Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss

From PCGamingWiki, the wiki about fixing PC games
Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss
Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss cover
Developers
Blue Sky Productions
Publishers
Origin Systems
Engines
Underworld engine
Release dates
DOS March 1992
Windows (DOSBox) June 2, 2011[1]
macOS (OS X) (DOSBox) October 18, 2012[2]
Taxonomy
Modes Singleplayer
Pacing Real-time
Perspectives First-person
Controls Direct control
Genres Immersive sim, RPG
Art styles Stylized
Themes Fantasy
Series Ultima
Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss on HowLongToBeat
Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss on IGDB
Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss guide on StrategyWiki
Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss on MobyGames
Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss on Wikipedia
Ultima II: The Revenge of the Enchantress 1982
Ultima III: Exodus 1983
Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar 1985
Ultima I: The First Age of Darkness 1987
Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny 1988
Ultima VI: The False Prophet 1990
Worlds of Ultima: The Savage Empire 1990
Ultima Worlds of Adventure 2: Martian Dreams 1991
Ultima VII: The Black Gate 1992
Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss 1992
Ultima Underworld II: Labyrinth of Worlds 1993
Ultima VII Part Two: Serpent Isle 1993
Ultima VIII: Pagan 1994
Ultima Online 1997
Akalabeth: World of Doom 1998
Ultima IX: Ascension 1999

General information

GOG.com Community Discussions for game series
GOG.com Support Page

Availability[edit]

Source DRM Notes Keys OS
Retail
DRM-free
Floppies or CD-ROM; see run in DOSBox (retail).
DOS
GOG.com
DRM-free
Pre-packaged with DOSBox.[3] Includes Ultima Underworld II: Labyrinth of Worlds.
Windows
macOS (OS X)
Origin
Origin
Included with EA Play. Not available in some regions.
Windows

Essential improvements[edit]

Patches[edit]

The Ultima Underworld 1 Patch is needed for floppy disk versions. The CD-ROM and GOG.com versions are already fully patched. An unofficial General MIDI patch is available here as well.

Run in DOSBox (retail)[edit]

To run correctly in DOSBox change cycles=auto to cycles=fixed 20000 or some other value between 18000 and 23000 cycles.

Ultima Hacks mouselook patch[edit]

The biggest change is the addition of mouse-look (looking around by moving the mouse), which can be toggled on and off with a keypress. In support of this, the allowed range of vertical view angle has been greatly expanded, and the 3D rendering engine has been hacked to have it draw the bits of the world that become visible when the player looks sharply upward or downward.

Also, spell runes can be typed directly (with Ctrl+Alt+<letter>), without having to navigate through the inventory and the rune bag.

Things made more convenient:

  • The opening title-screen or cinematic is skipped.
  • The player's heading is not adjusted when moving against a wall.
  • Skill points gained in training are immediately reported in the message log (currently only in Ultima Underworld II).

A number of keys have been added or changed as listed on the patch website.

Apply the mouselook patch (Windows GOG.com release)[4]
  1. Extract the contents of <path-to-game>\game.gog to a new directory, located at <path-to-game>\game\.
  2. Upload <path-to-game>\game\UW\UW.EXE to the online patching tool.
  3. Save the patched file over the original.
  4. Locate <path-to-game>\dosboxULTIMA1_single.conf and replace its contents with the following (back up the old conf file first) to make DOSbox run from the unpacked iso that you patched. Simply revert the config file to make it run from the unpatched exe.
[autoexec]
# Lines in this section will be run at startup.
cls
mount C ".."
mount d "..\game" -t cdrom
d:
cls
uw.bat
exit

Underworld Exporter[edit]

