Exult is a FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) game Engine. It is written in C++ and runs on Mac, Windows and Linux. Exult was developed in 2004 to recreate a massive hit game of 1990’s called Ultima VII. It is created for the revival of Ultima VII (The Black Gate) and Ultima VII part2 (Serpent Isle) on modern PCs. The engine uses the original data files of these two games. 

Ultima Series was started by two game companies, Electronic Arts and Bioware mythic, in 1981. The classics Ultima VII (The Black Gate) and Ultima VII (Serpent Isle) were released in 1992 and 1993 respectively. Ultima VII is very first RPG (role-playing game), that had huge fan following. But it was unable to run on modern computers as it was a DOS game and had memory management issue. It used a custom Memory manager that was incompatible with EMM(Expanded Memory Managers) of MS-DOS.

I originally wrote it [Exult] solely for X-windows, so that’s where the ‘X’ comes from. The “ult”, of course, comes from Ultima. It was only about 6 months ago [02/29/2000] that I replaced the X code with SDL, which is multiplatform.

Jeff S. Freedman, aka “DrCode”

The Exult was developed to make these games playable on latest computers. The first stable version of Exult was released in 2004 and on 28th anniversary of Ultima VII- The Black Gate, the new version of Exult is recently released in 2020.

Although it is possible to write games, yet no other game is developed in this engine. Until now it only supports Ultima 7.

Game Engine Features

  • Anti-aliasing and other filters to provide smoother graphics.
  • Save mode improvements to allow several save slots.
  • Different modes of combat difficulty from -3 (Very Easy) to +3 (Very Difficult).
  • Status bars for the characters.
  • Ability to translate test into other language.
  • Support for higher resolution screen for area mode and window mode.
  • Paper-doll support to represent characters’ inventory.
  • New built-in cheat codes and game-play options.
  • MIDI digital music effects.
  • Exult studio that allows users to create their own games.

Games Developed In Exult

Ultima VII - Serpent Isle
Ultima VII (Serpent Isle) –
Play Online
Ultima VII - The Black Gate
Ultima VII (The Black Gate) –
Play Online

Useful Resources

Here's our list of top five game programming books you should read.

Game Engine Black Book: DOOM: v1.1

The book Game Engine Black Book: DOOM: v1.1 is just a masterpiece from Fabien Sanglard as it describes not only the details of how the code works, but also some interesting history and trivia. The description of hardware capabilities, audio/video interfaces, and design decisions behind them is quite interesting.

If you're not a programmer the book is still interesting - it explains lots of neat tricks, plenty of photos, quotes, and backstory about how the game was developed.

Game Programming Patterns

With over 85% 5-start reviews on Amazon, readers agree that Robert Nystrom's Game Programming Patterns is a must have for any software developer. It has a crystal clear look at how to be the benevolent architect of a very complicated software/game without getting lost.

The author presents the architecture of a game in an easy to understand matter not from an academic perspective but from experience. The book contains code examples written in C++, well organised and written so cleanly that it feels like pseudo-code.

Beginning C++ Through Game Programming

With Beginning C++ Through Game Programming, Michael Dawson builds your knowledge from the ground up. This book not only is easy to understand and teaches well, but it is focused on the very subject to learn C++ for game programming.

When it comes to game programming, C++ is the name of the game.

Blood, Sweat, and Pixels: The Triumphant, Turbulent Stories Behind How Video Games Are Made

This is highly recommend book for anyone who likes history of videos games, or just likes good stories. Blood, Sweat, and Pixels: The Triumphant, Turbulent Stories Behind How Video Games Are Made captures the complexity of game development that anyone can pick up and enjoy.

If you have even a passing interest in gaming be sure to pick this one up. (reader's comment)

Foundations of Game Engine Development - Volumes 1, 2

The volume 1 of the book discusses the mathematics needed by engineers who work on games or other virtual simulations. The volume 2 explores the vast subject of real-time rendering in modern game engines.

The book is packed with great C++ code snippets and examples. You have tried-and-true methods that can be incorporated into any game engine and source code is not specific to any API or framework.