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Ultima Underworld


SneaksieDave
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[ Off-topic: :wub: @ rebb's UW avatar! One of the best of all time. ]

 

[off-topic] Reminds me, I still have a shrink-wrapped original UW in my cabinet... maybe I should open it?

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." -- George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)

 

"Remember: If the game lets you do it, it's not cheating." -- Xarax

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[off-topic] Reminds me, I still have a shrink-wrapped original UW in my cabinet... maybe I should open it?

 

Nooooo ! It will probably crumble into dust once air reaches it. ( prepares plans to sneak into Tels' domain at night )

;)

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[Offtopic:

 

http://www.computerandvideogames.com/article.php?id=28003

 

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=ultima+underworld+gameplay&aq=3 {spoilers, obviously. Man, I'm practically weepy with nostalgia just seeing these vids. You can see many features just from the vids (e.g. quasi-physics, lighting, dialog trees, inventory, crafting, automap, enormous levels you can leave and return to, loot!, dynamic music system, first person melee, swim-able water, a gesture system, trading system, diverse spellcasting, etc., etc. Makes me wanna break out DOSbox.)

 

Freakin' 1992, dudes. Eighteen freakin' years ago! Blue Sky / (soon to be) Looking Glass genius dawning, is what it is.

 

"Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss shipped in March 1992 - two whole months before John 'Quake' Carmack and Apogee released Wolfenstein 3D - something worth remembering if you assumed that Wolfenstein 'started' the whole 3D revolution."

 

"Following the release of the second Ultima Underworld game - Labyrinth Of Worlds - both Paul and Doug, as well as many of their UU colleagues, took their experience to games such as System Shock, Terra Nova and Thief for Looking Glass Technologies"

 

Edit: I'm throwing in a pretty hilarious UU2 review for the hell of it:

]

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[Offtopic:

 

http://www.computerandvideogames.com/article.php?id=28003

 

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=ultima+underworld+gameplay&aq=3 {spoilers, obviously. Man, I'm practically weepy with nostalgia just seeing these vids. You can see many features just from the vids (e.g. quasi-physics, lighting, dialog trees, inventory, crafting, automap, enormous levels you can leave and return to, loot!, dynamic music system, first person melee, swim-able water, a gesture system, trading system, diverse spellcasting, etc., etc. Makes me wanna break out DOSbox.)

 

Freakin' 1992, dudes. Eighteen freakin' years ago! Blue Sky / (soon to be) Looking Glass genius dawning, is what it is.

 

"Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss shipped in March 1992 - two whole months before John 'Quake' Carmack and Apogee released Wolfenstein 3D - something worth remembering if you assumed that Wolfenstein 'started' the whole 3D revolution."

 

"Following the release of the second Ultima Underworld game - Labyrinth Of Worlds - both Paul and Doug, as well as many of their UU colleagues, took their experience to games such as System Shock, Terra Nova and Thief for Looking Glass Technologies"

 

Edit: I'm throwing in a pretty hilarious UU2 review for the hell of it:

]

 

We should start an UW thread for sure. Anyway, the box I have is "UW II". Oh, and I really love the athmosphere of that game, just watching yourtube wants me to play it again. It is lovely how the "black fog" obscures everything, meaning you need to go forwards to find out what comes which adds a nice sense of "exploring" (although I am pretty sure their game engine was just uncapable of rendering so fa ahead :D

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." -- George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)

 

"Remember: If the game lets you do it, it's not cheating." -- Xarax

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*Sigh*

Those were the days...

 

Also, I loved Betrayal at Krondor, which I am sure Mortem Desino likes according to his avatar over this forum.

BAK still works modern computers with dosbox. Try it.

Clipper

-The mapper's best friend.

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It's really a shame that no one can seem to bring this level of greatness back to the table anymore. But why not? I wonder about this pretty often.

 

* Is it about greedy corporate publishers who attempt to maximize payoff-for-labor-involved ratio?

I mean, that's what they're supposed to do, right?

 

* On that note, what about quasi-monopoly (e.g. Electronic Arts, Ubisoft)

This however is not how it's supposed to be. When companies like EA buy up rights to everything they can lay their hands on, it limits what developers can do to some extent.

 

* Are devs not hungry enough? Why waste energy coming up with something new when you can lazily re-hash and do reasonably well enough to pay your rent and keep the car gassed up. All while having a "cool job." WTF, seriously.

