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Lord British Talks About EA, UO,& The Future

Hemos posted more than 13 years ago | from the i-love-britishing! dept.

Games 123

Warrior-GS writes: "Richard Garriott (aka Lord British), the creator of the Ultima universe and Origin Systems, is not longer under NDA after his departure from Origin and Electronic Arts. He gave his first interview about what he thought were problems at EA, where the Ultima series was going and what his future holds, especially now that many of his old co-workers are no longer employed, thanks to recent EA layoffs. You can find the interview at GameSpyDaily."

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Re:Typical EA. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#301297)

Game companies have a long history of going under while trying to complete "creative" projects that don't sell. (Witness Orgin and the lame selling Ultima 7 and 8.)

EA has been in business since the beginning and has no sign of going under. That involves shoveling out crap that sells. Solution: People need to stop buying crap and start buying your valored "creative projects".

Quick virginity test: How many hours do you Ultima (3)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#301298)

Online a week?

  • 5: You'll lose your virginity at 20.
  • 30: You'll lose your virginity at 25.
  • 80: You'll lose your virginity at 30.
  • 120: Have you consider the priesthood?
  • What's Ultima Online? Aint pussy great!

An interesting interview. (4)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#301299)

Honestly, I didn't expect RG to say too much. I think too many people wanted him to get down on his hands and knees and beg forgiveness for the disaster of Ultima: Ascension...well, it's not going to happen.

What is painfully clear, beyond EA's continual negative influence, is that Richard Garriott was sick of his own creation. The pinnacle Ultimas (U VII and Serpent Isle) were headed by Warren Spector (Deus Ex and so much more) and a team of really creative folks...RG only had peripheral involvement. Ultima: Ascension, even given all the problems EA threw in it's way, is still a testiment to RG's apathy towards his own creation.

RG says he didn't want to keep doing Ultimas; what most people don't know is that he DID commit himself (to the fans) to one last Ultima, Ultima IX...included with the Ultima VIII megapatch was a little file called FANS.TXT, in which Richard Garriott essentially apologized for the terrible mess that U8 was, and promised one last "great" ultima. He said that Ultima 9 would return to it's roots and be an epic game the bards would sing about for eons. THIS is why the fans are angry with him...he broke his promise.

All this is in the past, however....Origin is dead, Ultima is dead and it's time to forge onwards. One thing is very clear though: Richard Garriott will have to prove himself once more. The longtime fans aren't just going to jump onboard whatever new project he's working on... it's clean slate time, and time will tell if RG is truly Lord British, or just another John Romero.

--Radagast, sometimes historian of Britannia

Ultima V shipped unfinished? (1)

DG (989) | more than 13 years ago | (#301300)

Could you provide more detail?

Just curious to know the whole story.

Re:Loving your work and living in it. (2)

Sabalon (1684) | more than 13 years ago | (#301301)

and music prefrences that follow you around.

My old neighboors used to have something like this. They cranked the volume and anywhere withing three houses away they could always hear their music.

Heh... departure (1)

Omnibus (1831) | more than 13 years ago | (#301302)

He was canned, he did not just get up and "depart". I wonder if he was escorted out by security =)

asinus sum et eo superbio

Re:Good poll question: Best Ultima Ever? (1)

Luyseyal (3154) | more than 13 years ago | (#301304)

Ultima VII was my favorite.
. the plot[s] were cool, and you didn't have to complete them all to win.
. the graphics were nice for the time and the interface was relatively intuitive
. it worked, albeit slowly, on my 386/20
. the pharlap hack isn't too nice, but the exile project for U7 for x86 unices seems to have gotten around that problem (which is more of a DOSEMU issue)
. the guardian was a big dumb-ass, but he was the least annoying in U7.
. the modpacks were cool
. can anyone forget Hoe of Destruction?!!
. if you lost your magic carpet, for example, you could use the commandline hack to get it back. i wouldn't want to beat the game this way, but it's nice if you screw up pretty badly.

-l

Re:Standard EA Policy? (2)

chrish (4714) | more than 13 years ago | (#301305)

Thief was done by Looking Glass, and published by Eidos.

Daikantana was done by ION Storm, and published by Eidos.

id's stuff is published by Activision now.

Basically, all the large publishers seem to suck (ie, anything for the allmighty dollar buy hey, their shareholders love it and that's the point of running a business, as far as large businesses are concerned).

Ultima 9:Ascention is an amazing game (3)

dgp (11045) | more than 13 years ago | (#301306)

Ultima 9 is the most misrepresented game in history. It is also the most entertaining game I have ever played. The Ultima 9 world is the most immersive, the most free-form, and the most beautiful game world I have ever played.

The initial poor reception of U9 got the game thrown out of the gaming community's consciousness. How many games have been in development for years just to end up as PC Gamer's flavor of the month one month and forgotten about the next month. If you love a beautiful RPG with a real story, then give U9 a try.

Who is making today's adveture games and story-based RPGs that aspire to be more than a "Quake plus inventory"? I am excited that RG is going back to doing what keeps school students away from their homework - making original games!

Don

Re:Standard EA Policy? (2)

Mindwarp (15738) | more than 13 years ago | (#301307)

Mind you, it's still possible to have quality and originality come out of an EA. SSX is a hell of a lot of fun, for instance. But it's more evolution than revolution. The truly original stuff always comes from a Bullfrog or an Origin...

Bullfrog [bullfrog.co.uk] is owned by Electronic Arts, and indeed has been for some years now. Peter Molyneux (the original creative mind behind Bullfrog) became completely disenchanted with the E.A. way of running his company after the sale, and decided to go it alone with a new company called Lionhead [lionhead.co.uk] games. They've just released their first game, Black & White [blackandwhite.com] , which is currently receiving some truly amazing reviews from the computer games press.

--

Re:Good poll question: Best Ultima Ever? (1)

G-Force (18184) | more than 13 years ago | (#301308)

Personally, I thought 'Heroes Quest' II was great, and Enjoyed I. I did play III (Was it in 3 that they were forced to change to Quest for Glory?') But of course I loved all of the old Sierra games. (Remember Sierra-on-Line?) Multiplayer Red Baron was great. I wasted much time there.

Re:Loving your work and living in it. (4)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 13 years ago | (#301309)

> You don't see Bill Gates house built like a circut board with PCI boards for walls.

No, just broken windows everywhere he turns.

--

facts and rebbuttal (2)

bliss (21836) | more than 13 years ago | (#301310)

"Why do so many young people feel the need to stay glued to their screens playing mindless drivel games like 'Ultima online', 'Baldur's Gate', 'Tekken Tag' and 'Kamakazi F-zero US destroyer' ? "

Maybe doing work all the time stinks. Most of the really interesting stuff in CS is kept difficult to understand or code and never makes it's way out of technical journals.

" I would not mind if it were just stupid redneck Americans playing these games, but even educated nations such as Great Britain and Japan now seem to be obsessed with these semi-pornographic games."

Not every American is a red neck and quite frankly I find it hard to believe that people in Europe don't have people of that class.

"All this simulated violence day in, day out cannot help but influence children and young adults into becoming Columbine-style misfits. I don't want my country to be populated by moronic juvenile adults whose idea of fun is dismembering a computer-generated image of another human being."

Oh sure the European who thinks nothing of the most intellectual persuits? Come on Europe is usually at the forefront of controversial philosphical and intellectual forces that are usually not all that good for mankind (ie. Communism, Faciasm, Dadaism, etc).

"It would be nice if slashdot would for once post an article that was critical of violence in video games."

Maybe because not many people believe it really has any statistical correlation and that most of the violence is maybe statistaical outliers and not worthy of consideration in a scientific manner? Oh that kind of information.

"Anyway, don't think I am some religious nutball. I last went to church over 2 weeks ago, I just feel I have to add my voice to the growing millions who feel video games have gone too far."

As a European you have a greater propensity to know about your own ancient histroy. So you missed church one week to watch a cricket match and drink beer. Do I really care?

