Courtesy of the GDC Vault is another free lecture video, this time from Game Developers Conference Online 2012.
Released before even 56k modems were commonplace, Ultima Online helped set the standard for MMORPGs within very challenging constraints. The team recalls here taking the game from concept and beta to post-release, dealing with emerging concepts such as player vs player combat and sandbox gaming online.
In this postmortem, Raph Koster even asserts why Ultima Online "may be to blame" for the free-to-play business model.
Speaker(s): Raph Koster, Rich Vogel, Starr M. Long
Company Name(s): Playdom, San Diego; Independent; The Walt Disney Company
Track / Format: Design
Overview: At first, it was mostly a team of newbies. For a while, the office space was a few rooms on a floor that was gutted for construction -- you could literally walk off the 5th floor of building and plunge to your death if you weren't careful. The artists sat in the hallway. And the team was out to change everything. Ultima Online was not only one of the first graphical MMORPGs, it also set the standard for player vs player combat and sandbox/emergent gameplay in online titles for many years to come.
Three of the team's chief members -- Raph Koster, Rich Vogel, and Starr Long (all of whom went on to shape the online gaming landscape) -- will deliver a postmortem on the landmark title, reflecting on the challenges they faced from early development to maintaining the game well after its launch. Come learn how a combination of insane ambition and idealistic cluelessness can sometimes result in creating something that changes people's lives and the course of an industry.
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