3rd October 2010 by Dino
I got an email from Lord of Ultima about three game updates that are scheduled to be released by the end of the year. They are curiously named "Serpent Isle", "Ascension" and "Forge of Virtue". Following the misuse of the Ultima name in EA Phenomic's latest browser-based strategy game, this announcement is like pouring salt on an open wound to many Ultima fans, most especially seeing how the reuse of classic Ultima game names is not even in the right order!
Sergorn's playthrough of the Ultima series ("Ultima Adventures") is doing well, and for the past few days, having finished Ultima Underworld, he has been playing Ultima 7. Admittedly I have not been following his progress so far, but you can expect to see updates about it here from now on.
As for Sergorn's other Ultima pastime, and that is the relatively new yet ambitious Return to the Serpent Isle project, a September update has been posted. In it, Sergorn tells of the team's progress for the past month. Worldbuilding has begun, and the media page contains screenshots of Withstand the Fury Dragon's work. Also, writing of NPC profiles is ready, and dialogue writing will begin soon.
Those of you who have been following The Spoony Experiment's Ultima video reviews may have come across the Grass Battle competition organised by The Spoony Experiment. From what I could understand, this was a competition where amateurs would put together a short video of an epic battle against grass. Now it turns out that the fifth honourable mention, that is a video called "Journey Onward", is intentionally Ultima-themed. While most of the video is devoid of any story whatsoever, the ending is pretty classic to say the least.
Aiera has been updated a lot in recent days, so let's begin by catching up with its Ultima-related news:
- After Paul Barnett from EA Mythic has been talking to both WtFD and myself (and possibly others) about Ultima, it seems he is really intent on reviving the series. After discussing with the DOSBox people the possibility of re-releasing the games with DOSBox, Mythic got the go-ahead to use DOSBox to re-release the games. However, it has become difficult to get a copy of the Worlds of Ultima games, so if you have a spare copy, then do send it to Mythic! (Though from the comments I see this need has already been filled.)
- The following project entries and downloads have been restored: Ultima 1 to 5 Savegame Editor, LZW Decompressor, AdPlug, Bremze, VICE, CCS64, Win64.
- Is Ultima 4 unplayable? An article deals with how difficult it is for modern gamers, used to luxuries like minimaps and quest journals, to get used to old games where one has to take their own notes (among other things). A later update at Aiera quotes RG himself reacting to the article: "Kids today!"
- Richard Garriott, while talking about his latest endeavour Portalarium, is quoted saying that he will face no competition since the market is filled with Flash and Java games. This triggered an interesting discussion in the comments about what RG is really up to.
- Blair Leggett's Ultima 4 Online has had over 14,000 players between May and September this year. Further statistics are revealed in the comments.
- Firstknight, as part of his Beautiful Britannia project, is working on a graphical update for Ultima 9. To be specific, he is trying to use higher-resolution textures than those used in Ultima 9, which would increase the quality of the dated graphics.
- Ultima Online: Ship-to-ship combat is coming soon, and returning players can play for free.
- New project: Ultima V for iPad.
- Pentagram needs beta testers, according to a discussion at the Exult forum where someone asked whether Pentagram was still alive. Most things work well in Pentagram, according to Colourless Dragon - what it really needs is for people to play it and find remaining bugs.
- There is news of enhanced tilesets used by Ultima 6 Online.
And these are other updates from Aiera which are not Ultima-related:
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