The Ultima Codex http://ultimacodex.com The Ultima Fan Network Mon, 25 May 2015 15:30:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Wallpaper for the Week (Views of Britannia: Desert Dungeon) http://ultimacodex.com/2015/05/wallpaper-for-the-week-views-of-britannia-desert-dungeon/ http://ultimacodex.com/2015/05/wallpaper-for-the-week-views-of-britannia-desert-dungeon/#comments Mon, 25 May 2015 14:35:06 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=29232 This image of a cave opening onto either a sandy beach or a section of desert works well, I think, as being representative of Ultima 7’s Desert Dungeon…which just happens to be near to the coast of Britannia, as well as in the Drylands.

Wallpaper for the Week (Views of Britannia: Desert Dungeon)

A rocky cave opening onto a sandy beach, or possibly a desert. It could easily be Ultima 7′s Desert Dungeon, no?

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Shroud of the Avatar – Update of the Avatar #126 http://ultimacodex.com/2015/05/shroud-of-the-avatar-update-of-the-avatar-126/ http://ultimacodex.com/2015/05/shroud-of-the-avatar-update-of-the-avatar-126/#comments Sun, 24 May 2015 21:23:20 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=29141 Happy Memorial Day Weekend and Greetings Fellow Avatars!

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

  • Abe’s Desert Biome Template Work In Progress
  • Play DND1 on the SotA Teletype
  • Release 18 Grand Tour Quest Reward: Bycocket Hat
  • Twin Spire Manor City Home Now Available to PoTs and LotM Pledges

Abe’s Desert Biome Template – WIP

Abe Robertson has been reworking the Player Owned Town Forest Template that Michael Hutchison built to terraform it into a desert biome template. For comparison, here’s the initial Forest Biome Template he started from:

SotA_PoT_Template_Forest_1

And here are a few work-in-progress images of the new Desert biome version, which will be available soon for selection in the Player Owned Town Submission form:

SotA_PoT_Template_Desert1

SotA_PoT_Template_Desert2

SotA_PoT_Template_Desert3


Play DND1 Winning Entry on the SotA Teletype

There is a new teletype device available as a deco item in the the Add-On Store. This is a special teletype, in that by activating it you will be able to play Richard Flemming’s winning DND1 game from Lord British’s Royal Challenge (see Update #78 for more details of the DND1 Contest).

SotA_Teletype

Here is a video of Richard Flemming’s winning entry from last year’s contest:


Release 18 Grand Tour Quest Reward: Bycocket Hat

Just as in some past releases, the team is including a Grand Tour Quest in R18 designed to guide you through all the new content. When you complete the R18 Grand Tour Quest you will be rewarded with a Bycocket Hat (commonly known as the Robin Hood hat). This reward can only be unlocked during Release 18 (did someone say rares?), so be sure to log in to R18 starting May 28 and talk to all the Tour Guides!

SotA_R18_GrandTourReward_BycocketHat


 

Twin Spire Manor City Home Now Available to PoTs and LotM Pledges

[From a forum post by Starr Long]

Greetings PoT Owners,

Earlier this year we began working on the PoT submission form which many of you have begun using. Winfield was helpful enough to create a first draft of the form and in it he noted that we simply listed “Add On Store Homes” in the descriptions of Towns without any further clarity. We quickly realized that this could be a issue because in the store different sized homes had different costs. It would lower the value of homes if you could select all town sized homes since they were more expensive than village or row sized homes.

So we decided to add clarity to the description and increase both the number and size of homes you could select as you moved up to a bigger PoT. In our pledges we have Row, Village, Town, and City lots so we just replicated those sizes in this plan and modified the descriptions on the website to reflect this change. We all reviewed the change and none of us caught the super obvious issue: we have NEVER had any city sized buildings in the add on store.

In fact we did not realize this was an issue until we were about to launch the PoT Submission Form last week. At that time we had to decide if we would revert to the original description or leave the newer description but strike through the word “City”. We chose the latter to maximize transparency. However we neglected to explain why we had to make this change. We should have taken the time to explain what happened and we apologize that we did not.

For now in order to fulfill our promise of city sized homes we are going to resurrect the original Lord of the Manor house and provide that as the City sized option you can pick from for your PoT. We will also be providing this house to all the Lords of the Manor as a bonus home since some preferred that layout to the current one.

We have also decided that because of our mishandling of this, as soon as we create more city sized homes, owners whose towns are Village sized or larger (which include city sized homes) will receive the new city sized homes as additions to their current selections instead of substitutions. This means, for example, that the owner of a Metropolis can earn up to 4 additional city sized homes (provided they do not select the original LotM home prior to the creation of new city sized homes). We do not yet have an estimate on when these new city sized homes will be available, but please note that these are the biggest and most complex structures to create, so it will be a while. Until that time, we ask your patience and understanding.

Starr Long
aka Darkstarr
Executive Producer

And so the team have informed us they have resurrected the original Lord of the Manor City Home (first revealed in Update #44) to make it available in the Player Owned Towns Submission form. They are also adding this house to all the Lord of the Manor pledge rewards (Royal Founder, Founder, and Benefactor), in addition to the Lord of the Manor house they already have. Even though this city house is listed as an Add-On Store House in the PoT descriptions and submission form, it will not be available for general sale in the Add-On Store. Below are a few images of that home.  Personally, I assume that there would be various homes of the village, city, and town sizes all in game using in game currency.  Personally I like not having too many things in the addon store.  I would rather make most items available through work in the game itself.  But adding it to the rewards is what the team have decided to do.  No big deal at all, just more side stuff that the team is working on.  I am just waiting on the chance for us to finally start to see and experience the story…

SotA_LOM_City_Home_front

SotA_LOM_City_Home_back

SotA_LOM_City_Home_3Row_overhead

SotA_LOM_interior1

 

 

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Underworld Ascendant: Regular Updates Moving Off of Kickstarter; Many Questions Answered http://ultimacodex.com/2015/05/underworld-ascendant-regular-updates-moving-off-of-kickstarter-many-questions-answered/ http://ultimacodex.com/2015/05/underworld-ascendant-regular-updates-moving-off-of-kickstarter-many-questions-answered/#comments Sat, 23 May 2015 04:23:51 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=28946 The latest update posted to the Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter page will also be the last regular update posted thereat:

Howdy folks! This week sees the launch of a new feature for these updates: Answers From the Abyss. This is where we will answer questions posed to us on the forums from backers and followers like yourself, hopefully shedding more light on our development process and satisfying your curiosity on any Underworld Ascendant based subject that concerns you.

Before we get to that, however, we’d like to also announce that starting next week we will no longer be using Kickstarter for distribution of our weekly updates. Instead we will be moving the updates over to a direct email distribution method, which will give us more control of the format and contents of the updates.

We will still post occasional “update digests” to Kickstarter to ensure that folks who discover Underworld Ascendant via Kickstarter can still find out what’s going on with the game. But going forward our primary method for giving our backers and followers important information about the game will be via the weekly email updates.

For those of you who have backed the game via Kickstarter or our webstore, or who have signed up to the OtherSide Entertainment forums, you need do nothing to receive these future updates. We already have your email and so you will be automatically added to the distribution list. For those of you who have not backed the game nor signed up for the forums, and who do want to receive weekly updates on the game, we suggest you do one of those things in order to get added to the list!

We look forward to showing you the new look for our updates next week!

The rest of the update offers answers to a number of backer-submitted questions about a number of different aspects of Underworld Ascendant. Sate your curiosity; click on through!

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Das Tal: FAQs Address Similarities With Crowfall http://ultimacodex.com/2015/05/das-tal-faqs-address-similarities-with-crowfall/ http://ultimacodex.com/2015/05/das-tal-faqs-address-similarities-with-crowfall/#comments Sat, 23 May 2015 04:11:02 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=28941 Fairytale Distillery have posted answers to a number of questions on the Das Tal Kickstarter campaign page, one of which addresses the game’s conceptual overlaps with Crowfall:

We are very aware of the design similarities between our own project and Crowfall, a game with a larger budget and following. The simplest explanation is that both games’ core ideas come from the same realisations inspired by the same game – Shadowbane. But we have actually started working on our game more than 1.5 years before Crowfall was even announced.

So there’s that. Of course, Das Tal is being worked on by fans of Shadowbane, whereas Crowfall is being worked on by one of the creators thereof. But for those who enjoyed those core concepts, it would seem that either game — or both! — will serve well to scratch that itch.

The Das Tal Kikstarter campaign is sitting at €18,116 (of a stated €50,000 goal) as of this writing, with eighteen days remaining.

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Ultima Online: The Silver Gate; Time of Legends In-Game Events http://ultimacodex.com/2015/05/ultima-online-the-silver-gate-time-of-legends-in-game-events/ http://ultimacodex.com/2015/05/ultima-online-the-silver-gate-time-of-legends-in-game-events/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 04:34:56 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=28819 Broadsword Online Games have announced plans for a series of in-game events to prepare for the launch of the Time of Legends expansion:

Greetings,

In anticipation of the release the Time of Legends we are kicking off a series of in-game live events to shepherd in this exciting time within Britannia! Check out shard Event Moderator websites and in-game town criers to find out when these events will be held.

As well, they’ve released a new piece of lore, entitled The Silver Gate. Written by EM Malachi, it chronicles the realization by Hawkwind (the Time Lord) that the sorceress Minax has made some new discoveries about what magics she can conjure from within the depths of her fortress, Shadowguard.

