You’ve got patches and updates here…how do I use them to play all the Ultima games?

I’m glad you asked: check out this guide.

* * *

What is “Aiera”?

Initially, Aiera was supposed to be a joke-word, a fictional name made up by Withstand the Fury Dragon for his nation at NationStates. However, some later research revealed that the world was part of an older phrase:

aiora aiera – suspension, hanging or floating freely in the air

And that proved to be a fitting name for the site. Suspension, and from that preservation, of Ultima through its advancement to other engines. Suspension, holding up Ultima for others who have not heard of it to see and enjoy.

* * *

That artwork is cool! Where did you get it?

We’re glad you asked! The site template was designed by a company called web2feel. A link to their website should be available in the site’s page footer.

* * *

I know of a project/patch/utility/spin-off!

Well, don’t just sit there! Tell us! We’d love to post it, and maybe even host the latest files for it, on Aiera!

Which is to say: just drop us a note through our handy-dandy Contact Form!

* * *

Isn’t there another site for this stuff already?

Yes, there is. You’re probably thinking of Voyager Dragon’s site The Reconstruction.

Unfortunately, Voyager has been exceedingly busy for the last year and a bit, and his site is getting out of date. For example, at the time of the last update to The Reconstruction, U5: Lazarus had not released anything more than a few screenshots. They’ve since released the entire project, up to version 1.2.

Aiera is therefore continuing in the tradition of The Reconstruction, and keeping you up to date on Ultima-related projects, and on news pertaining to new Ultima developments and Ultima history, and people who have worked on Ultima or been instrumental in the fan community.

* * *

So why did Aiera have that big gap in reporting between October 2006 and March 2007?

Well, there’s a lot of reasons for that, most having to do with a variety of changes in Withstand the Fury Dragon’s life. A short list might include some or all of the following:

  1. Switching jobs no less than four times
  2. Graduading from university with a degree in computer engineering
  3. Assuming the post of vice-president of a student choir (and re-designing their website into its current form)
  4. Getting engaged (and thus having a wedding to plan)
  5. Repeated, persistent computer failures.

It’s been a busy season, which is part of the real motivation behind the changeover Aiera has undergone. It’ll have an interface and accessibility that will be easier for both myself and project developers to post news to (yes, developers can post news directly, if they like!), with greater frequency and rapidity than before.

* * *

There used to be just an Orphanage. Why is there an Orphanage and a Graveyard now?

That’s an interesting question, actually, and the answer is a little convoluted.

Nominally, the Orphanage exists as a repository for all Ultima and Ultima-related projects that would otherwise have been hosted in one of Aiera’s other categories, but which have stopped development either permanently or temporarily prior to achieving a version 1.0 release.

In practice, however, there are several different levels of “stopped development”, and so the Graveyard came into being.

So what’s the difference?

Well, the Orphanage is now for projects that released at least a few files prior to the stoppage of development. This is an important distinction, because even a demo means that there’s some “in progress” work left over that another person could pick up and run with. And in fact, if the reader is interested in, say, picking up work on a project like Eriadain from where Moa Dragon left off, they are actively encouraged to do so — just let us know so we can move the project back into a proper remake category.

Conversely, the Graveyard is now for projects that stopped development without releasing any files. They essentially exist in memory only, and unless the developers pick them up again and resume development, there’s nothing anyone else can really do to resurrect them.

Note that a few of the projects that are still listed in the remake categories have actually stopped development prior to completion (i.e. a version 1.0 release) as well, but the distinction being made there is that those projects were far enough along their development arc to more or less qualify as completed remakes, (like Underworld Adventures).

Obviously, completed projects don’t count as Orphanage material, even if the teams are no longer working on them.