MEETING KEVIN "JALEK" SAFFEL - CLIENT PROGRAMMER

Team Comment - Jalek Speaks - June 5, 2001
Hail and well met,

Since this is my first Comments from the Team, I would like to introduce myself for those of you who do not know me. My name is Kevin Saffel, a.k.a. Jalek, and my title is Client Programmer on UO Live. I would just like to take a moment and tell you how I got to Origin and then let you know what I am working on.

As I graduated high school, I realized that I didnít have the money to go to college. I joined the Air Force and became a Nuclear Weapons Technician, believe it or not. :) While serving my country, I was introduced to the Ultima series of games by a friend of mine. I could not get enough. I played every one of them that I could, night and day, and eventually realized that I wanted to get a degree in programming and try to get a job with this company I admired so much. A couple of years out of college, I found a game called Ultima Online, and it was even more addicting than the other Ultimas. I then applied even more to get a job at Origin, and finally in November of 1999 my dream came true.

I have worked on client bugs, helped out with the party system, done some server work and I was one of the client programmers on UO: Third Dawn. Now, I am working on cleaning up some of the client code, fixing bugs, and supporting the events team to some degree.

Bug fixing is very important to the UO Live team, and we put a lot of work into seeing that all our systems are at the level that we designed them to be. UO is a huge game, with many systems interwoven and dependent on each other. It is also a code base that has been worked on by MANY different people. The changing of any minute part of a system - yes, even in the client -- can result in one or many other areas being broken. So, we have to be careful when we change anything, because each change requires multiple systems to be completely retested every time we go to patch (and I know you want updates more often than every 7 to 8 months!). We start off by investigating the bugs, then finding a solution, implementing the solution, and giving QA time to test the bug. If problems are found, we have to start all over. Even so, things get missed from time to time. This is why we will sometimes just rewrite systems when time permits, to decouple the strict dependencies that some of these systems have on each other.

The UO team loves UO and wants our players to have the best time possible while playing the game. That is why we will never stop fixing bugs, rewriting systems to make them better, and adding new content to the game. Yes we do and will continue to make mistakes, I can guarantee you that, but we will do our best to correct them.

So, if you have a bug, a question, an idea or just want to shout and say hi, give me a holler at [email protected].

Kevin "Jalek" Saffel
Client Programmer
Ultima Online