THE DEVELOPMENT TEAM HALL OF FAME - by Joshua Rowan, Managing Editor
With the recent news of the Origin Systems Studio being shut down in Austin, Texas, and the Dev Teams from both Ultima Online and Ultima X: Odyssey being relocated to Redwood City, California, we also have the unfortunate news of some Dev Team Members deciding not to continue on with the projects for varying reasons (often because of the inability to move).

With that in mind, Stratics has decided to create this Development Team Hall of Fame Section, dedicated to honoring the original UO and UXO Development Team Members that have moved on to other opportunities. The section includes their Farewell Speeches (including links to the original posts), Links to Original Team Comments, and other pertinent information.

As much as we wish that the Dev Teams could work on the projects forever, time always does mean change. Stratics would like to make sure that the incredible dedication these people showed to our games over the years is never forgotten. As we hear from more Dev Team Members (hopefully there will be very few), we will add them to this section as well. At this point we have added the following Dev Team Members:

Tom "Evocare" Chilton - UO Live Lead Designer
DUTIES: A long-time Ultima Online player and virtual world enthusiast, Evocare is Lead Designer for Ultima Online. His responsibilities include managing a design team in such a way that the designers retain their sanity, determining which game features the design team works on, and giving the final "yay" or "nay" to said designs. In theory, this is all done to develop the most fun path to the cheese. Over time, he has developed his skill in claiming all credit for success while passing all responsibility for failure on to the Producer (much to Tajima's surprise).
"One of my primary goals here at Origin is to take a holistic approach the design of game systems. In order to deliver the best possible play experience, it�s crucial that we have a keen understanding of how each game system relates to other game systems. The idea is to create and maintain a web of essentially symbiotic game system relationships so that the combination of systems becomes dramatically more interesting and compelling than the sum of the value of each individually. Beyond creating an interesting and deep game world, one of the greatest benefits of this approach is the ability to deliver the aforementioned experience with a minimum of complexity and clutter when compared to a game of equal depth that is comprised of largely unrelated game systems." - Team Comment 04/23/01
Team Comments - September 20, 2001
Team Comments - April 23, 2001

Tim "Alai" Schubert - UO Associate Producer
DUTIES: Alai has worked on all aspects of MMORPGs at some point or another, including (but not limited to) map building, customer support, art, sound, animation, writing, design, and programming. Over the years, he has managed to claw his way up the management ladder to Lead Client Programmer for Ultima Online where he's coordinating efforts to improve the quality of the client in all ways possible. He prefers the green M&M's.
"As I sit here in my office, listening to the whirring of my computers, a smile is inching across my face. Every time I get a spare moment to think about what�s coming up for UO I get all a-tingle again. This is no small feat, as I�ve been working on it for three and a half years now. I�ve survived T2A, Renaissance, and Third Dawn � I am a seasoned veteran. Nothing should faze me anymore, and there certainly shouldn�t be anything I could get excited over. Right? Well, I�m excited. The upcoming releases are going to knock your socks off. We�re going full-bore with content, new models, new spell effects, new sprites for the 2D players, new audio� a lot of stuff. Tack onto that the huge leaps and bounds we�re making in improving the clients and I am simply astounded." - Team Comment 11/14/01
Team Comments - November 14, 2001
Team Comments - April 5, 2002

Jason "Stormwind" Spengler - Technical Director
DUTIES: Stormwind is the Director of Technology for UO and UXO. When he's not evaluating libraries and technologies for use in UO and UXO products, he's forcing the programmers to follow coding standards and write technical design documentation. Stormwind has been around since before the public beta of UO, forcing letters and numbers to line up and stand at attention on the screen to make the servers work better. He also serves as a backup programmer as needed.

