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ScummVM officially testing Ultima IV, Ultima VI, and Ultima VIII

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Want to play some classic RPGs? ScummVM is helping to keep many classics alive and multiple Ultima titles should now work nicely in it.

On May 21 the team blogged that Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar has been added, based on work from the xu4 project. With the ability to play as the original or as an Enhanced edition with VGA graphics. The ScummVM integration gives it some extras like multiple saves, keybind configuration and more.

They also announced Ultima VI was added, based on the Nuvie project. Again this has an Enhanced mode, although it works differently, giving you things like a full-screen map and other features. They said due to a "miscommunication", the Nuvie project may also continue as a standalone project.

Today, May 25, they also announced their existing Ultima VIII integration has advanced so far that Ultima VIII can now be played through to completion!

All three games can be tested in their daily builds. Read more on the official site. However keep in mind you need the original games which can be picked up easily on GOG:

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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19 comments
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Patola 26 May
slaapliedje
PatolaScummVM is an incredible engine. I am not usually enthusiastic for old games, but in this case, I have to say, Ultima VIII was an amazing RPG.

Out of all of them you picked that as the amazing one? It was buggy and wasn't anything like any of the others. :P
VIII was the one which actually started having respectable graphics with a hint of depth, instead of pixelated smudges in a 2D plane. I don't appreciate playing with abstract tokens, I want to see convincing images of the places my character visits and recognizable shapes and faces for friends and foes.
noderunner 26 May
slaapliedjeHey, want to play Ultima Online? I mean if we got a group going on Linux, we'd be the only ones playing. I logged in there a few months ago and it was EMPTY. Monsters everywhere. It wasn't like it used to be where you'd walk near the bank in Britain and the whole game would just crawl.
Now days I play the Legends of Aria server called Legends of Ultima, check it out if you haven't already!
Lightkey 27 May
slaapliedje
PatolaScummVM is an incredible engine. I am not usually enthusiastic for old games, but in this case, I have to say, Ultima VIII was an amazing RPG.

Out of all of them you picked that as the amazing one? It was buggy and wasn't anything like any of the others. :P

EikeAnybody knows why not V and VII? They only like even numbers? :D
Feist
EikeAnybody knows why not V and VII? They only like even numbers? :D

Not sure about "V" but in the case of "VII" there is already Exult that runs that game pretty well and improves on the original in many ways.

http://exult.sourceforge.net

Well it's the same question about 1-3. Basically 4 had xu4 to a really great level, so ScummVM can just use that engine, but from what I have seen, xu4 hasn't been updated in a LONG time, so I think ScummVM is just pulling it under it's wing, and adding it as an 'also runs...' Now as you mention, VII already has the still developed Exult engine that is very excellent to run it. VI I think also has been stuck in it's development cycle for a long time (Nuvie, though they say they're still developing it as a standalone?). VIII, I wonder if the one that had been working on it (Pagan I think was the engine?) just joined ScummVM for the help?

Edit: Ultima VIII was called Pagan, the engine to remake it was called Pentagram! I still have the map somewhere...
Now if we can get 1-3 and IX...

It's a question about what is the simplest way to implement the (sub-)engines in ScummVM. The three selected titles were chosen because (mostly) dead projects for them already existed (and had a compatible licence!).
Nuvie still had a few edits a couple years ago but the maintainer got sidetracked with other projects, incidentally also with adventure games, which are part of ScummVM but he had not answered to e-mails before the merge and is still unsure about it.
Pentagram has been dead for a long time but it was actually started by former ScummVM developers who had also been working on Exult, so they used what they learned with ScummVM for the project structure, which helped integrating it "back". xu4 was long dead as well like you said, so this is the new home for it.
As for the rest, see Mnoleg's link where DreamMaster explains why Exult has been left alone (for now, anyway) and also scroll to the top, where he talks about his very own Ultima engine. While supporting all of them is the goal, Ultima II, III, and V might take many years. I remember following a similar project ~15 years ago for Ultima V called nu5 but it never got past the reverse-engineering step.
mos 27 May
Lightkey
but what the practical purpose of absorbing a mature and expansive project like Exult into scummvm would be?
Lightkey 28 May
mos
Lightkey
but what the practical purpose of absorbing a mature and expansive project like Exult into scummvm would be?

