Game talkRandom UO anecdote #2

 Posted by (Visited 2938 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: , ,
Aug 162014
 

UOHorseI just stumbled across this old story I told somewhere, and thought I’d share more widely.

In Ultima Online, the player was a container — one you couldn’t open, but which held your equipped items, your backpack which was the container you could actually see, etc. Because of the freeform “gump”1 style containment system used in the Ultimas, you could position anything to any location in a container, which meant they were basically treated like maps, with coordinate systems in them.

Then we added mounts.

When you rode a horse, we simply put the horse inside the player, and spawned a pair of pants that looked like your horse, which you then equipped and wore.

When we first did this, however, we forgot to make the horse stop acting like a horse. Pretty soon there was a rash of server crashes because the horse inside the player was wandering around, picking up the stuff it found inside the player, rifling through the player’s backpack and eating things it thought were edible, and eventually, wandering “off the map” because the player’s internal coordinate system was pretty small, and the edges weren’t impassable.


  1. According to UoGuide, “graphical user menu pop-up.” It was the term that was used at Origin back then, long-forgotten now expect maybe among the UO emu community. Basically, any UI window of arbitrary shape floating above the game. In UO, inventory systems did not use slots but free placement on a coordinate system. 

  27 Responses to “Random UO anecdote #2”

  1. Reminds me of killing one of the main UO characters during one of the GM events. It was either Dupre or Lord British. I forget exactly how I got this exploit kill (so sorry, btw). Maybe it was a beloved fire field, explo potion, or blade spirits. The lag was certainly on my side. In any case, the fascinating part was that the character’s art was an item which could be looted and equipped. Equipping the item completely re-skinned my character with the Dupre or Lord British costume. It certainly piqued my interest in game development at an early age!

  2. Yeah, we did special outfits as full body clothes. No sense in making them out of individual pieces when only one person was going to wear them.

  3. Horse pants sound adorable. :)

    I wish someone would make a modern (non-carpal-tunnel-inducing) uo.

  4. Ha! That’s fantastic. I love the imagery of the horse trying to sneak some apples out of the player’s backpack, accidentally chewing on the fabric of space and time, and then wandering out of existence.

  5. This is easily my favorite crazy-virtual-world-physics story! Hope you recall some more :)

  6. […] Random UO anecdote #2 » Raph’s Website "When we first did this, however, we forgot to make the horse stop acting like a horse. Pretty soon there was a rash of server crashes because the horse inside the player was wandering around, picking up the stuff it found inside the player, rifling through the player’s backpack and eating things it thought were edible, and eventually, wandering “off the map” because the player’s internal coordinate system was pretty small, and the edges weren’t impassable." Games programming, folks. (tags: games programming uo raphkoster anecdote ) […]

  7. […] “Random UO anecdote #2” – Raph Koster […]

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