Dear friends, UO players and Ultima series fans, and the followers of Quintessence devblog
The team of UO: Quintessence wishes you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New year 2017! Today I would like to talk about what is UO: Quintessence, then go through some key events, which happened on UO: Quint in 2016 and talk about our plans for the next year!
Before I move to the subject, I would like to briefly talk about what UO: Quintessence is and how this project was born. It all started in 2009 (2008?) as another custom Ultima Online freeshard. However, it soon became clear that even some of the distinct features of UO: Quintessence were not enough to create the new gameplay, which many fans, including us, dream about. It was still the usual UO freeserver. One day StaticZ (main developer behind UO: Quintessence, creator of Fiddler+, CentreD+ and the UCS) was watching someone killing dragons after a week of character creation. After StaticZ’s approach to the character, he complained that dragons were ‘too easy to kill’. After that not only an overhaul of initial UO gameplay, but a radically new concept of online gaming was born, which included new client engine and new gameplay systems, which were not seen in any other online RPG before. UO: Quintessence was born, not as another UO freeserver, but as an Ultima Online remake with new approach to online gaming. It became clear that new systems with old gameplay do not satisfy us anymore, we need something completely unique to create a new chapter in online gaming.
Year 2016 was not an easy year in terms of development for UO: Quintessence. Many of our previous systems and game concepts were changed from their initial vision and we have switched development several times. For instance, the initial idea of character creation based on professions was changed to support more old-school RP-style character development by the means of tarot-like cards:
It is now a complete system, which randomly, yet not that ‘clearly’ generates your starting parameters. This, in turn, took additional investments, as we had to hire professional for an exclusive design.
This was a year when some of our extremely important goals were achieved. First, the release of UO: Quintessence client and first closed tests were conducted. We have tested our new FPS systems on desynchronization issues, tested our early “field of view” system and many early bugs were fixed. Another vast change on the project was a complete redesign of the user interference, including new gumps and features, which changed the old concept and added new client possibilities (such as possibility to change your FPS rate is now a client feature).
It’s not just a client interface and new graphical features, which required a lot of designing work. One of the current problems is the choice of fonts. Since we are aiming for international community it is of upmost importance that our fonts support both Cyrillic and Latin symbols. In the past days we have been working hard on choosing “right fonts” for different game elements – static objects, speech text, journal text, emotions and other elements:
It soon became evident that we need to integrate several fonts into the game, not just choose one. As you can guess, redesigning took a moderate amount of time of development, which is why our pre-alpha, which was forecasted months ago, could not be finished in time and we decided to postpone the open test until 2017. Redesigning is also not just an aesthetic option, but every feature is carefully prepared and is important, not just a placeholder. For instance, designing user interface also requires English version, which we already started to integrate in both client and the server-side.
Other recent updates include a new collection of paperdoll avatars:
More than 350+ PC and 105+ NPC avatars were added, which do not merely serve as something cool, but also influence the gameplay at some point (names are hidden by default, how else will the guards recognize that thief?!).
In 2016 many important UCS releases were also done. Finally, this is the year when we started to actually spread a word about UO: Quintessence, which for years remained mystery in UO/RPG communities, for several reasons. Many features had to be heavily adjusted before we could show something to the public, not to mention that the gameplay design was changed several times, and until we established a clear vision of what UO: Quintessence will be in the future, we saw no point in advertising. This include our stances on the real economy, permadeath, open world PvP, RP factor, and many other important gameplay issues, which took careful analysis before we could set distinct and precise development objectives, which we now have achieved. To summarize, one can say that 2016 was important year for development of this project.
Meanwhile, we are slowly moving forward to create the best possible UO-like experience for everyone who ever cared for the word ‘Ultima’ and are working hard to deliver countless of unique features to make online gaming great again. As of right now, we are almost ready to release the next pre-alpha build client patch and the work on the combat system has started. In 2017 we plan to:
- Finally launch the public pre-alpha of UO: Quintessence, which at first will be an early test of the combat system, while bugfixes and new features will come out as the test progresses;
- Formulate our vision of PvP and social systems that from the basis of gameplay;
- Depends on how smooth the first stage of pre-alpa will be, start implementation of the real economy and crafting;
- Continue on writing a global lore for the game – yes, UO: Quintessence will include the lore and global events associated with it;
- Start implementation of international English-based version of the client and server (such as NPC speech and client-side text translation based on the client choice);
- Hopefully a new website and forums will be complete in 2017 and open to the public;
- Continue on creating a revolutionary online RPG experience and making UO great again!
We hope to see all of you and many more in 2017!