I guess it’s time for me to stop messing around and admit to myself what I really want.

So what is it I really want? Well, let’s see. Exactly what projects have I undertaken since I started this blog back up two years ago?

I wrote an rpg.

I wrote an rpg team-based combat prototype.

I wrote a little arcade game.

I tried to write an RPG in one page. (That’s on permanent hiatus by the way; RPGs are just too information-dense to do in one page of source. I might try to write one in two pages later, we’ll see.)

And now I’m writing a 3D engine with a fixed 3/4 perspective.

Let’s face it; I want to write a 3D RPG.

Specifically, I want to write this 3D RPG:

The Real Ultima IX.

There’s a hole in my soul, and it’s Ultima IX-shaped. This Wikipedia article goes over the basic facts that lead up to the train wreck that Ultima IX became.

The version of Ultima IX I am referring to is the second design mentioned in the Wikipedia article, the one Mike McShaffry was working on. The one before the entire team got pulled off to finish Ultima Online and before that team subsequently quit and before EA execs started saying things like “It will be our Tomb Raider 2” and before the game was redesigned five times by people who knew nothing about Ultima.


But back when I was still working at Origin and the game was still in development, the mantras going around were “The plot is going to be a remake of Ultima IV” and “The engine is going to be Ultima VII in 3D”. The early screenshots certainly seemed to bear that out, and my anticipation was palpable. It led me to my doom at Origin, when I decided I wanted to test Ultima IX instead of Ultima Online.

There were four aspects of the original design of Ultima IX that I felt were vital to the game’s appeal.

* The game was fully 3D.

* The game utilized a fixed isometric perspective.

* The game had a streaming world.

* The game was party-based rather than a single-character game.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen another game with all four features. The closest I’ve ever seen was Dungeon Siege, which was much closer to Diablo than Ultima.

So I guess if I want to play such a game, I’ll have to make it myself. The problem, of course, is that such a game is way to big for me to make myself. And yet, looking back over the work I’ve actually done over the last year, it’s obvious that I’ve been subconsciously making sure that everything I did somehow contributed to the overall goal of making a 3D RPG. So I may as well just come out and admit it.

Now, this does not mean that I won’t finish Planitia. Quite the opposite; I intend to make all my newbie 3D mistakes on Planitia instead of on my 3D RPG. But after that…well, there’s no sense putting it off any more. It may not be a big 3D RPG; it may not be a very full-featured 3D RPG; but for cryin’ out loud, I need to write this 3D RPG if only to get it out of my system.