Origin moving and people leaving has brought up some old memories that I thought others might enjoy.
I was working on player ships and player housing at one point during Ultima Online’s original development. I recall that the extent of the designs I received at the time were the words “player ships” and “player housing” from the schedule, so I had a lot of freedom in the design.
Before I had started implementing the player housing system, the feature was cut in a scheduling decision by the team management. I *knew* that player housing could be one of the killer features of UO, so I worked extra late and weekends to try and save it.
The first player house was a ship on dry land, with the now familiar house door and house sign conspicuously out of place on the stranded boat. Player housing progressed quickly since it used the same base system as player ships (the multi-object system, which I originally designed to be used for both houses and ships).
Unfortunately, late one night just as the first house was working well, Richard Garriott wandered by my office (wasn’t he in Antarctica or something?) and started talking with me (paraphrased since it was a long time ago).
- Richard: “Working really late?”
- Jason: “Uh, yeah.” (“Uh oh,” I thought to myself, “this feature has been cut.”)
- Richard: “What are you working on?” (as he walked into my office and saw the image on my monitor.)
- Jason: “Umm, player boats and stuff.” (I knew the boat on dry land, door, and sign would give me away.)
- Richard: “Well, keep up the good work.” (as he smiled and walked out of my office.)
- Jason: “Thanks!” (“Uh oh…”)
Fortunately, due the the progress made on the system player housing was added back to the schedule. Dan Rubenfield used some existing art and created the templates for the original player housing types.