technical difficulties”).

Missed Questions: Devs had pages of questions left unanswered after the R50 Postmortem! They were able to get to those questions and posted them to the forums Thursday.

[From a Forum Post by Starr “Darkstarr” Long]

Here are the questions that we did not have time to get to during the R50 Postmortem. I tried my best to answer these (with help from the rest of the team) but some we just don’t have details yet to provide. I probably won’t have time to do any follow ups to these. The community did a great job assisting us this telethon to make sure we didn’t miss a single question.

Please note I deleted a bunch of duplicated questions and also deleted any questions that we answered with the Q1 post or with the release of R50 or that we answered in previous postmortems. Also note that we are generally going to stop answering questions about “when?” as those are answered by our quarterly schedule posts and any other answers are going to be either “No ETA” or “soon” or “will update with the next quarterly post”.

A final thought: we see a LOT of repeat questions and requests. Please consider reading one of the other missed question posts, watching one of the previous post mortems, reading one of the post mortem transcripts, and/or reading our Post Episode 1 plan post before posting a question. Your question might have already been answered.

Elgarion: Can you please explain how looting/pickpocketing players works now? Especially in regards to a large stack of items–let’s say the person has a single piece of ore next to a stack of 500 ore in their inventory.
Atos: Choosing ransomed items now only includes the first item of a type in its list of choices. So having 200 unstacked worms only counts once. We didn’t get in the stack splitting but it does favor medium size stacks of stuff over giant ones. It can still pick a giant one but just less likely. I don’t think we are going to reveal the exact math but feel free to go experiment with a friend and see what you think!

Uncle Sven: What other reflex / twitch combat features do you intend to implement?
Atos: I plan on continuing to add more 2-3 second window situational or response skills BUT as with past skills, I try to make this optional. While I like to reward people who do like that aspect I don’t want to make it so powerful that it is required to be competitive. I have hooks for checking time since you criticaled hit or were critically hit, since you block/parry/dodge or were block/parry/dodged, and plan to more options of that sort over time. For the most part between now and launch my focus will be on Masteries (now calling them proficiencies), a small number of new skills, combos, and balance.

Xee: Can we have the ability to place things on castle walls and in the castle wall towers?
Starr: We have done some experiments with this but there are some serious visual issues. The main issue is that walls and fences have very “soft” collision to make them easier to place partially inside of each other to make perimeter fencing easier. Unfortunately this means items placed “on” them will appear partially “inside” the walls/fences. We don’t have an easy way to fix this without creating two separate collision layers which would be performance expensive. With that said we do want to make this happen eventually.

Mia Sway: after geming weapons and getting “on hit” then geming ring and necklace to do more damage, Does adding that gem to your chest add anything ? if not should it ?
Starr: Yes there are lots of gem enchantments tied to the chestpiece.
BCotton: Armor procs are unique to chest armor and require them to be gemmed. Chest armor has enchantments just like all other slots.

Seferfantasy: Will the taming system be adjusted anytime soon?
Atos: My belief is the concerns with the taming system are largely caused by people comparing it to the UO system and the power it gave. The difference is in UO, you had to give up a LOT of other skills to be a master tamer. In games like WoW or EQ, the classes are designed around whether they have a pet or not so they can make the pet more powerful. In SOTA, we let you learn any and all skills so if we made pets powerful, they would be essentially mandatory for play and players wouldn’t have to give up anything for them. We tried to balance this through focus costs and consumables but still didn’t get to a point where old tamers were happy. I will be introducing a new proficiency system (I was calling it masteries) and it will finally bring choice and also more power to tamers. It will go live in R51.

Alley Oop: what’s the demonym for residents of the hidden vale?
Starr: Good question. Hidden Valley Ranchers?

[Read More…]

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Release the Kraken – Shroud of the Avatar | MMORPG.com http://ultimacodex.com/2018/02/release-the-kraken-shroud-of-the-avatar-mmorpg-com/ http://ultimacodex.com/2018/02/release-the-kraken-shroud-of-the-avatar-mmorpg-com/#respond Fri, 09 Feb 2018 19:11:40 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=62856

The data has…shown additional rough spots in the single-player balancing in the game, that is also being addressed.

