Ultima Dragons

From Ultima Codex
Jump to: navigation, search
UDIC

The Ultima Dragons are the largest and longest-running Ultima fan club, with more than 16,000 members joining since the group's inception in 1992. They are also known as the Ultima Dragons Internet Chapter (UDIC), originally to differentiate from their first incarnation on the now-defunct Prodigy network. When joining the club, each member adopts a unique "Dragon name" (a pseudonym of their choosing affixed with the surname Dragon) by which they may identify themselves to other members and the Ultima community at large.

History[edit]

The Ultima Dragons were founded by Doug Ricket (Gold Dragon) in early 1992 on Prodigy, a pre-World Wide Web, subscription-based content portal that, among many other features, hosted message boards and user email. By mid-1994, however, the club had disbanded and dispersed due to unpopular changes in the Prodigy network's fee structures, before reforming on the Internet in fall of the same year [1] due to the efforts of an ex-Prodigy member of the Ultima Dragons, Ethereal Dragon. A website dedicated to the club, including a roster of members, was soon established by William Herrin (Fallible Dragon). Throughout the mid-to-late 1990s, the Ultima Dragons' primary hubs of interaction were Usenet (particularly the rec.games.computer.ultima.dragons (RGCUD) newsgroup), Internet Relay Chat (#udic on Undernet), and a Dragon-run MOO known as the Weyrmount. Many also gravitated toward various Ultima-related Internet forums such as Horizons Tavern, which began operating in January 1998. Typical of 1990s cyberculture, personal websites dedicated to Ultima fandom and other related interests were common among Ultima Dragons, frequently as part of a web ring called the Ring of Dragons.

With Ultima VIII released in 1994 and five years of protracted development to follow, much of early UDIC activity was predicated on anticipation of Ultima IX, to the extent that senior members of its development team would often participate on the RGCUD newsgroup and the Horizons Tavern forum to deliver updates and answer questions. As a tribute to the Ultima Dragons, Origin released a premium Dragon Edition of the game,[2] which included extra collectibles such as a cloth map, an ankh amulet trinket, and tarot cards depicting the Eight Virtues.

To mark their 25th anniversary, the Ultima Dragons held a weekend-long celebration at Disneyland in February 2017, having successfully raised funding via a Kickstarter campaign the previous September. Years in preparation, it was attended by several dozen members from around the world, as well as a number of special guests who were involved in the Ultima series: creator Richard Garriott, artist Denis Loubet, Ultima Online director Starr Long, writer-programmer Dr. Cat, writer Mike Nystul, and actor J. C. Shakespeare, who provided the voice of the Avatar in Ultima IX.

The Ultima Dragons are currently most active on social media, particularly as a Facebook group of more than 1600 members and on Twitter with over 1100 followers. Although now far less frequented than these platforms, the RGCUD newsgroup and Weyrmount remain ongoing venues, as does Horizons Tavern.

Notable members[edit]

Actress and author Felicia Day (Codex Dragon), who rose to fame in the late 2000s after creating her web series The Guild, is one of the Ultima Dragons' earliest members, having joined the club within months of its founding.

Other members have received tributes in Ultima games:

Many Origin alumni would themselves join the Ultima Dragons, including Ultima V playtester Kurt Boutin (Kurtstable Dragon, after his namesake in the game), Ultima VIII director Mike McShaffry (Aleing Dragon), Ultima Online lead designer Raph Koster (Designer Dragon), Ultima IX lead designer Seth Mendelsohn (Yavn Dragon), and id Software co-founder John Romero (Apple ][ Dragon). In February 2017, Origin co-founder and Ultima creator Richard Garriott was inducted into the Ultima Dragons as part of their 25th anniversary celebrations at Disneyland, upon which he took the name Splut Dragon.

Projects[edit]

Many members of the Ultima Dragons have been involved in projects regarding the Ultima series, some of which have received critical acclaim.

Ultima V: Lazarus, a remake of Ultima V in the Dungeon Siege engine, is perhaps the most prominent of these. Released in 2005, it received reviews in Computer Gaming World, PC Gamer, and a number of other gaming publications worldwide, and has attracted other press from multiple sources, including Slashdot. A significant portion of the development team are UDIC members, including project leader Ian Frazier (Moongazer Dragon).

Exult, a program designed solely to run Ultima VII and Ultima VII Part Two on modern systems, is also popular. It was initially developed as a map viewer for these games,[4] before evolving into a full-fledged multi-platform engine with which to play them. More than half its fifteen developers are UDIC members, including Ryan Nunn (Colourless Dragon)[5] who wrote several of the integral parts of the engine (movement, rendering, NPC flags, and Serpent Isle support), as well as Dominik Reichardt (Dominus Dragon)[5], who wrote and maintains the documentation. Richard Garriott gave his own unofficial support to the project.[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. Internet Archive Wayback Machine page for udic.org
  2. Archived Richard Garriott Interview
  3. Jensen, William. "Arbuthnot Dragon". Arbuthnot and Arbuthnott Genealogy. 2007-04-20. Retrieved 2017-12-05.
  4. exult.cc
  5. 5.0 5.1 Exult Developers
  6. Exult Fan Letters

External links[edit]

This article includes material originally taken from Wikipedia article Ultima Dragons. Wikipedia material is licensed under GNU Free Documentation License.