Thursday, April 22, 2010


And with tonight's (or morning's) update I now have zero bugs. So that means I have now released version 1.0.00 of my Ultima 4 Flash game!!!!!

Here are the updates for this version:

Version 1.0.00 (Thurs. Apr. 22, 2010)

- Fixed a nasty hang in combat that created two bugs:
o A hang when ranged monsters had a Jinx cast on them.
o A hang when trying to wake up sleeping party members with an Awake spell and getting hit by ranged attacks. (say during a Gazer ambush!)
- Fixed a bug where a player could be asleep in combat but still get an attack. (or anxiously cast an Awake spell!)
- Beefed up the Gazer range attack. (After all... they are one of the hardest monsters in the game.)

So what does this mean... well there will probably be a few more issues to resolve in the coming days. But there is a symbolic achievement for a development team when they are able to drop their active issues down to zero. This is usually when gold disks start to get mastered, and people start to go on holidays.

I'll probably be tweaking combat stats over the next little while... those edits are only to the XML data that runs the game. Hopefully I will not need to update any game code from here on in.

Well let's see how that goes. ;)

On a personal note... I can't tell you how much of a feeling of achievement I'm feeling right now. I wrote a game... well a rather famous game... by myself over the course of about 3 months, and debugged and polished it over a couple of weeks. There's nothing like being able to build a game from the ground up, and to slowly see the thing come to life. Or even better... when people start playing it and get excited! There is NOTHING LIKE IT, and continues to be the reason why I AM A GAME PROGRAMMER!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Almost BETA!

Well I posted a new version of the game tonight... and this one has LOTS of feature updates.

Version 0.9.13 (Wed. Apr. 21, 2010)
- Cleaned up the Inn haunting code.
- Animated the Entire Intro Menu Screen.
- Implemented the Animatic View in MainMenu.
- Fixed a bug in the Trinsic welcomer conversation script.
- Sea monsters are not longer stuck in brick tiles when attacking characters in a city.
- Sea monsters no longer drop chests in cities.
- Added in-game command help system.
- Added in-game links to Ultima 4 Online PDF Manuals.
- Added in-game email addresses, a link to my Ultima 4 Blog, and my online resume.
- Updated Intro to include link to PDF Version of The History of Britannia
- Updated Intro to mention the in-game help, documentation & email addresses.

So at this point... the game is feature complete to the original. The intro now starts up with all of the animating daemon, dragon, and animatic display. Don't ask how long it took to do all of that stuff. I mean I'm glad that it's all done... but work was pretty cosmetic and "fiddly". But it's great to see the original intro working in a web-browser.

What's left?

Well I currently have 4 bugs that I'm trying to track down (or in some cases confirm that they exist). Once these issues are resolved--possibly even by tomorrow--then I will consider the Ultima 4 project to be at Beta. At that point I'll start opening up the flood-gates by posting my link to numerous gaming sites. Then... we'll see what happens.

Wish me luck,

Soooo close...

So I've been working on the Intro menu for the past couple of days. It's pretty much done, but now I'm working on some internal help systems within the game.

For example, I've rescanned all of the Ultima 4 documentation (from a copy I bought on Ebay), and now have updated all of the posted PDFs on my site. (Click on the game links on the left to see 'em). For my next release I will have a bunch of buttons on the border of the main screen.

One will bring up a help system with text lifted from the Ultima 4 Reference Card.
Another will display a panel with links to all of my scanned documentation.
Finally, there will be a button with all of my relevant email addresses so that users can stay in touch with future updates to the game.

Hope to have this new (and almost Final) version ready later today!

Cya in Britannia,

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Game Update... are your save games happy?!?

Hiya all, here's a new update for the game:

Version 0.9.12 (Fri. Apr. 9, 2010)
- Resolved problem with whirlpools sometimes getting trapped on land.
- Fixed problem of previous topics of discussion appearing when trying to use an item.
- Fixed problem where inn usage stopped working after combat. (You would see a "' ' Killed" message.)
- Fixed combat sleep hang where when whole party put to sleep the game would seem to hang with multiple Zzzzz messages.
- Nerfed the monster sleep spell.
- Added a Pre-loader screen on start-up.
- Included a focus button on pre-loader sequence. ("Click on Ankh to Start")
- Fixed a problem with monsters being immune to fire field damage.

Things look like they are starting to settle down. I'm really trying to focus on any remaining crash bugs that are out there.

There is a small chance that tonight's update has destroyed your same games??? Please let me know if that is true and I'll try to get a 'quick'n dirty' way to get your data back.

I've got a new preloader & focus catcher control. That's just a fancy way to say "click on this" to start the game. It's just a way to get people to click on the game that is running in your browser so that all further keypresses go into the game. I'm starting to get into some really cosmetic stuff now... while I hunt down further bugs. I['m hoping to implement the title intro sequence in flash over the next couple of days. It's pretty much that last thing that is keeping my game from being "just like the original".

So Jean and I are back from our trip. LOTS of driving, and we were pretty drained once we got back. (I haven't even been able to make it to my running groups so that's how tired I've been.)

