2016-12-27/28 Next Patch Details
As I have previously mentioned, I will be providing two "Final Ultimate Patches" for Ultima IX. I have just drafted the list of 52 items for development for the first of these patches. It will cover all of the remaining correctable Serious Faults and Major Bugs in Ultima IX.
This list contains 8 Serious Problems, 12 Major Bugs, 13 Minor Issues, 14 Aspects for Polish, and 5 Parts that will have additions made. While this seems like a large list in and of itself, it is board in scope and difficulty, which can be broken down into 5 categories. There are 20 issues that involve heavy scripting changes/examination and 13 issues that require only minor scripting work. For the remaining issues, they are primarily fixed via worldbuilding (adding/changing objects and their properties), of which, only 6 involve major work of this kind with 12 that only require adding or adjusting a couple of objects. The last issue is where I changed the type name for an incorrectly named object.
I will point out that this list includes cleaner implementations of features already corrected in previous patches, so portions of this work have already been partially or fully completed.
I will be focusing on these issues over the coming months spending at least an hour on them everyday to ensure the patch is completed within a reasonable timeframe. I plan on attempting to complete the full, final, npc-scheduled patch by around this time next year.
I have also added a segment under Information > Status that I will update often with my current progress for this next patch. In addition, I talk more about this new status page and the patch details in the second Patch update.
Finally, the news module I have been using is no longer functional from the backend, probably due to an incompatibility introduced by recent update to the site software. I have obtained a new news scroll module that I hope is more functional. Please let me know what you think about the presentation of the latest news.
2016-12-25 Merry Christmas! We're not dead.
For those of you who are regularly on UDIC Facebook, you will probably have seen me comment on Forgotten World's status. For those who haven't seen my comments, the gist is that I've been pre-occupied with my Dissertation over the past two years and this effort involved a significantly greater portion of my attention. Since I've graduated, I am now able to devote some decent amount of time per week to Forgotten World.
In other news, there is a major change with regards to the project. Last year, it was finally decided that there was no way that Forgotten World could be feasibly implemented without programmer(s) with the interest and skill to develop significant DLL hacks into the engine. The introduction of Project Britannia 2.0 with Unity has offered a significant possibility for progress without requiring specialized skills.
There are two possible directions for the Forgotten World moving forward. The first to create a Pseudo-Exult of Ultima IX using Unity. This would create a more stable version of Ultima IX less prone to scripting bugs and AI issues, better combat implementation from the code side, and fewer pathfinding issues. The second path is just to import/read-in select portions of Ultima IX's external files and focus the development exclusively on systems for Forgotten World. The largest difference between the two would be a reduced emphasis on recreating all of U9's hardcoded features and ignoring some or all of U9's map files. Either plan would require a copy of Ultima IX to function.}
In the end, though, time saved by not implementing U9 in every way is eaten up by starting from scratch on portions that aren't imported. Also we already have developed tools to convert many of U9's external files into other formats, so it would mostly be a matter of adjusting the output of these algorithms for structures that will be used with Project Britannia 2.0. (So not a large expense in time)
In addition, it has been decided that a full final patch for Ultima IX (the original one) will be produced using all of the work completed thus far with this engine. As part of this effort, I will be giving the game a bit of polish. Based on the results of a recent poll; however, it is clear that most everyone falls in two camps. One camp wants to see just the last couple of significant bugs fixed with Ultima IX and call it done. The other camp wants the full polish including a illusory version of npc schedules.
This fake version is essentially where I set up a series of teleport triggers and activities within each npc's activity schedule that would result in them teleporting from location to location for them to work (or stand around), eat, and sleep. Part of this effort would entail adding in a few additional structures and some beds of course. The part that makes this so fake is that you would rarely ever see them outside of their designated work/eat/sleep zones, and at transition times, you would see them appear or disappear. Finally, there is no way for me to add dialog based on location, so if you talk to them (even while they are "asleep"), they will stop what they are doing and talk as if they are at work. While this is decent amount of work, the effort wouldn't be completely without value if U9 is implemented over Unity as I would be able to reuse some of the script work as a base for schedules for Forgotten World. Additionally, you might see a simple but complete npc schedule suite for Pseudo-Ultima 9.
To reconcile this split, I will be releasing two patches for U9 rather than one. First will be a slightly polished patch with all significant bugs fixed. The second will be a patch that includes all of the polish and the fake npc schedules.
Finally, during my patching efforts, I will have a tendency to randomly comment on some of the bugs and scripting aspects I encounter. In order to avoid these comments from overly intruding on Facebook or being missed by those interested in them, I have set up a blog here titled Bug Correction Updates (the name is tentative).
You will probably see a lot more activity out of that blog than the main news, since the purpose is more brief commentary and random comments than project updates, which require significant news to warrant an update.