The Ultima Codex The Ultima Fan Network Thu, 27 Apr 2017 20:50:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Ultima Codex 32 32 33386326 Ultima Online: Publish 97 Released World-Wide Thu, 27 Apr 2017 20:38:17 +0000

Broadsword Online Games have released Publish 97 for Ultima Online to all shards:

Beginning with the Japanese shards this evening, all shards will be updated to Publish 97 with their regular maintenance by April 27, 2017.

Publish 97 is packed full of new features, most notably the much anticipated update to Animal Taming.  You can read all about the new Animal Training features and check out the full list of changes in the Publish 97 wiki.  We want to extend a very big thanks to everyone who helped test Publish 97 as well as those who sent in feedback.  As always, please feel free to send us any feedback you have.

We are also pleased to announce that beginning April 27th, 2017 at 9am ET and continuing through May 4th, 2017 at 9am ET we are having a sale on Pet Bonding Potions in the Ultima Store – so stock up today for all your pet bonding needs!

Finally, as a welcome to the dawning of Spring, please visit Justice Falls to claim a special gift from the UO Team.  The gift dispensers will be available beginning once all shards have been published with Publish 97 and will remain active until the displayed timer runs out.

Actually, it’s possible that as of the time I’m writing this, Publish 97 hasn’t quite made it onto all shards just yet. But soon!

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Shroud of the Avatar: Release 41 Began Today Thu, 27 Apr 2017 20:07:10 +0000

Release 41 of Shroud of the Avatar went live on their servers this morning. And, as we’ve come to expect, Starr Long posted instructions and change notes for the Release on the game’s website yesterday evening:

Release 41 (R41) is another leap forward in progress with an incredible amount of new content (5 new scenes!) as well as a ton of balance and polish. The Path of Truth is now playable from beginning to end, including the twisted Halls of Artifice, Solace Bridge Outskirts now eases new players into the game at a much better pace, more gear can be placed as decorations, combat got lots of balancing including Taming, and Localization has resumed.

Truth and Artifice: The Path of Truth is now playable to completion with the addition of the Halls of Artifice. In this single-player, plot-driven experience, the avatar will delve into the mystery of why the satyrs of Elysium are welcoming pilgrims into a life of bliss… Of course, I am sure that a place called Artifice along the Path of Truth would not be filled with lies, right?

Solace Bridge Outskirts and Interface Polish: We are continuing to focus on steady improvements to the new user experience. This effort is twofold. First, we have begun to  create new “Outskirts” maps, which will be expansive scenes in which  new players will be able to explore many different aspects of the game. Solace Bridge Outskirts appears in Release 41, with more to follow in upcoming releases. Second, we have continued to make incremental improvements to the user interface. One such improvement in R41 is the addition of an information button to several interfaces that brings up help information. A myriad of other UI fixes and improvements are detailed below.

Ruins of Kas, Verdantis Mines, and The Fall: These three new scenes bring an incredibly diverse range of play opportunities to the game. The Ruins of Kas provide a vertical fortress assault in an Open PVP area. Verdantis Mines is a dungeon full of danger and ore. The Fall is a PVP free-for-all full of crazy powerups centered around a giant vertical shaft.

Decorations: What you can decorate your home with got yet another dramatic expansion this release with over 200 new pieces of gear now placeable as decorations. This includes all shields, tools, and headgear (as well as some additional weapons). We also expanded the Patterns/Reshaping system to work with decorations so that custom covers may be applied to books.

Combat Balance: Improving balance in combat was a major focus for Release 41. We made major improvements to Taming, Summoned Creatures, the entire Bludgeons combat school, creature resistances, and more. We also added two new Moon Spells, new weapons, and our first new ranged weapon since ranged combat was introduced: Crossbows.

Localization: We are very excited that localization has started again with our amazing international community using the Zanata platform.

Yet again, I want to express a huge amount of gratitude to our Dev+ backers who tested all of the items below on the QA server and uncovered lots of bugs. They also provided editorial feedback on this post. They are a big reason that this post actually matches what is in the game and that it is easy to read.

Click on through to check out the complete — and, as per usual, extensive — change notes.

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Spam Spam Spam Humbug: Episode 79 – Ultima 7 Thu, 27 Apr 2017 18:34:02 +0000

Ultima 7: The Black Gate Was Released 25 Years Ago. So it seemed fitting to get a bunch of Ultima fans together to discuss the game and its legacy, and why so few games since its release have attempted to imitate it; why are there so few Ultima 7-likes?