Thanks go out to Pete and Chris who've been picking away at the game. It's great to see your feedback guys. You're the reason I'm able to keep going when I'm super tired.

I'm hoping to do a few more non-technical posts. I want to start talking about how the Ultima games have influenced me over the years. I pretty much have a story for every iteration of the game.

Well I gotta get some sleep so cya,

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Lots of Driving and a micro update...

Well we're in Portland. CRAZY Weather driving down here but we made it in one piece. I-5 can be REALLY SCARY at times. Also, we stopped off in Castle Rock Washington. I thought it burned down after 'Needful Things' but that was the Maine variety. Not much to see... even the signs lied where their information center was supposed to be. I think it's a pizza express hut now. Apparently there's not much of a need of for information in Castle Rock. Go figure.

Quick update for tonight:

Version 0.9.11 (Sat. Apr. 3, 2010)
- Fixed problem with moongate flashing when blasting many commands into the keyboard buffer.
- Fixed problem with bridge troll fights being skipped when blasting many commands into the keyboard buffer.

I'm starting to get into fixing all of these keyboard buffer errors where people are holding down movement keys and then seeing weird behaviour in the game. There will probably be a few more of these still to clean up.

Also my brother apparently found a crash bug when his whole party was put to sleep by squid. I couldn't replicate it but I'll keep an eye out for it. PS. If you see a group of Gazers heading your way (they tend to hang out in the Deep Forest in later stages of the game)... then you better have a bunch of Negate spells on you, and someone who can cast them. I speak from personal experience. I hate it when my game kicks my ass. :(

I'm getting ready to work on animating the main menu. This will be among the last features I'll probably work on in this game. It feels good to be close to the finish line.

Nite all,

Friday, April 2, 2010

Holiday Fun and Updates

Well Jean and I are now in Washington. She sleeps calmly while I work away on the project. We're in this REALLY great bed'n breakfast. There's a rushing stream right outside our window. I can hear the water from here. I bet you could write a really great novel out here.

Here's another cool factoid. I got an actual copy of Ultima4 in the mail today. Thanks to some feisty bidding on EBay. Not that I have a C64 to play it on... but I did get actual manuals for the game. I'm hoping to scan them in and somehow make them available RIGHT INSIDE my flash game while people are playing. It didn't come with a cloth map tho. I don't even know how that would look when scanned. I guess I'll stick with the digital version.

Anywhoo, my brain keeps going... even on holidays. I've done a couple of fixes and posted a new version for the site.

Version 0.9.10 (Fri. Apr. 2, 2010)
- Fixed the Line of Sight Algorithm for Cardinal then Diagonal for Bottom Left Quadrant.
- Fixed the buffer problems when performing peer, casting view in a city, or using the Lyceum telescope.
- Added better feedback for single letter/digit responses.
- Jinx, Negate, Protect, and Quickness duration length determined by caster level.

I've got three or four pretty steady testers work'n away at the game. My brother Chris has joined them as of today. Welcome Chris. I hope Bung is able to level up and get into some of the more interesting stuff I've got prepped for him. ;)

Also a big shout out to ex-roomie Peter Rattray who is just blasting away at the game. I had to stop at the US border to answer all of the Facebook messages that he sent me yesterday. (I get dinged for roaming charges on my cell-phone when I'm in another country.) So before Jean and I leave Canada, I'm just finger typing madly on my IPhone to get responses back to him about what to test and try next. Kudos man! I owe you a nice frosty one when I get back!

Nite all, and happy hunting to all the would be Avatars out there.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

More edits...

Still work'n away on my end. I've had a great day! The last BIG bug got resolved with the FireFox & Opera browsers now loading my Ultima4 page.

I'll mostly be resolving any remaining crash bugs that come up. The only things that I'm prepared to commit to for the last few things to implement would be a working animated title screen, and maybe a help system to let new players learn the 'alphabet soup' that is the Ultima interface. Also, I had a request to have a server-side save system so people could log on to multiple computers and play their character. Hmmm... methinks somebody is playing from home AND AT WORK. ;)

Version 0.9.9 (Thurs. Apr. 1, 2010)
- Streamlined a few of the merchant scripts: e.g. you can press return to get out of a buy menu.
- Fixed a problem where buying guild equipment would give the party 10 cloth armour.
- Fixed the sell armour routine.
- Fixed a crash bug when firing canons or casting spells while under monster ranged attacks.
- Removed the damage indicator that popped up when using the inn.
- Added an extra bit of text to indicate which inn rooms are more prone to attacks.
- Made it so that flaming oil or lava attacks will only leave a fire field or lava on a valid foot tile square in combat.

I will be away from my main computer for the next couple of days... but will still be receiving emails and facebook messages. Thanks to everyone who is helping to 'break' the game to make it better. I couldn't do this without you all, and your support.

Oh and in my play-testing... I've now achieved partial avatar status in all eight virtues. Using few if any cheats: mostly this was done to recover my game when I found various crashes.... honest. After all I'm an Avatar now... if I lie I lose an Eighth. ;)

Nite all, cya soon,