Ophidian Dragon blogs his way through the entire Ultima series, from beginning to end.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Ultima VII, Day 3

The game continues apace! First, some brief comments on comments--Bugs, bugs, bugs! I can't say there are very many in Ultima VII, actually--there was a vanishing key bug, a vanishing body bug, and a gate-closing-prematurely bug that I remember. The first was remedied by a patch, the second by careful walking in Minoc, and the third simply by not flying a certain mode of transportation over the isle of the Avatar. I've only rarely heard of game crashes associated with Ultima VII--I suspect other problems for the person whom it crashed on constantly! I also recall Daggerfall being terribly buggy--it's one of those games that was staggering in scope and exciting to play until I realized it was all just randomly generated, at which point I threw in the towl--but only after walking across the ocean on a horse (you could also jump across...) The thing I hated most about that game were the NPCs in buildings. I've heard of NPC's having no personality and seeming like cardboard cutots, but geez, these guys were literally so!

Today was spent in Yew and in Minoc, primarily. I killed a thief named Kleg in Yew,who was masquerading as a monk in Empath Abbey, withou anyone noticing somehow even though there were a grand total of two of them. Yew was otherwise not that exciting--I gave some flowers to a woman there to put on her grandmother's grave, and I neglected to look at the tombstones...I also did a little uninspired painting, as in the screenshot. My original goal for visiting was to drop in on Nicodemus, but he is stuck behind a magically locked door, and I haven't bought the relevent spell yet. I find that in this game, I am more keen on travelling the countryside than using moongates, though actually I think that was my approach in Ultima VI as well.

The road to Minoc was more difficult--I fought slimes, snakes, and alligators on the way, and had to deal with a highly annoying vanishing-body bug, since murders had been committed and I needed to collect evidence. Eventually I found that if I took a back route to the sawmill where the murdere happened, I could prevent them from vanishing before i could examine them. I found a serpent-shaped dagger, and a candalabra that the local candlelady confirmed was from the Fellowship. That beggar in Britain who accused the Fellowship of murder as part of a joke was right! (I'm just pretending as if I haven't played the game before.)

In any case, while in Minoc I prompted the local shipwright to kill himself when he realized that his boats caused countless deaths. It almost makes me curious what would have happened had I given him 1000 gold to buy a deed...I also dropped in on a Fellowship meeting, and was intirgued by the comments of my companions! I almost wanted to go gather up all the ones I can find, and then visit each Fellowship meeting in each town just to see what they have to say...

I didn't do any further exploring in the mines or anything, and I ended my game just near the moongate, which I will probably use to go to Jhelom and find Dupre. Soon maybe I will be strong enough for some more thorough exploring and magic-item gathering! The only frustrating thing so far has been, as expected, keeping my party fed. I swear, if I hear "I could use a little food" one more time, someone will not need food anymore...

I had my fortune told by a gypsy, which sort of gave up a bunch of plot threads at once--gotta talk to the Wisps, gotta join the Fellowship, gotta go to Moonglow...In a way, I wish it had been a bit more subtle, like learning about the new threat to Britannia much more slowly or something, or better yet, having to put the pieces together myself. But it's all good, there's still plenty more out there to do! I also continue to enjoy reding all the random books I come across. If only theyhad been rewritten for Serpent Isle and Ascension...

8 comments:

adonf said...

not only does the gipsy give you not very subtle hints, it's probably the *only* was to enter the main plot thread.

the first time i played this game i didn't want to spend money on the fortune teller (in U6 it was just a scam), so i explored the whole continent, did a bunch of side quests but never managed to solve the main plot, even though everything pointed to the fellowship being responsible for all the trouble in britannia. if i remember correctly you cannot get the pipes from the wisps if the gipsy hasn't told you to. that's pretty lame...

but anyway, thanks for this great blog. i've been reading it from the start. U7 is one of my favourite games and i'd really been looking forward to this part.

Anonymous said...

Yay, Owen's dead!
Now cast ressurect on him and make him do it again ;)

Skip said...

For me, I ran the game under a hardware debugger I had installed at the time, and most of my crashes were related to a bug in the sound code. There was a spot in an interrupt handler that really needed to be guarded by a CLI/STI pair, because if the interrupt fired again at that spot you ended up with a blown stack, or corruption of some sort. So it was probably a combination of running on really slow hardware plus possibly a buggy cheap sound card that made it so bad for me.

It's kind of vague, being so many years ago. I eventually came up with a patch that more or less fixed the problem, but that was when I was most of the way through the game. I had other problems, but that was the big one.

My guess is they actually fixed this in one of the patches they released, or at least in Forge of Virtue, because I don't remember it happening there.

Eht Ratava said...

The best way to never have to listen to your party of Tiny Tims beg for food: travel solo. Of course that's not as much literary fun.

You can always just eat THEM, that should shut 'em up.

Kheldar Blackmane said...

Not sure if this was mentioned before, but I Just happened to read a book called "Game development essentials" today and in it there was a blurb from Lord British that gave his reasoning for those murderous kids in every Ultima game from IV onwards.

Essentially, he chucked it in there as a way to test people's adherence to the Virtues. Would you kill them and lose points or find a way around them?

Just thought I'd FYI

Anonymous said...

Thanks a ton for the blog... I am enjoying it thoroughly! Keep it up!

N_DGG

Zenmaster Omega said...

Well, Its taken me about a week, but I've finally caught up to your current pace.

Ultima 7 is one of my personal Hall of Fame games. I first learned what the inside of a PC looked like, because of it. I had to upgrade either from 2 to 4 megs of RAM, or from 4 to 8, I can't remember which anymore, just so that I could play.

And I wasn't dissapointed. I put in tons of hours into that game and it was simply a beautiful experience.

Quadko said...

Hardware debugger story is golden, thanks, mate!

For so many of those years - especially Daggerfall - I wished the game companies would publish the specs for their development machines. I assumed the games worked best on those. (Lots of reasons they didn't, of course! But I sure wished.)

I'm so glad that doesn't really matter any more.