The main idea behind this project is that it should be based on a free and shared codebase, which multiple teams and projects (or even people solely interested in expanding the framework) would contribute to.
In essence, as each Ultima or Shroud of the Avatar fan project team worked on their game and the specific systems required thereby, those developments would be added to the framework, making them available to be used freely by other teams of fans on their projects.
Unity is nothing if not versatile; just look at the list of games and RPGs being crafted with this engine! The explosion of Unity-based titles across numerous platforms handily demonstrates the utility of the engine for creating almost any kind of game…including RPGs, of course. Thus, in theory, any form of Ultima-inspired (or Shroud of the Avatar-inspired) game could potentially be crafted with Unity. If Team A wants a more old-school overhead approach with a separate overland map, Unity can suit their needs. If Team B wants a fully-3D seamless world with a 3rd or 1st person view, Unity can suit their needs as well.
But most importantly, as both Team A and Team B (and other teams too) would be using the same codebase, any system developed by one team could be shared easily with the other teams and projects through the Unity package framework. If Team A creates an effective and complex NPC scheduling system, they can release it as a Unity package, and Team B can take it and use it for their project. If Team B creates a streamlined, stat-affecting Virtue system with specific tracking for gains and losses in each virtue, they can release it as a Unity package, and Team A could adapt it to the Ophidian Virtues while Team C could rework it for the New Britannian Virtues. Each team, by sharing their updated system with the core framework, bolsters the development efforts of the other teams as well.
This project would also, ideally, offer “blank slate” maps of Britannia, Serpent Isle, Novia, and possibly the other Sosarian continents for fan project teams to use. And these could exist in both overland and seamless incarnations! This would be one of the larger undertakings for the framework, but it would be well worth the effort if it went on to save future fan projects the effort of developing a beautiful 3D incarnation of their setting(s).
And like the Ultima Return Unified System for NWN2, the framework would have specific core Ultima features built in. Want a Virtue-based character creation system? There you go. NPC Schedules? Guard AI? We’ve got them! And this would apply to art as well, as teams could share Ultima– and Shroud of the Avatar-specific creatures and designs with each other. One team needs a Gazer? Well what if there was already one designed by the community? Another team needs Gargoyles, winged and wingless? Here’s a set of rigged models! Likewise, we could create tools to use specifically within Unity that all teams could share. What about an easy-to-use dialogue editor that doesn’t require any coding? This has been done before!
So essentially, each fan project’s features and tools will be added into our central framework, allowing it grow over the months and years, until it becomes the long-desired “Ultima Game Maker” that many have wished for, which in turn could enable Ultima and Shroud of the Avatar fans to build their own games and projects using pre-made systems and assets. Eliminating as much of the “grunt work” of asset and system development (and world-building) as possible leaves these teams with more time to craft meaningful stories.