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Default Ultima VII Part I - Gaming Made Me @ RPS

November 15th, 2011, 15:45
Rock, Paper, Shotgun's Adam Smith writes about the game that made him a "gamer" - Ultima VII:
More than anything, Ultima VII was the game that first made me realise I preferred worlds that moved around me rather than worlds that I simply moved through. The way that worlds come alive for me can be in the history-changing sweep of a grand strategy game or something as simple as the addition of day-night cycles. It can be an attempt to simulate an ecosystem or something as simple as enemies actually dropping the equipment I can see they were carrying seconds before they crumpled to the ground. It all adds to the sense of existing in a world, which adds to my enjoyment of creating narrative in that world. And Ultima VII was one of the places that form of creativity first sparked for me.
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November 15th, 2011, 15:45
I had a lot of the same feelings as the author. Though I had been playing Ultima since III, and played both the WoU spin offs, I think VII was what really cemented it to me as THE rpg series. It's funny that he mentions that even though he encountered some game stopping bugs, it didn't deter his love for it. I had the same thing. The point where you had to use the telescope would lock up my dad's 386. I would have to pull the plug to reboot the computer. Origin sent me replacement discs that fixed some bugs, but this one still happened.

Yet I still loved the game and when I went to college the next Fall and got a 486 SX 25 (thank you Dell Factory Outlet!) using literally ALL of my savings, the first thing I did was load up Ultima VII and see if the bug reoccurred, an it didn't! That game was about 50% responsible for going from taking 4 classes and having 3 A's and one B+ after 1/3 of the term to finishing with two B's, a C, and a D! (The other 50% being my ex-girlfriend dumping me, which probably made me sink even farther into U7!)

Ahh, good times!

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November 15th, 2011, 16:22
Don't you need good grades to get into finance ?

The game actually broke my screen, I kept playing and playing and suddenly the screen went black and died on me, apparently it had something to do with the refresh rate. It was quite expensive for me to have it fixed… but I booted the game right up again after that.
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November 15th, 2011, 17:01
Originally Posted by GothicGothicness View Post
Don't you need good grades to get into finance ?
Yup! That's why I went to grad school!

The game actually broke my screen, I kept playing and playing and suddenly the screen went black and died on me, apparently it had something to do with the refresh rate. It was quite expensive for me to have it fixed… but I booted the game right up again after that.
Hmm, maybe that is what killed my Dell monitor about a year later. It caught on fire! Literally flames came out of the back! It actually turned back on after that, but everything was a shade of pink. Dell had actually recalled the monitor though, so I got a new one for fee.

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November 16th, 2011, 01:09
The article brought tears to my eyes. Reminded me of why this is my favorite RPG.

I haven't really gone back to seriously replay it though (though I have made some progress in Serpent Isle, which I never completed due to one of those game-stopping bugs people keep talking about…). Part of me wonders if it's because of a subconscious fear that, on a replay, I'll discover that it's not really as good as I remember and it will cease to be my favorite or something. I know it has some horrendous flaws. Games with great ambition frequently do.

Amusingly, as one commenter notes, Ultima VII in some ways does exactly the opposite of what I love about old-school RPGs. But I loved it anyway for the world and story. This is why I don't get too religious about my preferences for RPGs. Modern, old-school, action, turn-based, Western, JRPG-style… I do have some preferences, but a great game will win me over no matter what.
Last edited by RampantCoyote; November 16th, 2011 at 01:24.
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November 16th, 2011, 01:35
Serpent Isle was fun. I liked the little things like different clans to join, different coins for the three towns and it was a new place to explore.

Still hate the combat though. Would be perfect except for that.

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November 16th, 2011, 02:59
Heh - before I went back to replay Serpent Isle, I realized I couldn't remember how combat worked in U7. Then I played it and remembered, "Oh, it didn't!"
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November 16th, 2011, 04:13
Well you can never quite go back, but that's ok. That's what GoG has taught me. I'll get an old beloved game and get the cool "oh crap its 4am" feeling for a time, but those times just become shorter and shorter. It's just part of being human, honestly. You need to keep moving on and learning and experiencing new stuff. Sometimes that might be new games and sometimes it might be something different.
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November 16th, 2011, 04:37
Ultima VII was the game that caused me to make the leap from the Amiga to the PC. I loved the Ultima series and U7 wasn't released for the Amiga. The opening sequence blew me away! But as much as I loved it, Serpent Isle was even better (in my opinion!)

Sigh… makes me miss the days when Ultima was king of the RPG roost.
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November 16th, 2011, 05:51
Originally Posted by Bedwyr View Post
Well you can never quite go back, but that's ok. That's what GoG has taught me. I'll get an old beloved game and get the cool "oh crap its 4am" feeling for a time, but those times just become shorter and shorter. It's just part of being human, honestly. You need to keep moving on and learning and experiencing new stuff. Sometimes that might be new games and sometimes it might be something different.
I don't agree at all. I replay old games all the time and love it. I can't you how many times I've replayed old games like Starflight or Pool of Radiance.

The best part of going back is that you can pick and choose the best out of the bunch. No wasting your time on throw away games that were fun for awhile, but in the end they weren't that memorable.

