Exult (http://exult.sourceforge.net/) is a project that aims to reimplement the Ultima VII engine. It supports both Ultima VII and U7pt2 Serpent Isle, including the Forge of Virtue and Silver Seed addons.

Ultima VII was implemented in form of engine + related data; it used its own scripting language (called Usecode by U7 hackers, after the name of main script file) for almost everything. Regrettably, U7's actual executables were pain to run in intended machines due to Voodoo, and even more difficult to run in modern machines. Also, MS-DOS is a quickly disappearing relic from the past. This is a Great Shame, because the game just rocks.

Exult, now to rescue, is intended to replace the troublesome U7 and U7SI binaries. You still need the original data files for the game, and optionally the sound sample libraries and music files (available through Exult website).

Exult (obviously named so through "X Ultima"), after its first release, had the necessary facilities to read Ultima maps and graphics, and it was the first Ultima VII map viewer and "Ultima VII: Walk Around Britannia And Look Silly" game I've seen for Linux. The Usecode was a very mysterious format until recently. After the addition of Usecode interpreter, it became a worthy program for actually playing the game - nowadays, the games are fully playable and actually winnable without cheating.

Exult also has Exult Studio which is, at the moment, some beginnings of a game editor. I hope this one will get even more usable in the future.

Exult was originally intended to be used on X11 in *NIXes, but it now is relatively portable and runs on many operating systems, including the free *NIXes (even comes as a Debian package), Windows, MacOS X, BeOS, and even AmigaOS/MorphOS.

The graphics engine is pretty neat (allows fine-tuning and filtered scaling of the graphics), MIDI is supported natively and through TiMidity, and it even includes support for Ogg Vorbis music and PCM sample kits (so if you couldn't afford back in the day - like Origin intended - a Roland MT-32/LAPC-1 to hear the Rad to the Max music and sounds, but nowadays have a sample-capable soundcard as most people do, you can hear this great stuff with Exult.)

There are also numerous enhancements over the originals: There are a lot more keyboard shortcuts (for example, there's the 'k' command in U7 too, which will try all of your keys to a lock), the resolution can be changed, and as a pretty nice addition, the inventory screen "paper dolls" from U7SI can be used also in U7 if you have U7SI installed (though there's no paper doll for kids in U7SI, so Spark seems a bit... odd with an adult body). The save game screen is much better (a lot more save game slots). Also, the game has a (hidable) status bar that shows the party member HP and mana bars.

It's a wonderful program, though I wish it'd use system fonts in U7, as the original game's font is pretty challenging...

See also: Ultima VII, Usecode, SDL, Voodoo