The Spam Spam Spam Humbug crew review the Ultima fan projects that were active in 2015.
Ultima VI Gates of Creation by OC ReMix
New Patrons & Shout-Outs
A shout-out to the guys at the Open Apple podcast, who discussed Ultima 4's 30th anniversary in their end-of-September episode, and linked to the Codex's article about that.
New Followers & Ultima Dragons
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Ultima Dragons on Facebook: Charlie, Steve, John, William, John, Terry, Charles, Matthew, George, Allanon, Reginald, Wesley, Chris, Jay, Scott, Joel, Ikbel, Chad, Jorge, Andrew, Jean-Luc, Jeremy, Gavan, Jason, Jeffery, Bart, Gary
UDIC.org: Itchy Dragon
Follow-Up from Previous Episode
This isn't really follow-up from any previous episode, but I need to take a moment to rant about an unfortunate revelation that just took place in the Shroud of the Avatar community.
For a couple of years now, there's been a particularly pervasive troll plaguing the Shroud of the Avatar community (which, full disclosure, I continue to be involved with; I am a moderator, though not an exceedingly active one at present, on the official SotA forums, and I am — as of this morning — an admin of the Shroud of the Avatar fan group on Facebook). Posting and blogging under the handle Insane Membrain, this guy has been doing his level best to play the role of Derek Smart to Shroud of the Avatar's Star Citizen...albeit he has been doing it for longer, and with far less visibility.
Well, today, the troll unmasked himself...sort of. Really, all he did was trade one moniker for another, but it's still a significant revelation. I mean, I know this person's real name (I think; one can never be 100% certain on the Internet), but to the wider Ultima fandom he has been known as AvatarAcid for a number of years now.
And unfortunately, as he relates it, I was materially involved in the genesis of the Insane Membrain persona:
The big cratering came for me came in an incident where Owain had told moderator UltimaCodex (WtF Dragon) that he can’t have an opinion. I would bet good money nobody out there, not even some of the people involved in creating the Ultima Series, know as much about Ultima as WtF Dragon and the Ultima Codex site contributors do. I had always followed Ultima Aiera then the UC and appreciated all the work they put in to keep the Ultima Series legacy alive and well. WtF Dragon has the right to his opinion and it matters not what his status in the community is and that goes for everyone else in the community as well, yet that sentiment was not seemingly accepted or encouraged. I chimed in and told Owain he could “GTFO” if he didn’t like that someone else had an opinion.
WtF being a moderator correctly informed me that speaking like that is probably going a bit too far which told me all I needed to know, and that is that the most powerful and in your face voices had already gained a beachhead in the community. This problem wasn’t going to be solved without help, but what could I do about it? Should I speak out as AvatarAcid and have my ass handed to me with my account hanging over my head if they decided to ban me? Mind you nothing quite like that had just yet happened to my knowledge but I could still envision it taking place due to how everything was starting to shape up there, the writing was on the wall. Why should I risk my account which was now linked to a thousand dollar donation in order to deal with things that already shouldn’t have been allowed to establish prominence there?
It soon became more. The game development was going astray, forum personalities including moderators were insulting and driving out the typically quiet and more non-aggressive people like me(usually!) to the point where even Developers fear posting, telling them they are useless and stupid, and then there is the question I still ask myself now; What is Shroud of the Avatar actually trying to be and how do I get my feedback out in an environment as confrontational and unguided as that which exists on the Shroud of the Avatar forum? Well I did exactly the same thing Richard Garriott did with the Avatar and created a schism in my personality, my own little personal Guardian! Meet the InsaneMembrane.
Now, there's a reason that AvatarAcid has chosen to unmask his alter-ego, and it's a serious reason that merits some mention:
...for the longest time I felt pretty alone in doing this. Statistics sure told me that people were reading here, but I didn’t know who they were a lot of the time or what they thought. Eventually comments started to come in though and I was certainly not alone. The Shroud Unlimited Forum was created by suggestion of a commenter to facilitate even more conversation with the Orphans of Shroud. More and more information was then exchanged and noticed by the many more eyes that were now on the SotA forum personalities and Developer team. Some of them, really, really, didn’t like it this.
Some of them really didn’t like it to the point of committing serious crimes to get at me, going above and beyond the call of duty. To the best of my knowledge on or around August 22nd 2015 someone paid to gather information about me and my family and began sending it to people that InsaneMembrane has “insulted.” I know of at least three people who have seen this information now and one of them indicated it was being “put out there to certain folks” and with the amount of people InsaneMembrane has parodied, you can bet there is more! This included everything from my name, my spouse’s name, our kids names, addresses, work places, phone numbers, passport numbers. I was away for the weekend and at first I pulled back to think, then after about a month of reflection I came to the conclusion that I would sell my Shroud of the Avatar account for whatever I could get for it.
