Playing Ultima VI on a Modern PC

Its been a while!  I have been working on other projects, but back to this project!  Ultima VI was the first Ultima that was designed for 16-bit PCs.  This one is often overshadowed by the awesomeness that is Ultima VII, but its a good game in its own right.  This will be the seventh 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 V, Ultima IV, Ultima III, Ultima II, Ultima I and Akalabeth.

Acquiring the Manuals & Maps

The High-Resolution Ultima Map Project is the best place to get most Ultima maps and here is the link for the Ultima VI map.  Next is the manuals.  Ultima VI comes with only two pieces of documentation: The Compendium and the Reference Guide.  Both can be found at here and here.

Installing the Game

This is mostly a simple one.  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\ultima6”.  Next we need to setup the game.  Launch DOSBox and execute the following commands:

mount C C:\games\ultima6 

Select ‘H’ for Hard Drive, ‘C’ for the C drive, ‘5’ for VGA, ‘Y’ for having a mouse (I really hope this is true!), ‘1’ for AdLib Synthesizer Card,  go with the default of 388, ‘Y’ for this all being correct and finally ‘1’ to start a new character.  Ok that was  mouthful, now if you want to omit the below patch you are ready to play.  Otherwise, continue on.

Patching the Game

We are going to install Sir John’s Nitpicker’s Delight patch.  I have never done a full play through with this patch, but it seems like a pretty cool patch.  Download the patch from here.  Copy the contents of the zip file into C:\games\ultima6.

Playing the Game

Fire up DOSBox and execute the following commands:

mount C C:\games\ultima6

Honestly the game 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.

mount C C:\games\ultima6

Any questions or comments just let know.  Thanks!

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