Here is a trailer for a new UO client I have thought up. If I had the patience, time and knowledge on how to do this, I think it would look really great. But I have none of those so you will just have to pull out your imagination and work with me.
So there is an ancient looking book which opens up to the first page. It shows a screenshot of a player sitting in a small house. There is a chair and a table. Maybe an empty bookcase. There is also a date, 1997, at the heading of the page. The page then turns to 1998. A few decorative items are added to the house. Perhaps some furniture introduced with The Second Age expansion. Do you see the theme?
As this is going on there is a narrator explaining what is going on. He is saying something like “For over a decade, Ultima Online has been growing and expanding…..” I’ve not put a lot of thought into what the narrator says. So just know that it is there. Use your imagination and put words in his mouth. He won’t mind.
So the pages keep turning. 1999, 2000. Maybe the leaves on the trees outside die showing that the changover to Trammel. As the years go on, two or three items are added to the house showing the growth of the game. When you arrive in 2008 it is filled with stuff. Then the announcer says something like “a lot has changed, but none more so than what is to come”. The page turns once more to 2009.
You are greeted with a much larger image. It looks pretty much the same though. But something is different. The graphics are sharper and more clear. The page notes that the resolution is in 1280×720. The screen then zooms in on various parts to showcase the new high definition graphics. It looks exactly the same as the 2D client except much better. It is on par with what you see in Blizzard’s Starcraft II and Diablo III screenshots. There is a fireplace going showcasing the new lightning effects.
The screen zooms back out to standard view. Now players would probably be very happy with this. It looks like an isometric game released in 2009. But then the narrator brings out the big twist! He rotates the camera angle. “For the first time you can now see all angles of the game world”. You get to see the back of a house for the first time. There is full rotation, 360 degrees. This is it, the big new improvement for the client. The new hook to draw people in. You can zoom and rotate the camera. It looks spectacular. Everything UO players have been waiting for 10 years.
The screen begins to fade. But the narrator tells it to stop. He’s not done yet. You have to see the best part. The screen snaps back to standard view. It starts to zoom in you think. But it is not the same this time. It goes over the shoulder of the avatar. Could it be? Yes it is! First person view. You are now staring at the desk, where you were writing. You look up at a painting on the wall. It is so big. It then switches to 3rd person over the shoulder view and whips around. You see a closeup of the avatar’s face. It has an actual expression. Then the door opens behind into a bright light. The narrator says something like, “take your first step into the new world”. End trailer.
First things first, I think up until the rotatable camera part could be applied to the upcoming Stygian Abyss client. A trailer similar to that would be absolutely killer as long as the client is solid.
As for the rest, you are probably wondering how that can all be done. It has been stated that camera rotation would be impossible for UO. It is as the client is being designed. For some reason the developers wanted to stick with sprites. Unfortunately that means you are limited to one field of view. I believe that switching to polygon models would have been possible. There may have been a tiny reduction in art quality, but what you would gain (camera rotation and 1st/3rd person perspectives) would make up for it. Plus all the graphics are being redone in high definition polygon models. So the walls of the house, the desk, the chair, the avatar, etc are all polygons. I would really like to see some comparisons of UO creatures done in polygons to see how much of a difference there would be.
The reason Kingdom Reborn was shunned was because it changed the look of the game. In my dreamt-up client you will be virtually unable to notice a difference in “classic” mode. You have the exact same perspective and all the art is the same, except in higher quality. You can take advantage of 1st person or rotating the camera if you wish. Or you could turn off those features and play UO the same way you did back in 1997.
If Mythic is serious about having UO have a place in the MMO marketplace they need to one of two things. Either bring the client up to Diablo III and Starcraft II art quality or add a 1st/3rd person perspective. Kingdom Reborn was a failure from the very start because it was no where near close to that.
One more trailer idea I had was for the new 1st person perspective. It opens with you traveling through an iconic UO dungeon such as the entrance of Deciet or maybe adventuring into the Wrong Troll room. The narrator is talking to you saying things like “Doesn’t this place seem familiar? Have you been here before?” Chances are that person has if they played an MMO other than World of Warcraft. The trailer just ends with a shot of the UO symbol. Something like that would drive interest in UO to something unseen in a decade.