There has been much more problems with so called "Christian" values and the world. Take a look at the Byzantine empire. Basically they used all the tactics of Snidly Wiplash and angered a great many people to get what they want. Basically they bribed their way to survive. The end was also ghastly.

Point being religion is not a good basis for a rational person to base his life on.

"The graphic portrayal of gory slaughter of innocent men, women, children and animals in these so-called games is a sick indictment of America, and in my opinion only a culture as bankrupt as the USA's could have spawned such unspeakable filth."

Oh come on this isn't some game like "Home Invasion 3d" or some such. The people who get killed are usually very deserving of getting killed. Quake has a very easy to villify group called the Strogg who committed a massive group of hostile actions culminating in the invasion of earth and it's territories and killed millions. Then they killed the invasion force sent to eliminate them. They fight at every turn and then decide to torture/execute the downed pilots. What more of a rational justification do you need for killing them? Of course the European thing would be to have tea and crumpets with them and do a little psychoanalysis but that dosn't fly in most logical circles.

"I think its about time Britain banned all American video games, until the producers demonstrate a little social responsibility. Only then will their hands be free of the blood of the children."

Again no statistical correlation to anything at all. People will be more likely to shoot others if they have been mercissely bullied than if they play a round of Quake.

Re:Another of gamings greats tossed to the side (1)

Moofie (22272) | more than 13 years ago | (#301311)

Eidos? "Nicer"? Surely you must be joking. I guess you must be unaware of the deep dickin' Eidos gave Looking Glass. Eidos courted Looking Glass, promising them that oodles of money were just around the corner. LG ships Thief II to resounding critical and decent commercial success, but doesn't quite have the money to keep the doors open so they can get the deal cut with Eidos. So, they go bankrupt, and Eidos picks up the valuable Thief property at fire sale prices.

I'm sure that if I looked, I could find similar stories for Activision and Interplay. There is no such thing as a "nice" publishing company, in ANY medium.

Re:Games are a waste of valuable time for the youn (2)

Moofie (22272) | more than 13 years ago | (#301312)

Nope. Your country has moronic juvenile adults that crush people to death at football matches. Let's don't even go into that whole Northern Ireland thing.

I'll take the skinny geeks that play Quake over 250+ pound football (soccer) hooligans any day of the week.

If you think video games have gone too far, don't buy them. If you can't tell the difference between what is real and what is not, don't expect those of us who are well-adjusted to pander to your offended sensibilities.

Re:Who *really* gave that interview? (1)

dvicci (22294) | more than 13 years ago | (#301313)

From the Village Voice article: "It is a huge advance over well-known RPG titles like Doom, in which single users play against the computer." "RPG titles like Doom". Huh. I didn't realize Doom was an RPG. Here I was, playing a tried and true RPG, when I thought it was just a shooter!

Re:More excuses from Garriott (2)

WNight (23683) | more than 13 years ago | (#301314)

I agree wrt U5, it's one of the most finished games I've played.

I think it's my favorite of the Ultimas, the 3d ones (imho) were lousy. U5 had a nicer interface than 4, where you could target a monster in combat and hit it even if you or it moved, or if it wasn't in one of the four cardinal directions. Very nice stuff. U4 was also a bit heavy on the virtues, very (very!) hard to keep in control. (Accidentally talk to a beggar? Gotta give him something, or you'll lose virtue.)

I can't really disagree with the original poster re: later Ultimas. U7 or 8 (the last one I played in mid 94 or so) was so buggy it would barely install, let alone play. It also had interface issues (too much mousing required, lame pack-style inventory, etc) but those might have been okay if the game was stable enough to play.

I played U1 (a tiny bit), U3 (quite a ways), and U4 and U5 to the finish. I don't know where the interface in the later games was introduced.

I really think there's no excuse for releasing a game as buggy as the later games. I don't care how broke you are, provide the product described on the box or don't provide anything. I work in a phone company and we provide a system with guarantees, it can't drop every 20th call just because we can't afford to find the bugs.

I never tried later ultimas because I'm really a fan of the non-realtime, SSI or OSI late 80s games, where there's no emphasis on clicking on the monster, or anything. As such, most of the later stuff is a bit accademic.

But, U5, now there was a game. Wow!

I almost flunked grade 8 because of it. And I wasted tons of graph paper.

Hey, maybe you'll find this funny... U4 was the first game I really tinkered with. I was fiddling with Copy2+ one day in the sector editor, and I was scrolling down a sector. It seemed odd, but a pattern of bytes caught my eye. Turns out that it was the shape of one of the little islands (off to the far east, Moonglow, was it?). I figured out roughly where I was and with a bunch of searching (later I learned how this related to sextant coordinates (in U4 or 5, don't remember)) I found the bay outside of British's castle...

That was cool, it let me make a perfect map of any area. But, even better, it let me edit the map. (I backed up the disks first.) I put roads of grassland between all the cities, especially the annoying ones (north-west, surrounded by forests). Then, while experimenting with what values equated to what landscape, I noticed more things, towns, castle segments, horses, and ships (and more).

I was trying to determind which of these tiles could be walked across (building bridges to the islands) and I walked on the horse... I hit 'B'oard and lo and behold, I was on the horse... I walked off the tile and was still on the horse, but it was also still there.

So then I went around, putting a horse outside of every city and a ship next to the closest water.

Insta-transport.

I noticed, when trying to collect huge numbers of ships, that a whirlpool would start to swallow them when I got 12 or more on screen at once.

Tons of other cool stories, but basically, U4 and U5 are the games that got me interested in how they're done, instead of just playing them.

Ultima 7 (1)

nuts (26500) | more than 13 years ago | (#301315)

i once played Ultima 7 for about 2 months or so.
i really loved that game and its complexity and
your freedom during the quests...i guess i was close to complete the game!

then, one day my party had a terrible fight in one
of the big forrests. we survived!

but some time afterwards i realised that one of
my heroes had lost the bag with all the keys i had
collected. somewhere in the forrest. with no way
to get them back...no chance to find em...(i tried for a few hours).

i never played ultima again. :)

---

Re:Loving your work and living in it. (3)

Xmarksta (30211) | more than 13 years ago | (#301316)

Don't you think thats a little extreme?

Nah, it's not as extreme as it sounds...if you look real close at all the secret doors there's a little dot in the middle of them.

Re:Loving your work and living in it. (2)

nexthec (31732) | more than 13 years ago | (#301317)

God forbid that he enjoy what he does for work so much that, he plays with similar stuff at home!

BTW the Gates house has somethingn like 200 servers doing changing art gallerys and personal temperature and music prefrences that follow you around.

sounds pretty fucking similar to me

Re:Loving your work and living in it. (2)

Restil (31903) | more than 13 years ago | (#301318)

And a true Ultima fan will understand the significance of this.

:)

Re:More excuses from Garriott (2)

Hadean (32319) | more than 13 years ago | (#301319)

Don't you find it at all concidental that when EA did finally step in, the Ultima games became the worst they have ever been? Once they step in, we get the 'abortion' Ultima 8 and totally disgusting Ultmia 9 (which I'm sadly currently playing, just so I can finally say I beat them all, ugh).

I've never had any major problems with any of the older Ultimas. Sure, there was stuff like the 'lose keys' bug in Ultima 9, but considering the scope of the game, that's understandable - but there has been nothing even close to as nasty as what I'm up against in U9...

Why do you blame RG for bankrupting Origin? Many/most people consider U7 to be the best Ultima, so obviously he didn't do that much wrong - if it's sales, then how is it RG's fault? Was he supposed to consult the gypsy or something before letting it out the door? And do you have proof that it's RG that decided to make U8 the way it was and not some marketing droid? And you complain that U6 shipped buggy - uh, what game doesn't? Sure, it's a damn shame we have to put up with it, by why blame RG? Even your venerable Spector ships buggy games... (not that he didn't do work on U6 and U7-p2 anyhow, both buggy). My god, actually, every game he made has bugs, wow! Thief crashed on me quite a bit...

