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Author Topic: ROM Hacks: Ultima: Exodus Remastered hack released  (Read 10561 times)

cliff

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Re: ROM Hacks: Ultima: Exodus Remastered hack released
« Reply #20 on: February 28, 2020, 06:11:19 pm »
Hey there, I have a post in the other thread (https://www.romhacking.net/forum/index.php?topic=29700.msg390540#msg390540) that details an exploit and a bug present in the hack. Tested with v102 as well.

Fox Cunning

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Re: ROM Hacks: Ultima: Exodus Remastered hack released
« Reply #21 on: February 29, 2020, 05:26:41 pm »
BTW I patched both versions just to compare old vs. new font on my end to 1.01, and for the old, the CRC32 didn't match the readme's, was that correct or a problem on my end?
I know there is a dump of the same ROM where for some reason they added trailing data to the header. Other than that, the actual ROM is exactly the same and the patch will work just fine.

Update: also I had made a mistake with an older CRC32 value in the batch file, oops! Fixed in v1.03 ;D

Cheers!
« Last Edit: February 29, 2020, 07:46:33 pm by Fox Cunning »

Reiska

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Re: ROM Hacks: Ultima: Exodus Remastered hack released
« Reply #22 on: March 06, 2020, 12:59:04 am »
The different amounts of HP on levelup based on class don't seem to be functioning in 1.03 - in my playing, all four classes I used were gaining 75 HP upon leveling up (I have a level 2 paladin with 235, a level 3 lark with 265, a level 2 illusionist with 180 and a level 2 wizard with 175).

Bug? 

Fox Cunning

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Re: ROM Hacks: Ultima: Exodus Remastered hack released
« Reply #23 on: March 06, 2020, 09:07:15 am »
The different amounts of HP on levelup based on class don't seem to be functioning in 1.03 - in my playing, all four classes I used were gaining 75 HP upon leveling up (I have a level 2 paladin with 235, a level 3 lark with 265, a level 2 illusionist with 180 and a level 2 wizard with 175).

Bug?

Thank you for bringing this to my attention.
The game was working as intended, i.e. 75*level + profession bonus, but I understand the confusion as it's (75*level)+bonus and not (75+bonus)*level.
Also, as you noted, characters tended to have similar total HP the higher their levels.

So, I've changed the formula in v1.04 to be 50 + (bonus * level), with slightly higher bonuses per profession.
Hopefully it will be approved soon :)

Reiska

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Re: ROM Hacks: Ultima: Exodus Remastered hack released
« Reply #24 on: March 06, 2020, 11:10:02 am »
Aha!  I figured it might have been a change that didn't make it into the release notes, but I wasn't certain. 

Really enjoying the overhaul so far!

March 13, 2020, 03:07:11 am - (Auto Merged - Double Posts are not allowed before 7 days.)
Got another bug report (still playing on 1.03, mind you, since I'd already progressed quite far on that version, so if this was fixed in 1.04 you can disregard).

Illusionist's max MP (and I'd guess this affects Alchemists as well) seems to calculate incorrectly with extremely high WIS values.  I'm not sure of the precise breakpoint as I wasn't checking every time I boosted it by 1 point, but right now my Illusionist has 95 WIS and the status screen reports she has a maximum MP of 7.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2020, 03:24:28 am by Reiska »

Fox Cunning

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Re: ROM Hacks: Ultima: Exodus Remastered hack released
« Reply #25 on: March 14, 2020, 07:18:28 pm »
Got another bug report (still playing on 1.03, mind you, since I'd already progressed quite far on that version, so if this was fixed in 1.04 you can disregard).

Illusionist's max MP (and I'd guess this affects Alchemists as well) seems to calculate incorrectly with extremely high WIS values.  I'm not sure of the precise breakpoint as I wasn't checking every time I boosted it by 1 point, but right now my Illusionist has 95 WIS and the status screen reports she has a maximum MP of 7.

