2001-09-26: Comments from Tajima

Comments from Tajima

Sep 26 2001 2:09PM

This was originally posted to Development at [1]

Since this is my first "Comments from the Team" submission, I'd like to introduce myself. I'm Bryan Walker, better known on the UO boards as "Tajima." In the 3 1/2 years I've been here at Origin, I've served as producer for Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, producer/designer for Fighter Pilot, and producer/development director for Ultima Online: Third Dawn. Prior to arriving here, I worked on several standalone and online titles for Eidos Interactive/Domark Software as a producer and designer, and wrote freelance reviews for Computer Gaming World while serving in the US Army as an AH-64 Apache attack helicopter pilot.

Though I've been in the computer gaming industry for over 10 years, my passion for games goes back much further. In the '70s I had a lot of fun with the first pen-and-paper role-playing games such as the original Dungeons and Dragons, and went on to enjoy Traveller, Empire of the Petal Throne, Runequest, Champions, and Call of Cthulhu. I also played Squad Leader, Panzer Blitz, Car Wars, Star Fleet Battles, Cosmic Encounter, and Illuminati a great deal. I was very fortunate in being able to use my gaming addiction to pay my college tuition while working in hobby shops, teaching D&D as part of a gifted children's program, and doing some freelance play-testing and scenario design work.

I cut my teeth on home computers at about the same time as I was really getting into role-playing games. Starting with a TRS-80 Model 1 with 4k of RAM and a cassette drive, I began a consistent cycle of hardware upgrades as soon as the Apple II debuted. My online gaming experience started humbly, playing the original Adventure by Crowther and Woods on a Hazeltine 1500 terminal connected to a PDP-11/70 via a 300 baud acoustic modem! Thinking back, my first "multiplayer" online gaming experience was probably when several friends were gathered around the terminal yammering advice on how to open the jeweled egg in Dungeon, the mainframe game that went on to be known as Zork. In spite of that first experience, I was captivated by some of the MUDs to debut in the early '80s, such as The Island of Kesmai. Even though it only had scrolling text and symbols to represent the environment, it was still a great deal of fun adventuring with my friends (although, at $6 an hour we couldn't do it that often!). I went on to run a BBS as a hobby, and had a lot of fun supporting a small MUD along with some of the classic BBS games such as Trade Wars and VGA Planets.

All of that has now culminated here at Origin, where I'm currently working as a producer on Ultima Online. Having played UO almost daily for over 4 years, it's exciting to be part of the Live Team as we take the game in some bold, new directions. In fact, today's Live Team is probably the most passionate, hard-working, and technically savvy group I've seen since I've been at OSI. It's also been a great deal of fun talking to the players about what we're up to. I'm really looking forward to hearing their feedback when we unveil some of the new features that will take UO to the next level. The next few months are going to be exciting, and the next few years even more so!

Bryan "Tajima" Walker Producer Ultima Online