Now, I'm already on the record as being profoundly against doxxing. Indeed, as I said in Byte-Sized Virtue 3 - Social Justice, doxxing is not justice; it isn't born of virtue, and it doesn't have the dignity of any person as its ultimate end. I condemn the practice whole-heartedly. And it's profoundly unfortunate that Avatar Acid has been the victim of doxxing. There is no justification for that.
At the same time, I'm also really — profoundly — hurt by his revelation. Just...why? I mean, in all fairness, I share some of the same concerns that Insane Membrain has articulated with regard to the development direction Shroud of the Avatar has taken. I too could care less about multiplayer (I actually find it ruins the game for me if I'm too cognizant of other players being in the world with me), and I really just want a legitimate Ultima successor that offers a near-Ultima 7-like world simulation experience (albeit with better combat and a more evocative story). And that isn't quite what we seem to be getting, and...you know, I could talk about that at some length.
But actually going to the effort of creating a new online persona for the express purpose of trolling the project? I can't even fathom that. And it's seriously frustrating that not only did someone I had a great deal of respect for do just that, but that he lists me as being part of his raison d'etre. It's beyond frustrating.
Welcome back to another year of Spam Spam Spam Humbug. This year, to ring in 2016, episodes for the month of January will mostly be focused on re-capping the news pertaining to Ultima, including Ultima Online (which, at least for now, is the only game still in active development that is carrying on the Ultima namesake), various Ultima fan projects, and also different games that have been inspired by Ultima (including Shroud of the Avatar and Underworld Ascendant, as well as — possibly — Shards Online and Crowfall).
This week, we will be looking at what has transpired with various Ultima fan projects over the course of 2015. You can kind of think of this as a supplement to the poll that's currently under way at the Ultima Codex, in which you can vote for your favourite fan project of 2015.
- Ananias: Version 1.47 Released - The latest update for Ananias adds numerous new spells to the game, and new monsters as well.
- Ananias: Version 1.48 Released; New Indiegogo Campaign Launched to Finance Art and Music - Slashing Dragon has released version 1.48 of Ananias, adding female characters to the mobile roguelike. He has also launched a new Indiegogo campaign to finance improved art (and more!) for the game.
- Ananias Roguelike: Version 1.49 Released - Slashing Dragon has released version 1.49 of Ananias…or Ananias Roguelike, as it now appears to be called.
- Ananias: Various Advancements; New Character and Tile Art - Slashing Dragon and his team continue making improvements to Ananias Roguelike.
- Ananias Roguelike: Version 1.50 Released; Web Backend Updates - Slashing Dragon has been working on the web backend for Ananias Roguelike, laying the foundation for upcoming features. But he still managed to push out another update for the game yesterday.
- Ananias Roguelike: Version 1.51 Released; Big Graphics and UI Changes! - The latest update to Ananias Roguelike overhauls the game’s look and character creation UI.
- Ananias Roguelike: Version 1.52 Released; New Website; Check Out Slashbot - Slashing Dragon has released version 1.52 of Ananias, which adds community features to the game. As well, a new Ananias website has been launched.
- Ananias Roguelike: Fellowship Edition (Version 1.53) Released - Slashing Dragon has released version 1.53 of Ananias Roguelike, bringing social features (he calls it the Fellowship Edition) to the game.
- Ananias Roguelike: Perks, Status Update - Slashing Dragon has published some notes about the reward perks for those who have backed Ananias Roguelike’s crowdfunding campaigns.
- Ananias Roguelike: Version 1.52 Released; New Trailer - Slashing Dragon has released version 1.52 of Ananias Roguelike, which improves many of the game’s graphics. A new trailer for the game has also been released.
- Ananias Roguelike: Version 1.55 Released; Adds Facebook Sharing - Slashing Dragon has released version 1.55 of Ananias; you can now share your in-game deaths on Facebook.
- Ananias Roguelike: Version 1.56 Released; Endless Darkness Added to Game - The latest version of Ananias Roguelike adds the Endless Darkness, levels of the dungeon that are utterly dark and filled with terrifying monsters.
- Ananias Roguelike: Now on Steam Greenlight - Slashing Dragon has launched a Steam Greenlight page for Ananias Roguelike.
- Ananias Roguelike: Version 1.57 Released; itch.io Page; Windows and OS X Test Builds - Slashing Dragon has released version 1.57 of Ananias Roguelike, and has also released test builds of the game for Windows and OS X.