Thanks again for the feedback! I've just reviewed the code that assigns max MP, and there is in fact a bug that will affect Illusionists and Alchemists with respectively Wisdom and Intelligence higher than 85. Totally on me, since I forgot to keep the carry after the 8-bit addition used to multiply the relevant attribute by 3.
Will be fixed in version 1.05!

And by the way, you won't lose your saved games if you upgrade. In fact the correct values of max MP and HP will simply be applied as soon as you load the game (from the battery-backed RAM of course, not from an emulator's saved state).

OR use these GameGenie codes:
ZTUAOEZK
ZTKAOEZK
« Last Edit: March 14, 2020, 08:25:12 pm by Fox Cunning »

mentil

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Re: ROM Hacks: Ultima: Exodus Remastered hack released
« Reply #26 on: July 06, 2020, 05:50:15 am »
I'd never played an Ultima game for very long before, but was looking forward to checking out this hack. After a few hours I felt like giving up, though. For reference I used the premade Paladin, Thief, Wizard, and Lark. On reflection, there were two main issues I had:

1) Lack of direction. Yeah I get this is a Western-style RPG, with a more-or-less open world, and you can 'skip ahead' and go to places you can't complete yet; yet I nonetheless felt like there was too little direction in where to go and what to do. I'm supposed to seal Exodus but am given no hint (at least at first) as to roughly how to do that.
Spoiler:
A couple NPCs I found suggested I should find the 4 Marks, and the Mark of Kings, yet no reason was given as to why I should. Worse, I actually did find the Mark of Kings in a dungeon, but it only seemed to hurt the person who inspected it. It was unclear what benefit it bestowed, if any, or if it hurt me because it was a fake Mark, or if I was too low of level to get the benefit, or if there was some other prerequisite. I was left very confused.
I was given nebulous suggestions to 'find dawn' and to bring ashen characters 'to moon', which I assume are Engrish. Someone wants flowers but I'm unsure why I should give her some, or where to get them.
I wasn't sure where other towns and features were, even generally. The manual says Exodus is to the Southwest, does that mean I'm supposed to head in that direction right away?
My most experienced character has 55XP, which doesn't seem to be enough to reach level 2. How much do I need in order to level up? I have no idea. No screen or NPC tells me. I'm unsure if it's indicated when a character is able to level up, so I regularly run back to Lord British to try to level up, only to learn I can't.
I had to read the manual to realize the Select button lets me see another screen of commands in the command menu, there's no indication there's a whole other screen of commands, or that you press Select to see it.
Dungeons are pretty mazey and easy to get lost in (which I expected, but this is still a pet peeve of mine), the encounter rate didn't seem too bad, though.
Is a Sword or Iron Sword better? What about a Blowgun versus a Sword? No screen tells me their damage output, or a character's modified damage stat, so it's up to trial and error. However, there's a pretty large damage range so it's still tough to tell. If a character one-shots an enemy you get no damage report, making this process even more difficult. Item price is a hint, but you have to find a merchant that sells that item in order to even sell it to find out its price; e.g. I found an iron sword but can't sell it, so I've no idea.
Yes I could easily Google all of this, the point is I shouldn't have to, it should be in-game. Many of these stats have been modified, so the vanilla info wouldn't even be applicable.

