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Is Middle Earth custom mapping possible, or even legal?


Basically I am ambitious of making a Middle Earth UO Free shard. I know there used to be one called Flame of Anor, a french server, but it appears to no longer be in operation. I am also curious as to whether or not it would be a copyright violation to make a Middle Earth shard. I guess it may depend if I avoid using any copyright names like having a player race of "halflings" instead of "Hobbits" and so forth.

The other question is whether or not it is technically possible to make Middle Earth in a UO Map. I've seen one map that uses a single Felucca map for the entire Middle Earth map, but detail is very low, and I wanted something ... bigger.

It is mostly for roleplaying purposes, but here are a few breakdowns of how I would rendered the world of Tolkien in UO Felucca sized maps.

The first map uses just the main 6 facet maps that come standard in UO.

The next two uses the UltimaLive system of having a very large number of Felucca sized maps.

This one uses 6 by 6 Felucca Maps to render all of Middle Earth for a total grid of 36 maps, plus higher detail felucca maps of the Shire, Bree, Weathertop, Rivendel, Highpass and the Goblin City, Moria, Lothlorien, Lonely Mountain, Isengard, Rohan, Angband (Carn Dum), and a large area around Minas Tirith to the Black Gate and the north western parts of Mordor for a total of 60 Felucca maps in total.

And this one is the most realistic for size and distance, but least practical for sheer hugeness:

In both of the last two giant multifaceted maps I have included the island of Numenor. Obviously this island would be very high level, with very good loot, and very high chance of death. And no bankers.

In my Ultima Online rendering of Middle Earth I would make some changes to magic. I won't list everything here, but for one thing, there would be no long distance travel shortcuts. No moongates. No recall, mark or gate spells. All maps would follow Felucca rules. No Trammel rules here at all, not even in the 6 map world.

Four races would be playable: Man, Elf, Dwarf, and ... Halfling. Modified starting skills and attribute maximums for each race, different affinities for each race, and so forth. Might even make Orcs and Trolls playable, for those players who enjoy roleplaying the evil guys for a change. Heck, I may even follow Lord of the Rings Online pattern and make Orcs, Trolls, Spiders, and Wargs playable, just for the fun of it.

Necormancy would be in, not something you'd want to cast, because every necro spell would make you grey. That's just one of the ideas I am bouncing around.

So... is this possible? Playable? Legal?
And finally, who would want to play here? Anyone?

And one more thing, which map would you consider most realistic for a UO free shard?
  1. The six facet map?
  2. The 60 facet map?
  3. The 144+ facet map?


Even though you can use about 200+ maps with UltimaLive, you may have some problems.

Lets say you're using any of your options (6, 60 or 144 maps). We don't know how how client will behave when you reach the map border, for sure it will not display the map next to it, the players will notice the map-warp and will not see other players near them when they're on different facets.
The best option is to see if UltimaLive supports a bigger map. Current walking packets supports maps up to 65535x65535x255, about 10 (or 100 for a quadratic scale) times bigger than Felucca. If it does support the bigger maps, I suggest you to build Middle Earth using the single big-map.

I don't know if is legal to use the Middle Earth map. You may want to search for copyright tied to it, if you're not searching for


I am definitely all for a single huge map. I would have to link all the tiny grid maps together with edge of map teleporters to other map edge teleporter. That's a ton of teleporters to make.

But if it is possible to make a map that is 32 bytes by 32 bytes (is that the correct breakdown?) then that would be awesome. But would it be too laggy?

That's a total of 4,294,967,296 tiles. Four point two BILLION tiles. ... :O

Map 1 is: 74,989,120 tiles with all six maps including side dungeon areas.
Map 2 is: 1,761,607,680 tiles for 60 Felucca's. All but the right most maps have dungeon side bars for lots of dungeon maps for each map tile.
Map 3 is: 4,227,858,432 tiles for 144 Felucca's. Includes dungeon side bars.

65k^2 map is 57 times as large as the six map world.
................. 2.4 times as large as the 60 map world.
................. 1.02 times as large as the 144 map world.

and it is 146 times as large as a single Felucca Map

That's a big map. How do you get UO to recognize something with that kind of dimensions? And could you use the five other facet maps for super deep dungeons like making Moria ridiculously huge?


If UltimaLive can make the client load this huge map, then you will only have to create the map, you will also be able to use the other five maps or even the other 200+, if one map can be big, the others also can.