Here’s a taste:

Hawkwind, the Time Lord, solemnly watched the Stranger’s actions. When the gate closed, he held his breath for what would come. It might have been minutes, an hour, or a day, but then the world shattered. The mountain range near the tower crumbled and shifted, cutting Stonegate off from the rest of the world. Where the gate had been, mana surged and made the gems vibrate until all, even the diamond, shattered.

The Time Lord pulled back his perspective to see the rest of Sosaria suffering the same Shattering. Mountains crumbled, and islands sank, reshaping the four continents. Mana storms and boiling seas doomed countless species to extinction. In the devastation, empires and kingdoms were lost forever. A single Sosarian timeline splintered into hundreds, one for each shard of Mondain’s cursed gem.

Click on through to read the rest.

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PC Gamer Lists 15 Overlooked RPGs Worth Playing Today http://ultimacodex.com/2015/05/pc-gamer-lists-15-overlooked-rpgs-worth-playing-today/ http://ultimacodex.com/2015/05/pc-gamer-lists-15-overlooked-rpgs-worth-playing-today/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 04:20:45 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=28814 PC Gamer have published a list of 15 overlooked RPGs that are worth playing today. While no Ultima title graces the list — what Ultima could be considered to have been overlooked, anyway? — Arx Fatalis merits a mention. This game, you’ll recall, would have been the third entry in the Ultima Underworld series, had EA granted the license to Arkane.

Also mentioned is Risen, Piranha Bytes’ spiritual successor to the Gothic series. It’s a game that owes much to both Ultima 8 and Ultima 9; its German developers are huge Ultima fans, and took many inspirational cues from both games.

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Underworld Ascendant: Magic System Design; Necropolis Concept Art http://ultimacodex.com/2015/05/underworld-ascendant-magic-system-design-necropolis-concept-art/ http://ultimacodex.com/2015/05/underworld-ascendant-magic-system-design-necropolis-concept-art/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 03:39:29 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=28715 I should have gotten this up sooner, but…OtherSide Entertainment posted another update to the Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter page last Friday (they’ve been pretty consistent about Friday updates, no doubt taking a cue from Portalarium in that respect). In it, designer Tim Stellmach discusses some of their plans for the magic system in the game:

As longtime fans will know, players chose spells in Underworld 1 & 2 by selecting sequences of collectible rune stones. One such sequence could be prepared at a time, indicating a spell that could then be cast repeatedly (while the character’s mana held out). Each rune was associated with a meaning such as “light” or “harm,” and the rune formulas for different spells had a kind of logic based on those meanings. This helped it to feel that certain laws of magic underlay the system, and players could even guess a few undocumented spells based on rune meanings.

…changes in our approach to magic reflect the wider context of what we’ve learned about character progression in our years of development experience. The skill and progression systems in the 90’s took a lot of cues from pen-and-paper RPGs that don’t necessarily work as well through the veil of automation. As a simple example, maybe you have to make a die roll to successfully cast a spell in a tabletop game. You can see all the die rolls, because you’re the one rolling. But on a PC, if you try to cast a spell and it doesn’t work, the veil of automation can make that failed die roll hard to tell from a lost mouse click. So in Underworld Ascendant, the whole character skill system will be getting an overhaul to reflect the last 25 years’ advancement in user experience, and the magic system is no exception.

More fundamentally, we’d like to capitalize on the strong concept of the game’s rune language. As evocative as it was in the original Underworld games, players were ultimately still limited to a set of pre-authored spells. In Underworld Ascendant, we’ll be experimenting with using the runes as a true language for varying different aspects of players’ spells procedurally. For example, some Underworld spells had more powerful versions tagged with the “Vas” rune. But what if you could change the power level of any spell? Maybe change the way a spell is delivered to its target, or how it draws its mana? We have a number of ideas to try out, and these kinds of tests are a great opportunity afforded to us by our early access backers.

I’d personally love to see a magic system, based on the runes, that was limited only by the creativity of players in concocting runestone combinations. Wouldn’t it be awesome if each runestone either caused a specific effect or applied a specific modifier, and the game computed the combined effect of a runic sequence in real-time when a spell was prepared?

Anyhow, OtherSide are also quite close to reaching their next crowdfunding stretch goal, which is the addition of the Necropolis area to the Abyss.

Deep in the eldritch darkness of the Stygian Abyss lies the foreboding Necropolis of the Ancients. Teaming with the restless dead and wandering spirits of a long-forgotten people who once lived and thrived in the Underworld, these catacombs pulsate with malevolent intent for those who still cling to life.

You can check out some new Necropolis concept art above.

Joe Fielder

Finally, the team have made a full-time employee out of one of their contractors:

OtherSide is happy to announce that Joe Fielder, who’s been helping shape Underworld Ascendant’s narrative the last few months, has come aboard full-time as Design Director. Joe’s worked as a writer, designer, producer, and creative director on games like BioShock Infinite, BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea, Lost Within, The Black Glove, BOOM BLOX, and the Medal of Honor series. He’ll be helping guide Underworld Ascendant’s player experience (the place where level design, systems design, and narrative all meet), digging deep into the game’s world-building elements, and more.

