Ultima IX: Ascension - All News
Tuesday - December 09, 2014
Ultima IX - Retrospective Review
Ultima Codex has a fairly long interview with Ultima IX's lead programmer, Bill Randolph.
Over the years, a lot of cut content has come to light about the game; this is actually true of a lot of different Ultimas. But…systems and features that were removed from Ultima 9 during its development. And the assumption has kind of always been that this has been because of…whether it was difficult to implement those things, or there was just not enough time to implement them. To take one example: there’s a glitch in the game where — I believe it’s just after you get rescued from the dungeon Wrong — Raven, the pirate lady, gives you your equipment back. But sometimes, your sword…it’s actually in her hand; it’s equipped on her character model, as though she had an inventory slot there. It was rumoured that there was supposed to be a party system, with inventory management, at one point. Do you recall this feature at all? Was it cut before your time, or was that one of the things that got the axe during your tenure?
BR: Well, I can speak to the party system. I don’t know if the inventory glitch you’re describing is related to that or not. It’s entirely possible; when it comes to that codebase, I will just say that anything could be in there. Anything. In terms of party inventory management, I don’t recall there being a specific system for that, so I don’t know why she would have had it equipped in her hand; it could have easily just been a bug.
The party system was cut…I remember the meeting we had when that decision was made. And looking back, I regret that; I wish that we had not done that. At the time, we were so overwhelmed with technology and problems, and trying to keep the game moving forward. There were a lot of technical issues with having a party. There was performance — having that many NPCs always with you was going to be a performance problem. There was pathfinding — we had enormous problems with pathfinding, because our game…it was a free-form 3D world. It was a polygon soup; we didn’t have any kind of sorting of, or structural containers or quadtrees to help us sort through the polygon soup. We didn’t…I don’t think any game at that time had invented the concept of having a walkable surface, which is where you simply flag certain polygons as: “your feet go here!” That would have solved so much, if we had only thought of that. That would have been a huge amount of work to do, but if we had thought of that, that would have solved so much.
So, we just had enormous problems getting NPCs to pathfind, even around their tavern. “Can you walk around this counter and go to this table?” Sometimes they would walk over it; you’d walk into the bar and see the guy standing on top of the bar, and it’s like: “what are you doing up there?” And I remember I had an idea for pathfinding for parties, that I threw out there as kind of a joke. And it was just…maybe they can pathfind by just trying their best, and if you lose them, maybe when your camera looks away, and you look back, they’ll just be there; we’ll just teleport them to be with you. And everyone laughed and…you know what? There were games that shipped way after we did that did that exact thing, you know? Your NPC companions get stuck and then just…boop!…just teleport to you. That’s okay! It would have been okay. We just could not solve these problems, and so I think it was Richard who was just kind of on board with…”well, let’s just cut the party; we don’t really need it.”
Friday - August 24, 2012
Ultima IX - Released on GOG
This game can now be found at GOG. A tidbit from the promo:
Prepare to embark on the final adventure in Ultima--the best selling role-playing saga of all time that has nurtured generations of gamers. Answer the call and return to Britannia for your last epic quest. As the heroic Avatar, only you can save Lord British and his people from the evil Guardian who has devastated and corrupted the land. Valiant combat, magical prowess, and knowledge of the eight virtues are your weapons against evil in Ultima IX: Ascension
Also, be sure to visit GOG's Youtube channel.
Saturday - June 25, 2011
Ultima IX - Full Plot Documents
We recently posted about some Ultima IX plot summary documents at Ultima Aiera but Segorn writes that they now have the full final revision of the "Bob White plot", which runs to a massive 53 pages.
Thursday - June 16, 2011
Ultima IX - Plot Summary Documents
Ultima Aiera has more Ultima design docs with 26 pages of documentation on "Ed del Castillo’s revisions to the plot of Ultima 9".