Anyhoo, you don't seem to have much proof anywhere that RG "drove Origin into the ground"... (and you seem very upset with him for some reason, attacking him personally by calling him unvirtuous... what did he ever do to you?)

Loving your work and living in it. (2)

GoofyBoy (44399) | more than 13 years ago | (#301321)

Everything was in a medieval tone, and the place was filled with hidden passages and secret doors. This guy wasn't just in it for the money, he truely loved his work...

Don't you think thats a little extreme?

You don't see Bill Gates house built like a circut board with PCI boards for walls.

Re:Standard EA Policy? (1)

Monte (48723) | more than 13 years ago | (#301322)

Heh... if that were true, we wouldn't have Barbie on the top of the charts. And Deer Hunter. And Millionaire. And...

...and it's obvious that the average computer user's taste in games is different than that of the average Slashdotter's. That shouldn't be a major revelation to anyone.

Everything went onto the pyre of UO, and everything else went to the back burner.

I didn't play UO (at least not for more than ten minutes), but I seem to recall that soon after it went on line there were massive complaints about the servers not staying up, bugs in the software - wasn't there a class action lawsuit brewing? In light of that, maybe Origin had to dedicate all their resources to getting their premier product to Stop Sucking. Maybe that, in the long term, was the right decision.

But then again maybe I'm thinking of some other online game....

Quote from the article (4)

Monte (48723) | more than 13 years ago | (#301323)

We did not have the management bandwidth to grow intelligently.

"Management Bandwidth" - now there's a concept! Why do I keep thinking I got stuck with 1200 baud?

1 bytes in body? (1)

rommi (61644) | more than 13 years ago | (#301324)

Is that a joke?

Standard EA Policy? (3)

Ted V (67691) | more than 13 years ago | (#301325)

Has anyone noticed this problem with EA Games? A small, successful company comes up with a really well designed game (Ultima IV, Ultima Underworld, Thief, etc). EA buys the company and starts wrenching the life (money) from the franchise. A few years later the company gets funding cut by EA.

To me this is yet more evidence that makes me believe EA knows very little about how to run businesses. They exude the mentality that "Lots of Hype for a well known Franchise makes oodles of money." Witness Daikatana... The fact is that only fun games can make serious money.

Would you kill a cow for $100 in meat today, or milk it for $1000 in the coming year? EA's Business practices are not geared towards the long term health *or* profitability of the Computer Game market!

One more reason to buy id software [idsoftware.com] games. They're not owned by EA-- it's just a bunch of guys who like making extremely vicersal games.

-Ted

Who *really* gave that interview? (5)

smirkleton (69652) | more than 13 years ago | (#301326)

We all know Lord British was assassinated [villagevoice.com] in 1997, at the hands of a lowly thief named Rainz, while attempting to give a speech to the denizens of the Ultima Online beta. What are you saying, he didn't really die? I SAW IT HAPPEN.

This low-level thief filched a firewall spell from a random knight, cast it, and suddenly, a wall of flame appeared out of nowhere before the real Lord British.

Then, with the hardened arrogance that several years of omnipotence might visit upon any of us , Lord British cried out, "Ah ha ha! You can't kill me!" as he wandered into the flames. Where he died instantly.

I barely escaped with my own life, since Lord Blackthorn, British's right-hand-man, completely panicked and summoned four daemons from the bowels of hell [azstarnet.com] to unleash demonic slaughter on the mass of innocent bystanders. What an atrocity! Now we see the violence inherent in the system!

So who really gave that interview? Because Lord British is a dead man. Miss him. Miss him.

Re:Loving your work and living in it. (2)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 13 years ago | (#301327)

Given Windows's propensity to spontainously combust, I can understand WHY Mr. Gates wouldn't wish to build his house around a similar theme.

What kinda site is this (1)

Kanasta (70274) | more than 13 years ago | (#301328)

The link comes back as document contains no data.
The main page crashes NS if you have JS turned on.
After turning it off, half the links from their main page also come back as document contains no data.
The rest of them feature black text on black background (probably as a result of not having JS turned on)

Does anybody have a mirror of the article or someting?


---

Re:Another of gamings greats tossed to the side (1)

argel (83930) | more than 13 years ago | (#301329)

It's sad, just as Thief was tossed aside like an old toy . . . .

When Looking Glass Studios went under I assumed I'd be boycotting any Thief 3 to come along. I mean, who would even have a prayer of creating a game that was even half as good as the first two Thief projects!?! But then Eidos threw a curve ball by handing Thief 3 to ION Storm Austin -- Warren Spector's team! Who promptly hired on several of the former Thief team members. Sorry, but I do not think Thief has just beed tossed aside like a Toy.

The Spirit of Ultima Lives On (3)

CaptainCarrot (84625) | more than 13 years ago | (#301330)

After reading a number of posts bemoaning the end of the Ultima games and the declining quality of the games later in the series, I thought I should point out that Ultima-style RPGs are alive and well. Spiderweb Software [spiderwebsoftware.com] started out in 1994 with Exile [spiderwebsoftware.com] , a massive retro-RPG in the style of Ultima IV. This was followed by two sequels, Exile II: Crystal Souls [spiderwebsoftware.com] and Exile III: Ruined World [spiderwebsoftware.com] , both of which implemented minor enhancements but were still basically in the same style. Blades of Exile [spiderwebsoftware.com] was an expandable version of the game engine. It shipped with three sample scenarios and the Scenario Editor which allowed users to create their own. The best of them can be downloaded [spiderwebsoftware.com] from Spiderweb's website.

The company shifted to a new engine that offered a pseudo-3D orthogonal projection with Nethergate [spiderwebsoftware.com] . Nethergate was also innovative in that it allowed the player to roleplay either side of the conflict. Now they're working on re-releasing the Exile games using the new engine and under new titles. Avernum [avernum.com] and the recently released Avernum 2 [avernum.com] do not disappoint.

Although I have linked to the Windows versions of the games [spiderwebsoftware.com] , Spiderweb actually develops and releases for the Mac first, and later ports its games to Windows. They also distribute a number of games that they do not produe, but IMO they're nowhere near as good.

All Spiderweb games are shareware, and you can play a fairly substantial portion of the game before having to pay. So if you miss Ultima, give them a try!

What happened to UO2 (1)

bink (87998) | more than 13 years ago | (#301331)

The article makes a reference to UO2 dying, I don't follow game news that closely, can anyone explain what happened (or provide a link?).

Thanks.

Re:Good poll question: Best Ultima Ever? (1)

BobGregg (89162) | more than 13 years ago | (#301332)

>(BTW, the answer is obviously "Ultima IV")

Actually, the answer is "Ultima Underworld", though Origin would never admit it. :-)

And there are good arguments to be made for several of the others in the cardinal series as well. Ultima 7 was probably the most in-depth "world" they ever did. Serpent Isle is probably the longest and most intense CRPG in the series, though riddled with too many bugs to make it very playable. Ultima 5 also gets votes for its plot and the level of interactivity with the game world, which was pretty darn nice way back in 1987. But Underworld gets my vote for being most revolutionary and influential - unless you want to argue about the original Ultima title itself or something.

Re:Standard EA Policy? (1)

BobGregg (89162) | more than 13 years ago | (#301333)

>I didn't play Uo (at least not for more than ten minutes), but I seem to recall that
>soon after it went on line there were massive complaints about the servers not
>staying up, bugs in the software - [snip]

Actually Origin's problems with UO started long before the game was released. Originally UO (which "alpha" tested in April of '96) was supposed to be released by October of that year. I actually spoke with the project lead at a convention during that time, and they were sure they would make that schedule. In actuality, it took another year-and-more to get even the buggiest first product out the door. In the meantime, they had to drop support and development resources from practically everything else - and notably from Ultima 9 - as a result of the development fiasco that UO became. And of course after UO was released, the situation just seemed to spiral out of control. But that was what I meant by saying that UO was at the root of their problems: long before UO was actually released, the standalone Ultima series was already doomed.