You get lots of free ports to other platforms and all the bells and whistles configuration-wise that it provides by default, other than that, not much. ScummVM is mainly a project to preserve game engines, not for developing them, which is why he refrained from going after Exult while they are still working on it.
slaapliedje 30 May
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Lightkey
mos
Lightkey
but what the practical purpose of absorbing a mature and expansive project like Exult into scummvm would be?

You get lots of free ports to other platforms and all the bells and whistles configuration-wise that it provides by default, other than that, not much. ScummVM is mainly a project to preserve game engines, not for developing them, which is why he refrained from going after Exult while they are still working on it.
Exult has already been ported to the Amiga and Falcon, though I think the Falcon port might be pretty old.
slaapliedje 30 May
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Lightkey
slaapliedje
PatolaScummVM is an incredible engine. I am not usually enthusiastic for old games, but in this case, I have to say, Ultima VIII was an amazing RPG.

Out of all of them you picked that as the amazing one? It was buggy and wasn't anything like any of the others. :P

EikeAnybody knows why not V and VII? They only like even numbers? :D
Feist
EikeAnybody knows why not V and VII? They only like even numbers? :D

Not sure about "V" but in the case of "VII" there is already Exult that runs that game pretty well and improves on the original in many ways.

http://exult.sourceforge.net

Well it's the same question about 1-3. Basically 4 had xu4 to a really great level, so ScummVM can just use that engine, but from what I have seen, xu4 hasn't been updated in a LONG time, so I think ScummVM is just pulling it under it's wing, and adding it as an 'also runs...' Now as you mention, VII already has the still developed Exult engine that is very excellent to run it. VI I think also has been stuck in it's development cycle for a long time (Nuvie, though they say they're still developing it as a standalone?). VIII, I wonder if the one that had been working on it (Pagan I think was the engine?) just joined ScummVM for the help?

Edit: Ultima VIII was called Pagan, the engine to remake it was called Pentagram! I still have the map somewhere...
Now if we can get 1-3 and IX...

It's a question about what is the simplest way to implement the (sub-)engines in ScummVM. The three selected titles were chosen because (mostly) dead projects for them already existed (and had a compatible licence!).
Nuvie still had a few edits a couple years ago but the maintainer got sidetracked with other projects, incidentally also with adventure games, which are part of ScummVM but he had not answered to e-mails before the merge and is still unsure about it.
Pentagram has been dead for a long time but it was actually started by former ScummVM developers who had also been working on Exult, so they used what they learned with ScummVM for the project structure, which helped integrating it "back". xu4 was long dead as well like you said, so this is the new home for it.
As for the rest, see Mnoleg's link where DreamMaster explains why Exult has been left alone (for now, anyway) and also scroll to the top, where he talks about his very own Ultima engine. While supporting all of them is the goal, Ultima II, III, and V might take many years. I remember following a similar project ~15 years ago for Ultima V called nu5 but it never got past the reverse-engineering step.
Ha, I am going to try to ramp up my skills, and since back in the day I did a lot of hacking on Ultima IV, and a bit on V, I was going to try to upgrade IV for the VBXE on the Atari and there is a partial version of V that would be awesome to reverse engineer and complete for the platform.

Of course I will open source all the work.
Lightkey 31 May
slaapliedjeExult has already been ported to the Amiga and Falcon, though I think the Falcon port might be pretty old.
Having portable code is just a prerequisite, what ScummVM offers is simply the manpower to make the ports (although they currently have a tough time finding someone to fix their Android port), you will not find another game project with as many ports as ScummVM has (except for DOOM of course :D).

If you want to work on Ultima V, make sure to get in touch with DreamMaster first, he just wrote a post on his weblog where he expressed interest in it himself, unlike Ultima II and III which might never happen, if nobody else will look into them.
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Lightkey
slaapliedjeExult has already been ported to the Amiga and Falcon, though I think the Falcon port might be pretty old.
Having portable code is just a prerequisite, what ScummVM offers is simply the manpower to make the ports (although they currently have a tough time finding someone to fix their Android port), you will not find another game project with as many ports as ScummVM has (except for DOOM of course :D).

If you want to work on Ultima V, make sure to get in touch with DreamMaster first, he just wrote a post on his weblog where he expressed interest in it himself, unlike Ultima II and III which might never happen, if nobody else will look into them.

What would actually be a good way to do it for older platforms (I'm talking 8bit here where ScummVM probably wouldn't even load the menu...) is to create a generic Ultima engine, and then just recreate the games in it. Like take Ultima V's engine, and remake the maps in it.
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