And lest you think the discussion remains entirely technical, take heart: we end by discussing some personal stories of the impact that Ultima 7, and/or other Ultima games, had in our lives.

Listen to the Episode

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Ananias Roguelike: Version 2.3 Released Thu, 27 Apr 2017 16:33:46 +0000

Slashing Dragon has released version 2.3 of Ananias, his roguelike for…a rather wide array of platforms, actually.

A lot of work went into adding support for Steam achievements using the excellent Greenworks library. This version includes 37 achievements and there are 10 additional ones I couldn’t add due to the API for progressive achievements not being available on Greenworks; the addition doesn’t look overly complex, however I would need to set up a complete dev env for it (right now I’m using their precompiled binaries).

The challenges are not steam exclusive, but they are only tracked right now on Steam (that means you’ll still see when you complete them on any other version, but they won’t be added to your profile).

I also bumped the version of nw.js to 0.20.3 (I think I had to do it in order for greenworks to work). This increased the size of the downloadable packages for desktop quite a bit.

The latest version of Ananias can be obtained on, as noted, many different platforms, through a variety of storefronts:

Slash also cautions that this may be the last Ananias release we see for a bit:

I think I’ve ran out of Steam to work on Ananias for the moment… it’s been such a long time, and I’ve got a couple of projects to work in (for $$$) and also the rebirth of Expedition keeps haunting me day and night. Although the backlog is filled with feedback from players, I don’t think I’ll be able to tackle their suggestion for some months, so it’s now on maintenance mode where I’ll only be fixing critical issues.

Full change notes for this version of the game can, of course, be found on Slash’s blog.

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Underworld Ascendant: Progress Report; Combat, Stealth, & Magic Wed, 26 Apr 2017 16:34:23 +0000

Otherside Entertainment have published another edition of the Stygian Sentinel, their roughly monthly updates on the progress being made on Underworld Ascendant.

Last month, we started out testing the latest build of The Challenge of Ishtass with our System Shock 3 and VR teams. As often happens with initial rounds of testing, it was immediately clear that while we knew how you could have fun in the game, it wasn’t readily apparent to the uninitiated player. Since our goal has been for the player to be able to dive right in and quickly start experimenting and have fun, that was vital for us to nail. That meant readability and player feedback for picking up objects, the nuances of melee and ranged combat, and more.

From there, we did five more rounds of testing (from casual players to the Boston Indie Games Group, from devs at The Molasses Flood to Warren Spector), each time getting a little closer. The team was super focused and made solid progress each day, so we’d iterate, test, review, and repeat.

Over time, it became apparent that spells were where people were having the most fun, but they still weren’t clear exactly on how they worked so they couldn’t get to the more improvisational possibilities using combinations.

We put solving that problem squarely on lead designer Tim (Thief, System Shock) Stellmach’s plate. It was a tough challenge, but within a few days he had the featured spells working clearly and reliably, so players could really start tapping into their creativity.

It was a pretty intense few weeks, but, whew!, it was fun. It’s great working with a team of folks who have such a wealth of experience and can sort difficult issues in short order. There are still many hurdles left for us with Underworld Ascendant, but we came out of our recent milestone with a lot of confidence that the team can tackle any problem that comes our way.

It’s heartening, I think, to see some tacit confirmation that the Underworld Ascendant and System Shock 3 teams are working closely together, at least as far as developing game systems is concerned.

The aforementioned Challenge of Ishtass, by the way, will present players with a plethora of combat, magic, and stealth options:

  • The player can use a LONG SWORD to perform a light quick chop, a slow heavy swing that can damage multiple opponents, and parry to deflect oncoming attacks. All are useful, because while the LIZARD MEN have clear tells for their attacks, they’re tough and engage in group combat.
  • Using a LONG BOW, the player can launch FLINT ARROWS to attack or distract enemies or WATER ARROWS to put out torches. The Lizard Men use STUN ARROWS to momentarily stop the player in his or her tracks, which can be particularly troubling while you’re attempting to engage in swordplay or escape… the MIND CRIPPLER
  • Some of the available skills include HEAVE to pick up and throw heavy objects (which can provide cover for projectiles, interrupt attacks, and damage foes), STEALTH STEP when crouched, STEALTH SIGHT to gauge visibility based off light levels, or MAGIC SIGHT to view magic-recharging streams of mana.
  • One of the more fun featured spells is GRAVITATE, which allows the player to raise objects and assemble them into useful shapes, like a bridge to cross a chasm. (We’ve also seen players manage to weaponize it in a number of interesting ways…)

And if you happen to think that the wording here implies that a backer release may be coming soon…you’d be at least partly correct:

When do you get to play? Next month we’ll be announcing plans for rolling out the build to backers, after we complete another round adding more interactable objects and improvisational elements to the world.

