Bug found in U3 Upgrade 3.2

Well looks like there’s a nasty bug in patch 3.2. It turns out that the invalid action and invalid command sound effects both fail to clean up after themselves which could result in the game crashing.  The way I’ve been able to trigger it was to use an alt-command (like Alt-X) when entering an “other” command, or backspacing beyond the start of the command prompt.

I already have a fix checked in and it’ll be released in 3.3.

Site Updates

Not much to report on the Upgrade front today, but the site has changed quite a bit.  I’ve transitioned it to a more modern content-managed solution.  The roots of this site are pretty old (circa late 90’s) and it was beginning to get somewhat tiring to hand-craft HTML around every post or version update.  Blog tech has changed quite a bit since the last redesign ~10 years ago.  But thanks to WordPress, this site has several new features:

  • You can now comment on news posts!
  • You can now search for content in posts/pages.
  • The site is responsive, so it should look good on mobile devices.
  • And for me – It’s easier to make site updates as everything is now CMS-driven.

U3 Upgrade v3.2 – Sound Effects!

One of the most common requests I’ve received over the years has been for improved PC-speaker sound effects. I’ve now published Release 3.2 which contains this update. You can also check out the release notes or read more about the technical details of how it works.

For transparency, I started this project shortly after releasing v3.1 and had a working and tested driver, but hadn’t yet integrated it with the game. I had to put some extra crunch time in at work shortly after, and of course by the time I had the availability again my focus was elsewhere, thus the 2+ year gap. But I’ve had some renewed interest recently in getting this going again and wanted to get this wrapped up. I have a few ideas of other improvements to make, so I’m hoping I can put some time into them.

Moved to Bitbucket & U4 Music

Hey folks, looks like it’s been just over a year since my last update.

First off, I’ve moved the project source code from Sourceforge to Bitbucket. I had been considering this move for a while what with all of Bitbucket’s great features and Sourceforge’s ceaseless and often deceitful ads, but recent events with Sourceforge have pretty much forced the issue. First was Sourceforge’s hijacking of popular opensource projects and bundling them with malware. And second is the ongoing and disastrous storage fault. I have some SVN projects there (including an experimental map viewer and wannabe Ultima game engine) that I still cannot access. I’m sure their engineers are working tirelessly and thanklessly to restore everything, but I just can’t rationalize staying with them any longer. This of course left both Bitbucket and Github as potential new repo services. While the latter is certainly the more popular, I preferred the former for their free usage of private repos (whereas Github wants you to pay) as well as support for Mercurial in addition to Git.

Next, I’ve added some new downloads to the site for Ultima IV. While the U4 Upgrade and xu4 are both excellent, I was never quite satisfied with how the MIDI music sounded. I once (long ago) modified the MIDI music, did some minor resequencing, and chose a set of alternate instruments for each of the songs. It was personal preference, so I never quite released it, but I figured it’s about time I hosted them here for others’ consumption in case folks were interested. The U4 Alternate Music package works with BOTH the U4 Upgrade and xu4. The music for all the upgrade projects can also be downloaded as MIDI’s or MP3’s from the download page.

And last, I started work on one of the most popularly requested features: improving the quality and speed of the sound effects. I have an initial sound driver that works pretty well in Ultima III, but I’m currently optimizing for some performance edge cases. Once I have that straightened out I’ll publish another release.

That’s all the news I have for today!

U3 Upgrade v3.1

I started work on this a few years ago after v3.0 was released, but for a few reasons, not the least of which was a job change and moving cross-country, I never followed through to make sure others could use it. Well thanks to some prompting from a GOG.com user I finally gave the U3 Upgrade some much-needed attention. Version 3.1 is out!

This release adds a few gameplay fixes to the game and addresses a few issues/concerns folks had with version 3.0.

Read the patch notes…

An Upgrade 10 Years in the Making…

Grey Taphouse (VGA)

Well sort-of. I had worked on v3.0 off-and-on for the past 10 years, approaching it on four separate occasions. But the commitment to actually finish and release it would not have been possible without a certain key event a few months back – a hard drive failure. And on this hard drive of course was all of the unreleased work I had done on the Exodus Project. Of course that sounds counter-intuitive, but it did ultimately lead to a finished product. But before that happened, I made three other attempts to start work on the project.

Continue reading “An Upgrade 10 Years in the Making…”

U3 Upgrade v3.0

I see the moons!After 10 years of waiting, I’m happy to announce that the next major release of the Ultima III Upgrade – version 3.0 – is now available for download. This release includes many new features and fixes, the foremost being ability to select between four different video modes:

  • VGA 256-color mode new!
  • EGA 16-color mode
  • CGA Composite 16-color mode new!
  • CGA 4-color mode

VGA is, of course, the new highest color mode available. But less well known that Ultima 3 was actually intended to be played in CGA Composite mode, where it looks more like the Apple II version.

In addition to the above, you now can now display the actual moon phases, instead of just the numbers 0-7. Furthermore, the Exodus Project is now fully open source!

Please check out the status page for the full scoop and download it here.

Oh, and none of this would have been possible without a hard drive crash. Ironic right? The back story is forthcoming.