I won’t mention the specific scene since there could be some spoilers, but it’s one that in multiplayer needs friends to defeat.  In single-player, the deaths were through the roof and it’s blocking some players from completing the story.  Thanks to player feedback supported by data, that scene will be redesigned to be hard, but actually possible, while offline.

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My life as the grandma guildmaster of Ultima Online Forever | PC Gamer http://ultimacodex.com/2018/02/my-life-as-the-grandma-guildmaster-of-ultima-online-forever-pc-gamer/ http://ultimacodex.com/2018/02/my-life-as-the-grandma-guildmaster-of-ultima-online-forever-pc-gamer/#respond Fri, 09 Feb 2018 18:46:29 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=62854

In movies and cartoons, MMO guild masters, or GMs, are often depicted as a 30-year-old man with a neckbeard living in his mother’s basement, living off Mountain Dew and Doritos. They’re generally goofy and fit the outdated stereotype of a nerd—yelling at their computer screens, surrounded by two or three monitors and thousands of dollars of gaming equipment. I’m none of those things, but for the last five years I’ve run a 100-plus member guild in Ultima Online, an MMO I’ve now been playing for nearly two decades.

I’m a 50-year-old grandmother of five and an award-winning journalist with a respectable job at a local newspaper. My days are spent writing stories about the town I live in, telling people what their local government is up to or who was arrested the night before. My PC is nine years old and runs Windows Vista in the corner of my living room. Nothing about me says “gamer,” but every night I sit at my computer, boot up the classic version of Ultima Online, and my second job begins.

(Hat tip: Infinitron Dragon)

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The Dark Unknown: Schedules, Bug Fixes, and (Maybe) a Wiki http://ultimacodex.com/2018/02/the-dark-unknown-schedules-bug-fixes-and-maybe-a-wiki/ http://ultimacodex.com/2018/02/the-dark-unknown-schedules-bug-fixes-and-maybe-a-wiki/#respond Thu, 08 Feb 2018 18:27:51 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=62851 Goldenflame Dragon has been squashing bugs and implementing still yet more NPC schedules in The Dark Unknown recently. And he also made a discovery about his Web host:

Two more schedules, and fixed a bug with the map editor (a piece of functionality I hadn’t noticed I broke when I updated the rendering routine).

Also discovered that my hosting service lets me set up a wiki, so I will have that to play with for a bit. Also, it’ll let me set up a forum at some point down the road.

As always, you can – and should! – follow The Dark Unknown on Facebook for all the latest development updates.

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Spam Spam Spam Humbug 97 – Not Looking for Group & Shroud of the Avatar’s Launch Date http://ultimacodex.com/2018/02/spam-spam-spam-humbug-97-not-looking-for-group-shroud-of-the-avatars-launch-date/ http://ultimacodex.com/2018/02/spam-spam-spam-humbug-97-not-looking-for-group-shroud-of-the-avatars-launch-date/#respond Tue, 06 Feb 2018 19:14:00 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=62837
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Co-Producers

This episode of Spam Spam Spam Humbug is brought to you by our Patreon backers; thank you to everyone who supports Spam Spam Spam Humbug and the Ultima Codex by that means. And, as always, a hearty thank you to our Patreon co-producers: Seth, Dominik, Chris, Violation, Adam, Erik, Thorwan, Pascal, Helgraf, Aaron, the Hearth of Britannia, Edward, Stirring Dragon, Cranberry, Slegnor, Bruce and Christopher.

New Patrons & Shout-Outs

New this week, we welcome Christopher as a patron of the podcast; he just began supporting us on Patreon, which is now one of two different ways that you can help support the podcast and the Ultima Codex. Many thanks to Christopher!

Podcast Topic(s)

What begins as a discussion about Shroud of the Avatar and its projected March 2018 launch date turns, after a while, into a discussion of the game’s technical merits, and then broadens out into a discussion about how many MMORPGs feel more like single-player games with a bunch of people cluttering the map. Some in the discussion feel that quests and narrative elements have hurt the MMO genre more than they have benefitted them; they ostensibly destroy creativity and promote a play style in which players become drones who consume quests and new items, but who don’t know what else to do once they are done with them.