Pete "Adrick" Warner - Designer
Current Specialty: PvP/Factions/Felucca

DUTIES: An active player of Ultima Online since August of 1997, Adrick's focus as a designer in Ultima Online revolves around combat systems (PvP and PvM), guilds, factions, reputation, and player interactions and reputation (non-consensual PVP).
"So what does a designer do at OSI? It�s two-fold really. First we come up with ideas and concepts that will enhance the game, add value to a system already in place, or fix an imbalance, bug or exploit. Secondly we write the scripts that make this happen along with the programmers, who work more with the server or client C code. We are also heavily involved in the QA process in that we test our code as best as we can and work with the quality team to ensure that we deliver the best product possible to the players. This doesn�t always work as intended and its one of the major frustrations of the job. The last thing we want to do with the code is introduce another bug or imbalance into a system we are trying to eliminate them from." - Team Comment 11/01/00
Team Comments - November 27, 2001
Team Comments - October 1, 2001
Team Comments - April 30, 2001
Team Comments - November 1, 2000

Mike "Avi Stetto" Howard
UO Server Programmer

Estimated Leaving Date: March 6, 2004

Projects With Origin/Electronic Arts: Ultima Online
Next Project: Unknown At This Time

PARTING WORDS (posted to U.Hall Forum Thread on 3/6/04):

Howdy y'all,

It's my turn to say goodbye. After four years with Origin, it's time for me to move on. Most of you probably don't even recognize my name. For most of my four years at Origin, I worked as part of the Engineering Team on infrastructure applications and databases; not exactly the most glorious parts of an online game. When I did my job well and everything went smoothly, nobody paid attention to those systems. It was only when things were messing up that people really noticed. So, I'll take credit for not drawing much attention to myself during that time.

About 10 months ago, I was moved from the Engineering Team to the UO Dev Team as a Server Programmer. I have really enjoyed it. I was very excited about the direction that UO was taking. The team has developed a clear vision for the game for short term (next few months), intermediate (6 to 9 months), as well as in the long term (18-24 months). EA has signed off on that vision; they are still making plans for where UO will be 2+ years from now. It is unfortunate for me that those plans call for the work on UO to be done in California now. I have no desire to relocate my family at this time.

So, it is time for me to say farewell. I will stick around for a couple of weeks to try to finish up the project that I have been working on (Character Transfer). After that, I am off to a new job. Who knows, maybe some of you will run into me again (assuming I'm not living in anonymity in the world of database applications) on some other massively multiplayer online role-playing game.

-Mike "Avi Stetto" Howard
UO Server Programmer
Software Engineer
Engineering Team Technical Lead
Online DBA/Developer
Chief Login Server Monkey

Kai "Helios" Steinmann
UO Live Designer

Original Team Comments:
Team Comments - October 19, 2001
Team Comments - August 27, 2001

Estimated Leaving Date: March 5, 2004

Projects With Origin/Electronic Arts: Ultima Online
Next Project: Unknown At This Time (in Austin Gaming Community though)

PARTING WORDS (posted to U.Hall Forum Thread on 3/5/04):

Farewells are never easy, and this one is no exception. Nothing lasts forever, and so my time with one of the greatest games of all time must come to an end as well. For the past 5 years, most of my waking hours have been devoted to Ultima Online in one way or another; and I've thoroughly enjoyed nearly every minute of it. Now, for reasons that are neither here nor there, it is time for me to move on. I wanted to take a brief moment to thank you all for a great time. UO has one of the strongest communities I've seen in any game to date, and without you, we wouldn't be where we are today.

Thank you to Mandrake of Great Lakes for renting Aegis, the newbie mage, his first vendor spot on Ice Island 5 years ago. Thanks also for the discount on the SOSs and T-Maps.

Thank you to Maeve and Nameless of Great Lakes for hanging out with Aegis and putting up with his obsession to distribute "fun boxes" to the citizens of Britannia.

Thanks to all of you who would come out to play at The Crossroads between Brit and Yew!

Thank you to the players who made the graveyard shift not only bearable but downright fun for GM Aegis, two years later. Your ingenuity and passion for UO has never ceased to amaze me.

