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, August 13, 2017

Ultima 6 Day 11 : Yew

We had a rather straightforward night of combat with two fairly large encounters on the road north with various monsters. There were many spears and throwing axes to sort through. a couple poisoned chests, and a lot of hack and slash.

I wish it were a bit more of a story, but with our frail mouse still training hard to become a useful member of the group and the need to coach Josh through every keystroke and click, it was a very time consuming night.

Summer break is almost over and Josh is getting ready (See: Not happy) to start second grade. Further, his popularity with a certain set of twins in the neighborhood has pretty much taken the focus of the game away. On the list of things he would like to do, Ultima isn't very close to the top at the moment.

But... I do have other plans. I recently ran a game of Heroquest, with Joshua and his friends taking on the roles of the heros. With a lot less guiding than I thought it would take to keep their attention, we did manage to defeat the big baddie in the first dungeon "The Trial" thus completing the main goal of the adventure.

And then the kids went wild...and four adventurers in the heart of a deep dungeon lair suddenly had no further compulsions to extricate themselves...to this day, it is said they can still be heard in the depths of the world whispering into the dark.

"What were we doing again?"

     -Dear Joshua,

It's been a crazy summer, your mother and I are exhausted. I apologize for the lack of one on one time, but it's been necessary. Believe it or not, it's going to get better. As you and your sister get better at keeping out of trouble, looking after yourselves, and learning to help out, we will find ourselves with more and more free time.

Of course, if you are reading this, then this has come to pass...I hope. I wonder how things will change with our game time. Will you beat me at Smash Brothers? Will I be able to survive a game of Mario Bro's with you? Will you ever tire of youtube playthroughs by people, I swear, are intentionally bad at gaming? I can't wait to find out, you're already starting to give me a run for my money on some of these.

With Love,
Dad

Sunday, July 23, 2017

U/M Project entry 5 - Map 3 & I'm not Dead!

Here! He says he's not dead!

No, I'm not. I'm exhausted, but I'm getting better.

This is going to be a bit more than a Map update. My life has spun up in a few directions and so has Joshua's. I admit, I'm an introvert. I don't do company. The few exceptions are nerds, geeks, duel classes, and gestalts. So when Joshua suddenly became the new curiosity of the neighborhood kids and decided he like the attention, all bets have been off.

This will not spell the end of Father/son Ultima time, but as Josh has found new and interesting ways of having fun and getting into trouble, we've put Ultima on hold for now. One thing Ultima related that has happened with him was one of his birthday presents from me.

BROOK JOHNSON
(on a stick)

One 3D printed figure from Hero Forge and hand painted by Master-Amature with two thumbs:
This Guy!

I did my best to take the things Josh has described about his idea of the Avatar and make him a fitting mini. I wanted him to keep it, but, as I feared, I had to put it up and out of reach. He was entirely fascinated by it, to the point of getting it out every chance he could to look at it. Which led to him dropping it...repeatedly. So, now it has several chips of paint missing. I'll get around to touching it up eventually.

The ever growing To-Do List.

Moving on!

The U/M Project is progressing. I think I've narrowed down the necessary mods for Minecraft that should made for a well rounded Ultima-ish experience.

I have NPCs with handy dialog trees, shop keepers, pathing routes, and potential schedules!

I have a large variety of blocks, block pieces, and mechanisms.

I have almost finished my first terrain map Ultima Online, down to tweaking the rivers and forests.

I have a few issues though. 

First, I haven't settled on a version of Minecraft. The modpacks I have experimented with have most of what I need, but none have all. This is my own issue, but it's been a big hangup as far as finalising a modpack and getting down to business building up Britannia.

Second, Portals. I've worked out a few ways of getting a watery blue portal. Not the best plan, but A plan. The purple nether portals could be used in place of red portals, but I'd really like proper red and blue ones. There are still a few mods I've messed around with that have portals, but I'm having to slowly learn command block code and find ways of applying values to modded objects...it's a pain.

Third, perhaps the most frustrating, Keys and Locked Doors. Minecraft doesn't have them. and the few mods I've found either cover inventories and chests or they cover doors...not both. Seriously, one of the most gorgeous and well thought out key mods out there, with customisable key color combinations and enchanted locks...doesn't have a single door lock. The one mod for keyed entry through doors I have found, DOESN'T WORK ON CHESTS!

I know what you're thinking, why not use both?! Because they don't have a matching version of Minecraft they share with the rest of the necessary mods. See the first issue.

WHAAAHG!

Anyhoo, Those issues could be worked around with more command block work and possibly a bit of scripting through another mod. Yay, more Todos!


Okay, you made it though the Issues! Congrats, now to the good news!
As I mentioned before, the Ultima Online map is nearing completion on the Terrain and is almost ready for a small army of motivated builders to tackle the worldbuilding part in the future. However I do have other news! Feast your eyes on THIS:


Yep, That's the beginnings of U4...and also most of 5. I really didn't realise they were almost copies of one another, but I hardly know them. I'm resisting the urge to do my favorites first (6&7) because I'd like to have them evolve from one another. U4 is very different from UO, so I decided against my idea to mold one from another at the moment. The MMO was a bit removed from the series anyway, so I think it's fair, but I did retain the scale! Where the UO map I made is about 5 x 6.3 km, the series games tend to be square. In keeping with the scale, this one will be about 5km squared.

While I'm pretty sure that sounds like a big map (it ain't small!) I'm pretty sure someone already worked out the multiple scales used in the earlier ultimas simulated a much larger planet. I'm pretty sure that this means I've shrunk it down considerably. But if I keep to it, U6 and up will be much larger than the originals. I'm not saying I think ~25 square kilometers should be canon, just that it's going to be cool to reconstruct these worlds and cities on a consistent scale.

Will it look good? Most of the other Ultima projects in Minecraft look really good, I think this will too.

Will it be accurate? Hell no.

Will we try to be accurate with the cities at least? Yes and/or No.

Come again?

I won't know what folks are going to want to do. If I have to do it all by myself, yes, the cities will be accurate for simplicity's sake. It would save me the trouble of re designing all of the cities.

But if I had help, we'd vote. Accurate against a redesign that would have the kingdom seem to evolve from one game world to the next, each generation of Britannia building on top of the last.

I think that would be cool too.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Ultima 6 Day 10 : Once More!

Poor Dupre, he haddn't the slightest chance. Every time we engaged the winged gargoyle, we lost at least our valiant knight. The entire party laid into it with swords, crossbow bolts, and Sherry's lightning wand. Son of a bat-winged horror, just... Wouldn't... DIE!

So we ran, healed, and portaled in to immediately dispel the curse. Taking advantage of the delay between arrival and combat, we quickly used it to level up Sherry. 

Yay! She can actually carry things now!

We tried once more to take on the gargoyles, but the story was just the same, I kept Dupre alive long enough to make a retreat and we all hopped into the moongate. Lord British was very accommodating and we struck out again in search of trouble and loot.

We found slime.

It was coming from a narrow tunnel underground. I briefly considered walking away, but instead we camped at the tunnel's exit. As it duplicated itself and came into the open, the party sliced it up for Exp.

Who knew you could learn so much about combat from a play-doh fun factory?

Things went smoothly until a pink ooze ate Dupre's Shield. Off to Britain! It didn't take long to find a replacement, but as we passed Iolo's bows, Joshua became convinced that BROOK JOHNSON required a bow. After the terrible accuracy of Iolo and Sherry (Both responsible for many injuries to the party in combat), I was against it.

Josh persisted and I asked him why he wanted a bow.

With a severe expression, and a closed fist raised, "For the awesomeness," he replied.

So we're in the market, I'd like to hold out for a magic one if possible.

     -Dear Joshua,

Your mother had to recite that last story to me because I completely forgot why she had collapsed with laughter during our game. It took her a good 40 seconds, just being asked about it, to stop laughing about it long enough to talk about it. Apparently you got her right in the funny bone with that look. Might be terminal... time will tell.

With Love,
Dad

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Ultima 6 Day 9 : Jhelom

After training for a good deal of time by running around looking for trouble, we managed to get Sherry ready to level. A quick glance at a guide to the shrines and we found that the best shrine to gain strength is in Jhelom. So we started looking for ways to get there.