>Maybe that, in the long term, was the right decision.

Maybe - if by "right decision" you mean the death of their premiere product line. Make no mistake, they've made a buttload of money off of UO - probably more than they ever would have made from any number of titles in the standalone series. On the other hand, the company is now effectively *dead* outside of that one product, and their entire fan base of 20+ years was alienated and moved on. "Right decision"? *shrug* You make the call. I certainly have my opinion.

Re:Standard EA Policy? (2)

BobGregg (89162) | more than 13 years ago | (#301334)

> The fact is that only fun games can make serious money.

Heh... if that were true, we wouldn't have Barbie on the top of the charts. And Deer Hunter. And Millionaire. And...

Unfortunately it's getting harder and harder to have shelf space unless you belong to an EA. 'Net distribution still isn't big enough of a factor to offset that; look at what happened with FireTeam (I'd include a link, but developer Multitude [multitude.com] has shut down).

Mind you, it's still possible to have quality and originality come out of an EA. SSX is a hell of a lot of fun, for instance. But it's more evolution than revolution. The truly original stuff always comes from a Bullfrog or an Origin, who have the guts to take a chance to begin with. And once they're 0wn3d, the ability and/or incentive for that goes away.

As far as the fate of Origin goes, they're as much to blame for what happened as EA. One thing sealed the fate of Origin, and that was UO. Everything went onto the pyre of UO, and everything else went to the back burner. Had U9 actually been ready by late '96/early '97 like it was supposed to, things would have worked out very differently for them, one would suppose.

Big, Bad EA? (2)

doodaddy (92272) | more than 13 years ago | (#301335)

A few years ago, right when Origin was selling to EA, I visited a game company created by ex-Origin staff who were running away. Their claim was that Origin was beefing up the staff with random people to bolster the sale price to EA!

So is EA really the culprit? Some people who owned Origin (hint, hint) got lots of extra money this way.

According to "Lord British," they didn't have the management bandwidth to pull it off. Who's fault is that and why did they do it?

It would be interesting to know how long "Lord British" had to stay after being bought out. Did the time just so happen to expire recently? (-: Maybe he's taking a page from Peter Molyneux, who sold Bullfrog to EA for outrageous fortunes, waited for his three years (?) to pass, then scrammed.

Re:An interesting interview. (1)

Wolfier (94144) | more than 13 years ago | (#301336)

Even if he fails his next one, it still won't make him "just another John Romero". Now THIS is just too insulting. At least he *invented* the whole CRPG genre.

Re:Good poll question: Best Ultima Ever? (2)

Wolfier (94144) | more than 13 years ago | (#301337)

Ultima V on Apple II with sound card.

Very immersive world with even more immersive music. I still can hum all of them after all these years. Gotta be it.

Re:Remember Sierra (1)

kincade (94521) | more than 13 years ago | (#301338)

The ImagiNation Network (INN) was actually The Sierra Network (TSN) before ATT got ahold of it. I was very sad to see it go as the sentimental value was high for me and my wife -- we met in Larry Land.

In those days, the blood bank was your friend!

Finances... (1)

DrCode (95839) | more than 13 years ago | (#301339)

I don't think Ultima7 had anything to do with Origin's financial problems. They were more likely due to the huge expenses incurred developing Wing Commander 3 & 4, as actors like Mark Hamill don't work cheaply.

Re:Ultima 9:Ascension is an amazing game (1)

DrCode (95839) | more than 13 years ago | (#301340)

Thanks. It's nice to know that I'm not the only Ultima fan who liked the game. Sure, it had its faults, and didn't have the complex character development of Ultima7. But I liked the plot (which was more like an adventure game than an RPG), the dungeon puzzles, and even the ending. And technically, the 3D engine was truly amazing.

One other thing: Many people complained about the game's bugginess. But for me, it was quite solid, with only a handful of crashes, and those to the desktop.

Re:Ultima 9:Ascension is an amazing game (1)

DrCode (95839) | more than 13 years ago | (#301341)

You probably didn't have a Voodoo card. Ultima9 was in development for such a long time, that it was originally designed for the proprietary Glide (3dfx) library. The DirectX version was added later, and doesn't seem to have been particularly well-done. My system was a modest K6/333 with 64Mb and a Voodoo3/2000, and U9 performance was generally okay.

I played Gabriel Knight 3 on this same system, and had far more crashes, and about the same performance, for a game that didn't look 1/4 as good.

Re:More excuses from Garriott (2)

DrCode (95839) | more than 13 years ago | (#301342)

Making Ultimas is hard. Try it sometime.

No kidding! Just reverse-engineering one is a big task!

I'll second that. (2)

DrCode (95839) | more than 13 years ago | (#301343)

Yes, the Underworld's, especially the first, were excellent! I generally don't even like 1st-person games, but I found the creepy atmosphere of UW1 enthralling.

Ultima7 was the first CRPG I ever played; and starting out, I didn't even know what it was. My previous game-playing experience was with Sierra's adventures, so I thought that Ultima7 was just another mystery adventure, with Trinsic as the 'universe'. It was quite a shock when I found that Trinsic was only a tiny part of Ultima's world!

Re:facts and rebbuttal (1)

jdcook (96434) | more than 13 years ago | (#301344)

"I would not mind if it were just stupid redneck Americans playing these games, but even educated nations such as Great Britain and Japan now seem to be obsessed with these semi-pornographic games."

Perhaps he can work on the port of Martin Prince's (of "The Simpsons") favorite, "My Dinner With Andre: The Video Game"

Re:Good poll question: Best Ultima Ever? (1)

Cire (96846) | more than 13 years ago | (#301345)

Yeah, the hoe of destruction was awesome! I think you had to go find a key from inside a dead fish near a lake to open a shed to get the Hoe.
But it was a badass weapon!

Also the spaceship from Wing Commander in a farmers yard was cool too.

Ultima was just plain fun. U7 had pictures of all of the team members hidden in the game as well.

Re:Disappointed (1)

FortranDragon (98478) | more than 13 years ago | (#301346)

Considering who the interviewer is, the poorly done interview isn't surprising. Tina Haumersen has been one of Garriott's sycophants for years. She has gone so far as to name one of her kids after a character from the Ultima games.

Then again, she's used his misfortunes for her on ends. When RG was fired from/left Origin she couldn't wait to post that information on her little website in order to drive hits to it. Her scoop was more important that any respect for the man and what obviously had to be a painful time for him.

When the Dallas Observer story broke about the antics at Ion Storm, this same person tossed John Romero the same softballs. Her opinion was that if you knew the creators of a game it would tell you if the game would be good or not!

Re:More excuses from Garriott (1)

FortranDragon (98478) | more than 13 years ago | (#301347)

Really? What a fascinating assertion. I don't recall many complaints along these lines from U5's players, and (having been the lead programmer on the project) I seem to be missing the usual feelings of resentment and anguish that accompany the forced shipment of an unfinished game. Can you refresh my memory here?

I was basing on the reviews of U5 when it was released, such as Scorpia's review in CGW that commented on the unfinished areas in the game. I also remember Ultima V was rather late from its originally announced ship date. If I am misremembering both those facts than I apologize.

I believe Richard has expressed his regrets and taken responsibility for U8's problems on more than one occasion. Certainly the design direction in U9 (bugs notwithstanding) took U8's criticism to heart.

Which design direction? I can come up with at least three different designs U9 went through: the one that Mike McShaffry said gave him the chills it was so good, the Del Castillo one, and the one we finally got in the released version.

Not to apologize for U8 -- I wasn't involved in it, and never got around to playing it -- but you're being a little dramatic with your Monday-morning quarterbacking. From Richard's point of view, it was scary as hell to watch his dev budgets climb supergeometrically with each successive title, while sales figures remained pretty much where they peaked in U3. By the time Origin started work on U8, it was clear that drastic changes were required to keep the series financially viable.

I believe RG has said a number of times that each Ultima has sold more copies than the prior Ultima. If the sales of the series has remained essentially flat since U3, then I really have problems with his _management_ abilities (but not his creative abilities). Being able to hit a deadline is a part of what you are paid for as a manager.

My understanding is that U8 actually sold pretty well, but few of the old-school people, including Richard himself, were ever happy with the final product.

My understanding from what Mike McShaffry said in the infamous CGW interview, U8 was exactly what they set out to create.

I believe Richard has expressed his regrets and taken responsibility for U8's problems on more than one occasion. Certainly the design direction in U9 (bugs notwithstanding) took U8's criticism to heart.

RG has consistently blamed EA as the cause of U8's failures. If he is to get the credit for the games, should he not bear the burden of the mistakes?

Making Ultimas is hard. Try it sometime.

Heh. That's an easy cheap shot to make. You and I both know that EA won't every let Ultima out of their hands. Though if you could I would be happy to see you give it a shot.

And this might just shock you, but I honestly think you can't have an Ultima without RG's input. It is just that I can see he can be a disaster as a manager. Then again, I now from first hand experience as a programmer for almost two decades that seldom do you find a decent manager and a decent programmer/creative person in the same body. Each job function requires a set of skills that require time and experience to develop and have little overlap.

Re:More excuses from Garriott (1)

FortranDragon (98478) | more than 13 years ago | (#301348)

Don't you find it at all concidental that when EA did finally step in, the Ultima games became the worst they have ever been?


No, but not for the same reasons you believe. I think having EA's deeper pockets allowed RG to try dumb things. He could try the action/RPG U8, whereas before he had to appeal to his core market. He could take 5 years to create U9, whereas before he had more pressures to ship and to ship a polished game.


Why do you blame RG for bankrupting Origin?


Is it all his fault? No. Is it all EA's fault? No. I do think, as the person in control of Origin, he bears the greatest share of the responsibility for what happened to Origin. Again, what appalls me is the fact RG never mentions his own mistakes, but instead prefers to leave you with the impression that all of Origin's woes were the result of Big Bad EA. That answer is a little too pat for me.


Anyhoo, you don't seem to have much proof anywhere that RG "drove Origin into the ground"..


Ultima VI was shipped to meet payroll. Origin was in such financial straits that the company was sold to EA. If neither of those are driving a company into the ground, then we aren't speaking the same language.

Re:More excuses from Garriott (1)

FortranDragon (98478) | more than 13 years ago | (#301349)

You're probably thinking of the Underworld portion of the game. It consisted of a map the same size as the main Britannian world, but which was (as you'd expect of a newly-revealed subsurface continent) only sparsely populated with cool stuff. Some of our more vocal players and reviewers, including Scorpia, evidently felt that their $49.95 entitled them to a certain amount of entertainment value per square foot of real estate. The Underworld was never intended to look like some kind of underground Disneyland (or whatever these people were expecting), so it was a disappointment to some. But it most assuredly was complete as shipped. :-)

Then my apologies are tendered. :-)

I dug out my CGW (#47, May 1988) that included the Scorpia review. In her review she gave an example of a pair of secret doors in Skara Brae that lead to nowhere. She went on to point out other areas and say, "It gives Ultima V a certain unfinished look, as well as aggravating players who may spend fruitless hours looking for something or waiting for someone that doesn't exist.". If this effect was what was intended, then obviously the game was finished as designed.

Richard may or may not be a decent manager these days -- I honestly couldn't say. We had a very small, highly-motivated, and largely self-managing team on U5. But he is certainly an impressive living example of the difference between a "manager" and a "leader." If you worked for Richard, you'd follow him into Hell to collect nifty glowing rocks, just like the rest of us did. :-)

That I understand. Charisma is a powerful motivator. While I think Ollie North ought to be in jail for what he did, you can't help but like the guy when you meet him.

This is completely tangential to the discussion, but I was wondering if you knew anything about the FM-Towns (Japanese) version of Ultima VI that included full speech? I have an original CD and I would like to be able to convert the sound files to something more usable. I was hoping that as the author of the Miles Sound System (thank you :)) you might be able to point me in the right direction towards decoding these files.

Re:More excuses from Garriott (1)

FortranDragon (98478) | more than 13 years ago | (#301350)

Just thought I'd point out that RG wasn't in control of Origin when EA took over, EA appointed at the least a different GM, as well as high level management types... In which case, by your logic RG is absolved... ;-)

But not completely, then. ;-)

However, I believe RG was in control of Origin for long time after EA bought Origin. It wasn't until some of the UO follies occurred that EA installed their own person. Wholly-owned subsidiaries and all that.

More excuses from Garriott (3)

FortranDragon (98478) | more than 13 years ago | (#301352)

Richard Garriott has been more and more disconnected from Ultima since U7:Black Gate. That's understandable since I'm sure he's tired of Ultima and wants to create something different. I can respect that, but the bad things he has done really puts a smear on his reputation.

The thing that bugs me is that the man finally drove Origin into the ground and he _still_ blames EA for his own mistakes. Ultima V shipped unfinished because they had no other choice. Ultima VI shipped buggy to meet the following week's payroll (ask Dr. Cat). Ultima VII drove Origin to the point of death and EA stepped in and saved Origin.

When RG decided that expanding the market for the Ultimas was more important than anything else we got the action/RPG abortion called Ultima VIII: Pagan. After that flopped, instead of accepting that he made a big mistake in abandoning the existing Ultima fanbase he blamed EA. That's where all of this 'Origin's problems are EA's fault' started. It was always EA's fault, never his. The man who created the Virtues, who brought morality and ethics to the computer gaming industry wasn't willing to accept responsibility for his own actions.

EA gave him five years to create Ultima IX and he still screwed it up. He fired good people. Move the entire U9 team to work on Ultima Online (ignoring Brook's Law). Hired a RTS guy to create the capstone of the Trilogy of Trilogies. Fired his design team. Ignored what the fans cried out for. Didn't bother to talk to anyone because he feared the "wilds of the Internet". And on and on and on. And when he shipped a buggy beta as the final product he blamed EA once again. No wonder they booted him.

Hell, don't even get me started on the whoppers the man has told: UO: There is no lag. U9: Well tested and debugged. These are not the actions of an ethical person, no matter how much the later Ultimas deal with those same issues.

All in all, it makes me sad that people like RG who -- however talented as a storyteller -- couldn't manage a one car funeral procession gets this attention when truly deserving people like Warren Spector who *can* manage, promotes the teams he works with instead of himself, and is very creative.

:sigh: When I was playing the original Ultima on my Apple ][ and waiting for Ultima ][ I never realised that one RG would make himself into a John "Daikatana" Romero.

Re:UO for linux (1)

Zach978 (98911) | more than 13 years ago | (#301353)

They used to have UO for Linux, it worked okay, but lacked some features that the Windows client had.

Re:Standard EA Policy? (1)

SmokeSerpent (106200) | more than 13 years ago | (#301354)

EA may not know how to run a "business" in the mom-and-pop sense. But they do know how to run a "business" in the steaming dungheap of post-80's American investment financing sense.

In order to meet their investors' hunger for immediate capital gains, companies must grow through predatory buy-outs, and they must shed niche market groups in pursuit of the amoebic "mass consumer" target. Since the mass consumer has no passion or focus, only the forces of marketing, branding, and shelf-space can be brought to bear in the conversion of product into gross profit.

Since today's investor intends to get rich today, buy a house with a 3-car garage and retire early to a life of travel and excess, rather than to retire at 65 and live comfortably from their investments, companies owned by these investors must pursue the high-entropy goal oc continual quarterly growth.

Re:Loving your work and living in it. (1)

jgerman (106518) | more than 13 years ago | (#301355)

You don't see Bill Gates house built like a circut board with PCI boards for walls.

Silly rabbit. That's because it kept crashing.