Use Underworld Exporter to play in higher resolutions, add mouse look, listen to higher quality/custom music, etc.
Some bugs still remain.
Can also be used to play Ultima Underworld II: Labyrinth of Worlds, but it is only partially supported at the moment.
Set up Underworld Exporter (Windows)[citation needed]
  1. Download and install the latest Github release.
  2. Find config and open it with your text editor of choice.
  3. Find Path_UW1= and place the path to your Ultima Underworld installation folder after the “=”.
    • That is, the folder with CRIT, CUTS, DATA, etc.
    • Note: All paths must end with a trailing slash \. Ex. C:\path\to\folder\
  4. To add music, download Music.Packs from the same location as the releases and extract. Afterwards, go into config, find UW1_Soundbank=, and then place the path to the folder containing your music of choice after the “=” .
    • The music pack gives one the choice between MIDI, Soundblaster, and PSX (PlayStation 1) versions of the OST.
    • One can use their own music files if they are in .ogg format.
  5. To use with the GOG.com version of the game, one must extract the files from game.gog; the folder UW is all one needs.
    • One method is to rename the file from game.gog to game.iso and then extracting the files using WinRAR or 7-zip.

Game data[edit]

Save game data location[edit]

System Location
DOS <path-to-game>\SAVE*\
Windows <path-to-game> (mounted in DOSBox)[Note 1]
macOS (OS X) ~/Library/Application Support/Boxer/Gamebox States/com.gog.ultima-underworld-1+2/Current.boxerstate/C Ultima Underworld 1 and 2.harddisk/UNDEROM1
The SAVE1, SAVE2, SAVE3 and SAVE4 folders are save slots I-IV. SAVE0 is temporary storage, not a save.
In-game settings are stored in each save rather than shared.

Save game cloud syncing[edit]

System Native Notes
GOG Galaxy
Origin

Video[edit]

General settings.
General settings.

Graphics feature State Notes
Widescreen resolution
320x200 only.
Multi-monitor
Ultra-widescreen
4K Ultra HD
Field of view (FOV)
Windowed
For DOSBox toggle with Alt+ Enter (see the glossary page for other workarounds).
Borderless fullscreen windowed
See the glossary page for potential workarounds.
Anisotropic filtering (AF)
Anti-aliasing (AA)
Vertical sync (Vsync)
For DOSBox use an unofficial build (see the glossary page for other workarounds).
60 FPS
The game has timing issues related to player movement if it's running at 60fps in Dosbox. Limit the cpu cycles on the configuration file of the emulator. A value between 18000-23000 cycles is recommended.
120+ FPS
An alternate shades.dat is available here which will increase the overall brightness of the game without destroying it's atmosphere. Use it if you feel the game is too dark.

Input[edit]

Keyboard and mouse State Notes
Remapping
For DOSBox use the DOSBox Mapper (see the glossary page for other workarounds).
Mouse acceleration
Mouse sensitivity
For DOSBox set in the DOSBox configuration file.
Mouse input in menus
To avoid mouse lag, set "sensitivity=200"
Mouse Y-axis inversion
Controller
Controller support
For DOSBox use the DOSBox Mapper (see the glossary page for other workarounds).

Audio[edit]

Audio feature State Notes
Separate volume controls
On/off only.
Surround sound
Subtitles
Everything is text-only after the opening cutscene.
Closed captions
Mute on focus lost
For DOSBox change the priority background value in the DOSBox configuration file.

Localizations

Chinese, Korean and Polish retail versions only have the manuals translated; the game itself is still in English.
Language UI Audio Sub Notes
English
Brazilian Portuguese
Fan translation (download). Tradução Ultima website (archived).
Spanish
Fan translation, download.

Issues fixed[edit]

Piano footstep sounds[edit]

The GOG.com version's sound is incorrectly configured by default to use the Roland MT-32. As the Roland MT-32 predated General MIDI, the sound effects will not match with what's normally expected.[5]

Run Game DOS Settings[6]
  1. Choose Game DOS Settings at the menu when starting the game.
  2. Press C to confirm the hard drive to use.
  3. Use the keyboard arrow keys to go down to Sound Blaster Pro, then press Enter.
  4. Press Enter four times to confirm the other default sound settings (these do not need to be changed).
  5. Press Y to confirm your changes.
  6. Press any key twice to finish saving your changes.
Configure DOSBox MIDI to use Munt[7]
  1. Download and Install Munt.
  2. In DOSBox command prompt, type mixer /listmidi to view the devices.
  3. In the configuration file, under section [midi], change midiconfig=0 to match the associated listed midi id (usually 1).