Others feel that quests aren’t actually bad for MMOs; it’s making them single-player experiences that breaks the group experience which should be central to an MMORPG. Having quests helps introduce new players to the game universe by dispensing lore and guiding early character progression. But the argument could be made that, at some point, player progression should be capped until that player belongs to a group.

Oh, and apparently the discussion also shifts to the recent trailer and screenshots that were released for Underworld Ascendant.

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Music

Ultima VI Gates of Creation by OC ReMix

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The CRPG Book Has Been Released http://ultimacodex.com/2018/02/the-crpg-book-has-been-released/ http://ultimacodex.com/2018/02/the-crpg-book-has-been-released/#respond Tue, 06 Feb 2018 18:17:49 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=62831 Making good on his promise of late last week, Felipe Pepe did in fact release — for free digital download — The CRPG Book yesterday:

Four years ago I began a journey.

On Feb 5 2014 I posted the results of the RPG Codex’s Top 70 poll, in which we elected the best CRPGs of all time. But I felt that a simple list was too dry… more than the ranking, I was interested in WHY these games were good. From there came the idea of asking people to write a short paragraph talking about each title.

This became a updated version of the Codex’s Top 70, now with screenshots and brief descriptions of each game. That’s my favorite piece of content I ever made, but I still wanted more – more games, more screenshots, longer reviews, tips on mods, fan-made patches, etc. So I made a list of all the RPGs I wanted to cover and began recruiting volunteers for the “CRPG Book Project”.

Having done the Top 70 list in 3 months, I thought I could do 300 games in about 10 months or so. Ha, it took me four years… but it is done!

Dear reader, I present you the full release of the CRPG BOOK PROJECT!

Above all, this book is a passion project. Free, non-commercial, created by people who wanted to share their hobby and help others have fun. I’m very proud of what we achieved, and I would like to thank everyone who helped me on this journey.

Of course, the question now becomes how — if at all — to proceed from this point:

1) Physical Edition – This is the question I’m asked the most: “Will there be a physical edition?”. I would love to have one, but it’s something very complicated to produce – especially for a 528-page color book! Most on-demand printing services won’t do something this big, and even if I cut the book down to CreateSpace’s 480-page limit, it would be a VERY expensive book, costing over $60!

Crowdfunding is another alternative, but I’m a Brazilian immigrant living in Japan on a temporary visa – the legal procedures & taxes involved are kinda uncharted territory. There are book-oriented crowdfunding services like Unbound, but you’ll notice that even veterans like Hardcore Gaming 101 and Guru Larry are having difficulty reaching their goals. I’m looking for alternatives, so if you have any ideas please message me.

2) Proofreading – The book hasn’t been proofread. It’s something I want to do (and get a lot of messages about it), especially since many reviewers (myself included) aren’t native english speakers, but it’s not easy – the book has over 310,000 words, which is about 2/3 of the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy! Since we have no money and it’s something I can’t do myself, we depend on the work of volunteers.

3) Extra content – There’s still about 10 minor RPGs I want to add to the book in the future, but couldn’t do it yet for one reason or another. E.g., I wanted a SpellForce series review, but couldn’t find any volunteers and my computer can’t run SpellForce 3.

There’s also a few extra articles I would like to include, such as a timeline on MMORPGs & MUDs and short introductions to old home computers, such as the C64, Amiga, ZX Spectrum, TRS-80, etc, which I’m guessing many readers never saw and know little about. I had a draftfor the latter, but unfortunately couldn’t find enough teach-savvy volunteers to write them.

I, for one, would love to see him figure out a way to offer this as a hardcover book; if anyone knows of any printers who can handle a tome of over 500 pages, please do get in contact with Felipe!

Still, this represents the completion of a monumental undertaking. Congratulations to Felipe for completing this book at long last, and for all his hard work in reaching out to reviewers, developers, and others, and then compiling their submissions and comments into a single place.

