Mapping Games – Ultima VII

The rise of simple to use geographic information systems such as Google Maps and Microsoft’s Virtual Earth are making it increasingly easy to map any information which is geographically organised. As such maps do not have to link to the real world, virtual and game space can also be mapped and displayed using the same set of tools.

To date we have looked at Mapping Second Life and Lord of the Rings Online, the latest in our series of posts on Mapping Games looks at Ultima VII. Ultima VII, released in two parts, Ultima VII: The Black Gate (1992), and Ultima VII Part Two: Serpent Isle (1993) is an interesting choice to map and display online due in part to its age and therefore level of graphic resolution.

Previous to the ability to create tiles in geographical space and display them via Google or Microsoft technologies maps of games often took on a ‘overview’ structure to simply communicate location.

The image below illustrates such an example:


Using Exult to extract image tiles, Nikolai Faaland has taken mapping Ultima VII a stage further and ported it into Virtual Earth:


The map can viewed in both 2D mode as pictured above and 3D:


Mapping games such as Ultima VII is an interesting use of Virtual Earth and one that we will be covering further in future posts.

Click here to see the map in Virtual Earth

Author Bio

Andy is Professor of Digital Urban Systems at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at University College London.

6 Comments

  1. Greg J. Smith - August 14, 2007

    This is a great series of posts. Keep up the good work. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Darius Kazemi - August 14, 2007

    You say that maps like the Cube Generator map for Ultima VII “simply communicate location.” That’s far from the truth. The cube map you show is a solution to a puzzle, not a geospatial orientation guide of some sort. It’s specifically structured to say, “First you go here, then you do this, then you go here, then you do this.” It would be very hard to simply be placed somewhere randomly in the Cube Generator maze and to reference the map and know where you were.

    I do agree that most old video game maps were built to “simply communicate location,” but I don’t think the map you used is a good example. Here’s a better one.

  3. Andy - August 14, 2007

    Darius,

    Thanks for the comment on the cube map! I’ve changed the post and added in the image.

    Thanks again, sorry about the error ๐Ÿ™‚

    Andy

  4. Darius Kazemi - August 14, 2007

    Awesome, thanks for the update!

  5. Greg J. Smith - August 15, 2007

    In addition to liking the substance of this post, I have to admit to having a bit of nostalgia. I used to play Ultima VII, it is weird that this game has been popping up in discussion online lately.

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