I really should have been using the first shrine in Cove for Exp farming, because leveling up has been a pain and we are broke. I've begun to get comfortable with the moonstone, portaling back to the throne room for healing. It's saving a buck or two on food, too. Seriously though. Really tempted to rob the bank or something. Oh! And murder Finn for being an inconvenience.

But I digress.

We summoned a gate to Jhelom-

No, actually we went to the shrine of Valor and got our butts handed to us.

After a restore, we THEN ported to Jhelom and proceeded to talk to everyone in town. Eventually, with some exploration and leading questions for Josh, we found out the Mantra and discovered the Rune. There was also cheese, naturally, because we found the rune in a mouse hole, along with a ring of invisibility.

Glance around for Hobb- I mean...Bobbits...

And off to the shrine, once again!

...And again!

...Third time's the-

...Oh bother.

...OH THE HUMANITY!

We took several swings at taking down the gargoyles. Alas, Dupre seems to die every time. I started taking direct control over the entire group, but Josh was getting very confused. I'm trying to limit myself to only controlling BROOK JOHNSON and Sherry, but it's difficult.

Next time around we'll probably just take the Exp hit again and deal with the aftermath. Once we have a few more party members and some level-ups, I think we'll have a good foothold in the game...Finally.

     -Dear Joshua,

Sometimes we learn more from failure than success. While, true, sometimes saying that just feels like we're slow learners.

With Love,
Dad

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Quick Announcement! 5/15/17

Air conditioning went out, family in the hospital, cats and dogs living together.

You get the idea, it's been a bad week for father/son time. So no progress in Ultima 6.

Very little progress on the U/M Project as well, just some modpack experiments and plans for opening up development to the public to any Dragons wanting to contribute to building on their favorite map.

And lastly I will be taking down the "Unrelated Headcanon" post. I have moved, added to, and made some corrections to it on a second blog. Ultima Dad's Headcanon. Yes, the name isn't original, but while it's important to me to write out my ideas, the Ultima Dad blog is far more important over-all.

So if you're interested in my odd views on what the stories of Ultima could be, head on over and prepare to be confused.

Just being honest.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Ultima 6 Day 8 : Sherry Shenanigans

No! We did not kill Sherry the mouse. WHEW!

Or, if we did, I restored the game and just forgot. Could have sworn we killed a rodent the castle, but maybe that was just my memory playing tricks on me.

We acquired Sherry as a companion and immediately began seeking trouble to train her up. I am definitely going to spend some time in my own doing this, as exciting as combat is for Joshua, finding animals for her to take on safely isn't easy. And battle tactics with an easily killable mouse... definitely need a plan. I think I have one.

We started with a lightning wand dear-ol' Chuckles had stashed away.



Aaaaand we quickly found that it was overkill for the rats in the sewers.

I'm not sure what the respawn rate for the first level of sewers is, but trying to go further down into the depths has had a surprising effect. Joshua is scared of the caverns. I tried to reassure him, but he would have none of it. The dark atmosphere, music, and the appearance struck a terrifying cord.

I remember having this reaction in a few games back then; Underworld, Dungeon Master, and later Alone in the Dark. Just, not Ultima 6...Maybe I would have been afraid in 8, but in 6 I remember running through every area I could... usually into certain doom. I'm not sure of how to proceed, I will simply have to avoid any quest underground for now, but I can't see that lasting forever.

Out we went into the wilderness to scare up some snakes, to no avail, and had to settle on traveling towards minoc...

*mysterious outro music*

...budget shortfalls, we work with what we gots.


     -Dear Joshua,

Caves, we will need to go eventually. I hope we can work out a way of getting you over your fear of...cave tiles and spooky tile sets... maybe a few rounds of Zombies Ate My Neighbors? We might have to skip Ultima Underworld.

With Love,
Dad

     -Dear Izzy,

Daddy's hair isn't long enough to braid, and you don't know how to anyway. Please stop. You two will cause my hair to fall out in due time, no pulling necessary.

With Love,
Dad

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.