Ultima IV: Programmer’s approach to moral philosophy

For example, the number of virtues which a player’s character has attained, as well as the number of runes and stones, were stored on a byte, which is comprised of eight bits. The virtue system, with its eight-part correspondences, derives in part from the Eightfold Path of Buddhism, but also from the eightfold structure of a basic programming unit. The order of the bits also reflects the correspondences of the virtue system, with the 0 position in two separate bytes standing for both the blue stone and the virtue of honesty that it represents. This is one instance of how Garriott made the arbitrary constraints of binary programming language into an expressive medium. Details of the programming structures underlying Ultima IV can be seen at me “technical page” of Joshua Steele’s Ultima IV site, the “Moongates Ultima IV Annex” at http://www.moongates.com/u4ITech.asp.

Quests: Design, Theory, and History in Games and Narratives
Jeff Howard