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Thanks to that wonderful invention that is the Internet, it is no longer necessary that research be restricted to the materials that Origin provides with its software packages. No, Ultima fans the web over have provided us with transcripts, map, walkthroughs, tips, and all kinds of material, out of which you, the editor, can be very quickly fast-tracked to the material you seek, while working on Codex articles. This page intends that all of these materials will be available to you in one place. Additionally, this page will contain tips on how to conduct research efficiently.

How to edit this pageEdit

In most cases, the guidelines that apply to editing out-game Codex pages apply. However, this page has unusual needs, as web resources are born and die quite randomly. This means that links to web pages will appear, and then become dead. In the event that they die, strike out the text, such that attention will be drawn to it, and beside it, include the earliest date that the link was known to be dead. For instance, should a link be discovered to be dead at the Ides of March in 2008:

Do not delete the original URL, as it will be useful should someone endure to rectify the problem. Simply strike out the link, and place the date on which you discovered the dead link (in Japanese notation for consistency, please). After a while, these links can be cleaned up, if dead for long enough.

GameplayEdit

Pros: Cons:
  • authoritative
  • may generate misleading overspecifications
  • in most cases unacceptably slow

The most authoritative research can be done by playing the game, and seeing how it performs for you. While authoritative, and always correct, it may lead you to gather overly specific material. By software's very expressive nature, there can be a great wealth of contingencies that caused the game to behave that way for you. One should always be mindful that maybe that rock didn't have to fall that way, or that NPC may sometimes give other responses, that chest may not always contain that weapon, etc. This uncertainty, however, is no match for an editor's good judgment. Common sense should be enough when following this method of research.

Another problem with gameplay is that the amount of time it takes to gather the material you seek can be prohibitive. Otherwise, there would be very little need for this page.

Transcripts, texts, and dialogueEdit

On-line transcriptsEdit

Pros: Cons:
  • extremely fast
  • wealth of information
  • somewhat unreliable due to unstated incompleteness
  • varying readability

Transcripts are quite probably the most useful tools available to the Codex researcher. With a transcript, you can usually search everything that everyone said in an entire game. If this sounds too good to be true, it probably is. One draw back is that many transcripts are not as complete as they seem to think they are. While it's fairly easy to gather the dialogue from the earlier games, starting with Ultima V, the contingencies, flags, triggers, and everything that goes into deciding what an NPC will say becomes convoluted. Consequently, dialogue tends to slip between the cracks. What's more, a transcript will often only capture a certain class of NPC dialogue. For instance, if a transcript claims to have all the dialogue from Ultima IV, it probably only contains dialogue from the "chatty" NPCs. The "functional" NPCs (shopkeepers, Lord British, Hawkwind, Shrines) will not likely be included.

Some transcripts are given as HTML, and will be opened by your browser. Your browser's text searching tool should be useful here. Others are text files, which are embedded in compressed zip files. It will be necessary to download these to your computer. When you extract the text file, you should use whatever editor comes with your operating system to open them, and use its text searching tool. Other transcript are given as programs, which have their own native ability to browse and search text.

Ultima I Ultima II Ultima III
Transcripts on the web
  • Notable Ultima - probably very reliable, but admittedly from a 1985 remake, not the original.
Ultima IV Ultima V Ultima VI
  • U6Edit - a reliable Windows program to browse dialogue (among other things). It doesn't appear to have the ability to search the entire transcript.
  • EtheralSoftware
  • Notable Ultima - admittedly incomplete.
  • Incomplete Ultima VI - the framework to the page isn't English either.
Ultima VII Serpent Isle Ultima VIII
Ultima IX Underworld Underworld II
Savage Empire Martian Dreams

TextsEdit

Not quite as important as dialogue, are in-game books, signs and miscellaneous. Most of what's to be had is at Notable Ultima but you get also have those that are for Martian Dreams.

