Pentagram
You have been a thorn in my side for far too long...

What is it?

Pentagram is a project aiming to create an Ultima 8 engine for use on modern operating systems, including Linux, Mac OS X and Windows.


What's the status?

While it is currently possible to finish Ultima 8 using Pentagram, not everything is fully working yet. (Save regularly!) In the game itself, most notably, the combat AI of monsters is still very limited, and there are still quite a few minor things which are not working as well as they should.

Outside of the game, installation and setup of Pentagram still require manual configuration. We hope to eliminate most of this in the future.
(Last modified: 9 May 2007)


News

6 January 2013
Further bugfixes this week include two issues with collision detection that could let objects move through walls, and a bug with loading savegames that had a small chance of producing weird behaviour for certain saves. Another visible change is that cheats are now disabled by default. They can be re-enabled by adding cheat=true to the config file.
3 January 2013
We started this year with a fix of an eight year old bug causing gradual object leaks. This bug would eventually have unpredictable symptoms including missing objects, broken menus and crashes. Savegames where this leak has not yet reached a critical level will now be automatically repaired when loading them.
22 April 2012
Ultima 8 is now available for sale from GOG.com! Initial tests show that Pentagram supports it without any problems.
15 October 2010
Thanks to people over on the Exult forum pushing us to fix more bugs, work on Pentagram has continued recently. Special thanks go to Gruck for playing through all of Ultima 8 in Pentagram (confirming the game can still be successfully finished) and reporting any bugs he encountered, a number of which have been fixed now.

A useful new feature is the addition of extra save game slots: there are now 96 of them instead of the original 12.
12 September 2008
In the last few months, interest in Pentagram seems to have picked up again. A number of bugs were fixed since the last update, including camera fixes, key handling, containers (backpack, barrels, etc.), and a fix for a problem in the German versions of the U8. The default key binding for stasis moved from 'S' to 'F10'. The build should now properly support versions of autoconf greater than 2.60.

Mac OS X builds also received a lot of attention. They build system switched from XCode to a makefile-based system that builds Pentagram and dependencies using their traditional configure script and make methods. This allows us a greater amount of control over the builds and should help prevent changes to Pentagram for unix systems that break OS X builds and vice versa.
5 December 2007
Despite the lack of updates to the website, work on Pentagram has been progressing. Among other things, combat music now works, avatar attack speed has been improved, many rendering order problems are fixed, and falling and throwing are now working much better. The Pentagram main menu has also been improved, and now supports loading savegames directly.
9 May 2007
The last months we have made further improvements to pathfinding. Avatar movement has been enhanced a bit, as well as item manipulation and missile trajectories.
9 January 2007
A new developer, Brian Tietz, has joined our team, and has improved the pathfinding in Pentagram. We have also fixed a number of bugs, including a crash in combat, some objects falling through the floor, and several smaller glitches.
7 July 2006
For the last few weeks, we made efforts to improve support for Mac OS X. Snapshot binaries are now available on the download page. This version is a universal binary and should work on 10.3 and above. Have fun.
28 April 2006
Since the last update we have fixed numerous minor issues with item and NPC interaction. The combat behaviour of monsters has also been improved a bit, although it is still far from perfect. Furthermore, support for the Japanese version of Ultima 8 should now be at the same level as that for the other languages.
19 February 2006
The last few months have been a bit quiet, but development has been moving forward. We have fixed a couple of potentially serious usecode interpreter bugs, and some further Avatar movement problems. Preliminary support for the Japanese version of Ultima 8 has also been added.
15 November 2005
Today we have fixed the Pentagram savegame format. This means that from this point onward, we will try our best to maintain backward compatibility for savegames, so you can be fairly sure next month's version of Pentagram will still be able to load tomorrow's savegames. Unfortunately this comes at a price: all savegames created before today can no longer be loaded in new builds of Pentagram.

Other changes this last month include a rudimentary game selection menu, fixes to last month's improvements to Avatar movement and various minor bug fixes.
6 October 2005
In the last couple of months the behind-the-scenes work has continued, with changes to savegames, game autodetection and key bindings. The more visible changes include antialiasing of the truetype fonts, detection of stealing and hopefully improved Avatar movement.
27 July 2005
This week's bugfixes include a plot-stopping rendering bug that prevented you from reading a book Mythran gives you. Also, monster pathfinding has been changed significantly (hopefully improving it), a problem with teleporting has been solved, and training with Darion has been fixed.
10 July 2005
There has been quite a bit of behind-the-scenes work this month towards video options, audio options and game selection menus. We also fixed a number of bugs, including timing problems in scripted sequences and some minor inventory-related bugs.
11 June 2005
Special effects for magic weapons are now working, such as Flame Sting's fire effects. Also, some more types of monster treasure have been implemented, including weaponry and sorcery reagents and foci. Furthermore, container windows and text should no longer appear partially off-screen.
8 May 2005
Since last month, Pentagram starts with the Ultima 8 intro and lets you enter your name in the diary, and we have also implemented the save/load sections of the diary. Item placement in containers has been improved with items now placed at random locations instead of always in the top left corner. Various bugs related to combat, pathfinding and object collisions have been fixed.
15 April 2005
We have added many more sound effects since the last update and have also implemented intro/endgame audio and support for the speech pack. The combat code has been improved further as well: monsters (and the Avatar) should now react properly when hit.
25 March 2005
Another major update this week: sound effects! SFX are still missing in some places, but expect those to be gradually added during the next couple of weeks. Also, the Ultima 8 credits and quotes sections have been implemented.
15 March 2005
New this week, a Minimap! Yep, a Minimap. While a touch on the experimental side at the moment, it is for sure something that many players probably wished they had while traversing the catacombs. Check out the screenshots section to see it in action. Other changes this week, some fancy memory management code and some bug fixes.
25 February 2005
A rather big change this week. Scaling has been added to Pentagram. The most obvious difference is Ultima 8 now runs at the 320x200 resolution that the original ran at. This fixes a few game breaking problems. The selection of scalers is limited at the moment, but more will be added.
5 February 2005
Several cosmetic and other minor fixes this week: the avatar will look around when idle, NPCs play their talk animation while talking, some previously broken spellcasting animations now work properly, double-right-clicking the avatar will toggle combat mode and NPC schedules are properly set every hour.
25 January 2005
Bugfixes this month include a number of problems with dragging, NPC schedules, inventory weight calculation and the towers of Hanoi puzzle. We also implemented the bedroll (b) and keyring (k) shortcut keys.
5 January 2005
Happy New Year! We've recently implemented compressed savegames, which has shrunk them to under 200Kb. There's now also some very basic monster pathfinding, so monsters will (try to, and often fail to) walk up to you and attack you. Finally, we're happy to report that the (extremely annoying) vertical screen flipping feature is now somewhat working.
24 November 2004
Quite a few improvements the last ten days: the avatar will heal and regain mana gradually now, the Grant Peace spell should be working and the avatar-seeking fireballs in the Shrine of the Ancient Ones have been implemented. Additionally, more work has been done on combat: be careful, since monsters will now hit you if you're standing right in front of them.
14 November 2004
We've fixed a number of bugs last week, including two plot stoppers. Missiles (such as fish) now use proper collision detection so they won't fly through the avatar. We also did some internal work on combat; nothing visible yet, but it's getting closer.
4 November 2004
Not much news this week. We did fix the worst problems with the avatar dying, which means that you won't get up again after you die now.
24 October 2004
Since last week, Pentagram will automatically play the introductory sequence at startup (Camera scrolling to the Avatar, Avatar getting up and talking to Devon). It can be disabled with the `skipstart' config option. We also fixed some issues with collision detection, which means that the rolling spiked spheres should now properly roll and turn.
14 October 2004
There is now an option in the config file to use a TrueType font (currently only Bitstream Vera) for conversations. Saving and loading from the diary menu is now working properly. There have also been some bugfixes and improvements related to the user interface.
4 September 2004
In the last couple of weeks we've fixed a lot of bugs, ranging from serious crashes to cosmetic issues. The result of this is that many of the scripted sequences that were broken are now mostly working. We've even fixed a bug in U8's usecode that occurred in the original game too.
14 August 2004
In the last couple of weeks, we rewrote parts of the animation/movement system. This should lead to improvements in Avatar movement and pathfinding in the near future. Targeted jumping has been implemented, and this is now the default jumping mode. The jumping mode will become an option later. Additionally, item dragging has been improved, and you can now split up stacks of items (very useful for necromancy spellcasting).
24 July 2004
Not much to report this week, but one notable change is that you can now precisely drop items where the mouse is pointing instead of somewhere in the general area.
14 July 2004
Since last week, you can climb walls and other objects. Also, monsters will now die properly most of the time (e.g., ghosts vanish, seekers explode, skeletons get up again after a while) and leave treasure.
4 July 2004
This week we have added the beginnings of combat to Pentagram. You can now hit people and monsters and they will take damage and die. Monsters won't fight back yet, though. (It will probably take quite some time before we implemented monster AI.) Also, monsters don't leave loot yet.
24 June 2004
Welcome to our brand-new website.

A Pentagram status update: work has been progressing steadily. As you can see in our screenshots section, a lot of the Ultima 8 plot is working quite well. However, other major parts of the game, such as combat, still need a lot of work. Monster AI is still completely unimplemented.

We recently managed to decode the SFX file format used, as well as the cutscene format used in the intro and endgame movies, which means that all of the file formats used by Ultima 8 have now been decoded for the most part, although there are still some remaining details to be worked out.

12 March 2004
UltimaDot published an interview with the Pentagram team, including a screenshot gallery.


Last modified: 2013-01-06