2) Tedium and frustration. The release notes say that early levels were made less grindy, but I think it's still far too grindy. 3 or 4 XP per kill, with only the one getting the killing blow getting the XP, means it accumulates slowly, particularly for support classes like Clerics who aren't doing as much damage.
Battles take far too long to complete, as ones with 5+ enemies aren't uncommon. This is aggravated by the inability to escape battle by any means (even teleportation spells like Trans or Ascend), and (when exploring the overworld) by enemies touching your 'tail', since party members trail the leader. This is generally understood to be illustrative in other RPGs, since if each square is approx. a 15-minute walk, your 4th party member isn't 45 minutes away from the leader. On the other end of things, entering combat takes longer than it should when walking into an enemy on the overworld, as it appears that the enemy needs to take their turn and walk into you in order to initiate combat; this makes grinding take longer when I'm trying to do so.
According to the release notes, dungeons are now a good place to grind, but I found that's not that true. Going to the Gold Cave at least, enemies I could fight didn't seem to give much more XP. OTOH, I often ran into enemies I couldn't handle; I would just load a savestate and randomly get easier enemies. If I weren't abusing savestates, I would be trapped in a battle that I wouldn't realize at first I couldn't win; this makes dungeons overly dangerous, unless you can handle everything there, given there's no saving in dungeons, or fleeing.
That brings me to difficulty, which is pretty punishing here. It's very difficult to recover from a party wipe at low levels, since Resurrection is unaffordable, and you can't cast Raise. Grinding Orks for 1500GP is pretty ridiculous when they drop 27GP per group. How come Lord British will resurrect the party leader for free, but not the other heroes?
Chests are trapped far too often, particularly given that ones dropped by enemies are mostly illustrative for items looted from their corpses (which presumably aren't trapped.) Actual chests found in town, sure.
On that subject, the 'Open' spell is unintuitively named. I had to check the manual to find out why it wasn't unlocking doors; I need a universal single-use Magic Key, but a magic spell called 'Open' won't work?
Walking through brush has enough of a delay to be aggravating.
When at a shop, it takes quite a bit of trial and error to figure out what a given character can equip.
In my first battle, the first thing I did was throw my dagger, not realizing I could (and that it was gone forever.) Terrible first impression of the combat system. Also I had no idea what the spells did and wasted lots of turns on spells not usable in combat.

3) Most egregiously, the weapon is spelled 'Axe' in shops and 'Ax' in other menus. That's the last straw! /s


Recommendations:
Change some NPC dialog in the first town/castle to give some general direction as to what the player is supposed to do in order to seal Exodus. Perhaps work that into the intro. Put in NPC dialog in each town that mentions nearby towns and roughly which direction they lie in; this can replace asinine dialog like "The dungeon is dark" and "The dungeon has monsters."
Iolo could be more explicit that returning to Lord British when you have enough XP lets your characters increase in power; he currently gives redundant info that British already gives. Even better if you can have British say how much XP one needs to level up.
If no indication already exists, add a feature to the Stats screen to indicate when a character is able to level up (e.g. colored XP number, or a LVL icon).
Fix the NPC Engrish, and give hints as to why the player should do a given thing they're being prodded to do.
Spoiler:
Make the Mark of Kings interaction text clearer as to what is going on.
More character stats could be put on the equip screen, like character or weapon damage, character or armor AC, XP needed to level up, level, spelled-out condition, or steal/trap evade percentage. Maybe an icon to the right of the number possessed of an item, showing if it can be equipped; right now there's no message if you try to equip something that you can't.
Put some indicator on the command menu that there are more commands, either an arrow or a small SEL icon so you know to press the Select button.
Rephrase the 'Climb' error to 'No Ladder Here!' to make it clear that you don't need to buy a ladder in order to climb.
Rename the 'Open' spell to 'Disarm', to make it clear how to use it and why it won't open doors. The NPC in front of the locked door in Castle Britania could mention Magic Keys, rather than "Only the brave go past here."
Pressing a button when the at-a-glance stats menu is showing should have that button's effect, and not just dismiss the menu.
Shops should show the AC/damage of equipment they sell.
Any combat action that leads to a 'Failed!' error shouldn't consume the turn. The same goes for melee attacking in a direction with no enemy ('No One Is Here!'.) Even better if you can remove spells from the list that aren't usable in combat.
Bug: After going into the 'Tools' menu in combat for someone who has no tools, the sidebar redraws unnecessarily, with the turn indicator not present until the next turn.
Bug: When changing direction, you move a few pixels before switching to the sprite that faces the proper direction.
If you could make all weapons sellable to all weapon merchants, and all armor sellable to all armor merchants, that might be nice, given those can be looted now. Perhaps exclude unsellable unique weapons, though.
I'd love to know how much damage I do even if it's a killing blow.
I often miss the name of what I'm fighting, which is relevant for use of the Undead/Repel spells (and also I just want to know what's killing me.) Perhaps center their name above the name of the first character, and move the turn indicator one tile lower.
Combat should only be initiated if the leader touches an enemy. The player should be able to initiate combat by trying to walk into a square inhabited by an enemy, if possible, rather than having to wait or use the Fight command.
The delay for walking through brush could be reduced so that it's noticeable but not aggravating.
For the Tools/Give/Get/Magic menus, it should say 'Who?' with a question mark to make it clearer that's a prompt, maybe move that one tile to the left (and 'Whom?' when giving something.)
Before the values for gold given, put a <= symbol, since that's how it functions.
Dead people should be able to pay for hospital services so you don't have to move money around for that. What'd be even better is if money could be pooled (or were in a pool by default, as in e.g. Final Fantasy.)


