Tabula Rasa

Weekend leisure: Richard Garriott gives behind-the-scenes look at developing Ultima

Josh Augustine at

In 2007, Warren Spector taught a class at the University of Texas and invited 12 prominent developers to tell their stories of being pioneers in the game development industry, with the goal of preserving the history of our favorite hobby. His tenth guest was Richard Garriott, the game-developer-turned-astronaut who created the Ultima series of games that played a strong part in defining the RPG and MMO genres. In this 3-hour video, Garriott gives incredible insight into the process of making games, and is very frank about the problems, errors, and mistakes made along the way.

Firefall's Mark Kern talks MMO evolution and the "Circle of Suck"

Owen Hill at

I got to talk to Mark Kern a few weeks ago. He's previously worked on Starcraft, Diablo 2 and Warcraft 3. But Mark also knows his MMOs. He was team leader on World of Warcraft and he's currently CEO of Red 5 Studios - the team behind MMO FPS Firefall.

Mark reckons massively multiplayer games need to evolve dramatically if they're to be successful. "We’ve got to break out of the mould." said the CEO. "If I see another action MMO combat game with exclamation points over quest givers, I’m going to commit seppuku! We’re pouring so much money down a very stale formula. It’s an illusion to say that "Oh, that’s safety. It used to be safety but it's not anymore."