The Spam Spam Spam Humbug crew review development on (and news about) Underworld Ascendant that took place in 2015.
UA Theme 1, from the Underworld Ascendant soundtrack
New Patrons & Shout-Outs
A shout-out to whoever recommended us for a Featured Podcast listing on Podbean.
New Followers & Ultima Dragons
Ultima Dragons on Facebook: Jon, Ric, Julian, Shane, Sven, Kenneth, Visa, Jim, Keith, Lukasz, Markus, Chris, Tad, Deep, Marcus, Chris
Follow-Up From Previous Episode(s)
Just a note to...well, anyone who may have attempted to add me as a friend on Facebook. Which is to say: if you add me as a friend on FB, shoot me an email as well so that I know who you are. I don't always reject friend requests out of hand, but I don't always accept them either if I can't find some tenuous connection to something or someone I know.
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 Underworld Ascendant over the course of 2015. This was a pretty big year for the project (which first came to light in mid-2014); it had a successful run on Kickstarter (although for a while there, there was room for some doubt as to whether it would make its base goal), its setting was confirmed to be something near and dear to — or dreaded by, depending on your point of view — Ultima fans' hearts, and a tie-in with Richard Garriott's Shroud of the Avatar was revealed. Later on in the year, we even got our first look at an area of the game, at least in prototypical form.
- (9 JAN, 2015) Underworld Ascension: Awesome Stuff Next Month — OtherSide Entertainment are teasing some big news coming soon.
- (20 JAN, 2015) OtherSide Entertainment: Underworld Ascension News Coming Tomorrow — OtherSide Entertainment have an announcement to make tomorrow. What will we learn about Underworld Ascension then?
- (21 JAN, 2015) Underworld Ascension Renamed to Underworld Ascendant; Concept Art and Music Released; Kickstarter Begins February 4th (Updated) — OtherSide Entertainment have announced that Underworld Ascension now goes by the name Underworld Ascendant. And they have released some concept art — and a music track — for the game!
- (21 JAN, 2015) #IAmTheAvatar: Are Underworld Ascendant and Shroud of the Avatar Set in the Same Universe? — A tweet by Richard Garriott seems to imply a very close connection indeed between Shroud of the Avatar and Underworld Ascendant. Could they be set in the same universe and lore?
- (23 JAN, 2015) Underworld Ascendant: Built With Unity — In an interview with PCGamesN, Paul Neurath confirmed that OtherSide Entertainment will be using the Unity engine to craft Underworld Ascendant.
- (26 JAN, 2015) Underworld Ascendant: No Direct Ties With Shroud of the Avatar? And Almost Assuredly No Multiplayer! — Underworld Ascendant and Shroud of the Avatar may not be all that closely related after all. Multiplayer is also not a hot feature, it would seem.
- (30 JAN, 2015) Confirmed: Underworld Ascendant and Shroud of the Avatar Share Backstory, Fiction — Portalarium have confirmed that Shroud of the Avatar and Underworld Ascendant will share backstory and in-game fiction.
- (3 FEB, 2015) The Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter Begins Tomorrow! — OtherSide Entertainment will be kicking off the Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter campaign tomorrow.
- (3 FEB, 2015) Underworld Ascendant: Lurker Art Released — The Lurker is the first creature from Underworld Ascendant to be revealed. This is very fitting.
The Kickstarter Campaign
- (4 FEB, 2015) The Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter is Live — OtherSide Entertainment kicked off the Kickstarter campaign for Underworld Ascendant this morning.
- (4 FEB, 2015) Underworld Ascendant’s Kickstarter Is Off To a Fine Start (And So Is the UnderWiki) — The Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter campaign has done well in its first day. And the UnderWiki is growing at a significant pace!
- (10 FEB, 2015) Confirmed: Underworld Ascendant Set In THE Stygian Abyss…From Ultima Underworld — OtherSide Entertainment have confirmed that Underworld Ascendant is set in Ultima’s Great Stygian Abyss.
- (12 FEB, 2015) Underworld Ascendant: Now on Steam Greenlight — Vote for Underworld Ascendant on Steam Greenlight!
- (17 FEB, 2015) Underworld Ascendant: Terri Brosius (Shodan) and Stephen L. Russell (Garrett) Announced as Voice Actors — As part of their efforts to promote the ongoing Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter campaign, OtherSide Entertainment have made a pair of announcements concerning the voice cast for the game.
- (17 FEB, 2015) Underworld Ascendant: On Fallen Utopias (Also: Shroud of the Avatar Crossover Item) — Underworld Ascendant will revisit the theme of a fallen utopia that formed the core of Ultima Underworld’s plot.
- (18 FEB, 2015) Underworld Ascendant: Techncial Details; Collector’s Edition Box to be Drawn by Denis Loubet — Denis Loubet will draw the cover art for the Collectors Edition boxes of Underworld Ascendant.
- (19 FEB, 2015) Underworld Ascendant: Mac and Linux Support Now a Base Goal (Also: Tracy Hickman) — OtherSide Entertainment have announced that Mac and Linux support will now be base features of Underworld Ascendant. And Tracy Hickman has signed on to write the Underworld Ascendant novel.
- (20 FEB, 2015) Underworld Ascendant: Greenlit on Steam — Underworld Ascendant has been Greenlit on Steam. Now it just needs to succeed on Kickstarter.
- (20 FEB, 2015) Underworld Ascendant: $500,000 Raised; Base Goal Nearly Reached — The Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter campaign has reached the $500,000 mark; the base funding goal is in sight!
- (25 FEB, 2015) Underworld Ascendant: Runic Magic Confirmed (Also: T-Shirts) — OtherSide Entertainment have confirmed that Underworld Ascendant will use the Runic Magic system of the Underworld games.
- (26 FEB, 2015) Underworld Ascendant: Combat System Teased; New Reward Tier Announced — OtherSide Entertainment have added a new reward tier to the Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter campaign, and have released some details about their plans for its combat system.
- (27 FEB, 2015) Underworld Ascendant: Under $3,000 Away From Its Kickstarter Goal — The Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter campaign has just about reached its base funding goal; less than $3,000 left to go!
- (27 FEB, 2015) Underworld Ascendant: Kickstarter Goal Reached; Oculus Rift Support Being Considered — Underworld Ascendant reached its base Kickstarter goal this morning. With six days left, there’s still time for it to reach a stretch goal or two!
- (27 FEB, 2015) Underworld Ascendant: Stretch Goals Reworked; Lizardmen Take Priority — OtherSide Entertainment have reworked the stretch goals for Underworld Ascendant.
- (1 MAR, 2015) Underworld Ascendant: Underswamp Stretch Goal Reached — The first stretch goal in the Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter campaign has been reached.
- (3 MAR, 2015) Underworld Ascendant: $700,000 Raised; Tracy Hickman Novel Available as Add-On — The Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter campaign reached $700,000 today, meaning that the Tracy Hickman novel for the game has been unlocked.
- (4 MAR, 2015) Underworld Ascendant: $750,000 Raised; Lizardmen Unlocked — The Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter campaign reached the $750,000 milestone today, which means that Lizardmen will be added to the game.
- (5 MAR, 2015) Underworld Ascendant: $800,000 Raised; Future Crowdfunding Plans Detailed — The Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter has reached another stretch goal: companion creatures and enhanced music will be added to the game.
- (6 MAR, 2015) Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter Ends; $859,056 Raised — The Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter campaign has ended, having raised over $850,000. Which, yes, means that one more stretch goal was unlocked.
- (10 MAR, 2015) Underworld Ascendant: Website-Based Crowdfunding Live; PayPal Available — OtherSide Entertainment have launched the Underworld Ascendant store on the game’s website, whereat its crowdfunding campaign continues.
Design & Prototyping
- (11 MAR, 2015) Underworld Ascendant: Lizardmen Vote; Rough Prototype Release Schedule Given — OtherSide Entertainment have released a rough release schedule for Underworld Ascendant prototypes, and want your opinion about Lizardmen designs.
- (21 MAR, 2015) Underworld Ascendant: Backer Survey Imminent; Lizardman Vote Redux — OtherSide Entertainment will be sending out backer surveys for Underworld Ascendant next week.
- (31 MAR, 2015) Underworld Ascendant: When Simple Things Aren’t — The Underworld Ascendant team are having issues migrating backer data from Kickstarter. But the Lizardman design has been settled upon!
- (2 APR, 2015) Underworld Ascendant: Laying the Groundwork — The Underworld Ascendant team have been exploring the features of Unity 5 lately (eg. Physically-Based Rendering).
- (6 APR, 2015) OtherSide Entertainment Is Looking For an Art Lead — OtherSide Entertainment have posted a job opening for an Art Lead to the Gamasutra job boards.
- (12 APR, 2015) Underworld Ascendant: The Consequence of Ecology — OtherSide Entertainment discuss the ecology of Underworld: Ascendant’s Stygian Abyss.
- (19 APR, 2015) Underworld Ascendant – Update #40: All Lava, No Lamps — On Friday, OtherSide Entertainment released Update 40 for Underworld Ascendant. Within, Senior Producer Chris Siegel discusses lava.
- (28 APR, 2015) Underworld Ascendant: It’s Getting Hot in Here! — The latest Underworld Ascendant update is all about lava. Lava…and particle systems.
- (4 MAY, 2015) Underworld Ascendant: Testing Unity 5 — The latest Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter update talks about several advanced features of the Unity 5 engine.
- (11 MAY, 2015) Underworld Ascendant: Fire and Trap Damage — OtherSide Entertainment discuss things that cause damage to the player in the latest Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter update.
- (20 MAY, 2015) Underworld Ascendant: Magic System Design; Necropolis Concept Art — Runic magic will be back, and better than ever, in Underworld Ascendant.
- (22 MAY, 2015) Underworld Ascendant: Regular Updates Moving Off of Kickstarter; Many Questions Answered — Regular Underworld Ascendant updates will be moving to direct email distribution.