Is it just me, or does it seem to anyone else as though the dissolution of Irrational Games worked out rather well for the development of Underworld Ascendant?

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The Weyrmount Is Back At Its Original Domain http://ultimacodex.com/2015/05/the-weyrmount-is-back-at-its-original-domain/ http://ultimacodex.com/2015/05/the-weyrmount-is-back-at-its-original-domain/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 03:26:09 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=28710 Sorceress Dragon had some good news to share recently concerning the Weyrmount MOO:

…some good news to make up for the fact that our DNS has been disconnected for the last few weeks, we were able to secure the original Weyrmount domain! The moo can now be reached by telnet at:

moo.weyrmount.org 8000

The website location has also been updated and can be reached at:

www.weyrmount.com

This was the original address of the moo back in the day, so we felt it was fitting to reclaim it now that the domain had became available.

The telnet address of the MOO is above, as indicated by Sorceress. Further instructions on how to connect, how to register, and what commands to use once you’ve logged in can be found at the Weyrmount site proper.

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Lords of Xulima: On Sale on Steam http://ultimacodex.com/2015/05/lords-of-xulima-on-sale-on-steam/ http://ultimacodex.com/2015/05/lords-of-xulima-on-sale-on-steam/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 02:55:54 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=28705 I’ve mentioned Lords of Xulima on the site before, albeit probably not as often as I should have. It’s not the sort of game that screams “ULTIMA!” at first glance, but the creators do claim the series as an inspiration.

So it’s worth mentioning that the game is on sale on Steam…at least for the next half-hour or so. If you need to get your retro fix, this could be a good way to spend $10 toward that end.

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Malignant Manor’s U5 Lazarus and U6 Project Playthroughs and Mods http://ultimacodex.com/2015/05/malignant-manors-u5-lazarus-and-u6-project-playthroughs-and-mods/ http://ultimacodex.com/2015/05/malignant-manors-u5-lazarus-and-u6-project-playthroughs-and-mods/#comments Wed, 20 May 2015 03:27:06 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=28605 Nuvie developer Malignant Manor took it upon himself to play through both Ultima V: Lazarus and the Ultima 6 Project back in March; he chronicled his adventures in each over on the RPG Codex.

He struggled with frequent crashes and exception errors whilst working his way through Lazarus, but had somewhat better luck — and stability — with the Ultima 6 Project.

He also took it upon himself to make a number of mods, all of which — I think — are for the Ultima 6 Project. These are mostly minor fixes; one enables ships to be bought at any time, another allows Mariah to be recruited straightaway, and others tweak small aspects of the game in similar ways. The files were all hosted at GameFront, but have seemingly been pulled down since March. I’ll have to reach out to Malignant Manor to see if he kept copies of them…and, I suppose, I’ll have to work on repairing the project entry that they’ll necessarily become a part of.

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The CRPG Addict: Savage Empire Finished (With Final Rating) http://ultimacodex.com/2015/05/the-crpg-addict-savage-empire-finished-with-final-rating/ http://ultimacodex.com/2015/05/the-crpg-addict-savage-empire-finished-with-final-rating/#comments Wed, 20 May 2015 03:05:16 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=28600 I forgot to keep tabs on The CRPG Addict as he worked his way through Savage Empire…and it turns out that he has gone and finished the game entirely, blogging about his progress through it in five additional posts:

Savage Empire didn’t make quite the same impression on him that Ultima 6 did. As he details in the Seeking Home post, he has some criticisms of it as compared to its predecessor:

I loved Ultima VI. It’s my second highest-rated game. Why wouldn’t I at least like this one? Why would I find playing it a chore instead of, at least, a diversion from my woes? As something of a preview of the GIMLET to come, this is what I see:

1. A stupider game world. Eodon just doesn’t really do anything for me. A land of dinosaurs and tribesmen ought to be more interesting than this one, which is largely based on tropes from a genre (early 1900s pulp magazines) that modern players aren’t familiar with and don’t care about.
2. Lamer NPCs. NPC dialogue has always been a strong point of the Ultimaseries, but the NPCs in The Savage Empire are somehow less interesting than the standard high-fantasy ciphers that occupy Britannia. They don’t talk in ways particularly unique to their tribes; too many of them are literal copies of each other; and a lot of what they say is just goofy. There are a few notable personalities among them, but not as many as Ultima IVVI.
3. Depressing combats with innocent animals. Combat wasn’t a particularly strong feature of Ultima VI, but it’s just worse here, with your own party members refusing to act most rounds and your enemies composed primarily of mindless animals like dinosaurs, great apes, and saber-toothed tigers, all of which seem wrong to kill.
4. Theft or poverty. At least so far, I haven’t found many places to legitimately loot items. You either have to steal them from the huts of tribesmen or run about unarmored.

Still, he did find much to like about the game as well, giving it:

…a final score of 48. That’s considerably lower than the 68 I gave to Ultima VI, but still in the top 10% of 1990 games, and the third-highest rating I’ve given in the past year.

I started my series of posts on The Savage Empire praising Origin for re-using a great engine instead of discarding it after a single use. Thus, I was a little surprised and annoyed to find Dennis Owens complaining about the same thing in his March 1991 Computer Gaming World review. “Although once upon a time, Ultima stood for innovation and surprise,” he grouses, “[they] seem to have devolved into copies of themselves–all requiring that worlds be explored…monsters be bashed, and objects be found.” I mean, Jesus, Dennis–you could reduce all RPGs to such trite phrasing. Ultimahasn’t lost its innovation just because the creators re-used one engine. Frankly, if they hadn’t, we’d be waiting until Ultima VII for the next game. Would that have been better?

While he does have some positive things to say, his conclusion is mixed: “Compared to any except its own brothers and sisters, The Savage Empire…must be considered dazzling and successful. Compared to its peers, however, the game presents what may be a disturbing view of a possible trend in the Ultima line: caricature.”

In her 1993 “survey” of RPGs on the market, Scorpia was a little more positive, concluding that it was “good for filling in the hours while you wait for the next real Ultima,” with which I completely agree.

He has some other games to get to first, but we can look forward to his playthrough of Martian Dreams at some point in the next few months, as he crosses from 1990 to 1991 in his ongoing chronicle of the history of computer role-playing games.

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Ultima Online: Players Wanted For “Time of Legends” Focus Group http://ultimacodex.com/2015/05/ultima-online-players-wanted-for-time-of-legends-focus-group/ http://ultimacodex.com/2015/05/ultima-online-players-wanted-for-time-of-legends-focus-group/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 20:10:38 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=28563 Broadsword Online Games have are putting together a focus group to test their work-in-progress on the upcoming Time of Legends expansion for Ultima Online:

We are happy to announce we are ready to open the Time of Legends focus group. We would like to have approximately 250 players to take a first look at the Time of Legends and give us constructive feedback. If you have an active account and would like to join this group these are the steps to follow:

  • Email mesanna@broadsword.com with your account name and a valid email address to use for the internal forums.
  • You will then receive a link to fill out a Non-Disclosure Agreement and a Survey to give us a better insight to your playing style.
  • You will then be added to an internal forums where you will find all the details of what you will be testing and where.
  • Please use the default subject title as “Time of Legends Focus Group”

Please note you will not be added until you have completed the NDA and survey. We will begin the process this week to be able to get people started as early as next week. We look forward to your feedback and working with you.

You can read more about what Time of Legends is all about in this post. In brief, it’s a new, full expansion for Ultima Online that will reference the stories (and settings, presumably) of both Ultima 2 and Savage Empire. The name of the expansion is a reference to the location of Shadowguard, the castle of Minax in Ultima 2.

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Sir John’s Next Project: Translate Dungeon Siege Into German http://ultimacodex.com/2015/05/sir-johns-next-project-translate-dungeon-siege-into-german/ http://ultimacodex.com/2015/05/sir-johns-next-project-translate-dungeon-siege-into-german/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 18:44:40 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=28550 Sir John has announced what his next translation project will be. And don’t let the spoiler in the article title fool you; there’s an Ultima method to his madness:

As some of you might recall, the German version of Ultima 6 Project had some issues for some users if the underlying DS engine was the German Version. Some users reported that FPS rates dropped as low as 1 FPS in some areas when using German DS but everything being fine when using the original English version. This issue could not be solved by any official patch and was persistent throughtout all versions of DS suitable (e.g. LoA).

The obivious solution is to translate the English version of Dungeon Siege again in order to make the German game a joy to play while using the English DS. (Hereby getting rid of a vast amount of language mixtures along the lines of “SirJohn picks up ein Langschwert”

Much to my regret, this translation turned out to be “not done easily” by any means, as there are another several hundred files to translate.

This said, a good deal of files had been translated already for this project before I took a break.

So much for the round-up of where I left last year.

A couple of former Ultima 6 Project team members have evidently agreed to assist Sir John with any technical issues he runs in to as he attempts to re-create a German version of Dungeon Siege from scratch (or somewhat from scratch, at least). Hopefully this will be of benefit to German U6P players…and, indeed, to German fans of the Dungeon Siege franchise in general.

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inXile Entertainment Are Working on The Bard’s Tale IV http://ultimacodex.com/2015/05/inxile-entertainment-are-working-on-the-bards-tale-iv/ http://ultimacodex.com/2015/05/inxile-entertainment-are-working-on-the-bards-tale-iv/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 18:31:26 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=28538 inXile Entertainment’s next game — which, yes, will be coming to Kickstarter in a couple of weeks — will be a fourth entry in the The Bard’s Tale series. They’ve even put up a website for it, with a snazzy countdown clock ticking down the hours until said crowdfunding campaign begins.