These recommendations affect game balance, and you may prefer to put them into a separate 'easy type' mod that can optionally be applied during patch install:
Give the Map spell a lower mana cost, so it can be cast by a level 1 (0MP ideally.)
Early levels could be even less grindy, and dungeons have even better XP given the lack of saving.
XP could be doled out by doing damage (a la 'Shining Force'), rather than getting killing blows. This would make XP gain more equitable among characters. Make healing damage in combat give out XP to help out the Clerics.
Get rid of the 'turned to ash' mechanic; who's not going to savescum that anyway? A failed Raise spell turning their tools to ash is illogical anyway, and avoidable if you can move the tools over before trying.
Make hospital prices scale with level, so that curing conditions is actually affordable at low levels. No more "my party is dead so I'm grinding Orks for hours."
Even better for the low-level party wipe scenario, make Lord British resurrect the whole party, at least at low levels.
The overworld is overly crowded with enemies, I'd scale that back a bit so they're easier to avoid.
Make daggers unthrowable. That's probably not what one intends at the beginning of the game, and they do low damage even if you can afford to do this.
If possible, allow some way to escape from battle. Either with Ascend/Trans type spells, or by moving off the border of the combat area (perhaps with a Dex check.)
Loot dropped from enemies should be untrapped. Thief-type enemies might bother keeping their belongings in trapped containers on their persons, but I'm guessing the loot creation code isn't that fine-grained. Barring that, traps could be far less common; poison could be less deadly at lower levels, not sure about the other conditions.
Just as Heal2 got a buff, Heal could get a buff. 2-11HP is a pathetic amount that makes me question using the premade Paladin (1 cast uses all her MP.) That Paladin also misses an inordinate amount, presumably due to low Dex.

Fox Cunning

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Re: ROM Hacks: Ultima: Exodus Remastered hack released
« Reply #27 on: July 24, 2020, 11:15:19 am »
Thanks for the very extensive feedback ;D It's always great to have the opinion of someone who is wasn't already familiar with the game, as I would have never thought about many things you mention.

Now some would require extensive rewrites of the engine, but others are absolutely doable. Obviously at the time games relied on information taken from manuals, booklets and hint guides (the original release of U3 I think included 3 booklets, plus a map) rather than in-game text.
That was because of hardware limitations mostly, but also game design had not evolved much.

I did think about modifying NPC dialogues more to give more hints and better direction. However at the time I was changing bytes by hand with a hex editor, so changing the text length was risky and difficult. Now that I am working on an editor which already includes packed text reallocation, that would be much, much easier.

Note that locations, town names, weapon and armour effectiveness etc. are all explained in the game's manual - as I mentioned above the game just assumes a certain level of "meta-gaming". This can be fixed only partially by changing in-game dialogues, but note that many hints are already present and I believe it would be just a matter of linking them together as organically as possible.

mentil

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Re: ROM Hacks: Ultima: Exodus Remastered hack released
« Reply #28 on: July 24, 2020, 08:17:21 pm »
Thanks for the reply. You've done a great job on this hack so far.

As far as I can tell, the NES version of Ultima 3 only has a single manual, which doesn't mention town names or locations, or list every piece of equipment (e.g. that Iron Sword I mentioned) or compare every weapon to each other (e.g. how does a Mace compare to a Sword?)
Also the only direction given in the manual as to what to do is: "Their quest: to return peace to the kingdom. They must solve the riddle of Exodus." That's pretty vague. A hint guide was sold separately from the game (mentioned in the back of the manual as 'coming soon'), should that really be considered mandatory? Yes the PC version had lots of additional info that came with it but a) this is not that version, and it's unclear that the PC version's info is applicable, even to the vanilla NES game; and b) the hack's readme and release notes don't instruct me that I need to consult the PC version's manuals/map. I'm trying to avoid looking at walkthroughs etc. if possible.

Sure I could wander around, find more towns eventually, and hopefully find an NPC that explains what the Marks are for, but it's standard for an RPG to explain what something important is before you happen upon it, particularly when it seems to be story-critical. Given it's an open world it's difficult to ensure that happens, but the NPCs in the first town could be more helpful, as a suggestion.

binarck

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Re: ROM Hacks: Ultima: Exodus Remastered hack released
« Reply #29 on: July 25, 2020, 12:40:08 am »
Old CRPGs can be downright punishing, unforgiving, and taxing. But the reward (er.. entertainment) was about getting past some incredibly annoying hurdles. Regardless of deaths, restarts, clueless exploration; some games would perma-wipe your saves on perfectly timed soul-crushing wipeouts.

But there usually was some way to win if you were that stubborn to keep going. It's really all mental and about the "challenge" of winning against some amazingly unfair odds. Which doesn't always rely on grinding.



@Glass_Cannon_Build has a realistic summary of what it's like playing Wizardry. The original #4 is certified demonic torture but admittedly creative and interesting in its own dark way.
https://od.reddit.com/r/patientgamers/comments/90ruk3/so_i_just_finished_ultima_i/



It can be worth your time reading this person, but beware of heavy spoilers. The historian does a wonderful job with his adventuring diaries, with fun humour when needed.
http://crpgaddict.blogspot.com/
http://crpgaddict.blogspot.com/2010/03/game-8-ultima-iii.html
http://crpgaddict.blogspot.com/2010/03/ultima-iii-won.html

Took him *10 hours* to finish this one.

_________________________________________________


Quote
This can be fixed only partially by changing in-game dialogues, but note that many hints are already present and I believe it would be just a matter of linking them together as organically as possible.

If you talk to every single person in every town, you do get enough hints to put together the correct sequence.

I'd have to replay this one sometime but I remember U3 being light on exposition. It could help to add some of the book lore to the script maybe.

_________________________________________


@mentil
You bring up many valid, interesting Quality-of-Life pointers! Can't help you much but I'll try helping a bit.

'find dawn' = Find the hidden City of Dawn, which is concealed by powerful magic.

'to moon' = The city of Moon. Those people can help dead characters.

finding flowers = I don't remember this one. Maybe it's NES specific?

You can head to Exodus right away. Which you'll find out why it's a bad idea and leave.

There are no fake marks. And each one "imprints" or brands its special power to your party, at cost of life. But I don't remember where they're specifically described what each does.


I get your confusion and frustration. Things could be explained better to help new people.
- Be sure to visit all towns.
- Search for easy to find gold plunder.
- Locate the shrines to boost stats.
- Find healing fountains in dungeons for grinding.

Fox Cunning

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Re: ROM Hacks: Ultima: Exodus Remastered hack released
« Reply #30 on: July 25, 2020, 04:00:32 am »
Fantastic summary, @binarck.

If you talk to every single person in every town, you do get enough hints to put together the correct sequence.

I'd have to replay this one sometime but I remember U3 being light on exposition. It could help to add some of the book lore to the script maybe.

