Community Spotlight ~ The Mad Hermit’s Shroud of the Avatar Video Guides

For this week’s Community Spotlight, I had the privilege of sitting down with The Mad Hermit.  Many of you may already know of him though his exceptional Shroud of the Avatar Home Walk-though series.

When asked what kind of NPC The Mad Hermit would be in New Britannia, his response was:

I would be hold up in a secret underground lab experimenting with magic and tesla coils attempting to create new hybrid technologies like:

  • ·         Electrically generated magic that could be used by non-magic-users
  • ·         Electrically rechargeable wands
  • ·         Magic amplification techniques using tesla coils

I would be a wealth of information but consumed by my research and understanding of how things work, so getting the information out of me might be hard. That’s the “madness” I guess.

Mark “The Mad Hermit” was also kind enough to tell me a bit about himself during our chat, and I am delighted to share it with the rest of the community in this week’s Spotlight.

My name is Mark and I am a Software Engineer, computer geek and life-long gamer. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering and in a previous life worked for Motorola in both Research and Development. I’ve programmed in just about every language known to man, depending on the job or assignment, but I enjoy scripting/automation the best and would always find myself working on “pet projects” to improve the development process of my team by creating automated solutions to reduce cycle time and minimize human error.

I became a fan of the Ultima series in 1982 when I first played Ultima II on my Atari 800. I was 13 years old at the time and already a veteran D&D player and fan of C.S. Lewis’ “Chronicles of Narnia”. The Ultima narrative of the outer-worldly youth transported to an alternate medieval universe where he becomes the hero, resonated powerfully with me.   But it was the implementation of that narrative that truly captivated me. Richard’s worlds were always deeply interactive. Every object had a purpose and a function, every action a consequence, and every problem multiple solutions, making the world tangible and “real”.

There were moon gates, reagents, spells, runes, whirlpools, magic carpets, hot air balloons, cloth maps, magical incantations, mantras, familiar friends (Iolo, Shamino, Dupre), crafting, swords and sorcery, good and evil, but most important of all, there were virtues; and an adventure that would present you with moral dilemmas that would force you to realize that no problem is truly black and white and things aren’t always as they seem; lessons that apply to both the real and virtual world.

 Richard’s unique ability to weave a deep and meaningful story into a highly immersive world is the reason why the Ultima series is my personal favorite computer game of all time and why Richard is my favorite game designer of all time (fanboy alert!). So it should come as no surprise that when I learned about Shroud of the Avatar on Kickstarter I was all in.

For Ultima fans, Richard’s return to his roots is a dream come true. I, for one, am extremely excited about SOTA and seeing what Richard can do to push the envelope and innovate using today’s technology in the genre he is the master of.

As a fan, my goal is to look for opportunities in which I can contribute and support the team and the success of SOTA. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to participate in the Shroud of the Avatar Unity Scene Jam and grateful beyond measure to have placed second in week one.

I am currently making SOTA related videos to support the community on my Youtube channel TheMadHermitGaming.

I can also be found on Google+ where I enjoy connecting with people who hold similar interests.


Thank you again for sharing a bit about yourself with the Community, The Mad Hermit!  ~ FireLotus



13 thoughts on “Community Spotlight ~ The Mad Hermit’s Shroud of the Avatar Video Guides

  1. Jurik

    Very good articel! That could be almost my story – but just 20 years later and starting with Ultima 8 – I still own the cloth map, silver coin and almost every step that I did in Pagan. And since then I was an ultimate Ultima fan.

    Than I started to look back – what was Ultima 7 … 6 … and I bought ‘em and played them AND enjoyed them alot.

    I’m happy to see how the game development progresses and looking forward to join first time SOTA world this month :)

      1. Jurik

        Yeah and I was sooo disappointed when I read that Ultima X: Odyssey development was closed. He just knows how to create realms that you WANT explore and not just stupid do Quest A, B, C … I’m just happy to see how this game grows now. Good internet, good Kickstarter, good Supporters! :)

  2. YobgodYobgod

    The moral dilemnas of Ultima have, sadly, still not been reasonably replicated in our new, modern times. Most games have at most two “moral axis” that are usually, obvious and easy to “game”. Having to choose between Valor and Justice or Compassion , however, always felt more -real-.

    Also, there was always attention paid to what today’s designers seem to consider “gratuitous interaction”, which bisn’t neccessary for the game arc itself, but makes the world so much more alive. Can you sit in chairs? Can you shove that lump of dough in the oven? Ultima has always gone out of it’s way in this regard, which in my opinion is a large part of why the world feels more like a world and less like a game.

    Well met! And good luck with your coils! (I trained as a EE)
    -B&H Dragon (remember the Usenet….)

    1. TheMadHermitTheMadHermit

      Agreed and well said Yobgod. I think we can write volumes on the merits of Ultima. I think Richard always pushed the envelope in what could be done in a computer role playing game so it’s exciting to see how he and his team will innovate this time around.

      Well met Sir. :)

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