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.
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:
UO’s resource system parts one, two and three. These describe how the underlying world of UO works — from the “infamous dragon example” that never came to fruition, to how it still underpins crafting and AI.
GDC 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.
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.
This is the last post on SWG for, well, a while. I am sure there are plenty of other things to say and more questions that could be answered, but… it feels like a natural stopping point. I must say, the response to these essays has astonished me. Here’s hoping you’ll all care as deeply about the next game I make…
I’ve gotten a lot of questions as to why I am writing this series of posts about Star Wars Galaxies now. Do I have something to sell?
No, I don’t have anything to sell. This past week was the fifteenth anniversary of that small SWG team first forming in Austin, refugees from Origin. We were a bit over a half dozen. It’s also ten years since the NGE, and in the last few years, we have seen a lot of changes for a lot of parties involved. I was asked some questions by a former player, and for once, it just felt like the time to answer them.
So, was it a failure?
Well yes, of course. And also, no. It depends how you ask the question. There are a lot of assumptions out there about how the game did, particularly in its original form. So, let’s start by tackling some of those: