Another one of the peculiarities in Ultima 2 is in how it deals with saved games. Currently, if you try to create a new character when one already exists, the game gives you a not-so-user-friendly “Not a blank player disk” message and won’t let you proceed. The reason for this goes way back to the style of media on which Ultima 2 shipped.
Another quality-of-life fix coming in the next Ultima 2 Upgrade is a change to the Hotel California clerk. Players eventually learn they should go to the clerk and offer gold. In exchange the clerk will raise a random stat by 4 points per 100 gold offered. However, players may notice that the clerk will sometimes not raise their stats but take your money anyway. The common workaround is to begrudgingly reload the game so as to not lose hard-earned gold. Players will then simply retry-and-reload as needed until a stat is raised. In v2.0 I’ve ensured the clerk will always simply raise a random stat and never just pocket your gold.
Besides having a reputation as the black sheep of the series, Ultima 2 has several bugs that have persisted over the years. One of them occurs somewhat infrequently when entering a time gate. When it happens, the time gate will teleport you to the wrong location for its position. But the more noticeable side effect is when it also changes the terrain type underneath it. Two common ways I’ve seen it manifest is as a forest tile in B.C. Canada, or a grass tile in A.D. Argentina.
Over the past month I’ve been developing the upcoming release of the Ultima 2 Upgrade, v2.0. The primary intent of this next release was to extract the EGA video code (and also the original CGA code) into a driver architecture, similar to what I had done for Ultima 3. In fact, I’m proud to report that I completely finished up that work about a week ago. However, while this sets me up to do some cooler things later on, primarily other video modes, it doesn’t really add much in the way of noticeable changes. So I’m now taking some additional time to address a few other issues with the game. This will hopefully make a v2.0 a bit more substantial and compelling. More information to come soon in subsequent posts, so stay tuned…
This update is probably way overdue, but today I’ve released a new version of the Ultima 2 Upgrade. This version includes new builds of command-line utilities that run natively in Windows (32 and 64 bit), DOSBOX, or Linux. You no longer need to find CWSDPMI in order to run them.
Release 3.3 includes a few new features, the largest of which is the inclusion of Sosaria Mod. This enhancement allows you to play Ultima III on the Lands of Lord British map from Ultima I.
One thing that I’ve felt the earlier Ultima’s are often missing is a world guide. Ultima IV and later have it – a description of the world, including its regions, its cities and a little bit of history. It’s a very big part of why Britannia had a more consistent and coherent world lore. Since I’m aiming for a similar thing in Sosaria Mod, why not put one together for Ultima III?
During the SosariaMod beta, one of the key pieces of feedback I received was that the upgrades are still fairly difficult to install. While I’ve tried to streamline the install process with each iteration since v3.0, including providing Windows, Linux, and DOS versions of install tools, there is still a step or two that requires a command line. Hopefully, the next version will change that.
Hey guys, I’m looking for people to beta test U3 SosariaMod / patch 3.3 and provide feedback. If you’re interested please shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll reply with a link to the 3.3 beta package and instructions.
And if you participate, thanks!
One of the new features coming in U3 patch 3.3 is the addition of a “Start a New Game” option. This option is added directly to the in-game main menu, and will reset your party, register, and all saved progress on the sosaria map (which included monsters, ships, moon state, and whirlpool location).
The reason why this is even a thing in Ultima’s 2 and 3 is that these early 1980’s games were designed to save your game state to “player” floppy disks. When you wanted to start a new game, you simply used a clean player disk.