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So it has been far, far too long since we last held a recording session, but what a way to return to form this episode was! We set out to discuss Ultima Online’s 20th anniversary, and on a whim I sent a last-minute invite to Raph Koster (Designer Dragon, the original systems designer for UO) to join us on Discord for the discussion. And happily, he accepted the invitation and turned up for what turned into a three hour discussion about the early history of the game.
Some of what is discussed has been discussed before, in other places and sometimes by other people. However, Koster peppers the discussion with more than a few never-before-told stories from the development of the game. Multiple references are also made to this article at Koster’s blog.
Now, three hours is a lot of audio, so this episode includes roughly the first half of the discussion. Topics covered include the Ultima Online alpha test, art development, the dangerous offices that the Ultima Online team were situated in, the development and continued use of eScript, the beta version of the game and the pressure from Electronic Arts to finally ship the game, and a curious (and long-running) prank being played out between Richard Garriott and his then-girlefriend, which culminated in a full-page ad in the Austin Chronicle.
Also: Here’s a link to the Zack Booth Simpson talk that Koster mentions partway through this part of the discussion.
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