- Ananias Roguelike: Version 1.58 Released; Coming to Desura Next Month - Ananias Roguelike has been updated to version 1.58, and is now available through the Desura digital storefront.
- Ananias Roguelike: Version 1.58.1 Released - Slashing Dragon has made the Fellowship Edition of Ananias available to Windows, OS X, and Linux players.
- Ananias Roguelike: Version 1.59.1 Released (More Download Options!) - Slashing Dragon has released version 1.59.1 of Ananias Roguelike, bringing online features to all ports of the game.
- Ananias Roguelike: Version 1.61 Released; Greenlit on Steam - Slashing Dragon has released version 1.61 of Ananias Roguelike, and is also celebrating that it has been successfully Greenlit on Steam.
- Ananias Roguelike: Version 1.62 Released (Now On Desura!) - Ananias Roguelike version 1.62 has been released. The game is now available via the Desura storefront, as well.
- Ananias Roguelike 1.64 Released, Presented at Comic Con Colombia 2015 - Slashing Dragon has released version 1.64 of Ananias Roguelike, and recently spent some time showing the game off at Comic Con Colombia.
- Ananias Roguelike: Version 1.65 Released; Roguelike in a Tweet; Comic Con Sketches - Slashing Dragon has released version 1.65 of Ananias Roguelike, bringing a whole heap of changes to the game.
- Ananias Roguelike: Version 1.66 Released; Uses CocoonJS Again; Adds Confusion & Hallucination Effects - Slashing Dragon has released another update for Ananias Roguelike, adding three new status effects to the game.
- Ananias Roguelike: Version 1.67 Released; Indiegogo Campaign Still Going - Slashing Dragon has released a new version of Ananias Roguelike, which fixes some critical bugs introduced in the previous version.
- Ananias Roguelike: Version 1.68 Released - The latest update to Ananias Roguelike gives enemies the ability to hear the player…and to give pursuit from room to room!
- Ananias Roguelike: Version 1.69 Released; ChibiUI For Mobile - Slashing Dragon has released a new version of Ananias Roguelike, which boasts a more mobile-friendly UI.
- Ananias: Version 1.70 Released (New Magic System!) - Slashing Dragon has released version 1.70 of Ananias, which sports a new magic system.
- Ananias: iOS Release Coming in 2016, Along With Clothing and Miniatures - Slashing Dragon will be bringing us iOS and Steam ports of Ananias in 2016, along with branded t-shirts and a (presumably limited-release) miniature set.
The Ultima 6 Remake
- The Ultima 6 Remake: Overworld Finished; Suggestions for Content Wanted - The overworld for The Ultima 6 Remake (an Exult-based re-creation of Ultima 6) is complete, and the team are taking suggestions for content to add to the world.
- The Ultima 6 Remake: Very Good Ideas - The Ultima 6 Remake team discuss some of their plans to make Britannia feel more “at war” in their Exult-based remake of Ultima 6.
- The Ultima 6 Remake: Bringing Things Together - The Ultima 6 Remake team are readying some pretty awesome stuff to showcase in their next website update.
- The Ultima 6 Remake: Paws Usecode; Buccaneer’s Cave; How to Script Nim - A few news updates from The Ultima 6 Remake that I’ve missed reporting on this year.
- Nuvie: Correct Ultima 6 Endgame Music; More Martian Dreams Support - The Nuvie team have been hard at work as 2015 dawns. They’ve even restored the proper Ultima 6 endgame music to the engine.
- Nuvie: Export Maps to Tiled Map Editor’s TMX Format - It is now possible to use Nuvie to export maps from Ultima 6 (and, I assume, Martian Dreams and Savage Empire) to the Tiled Map Editor’s TMX format.
- Nuvie: TMX Export Fixes; Martian Dreams Drills, Shovels, and Rail Cars - The Nuvie team have been working on adding support for Martian Dreams’ mining/drilling/ore loading features.
- Nuvie: Now on GitHub - Eric Fry has migrated Nuvie off of Sourceforge, and now has the project hosted at GitHub.
- Nuvie: Full-Screen Mode Coming Soon - Nuvie is being ported to SDL 2, and with that will come true full-screen support.
- Nuvie: Martian Dreams Logic; Internationalization; Ultima 6 Bug Fixes - More work has been done on Nuvie’s support for Martian Dreams since the project was moved over to GitHub.
- Nuvie: SDL2 Support, 4:3 Aspect Ratio Pixel Support - The Nuvie team have been hard at work adding SDL2 support to their engine.
