RISC World


Paul Brett introduces the XU4 documentation

About XU4

If you have read this issues GamesWorld column you will know that XU4 is a version of the original Ultima IV game updated to run on modern computers. Ultima IV was a classic game at its launch in 1985, and went on to spawn many more versions over the years.

At the start of Ultima IV

You need to fulfil a major quest and must explore the lands of Brittania, and explore a number of deep dark and above all dangerous dungeons. Even above ground you aren't safe as hoards of rouges and cutthroats are ready to attack you at a moments notice.

Time for a fight

Ultima IV is a big game, and you will need all the help you can get, so we have reproduced the supplied documentation, and the original history of Britannia below, good luck, you are going to need it!

Running XU4

The actual data files from the original Ultima 4 are loaded at runtime, which means that a copy of Ultima 4 for DOS must be present at runtime.

Fortunately, Ultima IV is available as closed-source freeware on the internet (legally). A copy is mirrored at

In this RISCOS distribution the Ultima4 file has been downloaded and place in the sub-directory Ultima4.

The Ultima IV VGA upgrade has been applied to the provided files distributed here.

At the title screen, a configuration menu can be accessed by pressing'c'. Here, the screen scale, filter, volume and other settings can be modified. Note: the game must be restarted for the new settings to take effect. These settings are stored in the file UnixEnv$HOME/.xu4rc.

xu4 also accepts the following command line options:

-f- fullscreen mode
-g- german keyboard - swap y & z
-i - skip the intro, go directly into the game
-q - quiet mode - no music
-scale n - scale the original graphics by a factor of n
-filter n - use a filter on the scaled images; point, 2xBi, 2xSaI, and AdvanceMAME can be specified
-v - verbose output; prints out information useful for troubleshooting

Ultima IV Documentation

Included with Ultima 4 for DOS, as downloaded from one of the above sites, are electronic copies of the printed documentation from the original Ultima IV box. HISTORY.TXT contains the "The History of Britannia", a general introduction to the world of Ultima IV. WISDOM.TXT contains "The Book of Mystic Wisdom", which explains the system of magic and provides descriptions of the spells and reagents.

Version of these documents converted to HTML are included with the RISCOS Version.

You may also find the following map of Britannia helpful.

The world of Brittania

There is also a HTML version of the keyboard references converted from the original MS Word format document

PDF versions of these books may be available from

An image of the cloth map from the original Ultima IV box can be found at either of these sites:


See for some other interesting Ultima IV related links.

Please send me a mail at if you are interested in helping.

This original README document that this file is based upon is supplied in the games main directory.

Copyright Source code: GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE, version 2. See the COPYING file for details.

Copyright Ultima4 files (in ULTIMA4) sub-directory: Closed-source freeware.

This RISC OS port

Ported to RISCOS by Alan Buckley October 2003. This program is 32 bit compatible and requires RISCOS 3.6+. Digital Renderer module (available from may be installed in System:Modules if sound is required. The Music requires the !SDLSample directory to have been seen by the filer (available from

The !UnixHome application (available from must have been seen by the filer.

You will also need to have installed the SharedUnixLibrary 1.0.2 which is available from the Unix Porting Project ( and the GCC pages.

Part of the Unix Porting Project. Support for this program under RISC OS is only offered to subscribers. See for more information.


Version 0.7 - see the ReadME file for details

The source code provided here has had minor changes to the original to support RISC OS.