On this, I was referring to some extremely vague dialogue such as "The Mystic Armor is somewhere" that I don't think really helps and could be made useful by expanding the text, e.g. "A man in Grey knows about the Mystic Armor".
Spoiler:
An NPC in Grey actually does have a valuable hint and tells the player to ask about it in Dawn, where again two NPCs have useful hints.

That was difficult because it requires moving code and rebuilding pointer tables, which if done manually is prone to breaking things, and also a major pain in the bum.

That said, I am a fan of game manuals. When I was a kid, buying a new game was an event, and I'd spend days studying each booklet, manual and map included before actually turning my console/computer on.
With Ultima, reading the cloth map was a game by itself as you had to decode the runic alphabet using the table contained in one of the booklets. ;D

binarck

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Re: ROM Hacks: Ultima: Exodus Remastered hack released
« Reply #31 on: July 25, 2020, 09:46:50 am »
Quote
"The Mystic Armor is somewhere"

It does highlight an important quest fetch item; rejoice when you find me and don't throw me away!. I can get gamers thinking now, meh - useless!

Quote
"A man in Grey knows about the Mystic Armor"

That is better without giving away much. Puzzles is part of the series.

___________________________________________________


Old game books today are probably considered for hardcore "geeks" written by "frail nerds". But they filled in so much imagination. They had the budget to do hard prints and they sure didn't waste their money; high-quality mini-novels to me. And they were often thick!

Ultima 7 stands out to me, since it's the bad guy.
Bard's Tale II for giving you a blueprint and why you shouldn't exactly follow it.
Quest for Glory II hooked me into the new environment well.
Space Quest V was lame-o but it had its Andromeda charm.

Even budget games like Wizard Wars gave you goodies like a cloth pouch with a really dense clear sphere, cube, and I think pyramid.

Then there was Lucasarts Loom audio drama. Half-hour of that and you'd be "replaying" those voices throughout the short story.

Experiences that can't be produced in time machines, vr simulations, museums, stored memory.


I was the "clueless gamer" then. Dive in first, get kicked badly and try to find a way back up. Then read the maps, bestiaries, provided "clue" books and diaries. Realize that blob of bad guy was that all along!

______________________________________________


Quote
That was difficult because it requires moving code and rebuilding pointer tables, which if done manually is prone to breaking things, and also a major pain in the bum.

I've heard abcde is very good for this.

cospefogo

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Re: ROM Hacks: Ultima: Exodus Remastered hack released
« Reply #32 on: July 25, 2020, 09:58:31 am »
Imagine me, back in 1993 (or 1992), playing Ultima Exodus as a rental game from a shop nearby my home. At the time I was around 16 and English was a no-no for me (I speak Portuguese, native), never had lessons about the language at the public school before.

The most fantastic discovery in my life WAS TO FINALLY FIND THE ENTRANCE to AMBROSIA, because the hint — "Ambrosia lies beyond the whirlpool" meant nothing to me, and the dictionary did not help. I found it by accident, after 3 months of daily play — when my
Spoiler:
ship got caught by the whirlpool in the ocean.

I think players nowadays expect too much of the games. The fun and the excitement we had back on NES and SNES RPGs age is gone for good... or I am too old to adapt to the present way of gaming.

Recently bought Dragon Quest XI for PS4 and, although it is almost like a NES Dragon Quest modernized, oh man, it is so boring, silly characters, almost lame. It's a pity.
"Replicants are like any other machine - they're either a benefit or a hazard.
If they're a benefit, it's not my problem."

