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09-16-2013, 12:01 PM
Joined: Sep 2013
Posts: 2
Ultima IV improvement suggestions

I have a few ideas to make this game more playable if there's anyone out there at Elite that might be interested. I'm mentioning this to be constructive, and I'm only taking the time to share my thoughts and suggestions because I really do love this game, and I want it to be a smoother, better experience for myself and everyone else.

1. The keyboard is not very easy to use. I appreciate the effort to make a more 'retro' keyboard interface, but it shouldn't be at the expense of usability, especially with such a long-term game as this that requires so much text entry (although I remember from playing this in the 80's, that you only need to type the first four letters of anything in the dialog, which helps!). It has a lot to do with the size of the buttons, and how the buttons are laid out in a grid (rather than staggered like bricks). I've read a lot of complaints about this on the forums. It seems that the only functionality the custom keyboard interface really has over the default iOS one are the arrow keys (and the F5/F7 keys, which I am not sure what they do). It's not necessary to re-invent the wheel here.

Might I suggest that you use the standard iOS keyboard, and then make the actual game screen clickable as arrow keys (for moving north, south, east, west). This would be a much more ergonomic solution (especially for folks on smaller devices like iPhones) as you can click this without paying much attention, and considering how much you need to do this to travel everywhere, I'm sure it will make the experience less irritating and much more enjoyable and playable.

2. speaking of the arrow keys for traveling N, S, E, W... I find the buffer for storing commands is way too long. For instance, when you hold down the up arrow to move north (even for a second), and then let go, your character travels far too many spaces (usually far beyond where you wanted to go). I remember the original game had a buffer for only 4 keystrokes at a time. The idea is that when a player lets go of the button, the character should stop moving shortly after.

3. Also, if you can implement the device's default keyboard, you have the added benefit of 'hiding' the keyboard, which gives you the option for putting additional interface where the keyboard was. This could include: The mysterious F5 / F7 keys, commands and spells help texts and buttons, or just retro C=64 grill art.

4. Also, I don't think we need a full keyboard in landscape mode. Having the screen clickable for N,S,E,W movement, you could maybe just add a couple of important buttons (like [O]pen, [A]ttack, [B]oard, [G]et chest, [H]ole up and camp, [T]alk... etc). This will allow for a more full-screen experience, and an easier way to do the common functions of the game before players are able to memorize the hotkeys.

5. In an effort to make the common actions more ergonomic, in addition to having the game screen clickable for player movement, you should also make it so if you *swipe* in a direction on the game screen, it does an [A]ttack in that direction (so instead of typing [A] + [upArrow] over and over again during battle, the swipe gesture will macro these hotkeys). This will really improve repetitive fatigue and again, make this game translate to the handheld device much better. On this theme, you could do a two-finger swipe to [O]pen doors, etc...

6. I love the notes option (good idea) but the handwritten font isn't working so well for the "commands" and "spells" sections. I think I'd much prefer a simple plain helvetica like font that fits more info on the screen, plus it's a bit confusing because I've come to associate the handwritten font with my personal notes.

7. The ability to customize the screen size in landscape mode is confusing and just doesn't work properly for me on the iPad. Most of the buttons at the top do nothing. I feel it's unnecessary if the interface is built-out properly (a lot of my previous tweaks will greatly help)

That's all I have for now...
I see that this app was up for consideration as a featured app on Apple's appstore. I really hope it gets there and introduces younger generations of such a landmark classic game (which I think may have inspired stuff like Zelda). I think the app just needs a little bit more polish and should be thought-out better from a usability standpoint before it can achieve this status. I'm rooting for it tho! Hope my ideas can help. Get in touch with me if you need a hand with graphics.

all the best
09-16-2013, 12:10 PM
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 29
I'd love to see some of the later Ultima games available. I cut my Ultima teeth on the Atari ST version of V. But I'd love to see VI or VII available. Please someone port them

09-17-2013, 05:18 AM
Ultima IV: C64 - Available From The iTunes App Store

The (probable) source of an issue which has caused a number of gamers to report that their copy of 'Ultima IV: C64' occasionally 'freezes' during play has been identified - and a fix is now in hand.

Further information is available at the following link.


Thanks for your patience with us whilst we address this issue - Elite Systems Ltd
09-17-2013, 06:00 AM
To OpticSugar:

Thanks for your input. 'Appreciated. We're considering the issues you raised - Elite Systems Ltd

Last edited by Elite Systems Ltd; 09-17-2013 at 06:01 AM. Reason: Add address.
10-10-2013, 10:32 AM
Ultima IV: C64 - iOS - Progress with Bug Fixing

A summary of the current status is available to view at the following link:


Feel free to share this information.

Elite Systems Ltd. Celebrating 25 Years ! 1984-2009
Twitter: @elite_systems
10-20-2013, 07:32 AM
Ultima IV: C64 - iOS App Returns to the iTunes App Store

A summary of the current status is available to view at the following link:


Feel free to share this information.

Elite Systems Ltd. Celebrating 25 Years ! 1984-2009
Twitter: @elite_systems
01-22-2014, 09:53 AM
Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 124
God I hope they bring out Vll The Black Gate
02-13-2014, 11:22 PM
Er...was the game pulled out of the App Store by any chance?
When back to see if it had any update, and couldnt find the game. Cant even download it from the purchased tab.
Does this mean a new, revamped, version is coming or that the game is gone for good?