Thanks to GM Mordor for running the graveyard shift with me. I couldn't have done it without you.

Thanks to the guy who paged in and told me he could see our offices from his balcony *runs to shut the blinds*. Even though it nearly scared the pants off of me it was a good time.

Thanks to the guy who paged in and called us all a bunch of "fat nerds with sweaty mouse pads". I still laugh out loud about that one and I've called the guys here at work that more than once. Good Times.

Thanks to the guy who paged in and told me that "I better appear to him soon, as his patience and his supply of narcotics are beginning to run scarce" (I'm happy to report that he appeared quite lucid when I did speak with him and he promised me there were never actually any narcotics involved). :)

Thanks to the guy who didn't rip my face off when I accidentally deleted his fully loaded house and was unable to recreate the majority of it.

Thanks to Evocare and Stellerex for hiring me as a Designer for UO's live team those years ago.

Thanks to Hanse, Adrick and Vex for sharing an office with me for a year and making it one of the most hilarious years of my working life. Although I've called you all fat nerds with sweaty mouse pads (and worse) on many occasions, I actually did enjoy hanging out with you monkeys.

Thanks to all of my team mates and friends in the industry who have taught me so much over the years. I owe you one.

Most of all however, I thank you - the player - without whom none of this would have ever been possible. It is because of you that UO is (still) where it is today.

I feel privileged to have been a part of UO in all of these ways. I'm sure those live team members who decide to move to CA with UO will do an awesome job on making it greater than ever before. There are truly great things on the horizon for UO and I wish I could be there to help bring them to fruition along with the rest of the team. It's the best thing to happen to UO since Felucca, before it was Felucca (and no I *still* can't tell you what it is :).

Personally, I'm already committed to continue making games in Austin, and hope to see many of you on other stratics boards in the near future. If you ever have the opportunity to work in the gaming industry in any capacity, I highly recommend it. It is one of the most rewarding things I can think of doing.

And on that note...

I wish you all a fond farewell. Here's to UO!

- Kai "Helios" Steinmann
"I created worlds."

Jonathan "Calandryll" Hanna
UXO Lead Designer

Original Team Comments/Interviews:
PART I - August 22, 2003 - San Francisco Event
PART II - August 22, 2003 - San Francisco Event
The Virtue System
Team Comments - August 8, 2001
Team Comments - April 13, 2001

Estimated Leaving Date: March 4, 2004

Projects With Origin/Electronic Arts: Ultima Online and Ultima X: Odyssey
Next Project: Unknown At This Time

PARTING WORDS (posted to Avatar's Corner Forum Thread on 3/4/04):

Over the past five years I�ve written countless posts, but this one is by far the most difficult as it will be my last as a developer for UXO.

Today was my last day at Origin Systems. It�s been a great ride filled with wonderful memories and unforgettable experiences, but all good things must come to an end. While the decision to close OSI certainly pains me, my reasons for deciding to stay in Austin are mostly of the personal kind and I leave happy to know that UXO's development will continue.

I know for the most part that I have written the majority of developer posts here, but I want you all to know that there is a great team of designers, programmers, artists, world builders, marketing professionals, and executives behind UXO. Without their tireless work I literally wouldn�t have anything to post about. I�ve had the privilege to work alongside some of the most talented people in the industry and I hope wherever my travels take me next I get the chance to work with them again someday.

I don�t really have much else to say, other than I�m sorry, and to say thank you. Thank you for all of your support over the years, both towards UO and UXO. Thank you for letting us into your lives and for believing in us. Thank you for taking the time to read our posts, designer diaries, and interviews. And most importantly, thank you for your participation on the boards, e-mails, and IRC chats helping us create and improve these games. I also want to say thank you to the website operators and moderators for all of their wonderful support for UXO. I consider myself truly blessed to have had the opportunity to share UXO�s development with all of you.