PC Gamer has published a few details about inXile’s plans for the game:

The new Bard’s Tale is a true sequel to the original Bard’s Tale trilogy, and, title notwithstanding, unrelated to the 2004 action-RPG release. That game came about in part because [Brian] Fargo had the trademark, but not the copyright; since then, he’s been able to strike a deal with EA, and now he has both. “This is a proper sequel,” said. “This is what you guys are hoping for and wanting.”

The game will take place a century or so after the events of Thief of Fate, the third (and decidedly final) game in the trilogy. That temporal distance will let developers “call back” to the original games without being shackled to them: Much like Wasteland 2, prior Bard’s Tale experience won’t be necessary to enjoy and understand this one, but players who have it will at times have a deeper insight into what’s going on.

“We recognize that there’s a group of people that played these games and for them, it’s like they finished it yesterday. They want to go into something where they feel like it’s a continuation, to some degree, of what they’ve finished. So I’m very attuned to making sure we hit the right points for people who are real fans of the original series,” Fargo said. “But it’s a bonus for people who play. We never force that [prior] knowledge on anyone.”

The Bard’s Tale will be a decidedly old-school experience, but inXile is working to ensure it’s flexible enough to engage and satisfy players who want a more contemporary dungeon crawling experience as well. Die-hards looking forward to a new opportunity to draw out cleanly geometric maps on grid paper will be able to do so, but it will also be possible to “break off the grid,” as he put it, and look and wander freely, in real-time.

Fargo also sat down with Rock, Paper, Shotgun for an interview about The Bard’s Tale IV, which is also worth a read if you’re hungry for every possible scrap of detail. Interestingly, inXile are moving away from the Unity engine for this project; they’ve chosen to build this new game using Unreal Engine 4.

Added reading: This might be a good time to mention both Steve Englehart’s brief summary of a proposed plot for a fourth The Bard’s Tale game (which he helped put together back in 1992), as well as Jennell Jaquays’ lengthy Facebook post — with images! — about the same project.

As well, why not check out this prototype video of an altogether different attempt to make a fourth The Bard’s Tale? This was Contraband Entertainment’s 1998 attempt to revive the series, and…well, it didn’t go anywhere, for reasons that will become apparent.

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Shards Online: May Community Roundtable http://ultimacodex.com/2015/05/shards-online-may-community-roundtable/ http://ultimacodex.com/2015/05/shards-online-may-community-roundtable/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 18:08:26 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=28535 Citadel Studios have posted a recap of the May Community Roundtable session they held with members of the Shards Online community earlier this month.

Our May Community Roundtable was a great success. We shared our progress on Celador and talked about some cool new game systems like hunger, the day/night cycle and atmospheric fog and we got in depth with the Crafting and Harvesting skills. We also had some really great Q&A from the community.

The Playtest was a blast and our Pre-Alpha playtesters really got to sink their teeth into the sneak-peek of the Celador Shard. We were able to keep the servers up all weekend and we received a lot of really excellent feedback.

The complete stream can be viewed on Twitch; the video embedded above is the highlight reel, as it were.

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So That Supposed Video of “The Lost Vale” Turned Out To Be a Fake http://ultimacodex.com/2015/05/so-that-supposed-video-of-the-lost-vale-turned-out-to-be-a-fake/ http://ultimacodex.com/2015/05/so-that-supposed-video-of-the-lost-vale-turned-out-to-be-a-fake/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 03:29:52 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=28478 So…this video? Which was supposedly captured from a playable demo of The Lost Vale, the lost (heh) expansion for Ultima 8?

Yeah…how best to put this?

Its-a-Fake

It turns out that the area depicted in the video is actually a normally inaccessible portion of the Hall of the Mountain King. You can see it in this image; it’s off toward the upper-right part of the map.

Big thanks to kodenkm for pointing that out, and to Dominus, Voyager Dragon, and Kobrakai for further pointing out the error.

(Image credit: Revista Vila Nova)

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UDICraft: Small Update http://ultimacodex.com/2015/05/udicraft-small-update/ http://ultimacodex.com/2015/05/udicraft-small-update/#comments Sun, 17 May 2015 04:46:45 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=28311 Darkling Dragon has released an updated mod pack for UDICraft:

Small update to the mod pack (7 mods updated, some extra books added).

No change to the Forge version, so no need to play around with the installer this time.

As usual, delete your previous mods and configs folders prior to install. Same password as usual.

You can grab the mod pack from Darkling’s website, or from the UDICraft project entry here. Setup instructions can be found at this link.