Re:Games are a waste of valuable time for the youn (1)

jgerman (106518) | more than 13 years ago | (#301356)

I know it's a troll... but I just...can't...help...ut:

Not every American is a red neck and quite frankly I find it hard to believe that people in Europe don't have people of that class Yes and then Britain's video game ecperience will be as exciting as their culinary experience.

and in my opinion only a culture as bankrupt as the USA's could have spawned such unspeakable filth.

Yes only American culture spawns filth (you're word not mine). New from the country that brought us Monty Python, and a tremendous fat man puking everywhere and blowing up, and such wonderfully non-vioelent files such as Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels.... CULTURAL VALUES. Call now for your free copy of "This British dudes anal retentive, holy than thou Morality" and you too can learn to talk like you are a superior person with a stick up his ass. Learn to blame all the problems of you country on video games from other countries....

Re:More excuses from Garriott (2)

John Miles (108215) | more than 13 years ago | (#301357)

But, U5, now there was a game. Wow!

U5 and U2 have always been my favorites. But I haven't played any of them since U6 all the way through, to be fair....

Tons of other cool stories, but basically, U4 and U5 are the games that got me interested in how they're done, instead of just playing them.

Yeah, they were all very hackable. I learned 6502 assembly by poring over monitor listings of ULTIMA2.OBJ, myself!

Re:More excuses from Garriott (3)

John Miles (108215) | more than 13 years ago | (#301361)

I was basing on the reviews of U5 when it was released, such as Scorpia's review in CGW that commented on the unfinished areas in the game. I also remember Ultima V was rather late from its originally announced ship date. If I am misremembering both those facts than I apologize.

You're probably thinking of the Underworld portion of the game. It consisted of a map the same size as the main Britannian world, but which was (as you'd expect of a newly-revealed subsurface continent) only sparsely populated with cool stuff.

Some of our more vocal players and reviewers, including Scorpia, evidently felt that their $49.95 entitled them to a certain amount of entertainment value per square foot of real estate. The Underworld was never intended to look like some kind of underground Disneyland (or whatever these people were expecting), so it was a disappointment to some. But it most assuredly was complete as shipped. :-)

Which design direction? I can come up with at least three different designs U9 went through: the one that Mike McShaffry said gave him the chills it was so good, the Del Castillo one, and the one we finally got in the released version.

True, but note that none of the principal designs emphasized the Jumping Jews of Jerusalem routine that U8 demanded of its players.

I believe RG has said a number of times that each Ultima has sold more copies than the prior Ultima.

That was true up until U5. I'm not sure if U5 outsold U4 at the end of the day, although they were both very successful products relative to their budget. U6 was a much more expensive product to build, and it was where the profitability curve really started to break down.

U2 sold more than twice what U1 sold; ditto U3 versus U2. I'm pretty sure U4 eventually outsold U3, but not by a factor of 2. Hopefully someone who's more up to date on the real numbers will correct my assumptions where necessary, but the bottom line is, the market for Ultima-style RPGs showed distinct signs of saturation as early as the U3/U4 era.

If the sales of the series has remained essentially flat since U3, then I really have problems with his _management_ abilities (but not his creative abilities). Being able to hit a deadline is a part of what you are paid for as a manager.

Richard may or may not be a decent manager these days -- I honestly couldn't say. We had a very small, highly-motivated, and largely self-managing team on U5. But he is certainly an impressive living example of the difference between a "manager" and a "leader." If you worked for Richard, you'd follow him into Hell to collect nifty glowing rocks, just like the rest of us did. :-)

My understanding from what Mike McShaffry said in the infamous CGW interview, U8 was exactly what they set out to create.

Right... an Ultima that they were hoping would find a broader audience.

I've always understood that Richard was less involved in U8's design than in most of the other titles in the series. My impression is that, for better or for worse, some of the people who did have a lot of creative input weren't necessarily among the "old-school" types that I was referring to.

Though if you could I would be happy to see you give it a shot.

Let's just say that the erstwhile Lord British is not the only one with an upcoming Project X....

And this might just shock you, but I honestly think you can't have an Ultima without RG's input.

I wouldn't disagree with that for a nanosecond.

Re:More excuses from Garriott (5)

John Miles (108215) | more than 13 years ago | (#301362)

Ultima V shipped unfinished because they had no other choice.

Really? What a fascinating assertion. I don't recall many complaints along these lines from U5's players, and (having been the lead programmer on the project) I seem to be missing the usual feelings of resentment and anguish that accompany the forced shipment of an unfinished game. Can you refresh my memory here?

When RG decided that expanding the market for the Ultimas was more important than anything else we got the action/RPG abortion called Ultima VIII: Pagan.

Not to apologize for U8 -- I wasn't involved in it, and never got around to playing it -- but you're being a little dramatic with your Monday-morning quarterbacking. From Richard's point of view, it was scary as hell to watch his dev budgets climb supergeometrically with each successive title, while sales figures remained pretty much where they peaked in U3. By the time Origin started work on U8, it was clear that drastic changes were required to keep the series financially viable.

My understanding is that U8 actually sold pretty well, but few of the old-school people, including Richard himself, were ever happy with the final product.

After that flopped, instead of accepting that he made a big mistake in abandoning the existing Ultima fanbase he blamed EA.

I believe Richard has expressed his regrets and taken responsibility for U8's problems on more than one occasion. Certainly the design direction in U9 (bugs notwithstanding) took U8's criticism to heart.

EA gave him five years to create Ultima IX and he still screwed it up.

Making Ultimas is hard. Try it sometime.

:sigh: When I was playing the original Ultima on my Apple ][ and waiting for Ultima ][ I never realised that one RG would make himself into a John "Daikatana" Romero.

Okey-dokey, then.

Another of gamings greats tossed to the side (4)

Rurik (113882) | more than 13 years ago | (#301363)

It's sad, just as Thief was tossed aside like an old toy, so has the name 'Ultima'. It used to mean a wonderous world of adventure, then it just turned into a moneypot. Richard Garriot was a genious of his own right. I remember watching a special on him about 6 years ago, where he designed his own house. Everything was in a medieval tone, and the place was filled with hidden passages and secret doors. This guy wasn't just in it for the money, he truely loved his work... then big bad EA came and gobbled him up, and spit him out like so many other companies.

Sigh

Re:Good poll question: Best Ultima Ever? (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 13 years ago | (#301364)

Out of curiosity, what was wrong with QFGIV? Personally, I think that III was the best, II was the worst, V an interesting experiment, and I was just solid.

Re:Standard EA Policy? (2)

Nerds (126684) | more than 13 years ago | (#301366)

They've just released their first game, Black & White, which is...

...published by EA.

EA has tons of great games (1)

SClitheroe (132403) | more than 13 years ago | (#301368)

The Sims, the entire EA*Sports line (the best PC sports games on the planet), the Janes military flight simulators, Black&White, Dungeon Keeper, Command&Conquer, Alpha Centauri, the Need for Speed series, SimCity...

Saying none of those are great games is ludicrous...

RG IS really LB. (2)

efuseekay (138418) | more than 13 years ago | (#301370)

RG: Very proud to help them learn and grow and yet also often sad to see them leave the fold.

Hmm...spoken almost like a character from Ultima :).

dug up the story on blue's news (1)

TotallyUseless (157895) | more than 13 years ago | (#301371)

Electronic Arts and Origin Systems have announced a plan that will increase their focus on Ultima Online and halt production of OWO: ORIGIN (UO2). The reason is simple, rather than creating OWO: ORIGIN (UO2) as a parallel world competing with UO, we've decided to put those resources into growing and improving the core offering for Ultima Online's 230,000 loyal subscribers. In the near future and with the release next week of Ultima Online: Third Dawn, players will see new lands, new creatures, and a world that is continually evolving within Ultima Online.
There ya go. They just decided there money would be better spent improving the current game, rather than creating a new one.