- Lowlander: A Retro-Style, Ultima-Inspired iOS Game (Update: Android Version Also Available) - Inspired by Ultima 2, “approved by” Richard Garriott, and unflinchingly difficult: Lowlander sounds like an old-school Ultima…for your Apple iDevice or Android mobile.
- Lowlander Now Available on the iOS App Store - Flat Black Films’ Ultima 2-inspired, retro-styled RPG, Lowlander, is once again available for iOS (after being pulled down because of bugs).
- Beautiful Britannia: New Year’s Update - Firstknight has graced us with a short update on the status of Beautiful Britannia, and promises astonishing things in the months to come.
The Dark Unknown
- The Dark Unknown: Savegames Implemented - Goldenflame Dragon has implemented savegames in The Dark Unknown. Loading of savegames is still pending.
- The Dark Unknown: Gremlins Implemented - Goldenflame Dragon has added that most hateful of monsters, gremlins, to The Dark Unknown.
- The Dark Unknown: Saved Games Can Be Loaded; Bestiary Art; Cave Wall Code Improvements - Goldenflame Dragon has implemented loading of savegames in The Dark Unknown. And he has been making improvements to the game’s codebase as well.
- The Dark Unknown: Undersea Grotto Dungeon Screenshot - Goldenflame Dragon treated us to a work-in-progress screenshot of a new dungeon he is adding to The Dark Unknown.
- The Dark Unknown: Creature Art; New Keyboard Commands; Enhancements and Bug Fixes - It has been a while since we last checked in with Goldenflame Dragon to see what progress he has made on The Dark Unknown. And as it happens, he has made quite a bit...
- The Dark Unknown: April Progress - Goldenflame Dragon did a lot of work on The Dark Unknown’s audio and magic systems last month.
- The Dark Unknown: Puzzles, AI Logic, Audio Fixes, and the Negate Magic Spell - Goldenflame Dragon has been busy over the last month and a half, adding new features and puzzles to The Dark Unknown.
- The Dark Unknown: Quests, NPCs, and Monster AI; Demo Coming Soon, Possibly - Goldenflame Dragon has been working on getting The Dark Unknown ready to be shown off in a demo.
- The Dark Unknown: Monster Spawns, Dialogue, and More! - Goldenflame Dragon has, per usual, been hard at work on The Dark Unknown.
- Support The Dark Unknown (A Tiled, Ultima-Like RPG) on Kickstarter - Goldenflame Dragon has launched a Kickstarter to fund additional artwork for The Dark Unknown.
- The Dark Unknown Has Raised $3,500 on Kickstarter Thus Far - Goldenflame Dragon’s The Dark Unknown has already reached its Kickstarter goal, and the first stretch goal has been announced.
- The Dark Unknown: New Website; Magic System Improvements; Kickstarter Ongoing - Goldenflame Dragon has launched a new website for Tapestry of Ages Games!
- The Dark Unknown: 200% Funded; More Stretch Goals; Unity Port Possible - Goldenflame Dragon has made more than double his base goal on Kickstarter, and as such will be procuring new pixel art for The Dark Unknown.
- The Dark Unknown: Monsters, Spells, and New Ideas - More great progress on The Dark Unknown.
- Help Iceblade Rewrite Ultima 9’s Manual - Iceblade is making some edits to Ultima 9’s manual as part of the Forgotten World project.
- Forgotten World: How Should Ultima 9’s Stat System Be Expanded? - Iceblade is looking at different options for expanding the stat system in Ultima 9 as part of the Forgotten World project.
U3.5: Pax Britannia
- U3.5 Pax Britannia: New Year’s Update; Sountrack Being Converted to ZXodus Engine Format - Andrew Owen had an eventful 2014, but has jumped right back into working on Pax Britannia now that 2015 has begun.
- U3.5 Pax Britannia: Soundtrack Conversion Complete; Converted Tracks Released- Andrew Owen has completed his conversion of Pax Britannia’s soundtrack, and has released all of the tracks on SoundCloud
- U3.5 Pax Britannia: Music Conversion Complete; Manual Redone - Andrew Owen has finished creating instrument voices for U3.5: Pax Britannia’s soundtrack. And he has reworked the game’s manual somewhat.
- U3.5 Pax Britannia: Cluebook Cover Revealed - U3.5 Pax Britannia will indeed have a cluebook. Here’s the cover art for it.
- U3.5 Pax Britannia: Manual Proof Printed; Player Reference Card Cover Revealed - Andrew Owen has been working on the manual and player reference card for U3.5: Pax Britannia.
- U3.5 Pax Britannia: Soundtrack Released - Andrew Owen has released the soundtrack for U3.5: Pax Britannia on SoundCloud.