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Ultima Journeys: Battles and Rewards (In Ultima 6) http://ultimacodex.com/2015/05/ultima-journeys-battles-and-rewards-in-ultima-6/ http://ultimacodex.com/2015/05/ultima-journeys-battles-and-rewards-in-ultima-6/#comments Sun, 17 May 2015 04:41:28 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=28307 Linguistic Dragon has been making steady progress through Ultima 6, and has published two blog posts about it over the last week or so. The first one discusses how the game starts, and by the end of it Linguistic has managed to liberate the Shrine of Compassion:

…I tumbled into Lord British’s throne room, three gargoyles in hot pursuit, unarmored and with nothing but an ankh and a sword Dupre had thrust into my hands only mere moments before. All was frenzied for a moment, but old skills returned to mind swiftly, and between that, Dupre’s strength, Shamino’s swiftness, and Iolo’s accuracy, this initial skirmish was over swiftly. After we’d all taken a moment to catch our breath, I spoke with Lord British, who took some time to go over several matters with me – the collapse of the Underworld after his rescue, the subsequent gargoyle invasion, the capture of the Shrines, a recent attempt to retake the Shrine of Compassion, and on advice from court mage Nystul, the operation of the Orb of the Moons that I’d picked up before charging through the moongate. My old friend Geoffrey, now Captain of the Guard, told me a little more about the failed attempt to recapture the Shrine, telling me that the survivors were now recovering in Cove.

It was thus to Cove that I turned my sights, figuring that it was best to know the enemy I was facing, and the memories were freshest to those recovering there. Loath as I was to make things more difficult for those soldiers as they attempted to cope, they seemed my best bet for the time being. My path there, however, would necessitate me going by the Shrine of Compassion, and as I had suspected, the gargoyles that had taken and held the shrine were still around – one of them large and winged, and as we would find out in the ensuing fight, capable of wielding powerful magic. Shamino was paralyzed by a spell and took rather a beating, as did we all from the explosive magic slung around by our foe, but we persevered and managed to send them off running to lick their wounds while we pressed on toward Cove – though not before taking note of the moonstone surrounded by a force field resting atop the shrine itself.

…With the rune in hand, we headed back to the Shrine of Compassion. The gargoyles protecting it were back, having recovered, but we knew what to expect this time – not one of them escaped us alive. The rune, combined with the proper mantra, dissolved the force field, and we took the moonstone with us. Everyone but Shamino was experienced enough to find themselves a bit stronger after some meditation at the Shrine as well, so we took the time to do so before we set our sights toward Minoc – we surmised we’d have to repeat the process for the remaining seven shrines, and we were already on the road to the City of Sacrifice.

As usual, there’s a lot more than has been written; you’ll want to read the whole thing. Still, it would seem Linguistic has already come to grasp the…significant threat posed by the Gargoyles that guard the shrines (the winged ones, in particular). That said, as we can see in the follow-up article, frontal assaults continue to be the order of the day:

We turned north at a fork in the road, and found ourselves beset upon by a group of roguish adventurers. The tables were turned on them rather swiftly, and once the dust cleared, we thanked Blaine for his assistance in the fight – it was his first, after all. Some of the spoils we recovered after the fight seemed like things he could use, and so he was a bit better equipped as we traveled further along the road. There were a few lights dancing along the pathway, which put me on my guard remembering how dangerous an enemy wisps could be from past adventures, but they generally left us alone, and so we did the same as we slipped by. Iolo pointed us toward his cottage (as did a sign along the path) as we neared, so we made a pit stop there, picking up some blood moss along the way, and paid Smith a visit, ever vigilant against the hay menace that threatened to consume the land. It took some doing to coerce a slightly dumbfounded Dupre along again, and he and Iolo were settling some kind of bet over the matter of a talking horse by the time we arrived at the gates of Empath Abbey.

I turned toward the Shrine of Justice, and the fight that met us there was long, arduous, and bloody. There was a larger contingent of gargoyles present here than at the Shrine of Compassion, including no less than three of the more powerful winged variety. I was glad for the Great Heal spell I had bought in Cove earlier, as I had need of it on a couple occasions through the course of the battle. Eventually, though, we struck them all down and claimed the moonstone atop the shrine. We took some time to heal from the fight, then returned to Minoc, where I had the log cut down into boards, which I then took to Julia so they could be fashioned into panpipes. After playing Stones on them for Selganor, he pressed the Rune of Sacrifice into my hands, and it was off to another Shrine. The fight to reclaim the Shrine of Sacrifice proved less arduous – though it, too, was guarded by several winged gargoyles, by the time they discovered our presence, we’d dealt with a good number of the wingless surrounding the shrine, and thus could focus our attentions better. Dupre’s new axe proved helpful, and even the inexperienced juggler did a fair amount of damage (both he and Shamino found themselves gaining a level between the two fights at the shrines). I’m likely to replace Blaine’s boomerang with the bow and arrows we picked up as some of the spoils from the battle, once I stop by Britain and pick up some more ammunition, but it was there that we called it a day.

