Ultima: The Reconstruction

The online community dedicated to preserving Ultima through development efforts.


Reconstruction Headlines


Just a quick update...

Sun 04/08/2007, 12:01:11 am PDT

  posted by Voyager

Hello all. Well, I managed to post an update to this site once a day for nearly two weeks straight. I'm still around, but another Ultima-related project has taken my attention as well. I hope to post something at least once a week to ensure the Reconstruction remains active and up-to-date.



Mod squared

Tue 03/27/2007, 10:43:27 pm PDT

  posted by Voyager

XiDragon has made a graphics enhancement mod for Ultima V Lazarus. It provides some updated textures that provide quite a different look and feel to the game. Just take a look for yourself:

before after

Note, that mod has a bit of irony with it: it is a mod of a mod. ;-)



Akalabeth

Tue 03/27/2007, 12:28:53 am PDT

  posted by Voyager

This evening's update concerns the game that started it all: Akalabeth: World of Doom. Dubbed "Ultima 0" by some since Ultima 1 (then just "Ultima") was supposed to be its sequel, it was released by Richard Garriot through California Pacific Computer Company in 1979 - nearly 30 years ago. The rest, as they say, is history...

We have two more projects added to the site today: an Akalabeth remake for SDL made by Paul Robson. It's named Aklabeth, though I cannot tell if the mispelling was intentional. The other project is a port of Akalabeth for Java-enabled mobile phones. Now you can defeat Mondain's minions anywhere! ;-)



Exult Translation Projects

Mon 03/26/2007, 09:08:01 am PDT

  posted by Voyager

Exult has really inspired many modifications to Ultima VII. Not only do we have a plethora of projects to enhance the game's graphics and plot, but there are also projects to translate the game to other languages. So, I've added a new category to the left-nav: Fan Translations.

Also, in case you haven't noticed, I've been trying to publish an update once per day to this site. Unfortunately, I missed yesterday (you really lose track of time in WoW!) so expect two updates today. I'll publish the second one later tonight.



Ashes to Ultima

Sat 03/24/2007, 09:06:45 pm PDT

  posted by Voyager

I've added a new project to the Inspired Works section, Ashes. It's inspired by three groundbreaking games, one of which is Ultima VII.

Ashes is strongly inspired by three milestones of the RPG history: Ultima VII, Drakkhen and Demon's Winter: we're trying to replicate the exploration, atmosphere and compelling plots of such classics, adding some brand new ingredients to their winning recipe.

Unfortunately, there are no downloads available yet to give it a spin, but it has been under active development for about three years and appears to be making some considerable headway. The 3D engine (Pancake) is of the homegrown variety. Head on over to their site and check out the screenshots!



Lost Sosarian continents

Fri 03/23/2007, 11:37:20 pm PDT

  posted by Voyager

Withstand the Fury Dragon has restored the website of his NeverWinter Nights project, Lost Sosaria. Despite the fact that most of the original project work was lost in a hard drive failure, he has swiftly resumed work on the game and has several new screenshots posted - only days after reopening the site. He is currently looking for folks to help him with the project.

The scope of Lost Sosaria has changed somewhat. The game will now take place soley in the Lands of the Dark Unknown. The Land of the Feudal Lords is no longer a part of a game so as not to conflict with Wizardry Dragon's effort, The Feudal Lands. This also makes for a less daunting production (which may mean an earlier release in the long run).

Note, I've also moved The Feudal Lands into the Fan Fiction section since the mod will mostly consist of fan fiction.



Which Ultima game engine to choose?

Thu 03/22/2007, 11:18:41 pm PDT

  posted by Voyager

Last year, during a Game Architecture class at school, I was tasked with building a demonstration of a game that I was designing. Since the design concerned an Ultima-styled game (of course!) I took a look at some of the Ultima-inspired game engines that were available.

The first project I reviewed was the Dragon Engine by Litmus Dragon. The good? Building a map, creating a world, and adding game elements was very simple in this engine as there was a provided in-game editor. It provided you with a relatively complete set of tiles and even some choices for MIDI accompaniment. Unfortunately, since the project never made it out of Beta, it was quite buggy. The game itself failed to run under native DOS without installing VDMS, and the game editor refused to work at all unless I ran it under DOSBox. The latter was not a simple thing to do as the program requires DPMI support, so it was time to Google for CWSDPMI.

The other project I reviewed was actually just added to the Game Engines page: the engine Nazghul, and its companion game Haxima. It's some very nice work. Like the Dragon Engine, it allows you to create a game with the feel of Ultima 4/5, but with a more up-to-date kernel that runs perfectly fine in Windows (no DOS or DPMI!) and sharper-looking higher-res tile graphics. Creating games under the engine was a little challenging to figure out, however. The documentation is a little light on the subject, but I can sort of see how it's done by looking at the script files for Haxima.

In the end, due to project time constraints I ended up sticking with the simple game editor of the Dragon Engine, but Nazghul is definitely something I want to check out more of in the future.