Wizardy! (1)

TotallyUseless (157895) | more than 13 years ago | (#301372)

oh my god. I *still* play that on my old Apple2e. Much more rewarding than playing thru an emulator.
By the way, you probably know this already, but in case you dont.. in the original wizardry game: create a bishop, enter the maze and camp immediately, and cast identify 9 until it succeeds. Whammo! tons of experience points instantly. Now go turn yourself into a ninja, or samurai, or other cool class you cant be from the start.

Re:More excuses from Garriott (1)

Narag (163687) | more than 13 years ago | (#301373)

I haven't seen Felorin around for a while. I should probably reinstall furcadia. Go llama me :x

Re:Another of gamings greats tossed to the side (1)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 13 years ago | (#301374)

He has learned his lesson, and, hopefully, others will also learn.
The biggest problem with game programming is that you can't just make a game and ship it, you need to have a publisher, support, buy a graphics engine, etc.... This can all be provided if you sold your company to a bigwig like EA. Problem solved, accept you have to adhere to their schedules, and basically do what they say. EA is a giant that needs to fall. Hopefully Eidos, Interplay, Activision, or some other *nicer* company will dethrown EA.

Disappointed (5)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 13 years ago | (#301375)

I'm a touch disappointed with the interview. It was stuff I pretty much coulda told you about last year. I am more interested in what company he has started, people he'll be hiring, any more info on project "X", what genre of game he'd like to work on (I'm guessing he'll avoid RPG like the plague), stuff like that. For his first interview, the questions they asked weren't very good.

Perhaps Taco or Hemos can work their magic and get a /. interview of the 'ol Lord British??

Re:Ultima 7 (1)

Karn (172441) | more than 13 years ago | (#301376)

Yes, I think 6 is my favorite too.

I remember wandering around for hours, discovering new places and people..

Remember the Armagedon spell? If you cast it it would kill EVERYONE, and IIRC Lord British too!

I did do a little cheating here and there.. (SPAM SPAM SPAM HUMBUG!) :) Glass swords were pretty fun to have.

I used to play that game on my old Tandy 1000 HX on DD Floppyies. The good ole' days!

What a great game that was. Perhaps one day I'll get cracking on my Ultima [sourceforge.net] project..

Re:Ultima 7 (1)

Karn (172441) | more than 13 years ago | (#301377)

My favorite part about Ultima 7 was you could go to the casino in Buccaneer's Den and play roulette. After you spun, you could move your money to other squares, and it would still pay you if you won! I would:
  • Put 100 gold on a color
  • Wait until the wheel slowed and place the 100 on the most likely color.
  • I'd win 6x(+) what I put down, so I then had 600 gold to work with.

Gold got pretty heavy, so i disovered that you could place barrels between seats of the magic carpet, so I always had money on hand :)

Good poll question: Best Ultima Ever? (2)

IvyMike (178408) | more than 13 years ago | (#301378)

I think that a good poll question would be "Which episode of the Ultima series was the best?"

(BTW, the answer is obviously "Ultima IV")

Re:Good poll question: Best Ultima Ever? (2)

Erasmus Darwin (183180) | more than 13 years ago | (#301380)

I think that a good poll question would be "Which episode of the Ultima series was the best?"

Personally, I think Ultima 4-6 was just pure gold. Ultima 1, 2, and 3, while nifty from a nostalgia standpoint, had this "I'm throwing together a fantasy world or something." sort of feel. Once he hit 4 was where coherency started to develop. However, 5 and especially 6 kept building upon that world and outdoing the previous ones. I remember being completely wowed by 6's concept of "The entire overworld is one scale."

Finally, I used to like 7, but these days I can't help but view it as the ramp leading up to 8. I don't think I managed to make it past the first town in 8. My disappointment was on the par with Quest for Glory 4. I suppose I should be thankful that 8 cured me of my Ultima addiction before UO came about.

Familiarity... AutoDuel (2)

doorbot.com (184378) | more than 13 years ago | (#301386)

Ah, Lord British... there's a name that brings me back. Not that I played any of the games mentioned thus far.

I remember his name from AutoDuel [links.net] (a bit more info [mobygames.com] ), a conversion for the Apple ][ (well, the one I played) by Lord British and Chuckles from the Steve Jackson Games [sjgames.com] PnP game Car Wars [sjgames.com] .

Why do I mention this? Becuase AutoDuel was the greatest game of all time. It was Road Warrior meets the eastern seaboard, and was great fun. Of course, my original 5.25" disks got corrupted, but I still have it on an Apple ][ emulator. I don't play much anymore, but it was a fantastic game.

I thought there were plans to make an updated version... did anyone hear anything about that? This was a few years ago. Google hasn't turned up much...

Typical EA. (1)

Jetifi (188285) | more than 13 years ago | (#301387)

Electronic Arts has a long history of churning out money-makers while screwing creative projects and people they've brought.

There was Peter Molyneux (B&W) at Bullfrog, and then in Bullfrog itself projects you'll never hear of but had real promise like "Creation" being dumped, and people leaving to do their own stuff - people like Bullfrogs second in command, and Mucky Foot.


Is there anything which cannot be programmed?

What I've learned about Project X (1)

KineticPoet (197813) | more than 13 years ago | (#301388)

I read this article yesterday, and then I did some googling to dig up some stuff on Project X. Here are some nuggets I found (sorry, I don't feel like re-finding all the links to articles I read): -X will be an online community like Ultima Online -X will be value based (like Ultima), and the world will dynamically reflect the number of good and evil people in different areas (he respectfully tips his hat to Molyneux) -X will be set in the relatively near future with a SciFi background -X will integrate Ebay-esque functionality for buying and selling virtual property; British believes that some people will choose to make their living in X -X will try to be more inviting to casual gamers by not rewarding hard-core gamers who devote their lives to the game; British's clue was (and I paraphrase) "think of your best friend, who isn't necessarily someone you spend the most time with" -X will place a strong emphasis on fashion -X will have a target audience of both males and females -X will have a primary seamless world environment (like UO) as well as "missions" for parties to embark on (which can also be player-created) -British fancies tele-immersion technology, so although he denies knowing about the "story-telling" approach used by Neverwinter Nights, I'd expect him to return to his D&D roots by making X more of a role-playing experience That's all that comes to mind right now. KP

Properly formatted (5)

KineticPoet (197813) | more than 13 years ago | (#301389)

Ugh, sorry...I forgot how /. does formatting.
---

I read this article yesterday, and then I did some googling to dig up some stuff on Project X. Here are some nuggets I found (sorry, I don't feel like re-finding all the links to articles I read):

-X will be an online community like Ultima Online

-X will be value based (like Ultima), and the world will dynamically reflect the number of good and evil people in different areas (he respectfully tips his hat to Molyneux)

-X will be set in the relatively near future with a SciFi background

-X will integrate Ebay-esque functionality for buying and selling virtual property; British believes that some people will choose to make their living in X

-X will try to be more inviting to casual gamers by not rewarding hard-core gamers who devote their lives to the game; British's clue was (and I paraphrase) "think of your best friend, who isn't necessarily someone you spend the most time with"

-X will place a strong emphasis on fashion

-X will have a target audience of both males and females

-X will have a primary seamless world environment (like UO) as well as "missions" for parties to embark on (which can also be player-created)

-British fancies tele-immersion technology, so although he denies knowing about the "story-telling" approach used by Neverwinter Nights, I'd expect him to return to his D&D roots by making X more of a role-playing experience That's all that comes to mind right now.

KP

Re:facts and rebbuttal (1)

perlyking (198166) | more than 13 years ago | (#301390)

I think they are called "skanks" and there are council estates full of them across the UK, living off government benefits, and producing skanky offspring in their image.
Easy though it is to make fun of typical Americans (or insert your culture here) there is good and bad in all cultures.

EA..... (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 13 years ago | (#301391)

....I'm really suprised that they are still in business, they don't have any really _great_ games. I guess anyone can get by with enough mediocrity. Anyhow, if it isn't Black Isle or Blizzard, it probably sucks.