As always, there’s more to read; click on through to check out the rest.

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Byte-Sized Virtue: Season 4, Episode 8 – Thomas’ Honor Wed, 26 Apr 2017 12:46:50 +0000

Stack Dragon wrote in to comment on the last Byte-Sized Virtue episode:

I enjoyed your latest Byte-Sized Virtue on dishonor. I especially liked your discussion about how being honorable involves acknowledging deserved praise. I usually tend to shrug off compliments on my work (e.g., “It wasn’t that big a deal” , “Anyone could have done it”) as a means of trying to appear like I’m not seeking praise. What I have found, though, is that not accepting compliments often has the opposite of my desired effect. That is, the compliment giver is more likely to see me as ungrateful for not accepting their compliment. So the effect of negating their compliment is that I’m actually viewed as being less honorable.

Firstly, I’d like to say thanks to Stack for writing in; I always love hearing from people who’ve listened to podcast episodes. And in this case, what he said in his message inspired much of this episode.

Full disclosure: I’m definitely in the same boat as far as complements go…to the point that my wife sometimes has to chide me to just take the compliment. Because you’re right: not accepting what the other person is saying can, and often does, give offence in turn.

This touches on the virtue of Humility, too…in fact, the term “false humility” is one I’ve heard used. It isn’t humble, obviously, to elevate oneself unduly…to be the braggart. But neither is it humble to eschew accepting any praise or compliments that others offer.

Funnily, and perhaps fittingly, it would thus seem that Humility is at the core of what it means to practice Honor well.

Listen to the Episode

The season of Easter — the (roughly) fifty days of celebration that follows Easter— began on Easter Sunday (which, this year, fell on April 16th). It will continue until Pentecost (June 4th), which feast day commemorates the reception of the Holy Spirit by the Apostles.

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Ultima Online: Anniversary Party Update and Looking Ahead to Publish 98 Tue, 25 Apr 2017 19:48:19 +0000

Broadsword Online Games recently released yet another Ultima Online newsletter, in which they give some details on the upcoming party to celebrate the game’s 20th anniversary:

We are still planning the 20th anniversary party, finding the right bakery is not as easy as it sounds *grins*, and yes we will have gluten free cupcakes for you guys that desire those.

We had a great taste testing of the food for the BBQ the other day, you guys are going to love this!  It will consist of beef brisket, beef ribs, pulled pork, and chicken.  We will also have vegetarian options available.

We currently have 200 people signed up to attend with over 50 people on the waiting list.  If you are unable to come and need to cancel please email me so I can notify someone on the waiting list.  It would be greatly appreciated.

For those that cannot attend the party, I do not want to leave you out of everything, so we are going to put a raffle stone on TC1 that lets you sign up for a chance to win a Castle!  Yes that is correct! For the anniversary I will be giving out 6 castles!  Three in game via the TC1 raffle stone and three at the Party!  You will be notified via email so you can tell me what shard you would like the castle placed.  We will update in a future newsletter when the raffel stone is available on TC1.  Good luck to everyone!

Finally, we’ve received some great submissions of new castle designs!  There is so much interest in this promotion that we are going to be putting together a tool that allows players to mock-up larger house designs on TC1.  Keep an eye on future newsletters as we release this feature in a future publish.

Additionally, work on Publish 98 is well underway:

Publish 98 brings us into the busiest development cycle of the year as we focus on UO’s anniversary, as well as our Halloween & Fall content.

Beginning later this Summer and into the early Fall, we will be starting a 20th Anniversary event arc. We are still in the early stages of planning the details, but have taken note of all the event-related suggestions that have come up from our Meet & Greets. You can definitely expect to see Britannia’s cities once again assaulted by the forces of darkness and epic battles as Britannian’s are once again called upon to valiantly defend their homeland. Our goal with the arc is to keep the experience fresh without lengthy lulls in the action. We’ll also be targeting a variety of mechanics to include both solo and group activities.

