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April 19, 2001

EA: Comments from MrTact

The following was posted to the Team Comments page on the Ultima Online Web site:

Comments from MrTact

THE APOLOGETIC PREFACE

Forgive me for not using Britannia-speak. I hope you'll understand that I don't wish to embarrass us all with my incompetence.

THE OBLIGATORY INTRODUCTION

Enter MrTact, also known in an alternate life as Tim Keating. I started here at Origin in August of '99 as a programmer/DBA for UO operations. My responsibilities included such mundane but important tasks as doing development on the UO login server, generating service metrics and maintaining the billing system. Early in 2000, I became the manager of my team, and was chartered to grow the team by several people. Toward the end of last year, I hit my limit for responding to pages about login server meltdowns, and decided to look for something else to do.

As it happened, QA was looking for an engineer right around that time, it seemed to be a good fit for both the team and myself, and I made the jump.

THE ACTUAL UPDATE, or WHY YOU SHOULD CARE

This is an extremely exciting time to be a part of UO. Throughout the lifetime of the game, parts of the community have been very vocal about problems with bugs and stability. Historically, the dev and QA teams have been in a kind of Catch-22 situation: given a finite amount of time, they had to balance adding new features to the game with fixing bugs. Some bugs had to be left in, not because no one WANTED to fix them, but because the necessary resources had to be dedicated to adding and testing promised new features.

That's not the case anymore.

The upside to all the chaos of late is that many people and procedures from UO2 are now a part of the UO team. This is a big win for UO. There are more people working on UO now than at any other time since its launch. Additionally, with only one product, our focus as a company is very narrow. We can afford to pay attention to details that previously we would not have had the bandwidth to address.

From a QA perspective, we've never had the kinds of engineering resources devoted to UO that we do now. Where QA used to just mean "testing" (and black-box testing, at that, for those of you who know anything about software development), we are now fully responsible for improving the quality of UO from stem to stern. We are starting, slowly but surely, to get involved with development earlier in the lifecycle so we can help dev catch bugs sooner.

Add to that the renewed commitment by the OSI management team to stomping bugs and improving the quality and reliability of our service, and you can see why I'm so enthusiastic to be getting involved with UO at this point in its lifetime. I hope you'll stick around, because we're going to see some really exciting improvements.

Tim "MrTact" Keating
QA Engineer, Ultima Online
Origin Systems

Posted by Nobody at April 19, 2001 6:42 PM

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