Forgotten Realms: Unlimited Adventures
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MS-DOS Cover art
|Publisher(s)||Strategic Simulations, Inc.|
|Release||March 17, 1993|
|Genre(s)||Role-playing video game|
Forgotten Realms: Unlimited Adventures, also known as Unlimited Adventures, or by the acronyms FRUA or UA, is a video game originally released on March 17, 1993, by Strategic Simulations, Inc. for the IBM PC and Apple Macintosh.
Unlimited Adventures is essentially a role-playing game construction kit, and draws on the prior Gold Box engine games for its content. SSI's contract with TSR Inc. required the former to stop using the Gold Box engine, so the company released its development tools. A player could create hundreds of different monsters, triggers as part of adventure design on the computer.
The chief feature of interest in this computer role-playing game is that it contains an editor that allows the user of the game to create new adventures that anyone else who owns the game can play. The game uses a variant of TSR's Advanced Dungeons & Dragons rules in the gameplay. The engine within which adventures are played is based on the Gold Box engine that made its debut in the game Pool of Radiance, although some improvements have been made (for instance, the color depth has been increased from 4 bits to 8 bits). Despite possessing features that, today, are considered limited (such as a 320×200 pixel resolution), the versatility and ease of use offered by this engine have created a community of users who remain active to the present day.
The original game allowed the user to create dungeon modules, some editing and renaming of monsters and characters, and to import pictures and monster sprites. However, some art, such as walls, combat backdrops, and title screens, could not be changed in the unmodified game.
Those deficiencies have been overcome by a now fairly extensive library of hacks, which allow the designer to change things not changeable in the game out of the box. Other hacks allow the designer to alter the game play itself: to create new weapons and other items, to alter spells, and to change other aspects of gameplay. The availability of these hacks has led to the creation of a number of comprehensive "worldhacks", designed to allow the creation of science fiction, superhero, Western and Roman Empire adventures, among others. A program called "UASHELL" applies and manages these hacks and enables the player to apply them. The fanmade game design program Dungeon Craft (originally called UA Forever) is a standalone program that partially emulates FRUA's engine, but with a greater ease of user modification.
More than seven hundred adventure designs have been created for this game. They vary widely in quality, and the best of them are comparable in depth to the original commercial releases.
SSI sold 32,364 copies of Unlimited Adventures. Computer Gaming World in 1993 called it "the best adventure-construction kit available" despite the "sorely lacking" Gold Box engine. According to GameSpy in 2004, although "the game's graphics were poor [...] and using the tools could be a little complicated, Unlimited Adventures was an excellent tool for budding RPG designers".
- Barton, Matt (2007-02-23). "Part 2: The Golden Age (1985-1993)". The History of Computer Role-Playing Games. Gamasutra. Archived from the original on 2009-02-27. Retrieved 2009-03-26.
- Tresca, Michael J. (2010), The Evolution of Fantasy Role-Playing Games, McFarland, p. 144, ISBN 078645895X
- Maher, Jimmy (2017-03-31). "Opening the Gold Box, Part 5: All That Glitters is Not Gold". The Digital Antiquarian.
- Craft, Rudy (September 1993). "Create Your Own Fictions With SSI's Unlimited Adventures". Computer Gaming World. p. 54. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
- Rausch, Allen (2004-08-17). "A History of D&D Video Games - Part III". Game Spy. Retrieved November 17, 2012.