 

* Is there too much competition, washing out creative focus? If you have to compete to get to market, battling time pressures and budgets, does the product suffer? No doubt.

 

* Are devs inexperienced, not talented enough? IMO, the first truly great games came from people like Garriott and Carmack and the team at Blue Sky (I'm not sure who specifically to give credit to) and the like, true hardcore computer and game nerds. I say that in complimentary fashion. Visionaries. "MIT grads," if you will (hopefully you know the reference). People with the brains and creativity to pull it off. Back in the days when kids grew up on D&D into adults who still played, using no more than dice, paper, lead figures, and imagination. There are endless other good devs and good platforms (ah, C64), but there are few true innovators, those who trailblazed in new and better directions. Today, you can go to University for a "degree in game design!" and suddenly find yourself working on a team of 170 other people who took the same route. Smart people, sure, and gamers (hopefully). But are they too "average" to bring forth great game design?

 

 

Or something else altogether? How many things currently stifle good game design?

 

 

Crap, I think I may have just off-topic'd this already off-topic topic. Well, if it becomes necessary we can split again.

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hehe I started playing Might and Magic 4-7 the past few days.

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It's really a shame that no one can seem to bring this level of greatness back to the table anymore. But why not? I wonder about this pretty often.

...

Or something else altogether? How many things currently stifle good game design?

 

It is probably a lot more banal than that. Developing current-generation games has become so expensive that companies find it impossible to justify the risk of not playing safe. Making something like Underworld with modern assets (highres textures, highpoly objects and AI etc.) would also be an incredibly large project, requiring more effort than a development cycle could sustain financially. There are probably a lot more reasons that don't involve anything particularly evil or assholish.

 

This will only change if the game industry develops a "BBB" niche for projects with a smaller budget and less glitzy technology/graphics, targeted at smaller audiences and allowing for more risk/innovation. Until then, it is all going to be formulaic to an extent, and the boldest "immersive sim" games will be along the lines of Bioshock.

Come the time of peril, did the ground gape, and did the dead rest unquiet 'gainst us. Our bands of iron and hammers of stone prevailed not, and some did doubt the Builder's plan. But the seals held strong, and the few did triumph, and the doubters were lain into the foundations of the new sanctum. -- Collected letters of the Smith-in-Exile, Civitas Approved

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It is probably a lot more banal than that. Developing current-generation games has become so expensive that companies find it impossible to justify the risk of not playing safe. Making something like Underworld with modern assets (highres textures, highpoly objects and AI etc.) would also be an incredibly large project, requiring more effort than a development cycle could sustain financially. There are probably a lot more reasons that don't involve anything particularly evil or assholish.

 

 

This.

 

I remember watching a video about the early years of Mortal Kombat. I think the first game was made by 1 programmer, 1 sound guy and 2 artists. Along with Boon and Tobias.

 

As technology gets more advanced and complex, it takes more to get a project going.

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companies find it impossible to justify the risk of not playing safe... There are probably a lot more reasons that don't involve anything particularly evil or assholish.

Yes but they take a very narrow and flawed view of it. One of the things that drives me crazy is, don't they realize there's value in that:

 

* hardcore gamers do exist and we do have significant numbers

* we are still playing and modding for Thief 12 years later

* we are still playing Ultima >20 years later

* we are still playing and modding Doom 18 years later

etc.

 

We might not be as many in number as the couch Halo / Madden crowd, but we stay for the duration, and there is value in that. If they'd make us another [fill in awesome title here], we'd play it. And I do believe to some extent they're trying, just failing.

 

I really think the future's best gaming lies in mods and indies; development from gamers who do it for the love of the game, not because they can do it for a living.

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The game engine for Ultima Underworld is the first iteration of what became the Dark Engine. So it's worth recognizing as in a direct line to the scene we're a part of.

 

Actually it's kind of cool that Wolfenstein 3D and Ultima Underworld came out right about the same time to launch the 3D scene. For us, both are spiritual grandfathers at the roots of Dark Mod, and I like to think that we tap into that original spirit.

What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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This reminds me that I have here a box of Ultima IX: Ascension. (english and german, well english is just a burned CDs) As this came out there were no computers on earth to have this at playable speed. Now I played the demo again, and it runs fine and made a lot of fun. I never played the old ones but remembering the hype about Ascension I was wondering why no one mentioned it here. (Melan seemed to talk about it without knowing it exits ;) ) So, what do you think about it or were you (maybe) never be able to play it with more than 10 FPS? ;) Or is it not that good?

