2012-10-17 New Poll
The Codex has recently posted their interview with us, so please check it out to get the inside scoop: http://ultimacodex.com/2012/10/the-ultima-codex-presents-an-interview-with-team-forgotten-world/
Also, FirstKnight has sent in an update to the Codex about BB with a preview of the terrain he has been working work, which includes three major landmass additions: the Western Deep Forest Region/West of Yew territory, a new mountainous region that occupies the region formerly known as the Drylands, and an all new Verity Isle complete with the town of Moonglow. The team is very excited by the work that he is doing and we are all looking forward to the screenshots that will be coming starting next month.
In other news, Hawkwind has been making some excellent progress with the editor, so expect some updates about that in the coming weeks with some Awesome screenshots.
And finally, we are posting a new poll. The old poll asked you what minor features you would to see implemented in FW. Karma penalties for stealing won out, but it was a close race with Item Crafting, Functional Inns, and GUMP-interfaced cabinets. All of which we would like to add at some point if possible.
With our last couple of patches, we have managed to squash most bugs previously mentioned in polls. Even so, I have a list of over 100 things to fix (excluding simple NPC scheduling fixes). Some of these fixes are really minor and others are far more involved and significant. So we are again asking you which bugs we are to target next:
- The Covetous Elevator seems to work for the most part, but good luck revisiting Covetous. The buttons appear to only work once, making up-and-down movement potentially disastrous for a playthrough. I intend to fix these elevator so that you can visit any floor as often as you want. Is this an important bug fix for the next patch?
- Skeletons are a nightmare in the game. They are painful to deal with even one-on-one, have the ability to reconstitute themselves, and can bug out a game. Taking a bone (the same bone everytime) is definitely an effective strategy, but placing objects in your backpack (especially repetitively) can sometimes lead to game crashes. On top of all of this is the fact that some skeletons come from respawn points leading to a big mess of bones and more bugginess. So I am proposing to remove their spawn points entirely from Covetous and most everywhere else at some point. Will that point be now or later?
- Another bug I hear about often is the Jordan-Flann-Valoria Shipwreck scripting bug. Is this one that people want to see fixed urgently?
- A bug that I have posted before is the Valoria-Signal Flare scripting bugs. It is also a few hit or miss sequence, but one that seems to be less annoying for players. Is this a bug people want to see fixed by the next patch?
- Another major bugged out sequence is the Aidon-Rat-Peg Leg Joe sequence. While this sequence seems to rarely work especially on more recent playthroughs, it is one I seem to forget about very easily. Is it also one you forget about a lot or one that really soils your playthrough?
- Not only does Moonglow suffer from crashes, but it is full of little issues from scripting to balancing. Some of the fixes that I would work on include reverting the Sage's house (that lighthouse like structure with the boy who cried bandit) at a certain point after it is ransacked, adding alchemy sets throughout the town, adding food, filling out Mariah's house and a few other areas, fixing Deceit so that you could actually re-enter it, expanding the library of the floating 'Lycaeum', and several more very minor fixes. So are these fixes (excluding the crash fixes) of significant interest for the next patch?
So those are the poll options. The option that wins will be included in the next patch with second and third place options being probables.
2012-08-26 GOG and New Patch
Hail Milords, Miladies and Freedmen
I'm sure you have all heard of the final GOG release for the Ultima series with Ultima IX. Unfortunately, it lacks our patches, but that can be easily rectified by visiting our downloads page or our page over at the Ultima Codex. Speaking of patches, we are releasing our next patch: 1.19H. In addition to prior fixes for music and companions, there are fixes for the Moonglow catacomb elevator, the demon death bug in Valoria, and Dermot hanging out at the pub all the time. Finally, there is a fix or rather a workaround for the floating rune/sigil bug, so now if you start a new game the runes and sigils will now appear on top of the shrines after cleansing.
Of further patching interest, we have found a performance configuration that will help those suffering from heavy crashing with certain aspects of the game. These settings are shown at the bottom of this post. While the settings won't stop crashes, it should reduce their frequency and make certain parts of the game less prone to crashing. These settings are most useful for those suffering from ship travel crashes and Moonglow-Tydus crashes. Unfortunately, you might suffer a small increase in the frequency of crashes from taking stuff in and out of your inventory.