Escape from Mount Drash

Wed 03/21/2007, 11:02:37 am PDT

  posted by Voyager

Of all the games in the Ultima series, Escape from Mount Drash for the VIC-20 is like a bastard child among its brethren. Not only was it not even made by Richard Garriot, but it was made by one of his friends who published the game through Sierra Online shortly after the release of Ultima II. Unbeknownst to RG, the game was given the Ultima name. It barely sold, and it has been rumored that both retail outlets and the publisher were so embarrassed by the game that they either buried all their remaining copies or dumped them off of a cliff! For more info on this history of this game, see the Wikipedia entry.

Whatever the real story, the VIC-20 version surfaced again among Ultima fans in 1997 when Ben Johnson claimed to have found a copy, and again in 2000 when Fortran Dragon obtained a copy and posted the screenshots on his website. Thanks to their efforts, we now know more about this game.

Since that time, two projects have surfaced related to Mount Drash. The first was an effort by Telemachos Dragon in 2003 to port the game to the PC. I didn't even know this existed until I found it on the Ultima: Aiera site (thanks WtF Dragon). It's now hosted here.

In 2006, Santiago Zapata began development on DrashRL, a Roguelike recreation of the game. For those who are unfamiliar with Rogue, it was a popular 1980's ASCII-graphics dungeon crawl. Unlike the original Mount Drash, DrashRL is entirely top-down and presents an interface that is more consistent with the rest of the Ultima series.



Ultima 3 for MacOS X

Tue 03/20/2007, 08:48:02 am PDT

  posted by Voyager

LairWare has updated their U3 for Mac remake so that it works with MacOS X. I received the following message from Beastie (Leon McNeill) of LairWare:

It's now up to version 2.0, and is Mac OS X native for Intel and PowerPC-based Macs. It also has optional user-selectable graphics, for classic looks from Apple II, Commodore, Nintendo, etc. There are newer screenshots available on Ultima III's home page, as well.

Here are some screenshots of the new skins:

A skinnable U3

Get it here!



Avatar portraits for Exult

Mon 03/19/2007, 09:09:08 pm PDT

  posted by Voyager

Marzo Sette Torres Jr (aka Geometrodynamic Dragon) has released a third comprehensive mod for Exult: the Avatar Pack. Here are just a few of the new portraits:

Per Marzo:

This mod is all about new avatars. There are 12 new portraits all told, all in the SI style, which REPLACE the old portraits. The portraits come in male and female pairs; there are portraits for brunette avatars, londe avatars, black-haired avatars, redheaded avatars, asian avatars and black avatars, all with matching paperdolls and sprites -- and gumps for paperdoll-less BG.

This takes the place of the previous patch Marzo had for the female redhead Avatar. The Avatar Pack is also now included in the BG Keyring Mod.



New and old projects

Sun 03/18/2007, 10:34:38 pm PDT

  posted by Voyager

I've added a few new projects to the list. First of all, Red Mage's U8 for NwN project was added to the 3D Remakes section. Plus, Forgotten World, an effort to reintegrate the missing maps of U9 back into the game, was also added to the Fan Patches section.

In addition, several projects appear to have shut down or were otherwise abandoned, including: Era Arken-Throne, U5 mod for TES3, U7 Agape, and U8 Exile. Since none of them produced any content, their project entries have been removed.

And last, a few projects have produced content but have since been abandoned. This includes TSSHP and Underworld Adventures. You may have noticed the new "Status" indicator next to each project. I've updated these projects to Inactive.



U6 Project & Project Britannia

Sat 03/17/2007, 04:54:53 pm PDT

  posted by Voyager

Side-by-side comparison shots are great. Here was Ultima 6 in 1990:

Ultima 6 in 1990

And here is Ultima 6 in 2006:

Ultima 6 in 2006

What a difference 16 years of computer technology can make, right? Courtesy of Milestone 2 of the U6 Project. So far, it looks like only the castle is incorporated within the demo (as Vas Rel Por teleports me to literally nowhere), but otherwise very impressive. You can download it here.

I've also added Project Britannia - the common core shared by U6P and Lazarus. It's in the Game Engines section, even though it is really a framework for a game - but it seemed the best category.



Lazarus

Fri 03/16/2007, 03:08:27 pm PDT

  posted by Voyager

It may not be news anymore since it was announced more than a year ago, but it is certainly worth the mention here as it perhaps one of the most pivotal things happen to Ultima for a very long time. The Lazarus team has completed it's remake of Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny. In fact, they have put out version 1.20 for both Windows and Macintosh platforms. A French translation is also available under Windows.

Check it out, here.



Online Ultima Remakes

Thu 03/15/2007, 10:16:52 pm PDT

  posted by Voyager

Once again, several months of silence. I've put quite a bit of effort the past few months into upgrading this site's homegrown PHP framework and also designing some Ultima-style games for game development classes. But enough of me. You're here for the Ultima-related info.

You may have noticed that I've added a new Online Remakes category to the left-nav. Contained within are three online development projects:

  • Ultima 6 Online - it looks like this has been around for some time. It appears to be well-developed and looks very impressive.
  • Ultima 4 Multiplayer - yet another impressive remake of an Ultima world in an online setting. It has been in active development for two years.
  • Ultima 7 - UO Project - a newly announced effort to recreate the U7 worlds (both BG and SI) within the UO engine.

There was also a potential fourth candidate, Ultima III Online, but that project appears to have ascended. ;-)

In addition to this, several snapshots and links have been updated to reflect the current status and whereabouts of various projects.


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