I bought it last year (for a price like it would´ve just come out), but wanted to 'save time' until I´m able to let me fully suck into it, because it seems like a very large game...

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So, what do you think about it or were you (maybe) never be able to play it with more than 10 FPS? ;) Or is it not that good?

The more you loved earlier Ultimas, the more you will hate it. Considerable dumbing-down, glaring plot and continuity holes, although with some really nice graphics, beautiful music and entertaining exploration (I could even cross a hypothetically uncrossable mountain range and totally ruin the plotline).

 

If you want to play it, play it with the fan patch that changes NPC lines to more substantial ones and also rebalances the game with better inventory etc. It is a huge change, and you will lose spoken dialogue, but it makes the game almost worthwhile.

Come the time of peril, did the ground gape, and did the dead rest unquiet 'gainst us. Our bands of iron and hammers of stone prevailed not, and some did doubt the Builder's plan. But the seals held strong, and the few did triumph, and the doubters were lain into the foundations of the new sanctum. -- Collected letters of the Smith-in-Exile, Civitas Approved

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I never played the old ones but remembering the hype about Ascension I was wondering why no one mentioned it here.

Having played (over the decades) Ultimas III - IX, UO for a couple of years (private UDUO/Legacy server), and both Underworlds, I think I can safely assert: Because it is in now way whatsoever anywhere near as good as Ultima Underworld. :)

 

It was decent (despite the graphics and stability problems, plot problems, the silliness of an endgame fistfight with The Guardian, the emptiness and smallness of the world, the piss-poor dungeons, and countless other problems I don't care to spend my time listing), but in many ways wasn't much improved over Pagan. I liked them both fine, but they are the reason the series died out, and didn't live up to the standards set by IV - VII/SI.

 

If you want huge games (in more ways than just size), do try those.

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Another fun and huge exploration game is Daggerfall.

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My favorite RPG back in the day was Bard's Tale 2. The only Ultima that I played in its time was Ultima I on the C64, but I remember it being this huge world to explore, which I loved.

 

Because of this thread I tried to see if I could get Ultima Underworld running on DosBox and it worked! So I had fun playing the top level of the Abyss last night. Looking at the games coming out at the time, especially in that genre, I can see why the 3D world made such a splash. You were really "in" in the world for the first time, not just watching a slideshow of the walls.

 

Actually, what's interesting is how it's still blending two worlds. It still has a lot of familiar elements from late 80s/early 90s RPGs like the other Ultima's, Bard's Tales, Pool of Radiance, Knights of Krynn (very nostalgically so) ... you're still clicking things in the 3D "window" to pick them up like icons and dragging them to your guy-slots, and it's still a window, rather than being the actual world surrounding you. It's still learning the potential of 3D games. But seeing them tied together like that now accentuates how radical a jump it was and you really feel like this is something new and awesome going on. Then a little later you see in System Shock 1 how they progressed the paradigm a little. You're more "in" the world now, sort of, but they can't quite let go of the window-framing and abstracted movement yet. Then when you get to Thief & System Shock 2 they've really immersed you and simulated the world and the rest is history.

What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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@Ultima Underground; hmm... I'd play it but last I heard someone was making a cool gl port with mouse support. I'll wait till that comes out...

 

That's why I decided to play SS1, mouse support made it a lot less annoying to get around.

I've actually taken to making sure that my little brother is playing system shock 1 every so often :D He wants to play jump to system shock 2 but I told he wouldn't get system shock 2 unless he finished with his system shock.

 

He enjoys it, but he's so used to playing games like oblivion and border lands which are quite easy and he's having trouble even knowing when to use a berserk drug :o

 

I wish EA would bloody drop the rights to system shock so I could be free to play around with remaking/sequel-ling it. Imagine using the dark mod as a base for a system shock remake ? how practical and ironic :)

 

I've played Arena and gotten bored after i gave the princess her stupid thing she wanted, then I played daggerfall which is kinda cool for it's dungeons but the villages are a bit boring, and the world is TOO BIG. However, some guy is making is look a little more like morrowind and with better controls, so once again, I'll wait. Otherwise I can go without.

Edited by Mr Lemony Fresh
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