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Ultima for 400/800

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Are the Ultima games on any Atari 8 bit computers?

 

If so, how do they compare with say, the Apple or Commodore versions?

Edited by Link6415

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In my opinion, as someone who played them back in the day and also played the Apple versions......

 

The Atari had better music. I'd also say better color. But the Apple had Ultima V and the Atari 8 bit only went to IV (officially).

 

I will say I started with Ultima IV on the Apple on a friend's computer and then my parents bought me Ultima III for the Atari (which I think we encountered a bug that wouldn't have let us finish concerning the Mark of the Serpent (but even if it was a bug and not our gradeschool understanding screwing it up, we got around it with a sector editor). I also then got Ultima II and IV for the Atari (retail boxes) eventually which I enjoyed but never finished (tis on my bucket list since I finished Sundog for the ST) and I got a "pirated" Ultima I back in the day but never played it much.

 

Got nothing on the Commodore.

 

I'd just say this. If I had to do the whole series again... I-IV on the Atari8.... V on the Apple (just because I can). VI+ on the PC. (Not to dis the Atari ST, since I love that and that series dominates my hardware collection... but alas........)

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I think the Atari versions are good ports from the Apple II with better colour and sound. I know the C64 version of Ultima IV had the complete soundtrack.

 

If I replay these games I'll likely do it on the Atari... but the original games were on the Apple II (and took advantage of the Mockingboard sound card). So that might be cool.

 

If I played Ultima V I think the best version would be on the C128. Still pissed that Origin never did a 130XE version.

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IMO the Commodore 64 versions are the best 8 bit versions from a audio visual perspective. They have the best mix of nice resolution, colors and music. The Apple versions would come second. Colors are not as clear (due to how Apple 2 handles colors in general) and you really need a Mockingbird to get good music. The Atari versions seem to have color issues compared to the others and the music is not as good.

Only issue with the Commodore versions on actual hardware is disk loading times… If you don’t have a fast loader it can be painful!

Ultima IV Gold put the whole thing on one 3.5 disk which was nice and recently there has been Ultima IV remastered which is beautiful update to the Commodore version.

http://awesome.commodore.me/ultima-iv-remastered-has-been-released/

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The Ultima music was over rated IMHO - For U3 I turned it off 10 minutes after starting to play it. Very repetitive.

 

Compared to the Apple I would play U2 - 4 on the Atari. It plays faster IMHO and essentially looks the same.

 

U1 was redone on the Apple and I think that is the better version. The Atari version was not done in an artifact mode and looks weird IMHO.

 

U5 sucks on any 8bit platform - Id go Atari ST, PC or Amiga for that.

 

The C64 got its conversions done later (u1-U3) and benefit from using more of the core machine capability color wise. The Atari versions were ports of the Apple ones.

 

I recently played through U2 - U4 on the Apple and PC series and was fun. I originally finished them on the Atari 8bit version.

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IMO the Commodore 64 versions are the best 8 bit versions from a audio visual perspective. They have the best mix of nice resolution, colors and music. The Apple versions would come second. Colors are not as clear (due to how Apple 2 handles colors in general) and you really need a Mockingbird to get good music. The Atari versions seem to have color issues compared to the others and the music is not as good.

Only issue with the Commodore versions on actual hardware is disk loading times… If you don’t have a fast loader it can be painful!

Ultima IV Gold put the whole thing on one 3.5 disk which was nice and recently there has been Ultima IV remastered which is beautiful update to the Commodore version.

http://awesome.commodore.me/ultima-iv-remastered-has-been-released/

That's an impressive looking remaster.

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I was initial introduced to Ultima I on an Apple II in the spring of 82. Once I got a 48K upgrade and a 810 for my Atari 400, I played Ultima I - Ultima IV on my Atari. Somewhere along the line I got an Atari 800XL, so I probably played Ultima III and Ultima IV on that. To this day, Ultima III on my Atari is my favorite game.

 

I don't think I played any of the games after Ultima IV.

 

Bill

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Another vote for Ultima III on the Atari* - fantastic game, really immersive - even with the limited PAL artifacting, this would be in my top 3 ever games :love:

*including the music Goochman :P

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My philosophy has changed a bit these days. I prefer to play the original versions of the games unless a port is drastically superior or different, so that means the Apple II. It's also relatively easy to have a Mockingboard these days, so for Ultima III and later the music thing is no longer a handicap. With that said, there are exceptions, like the revamping of Ultima IV on the C-64, which is well worth a look.

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They all have their charms... I think the gameplay/overall flow of the games are best on the Apple ][ versions.

 

While the C=64 versions are generally nicer looking and have less annoying sound effects, the loading speed on the drive is disgraceful. Even with an EPYX FastLoad, it's not nearly as fast as the original Apple ][, though it is tolerable.

 

I haven't played the A8 versions just yet, but they seem to be the happy medium from what I have observed.

 

Does anyone know how many of the Ultima games for the Apple ][ supported the Mockingboard? I know that Ultima V supported dual boards in slots 4 & 5, for a 12-voice, quadrophonic soundtrack, but I only knew one guy in high school that had a Mockingboard, so we never got to try two. :?

Edited by Muzz73
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I just want the best playing versions possible. And best sounding/looking.

Which at the moment basically means for English speakers:

 

I: IIGS port (have fun with emulators!)

2: PC port with fan patches

3: NES port with fan rebalance patch: http://www.jeffludwig.com/ultima3/

4: SMS or PC with VGA/MIDI patches. (C64 remaster above would work too.)

5: PC

6: PC port with NUVIE.

