U4 Upgrade – Endgame Bug

For those who’ve attempted to play through Ultima IV with the latest U4 Upgrade (v1.2 or v1.3), you may have experienced a bug that prevented you from completing the end game. The problem hits after you answer all the virtue questions and obtain the codex, but the game appears to freeze in the middle of describing the Quest of the Avatar.

While the U4 Upgrade isn’t one of my patches, the purpose of the Exodus Project is to solve these types of problems in older Ultima games.  I did some digging on this a while back when I ran into the same thing, but totally forgot about it until recently. I was reminded of it while watching Kilg0re_Tr0ut’s Twitch stream of U4, who ran into the same problem. Let’s take a look at what’s wrong.

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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!

U5 MIDI Complete

Done! Read about it here and download it here.

And in other news… I updated the about pagewith some more detail on the purpose of the Exodus Project. And it looks like I might be getting ready to start Phase III of the U3 Upgrade Project fairly soon.

On the newsgroup, Ophidian Dragon reported a bug with the U3 Upgrade – it seems that the game still autosaves your party when a character dies in combat. I will try to have an updated release available for this bug at the earliest opportunity.

In the Works

I know I’ve been fairly silent for the past month on this page, but as those who read the RGCUD newsgroup are aware, I am working on another upgrade: Ultima V with MIDI music. I am pleased to say that the results have been fairly good. I have it all working with the exception of the endgame.

There were a few on the newsgroup that suggested I write for both the Atari ST version of the music and the C64/Apple II versions. (the latter being my preference) Both versions apparently had the same score, they just played different music at different points. While this at first seemed like a daunting task (even deciphering the first half of the code was somewhat difficult – it was compiler generated), it resulted in a much more robust design for the midi upgrade. The program makes a few key calls into a separate midi driver loaded at run-time. It has made me rethink my approach to U2 and U3 in a way that would allow for easier updates in the future… and possibly allowing me to overcome the shortcomings of midpak.

But anyway, I’m rambling on with info that’s better saved for a readme file. Hopefully this weekend I will throw up a project page for it. And in a few weeks I should have a download available. In the mean time, you can look at this if you want something to drool over. Keep checking back, and so long for now!