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Shroud of the Avatar – Update of the Avatar #265 http://ultimacodex.com/2018/02/shroud-of-the-avatar-update-of-the-avatar-265/ http://ultimacodex.com/2018/02/shroud-of-the-avatar-update-of-the-avatar-265/#respond Mon, 05 Feb 2018 13:14:17 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=62825 Greetings Friends! Not much this week, but I am excited that the devs finally started to highlight the Heraldry items.  As a former member of the community organization that helped design and create player coat of arms as well as help make some of the graphic files that helped players come up with ideas, this makes me happy to know the heraldric items will still be in the game.  Let’s jump right into it, with what we have for you in this week’s edition of Update of the Avatar:


The Making of The Lost Vale

“The Lost Vale” is a new adventure area (originally promised during the Kickstarter campaign) that is accessible only during special astronomical alignments. Note this is not to be confused with the Hidden Vale which is an entire island of both adventuring areas and towns that is accessible at all times.

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

Lost Vale


Heraldry Items Revealed

[From a Dev+ Forum Post by Starr “Darkstarr” Long]

In Release 51 we have begun the work to get Heraldry (aka Custom Family Crest) working in the game. Stay tuned for more information about how you will be able to connect your personal Heraldry Blazon to your account. As part of that we are building the items that the heraldry blazons will appear on including Tabard Armor (Cloth, Chain, Leather, Plate), Shields, and Banners. Each week we will be showing off the latest items we have created for Heraldry. Note that where you see the Lord British silver serpent on these items is where your blazon would appear, if no blazon is selected this would appear blank.

Each item will come as a fully usable item with an eternal pattern embedded inside that can be salvaged to be applied to other items. The eternal pattern is what is linked to the heraldry blazon and what determines what blazon is displayed. 

Heraldry Tabard Leather Armor

 

Heraldry Tabard Plate Armor 

Heraldry Tabard Chain Armor 

 

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Underworld Ascendant: Video provides new insights into roleplaying http://ultimacodex.com/2018/01/underworld-ascendant-video-provides-new-insights-into-roleplaying/ http://ultimacodex.com/2018/01/underworld-ascendant-video-provides-new-insights-into-roleplaying/#respond Wed, 31 Jan 2018 20:58:19 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=62818

For “Underworld Ascendant” more videos were released today. This is a clip that is available in two versions of different lengths. The footage is based on a behind-the-scenes presentation at PAX South, where Paul Neurath (“Ultima Underworld”, “Thief”) talked about the inspiration that helped create the story of “Underworld Ascendant”. The video also shows game material and provides insights into the tradition of the studio.

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SXSW: Exploring ‘Underworld Ascendant’ with PC Gamer http://ultimacodex.com/2018/01/sxsw-exploring-underworld-ascendant-with-pc-gamer/ http://ultimacodex.com/2018/01/sxsw-exploring-underworld-ascendant-with-pc-gamer/#respond Wed, 31 Jan 2018 19:02:06 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=62817

OtherSide Entertainment’s Paul Neurath and Warren Spector join PC Gamer to discuss the upcoming release of Underworld Ascendant. Known for their critically acclaimed work on Ultima Underworld, System Shock and Deus Ex and their contributions to the founding of the ‘immersive sim’ genre of games, Paul and Warren will take the audience through a journey of the world of the new Stygian Abyss to showcase one of the most anticipated PC titles of 2018.

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The CRPG Book: Release Date Announced http://ultimacodex.com/2018/01/the-crpg-book-release-date-announced/ http://ultimacodex.com/2018/01/the-crpg-book-release-date-announced/#respond Wed, 31 Jan 2018 16:01:59 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=62814 Those of you who’ve been following The CRPG Book for a while now will no doubt have already heard — and been excited by — this news:

2017 was a busy year for me, but had a great pay off. I spent months job hunting and finally landed a job, and also managed to learn enough moonrunes to pass JLPT N3.

Also, I finished the CRPG Book! I already have the drafts of the two final reviews, I’m just waiting for them while double-checking everything else. The book will arrive in all its glory on February 5 – the 4th anniversary of the project! Stay tuned

Here’s hoping for a well-made print edition; this would be a good coffee table book for any Ultima fan’s home.