Jaysyn

Re:EA has tons of great games (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 13 years ago | (#301392)

heh...I should do some research before I open my mouth.....Didn't realize that some of those titles ^ we're made by EA...I was thinking Sims = Maxis etc....

Jaysyn

Re:Nada (1)

Mr. Polite (218181) | more than 13 years ago | (#301395)

Dr. TJ Eckleburg kicks ass!

Now who's going to correct me?
---

Re:Games are a waste of valuable time for the youn (1)

TWX_the_Linux_Zealot (227666) | more than 13 years ago | (#301396)

"Anyway, don't think I am some religious nutball. I last went to church over 2 weeks ago, I just feel I have to add my voice to the growing millions who feel video games have gone too far."

Well, the last time that I went to church was sometime in 1993, and I have absolutely no intention of going back, nor do I buy in to people's views that are strongly dictated by religion. I've got friends who are very devout in their FAITH, not in the dogma of a religion. I can respect their beliefs. Also, they don't tell me what to do with myself. This isn't 'do unto others before they do unto you'...

"Titanic was 3hr and 17min long. They could have lost 3hr and 17min from that."

Re:Standard EA Policy? (1)

Alatar (227876) | more than 13 years ago | (#301397)

the class-action suit was just a few lawyers smelling money. no actual awful damages were incurred, it was just one of those "sue for $10,000,000, settle for $100,000" things that lawyers always do.

AOL-Netscape again and again ... (1)

Bug2000 (235500) | more than 13 years ago | (#301398)

... or how to kill great projects by replacing good ideas and courage by money and spin doctors.

Remember Sierra (2)

Bug2000 (235500) | more than 13 years ago | (#301399)

A very interesting link [sierra-online.com] to remember how ATT and AOL killed ImagiNation Network and CUC International killed Sierra. I think Leisure Suit Larry and King Quest are as good memories as Ultima and worth mentioning in this sad context.

Re:Ultima 7 (1)

SGDarkKnight (253157) | more than 13 years ago | (#301402)

what about a saved game?

Re:Ultima 7 (1)

MeltyMan (262145) | more than 13 years ago | (#301403)

Ultima 6: I liked the magic 2-headed horse that you could ask to join the party. It just so happens that he could carry a lot, and was invisible, but wasn't very resilient to attack. Since he was so strong, i let him carry the air balloon that you're attempting to make for about half the game. The horse would get stuck every once in a while, and well, since he was INVISIBLE, this was difficult to tell. So, one day, i realized that he wasn't on the party list anymore. I find out that he had gotten stuck, then killed by a troll or something. Did i mention he was INVISIBLE? just try and find your balloon, on a dead, invisible horse some time in the woods. Damn! heh heh. Ultima 6 gets my vote for the best ever. Perhaps it was just because this was the first game that gave me that 'whole world' feeling. :)

Re:facts and rebbuttal (1)

erayzer (307107) | more than 13 years ago | (#301405)

Don't forget lager louts.

Re:facts and rebbuttal (1)

erayzer (307107) | more than 13 years ago | (#301406)

Hey, just because some Brit gets off on tarring all Americans with the same brush, doesn't make it right to do the same to Europeans.

Remember, Europe is a collection of a whole bunch of very different countries. I mean, just because Cuba and the USA are geographically close doesn't make them alike.

As a UO Player (1)

MxTxL (307166) | more than 13 years ago | (#301407)

I am pretty disappointed with the UO development team. They have great ideas and mediocre follow-through. They come up with something great, then write the code half-assed for it, then come out with something else that's great and throw all their efforts into that, forgetting that in a living game such as UO you need to continually support the game concept and idea. They came out with factions, forgot about it, then came out with veteran rewards, pulled the plug on it, then turned their attention to Third Dawn (which, BTW is kinda crappy).

I only wish they would stick with something long enough to get it together right!

Re:Standard EA Policy? (1)

live from boston (309927) | more than 13 years ago | (#301408)

While Black & White was published by EA, it was not funded by them. Molyneux paid for development with his own money (approximately six mill I believe), so he had freedom that Origin did not.

Re:facts and rebbuttal (1)

ryants (310088) | more than 13 years ago | (#301409)

Not every American is a red neck and quite frankly I find it hard to believe that people in Europe don't have people of that class
I believe in the UK they are called "football hooligans" (sp?).

Ryan T. Sammartino

Re:More excuses from Garriott (1)

Syphtor (312852) | more than 13 years ago | (#301410)

I do think, as the person in control of Origin, he bears the greatest share of the responsibility for what happened to Origin.

Just thought I'd point out that RG wasn't in control of Origin when EA took over, EA appointed at the least a different GM, as well as high level management types... In which case, by your logic RG is absolved... ;-)

Re:EA has tons of great games (1)

Nurgster (320198) | more than 13 years ago | (#301411)

A common mistake about the games industry (but I don't notice it much on slashdot... maybe there is a clue kicking around here somewhere)

When it comes to games, 90% of the time there are two parties involved: The publisher and the development studio. The publisher sells the game, the development studio writes.

EA is a publisher, and like many others, they own hundreds of developers (Bullfrog, Origin, EA Sports (duh) etc etc).

Eidos own companies such as Core Design (of Tomb Raider fame), and not much else. But they also publish 2rd party titles, as do Infogrames.

There are very few development studios that do self-publishing (Loki is one of the few, Codemasters used to, and are about to start doing it again). (as a side note, Loki also publish 3rd party titles, so if you've got a good LInux game, let them know!)

EA is the Gordon Gecko of gaming (1)

Kirsche (409328) | more than 13 years ago | (#301412)

EA buys so many companies and milks them for all they are worth until they're gone. Origin Systems use to produce a lot of games now they produce none. Ultima Online will be their last product, and they will just suck the blood out of it until there's nothing left and OSI will be gone for good. Some bean counter out EA decided that after spending $10-$15 million on UO2 the company need to cut costs to meet H1 2001 profit forecasts- NOW, at any cost. So, what the hell- just throw away all that money. EA obviously doesn't have the stomach to make on-line games, which require far more persistence and effort than stand alones.

Re:Good poll question: Best Ultima Ever? (1)

dfalgoust (409341) | more than 13 years ago | (#301413)

UU not revolutionary? What are you smoking? UU had true 3D (IIRC) well before Wolfenstein 3D gave us 2.5-D.

You know, I always wondered what the Looking Glass guys thought when Descent and Quake came out touting their true-3D (e.g., not 2.5-D) environments. "Been there, done that" springs to mind.

Re:EA has tons of great games (1)

SirFozzie (442268) | more than 13 years ago | (#301417)

"The Sims, the entire EA*Sports line (the best PC sports games on the planet)" EA Sports.. the best PC Sports games on the planet? (Considers this) BWAHAHAHAHAHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! Stop.. you're killing me! We ARE talking about the arcadeish, low-realism, "Take out features people want and throw in bugs that people don't want" EA Sports? They're best in eye-candy only, IF that.

Re:Another of gamings greats tossed to the side (1)

Acid Queen 69 (442278) | more than 13 years ago | (#301418)

Yes - the role of medieval despot was very appropriate, given his tendancy to provide shoddy, unfinshed products for his loyal followers. That's all the serfs deserve - isn't that what "ethical hedonism" is all about? It's Ok to screw people as long as they approve?

Join Project X? (1)

ShroO (442290) | more than 13 years ago | (#301419)

I've been an avid fan of Ultima games for almost a decade, and ever since I started playing them, I've wanted to be making them... And just as I break out into the software industry & gain the qualifications to accomplish this little dream of mine, Origin collapses & Richard Garriot leaves.

How do I get on board? Could they use an extra pair of (cheap if need be)hands? Where's the dotted line? Does anybody have the hook up? I can't find anything formal on the project, or the company that I assume it will blossom into shortly?

Sacrificial Email:shroo88@hotmail.com [mailto]

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