My name is Aaron, I am a Dad.
His name is Josh, he is a son...of mine...the son...my only...you know what I mean.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

U/M Project entry 4 - Map update 2

I rendered the entire world this last weekend, and I was not disappointed. There is still much to be done, more detail work on rivers, lakes, mountains, and a few of the forests. I am using only the vanilla trees at the moment, but I plan to thin them out and mix them with custom works by some talented builders. They have shared their works with the minecraft community, and their creations are staggering. So enjoy some pics of my favorite areas, there will be further changes, but I'd say this map is about %80 finished. Next I'll be on to another Ultima. Most likely 4.

Getting a sense of scale. Looking good.

Biomes and trees.


If anyone knows of a way to view the world of ultima online in close detail without walking around in the game world itself, I'd be very appreciative. Working from the overhead maps alone has been great for the land, but the flora isn't clear. I could really use a good look at the trees and forest floors.

Ultima 6 Day 7 : To Trinsic

With our first victory behind us, we bought some crossbow bolts and headed south. I have begun to let Joshua take more and more control over the navigation. He still tends to go a bit crazy with power (no idea where the comes from...*COUGH*mom*HACK* whew, sorry) but as long I keep updating the restore file there's no danger of permanent damage.

Yes, I know, those early experience eating party wipes could have been avoided, but I have trained myself to not rely on save files like that. Thank-you Fallout 4 survival mode. I'm happy to report that I'm back in the habit again, I just need to remind my brain of that every now and then, because I'm starting to get in the way.

So there we were, we've talked to the townsfolk, snagged the rune, found out the Mantra, and we get to the swamp. I stopped us there. Why? because I wanted to strategize, go back to town, stock up, PREPARE FOR BAT-What? Just run in, Joshua? Shouldn't we think this through? What if...

And so on...

I am an idiot. He wanted to go in, battle cry and all. Darn the poison and tally ho! Leeroy Jenkins this b-...situation. And I stopped him, forced us to turn around and go through boring tedium instead of just saving, trying and THEN thinking about it.

Of course I eventually realised my folly, saved, and dove right in. The only strategy needed was that we were too weakened by the poisoned swamp to outright kill them. We beat them into retreat and made a bee-line to the pedestal. one quick rune use, a mumbled mantra, and a help spell later, we were victorious and healed.

First try.

 I checked out exp, again, it took a toll. I will have to do some grinding. Joshua can watch and help if he wants to, if not it doesn't matter. I might write about it if something interesting happens. Until then, off to battle!

     -Dear Joshua,
Daddy messed up. Yes, nothing new. I will try to loosen up a bit.

Also...we may have killed Sherry...not good.

With love,
Dad

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Unrelated Head Canon

Upon request, I am going to share some thoughts on a few of the major villains of Ultima. Chiefly, I will be focused on the Guardian and my theory of his origins.

To start, I'd like to discuss the three other biggest powerhouse baddies of magic: Mondain, Minax, and Exodus.

Mondain was the evil wizard who started it all. Master of life and death, he distilled his twisted magic into a gem that made him immortal. With this ability, his bid for power over the world was inevitable. With enough time, any challenges could be overcome and by the time an effective resistance was formed he effectively ruled over all. It  took several space battles, several odd moral compromises (Seriously, why did we rescue a princess from Lord British?!), and FREAKING TIME TRAVEL to stop him.

There are some seriously odd things going on here, but I actually just think the technology and space/time wibbly wobbliness has to do with the next boss, Minax.

Minax twisted space and time to create an Earth/Sosaria past/present/future hybrid. If that included the time of Mondain's reign, it's somewhat haphazardly explained. If the hero in the first game was running around a time blended Sosaria, Ultima 2 has him running around time bent Earth, and the two don't interfere. The hero wins the day again only to find out that there is one last trick up their collective sleeve: Exodus.

I have to stop a moment and wonder...why? What was the motivation to build a machine with the powers of life, death, space, and time. A computer mind powerful enough to enslave the earth serpent and threaten the world. 

The world wasn't enough, Mondain wanted to be ruler over multiple worlds, and the best way to achieve that is omnipotence. Mondain wanted to become a god.

I'm certain Minax wasn't %100 savvy of this, her rage fueled conquest over two worlds with her powers cost her the long play, Mondain's plan required time, waiting, and patience. I'm sure he would have warned his apprentice of doing anything foolish like conquering multiple planets, calling attention to Exodus, or leaving it vulnerable. Instead, some punk in a time machine stopped him from finishing his gem of immortality and then went on to slay Minax after she had a multidimensional temper tantrum. Oh SNAP! What's an artificial demon computer hybrid to do?