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Anyone Want to Join an Ultima-Themed Tabletop RPG? http://ultimacodex.com/2018/01/anyone-want-to-join-an-ultima-themed-tabletop-rpg/ http://ultimacodex.com/2018/01/anyone-want-to-join-an-ultima-themed-tabletop-rpg/#comments Mon, 29 Jan 2018 21:07:08 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=62801 If you’re unfamiliar with ChicagoWiz, he’s the developer of Siege Perilous, a tabletop RPG framework set in the Ultima universe. And recently, he’s been hosting what he’s calling the Sosaria Campaign, a series of tabletop gaming sessions using this framework.

And here’s the best part: there’s room for a few more players. As the footnote to the most recent article in the series notes:

I do have openings for three more players! We play on Roll20 (using Discord for audio) every Tuesday evenings from 7:00pm to 8:30pm (Central). The players said they like the short game length and are enjoying a different sort of experience — playing as “real people” waking up in a Strange Land — think of the D&D Cartoon or the “Guardians of the Flame” book series, for example.

So if you’ve got an opening in your schedule, and want to get into a tabletop game with an Ultima flavour, consider getting in touch with ChicagoWiz.

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Shroud of the Avatar – Update of the Avatar #264 http://ultimacodex.com/2018/01/shroud-of-the-avatar-update-of-the-avatar-264/ http://ultimacodex.com/2018/01/shroud-of-the-avatar-update-of-the-avatar-264/#respond Mon, 29 Jan 2018 19:21:37 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=62808 Greetings Friends! Here’s what we have for you in this week’s edition of Update of the Avatar:

 


Play Release 50 Now!

Release 50 launched January 2, with backers downloading, patching, and logging in to check out the changes! There’s lots of new content to explore, including:

  • Framerate Improvements
  • Story Polish
  • More Side Quests
  • Starter Scene Polish
  • Scene Rebuilds: Yew, Sunless Barrens, South Drachvald Spur
  • Refining Skills
  • New Recipes & Patterns
  • More Virtue Armor
  • UI Polish (Item Locking, Target Highlighting)
  • Combat Balance (Ransom Polish, Torch Weapon)
  • Wild Boars & New Wolves
  • New Female Peasants
  • New Houses (Watermill, Log Cabin, Hollow Log Home)
  • New Decorations (Viking Crafting Pavillion, Obsidian Obelisk)
  • R48 Telethon Items
  • R49 QA Testing Incentive Winners


…and much more

Check out the Release 50 Instructions update for detailed information about all the new content.

 

Release 50 Player Instructions

Release 50 Known Issues

 


Release 50 Postmortem Telethon

 

The R50 Postmortem Telethon is coming up fast on February 2 from 3-7pm CT!

LIVESTREAM SCHEDULE (Central Time Zone)

Telethons are livestreamed on Twitch and include answers to your gameplay questions, world building tours, prize giveaways, sales on items, and more! Here is the schedule:

  • 3PM: Introductions and Postmortem Q&A
  • 3:45PM: Deep Dive 1: Combat
  • 4:30PM: World Building Tour: Quests & Puzzles!
  • 5:30PM: Deep Dive 2: Crafting & Economy
  • 6:15PM: Postmortem Q&A Continues
  • 7PM: Ending Announcements

Schedule is subject to change. Check back here before the livestream begins!

EXPIRING ITEMS:

STRETCH GOALS (Mardi Gras / Carnival Theme!)

As a special bonus, devs are yet again offering vanity item rewards to any backer that pledges a minimum of $5 for twelve hours during the day of the telethon, on February 2 from 12:00 PM to 11:59 PM CT (Spending Store Credit to make $5 minimum purchase does not apply) .

For this telethon they are having a Mardi Gras / Carnival theme since Mardi Gras is happening on February 13! Each item represents something related to either Mardi Gras in New Orleans (Flambeaux, Jester, Garlands) or Carnival in Rio (Feather Outfit, /samba). 

NOTE: While the livestream ends at 7pm CT, everyone will have until 11:59 PM CT to spend $5 to get the stretch goals. We will announce the final total on the following day.

  • $10K: /samba
  • $25K: Mardi Gras Garlands
  • $35K: Flambeaux (equippable 2 handed open flame gas lamp)
  • $50K: Mardi Gras Mask Fountain
  • $65K: Feather Outfit including Feather Back and Head Piece (like Rio Carnival)
  • $80K: Mardi Gras Jester Outfit

*Please keep in mind that stretch goal rewards take time to develop and will most likely not be available in-game at Release 52 at the earliest.

 


Shroud of the Avatar Launch Event

Post from Lord British and Darkstarr:

Greetings Avatars,

In video games it is traditional to have a launch event. These events generally come in two flavors. They are either a party in which the development team has an opportunity to celebrate their achievement, or it is a press event meant to create enthusiasm with journalists and influencers. On rare occasions it is a mix of the two. On even rarer occasions these events are made open to the fans. Twenty years ago we did that very thing with the launch of Ultima Online and had a party with the fans at a nightclub called Paradox here in Austin, TX.

We are happy to say that we are going to do the very same thing with Shroud of the Avatar! The launch event includes our team, press, AND the game’s loyal backers, who are cordially invited as guests to the event. We feel very strongly that community is what this game is all about, so we want you to join us! The event is being made possible by our partner, Travian Games, who is co-sponsoring and will be in attendance.


The event is going to be one spectacular and historic celebration (literally). It will take place at the Bullock Texas History Museum in the Pong to Pokemon video game history exhibit that Richard Garriott and Starr Long helped design and contributed artifacts to show. Shooter Jennings will also be in attendance and playing a short concert.

Space is limited! In order to attend you must be a backer (game access purchase or higher) and in good standing with the community. We are only able to accommodate one person per registration. We can only accept the first 100 confirmed backers due to event space. We will inform the community when registration is closed.

Event Details

Where: The Bullock Texas State History Museum

When: March 14, 2018 6:30 – 10:30 PM

What:

  • BBQ Buffet Dinner
  • Cash Bar (Admission comes with 2 drink tickets, attendees must be age 21 or older)
  • Shooter Jennings Concert
  • Mix & Mingle with the Developers

Attending:

  • Backer (Game Access Purchase or Higher Required)
  • First Come, First Served (100 person limit)
  • Good Standing (Approval Required)
  • Travel & Accommodations NOT provided
  • Dress: Dressy Casual to Black Tie (No Shorts, T-shirts, Athletic Wear)
  • Consent to Photography: By attending the event you consent to photos and videos of you being taken and shared for promotional purposes.
  • Aged 21 or older

Fill out this form to submit your request to attend

We look forward to seeing you at the event! If you are unable to attend, fret not! There are going to be several in-game celebrations planned as well (details on those as soon as they are finalized).

Sincerely,

Lord British & Darkstarr


R50 & R51: Skill Unlearning 100% Return

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

For R50 and R51, all skill unlearning will return 100% of the experience that was spent on them. We made this change because of the major changes to combat math, ransom, and movement speed that some players might feel invalidate skills they invested in.

As a reminder here are those changes from the R50 Instructions:

  • New Combat Math: We have made major changes to how combat math is calculated. We have done away with the old 0-100 system and replaced it with a weighted scale system. The vast majority of players will not notice any difference but high end players will likely notice that some of their tricks to completely avoid being hit will no longer work. Additionally, the attack roll is now split into multiple rolls which makes it possible to have a combination of things happen. For instance, it is now possible to parry a critical hit or get a glancing blow that you also block with your shield.

  • Ransom Changes: We have made several changes and improvements to how ransoming items works that are gained in PVP (either through combat or pickpocketing).

    • Notification: You now get an onscreen notification that you have lost an item through PVP or pickpocketing. There is an intentional 5 minute delay before a ransom icon appears after being pickpocketed. As in life, you don’t often notice theft until it’s too late.
    • Duration Increase: The time to pay the ransom has increased from 2 hours to 24 hours, to give players plenty of time to gain their items back.
    • Valuation: Crafted items and artifacts are now worth much more when ransomed.
    • Item Selection: The way items are randomly selected for ransom has changed so that we only consider each item type once, so many small stacks of an item type only count as a single chance during the selection process (i.e. those of you that have been using many different stacks of items as “defense” are out of luck).
  • Max Movement Speed Check: Effects that modify movement speed can only allow stack to a maximum of two. Additionally, their effects add together instead of multiplying each other as they did previously. This should fix the issue where stacking various buffs and artifacts with movement effects would produce insane movement rates.