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November 16th, 2011, 06:39
Originally Posted by skavenhorde View Post
I don't agree at all. I replay old games all the time and love it. I can't you how many times I've replayed old games like Starflight or Pool of Radiance.

The best part of going back is that you can pick and choose the best out of the bunch. No wasting your time on throw away games that were fun for awhile, but in the end they weren't that memorable.
I suppose that means the phenomenon isn't a mathematically functional certainty. But I'm pretty sure its a factual trend in human experience. If you kept re-playing and re-playing, re-reading and re-reading, re-watching and re-watching the same thing should probably happen with increasing frequency. I think it's the same psychological thing that makes you think your childhood was a really big portion of your life and the last year of your adulthood went by like <snaps fingers>. In other words, just a part of being human.
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November 16th, 2011, 10:40
There's this little bubble of wonder that rises up inside me when reading that article, and the fond memories it brings back. Even just hearing the sounds of U VII in my head does the same. Magical game for me.

And possibly with that in mind, something's been tugging at me while playing Skyrim as well. It's nothing solid that I can point out, just a little hint as I turn through a cave and see a stream babbling through. There's something of the magic there. It's not overt, and I was actually a little turned off by first impressions, but there's something under the surface that's threatening to grab me.
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November 16th, 2011, 12:47
And now Garriott is making Social Facebook games? Sometimes the world gets worse instead of better.

Imagine if he'd created something like Ultima VII with modern technology. Of course I suppose it would hardly be possible because the cost would be so enormous…….
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November 16th, 2011, 13:35
Originally Posted by skavenhorde View Post
I don't agree at all. I replay old games all the time and love it. I can't you how many times I've replayed old games like Starflight or Pool of Radiance.

The best part of going back is that you can pick and choose the best out of the bunch. No wasting your time on throw away games that were fun for awhile, but in the end they weren't that memorable.
For me, there is definitely a threshold. I played through Ultima IV years back and enjoyed it, but certainly not to the level I did as a kid, where as replaying BG1&2 I enjoyed every bit as much each time I play them as I did the first time I picked them up.

I recently replayed U6. I'm to the point where I only need one map piece. It's been fun, but I kind of lost interest. I'll probably pick it up again though. I've tried playing Ultima 7 a couple times and I have found it a bit difficult to get back into. I think part of it is the way the graphics look on my PC. I can't stand it being in a 320x240 window (though it looks best like that), but blowing it up, even with using the multipliers that smooth things out, it looks kind of bad. I think I just need to set aside about 4 or 5 hours one day and I'll end up getting sucked back in.

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November 16th, 2011, 15:53
Exult, my friend, Exult. It's the only way I can even like U7. Unlike most I despised what it did. I loved my Ultima turnbased battles and that was gone. I refused to buy U7. I'm odd though and forgave them by the time Serpent Isle came around and bought that. I liked it more than I thought I would, but I was right in the fact that Ultima combat would never be the same.

Anyway, Exult gets rid of that 320x240 and makes the combat enjoyable again….sorta. At least I can see the enemies farther away and blast them before they are on top of me.

So for your next playthrough try Exult. You will be glad you did ……I just sounded like a commercial. All that it needed was the mentos theme song and "Exult! The freshmaker!"

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November 16th, 2011, 16:02
Originally Posted by skavenhorde View Post
Exult, my friend, Exult. It's the only way I can even like U7. Unlike most I despised what it did. I loved my Ultima turnbased battles and that was gone. I refused to buy U7. I'm odd though and forgave them by the time Serpent Isle came around and bought that. I liked it more than I thought I would, but I was right in the fact that Ultima combat would never be the same.

Anyway, Exult gets rid of that 320x240 and makes the combat enjoyable again….sorta. At least I can see the enemies farther away and blast them before they are on top of me.

So for your next playthrough try Exult. You will be glad you did ……I just sounded like a commercial. All that it needed was the mentos theme song and "Exult! The freshmaker!"
Actually each time I've tried it has been with Exult. I've used their scaling options (tried a couple different ones). I didn't increase the actual area you can view though as I heard that that can cause breaks.

I'd actually thought about trying it in DosBox this time. Thrasher posted the config file he used on another thread.

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November 16th, 2011, 21:23
Yeah the Thrasher dosbox is the way I will play it next time too. The game was designed to not let you see more than 320x240 and the exhult things actually create a few bugs.

I agree combat is not good, even if it can be fun on some occasions. But aside from that the game is superb without any improvements what-so-ever, except the dosbox screen filtering of course.
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November 16th, 2011, 21:38
I also used Exult for Ultima VII, but I didn't go higher than 800x600. I felt like I was using an exploit to see too much of the gameworld at higher resolutions, but anything lower than 640x480 was just too hard on the eyes.
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November 16th, 2011, 22:41
Well, IIRC there were two ways to increase the size in Exult. The first was just a scaler that took the 320 x240 window and made it some multiple of that, then smoothed the jagged edges. That didn't cause any breaks. The second actually let you resize it and see more of the world, which did.

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November 16th, 2011, 22:45
Well, I'm glad you guys like U7 so much. Maybe part 2 is a lot better, but I found the part 1 gameplay tedious (inventory and combat and movement (ship placement anyone?)) plus practically zero character development. NPCs, world design, dialog were great, though…

Broken record? Nevermind.
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