« Showdown at Justice | Main | Meredith Hosts Story Night »

June 12, 2001

OSI: Stellerex on Spring

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

Stellerex on Spring

They tell me that Spring is often the season for change. Maybe this was just wishful thinking on my part, but I’d always assumed this was more of a poetic metaphor than a part of everyday life. Change means we sometimes have to say goodbye to things that we've grown accustomed to.

A few weeks ago, I got a dose of Spring. Two of our friends and colleagues here at OSI stopped into my office with those little envelopes in their hands and a look that told me even before they spoke that spring was not yet over. Yes, it's true: Runesabre and Sage have moved on from our development team.

Over the past two years, both of these very talented individuals have become more to me than just co-workers and fellow comrades in the foxhole of game development. They've become friends. We've worked together through the long Autumn of Renaissance, and the demanding Winter that was Third Dawn. And while Spring heralded the fledgling birth of a new 3D era for UO, Kirk and Paul have made a tough decision to follow some other friends into a new venture and new challenges. Those of us who remain here to carry the banner of UO into the future salute their enormous effort and dedication. We will truly miss them.

But Spring also symbolizes new life, and this is certainly true of UO. Spring has brought us Third Dawn, distributed backups, and the new global events program. It's brought us new optimizations, better stability, new hardware, more headway against exploits, and much more is just over the horizon. The current Dev team has incredible talent and resources, and contrary to what some people might assume, is larger than ever. For the first time since Ultima Online’s creation, we have a dedicated art staff creating new art for the game, and thanks to the enhancements to the client that Third Dawn brought about, we can add this new art without having to ship a new CD! Along with the artists, we have more than 20 people in product development, a proportionate amount of QA testers, many with extensive programming knowledge and experience, and our community and studio management folks - all dedicated to Ultima Online. And that doesn’t even include the customer support and network operations groups here! So, while Spring had its bumps in the road, Summer is here, and it’s time to look ahead. Publish 12 will be released by the end of June, and anyone who’s read our posts on the boards knows that that includes the long-awaited release of veteran rewards!

So what else do we have planned? Well, the global events are being extremely well received by the players, so we're going to proceed ahead with making this a perpetual effort. Thanks to our artists and our new event designers, you’ll see continuing global events, new and fresh magical and non-magical items, and bizarre and exciting monsters added to the world of Sosaria on a much more frequent and systematic basis. We’re also focusing closely on the Third Dawn client, which has improved by leaps and bounds since its release - and we’re certainly not stopping yet.

Additionally, we're doing some behind-the-scenes prototype work for an even more revolutionary enhancement for Ultima Online. These are the very early stages, but expect to see details revealed in the coming months as we get further along. We're still discussing a few different concepts, but our underlying goal is to make the game more exciting and engaging, with more possibilities than ever - and without halting the momentum we’re creating with our systematic bug fixes and our popular new content.

As I mentioned in a previous letter, we're also handling a number of infrastructure and service-related issues as well. It may not sound as exciting as adding new monsters or magic items, but these changes will help the servers with performance and latency as we continue to grow our subscriber base.

So for now, Spring is over. We've planted some new seeds, and it's going to be an energetic and vibrant summer as we help them grow into an exciting Fall harvest.

Senior Producer
Ultima Online

Posted by Ursula at June 12, 2001 10:53 AM

Hosted by Dreamhost.