Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Stratics UO House of Commons Chat

Tonight I once again participated in , and had a few questions answered at, the Stratics UO House of Commons live chat with the developers. It was great to participate in what is the most enduring tradition of the Ultima Online community over the last ten years, and the sense of history I felt tonight was indeed heavy.

The archived logs of these semi-regular chats on Stratics date back to February 12, 1998, which was only a few weeks after I personally had begun playing UO. That first chat was attended by 2 Gamemasters (Beast and Grond), HellBoyEC (the game's events coordinator), Stormwind (lead programmer, who is the only member of the team still with UO to this very day), and of course the visionary behind the game, DesignerD, a.k.a. Raph Koster.

Hot topics at that first chat were such things as trash cans for player homes, Asian and Australian servers, lag, hackers, house security, necromancy, Seers, PKs, and even the dungeon Doom. Odd that necromancy and Doom didn't make it into the game for another five years after that chat.

Usually, these chats were directed to a topic which was "General Discussion". At times, though, they focused on what was in testing or development, or the current expansion. My first question answered was in the chat on July 5, 2001, back when I was bugging Vex about boat fixes. It was quite a thrill to get an honest and direct answer to my question.

Those logs are arguably one of the best treasure troves for those who seek an inside look at UO's development, what the players were talking about at the time, and who was working on the game all those years ago.

Tonight, I got some questions answered about the recent change in producers, and the support at EA for UO, and the thrill was back. Here's what I got out of them:

Admiral Ruffie : Jeremy, how would you characterize EA management's support for UO in light of Darkscribe's departure?

Jeremy EAMythic : While we were all sad to see Darkscribe go - he's been an incredible asset to the team - both EA's overall support, and the EA Mythic studio's support, has not wavered a bit. Chris Rabideau (who is shy, but will poke his head out soon) is a competent, experienced producer who continues to help the team do great things for UO.

Admiral Ruffie : Is Chris Rabideau the new producer of UO, and if so, what is his vision for the development of the game?

Jeremy EA Mythic : He is, and you should see an interview with him coming out in the near future, courtesy of our friends at UOForums.

It's great to see that this tradition has lived on over the years. I highly recommend to anyone interested in the history of Ultima Online to spend a few hours reading the old UO House of Commons chat logs, found at the Stratics site here.

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