Ultima 6 Project review

Ultima 6 Project was released in July 2010.  Now I’d like to tell you how it has been received. This is not about blog topics but a personal thing – but important enough as such that I want to share.

What is U6P?

Ultima 6 Project is a massive free role-playing game for PC and Mac.  It is an old game classic Ultima VI re-made and improved – our version of it.  Us here is we, the Team Archon.  You can see my part of the project  here, and read my take on the benefits of project like this.  I’m attaching some images from the game(click to view in full).

Ultima 6 Project screenshotUltima 6 Project screenshotUltima 6 Project screenshotUltima 6 Project

After the summer release U6P has been reviewed in a number of places and with quite positive results, too.  I’m linking to the official online reviews below (those that I know of).

Ultima 6 Project Reviews online

Ultima 6 Project Magazine reviews

Pelit-magazine(Finnish) gave U6P score of 90/100.  I’m translating some of the final bullet-points from the review for you, below.  I won’t show any scans from the magazine as that is usually frowned upon.  If you know Finnish, get the mag and check out the full one-spread review. And if you know some other magazine that has reviewed U6P, please write below – let me know.

  • Feels like a real Ultima.
  • Plot takes hold and takes you away.
  • Lots to do.
  • Realtime combat is tricky.
  • Camera plays tricks on you.

Pelit-magazine final words are:  “Ambitious fan-project is a mind-opening experience”.  They also gave the game Pelit Magazine Recommends-stamp of approval.

[box type=”note” size=”large”] If you know of any more U6P reviews, please let me know and I will add them to the list.  Comments are also welcome.[/box]

Hobby Project Benefits

Oftentimes people have hobbies that either offer a fun challenge they can’t get at work or help them learn new things. Some take on hobbies to learn and to grow resume – to find a work in the field of their hobby. In my article Stay motivated one thing I suggested taking on a project together with others.  It is what I did, and now I wish to tell you how it was for me – the benefits and the costs.

I joided Ultima 6 Project in December 2005. I’ve written more about the project and what I did here. The game was released in July 2010, after 9-10 years of production.
My motivation to join was to learn more about game production and low-poly work and because I like old Ultima games.  And I did indeed learn by doing – within year or two it became easy, like a fun part-time job.  Being in production meant working with others, meeting common goals, having deadlines and management reminding of things to be done – you know, all the stuff that makes team projects addictive, rewarding and at times stressful.

Now before going to the cons and pros, please note U6P is unique and a seriously long venture, way beyond anything sensible. So the ups and downs of more reasonable project are probably different.

What project as a hobby cost me

  • Oodles of free time – poof, gone. I don’t care to think what else fun or useful I could have done with that time. Especially after noticing I was no longer learning, just working, I couldn’t help but wonder what other game project would give me a tougher challenge and more current generation work samples or even, you know, pay.  I did consider several times if continueing was sensible.
  • Some dark brown hair – gone grey.   A serious hobby is at times tough like any job.
  • Some paid work. Sometimes it has been so intense, I have let freelance opportunity(nothing big) slide past to meet project goals first.

Having said the above costs, dealing with them or not was completely up to me.

What I gained

  • I soon learned what I had wanted to learn.
  • Motivating and encouraging enviroment and a fun part-time job, though no pay.
  • Friends.  Project drew together some great people.
  • Credit of being an important part of a game project like no other(very large in scope and in work years) – probably certifies all main team members as insane.
  • An Intel-interview about my work.
  • Loads of work samples from the field of low-poly 3D.  And I am happy to say that despite my initial worries about the usefulness of such skills, they are very good to know and low-poly 3D is anything but dead as a field of work.
  • Tutorials. Made a few to assist our team members and, later, for anyone interested. assist new folks wanting to join our project.  Sort of got me started with the whole learning blog thing.
  • [highlight type=”light”]6 months after this article:[/highlight] A job in game industry. Having released a big well rated game was a very important factor in landing a job.

So yes it was worth it.  Especially now that the game is out the good things come rolling in.  It is possible some other project might have given more and in less time, but that is not a way to think about these things. If a person is always looking for something better and moving on, they may not finish anything. Committing is important.

Will I join another freeware project?  No, I will no longer work without payment. Don’t have the time.

What about you – have you considered taking on a hobby project or have you already done something like that – and how did it go?

Interview for Intel

I was interviewed on INTEL’s ISNTV Digital Arts-show. (voice only for my part)

2013 UPDATE: Intel’s Digital Arts Show-pages have been closed for a good time now and this page had broken links, until now. I found the video interviews elsewhere on Intel’s site so the links should work, for now.

Digital Arts does many things, including interviews of people in the field of Arts.  One good example is musician Justin Lassen’s interview (from Intel booth at GDC).  Justin is an exceptional artist and a does well before the camera, too.
Reason why I got on Intel’s radar was winning their Digital Art Tutorial Challenge a few times in a row.  Other than that I’m guessing my blog and big projects raised a few eyebrows.

See the interview at ISNTV Digital Arts show.  Host of the show is man of many titles, including Intel Artist and Animator Community Manager, Steve Pitzel – a terrific guy.  We had a good chat, both on record and off.  I manage to sound reasonably sane most of the time, so I call it a success.

Go see and listen and leave some feedback below, if you like.

Ultima 6 Project Released

I’m happy to announce that our massive freeware role-playing game for PC and Mac is now released!
Go explore the huge living world, meet curious individuals, go on grand adventures, sail the seas, delve into massive caves and forest and try to make it out alive.  And if you happen to remember the main quest, try to help Britannia deal with the mysterious gargoyle race and the war.  For more info and the download go to http://www.u6project.com

U6P has been my part-time job for well over 4 years and many on our team have worked on it harder and longer than I have.  You can read about my part here.  I’m very happy for the release, positively glowing, and hope old Ultima fans enjoy our take on the classic and that the game captures new fans as well.  Go take a look!

Got a comment on our game or on freeware game projects in general? Feel free to write.

Low-poly 3D for Ultima 6 Project

I’ve finally compiled a video about my low-poly 3D work for Ultima 6 Project.  You can watch it below or in HD at Vimeo.  All shown in the video is low-poly to fit the game engine limitations and overall design.  These days low-polygon 3D, the likes of what I’ve made for U6P, is used more on mobiles and portable gaming decives than on PC.  Funny how fast things change.

Ultima 6 Project is  a soon to be published freeware role-playing game for PC(works on Mac, too, with some tricks.)  For me the project was first like a training ground for low-poly 3D game assets, though without a teacher, and later became a job just like any other.  I’ve been working on U6P part-time, on and off, since early 2006.

My contributions are items, creatures, characters and structures – most notable being the gargoyle race.  I’ve also done one cinematic and some 2D-stuff like the ingame-journal graphics(actual content, incl.images, is by our great team).

Ultima 6 Project is a remake of an old classic game, Ultima VI(by Origin).  Like U5 Lazarus, a remake of Ultima V, we bring a classic to modern computers – with a lot more than just visual improvements.  1.0 release is coming.  U6P is free to play, but you do need the game Dungeon Siege(1) to run it.  DS is an old game and should be available at a very affordable price.

Any comments or questions regarding low-poly 3D or Ultima 6 Project are welcome.