7-9: Don't care they all kinda suck in their own ways. Real time RTS combat? NO SIREE! (Lots of folks recommend Exult for 7 and 7.5)

 

I am leaving out side games and the like obviously. I believe NUVIE isn't quite where it needs to be to make U6 super good but they are working hard on it. Don't like the tiny world window? FULL SCREEN WITH INTERFACE OVERLAY FOLKS!

 

I know this makes me a bad retro person but I want the best looking, playing, and sounding experiences I can get. I don't care about the purity. Life is too short and busy to deal with some of the older era game shenanigans.

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I will begin by stating the fact that I know nothing about the Ultima games after IV. What I want to know is:

 

Has anyone attempted, and is this even possible to use the earlier Ultima (IV) engine to play the later Ultima games on our Atari8's?

 

Now that we have big hard drives, those kind of games should run fast and smooth.

 

Just a thought... Maybe a crazy thought, but an idea, none the less.

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I will begin by stating the fact that I know nothing about the Ultima games after IV. What I want to know is:

 

Has anyone attempted, and is this even possible to use the earlier Ultima (IV) engine to play the later Ultima games on our Atari8's?

 

Now that we have big hard drives, those kind of games should run fast and smooth.

 

Just a thought... Maybe a crazy thought, but an idea, none the less.

 

Each Ultima engine was a basic rewrite - unlike Infocom, there is no common parser for the games. U6 and U7 are completely different animals from anything prior.

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Each Ultima engine was a basic rewrite - unlike Infocom, there is no common parser for the games. U6 and U7 are completely different animals from anything prior.

I was kind of afraid of that. Oh well...

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My philosophy has changed a bit these days. I prefer to play the original versions of the games unless a port is drastically superior or different, so that means the Apple II. It's also relatively easy to have a Mockingboard these days, so for Ultima III and later the music thing is no longer a handicap. With that said, there are exceptions, like the revamping of Ultima IV on the C-64, which is well worth a look.

 

The best remake, too bad you need an old Mac to play: https://www.lairware.com/ultima3/

 

u3screen1.jpg
u3screen2.jpg

 

u3screen4.jpg

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You guys might be interested in these ...

 

post-188-0-13914000-1519395018_thumb.jpg post-188-0-72756600-1519395027_thumb.jpg

 

I asked Richard G if there is more of this notebook online to enjoy and he said "Not yet ..."

 

I take that to mean he might be working on making more of his notes available ... maybe online ... maybe as a book.

 

Bill

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He coded it in assembly on paper? Impressive! I tried doing that BITD, needless to say my hand-written ASM code just crashed and I had no idea where to start debugging it so I gave up on the idea :P

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I play U1-U4 on my Atari 8-bit. All other versions don't exist in my life bubble, and neither does U5 until if/when U5 is made for the Atari 8-bit. I have yet to finish any of U1-U4 anyway, a bucket list thing, to finish those, so there's no point in admitting the existence of any others until I finish those anyway.

Edited by Gunstar
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It's a game in and of itself figuring out the how and why of each version of Ultima to play on what system. Do you go for the original system? Do you go for an improved homebrew version on a vintage system? Do you play one of the modern day, enhanced PC versions? Do you play one of the console ports with their streamlined interfaces? Etc.

 

Ultimately, I find that those are some incredibly difficult games to get into these days. If I could transfer my childhood mindset to my adult life now it would be vastly easier.

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I'm surprised that people think the Atari 8-bit versions had superior colors for this game.

 

It used artifacting, so you needed the right chipset in your Atari for the colors to even look right. The optimum color scheme for Atari seems to be green foliage/ purple water (purple can pass for red or blue). Other Ataris can easily have abysmal color schemes like red water, blue foliage or some other scheme that looks way wrong.

 

The game was designed for the 6 colors of the Apple II, so the game really needs red, greed, blue, purple, white and black to look proper. Atari Can't really do that in high-res mode for a tile based came. The C-64 has more flexibility here, so it's version looks best of the 8-bits (IMO) It has all the colors, but not the color bleed of the Apple II, and better music. Not sure how playable it is with the slow disk access

 

I don't like the ST/Amiga versions of some of these. Took too many liberties with the graphics and spoils the charm. Ultima II on the ST is particularly awful. Just because you could make it a GEM app, doesn't mean you should! The MS-DOS versions of most of these don't limit speed, so they are unplayable on modern machines unless you find a patched version.

 

Now 5+ is better on the 16-bits.

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Ultimately, I find that those are some incredibly difficult games to get into these days. If I could transfer my childhood mindset to my adult life now it would be vastly easier.

That is true, I've been meaning to go back and play Ultima V, since I never got far in it, but I fear I've been spoiled by modern RPGs and won't stick with it.

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I first saw and briefly played Ultima I on a classmate's Apple II in the spring of '82. Over the next four years, I played UI - U4 on my Atari 8-bit. I've documented it on my blog.

 

During my senior year in HS, I got a Apple IIc as we were using Apples in school. I believe I played U5 on my IIc. I don't think I've played are other Ultima games past that.

 

There is a thread, "The Mystery of Ultima V for the Atari 8-Bit", that discusses ... well you can see by the title.

 

Also of note, there is a new Ultima-like game in development for the Apple II and PC called Nox Archaist. Their original Kickstarter didn't succeeded, but they learned a few things and are gearing up for a new Kickstarter and late 2018 release.

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Didn't the Atari version rely on artifacting for colors? Wouldn't that mean the game would be basically black and white on Pal systems with weird bit patterns intended to produce colors. Even on NTSC colors would have been different between machines because not all produced the same set of artifact colors.

 

Bob

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