Oct 112012

Well, we basically winged it, but it was a blast. We told stories, mostly out of order; fessed up to bad code and goofy decisions and being painfully young; and lamented the loss of that sens of crazy freedom.

Luckily, Gamasutra has you covered if you weren’t in the full house.

In the alpha, the team had wolves that chased rabbits across the map as part of its emergent gameplay system.

In those early days, the rabbits would actually level up if they got into a fight with a wolf and managed to escape.

“People would wander off in the alpha and try to kill a rabbit, and pretty soon they were playing Monty Python: The MMO,” joked Koster.

The game was tweaked to disallow this, though Koster confesses that they left one monster rabbit in the world when the final game shipped.

I wore my original UO shirt… and forgot to point it out! Doh!

Basically, during the period when we were skunkworks and ignored by the company (it was mutual, we ignored them back) we did our own marketing. So that meant we made our own t-shirts with a made-up logo. And I still have that shirt, in surprisingly good shape for being from 1996. All credit to Clay Hoffman for making it, way back when…



  8 Responses to “GDCOnline: UO Classic Game Postmortem”

  1. Imagine if the industry as a whole took the attitude of giving the players more tools to solve problems, as you guys did (carpenter story), instead of the “gives us less each year” choice they have made. Imagine where we’d be now.

    I really miss that social and worldly functionality of UO.

    Ya know, I’ve watched…
    Balder’s Gate, as masses of players complained about the linear structure of it,
    Skyrim, as masses of players loved the freedom in game play,
    and the failure of MMO’s since WoW to hold the massive numbers of sales, meaning that players do want something other than WoW but aren’t finding it.

    Then I watch games like Farmville and Minecraft do so well.

    It all reminds me of that old saying “sometimes it’s easier to go around the mountain than to dig a tunnel.” But the real journey is to the top of the mountain.

  2. I attended both your opening keynote (Theory of Fun: 10 years later), as well as your closing panel discussion on UO. Both were excellent and inspirational, thanks for taking the time to put them together. It was clear that the first one took a significant level of preparation and built up to a fairly convincing argument, and as a follow-up I’ve already built a prototype of a potential “next project” inspired by your talk. Thanks for taking the time to give something back to the developer community.

  3. The MMO industry is taking baby steps towards giving more tools to content creators. I spent some time this weekend trying to gear up for the launch of SOE’s Player Studio, which will allow players to submit objects for inclusion in EQ, EQII, and Free Realms. And Linden Lab is working on some sort of multiplayer collaborative storytelling game. I could wish for a little more boldness and leadership on this front… then again, I could wish for a billion dollars to capitalize my own personal MMO project with the same result.

  4. Yes, I must say that sitting in John Smedley’s keynote felt like a little bit of deja vu. 😉 It IS cool to see SOE as a leader now in doing emergent play, systemic design, user-created content, all that.

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