Notes

Munt requires the Roland MT-32 ROM which is not distributed in the same package. As an alternative, it may also be possible to try an alternate Software MIDI with a soundfont similar to the Roland MT-32.
The Roland MT-32 has support for reprogramming sounds. Therefore installing a soundfont-based MIDI and using an equivalent soundfont may not be an ideal solution in the general case.
When using an MT-32 ROM (or a real MT-32), some sound effects will be missing (such as walking in a stream); these effects only play on the LAPC-1 (or other models that share the LAPC-1's effects).[8]

Sluggish and/or jumpy mouse controls[edit]

The cursor may jump around in-game or mouse control may feel sluggish (especially on menu screens). To fix the first issue, disable joystick functionality; to fix the second, increase mouse sensitivity.
Fix jumpy mouse cursor (Windows)[9]
  1. Go to the installation folder.
  2. Edit dosboxULTIMA1.conf
  3. Set joysticktype to none
  4. Save your changes.
Fix sluggish mouse (Windows)[10]
  1. Go to the installation folder.
  2. Edit dosboxULTIMA1.conf
  3. Change sensitivity from 100 to 200. Experiment with this figure until your mouse feels right.
  4. Save your changes.

Windowboxing/black borders on all sides[edit]

By default, DOSbox does not scale to fullscreen vertical resolution, leaving black borders around the entire view area. This fix removes the black borders on the top and bottom, leaving only black borders on the left and right due to the original 8:5 aspect ratio
Fix fullscreen windowboxing[11]
  1. Go to the installation folder.
  2. Edit dosboxULTIMA1.conf
  3. Under [sdl], set output to ddraw and fullresolution to 0x0.
  4. Save your changes.

Other information[edit]

API[edit]

Technical specs Supported Notes
DOS video modes

Middleware[edit]

Middleware Notes
Audio Audio Interface Library [12]

System requirements[edit]

DOS
Minimum
Operating system (OS) DOS
Processor (CPU) IBM or 100% compatible 386SX, 386 or 486
System memory (RAM) 2 MB with Expanded Memory (EMS)
Hard disk drive (HDD) 11 MB
Video card (GPU) 256-color VGA graphics
Windows
Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) XP, Vista
Processor (CPU) 1.8 GHz
System memory (RAM) 512 MB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 48 MB
Video card (GPU) DirectX 7 compatible
macOS (OS X)
Minimum
Operating system (OS) 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) or later
Processor (CPU) Intel Core Duo 2 GHz+
System memory (RAM) 1 GB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 45 MB
Video card (GPU) 64 MB of VRAM

Notes

  1. File/folder structure within the installation folder reflects the path(s) listed for DOS game data. For the GOG.com release, file changes in DOSBox are redirected to <path-to-game>/cloud_saves/ even if GOG Galaxy is not used (this folder contains all redirected files, so some files in the cloud_saves folder might be temporary files or other files that do not contain saves or settings).

References

  1. New Release: Ultima Underworld 1+2 - GOG.com
  2. GOG.com goes Mac - GOG.com
  3. List of GOG games using DOSBox, page 1 - Forum - GOG.com
  4. "Ultima Hacks mouselook patch" - Forum - GOG.com
  5. Problems with sound (quality, sound playing music etc.), page 1 - Forum - GOG.com
  6. Verified by User:Garrett on 7 August 2021
    Sound Blaster Pro is the best audio option (that isn't Roland) because it supports dual OPL2 music.
  7. Configuration:MIDI - DOSBox wiki
  8. Ultima Underworld sound problems \ VOGONS - last accessed on 7 August 2021
    "I have just checked UU1 and it uses Roland LAPC-I/CM-32L sound effects. So if you play the game with Roland MT-32 or MT-100 you won't have all the sound effects (if you walk in a stream for example you hear nothing with mt-32). To hear all sound effects you need to have LAPC-I or CM-32L or CM-64 or CM-500."
  9. "Underworld- wonky controls" - Forum - GOG.com
  10. "Ultima Underworld - how to improve the control scheme?" - Forum - GOG.com
  11. "Ideal Dosbox settings for 1920x1080 tv screen" - Forum - GOG.com
  12. Miles Customer Page - last accessed on November 17, 2017