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Monday, December 4, 2000

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Ultima 7 Port in Progress
2:01 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Helpful IMG reader Douglas A. Smith has pointed out a fascinating development in the world of open-source ports. The classic Origin Software RPG Ultima 7, a DOS-only title from the early 90s, has been ported to the Mac OS as well as Linux and Windows by a team of programmers. Called Exult, this port is still in the 'alpha' stages and lacks sound as well as other features, but its mere existence is a wonder to those of us who have had to resort to using Virtual PC to play these classic Origin titles by Lord British.

Doug gave us a detailed report on his experiences with the Mac port, which of course requires the data files from the DOS version of the game in order to function. Here is part of his report:

This port is alpha, so not everything is supposed to be working. But I
set it up on my linux machine and my Mac, and was able to get Ultima7
working without any problems, and play through the beginning scenes.
The download provides you with the executable, and you must own
Ultima7 to play, this is much like the port of the Hexen2, where you only
get the program. On the Mac the site states that you have to install
the game on a PC first and copy the files over. I found this not to be
true, I could copy the Ultima7 zip file off the disk and uncompress using
stuffit expander. Then I copied the 'STATIC' data directory into the exult
download and Ultima7 started right up.

They have not only ported Ultima7 to the Mac, but have improved on the
original. Characters now move on a timer, so they don't jump all over as
the computer speed increases. The game plays in a window, and you can
set the size of the window in the config file. The original played in a
320x200 window in DOS, the games looks great to be able to play it
in a 800x600 window on the Mac.

Thanks, Doug, for pointing out this great addition to the Mac RPG field. For those of you that snicker at the idea of playing a game from 1993, remember that Origin and Lord British have long been praised as the finest crafters of RPGs for their time. If you do manage to fish a copy of this classic out of a bargain bin somewhere, be sure and download this port-in-progress and give it a try; we're sure the programming team would appreciate some positive feedback on their efforts. Hopefully more of these PC-only classics will be ported in the future!

Exult v0.90alpha1(382 K)
Exult Web Site

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