Playing Ultima Savage Empire & Martian Dreams on a Modern PC

Again, Its been a while!  I have been working on other projects, mainly getting my twitch stream off the ground.  A great way to support me would be to follow me on twitch, https://twitch.tv/zoggins. Okay, back to this project!  Savage Empire and Martian Dreams were pretty cool ideas.  Origin took the Ultima 6 engine and built two completely new games.  They do not take place in Britannia, but you do play as the Avatar.  This will be the ninth post in my series of how to play all 14 Ultima games on a modern PC.  Once again we will be using DOSBox to get the job done and I won’t get into acquiring the game files, installing DOSBox or justifying why do this myself when I could just get the games via GOG.  See my first post, on Akalabeth, for comments on such things.  For previous posts in the series see: Ultima IX, Ultima VI, Ultima V, Ultima IV, Ultima III, Ultima II, Ultima I and Akalabeth.

Acquiring the Manuals & Maps

The High-Resolution Ultima Map Project doesn’t contain the maps for Savage Empire and Martian Dreams, but replacementdocs.com does have them here and hereNext is the manuals.  Savage Empire comes with two pieces of documentation that you need: Ultimate Adventures and the Reference Guide.  Both can be found at replacementdocs.com here and here.  Martian Dreams comes with three pieces of documentation that you end: Time Travel: Use of the Orb of the Moons, Mysteries of the Red Planet and the Reference Guide.  All three can be found at replacementdocs.com here, here and here.

Installing the Game

This would be simple, but these games are actually had to find legally.  They were never released on CD, so the only legitimate source are nearly 20 year old floppy disks.  So, lets just assume you have the files, I won’t judge.  Copy all the game files to your machine.  Choosing a path that only contains folders with less than 8 characters and contains no spaces will make your life easier in the next step.  For reference, I always choose “C:\Games\savage” and “C:\games\martian”.  Next we need to setup the games.  For Savage Empire launch DOSBox and execute the following commands:

mount C C:\games\savage 
C: 
install

Select ‘C’ for the C drive, Leave the path as ‘C:\’.  I hope you are not concerned for hard drive space, so choose ‘Save Time’.  Choose ‘Mouse’, ‘Create New Character’, ‘MCGA/VGA 320×200, 256 colors’, ‘Creative Labs Sound Blaster’ and then ‘Y’ to confirm your settings.  \

For Martian Dreams launch DOSBox and execute the following commands:

mount C C:\games\martian
C:
install

Press any key to start the installation.  Select ‘Mouse & Keyboard’, ‘Create New Character’, ‘Creative Labs Sound Blaster’ and ‘Yes’ to confirm the current configuration.

Patching the Game

There is one optional patch you may want to consider.  The font used in the bulk of Savage Empire can be pretty hard on the eyes after a while, so someone made a patch that replaces the default font with the font used in Ultima 6.  This is a personal preference thing.  The details can be found here, but their download link is all sorts of broken.  So I have provided a link to a zip file containing the SYSYTEM.LZC file on my site here.  Just copy the SYSTEM.LZC file to C:\games\savage and answer yes when it asks if you want to replace it.  You should be good to go.  Might be a good idea to back up the original file in case you want to revert back to the default font.

Playing the Game

For Savage Empire fire up DOSBox and execute the following commands:

mount C C:\games\savage
C:
savage

For Martian Dreams fire up DOSBox and execute the following commands:

mount C C:\games\martian
C:
martian

Honestly the games runs fine at the default 3000 cycles.  For a more authentic feel you could probably reduce the cycles with Control-F11 to around 1800, but I think 3000 works pretty well.  Again control-F12 increases the cycles and Alt-Enter puts DOSBox into fullscreen mode.  I have had some issues with choppy music, but never bad enough to start messing around with DOSBox configuration.  If you run into unbearable music problems, hit me up and I can help tweak some settings that will likely help.

Wrapping Up

Now to summarize when you want to play the game from now on, just do one of the following in DOSBox

For Savage Empire fire up DOSBox and execute the following commands:

mount C C:\games\savage
C:
savage

For Martian Dreams fire up DOSBox and execute the following commands:

mount C C:\games\martian
C:
martian

Any questions or comments just let know.  Thanks!

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