As for future patch targets, I have noted an additional 101 different bugs, issues or aspects that I will address during the course of this patching project. Some bugs fixes will range from the minor like the rat-Mayor scene to the crippling such as the breath issue getting into Serpent's Hold. There are also a number of polishing issues that will be dealt with such as changing the hostilty of guards in Wrong after cleansing and moving npcs to more appropiate locations. There are also some balancing aspects that will be corrected such as removing skeleton spawn points and adding a few extra bags. In addition to these issues, I have an idea that I intend to implement for most npcs that will eliminate the troublesome pathfinding issues that plagues npcs in Britain and Minoc as well as deal with the problem of shopkeepers grooving out drunk on their counters.
This might seem like a lot of work using my previous methods; however, significant progress has been made with our world editor. Hawkwind has developed a workaround for the nonfixed writer issue where some rewritten nonfixed files would produce a crash when played with the game. This solution will result in larger map files and savegames for the the next several patches, but this is a minor issue with modern harddrives. In addition, object editing is now essentially complete. I can take any object in the game and change its orientation and position, check or uncheck any flag, and alter/add/remove any property. It isn't the most user-friendly yet primarily in the area of properties, but the functionality for editing is there. Some additional information is needed is for most properties to have completely defined parameters, but almost all properties are now labeled with most having some definitions for their parameters. The next area of focus with the editor will be the adding of new objects into the game world. While Hawkwind progresses there, I will be putting the current version of the editor to good use on some of these bugs, so stay tuned over the next few months for news on patches.
Finally, if you haven't yet, please vote in our poll. The results have remained very close, so I curious to see which feature will win.
Performance Settings. Past the following over the performance section of your options.ini. Also, go to the Sound Section and change the StreamDuration to 3000.
; 0 = no optimization
; 1 = non-critical particles calculated but not transformed
; 2 = non-critical particles are neither calculated nor transformed
; 3 = all particles, critical or not, cease incepting children
; the game to run slower, but will "pop" items into view sooner.
; Max # of mesh instances created per frame.
2012-07-25 New Poll and Patch Update
I recently found where I had already compiled the patched files, and the patch is now being given a reasonably thorough beta testing. Expect a release sometime in August.
The patch includes the previous fixes for music and the companions. The major addition with this patch is a fix that bypasses the Rune and Sigil bug altogether following shrine cleansing. In addition, the Moonglow Catacombs elevator should now work repeatedly, thus allowing players to travel to the Moonglow catacombs as much as they want with having to cheat. I also finished Dermont's little schedule so that you should now find him inside the graveyard during the day and in the pub at night. We did, however, observe a limitation in the scheduling system, sleeping in the game prevents schedules from progressing. A rather troublesome issue that we will be looking at fixes for in future.
In other news, work on animation editing is progressing quite well. We now have a viewer that can show wireframe meshes from the game carrying out individual animations from the animation files. This is a major step in developing a convertion tool as we now know the animation format well enough to display it.
From our previous poll question, we asked what section of the Forgotten World people would most like to released as part of the first milestone and the overwhelming choice was to hold off and have the first milestone start from the very beginning. I can definitely see the benefits in doing it this way. We will still release a tech demo before the first milestone to fully demonstrate what we are capable of doing in Forgotten World. We are still a few steps away from beginning true worldbuilding, but it is only a matter of time at this point.
We have made no secret of our intention to implement reasonably developed schedules for all NPCs in Forgotten World. However, there are more (though less significant) features that we can implement, so in our new poll question, we want to know what minor features you would most want to see in Forgotten World that weren't there in Ultima IX.
In prior Ultimas, sleep was a requirement for your party, but in U9 there is no need. Even so, is there a strong interest in adding functioning inns where you pay to stay in a room for one night to heal up and restore mana or just pass the time until day light without using a cheat.
Stealing is something that goes largely undetected in U9, would you most like to have a karma hit whenever you take things from other people? If we can properly add it, we will probably include hostility from npcs if you steal too often.
The "baking of bread" feature is often cited like a mascot for game interactivity. This feature is there in U9, but there isn't much else. Would you most like to have the ability to "craft" other items?