binarck

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Re: ROM Hacks: Ultima: Exodus Remastered hack released
« Reply #33 on: July 25, 2020, 03:22:22 pm »
I think modern RPGs have different goals.
- They have to satisfy bigger audiences. Less room to make design mistakes or gamble on risks.
- Less project time since they have more things to do.
- Micro-optimizations and customizations seem to be a big thing now.
- Must have lots of variety.
- Larger pounds of script, dialogue, cutscenes. In-game bonus stuff.
- Presentation and style emphasis.
- Lower danger of making regrettable in-game mistakes.
- Player must feel like they are progressing.
- Prescence of a virtual assistant to manage the mundane stuff.
- Wouldn't call it hand-holding but clear, unconfusing guidance.
- Game must be winnable without overachieving difficulty.
  (Dark Souls is blistering hard, but there are some clear rules and patterns to discover. Battle education)
- Time efficiency. Gamers must feel like every hour was worthwhile.
- Lots of in-game information and UI assistance.
- Situational awareness. Strengths, weaknesses. Odd misc stuff.
- Socializing. Dialogue. Buddy atmosphere.


I think (S)NES RPGs were simpler enough that you had an idea what to do but still roughed you up with crunchy boss battles. Easier to manage but satisfying because there wasn't an overload of things to be aware of. Rings of Power (SMD) was one I remember more.

Older CRPGs were more about DIY, survival and little help offered. Victory was an achievement; the devs didn't want you to win.

________________________________________________

Quote

As far as I can tell, the NES version of Ultima 3 only has a single manual, which doesn't mention town names or locations, or list every piece of equipment (e.g. that Iron Sword I mentioned) or compare every weapon to each other (e.g. how does a Mace compare to a Sword?)
Also the only direction given in the manual as to what to do is: "Their quest: to return peace to the kingdom. They must solve the riddle of Exodus." That's pretty vague. A hint guide was sold separately from the game (mentioned in the back of the manual as 'coming soon'), should that really be considered mandatory? Yes the PC version had lots of additional info that came with it but a) this is not that version, and it's unclear that the PC version's info is applicable, even to the vanilla NES game; and b) the hack's readme and release notes don't instruct me that I need to consult the PC version's manuals/map. I'm trying to avoid looking at walkthroughs etc. if possible.

Wow, that's bad.

Quote
Sure I could wander around, find more towns eventually, and hopefully find an NPC that explains what the Marks are for, but it's standard for an RPG to explain what something important is before you happen upon it, particularly when it seems to be story-critical. Given it's an open world it's difficult to ensure that happens, but the NPCs in the first town could be more helpful, as a suggestion.

Maybe put important information in the readme? I really need to re-read the (3) PC manuals. :|


edit:
The Marks are intentionally not described on purpose, as it is a game puzzle. You can go to the town of "Devil Guard" to gain a few more clues about them but nothing very explicit.

The 4 names are the clues to their use. Kings is an indirect clue to well ..
Spoiler:
King British.
Spoiler:
But you'll need enough EXP to gain its benefits.

If you need direction on the other 3, we can give vague hints.

________________________________________________________


Melee: Hand, Mace, Axe, Sword, 2-H Sword
Range: Dagger, Blowgun, Sling, Bow
Armor: Skin, Cloth, Leather, Chain, Plate

Iron Sword > Sword. Guessing it's the +2 Sword, with +4 being better.

Blowguns should be pretty weak.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2020, 05:03:48 pm by binarck »

mentil

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Re: ROM Hacks: Ultima: Exodus Remastered hack released
« Reply #34 on: July 26, 2020, 02:17:22 am »
Thanks guys, I'm not actually looking for hints, though. I'm just giving examples of information that IMO should be ingame. My two retrogame pet peeves are poor user interface design, and NPCs that tell you to do something (e.g. 'go to Moon' or 'find the Marks' or Castlevania 2's 'buy the White Crystal') but don't tell you WHY you should do that (and they presumably would know why and be willing to divulge that, if they're willing to tell you to do that thing, unless they're secretly testing you). UIs have become standardized and improved dramatically over the years, e.g. Richard Garriott kicked himself for not thinking to give the first five Ultima games a mouse-based interface.