Text sourcesEdit

Pros: Cons:
  • authoritative
  • inconvenient
  • sketchy research
  • poor readability

A more trustworthy method of searching for text is to open the files that contain it. This might be done in your operating system's text editor, but one might be inclined to use a hex editor. Keep in mind that some text is not in plain text, and will therefore not be found through any kind of general search.

Currently, the files listed are only for the PC versions of the games.

Ultima I Ultima II Ultima III
Dialogue source files
  • OUT.EXE

none

  • Most files named *.ULT
Ultima IV Ultima V Ultima VI
  • *.ULT
  • DATA.OVL:
one-liners, phrases, and individual words.
  • END.DAT
end game text.
  • ENDMSG.DAT:
near end game text.
  • KARMA.DAT:
text describing Avatar's karma.
  • LOOK2.DAT:
responses to (L)ook.
  • MISCMSG.DAT:
mostly Virtue-related one-liners.
  • QUESTION.DAT:
Gypsy transcript.
  • SHOPPE.DAT:
shoppekeepers transcript.
  • SIGNS.DAT:
signs and tombstones.
  • STORY.DAT:
intro text.

no general NPC transcript

no transcripts are in plain text. U6Edit can provide these

  • BOOK.DAT
books and signs
  • END.EXE
some end game text
  • GAME.EXE
various on-liner messages and dialogue
  • U.EXE
intro text and Gypsy quiz
Ultima VII Serpent Isle Ultima VIII
  • STATIC\USECODE
  • STATIC\USECODE
  • USECODE\EUSECODE.FLX
Ultima IX Underworld Underworld II
  • Ultima IX text files
  • Underworld text files
  • Underworld II text files
Savage Empire Martian Dreams
  • Savage Empire text files
  • Martian Dreams text files

ManualsEdit

These are the hard copy materials that Origin delivers with the games, digitized into PDFs or whatnot. Even if you have the hard copies, the digitized versions can be infinitely more practical.

MapsEdit

Maps do little more than tell you where everything is relative to everything else. However, sometimes this is useful for research purposes.

These are links to various maps available on-line. Many do not completely fulfil the category into which they have been placed. For instance, a link in the Buildings, townes and other dwellings row might not have all the dwellings for which you were hoping. You might never find a map of Iolo's hut, for instance. Also, the labels for the rows are more like overly concrete terms for vague concepts. There is no "outside" in the Underworlds, but there is a larger map, into which other maps are accessible.

In a single cell, links are arranged in the order of their perceived usefulness.

U1 U2 U3 U4 U5 U6 U7 SI U8 U9 UU UU2 SE MD
Maps
Buildings, townes and other dwellings  Rsw  Rsw L Rsw M Rsw  Rsw U6 UW Rsw Osw W, UW, n/a n/a UW Rsw  Rsw
Dungeons  Rsw  Rsw L U Rsw UW Rsw M UW Rsw U6 Rsw Osw U W, U, n/a n/a K Rsw  Rsw
Outside (computer generated)  Rsw  Rsw L U Rsw MV UW RswOsc UW Rsw U6 Rsw UW Osw U K W, U K, U Rsw U UI Rsw K UW Rsw  Rsw
Outside (artistic) UW X UI,  UWs X UIs UW X UI UW X S UI, UW X UI UI, UW UI, UW X UI, UW X UI, UW X, UI, UW UI, UI UW, UW X, X UW,
Uncertain  Osw
s includes space map
sw software
sc source code only
Legend
U Usecode
M Moongates
UW Ultima Web Archive
U6 U6Edit a program that can edit (and therefore view) just about anything in U6
O Otmar Lendl program in various languages, and images of maps
X Xe Dragon
UI Ultima Info
L "LairWare"
K Ken's Map Page
R Ultima the Reconstruction
W Wizou's U7 Wizard a program that claims to be able to edit (and therefore view) just about anything for U7
S Sampson Dragon
MV "MagerValp"

MiscellaneousEdit

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