Almost immediately following the conclusion of the event arc, Fall will be upon us which means 20th Anniversary Rewards to thank everyone for achieving this major milestone in gaming history! Looking to Halloween we are reactivating old favorites like bone-collecting, complete with new styles of bones as well as new Trick or Treating loot, the next iteration of the Treasures of Halloween, new trophies for the Huntmaster’s Challenge, and new Horn of Plenty items.

If you’d like to subscribe to the Ultima Online newsletter, you can do so through the game’s website.

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The Witcher 3’s Game Director Was Inspired by Ultima 7 Tue, 25 Apr 2017 18:15:35 +0000

TechRadar published an article yesterday in which they asked five of the key people that worked on The Witcher 3 what game most inspired them whilst working on said game:

As TechRadar’s PC Gaming Week is all about celebrating the wonderful world of playing games on our computers, we thought “what would be better than asking the staff of one of the most respected games developers in the world what their favorite PC games are?”

That’s exactly what we did, with CD Projekt Red, the team behind the acclaimed Witcher III, taking time out of developing its eagerly awaited follow up CyberPunk 2077 to tell us about the PC games that helped inspire its staff.

Konrad Tomaszkiewicz — the game director — went with Ultima 7:

First of all, it’s very hard to pick one favorite game. There’s so many kinds of awesome games — I mean, can you seriously compare Diablo with Dune 2 or The Secret of Monkey Island?

That’s why I decided to pick one of the first games that made me want to work in the industry and develop RPGs — Ultima VII: The Black Gate.

A fully-fledged RPG, with a really good plot (for the time), a good character development system, and a gigantic open world that you could traverse on horseback (or magic carpet, if you’re a magic carpet person).

Other RPGs that come to mind are Eye of the Beholder and Might and Magic VII, but Ultima VII’s “Avatar! Know that Britannia has entered into a new age of enlightenment!” is something that has been etched in my memory in a unique way.

Ultima, even a quarter century on, continues to inspire game developers!

(Hat tip: Infinitron Dragon)

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An Ultima Return Team Member Is Re-Creating Ultima Online’s Britannia in Wurm Online Tue, 25 Apr 2017 14:55:14 +0000 For those of you unfamiliar with Wurm Online, it is one of the plethora of 3D MMORPGs that exist nowadays, which bills itself as “the MMORPG where the players are in charge…one of the only Sandbox MMOs worthy of the term”. The default Wurm client, available through the game’s website, is a Java applet that will run on Windows, OS X, or Linux. There is also, however, Wurm Unlimited, which is a standalone application.

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

Hey guys,

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Hail and well met, Malena!

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

Keep up the great work!

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

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

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

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

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

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Shroud of the Avatar: Update of the Avatars #223 and #224 Tue, 25 Apr 2017 14:14:59 +0000 Greetings Fellow Avatars! Sorry I missed last week’s update due to RL stuff, so I am combining the tiny bits of news from weekly updates 223 and 224 this week.

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



Release 40 Postmortem Results

While the devs did not have time to answer all the questions, Starr “Darkstarr” Long got on the forums afterward and answered the remaining questions here.

The livestream recording for those who missed the postmortem:

The Oracle

As the are moving through the final sections of the story theye are working on the characters you will interact with at critical parts of your paths.  In Release 43 they will be adding the Oracle who watches all.

[A Dev+ Forum Post by Fletcher “SkullMuncher34” Kinnear]

Hello all! So we’re finally creating the Oracle as an in-game NPC. Not the automatons or the outpost oracles, but the one true ORACLE. This is where we will post screenshots and works in progress as we get her ready for an upcoming release. Cheers!


The Making of Highvale Outskirts 

SPOILERS: After Highvale Village was overrun by Obsidian Elves the villagers escaped to Resolute and the soldiers who were defending the village fled to a nearby abandoned monastery high in the mountains in a scene we are calling Highvale Outskirts. They have made camp there but are blocked from completing their retreat to Resolute by an encampment of Elves who are patrolling the area. Players following the Path of Courage will go directly to this scene after Highvale Village and will assist the soldiers as well as follow numerous other quests and side quests. The monastery will include some crafting stations, merchants and trainers among the soldiers who can help players outfit and train. This very large scene also contains a small Kobold mining camp, a hunters cabin on an alpine lake, and an abandoned farm. We hope to have this scene live in Release 42.

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

Hey folks, I have a few screenshots to share of the upcoming Highvale Outskirts. This is one of three new introductory areas that are designed to help new players learn about the basics of gameplay in SotA. The centerpiece of the map (metaphorically speaking) is a forgotten monastery, where the forces from Highvale have retreated. From this monastery, players will be able to take on local quests throughout the map.

