ABOUT 'UNLIMITED ADVENTURES': You need to purchase SSI's 'Unlimited Adventures' to play the modules on AOL. This program uses an engine similar to AOL's "Never Winter Nights" but the files are NOT interchangeable. Here's some ordering info and a program description from the UANL:
UA is, without a doubt, THE best game-design program on the commercial market. It creates high-quality VGA role-playing games using classic AD&D rules. Designers are able to create their own art, maps, text, and combat sequences in a complex and dynamic universe. The only limitation is your imagination and the size of your hard drive...
UA was used to create the commercial 'Gold Box' games by SSI. These include such classics as 'Dark Queen of Krynn' and 'Pools of Darkness'. However, this version of the Gold Box engine requires no programming skill or technical ability. With it, many would-be game designers, artists, and budding writers have been able to produce the games of their dreams that would not have been possible otherwise.
Even if you are not a designer, I would recommend getting UA. It is one of the most versatile RPG systems on the market: there are hundreds of games to play -- games that cost nothing! If you tire of one module or finish it, just download one of the many others available. There are modules of all sorts on AOL: traditional dungeon-crawls, epics, hack-and-slashes, and interactive novels. Like the pen and paper AD&D, this system can be enjoyed over and over again. And lately, many UA'ers have been adding to the original code (with SSI's permission, of course). We now have Sci-fi, Oriental, and gothic horror add-ons!
There is never an end to the fun with UA; the options truly are Unlimited.
TO ORDER: UA is now available on a special CD-ROM bundle! For a low price, you get UA, D&D Stronghold, Fantasy Empires, and Dungeon Hack! Other users have reported that the disk-based UA is still available in most computer stores at a ROCK-BOTTOM price.
UA is now being sold and supported by Slash Inc. You can reach them at (612) 941-4497. You can also pick up UA at your local software retailer. The number of copies of UA are limited; you may have to hunt to find one. You may also check with the mail-order software companies (who usually have a large number of any title and can get you the most obscure of disks with relative ease). Try Chips & Bits, one of the largest of the gaming mail-order companies, at 1-800-753-4263.
A BRIEF EXPLANATION OF UA COSTS:
All of the files uploaded to AOL are downloadable free of charge (that is, they don't cost anything more than your normal access fee). Some files are 'Shareware' and others are 'Freeware'. Shareware files (DOOM, PKZIP, etc.) require users to register their free copies for a fee that varies from program to program. If you are satisfied with a shareware program and wish to keep it, you are required (in most cases) to register for a slight fee. If you don't like it, you can delete the file and are under no further obligation.
UA files are 'Freeware' -- you can d/l them and play them free of charge, forever. However, the original UA program is 'Commercial', and you need to purchase it before *any* of the UA mods. can be played (see above).
LOADING UA MODULES:
The files in the UA libraries are downloadable free of charge. After the file has downloaded, sign off and unzip the files. Following is the step-by-step procedure necessary to load in a module:
1) make an appropriate subdirectory with a .DSN extension. e.g. "MD\FRUA\EXAMPLE.DSN", where EXAMPLE is the name of the mod. This subdirectory *must* be contained in your original UA directory.
2) make a save game directory: "MD\FRUA\EXAMPLE.DSN\SAVE". It must be entitled 'SAVE' to work properly. This is where all of your characters and save data will be held.
3) Unzip your file with PkunZip or QExtract and into the .DSN subdirectory.
4) Load FRUA
5) At the main menu, click on 'Choose another Adventure.' Then pick the title that you just loaded in and away you go!
LOADING UA ART:
There is a wide variety of artwork available for UA, ranging from big-pics of heroic battles to combat icons of vile monsters. All of these files can be copied into your own UA modules with a few clicks of your mouse:
1) You need to download the appropriate art files from AOL (naturally). All UA pics are in the .PCX or .LBM format; UA cannot handle .GIF's, .BMP's, etc.
2) Unzip the art package, if necessary.
3) Copy the files to your UA art directory. e.g. "COPY UAPIC.PCX C:\FRUA\ART" or "COPY *.LBM C:\FRUA\ART", where UAPIC.PCX is the file you want to import.
4) Load UA.
5) Choose the module that you want to add art to.
6) Click on 'Art Gallery'.
7) Choose the appropriate type of pic from the menu (the download description should tell you what type of art you downloaded -- combat icon, pic, bigpic, sprite, or backdrop).
8) Find a picture/icon that you don't think you'll need in your design (say you're doing an undead module. You probably won't need pics of dragons or kobolds). Your new art *will copy over the default only in your module*.
9) After choosing a slot, click on 'import'. A list of pics will come up. Again, click on the pic that you want to import.
10) If all went well, your new picture will now be in the default slot! For your sanity's sake, 'rename' the slot (using the old example, erase 'Blue Dragon' and type in 'Giant Skeleton').
11) Repeat the process as necessary. NOTE: art files in UA are stored as .TLB's, not .PCX or .LBM.
12) If you *don't* like the added art, you can remove it easily. Click on 'Unimport'; the faulty art will be deleted and the system will revert to the default pic (that is, your giant skeleton will be removed and the blue dragon will take its place).