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The Ultima 7 German Translation: Bugfix Testers Needed http://ultimacodex.com/2018/01/the-ultima-7-german-translation-bugfix-testers-needed/ http://ultimacodex.com/2018/01/the-ultima-7-german-translation-bugfix-testers-needed/#respond Mon, 29 Jan 2018 15:44:44 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=62800 Sir John has posted a call for volunteers on his website:

einigen Rückmeldungen zufolge, hat sich bei dem Versuch auch das letzte Wörtchen Englisch aus dem Spiel zu verbannen ein Fehler eingeschlichen, der dazu führt, das die „neuen“ Inhalte nur teilweise oder gar nicht verfügbar sind.
Ich habe dafür hoffentlich eine Lösung gefunden, brauche aber Euch als Helfer und Tester, um diese zu verifizieren.

Wenn Ihr eh gerade vorhattet, das Spiel zu installieren, meldet Euch doch bitte mit einer gültigen Email-Adresse in den Kommentaren: ich kontaktiere Euch dann.

For those of you who don’t speak German, the basic gist of the message here is: there’s a bug in the German translation patch that Sir John has created for Ultima 7: The Black Gate, which breaks the patch and renders some (or perhaps all) of the new content therein unavailable. Sir John has worked out a solution, and he needs a few people who are willing to test it.

So…if you would be willing to do just that, get in touch with Sir John; his website does have comments forms, which I gather he keeps an eye on.

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Are You a Twitch User? Join the Ultima Dragons Community There! http://ultimacodex.com/2018/01/are-you-a-twitch-user-join-the-ultima-dragons-community-there/ http://ultimacodex.com/2018/01/are-you-a-twitch-user-join-the-ultima-dragons-community-there/#respond Fri, 26 Jan 2018 20:09:03 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=62797 Christopher Mallery (Zoggins Dragon) observed that several Ultima Dragons have begun streaming their gaming sessions on Twitch, and responded accordingly:

So it seems that many of us have started to stream (Ultima or other), so I created a Twitch Community so we can be easily found!

So if you happen to be active on Twitch, consider joining the new Ultima Dragons community, and stream your content thereto!

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Underworld Ascendant: PAX 2018 Video and New Screenshots http://ultimacodex.com/2018/01/underworld-ascendant-pax-2018-video-and-new-screenshots/ http://ultimacodex.com/2018/01/underworld-ascendant-pax-2018-video-and-new-screenshots/#respond Thu, 25 Jan 2018 19:35:11 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=62790 Otherside Entertainment have kicked off 2018 with a strong showing for Underworld Ascendant at PAX South:

Last weekend, OtherSide’s Joe Fielder, Paul Neurath, and Walter Somol flew to San Antonio to demo the latest build of Underworld Ascendant behind closed doors for press and influencers.

The crew had a fantastic time showing off the game, with a demo that concentrated on a few areas that we feel make Underworld Ascendant really special: the immersive sim ecology and the many options the player has for combat skill, stealth abilities, powerful magic spells, and a rich, interactive environment. (Fans of Looking Glass’ games smiled when they saw elements like The Silver Sapling and Soaker Arrows in action.)

Rather than provide a tightly-scripted demo, Joe showed off the game’s improvisational nature, taking audiences through a few high points, then letting them decide how to finish up a quest. Did they want to sneak past the remaining enemies? Use magic to set foes against each other? Or combine game systems to weaponize seemingly innocent crates using a non-offensive spell and fire?

They also released a new video showing off the current state of the game:

And as if that weren’t enough — because the video does offer a few tantalizing glimpses of the Stygian Abyss — they have also released a number of screenshots. One of these can be seen above; you’d be well advised to click on through to their news post about all of this for more.

Oh, and there’s also this concept piece showing off what the ghost of Sir Cabirus will look like in the game:

All in all, Underworld Ascendant appears to be shaping up nicely. Here’s hoping that it will enjoy a successful release some time later this year!

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