The inspiration for this map is drawn from European monasteries such as the ones in Meteora Greece, where monks would study in isolation.

Most of the map is open fields and patches of forest, perfect for hunting wild game. The map also features a lake where players can fish, and even a fishing boat which circles the lake.

The Monastery Cliff-side

The Monastery Chapel (exterior)

The Monastery Chapel (interior)

The Under-croft

The Elven Camp

The Fisherman’s Hut

The Wilderness

Also here’s a sneak peak video I did yesterday for Pen of the Avatar:

As always, feel free to leave feedback!Chris Wolf
Level Designer

The Making of Bloodriver Outskirts 


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

Hey guys, SorcerousSteve here once again to give you a sneak peak of Bloodriver Outskirts!

Tucked away in a dense forest, Elven survivors from the recent Bloodriver Massacre have sought refuge and built a camp atop a woodland plateau. They protect themselves from the humans who pursue them they have chosen this reclusive spot and have booby-trapped the surrounding area!

Elven Camp

Bloodriver: Here is the blood red river as it cuts through the dense forest.

Vigilante Camps: Scattered throughout the scene are these camps led by humans to capture and kill elves. Pictured below are pens, and cages meant to hold the elven captives, truly a grim sight.

Traps: Some new traps will make their way into Bloodriver Outskirts like this “Indiana Jones” inspired rolling boulder trap. Run!

See you next time!

Esteben Zaldivar
Level Designer

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The Exiled: Season 3 Free for All Players Fri, 21 Apr 2017 17:09:03 +0000

Fairytale Distillery have announced that Season 3 of their Ultima Online-inspired MOBA-meets-MMORPG, The Exiled, will be available for free:

We are just launching Season #3 of The Exiled with a big change for all players old and new:

In order to make it easier for new players to get into The Exiled we have decided to get rid of the 7-day trial period during Season #3. That means that everybody can play The Exiled for free for the coming four weeks – starting with Season #3 today. Just start the game and you’re in.

Season #3 starts today, Thursday, April 20th at 3 PM CEST with a completely fresh set of game servers and a bunch of cool games changes – here are the accompanying patch notes. Season #3 ends on may 17th.

So, if you’ve been meaning to give The Exiled a try, why not give it go over the course of the next few weeks?

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Byte-Sized Virtue: Season 4, Episode 7 – The Absurdity of Dishonor Thu, 20 Apr 2017 12:37:39 +0000

I’ve posited many times in the past that virtue exists as a golden mean on a continuum between two equal and opposite vices. Nor can I take credit for this idea; it’s fundamentally Aristotelean in origin. And I posed the question last week: if Shame is one of the anti-virtues opposing Honor, what then is the other one?

Well, nobody offered an answer, so I’ll put forth my own.

When we talk about Honor, when we analyze what it means to have Honor, we really need to be asking ourselves whether we have Honor because we lack shame, or whether we are mistaking the opposite fault for the virtue instead.

Listen to the Episode

The season of Easter — the (roughly) fifty days of celebration that follows Easter— began on Easter Sunday (which, this year, fell on April 16th). It will continue until Pentecost (June 4th), which feast day commemorates the reception of the Holy Spirit by the Apostles.

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Corven: Development Update and Crowdfunding Info Wed, 19 Apr 2017 18:52:59 +0000

Corv has posted a new development update for Corven – Path of Redemption on the Titans of Ether website, which begins by explaining why updates have been so few and far between to date:

It’s been a while since I posted, but let me assure you, we are working on the game constantly.

We thought about posting updates often, but they would just distract from the work that needs to be done right now which is to create a working demo that at the same time is the beginning of the actual game. The demo won’t just be a separate “proof of concept”. This way we are working towards the bigger goal with minimal time spent on things that do not benefit the end product directly. This also means that we are working on all aspects of the game at the moment, not just the combat or the world or the storyline etc., which is, as you can imagine, quite a challenge for our small team.

The Titans are also in the midst of readying the crowdfunding campaign for Corven:

We are a completely new indie studio and this is our first project, so we cannot assume that people will trust us blindly. The demo should help with that, but I think it is important to not only plan for the optimal outcome of the crowdfunding campaign, but also for the minimal outcome. So I needed to figure out how much money we need for the minimal version of the game and the optimal version of the game. Minimal does not mean that the game will be cut short. Either way the full storyline will be in this game. It’s all about features outside of the main storyline which require more art assets, more time and/or manpower etc. I am talking about side quests, additional features which are not required for the main storyline, like the depth of crafting and so on. On top of that money also determines how much unique art can be created and how many assets that were not specifically made for this project have to be used.