We should remember that this hack is a remaster of a poor translation of a questionable adaptation of a classic 37 year old game. There's LOTS of room for improvement here. This hack already improved the UI significantly, I'm just saying it can be improved more to include data you used to have to run to a (decent) manual for. I imagine the Japanese version of this port had NPCs that were more informative (apparently the manual was, and I know kanji can let them pack more dialog into fewer bytes) so, once the dialog editor is done, the ones that tell you to do something could give a little more info about why you might want to do those things. Any or all of the dialog could be replaced, probably (I wouldn't even bother retranslating it), in order to improve the game.

I also used to study game manuals before playing them, I remember putting checkmarks in the Metroid 2 manual next to every item I had collected. I read the Ultima Underworld manual cover to cover years before I got to play it (or had even heard of Ultima outside of magazine ads), because I was bored and it looked interesting (I wasn't in a position to play or borrow it).

storall

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Re: ROM Hacks: Ultima: Exodus Remastered hack released
« Reply #35 on: July 26, 2020, 07:24:30 pm »
The NES text is different from the original because it was first translated into Japanese, then expanded, translated back into English, and eventually reduced to fit the available space. In the process, some clues were added, but an important clue went missing.

NES:
There are fountains in the dungeon.
Go to Dawn.
Have you ever heard of Dawn?

Apple II:
Spoiler:
Fountains fair and fountains foul, all are found in dungeons bowel.
'Dawn' comes each new pair!
West 8, South 35 and await the Dawn!

The NES script can be cleaned up lots.

----

@mentil:
If you rewrote the White Crystal line, what would the NPC say??
« Last Edit: July 26, 2020, 08:16:17 pm by storall »

mentil

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Re: ROM Hacks: Ultima: Exodus Remastered hack released
« Reply #36 on: July 28, 2020, 02:26:02 am »
Quote
@mentil:
If you rewrote the White Crystal line, what would the NPC say??
Something like 'Holding the White Crystal is said to reveal a secret in a nearby foyer.' It's specific enough you won't try to use it everywhere, and gives an idea of where and when to use it and what it does. Yet it doesn't tell you exactly where to use it or exactly what it reveals. That game has lots of issues with overly-hidden hints (throw holy water at every block to find the book/NPC!) and vague clues (there's a secret hidden in Town X.) In other words, the game doesn't respect my time. I played the remaster hack, and a great job was done there, but could only do so much without changing book locations and making some hints even less vague than in the original Japanese. I wasted so much time due to that line telling me to "keep hitting my head against the cliff and see what happens", which I'm not convinced isn't a red herring.

To be fair, lots of adventure/RPG titles from the late 80s were like that (*cough* Legend of Zelda *cough*) but I don't have to excuse them just because "everybody was doing it." IMO it's the reason many of these games were never officially remastered: if they make the hints any more useful/accessible, fans will complain they made it easy-mode and it's no longer faithful; if they keep things the same, new players will complain it's inscrutable. I think the Metroid: Samus Returns and Zero Mission remasters are a good model to follow, as they keep the important parts materially the same while improving the controls/UI/mechanics. I got stuck halfway through the original Metroid 2, only beating it years later with the help of a map and walkthrough, but loved the remaster. So I'm no ardent defender of the original no matter what, just due to nostalgia.
And yes, metroidvanias are my favorite genre. Sorry if I went too offtopic.

Fox Cunning

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Re: ROM Hacks: Ultima: Exodus Remastered hack released
« Reply #37 on: August 01, 2020, 08:39:46 am »
NES:
There are fountains in the dungeon.
Go to Dawn.
Have you ever heard of Dawn?

Apple II:
Spoiler:
Fountains fair and fountains foul, all are found in dungeons bowel.
'Dawn' comes each new pair!
West 8, South 35 and await the Dawn!

The NES script can be cleaned up lots.


To be fair, the actual NES script says:
Spoiler:
'West 8, South 35 and wait for new moons'.
That line was however inaccessible in the original release because of a mistake in the compressed string.

And:
Spoiler:
NPC 1: Do not drink water from fountains in the dungeon.
NPC 2: Drink water from fountains in the dungeon, if you feel tired.