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Because I feel like it, I am posting about what happens if you play an Ultima game on a computer that is much faster than those of the time it was written. Note that there are a few assumptions:
1. You are not intentionally slowing down the game. (In particular, if using DOSBox, the number of cycles should be fairly high; note that the GOG versions may have those cycles set to low numbers precisely to avoid the sort of issues mentioned in this post.)
2. You are playing the unmodified game. In particular, note that the various Upgrade mods out there typically at least attempt to fix these issues (by applying a frame limiter, for example).

Anyway:

Ultima 1 (1984 DOS version): The game is strictly turn-based and does not animate characters, so there isn't too much difference. The water animation will be very fast, and ranged attacks have much faster animation, but that's about it.

Ultima 2: The game will likely fail to load with a "Division by Zero" error. (I believe the game tries to calibrate itself to the machine's speed by determining how long it takes for a busy wait loop to finish, and doesn't expect it to run so fast that it takes 0 time according to the system clock.) If you get past this, the game is unplayably fast; you are given essentially no time to make a move before the game makes you pass your turn.

Ultima 3: The game seems to run reasonably, albeit with fast animations. The whirlpool moves in real time, and will therefore move way too fast, but that's the only gameplay issue.

Ultima 4: The moon phases change in real time, and a a result, will change really quickly, especially when using Ztats (for some reason). Otherwise, there aren't any issues other than animation speed. The balloon *might* be difficult to control, however.

Ultima 5: Animations will be fast, but the game otherwise seems to work fine. The only real-time element to the game is sailing after hoisting sails, but that doesn't feel unreasonably fast, and you technically never have to do that.

Ultima 6: Strictly turn-based, and I think the game is programmed to properly handle fast computers, anyway.

Ultima 7+ shouldn't have any issues on fast machines (other than the many bugs that are present in the game regardless of the computer they're played on).
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dtgreene: Because I feel like it, I am posting about what happens if you play an Ultima game on a computer that is much faster than those of the time it was written. Note that there are a few assumptions:
1. You are not intentionally slowing down the game. (In particular, if using DOSBox, the number of cycles should be fairly high; note that the GOG versions may have those cycles set to low numbers precisely to avoid the sort of issues mentioned in this post.)
2. You are playing the unmodified game. In particular, note that the various Upgrade mods out there typically at least attempt to fix these issues (by applying a frame limiter, for example).

Anyway:

Ultima 1 (1984 DOS version): The game is strictly turn-based and does not animate characters, so there isn't too much difference. The water animation will be very fast, and ranged attacks have much faster animation, but that's about it.

Ultima 2: The game will likely fail to load with a "Division by Zero" error. (I believe the game tries to calibrate itself to the machine's speed by determining how long it takes for a busy wait loop to finish, and doesn't expect it to run so fast that it takes 0 time according to the system clock.) If you get past this, the game is unplayably fast; you are given essentially no time to make a move before the game makes you pass your turn.

Ultima 3: The game seems to run reasonably, albeit with fast animations. The whirlpool moves in real time, and will therefore move way too fast, but that's the only gameplay issue.

Ultima 4: The moon phases change in real time, and a a result, will change really quickly, especially when using Ztats (for some reason). Otherwise, there aren't any issues other than animation speed. The balloon *might* be difficult to control, however.

Ultima 5: Animations will be fast, but the game otherwise seems to work fine. The only real-time element to the game is sailing after hoisting sails, but that doesn't feel unreasonably fast, and you technically never have to do that.

Ultima 6: Strictly turn-based, and I think the game is programmed to properly handle fast computers, anyway.

Ultima 7+ shouldn't have any issues on fast machines (other than the many bugs that are present in the game regardless of the computer they're played on).
Doesn't that description of Ultima 1 change once you get into space? I've done very little if any playing of that part of the game, but it does look so turn based. Or maybe it just looks that way from the little I've seen of it.
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suchiuomizu: Doesn't that description of Ultima 1 change once you get into space? I've done very little if any playing of that part of the game, but it does look so turn based. Or maybe it just looks that way from the little I've seen of it.
Yes, the description does change and it becomes an action game.

I remember beating the game on a computer much faster than what the game was originally designed to run on (using the Ultima Collection CD), so I think that the DOS remake (the one you can purchase from this site) has code to handle fast computers.
GOG builds comes with dosbox, where you can adjust CPU cycles.

So - I don't see much a problem here.

edit: arghhhhh ... Didn't notice number 1. Sorry.
Post edited July 01, 2016 by Edward_Carnby
Caveat with Ultima 7: The Black Gate does not have a built-in frame limiter (unless that was patched in at some point) so it will run fast and potentially unplayably so. The Serpent Isle does have a limiter and it was sufficient to handle CPUs for many years after the game released; whether it works well enough on a modern CPUs I'm not sure.
In my experience, SI works very well, while U7 needs constant fiddling with the cycle configuration. You always have to trade between slow performance and too fast animations. I set my cycles to 10000 and the next step to 20000. If I just wander through the land, 10000 is enough for me, but if I enter Lord British's castle or fly the magic carpet, I hit the button to 20000.
Why not just use Exult? It fixes the performance issues (including the hidden ones, such as party members getting hungry minutes after a meal) and brings significant improvements – smoother scrolling, possibility of mods etc.
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Charon121: Why not just use Exult? It fixes the performance issues (including the hidden ones, such as party members getting hungry minutes after a meal) and brings significant improvements – smoother scrolling, possibility of mods etc.
Exult isn't 100% faithful to the original in terms of game mechanics.

In particular, as of the last time I looked at the source code, they had HP and MP regeneration wrong.
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dtgreene: Exult isn't 100% faithful to the original in terms of game mechanics.

In particular, as of the last time I looked at the source code, they had HP and MP regeneration wrong.
It's not? Well, for me, combat in this game is more of an afterthought. Odd design choices, awkward execution, annoying respawning as soon as you scroll the screen a little. Best to get it out of the way as quickly as possible. The real strength of Ultima 8 lies in exploration, dialogue and world-building.
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dtgreene: Exult isn't 100% faithful to the original in terms of game mechanics.

In particular, as of the last time I looked at the source code, they had HP and MP regeneration wrong.
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Charon121: It's not? Well, for me, combat in this game is more of an afterthought. Odd design choices, awkward execution, annoying respawning as soon as you scroll the screen a little. Best to get it out of the way as quickly as possible. The real strength of Ultima 8 lies in exploration, dialogue and world-building.
Exult is a really great project, no doubt, but there are indeed some features that don't work properly: The lighting system is broken for example, and some schedules are missing parts (smith in minoc is the most obvious example), party movement has some changes and I think the npc reactions aren't fleshed out completely.
In Ultima 5, in addition to animation and sailing being far too fast, the winds change direction much faster than when I played many years ago. I struggle to bring myself to play Ultima 5 and another game I like called Daymare because of how fast the real-time elements are, even with DOSBox cycle settings. If I use cycle settings to make the Ultima 5 text cursor move at the same speed it does on the title screen, the rest of the game is frustratingly slow.