Mike McShaffry, at some unknown date, created a utility called MAKEFACE for what was referred to internally at Origin Systems as System 7 — the Ultima 7 game engine. Improvements to the program were later made, in April of 1992, by Phil Sulak, and it was around that time that the instructions available for download here were created…or, at least, updated.
MAKEFACE was the “automatic portrait extractor for System 7”. As the instructions explain, “all of the portraits in Ultima 7 (and, eventually, Serpent Isle and Arthurian Legends) [were] stored in .LBM files. These files [had to] be organized together, and eventually used to create FACES.VGA, the file that holds all the portraits for the game.” Faces were stored in these .LBM files using a coordinate system, as the instructions again explain: “Since the portraits in any given LBM file are usually the same size, we can determine each coordinate by knowing only two figures: the default x offset and the default y offset.”
Instructions on how to build and use MAKEFACE, Origin Systems’ utility for building NPC portrait data files for Ultima 7.
As always, download and enjoy these documents; pore over them and look for all the interesting little details that are contained therein. The Ultima Codex is grateful to Joe Garrity and the Origin Museum for unearthing these files, and to Sheri Graner Ray for handing over the diskettes on which they were found.