Dan Schmidt’s Ultima Underworld Notes

As was previously noted, Dan Schmidt got his start in the gaming industry working as a programmer for Blue Sky Prodctions/Looking Glass Studios right out of college. He double-majored in Computer Science and Music at MIT, and leveraged both fields in his work on Ultima Underworld, developing both the creature AI and sound driver support for the game.

And in addition to answering a number of questions about the game, he managed to locate the notebook he had kept during the development of Ultima Underworld, and very graciously scanned it and passed it along.

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A lot of the notes are very technical, and some may not make sense outside of the context of the Looking Glass offices and the game’s development cycle. While scanning the manual, Dan remarked on Twitter that around 10% of the bugs listed in the notebook — bugs it was his task to squash — were never actually checked off. As an example, he then tweeted about a rather curious bug: apparently, the game would crash from a “divide by zero” error if the player attempted to jump over a fire elemental.

Did anyone ever attempt that?

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