DGC Ep 104: Ultima Underworld (part four)

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we are discussing 1992's immersive sim classic Ultima Underworld. We talk about how the game comes together at the end and the interconnectedness of it all before we turn to our pillars and takeaways. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Finished the game!

Podcast breakdown:
0:42 Segment 1: finishing the game
44:23 Break
44:59 Segment 2: Takeways and feedback

Issues covered: serviceable weapons, Tim realizes he never beat the game before, reuniting pieces of key, going in between levels, breaking down a door, getting a little help from your friends, cup talisman, the taper being a different piece of art, the writ of Lorne, killing all the trolls, Tim finds nine talismans, the crux ansata, Tom and Judy quest, themes of loss throughout the game, the lost world of Cabirus, thematic storytelling here vs larger open worlds, usability issues and keeping track, missing clues and having to scour levels, having an unbreakable sword, worrying about the final room, anticlimactic final room, the final maze and its length, hallucinatory images while running away, dream sequences in Max Payne, wearing the special crown, the moonstone room, Brett ends with a ton of scrolls, wondering about other skill possibilities, finishing at level 15/16, clip of the ending screen, interconnected quests and dungeon, being nervous about a game being broken, QAing this game and finding workarounds, hinting at how to move around the dungeon space, getting frustrated to the point of exploring the non-obvious, the game that justifies the inclusion of quest journals, the wane that proceeds the RPG renaissance, full commitment to simulation, simulating the staleness of food, leaving bloodspots, pushing forward to any idea you could think of, supporting the core fantasy of being in this place, interconnecting systems, focusing on one dungeon, committing to a motivating idea, balance, interconnected levels, pen and paper games, fallen utopia, old rotten and seasoned, choosing enemy types, borrowing from the main games, using archetypes, picking characters based on their abilities and lore, orthogonal design in enemies, varieties of damage types, top-down vs bottom-up approach, potentially bad tropes to take into here, lack of random monster encounters, balancing for different sorts of characters, separating systems, iterating on numbers, leaning on QA, changing enemy behaviors based on weapons, putting the onus on the player, cheating on behalf of the player, GDC and planned interview, parser games.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Ultima (series), Mark Eldridge, Max Payne, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Origin, Baldur's Gate, Gold Box games, Martian Dreams Ultima Adventure, Wolfenstein, Doom, The Elder Scrolls: Arena, H. P. Lovecraft, Icewind Dale, The Witcher (series), Bard's Tale, Eye of the Beholder, Dungeons & Dragons, Underworld: Ascendant, Mark *Sean* Garcia, Tader Chip, Maas Neotek Proto/Keane, Republic Commando, Halo, Diablo, Brian Taylor, Metal Gear Solid, Skyrim, Deus Ex, Sierra Games, LucasArts, King's Quest, Space Quest, Day of the Tentacle, GOG.com, Wizard and the Princess.

Next time:
King's Quest I, "About half"

@brett_douville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub