Ultima Online is Twenty

 Posted by (Visited 37 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: , , ,
Sep 242017
 
The early UO team, from Nov 3rd 1995's issue of the internal Origin newsletter

The early UO team, from Nov 3rd 1995’s issue of the internal Origin newsletter

Today marks the twentieth anniversary of Ultima Online‘s launch day.

Funny enough, I have no particular memories of that day.

I’ve written a fair amount about UO in the past, so I am at a bit of a loss as to what to say, other than “thank you” to the folks who hired me and let me work on it, and “thank you” to the players who played and continue to play it. It has been an honor.

I posted on Twitter and Facebook asking for questions to answer and stuff to write on. One problem is that I can’t remember what stories I have told when… about the wisps? About tillerman stories? About the books system? Sherry the Mouse? The birth of orc roleplay? About burning to death in Ultima 8? About third party tools? About trying to develop 3d terrain? About character customization, which wasn’t really a thing before UO — and the faces system that didn’t quite make it? I just don’t remember. So if you want to hear more about anything from the way early days, let me know here or on Twitter or Facebook or whatever, and I’ll see about doing replies in a fresh post.

In the meantime, these are some of the past posts on UO that I would recommend on the blog:

 

Aug 272017
 

I was asked on Twitter recently for references for my mention of “consent systems” in my talk on “What AR and VR can Learn from MMOs.” I didn’t have any handy at the time but today I had some free time so I went looking.

Textual antecedents

The basic concept can be found throughout roleplay social virtual worlds such as MUSHes. (For example: Black Ops MUSH, The Lady’s Cage MUSH, Star Wars Omens). These sorts of worlds typically do not have combat systems, and rely heavily on free-form emotes (though the commands there more often have the syntax “pose” or “emit” or the like). Like any other full roleplay environment, of course, fights and conflicts happen all the time.

This description of how it happens in practice is pretty good: Continue reading »

Aug 192017
 

I have posted up slides for the keynote talk I gave at the Foundations of Digital Games conference. It was called “Reconciling Games” and it was about fish tanks. Well, fish tanks as an example of a naturally occurring ludic system that offers up surprising lessons for game design, across many disciplines: internal game economics and systems balancing, but also narrative, community design, and more.

Among the key quotes from the talk (based on tweeted comments from attendees) are

Continue reading »

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Simple Maps improvements

 Posted by (Visited 203 times)  Misc  Tagged with:
Aug 112017
 

Map software drives me nuts, because it’s clearly designed only by engineers. I think all of these could be done with current data sets:

If current road segment is blue or yellow and next road segment is red: “Watch out, traffic is getting heavy ahead.”

If current road segment is red and next few road segments are clear: “Traffic is clearing up ahead.”

If past road segment is red, current one isn’t, but the one after is, “Don’t get your hopes up, traffic is still bad ahead.”

If current speed is significantly above average for cars in the next road segment: “Slow down, you’re about to hit traffic!” Continue reading »