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Part Three: I get too involved in gaming

As I pondered my options, I received a call from Gordon "Tyrant" Walton, the fearsome head of Ultima Online.  He wanted to know if I would like to work for them.   Oddly enough, I didn't think it was a good idea, but what the hell.  An Interview would give me a free trip to Austin and I would get to see what life inside a development house is like.

Then the bastards got me hooked.  Origin was, at the time, based in Austin, Texas at a building called Bridgeport Plaza.  The drive takes you past stunning white cliffs and rich woods.  Standing atop a hill, you drive up right underneath the Origin logo saying "We Create Worlds."  "Oh my god!" I exclaimed to my wife as we pulled up.  "It's Origin!  The house Lord British built!  Wing Commander!  Ultima!  Oh my God!".  My wife, not so gently, reminded me not to act like an excited school girl.  I couldn't help it.

You walk into the lobby and all around you is reminders of why Origin was such an incredible place.  People walked by excitedly talking about their jobs.  Great games of the past lined the walls.  A giant trophy case contained bits of Origin history that would make any fan melt at the site.

I met with Gordon and was instantly impressed.  Gordon, despite his reputation as a taskmaster, is one of the smartest, kindest and insightful guy you could imagine.  He showed me around and introduced me to the staff.  I would go from one office to another, impressed with everyone I met.  Everyone had such passion for the work they did, and had such talent doing it.

Try not to accept a job offer under those circumstances.

I was hired to do community relations for Ultima Online 2.  UO2 was going to be a runaway hit.  The graphics were years beyond what were on the market at the time, and even greater than what we see today three years later.  The gameplay had simplicity and depth at the same time.  The skill trees allowed for customization of characters and were open ended.  The world had a great back story, and some of the best programming, design and art staffs ever assembled.

I was in game geek heaven.  Never before had I been as excited to go to work.  Never had I worked on something I believed in so much.

It couldn't last.

Part Four: Changes

 


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