Ultima 6 certainly seems to be making an impression on Linguistic, which is good:

The sheer size of Ultima VI is truly staggering, I’m realizing as I play through. I’ve had two solid sessions thus far and I know there’s still a lot of plot to get through. I haven’t even mentioned everything I found worth noting down, either, simply because a good deal of it is interesting but there more for flavor than contributory to the plot – the Burma-Shave-style tombstones in Empath Abbey are the first things that spring to mind along those lines, along with the virtuous reminders I get from meditating at the different shrines. I’m going to be on this one for a while, I think – but it’s certainly holding my attention, especially since I’m taking the time to explore and poke around.

Pro tip: If you use the Orb of the Moons to reach the shrines directly, you can grab the moonstone and get into another moongate before any nearby winged gargoyles even have a chance to lob a spell your way.

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SotAWiki: Lots of Updates http://ultimacodex.com/2015/05/sotawiki-lots-of-updates/ http://ultimacodex.com/2015/05/sotawiki-lots-of-updates/#comments Sun, 17 May 2015 04:18:11 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=28301 I don’t know if many of you regularly frequent SotAWiki, the Shroud of the Avatar wiki…but if you weren’t aware, it is hosted by the Ultima Codex, and both Fenyx4 and Browncoat Jayson (whom I trust you all are familiar with) help maintain it.

Anyhow, it has seen some significant updates recently:

The homepage updates this week include Starr Long as the featured developer and the PaxLair “Isle of Wonder” maze by the amazing <4b> guild is featured video.  Both can be seen by visiting the main page of SotAwiki.net.

First: we fully expose our database with semantic queries and allow anyone (like the crafting spreadsheet by Isycle and Style and other websites) to do quierries on any of the data from the wiki.  This has been a growth pain because everything needed to move into a quierrable format while still being fairly simple for the average person to understand.  Fenyx4 and Browncoat Jayson have done 90% of the adjusting of templates and should be applauded for their efforts.

Isycle has migrated his efforts from updating his spreadsheet into updating the wiki so everyone can benefit from his work via the api.  Thank you for keeping so many crafting recipes updated and adding so many new ones Isycle!

Alianin has been making every effort to keep things organized and has completely restructured the categories a dozen times so when you click on that sword you can easily work your way back up the chain to similar items via the categories on the bottom of the pages.

I personally have been making efforts to keep the information on the wiki… wikified and accurate. I’ve been removing pages that are incorrectly made, renaming things to match their in-game names, and correcting errors that people make accidentally. I’m the hand that guides the new wiki editors and I do so with much love and appreciation. The work that each of you bring to the wiki makes my life, and the next visitors life, so much easier and enriches us with the information we’re looking for.

And I suppose I own Duke Violation, the author of the above, a note of thanks for giving the Ultima Codex’s Patreon campaign.

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Crowfall: In-Game Money System Detailed http://ultimacodex.com/2015/05/crowfall-in-game-money-system-detailed/ http://ultimacodex.com/2015/05/crowfall-in-game-money-system-detailed/#comments Sun, 17 May 2015 03:58:15 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=28297 ArtCraft Entertainment published some information about how in-game currency will work in Crowfall. Their take on the concept is an interesting one; the game won’t just have generic gold coins:

– We are going to scatter precious metals throughout (and IN) the worlds. As with all other materials, the quality and quantity will skew heavily towards the riskier campaign worlds (keeping with our philosophy that greater risk should yield greater rewards).

– When exploring, you can find raw materials in the form of ore (copper, silver, gold). Ore is an inventory item. As such, it can be carried, dropped, traded, placed in containers, looted, etc.

– You can use crafting recipes to turn ore into coins. These coins are still inventory items, but they are easier to stack and carry (i.e. more efficient use of inventory space than transporting ore itself).

– Some disciplines (like Alchemy) will allow you to take other types of materials and turn them into ore, which can then be turned into coins.

– You can find coins on some monsters though it’s relatively rare to do so (compared to traditional MMOs). We aren’t using monster camps as the primary “faucet” for these, and the quantities won’t scale with monster difficulty in the same manner as a level-based RPG.

– Items can be salvaged, which will result in a (lossy) conversion of that item back into raw materials. This will include some amount of previous metal that can be crafted into coins.

– There are a number of sinks in the game that will accept coins. You can use them to purchase parcels and buildings from the shop, upgrade your strongholds, pay maintenance or you can treat the coins as a raw material for crafting more items.

– But we AREN’T going to provide common (system-run) vendors. Our goal is to facilitate and enable the flow of goods and services — but keep it player-driven.

We decided to leave our currency as an inventory item because it means that the handling and transport of this currency around the map now has tactical considerations: Do you carry it by hand? Place it on a pack pig and move it via caravan?

Every decision has a cost.

As well, they have announced that the game’s login system will support two-factor authentication, and have also made it possible for current backers to gift a pledge to a friend.

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