I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling that DOS2 is one of the finest CRPGs ever created. As a huge fan of the Ultima series growing up, which also influenced Larian, it's been an absolute joy to see its DNA woven into a modern product of this quality. I've played a lot of open world sandbox RPGs over the years but few have quite scratched the itch Ultima VII did, most going for breadth and quantity of content over depth and quality, neglecting characters and storytelling for endless grind through countless samey dungeons.
So given the apparent flexibility of the engine and the creation tools Larian provides, it's impossible for me not to fantasise about what an Ultima VII remake in this engine might be like. However, I'm surprised to see that despite the seemingly powerful tools, there are not a whole lot of fan-made campaigns out there, which makes me wonder..
Is it difficult to use? Overly restrictive? Time-consuming to work with? Or is the community just not as large as that of other RPGs with a more vibrant modding scene (e.g. Skyrim)? Are there significant aspects of the game's content or systems that are hard-coded and not moddable?
Ideally, if I went ahead with this, I'd build the map using a community-made heightmap from U7 as a starting point. I'm curious how large an outdoor map can be in the Divinity Engine before you start hitting its limits or running into performance issues. While the original U7 has all areas (including dungeons and indoors) on a single map, I'm assuming Larian did large indoor areas separately for a good reason, so that's fine.
Ultima VII featured day/night cycles and NPC schedules, not a thing that features in DOS1 or 2, but I hear rumour that the engine does support it. Can anyone confirm?
Ultima VII's real-time combat system is not one of its strong points and Divinity's turn-based tactical combat is in keeping with the spirit of earlier Ultima games, so I don't mind being unfaithful there.
Ultima VII has only the most rudimentary of RPG mechanics; I would want to keep the broad structure of Divinity's attributes/skill/abilities system. My idea though is to replace Divinity's skill lanes with eight schools based around the virtues and associated classes from earlier Ultima games, namely: Mage, Bard, Fighter, Druid, Tinker, Paladin, Ranger, Shepherd. The Ultima VII magic system would be difficult to replicate entirely - it uses a spellbook (which must have the spell in it), reagents (consumed upon the use of the spell), and words of power (which comprise each spell). Instead, Spells would (as in DOS2) be purchasable as spellbooks, or craftable from runes which correspond with the associated words of power for each spell. For example, IN rune + MANI rune + YLEM rune = Create Food spellbook. Reagents would feature in some way - most faithfully, they'd be consumed on casting a given spell, but that might be annoying and grindy; alternatively, they could be used for scroll-crafting (being much cheaper and easier to find than runes) or to make potions with effects more or less analogous to the corresponding spell. Of course, having magic spells associated with particular classes is a bit of a deviation from Ultima lore, so it may be that most if not all of the classic Ultima spells would sit in (or at least require some levels in) the Mage tree.
Any thoughts, possible snags I might run into, suggestions?