DGC Ep 103: Ultima Underworld (part three)

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we are discussing 1992's immersive sim classic Ultima Underworld. We take a deeper dive into the leveling system and the magic system and talk about the intersection of RPGs and immersive sims and the various analog elements of this game in particular. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Levels 4-6

Issues covered: rotworm stew, taking notes and having too much to sort through, keeping track using the map, space for a legend, cartography, how the leveling system works vs other games, strengths and weakness of a leveling system, ceding control of the player experience to the RNG, rewarding the finding of mantras and pushing you to search for them, awarding of XP, pushing you to other skills via randomness, sticking with the Sword of Justice because it doesn't break, the intersection of two very difficult genres in terms of balancing, encouraging you to fully explore the map, finding an angry ghost and a talking door, mixing runes to come up with spells, the consistency of 8 virtues and 8 races and 8 talismans, role-playing your decisions, embracing the pen and paper origins, combat pacing and space with magic and weapon timing, swinging a weapon and hitting a wall, weapon mechanics, the tale of Sir Rodrick, essential objects and the possibility of losing the game, sources of weird rendering artifacts, potential optimizations to avoid clipping, Longo Rooms, low fidelity games, using the silver seed for resurrection -- Tim teaches Brett a trick, tracking ownership of objects, identifying AI state using the look button, analog fidelity of systems, inter-level connections of quests and objects, adventure game elements, finding a moonstone and other favorite moments, Tim confesses his hacker past.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Dungeons & Dragons, Warren Spector, Planescape: Torment, Gold Box games, Eye of the Beholder, GURPS/Steve Jackson Games, Wolfenstein 3D, Mark Eldridge.

Next time:
Finish the game! (Levels 7 & 8)

@brett_douville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub