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Default Origin Systems - How It Started

May 17th, 2013, 21:53
A tweet from the Rampant Coyote led me to an article at The Digital Antiquarian about the birth of Origin Systems and Ultima III.
Everything about the young (literally; look at their picture above!) Origin Systems was bizarre, even by startup standards. They set up shop in Richardís personal playhouse, a space above the Garriott familyís three-car garage which had once served as an art studio for his mother but had been commandeered by Richard and his friends years before for their D&D games. It was a big room scattered with desks, chairs, and even cots. Here Richard and his friends set up their various computers. A little cubbyhole at one end served as Robertís business office. Robert himself was still officially living in Massachusetts with his wife, who had quite a career of her own going as a manager at Bell Labs and thus couldnít move. Robert, however, was a pilot with a little Cessna at his disposal. He spent three weeks of each month in Houston, then flew back to spend the last with his wife in Massachusetts.
Together Chuck Bueche and Richard worked feverishly on the games that would become Origin Systemsís first two products. Chuckís was an action game called Caverns of Callisto; Richardís was of course the big one upon which they were all depending to get Origin properly off the ground, Ultima III.
Given its flagship status, Garriott felt compelled to try to remedy some of the shortcomings of his earlier games. In particular, he was obviously eying the Wizardry series; for all of the Ultima seriesís stellar reviews and sales, the first two Wizardry games had garnered even better and more of both. Much of whatís new in Ultima III is there in the name of addressing his seriesís real or perceived failings in comparison with Wizardry. Thus he replaced the single adventurer of the early games with a full party which the player must manage; added a new strategic combat screen to make fights more interesting; added a full magic system with 32 separate spells to cast to replace the simplistic system (which the player could easily and safely ignore entirely) of his previous games; added many new class and race options from which to build characters; made some effort to bring some Wizardry-style rigorousness to the loosy-goosy rules of play that marked his earlier games.
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May 17th, 2013, 21:54
Oh man its worth clicking on that article just for the photo, reminds me of the old days.

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May 18th, 2013, 09:50
Takes some serious nerdage to make Richard Garriott look like the cool dude of the group
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