- (1 JUN, 2015) Underworld Ascendant: Art Concept Progression — OtherSide Entertainment give us a look at the process of creating concept art for Underworld Ascendant.
- (9 JUN, 2015) Underworld Ascendant: What’s in a Biome? — The latest Underworld Ascendant update discusses the different biomes found within the Abyss.
- (12 JUN, 2015) Underworld Ascendant: Tyball Will Be a Lich In the Abyss — OtherSide Entertainment have made liches (and Tyball) part of Underworld Ascendant’s $900,000 stretch goal.
- (24 JUN, 2015) Underworld Ascendant: Answers from the Abyss #2; News Updates Now Bi-Weekly — News updates about Underworld Ascendant will now come every two weeks.
- (6 JUL, 2015) Underworld Ascendant: Reaching for the Lich — Underworld Ascendant still needs a few thousand more dollars to reach the stretch goal that will see Tyball re-appear in the Abyss as a lich.
- (21 JUL, 2015) Underworld Ascendant: Shadow Beasts — Shadow Beasts will be returning to the Abyss for Underworld Ascendant. Strike in all directions!
- (4 AUG, 2015) Underworld Ascendant: Pillars and Prototypes, and $900,000 Raised (Which Means Liches) — Underworld Ascendant reached its $900,000 stretch goal today. And there’s also a new development update.
- (17 AUG, 2015) Underworld Ascendant: Breaking Free of Fantasy Tropes — The latest update to the Underworld Ascendant website discusses OtherSide Entertainment’s plans to avoid the pitfalls of common fantasy tropes.
- (18 SEP, 2015) Underworld Ascendant: Prototype Progress — Progress is being made on the first playable prototype of Underworld Ascendant.
- (30 SEP, 2015) Underworld Ascendant: Curious Conversations — OtherSide Entertainment gives us a look at how they sometimes go about designing features of Underworld Ascendant…over lunch.
- (7 OCT, 2015) Underworld Ascendant: First Glimpse of Gameplay at PC Gamer — Some Underworld Ascendant gameplay footage was shown off on the most recent episode of The PC Gamer Show.
- (15 OCT, 2015) Underworld Ascendant: September Prototype Video With Tim Stellmach Narration — Another look at the prototype footage for Underworld Ascendant.
- (10 NOV, 2015) Underworld Ascendant: What Is a Physics-Based Game? — OtherSide Entertainment discuss how physics will impact the gameplay of Underworld Ascendant.
- (24 NOV, 2015) Underworld Ascendant: Very First Build Releasing to (Certain) Backers — High-level backers of Underworld Ascendant will be getting a first taste of the game very soon.
- (8 DEC, 2015) Underworld Ascendant: Prototype Rolling Out to More Backers — OtherSide Entertainment will be rolling out access to prototype builds of the game to more backers…via a $5 pledge add-on.
- (23 DEC, 2015) Underworld Ascendant: First Prototype Available to More Backers; First Foray into Combat — The last update from the Underworld Ascendant team for 2015 brings news of the first prototype of the game being made available to more backers, and also discusses how combat will be implemented.
Always remember: If you like Spam Spam Spam Humbug, please leave us a review on iTunes, Stitcher, Podbean, or anywhere else you listen to us. More important than that, however, is to make sure you subscribe to the podcast. This is especially true for iTunes; the more subscriptions a podcast has, the more visible it will be in iTunes. So, even if you subscribe to us using some other, better technology (Pocket Casts, for example), consider subscribing in iTunes (or in the Podcasts app) as well.
There's also the Ultima Codex Patreon. A $1 pledge will get you access to Spam Spam Spam Humbug episodes the day before they go live here on the Ultima Codex, and you'll be helping me both maintain and — with sufficient funding — expand the server infrastructure of the Codex to better deliver all the things you come looking for thereat. You can also support the site by buying computer games through GOG; the Codex is a GOG affiliate. This one is really easy; all you have to do is visit the Codex and click on the GOG banner in the sidebar before you go and buy a game at GOG. You won't pay any more for the game, but we'll get a bit of a commission on the sale.
Also, if you haven't already, you should totally sign on with the Ultima Dragons group on Facebook, or with the Ultima Dragons community on Google+ . The Facebook group is easily the larger and more lively, but that just means that the Google+ one needs a few more members posting content there on a more regular basis. Also, don't forget to contribute to the #udic hashtag if you're on Twitter.
As well, please consider Liking the Facebook page for The Ultima Series, following the Ultima Codex on Twitter, or encircling the Ultima Codex on Google+. And whatever social network you favour, please also consider sharing any content posted to those social media profiles with your own followers and friends; spread the word, spread the Ultima.
Finally, if you'd like to recommend anyone for a shout-out, send us an email...which you can also use to suggest podcast topics, offer commentary or criticism about podcast episodes, and/or to volunteer your time as either an occasional or regular contributor to podcast sessions.
Where to Find Us Online
UA Theme 1, from the Underworld Ascendant soundtrack