AFAIK, lag is not an option, the client load the map as blocks and never load the entire map to the memory (sticking a 4.2gb map file to the memory..well you got the point =P)

We don't know how client treat the client position and the map size. if it does read the map size and client location as a signed number, we are limited to 32k^2 maps which is about 1 billion tiles. Since OSI never created something bigger than 10k, our best is to create the 65k map and hope the client read the map/location as unsigned number.

However, luck does not points to your favor said:
The following are limitations of this system:
  • The game screen may flash black for a brief (less than a second) time when the system streams parts of the map. This is caused by the game client reloading its view of the game map.
  • UltimaLive only works with the classic client at this time.
  • Maps must have the same number or fewer blocks than the regular Felucca map
I've injected some code into my client and managed to find the pointers who manage the map size and I was able to break then reconstruct the map geometry during the gameplay, so it may be possible to have maps at least 32k^2 (before.png and after.png)
Statics ate no "broken" since they are are no loaded by a 8x8 block (?)
It was said somewhere in that custom map sizes is possible by modifying the client.exe. I say it is not needed since we can inject a process to the client and change those values. I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY LEGAL OR ILLEGAL MODS. DO IT AS YOUR OWN.

I may be oversizing the situation here, but I think we are not talking anymore just about map making but "coding" if you want to use the big map instead of splitting into smaller ones =P

Not really an option, but using UltimaXNA, a custom UO client - it is pretty functional but it was abandoned still in the beta/alpha/whatever stage- could be possible to use a virtually infinite size of map and as you may expect, it would take time to finalize the map, more time on polishing UltimaXNA and makint it compatible. We are now talking about a whole new game based on UO


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It's also possible to have 6 maps of 7168x4096. You'd have to edit the client (at which point, you're locked in with whatever version client you're using) and, I believe, the core. This is which direction I'm taking. I've been looking for the original post with the instructions to do it but I'm having no luck. I do have a few instructions I could include (with pictures) if you're interested.

I wasn't aware UltimaXNA was still viable.


There is a how to on editing the client with a hex editor, that will allow you to have a client read a map of any size you want. It was posted on a map making site years ago. It does work, however the legality of doing so is at best, shady. Because of that, I will not go into any further detail on where the details are, or help doing so. I will just assume that I have left enough of a clue for whoever wants, to find it.


The legality of hex editing the client is shady? How so? If it's legal to have your own custom freeshard why wouldn't it be legal to make changes and adjustments to the client?


Because EA games owns the client, and it is within the terms of agreement that it will not be modified, or however worded. More so, redistributing a modified client is breaching that agreement. We only are able to run free shards because we do not profit from it. Though some go as close as they can by use of donations or otherwise.
I may not even be explaining properly, but it is how it is.


That is not to say that if you do, and distribute your modified client, that you will be targeted.

Im no expert on this, but that is why even discussing something about modifying the client is not really permitted on the forums here. In fact, this might just be more discussion than we are really even allowed to, according to the RunUO code of conduct or rules. Im just throwing it out there to be careful.


There is something mentioned somewhere, Im sure of it. Someone will chime in about it, I would bet ;)
daat99 is sure to know more about these details


It does not matter if you use the game client for the EA servers, or for a free shard.

I am not trying to stop you, tell you what you can or can not do.. only just letting you know.

Anyways, if modifying the game client was okay to do, wouldn't you think there would be a forum to discuss that here? ;)


Well the point of the thread is my asking how I can make Middle Earth in UO.
I've dones some research and found that Warner Brothers has been known to shut down game modder's who try to make Lord of the Rings mods for different games such as Skyrim.
My options therefore include creating a map that is similar to middle earth but not calling it that, and not using other copyrighted or trademarked names in the game. Or just going ahead and giving WB the finger. After all, there seems to be all kinds of Lord of the Rings fan mods out there that have or perhaps not been asked to cease and desist, including Minecraft mods, etc.


My opinion on that is, I think you would be fine being that you are not trying to profit from anything that has to do with the shard. If you did create the map and named it something else, there should be no problems.
I know you are not the first guy to attempt the Middle Earth map.. not sure if anyone actually created and ran a shard with one though.


There are multiple European shards currently running middle earth shards. German and Italian I know for sure, and I think they've been running for a while.


You can supply a 3rd party application capable of making the raw edits to the client application or process, but you are not legally allowed to redistribute the client in full or in part, modified or unmodified.

For all purposes, the "client" encompasses the entirety of the game files for Ultima Online, not just the client.exe

The discussions about core modifications use to be taboo here, but I've not seen any suppression of client discussion.


This thread was never about editing the client. Just asking what my options for making a custom map are.


Yes, I know that, but the subject did come up and is why I wanted to let mention the.. concerns. nothing more.