Another feature that we might include with new dialog for npcs is the addition of commodity trading where you can buy cotton from a farmer in Britain and sell it to a weaver where you then buy thread to sell to a tailor. Is this an significant feature to add, one that people really want to see or a feature lost in the sea?
We might add a cabinet (immobile) object that would be placed around the game world that could holds objects via a GUMP in a manner similar to a bag. This would help with performance when collecting objects in a particular location and reduce object clutter. Is this a much desired feature?
Stay tuned for updates on the patch.
2012-07-21 All Quiet on the Britannian Front
I know its been awhile and I wish I can say stuff has been happening, but real life has just zapped the time from most of the us for past few months.
I should start having more time coming first week in August at which point, I will be begin getting a patch compiled of stuff I've worked and completed too many moons ago. Expect several memorable bugs to be fixed.
2012-03-07 New Members and Progress
Hail friends and countrymen, Lend me thine ears, for there is much I must relate.
First in the news, we have several new members that have joined the team in past month. Axiom has joined our Forgotten World design team and brings industry experience in design and worldbuilding. In addition, Blu3vib3 (a major contributor to the Codex Wiki) has offered to write some fairly 'pedantic' books to flesh out Britannia in Forgotten World. In addition, Lord Eternal Dragon has just joined this past week. He brings industry worldbuilding and coding experience and will act in multiple capacities including tool development, worldbuilding/design, and some 3D modeling (buildings and simple objects). Progress on Forgotten World's designs continues with significant developments in Trinsic amongst other much more widespread story details.
In the world of dev tools, work is starting up on a tool to export and import 3d models, which will be developed by Lord Eternal Dragon. While it will be a while before work starts on adding or changing 3D models, there will be some new building models incorporated to the game in-time (some might even show up in Beautiful Britannia). Also, it would appear that the nonfixed object writer code for our editor is functional now. We can't find any more crashes with the resulting rewritten file, but we want to be sure that the rewritten nonfixed files don't have bugs in them. As such, we are sending out a call for testers to replay and run around Britannia to let us know if you find the game crashing in unusual locations/ways on the surface map. All you have to do is replace the nonfixed.9 in your runtime folder with the nonfixed.9 found within this download: http://www.ultimaaiera.com/?dl_id=744 http://ultima9.ultimacodex.com/?wpdmact=process&did=MjQ5LmhvdGxpbms= and report back to us crashes you find.
Finally, don't forgot to vote in our poll.
2012-02-04 Forgotten World news at last
It is simply amazing what FirstKnight is able to accomplish using mostly a hex editor. Images of his changes to the Cove area for Beautiful Britannia will be up soon, but you can already check them out at Aiera.
In other news, I have been very preoccupied IRL since about September, but I'm finally back at it. Currently I'm working to get the activity editor completed with full dialogs and menus, so that there is nothing left obscure from slider bars for action speed to drop-down menus for various gestures. Trigger and object property analysis is close to half way completed with almost all triggers and properties identified. Much of the remaining work is clarifying what each parameter does and then updating the trigger editor for more intuitive editing.
From our last poll, the Stones theme was voted to be most fitting for the Forgotten World version of Cove located just East of Britain. Currently, progress on our editor is slowed due to a bug in the nonfixed object file saving routine, which creates an all new nonfixed file rather than simply editing an existing. Whenever we save the primary map for U9 and load it up in the game, there are crashes at least one if not several select locations. Currently, we are somewhat baffled as to the exact cause the problem, but we are hopeful that the offending issue will be found. In any case, we can save other maps without any problems, which brings me to our next poll question.
Eventually, our worldbuilding will get to the stage where we will release milestones similar to Archon's U6P; however, if we were to release a demo map of our designs, what path would you like to see in such a demo? Included in the demo would be the related towns, the dungeon, surrounding areas/islands, and cave systems. I decided against Spirituality as an option because it technically involves so many locations.
Also, I am beginning a new section to the site: Ultima IX commentary where I will go through the vanilla game and give my thoughts, impressions, and a little of background to the various areas. It will be a little slow going at first, but progress on the commentary will pick up in time.
2012-01-23 Beautiful Britannia 2011 R3 - Gallery update
I've updated the BB Gallery with a complete set of screens for BB 2011 R3.
And for every BB screen i've added a comparison screen, which shows the look when playing original U9.