Ultima Online’s influence

 Posted by (Visited 282 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: , ,
Sep 282017
 

https://i1.wp.com/www.uoguide.com/images/d/dc/Uologo.png?w=695This is the first question I’m answering from the ones I got for UO’s 20th anniversary.

I never played UO, so not knowledgeable. Maybe a routine question, but how do you think #UltimaOnline pushed the genre forward?

This is a big question.

I think we should start with a look at what the world was like in 1995, when the project was formally launched. Most people connected to the Internet via modem, and many of them were on 14.4k or 28.8k speeds. The 56K modem didn’t come out until 1998.

For comparison, my cable Internet at home gets 70.7Mbps for downloads. That’s 70,700k per second, versus 14k or 28k. The bandwidth difference is almost 2,500 times as much, if we look at the 28.8k modem. And that’s not counting speeds – ping times everywhere are quite a bit faster than they used to be. Old routers used to add 20ms just from you going through them, and getting 250ms ping time to anywhere was considered normal and if sustained, pretty good. Continue reading »

Sep 252017
 

I didn’t make it to the 20th anniversary celebrations for Ultima Online out in Virginia this past week, but luckily an attendee has posted up video of it! This segment here is the presentation by Richard “Lord British” Garriott and Starr Long on the early history of Origin and of UO.

There seem to be several more videos of the event there, linked from the original.

 Comments Off on Video of UO 20th

Ultima Online is Twenty

 Posted by (Visited 223 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:

 

GDC and Flash Backward

 Posted by (Visited 3363 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: , , ,
Mar 032016
 

Officialspeaker_400x400GDC is fast approaching! I am only doing a five minute talk this year (much like last year!). But boy, I have a big stage for it. Instead of a regular keynote, GDC is doing a Flash Backward “keynote” where a bunch of veteran devs will share the stage giving a history of the last thirty years of game making… and I’m very honored to share the stage with a bunch of amazing people.

I’ve added it to the events calendar.

My portion, needless to say, will be on MMOs… the hard part will be squeezing all that history into only five minutes.

 

Online Game Pioneers at Work

 Posted by (Visited 3897 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: , ,
Jun 042015
 

If you are interested in online game history, you probably want to check out Online Game Pioneers at Work. Morgan Ramsay managed to corner a whole bunch of people who were key figures in online game development over the last several decades, and interviewed all of us at great length. It’s a follow-up to his earlier book Gamers at Work: Stories Behind the Games People Play.

Among the people in the book:

  • Emily Greer telling the story of Kongregate
  • Victor Kislyi explaining how World of Tanks came to be
  • The entire incredible story of Richard Garriott
  • John Romero and the birth of the online FPS
  • Jason Kapalka explaining how PopCap was built
  • Ian Bogost being, well, Ian

And way more… Funcom, Supercell, CCP, King, ng:moco… with a foreword by Dr Richard Bartle.

My own chapter starts clear back with MUDs, and goes up through departing Disney, including the business saga of Metaplace. The book has an emphasis on the business side of things, more so than the design side, so it often gets into telling the nitty-gritty stories of how companies get built and manage to stay alive.

Continue reading »