- U3.5 Pax Britannia Has a New Website - Andrew Owen’s U3.5: Pax Britannia now has a subdomain at the Ultima Codex.
- U3.5 Pax Britannia: Skin for LairWare’s Ultima 3 Port - Andrew Owen has released the graphics tiles for U3.5: Pax Britannia in a format that can be imported as a skin for LairWare’s Ultima 3 port for OS X.
- U3.5 Pax Britannia: Technical Details and Character Attributes - Andrew Owen has posted a number of technical details about U3.5: Pax Britannia on its new website.
- U3.5 Pax Britannia: What’s This an Image Of? - Andrew Owen has posted a couple of cryptic samples of text, which pertain to U3.5: Pax Britannia in some way.
- U3.5 Pax Britannia: Main Output Window Complete; Moon Phases Considered - Andrew Owen has completed his work on the main display window for U3.5: Pax Britannia, and even found a way to speed up the code.
- U3.5 Pax Britannia: Mini-Map Implemented - A fully-fuctioning mini-map has been implemented in U3.5: Pax Britannia.
- U3.5 Pax Britannia: Creating a Game Engine - Zedex Dragon looks back on his work on Pax Britannia over the course of 2015, and discusses where he wants the project to go in 2016.
- New Ultima-Inspired Project: Voxel Quest - A role playing game and open source engine that aims to create a living, interactive world that functions without the need for pre-scripted events.
- So Here’s Exult, and Ultima 7, Running Natively on iOS - iOS developer Litchie is working on an iOS-native port of Exult.
- Exult: The 2014 Fan Project of the Year! - Announcing the Fan Project of the Year for 2014: Exult!
- New Project Entry: Beh Lem (and Blackthorn’s Castle) in Ultima 7 - Crowley has been working on a mod for Exult that will add Ultima 6 NPC Beh Lem, and the ruins of Blackthorn’s Castle on Terfin, into Ultima 7.
- Exult: Pixel Artist Needed for iOS Port - The ongoing effort to port Exult to iOS needs the help of a talented pixel artist to create, among other things, a few new UI element graphics.
Pagan in Minecraft
- Pagan in Minecraft: Milestone 2 Coming; Will Be Bigger Than Planned - Pagan in Minecraft is progressing well, helped by the contribution of a map of the island of Pagan courtesy of AvatarAcid.
- Pagan in Minecraft: Milestone 2 Released - kodenkm has released Milestone 2 of his Pagan in Minecraft project, adding new areas of Pagan to explore.
- “I will be taking a break from Minecraft and building this map for a while. I’ve spent about 380 hours on this so far. Its time to get back into some Unity3D.”
Dungeons of Chaos
- New Ultima-Inspired Project: Dungeons of Chaos - A brand-new, 2D, retro-styled RPG for the iPad, Dungeons of Chaos should make any fan of Ultima 3, 4, or 5 feel right at home.
- Dungeons of Chaos: Chapter 2 Released - Volker Elzner has released a second chapter for Dungeons of Chaos, his Ultima-inspired RPG for iPad. It more or less quadruples the content of the game.
Eight Virtues Games (Sanctimonia, Sylph)
- Eight Virtues Games Has a New Website - Kevin Fishburne has relaunched the website for Eight Virtues Games.
- Sylph: Project Miyaji Pre-Alpha #6 Coming Soon - Kevin Fishburne has released a gameplay video from the upcoming sixth pre-alpha release of Sylph: Project Miyaji, which also features a new piece of music from the game’s soundtrack.
- Sylph: Project Miyaji Alpha 6 Released - Kevin Fishburne has released the sixth alpha build of Sylph: Project Miyaji, his SHMUP for Linux.
- Sylph: Project Miyaji: Alpha Release 7 Available for Download - Kevin Fishburne has released the seventh alpha version of his SHMUP for Linux, Sylph: Project Miyaji.
- Sylph: Project Miyaji: Check Out the SA-08 Starfighter - Kevin Fishburne has been working on the model of the starfighter that players will use in Sylph: Project Miyaji.
- Sylph: A History in Screenshots - Kevin Fishburne has released a video showcasing, with screenshots, the evolution of Sylph: Project Miyaji.
- Sylph: Pre-Alpha 8; Physics Improvements; Audio Transitioning to OpenAL - Kevin Fishburne has released several new videos showcasing changes coming in the eighth pre-alpha release of Sylph: Project Miyaji.
- Support Sylph: Project Miyaji on Kickstarter - Kevin Fishburne has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the cover art for Sylph: Project Miyaji, which he has enlisted Indi Martin to create.
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Ultima VI Gates of Creation by OC ReMix