The focus of the game always was and always will be the storyline and the quests with adventure-game-like puzzles.

We are aiming to start the campaign in fall. Please understand that until then updates will continue to be minimal. We promise we have lots of information for you once the campaign begins.

Happily, Corv also released a new screenshot — of a path through a forest — for us all to check out; it can be seen above.

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Ultima Online: Publish 97 Updated on Test Center, Released on Origin, Izumo, and Baja Wed, 19 Apr 2017 17:17:10 +0000

Broadsword Online Games announced, late last week, that there would be some changes to the release schedule for Ultima Online’s
Publish 97:

We are making a few adjustments to pet AIs and will not be publishing today, our new scheduled date to publish to Origin, Izumo and Baja is Tuesday April 18th, 2017. We will be updating TC1 with the latest changes, keep an eye on the wiki for the latest list of updates.

Also, as of May 1st we will be making additional stable slots available from the Ultima Store.

Finally, as a celebration of Easter and the dawning of Spring make sure you visit the Justice Falls and look for the pink squirrel to claim a gift. These gifts will not be available until all shards have been updated with Publish 97 later this month.

Shortly thereafter, they released an update for Publish 97 on the Test Center shard, which — again — expanded pet taming and training options.

And as of today, Publish 97 has gone live on the Origin, Izumo, and Baja shards:

We have published Origin, Izumo & Baja with the latest version of Publish 97 which includes the following changes.   Also visit the individual wiki pages on the Discovering Animal Training Quest, Animal Training, and Animal Training Abilities to learn more.

We want to thank everyone who took the time to test Publish 97 and send in feedback!

While this is not a mandatory patch, you are encouraged to update your client to the latest version before playing Origin, Izumo & Baja.  Character transfer on these shards will be disabled until Publish 97 is released world wide later this month.

So if pet taming and training is your thing in Ultima Online, you’ll want to be sure to grab this update.

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uUltima: UI Screenshot and Ultima Dragons Tribute Wed, 19 Apr 2017 15:46:25 +0000

Neocron Dragon has posted a couple more development updates for his project — uUltima, a Unity-based remake of Ultima 1 — on the Ultima Dragons Facebook group. The first of the set gives us a look at the game’s UI, among other details:

1) Going with a UI similar to U3-U5 with the gameplay screen taking up 3/4 of the screen and the UI on the right 1/4 of the screen. That would give me some more room to work with and instead of a 4×4 grid, go with a 3×6 grid. The Event Log would remain in it’s current position, the navigation buttons would be relocated to the lower-right of the screen (where the stat box is) and the stat box would be relocated to just to the left of the stat box and hovering inside the gameplay area along with the Event Log.

2) Take the 3 system-related action buttons (About, Quit, and Status) and align those buttons along the top border of the Event Log and create a few context-sensitive button that changes it’s function depending on where the player is at (essentially consolidating Attack and Fire into one button depending on if the player is on a ship or on foot, for example), and relocating area-centric buttons like H-Jump, Climb, Unlock, and Open into separate Space and Dungeon Exploration UI’s. Doing this should enable me to consolidate the Action grid down to a 4×3, 3×4, 2×5, or 5×2 grid (the latter 2 options might go hand in hand when combined with option 1).

What are your opinions regarding these options? Maybe I could do both options and present screenshots of them both to give a visual representation of what each option brings to the table. Sound off and let me know what you think!

You can see an initial screenshot of the UI in question above; a modified version can be found in the comments to Neocron’s Facebook post. A shot of the game’s About screen also graces that comments section.

More recently, Neocron announced a bit of bonus content that will be included in uUltima:

A teaser for an addition I am adding to the game… a way to immortalize our venerable group if you will….

I give you: UDIC Hall

Have yet to decide where it will be placed in the world… I am thinking an island somewhere as an easter egg. Will likely populate it with NPC’s named after some of our more influential Dragons (will take submissions on names later!).

Neocron plans to use the UDIC Hall thusly:

Three names are already reserved though…. they are named in the Special Thanks section of the About screen: Cran Gallara (need your Dragon Name), Kenneth Kully (Withstand the Fury Dragon), and Splut Dragon (Richard Garriott de Cayeux). I am probably going to place them in the center three “rooms” and am contemplating asking Josh if he can make a custom Dragon sprite specifically for these three NPC’s. Maybe have a dragon with a little gold crown on it’s head for Splut… you get the idea.

