Ultima 7 Design Documents: Conversation Style Guide

Courtesy of former Origin programmer Bill Randolph, and thanks to the tireless efforts of Joe Garrity of the Origin Muesum, the Ultima Codex is pleased to present this document — which has been broken out into eleven (11) images — which is a style guide for writing conversations in Ultima 7.

Download the documents:

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The guide doesn’t reveal any tantalizing details about discarded Ultima 7 plot elements, as the conversation examples it offers are mostly unrelated to the game itself. However, it still offers some interesting insight into Origin Systems’ game and character design philosophies. For example, the document begins by pointing out that narrative language is not to be used if at all possible, as it breaks the immersion into the virtual reality of the game. Some notes about AGIL and conversation-specific functions are

Now, the images here, in JPEG format, are lower-resolution extracts from a PDF scan of the original document. They are legible, but not of particularly high quality, and thus are not recommended for printing; download the PDF files for that purpose.

Most importantly, though: enjoy! Pull up the image, download the PDFs, and pore over them. Search out every little detail, and enjoy a fascinating glimpse into the nuts and bolts of how Origin crafted a truly ground-breaking RPG. The Ultima Codex is indebted to Joe Garrity for providing these documents, to Bill Randolph for releasing them and making them available for us to see, to John Watson, and to everyone who worked at Origin Systems.

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