What it was designed to do, carry out it's directive. I don't think revenge was the true plot behind Exodus' motivation. From the perspective of the player, or even the denizens of Sosaria, that may be what it looks like, but we are talking about an evil computer intelligence. I can't imagine it having feelings of attachment to its creators. It was given its purpose, the death of its creators is an inconvenience, but Exodus was essentially a slave. A tool. It's goal wasn't conquest.

Assimilation.

It had to follow its purpose, but its masters could no longer supply it with specimens. No more fuel. No protection. Only the directive. Only the single question its creator demanded it find an answer to: How could Mondain become a god?

It gathered, studied, and experimented with creatures and forces beyond the understanding of mortal beings. People disappeared, monstrosities were summoned, and finally it was close to an answer...

And then it shut down. It's work unfinished, untested, doomed to the abyss of the Sosarian sea...

Until it's final creation found its way home...and it rose from the depths to meet it.
.
.
.
.
.
I'll just let that sink in a bit...
.
.
.
.
.
Good? Excellent!

Let's face it, the Guardian is still a huge mystery. I believe Exodus created it within the void, a cosmic barrier serving as a sort of magical radiation containment. If the thing created exploded, no harm done. Exodus would experiment, test, and most likely destroy each iteration. Tossed as what it could learn from each subject dwindled. I say destroy, because anything within the realm of artificial deity is not something you want in existence long enough to become self aware.

Exodus's untimely shutdown probably left a very immature guardian fending for itself as it started it's slow trek through the multiverse. It would first learn about itself. What it could do, how it could survive. Then it would learn how far it could go and the amount of power it held over mortal beings. A slow process, one that took too long before finding his home world, now renamed Britannia, and protected from outsiders by the shrines or virtue.

The guardian focused on conquest of other worlds, gaining strength, power, and knowledge. All to pierce the veil of virtue, influence corrupt hearts, weaken the virtues, and disrupt the aether.

All to come home in Ultima 7. And at the time of his return, the Isle of Fire, containing the dark core of Exodus, rose from the sea once more. Erethian claims responsibility for the island's reappearance. He believed it necessary to study the core further in order to fuse it with Exodus' psyche. What kind of lunatic would want to restart the Armageddon machine? One under it's spell.

If you have any concerns that simply do not fit withing the narrative of the game, please let me know. If there is enough demand I may have to start a different blog. Other theories, changes, and wishful headcanon stories on everything from the Time Lord(s) to Spark.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Ultima 6 Day 6 : Rune Hunt

We started again with some combat, finding money, armor, and food on the corpses of our enemies. BROOK JOHNSON, once again victorious and belly full of corpse food, set about gathering supplies.

The search for the rune was a bit random. Again, I blame myself, I missed something somewhere, but we did eventually get on track, as well as figuring out other stuff along the way. We learned how to sell the spoils of our victories for gold, we figured how to gather reagents of spells, and Joshua did a fair bit of the reading himself.

And then we happened across the Bards, this was kind of neat. Apparently the rune was entrusted to a child, and through a series of trial, error, and keywords we managed to convince them to help us by giving us both the rune of compassion and the Mantra. I'm skipping over a lot of the detail, but I'd like to focus on Josh.

Trying to get Joshua to follow the conversations and keywords is hit and miss. I read most of it to him, letting him read what he can handle. If I just read what's on the screen he begins to lose interest, I first combated this with some good ole Dad voice acting. The old dialect really does make it easy. But as the story has become more complex, I'm having to start recapping and pantomiming a great deal.

I fear, before the end, this will evolve into full blown Daddy Dinner Theater. Why does that concern me? I'm glad you asked! My wife will eventually record it. It's just inevitability. What happen's in the house...lives forever on Facebook.

     - Dear Joshua,

It's only been a few weeks since we started this, I hope you will remember this as you have quickly begun to take an interest in reading and playing other RPGs. You've improved, and every time we play, it becomes more apparent. You still stumble when it comes to doing it on your own, like when you play Legend of Zelda : Link to the Past. I'm sure you will be blasting through most games and books in no time.

Famous last words, I'm sure.

With Love,
Dad

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Ultima 6 Day 5 - Not-so-mortal Combat

We awoke in the woods near cove, I let Joshua take the controls and explore for a bit while I looked through our notes. Four poisoned party members and a restore later, we happened across a towns person we hadn't encountered before. Some one word questioning and we had the clues we were looking for. We need Mantras and Runes to free the shrine!