There are a number of other Ultima Dragons who are, I submit, worthy of inclusion in the Hall; feel free to nominate someone in the comments of Neocron’s post.

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Unknown Realm: March Update Wed, 19 Apr 2017 13:30:09 +0000

Stirring Dragon Games have posted another update to the Unknown Realm Kickstarter page, detailing the progress made on the game for the month of March.


As you know, this game has a lot of custom made physical feelies that are being produced alongside the game itself. This includes 1600 wooden tavern dice that need to be manufactured for the collector’s editions. Coordinating production and quality control of these items is more challenging that you’d expect, so we started on some of these items sooner rather than later. So far, we have about half of the custom engraved tavern dice completed and we expect the rest to be finished by May. We are also working closely with our manufacturers to begin production on several other physical feelies.


At the beginning of March, we had the pleasure of having dinner with Chris Huelsbeck while he was in San Francisco for GDC. It was so cool to meet him in person, unfortunately we forgot to take any pictures! Chris just sent us the first sample track for our soundtrack two days ago and it’s going to be really exciting to start putting finished music into the game!

In-Game Content:

If you have in-game content with your pledge, we will be getting in touch with you when the time comes. A lot of those things are a bit further down the line in our development schedule, but don’t worry. We will be contacting you via email soon.

It’s also worth mentioning, in case I haven’t already — and I don’t think I have — that Stirring Dragon Games are also giving away prizes for subscribers to their email updates list. You can get yourself on that list at their website.

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Even More Arthurian Legends Plot Documents! Tue, 18 Apr 2017 19:42:20 +0000

This isn’t directly Ultima 7-related, but when one is short on content to celebrate something like a game’s 25th anniversary, one posts what one has. And arguably, Arthurian Legends was slated to be built using the Ultima 7 engine, so it’s not like we can say these documents are entirely unrelated to The Black Gate. So, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the release of that game, the Ultima Codex is pleased to present a number of additional plot documents for Arthurian Legends!

You’ll all likely recall the Arthurian Legends – Plot Plan document was released a few months ago; this was a basic outline of the game’s introductory sequence, and was prepared by Brian Martin and Sheri Hobbs.

New documents, released today, include:

  • Arthurian Legends – Expanded Plot Objectives – A skeletal document that outlines how documentation and design for quests should be formatted. This was prepared by Prem Krishnan.
  • Arthurian Legends – Cannibal Giant – A planned quest in Arthurian Legends, “…one of the healing abbey quests.” The plan was that, “when this quest [was] solved, the PC [could] receive healing at the abbey for a small donation instead of the quest.” The premise of this quest was “that a giant [was] abducting local village children and eating them. The PC [would have to] rescue what children are left and defeat the giant.” This was also prepared by Prem Krishnan.
  • Arthurian Legends – Sir Brewnor’s Tale – A short quest, planned for Arthurian Legends, that would have given the player the choice to take sides in a random encounter. This was prepared by Sheri Hobbs.
  • Arthurian Legends – Sir Gareth’s Tale – This document “details the PC’s encounters with Sir Gareth and the Lady Lynet. It also provides some of Sir Gareth’s background for use in fleshing out other quests and conversations (particularly with any of Camelot’s kitchen staff).” This is probably the most interesting of the documents in the archive, because it gives a number of details about areas that would have been included in Arthurian Legends. This was also prepared by Prem Krishnan.
  • Arthurian Legends – The Ghost of Gorlois – A short quest, planned for Arthurian Legends, that would have seen the player dealing with ghosts haunting an abbey in the game. This was also prepared by Prem Krishnan.

As always, download and enjoy these documents; pore over them and look for all the interesting little details that are contained therein. The Ultima Codex is grateful to Joe Garrity and the Origin Museum for unearthing these files, and to Sheri Graner Ray for handing over the diskettes on which they were found.

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How Are the Ultima Dragons Celebrating Ultima 7 This Week? Tue, 18 Apr 2017 18:05:33 +0000

As one would of course expect, the Ultima Dragons have been celebrating the 25th anniversary of Ultima 7 in a variety of ways.

For example, Slashing Dragon decided — as is his wont — to give the opening sequence of The Black Gate the demake treatment:

Someone mentioned today is Ultima VII 25th anniversary, so I thought it would be the best time to play a bit of U7’s C64 port, having lots of fun so far!

Chris Brockhouse, meanwhile, put together a fun little web app that pits the Avatar, Dupre, Shamino, and Iolo against Batlin and his allies in the final battle of the game. As he explains it:

25th anniversary hey? Neat – I remember when we got it on PC. Didn’t want to have to go to school as I was (and remain) completely and utterly enthralled by the game.

Here’s something my brother and I made for a bit of a laugh. Appearances may vary depending on your browser but the latest Edge/Chrome/Firefox versions should work nicely. Should even work on the Xbox One browser on your big screen TV

Hope you enjoy it as much as we have.

The weapon loadouts of most of the characters changes with each iteration of the battle, which plays out automatically (there’s no user input/control). In my various watchings of it, Batlin and the Fellowship have prevailed every time, but I’m sure that for some of you the Avatar will triumph.

Luke Hsu shared a few photos of his Chinese-language edition of Ultima 7’s game box and contents.

And finally, Soryu Dragon decided to give Ultima 7 another playthrough, on his vintage 486DX2-66.

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HoBLotH IV: Libertines of the Hearth – Event Portal Now Live Tue, 18 Apr 2017 15:37:07 +0000

Rustic Dragon has launched the event portal for HoBLotH IV, which now has a title: Libertines of the Hearth.

HoBLotH IV: Libertines of the Hearth is a four day, three night live-action role-play (LARP) event in the mythos of the Ultima series of video games (with some Shroud of the Avatar elements). This event shalt create the experience of being in Britannia (and New Britannia!) as realistically as possible.

This shalt highly likely be the last HoBLotH on Lord British’s property!
Why? Don’t miss out!

The theme of the event shall be as follows:

The Minoxian Tinkers Festival

The Minoxian Tinkers Festival shalt take place in the Britannia Common year of 147, which falls betwixt Ultima V and Ultima VI (with liberties taken and loopholes abused to allow the requisite flexibility for quests outside of this time period) in the city of Minoc. There shalt be a blend of Hearth designed and run quests and those provided by attendees.

Being held in Minoc, this event shalt naturally focus heavily on crafting and the Virtue of Sacrifice. Attendees wishing to run quests or activities at HoBLotH IV shouldst favour crafting, Sacrifice, and/or themes relevant to the locale and time period (though exceptions shalt always be made for great ideas). Complete guidelines shalt be available in the Quest Framework page. Additionally, a particularly rambunctious character has been stirring up quite a commotion in Minoc lately…

Mandrake’s ideas have spread to nearly all the people of Minoc. After the tyranny of ex-regent Blackthorn’s interpretation of the Virtues, it’s no small wonder that the people art eager to embrace this hedonistic interpretation of the Virtues. At HoBLotH IV, players shalt learn a great deal about the nature of these alternative Virtues including their mantras, colours, sigils, and more. There’s a reason the event is called Libertines of the Hearth

For further details, please visit the Lore & Quest Design page.

Registration for HoBLotH IV isn’t open yet; expect to see it open by April 30th. However, the event page does indicate that the registration cost shall be $200 USD/person, with registration limited to 100 attendees. The various rules of the event, which attendees will be subject to, can be found at the event page.

And while registration is not open, Rustic Dragon is accepting donations to help fund the event; Portalarium has even offered a number of rewards (e.g. in the form of in-game items for Shroud of the Avatar, and also some physical goods) for donations of $25 USD and up. Sponsorship opportunities — basically, the opportunity to place messages or advertisements on the buildings of Castleton during the event — are also available.

I might suggest checking out the HoBLotH FAQ, as well; it contains details on the registration process, among many other things.

HoBLotH IV proper will take place this coming November, from the 9th to the 12th.

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Check Out Great Siberian Dragon’s “Blogging Avatar” Tue, 18 Apr 2017 14:42:39 +0000

Great Siberian Dragon actually started her playthrough of Ultima 7 in advance of the game’s 25th anniversary, but it seems only fitting to note her progress in chronicling her playthrough of the The Black Gate today.

Thus: do go and check out Blogging Avatar at Yggdrasille, Great Siberian’s website. To date, she has published five articles:

  • Introduction
  • Day 1 – Trinsic, Paws and Britain; talking, stealing and baking
  • Day 2 – Cove and Jhelom
  • Day 3 – That bloody business in Minoc; Yew
  • Day 4 – Emps, Wisps and dragons


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