I look forward to the time when I can share whatever I work on next. Until then, take care and thank you again.

-Jonathan "Calandryll" Hanna

Rick "Stellerex" Hall
UXO Senior Producer

Original Team Comments/Interviews:
Team Comments - November 7, 2001
Team Comments - September 5, 2001
Team Comments - June 11, 2001
Team Comments - April 20, 2001

Estimated Leaving Date: March 4, 2004

Projects With Origin/Electronic Arts: Ultima Online and Ultima X: Odyssey
Next Project: Unknown At This Time

PARTING WORDS (posted to Avatar's Corner Forum Thread on 3/4/04):

I'm not anywhere near as eloquent as Calandryll, and many of you have commented on how "quiet" I traditionally am. But please believe me when I say that participating in the Ultima legacy and the UO/UXO communities has been the finest, happiest time in my career in the gaming industry. I have always enjoyed reading all of the great posts here and on other boards, all of the PMs and emails, and especially meeting so many of you at our San Francisco event this past August. As some of you know, I have also opted not to make the move to San Francisco. As with Cal and Morgaine, this is for personal reasons. At this stage of my life, that move just isn't right for me. Additionally, Cal is one of my better friends, and we've made such a great team together on this game that I would have a hard time continuing onward without him. (and yes, Cal, that's a "thank you" for everything you've done for me and the UXO project. You're a great friend and comrade, and I will truly miss the great fun of our game design debates.) I feel priviledged that I was briefly allowed to walk in the footsteps of Richard Garriot and his truly unique universe of Ultima. I have learned more about making games in my four and a half years at Origin than in my previous nine years in the gaming industry combined. Part of that was from being able to observe firsthand some of the industry's best innovators at Origin, and part of it was from you, the players. Thank you for all you have given me, and thank you for helping to improve me at my job and as a person.
CrazyJoe, I remember you, despite my fondness for scotch. Strangely it never registered on me that you lived so nearby, though. I'm glad I got to meet you, the other stratics folks and so many great players in San Francisco last August.

And speaking of that, I wanted to just make a last point or two, if I may. I must admit that it's heartwarming to hear all of the support from our beloved community. It's like having an enormous big brother to stick up for us. You have no idea how much that means to all of us on the UXO team.

But before we all get too carried away with the negativism, I want to emphasize that EA truly does think UXO has great potential, and they want to continue the project. They extended some very generous offers to a good number of the Austin devs. It's sad and unfortunate that such a relocation doesn't fit for some of us. But nonetheless, some of the UXO content team was already in California, and EA will find replacements for those of us who are unable to move.

I know some of the people who we'll be handing the baton off to, and they are fine developers. I think we've handed them some great work to build upon, and they are determined to finish the game in style. Perhaps with a new perspective, they'll find ways to improve it and make it even better. So before we start boycotting the game or hating EA, let's give them a chance.

Personally, I feel like I've invested so much of my life into this game that I'm going to continue to root for its success. And maybe if I'm lucky I can pull some strings and still get myself into the beta.

Amy "Cynthe/Morgaine" Sage
UXO Designer

Original Team Comments/Interviews:
Team Comments - October 26, 2001
Team Comments - August 20, 2001
Team Comments - July 10, 2001
Team Comments - June 15, 2001
Team Comments - May 16, 2001

Estimated Leaving Date: February 25, 2004

Projects With Origin/Electronic Arts: Ultima IX: Ascension, Ultima Online 2, Ultima Online and Ultima X: Odyssey
Next Project: Unknown At This Time

PARTING WORDS (posted to Avatar's Corner Forum Thread on 2/25/04):

Thank you all so much for this thread, and the others like it. Being on the UXO team was a real privilege, and I'm sure that those who continue on to California will do you well. Even after moving onto the project just last year, I've grown attached to the UXO community, and I'll be watching eagerly to see the game's progress.

Thanks for a great and rewarding five and a half years,

Amy Sage (Cynthe/Morgaine)