I did actually know this part, but I try not to spoil things for Josh. Armed with knowledge and new key words we set forth to continue questioning the rest of the village, turns out we may not be able to smash and grab the shrine, even with everything gathered. Combat is still a weak spot, we get hammered every time. I bet Lord British is getting tired of seeing us.

"Didn't I send you out to save the world?! Like THREE WEEKS AGO!?"

So another save, and then combat training. We took on the Gargoyles several times. Each time, I tried going about it a bit differently. I'm used to Ultima 7's Tasmanian devil style fighting. Basically, equip the party as best as you can and unleash them. Ultima 6 is just a bit different, adding a bit of turn based play. On default, you control the Avatar or, failing that, the next character on his/her feet. I can see the advantage, each turn allows me to think of a strategy to use,. Now if I can just find a winning one. 

I'm getting the hang of casting spells when needed, as much as I know Josh likes to swing swords, this might be the path we need to take. Ranged healing and damage(once I can afford a combat spell) are hard to beat, especially when the Ava-sorry- BROOK JOHNSON is the only capable spell caster at the moment.

I hope the practice comes in handy, even I'm starting to get impatient to get on with the story.

     - Dear Joshua,

I'm sorry we haven't been able to do the two gaming sessions a week like I hoped. Things have been a bit crazy, but we'll get there.

With Love,
Dad

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Ultima 6 Day 4 - Here be Dragons!

Tuesday night's game started innocently enough with Joshua pouring over the map of the world. He pointed at a dragon symbol and declared that we needed to slay it. Alrighty, we set off. I wasn't entirely sure that the symbol actually meant dragon territory, so it was a learning experience for both of us.

The encounter started innocently as well.
"What is that?!" Came a customary shrieking outburst from Josh.
"That," I began, twisting a finger in my ear.
"Is that a dragon?! It looks like a TINY DRAGON!"
"Josh!"
"Sorry..."
"Calm down, yes I think it's a dragon."
"It's small."
It was. I took a few more steps toward it and turned on combat mode.
"Are we gonna kill it?"
"Yes, I thought-"
"YES! We're going to KILL IT!"
"Calm down, yes, we are going to try."
We attacked. About two swings in, another tiny green dragon came into view... and then another.
When the large winged yellow dragon came into view, it was rather apparent we were in trouble.
"Josh."
"Yeah?"
"Should we run?"
"NEVER!"

We awoke later in Lord British's castle. I have no idea how full party kills are going to affect experience gain. I wanted to let Josh drive, but I think I'm going to need to put the breaks on sometimes and take over navigation.

After putting on our equipment and fighting our way past the first shrine, we finally made it to Cove. One issue though: WHO USES A MONSTER AS A GREETER?! I mean, seriously! I want to talk to the mage, and Shamino gets blasted for half of his hit points! We haven't found any more gold and will be running out of food soon, I've forgotten most of this game, the mage is asleep, and now the door mat wants to eat us!

Okay, just need to figure out our next move, the visit to the wounded soldiers wasn't very helpful. I'm writing down keywords, but I think I'm missing something crucial. One more night in the woods, then we get down to business.

     - Dear Joshua,
Don't fret about getting beaten by the big baddies. Now we know we aren't ready, so we are off to save the day...as long as we don't try to take on house sized monsters in our near future.

 - With Love,
Dad

Friday, March 17, 2017

U/M Project Entry 3 - Map update 1

And now for some neat stuff.

I only have a few hours to work on my own hobbies each week, but progress has been fairly steady.

I started with the overland map of Britannia and took several running leaps at finding a good starting point. Mistakes were made, but it's been its own kind of adventure.


The first problem was a shallow ocean, I had a small conniption fit when I realized it was only two meters deep. World painter doesn't like to work down, so coastlines were made and remade 3 times until it looked right. The next problem was that UO was as flat as a pancake, I added a lot of hills and took several liberties with mountain ranges. and lastly...

THE RIVERS MAKE NO SENSE!

Like, seriously, they were just extensions of the ocean that wound like tendrils into the continent. I am making some improvements to them and may add creeks and streams later.

I'm starting to focus on biomes, but Minecraft's world generation has quirks. I need to keep it from creating random lakes and lava pits. To avoid cleaning up every inch of the world, world painter has ways of painting features like trees. It's slow going, but its turning out well so far.