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Owyn

Administrator
Staff member
#1
Some people have been asking about the team behind Outlands, so I wanted to share something about our UO gaming and development experience with you:

Owyn
Lead Administrator / Founder

I started playing Ultima Online in 1999 after I was introduced to it through a friend in another gaming community alt-newsgroup. Growing up in a small town in Canada, I wasn't able to find UO on the shelves, and remember having to order it from Amazon in the US and paid duty on it when it arrived. At the time I was 12 years old, and my family wasn't comfortable with using their credit card online to subscribe to the official servers.. so my first experience playing UO was mainly on Sphere (TUS back then) freeshards ranging from Sentinel Heights/Epsilon Eridani/Oblivion to Metropolis and most shards in between.

I was a GM on Oblivion during it's transition from Sphere 55a to RunUO (a huge undertaking), and then watched as the shard grew to 250+ online during it's peak. I remember, like a true nerd, running home after school to be there on time to run Capture the Flag for 6PM EST.

In 2001 I was approached by a hardware overclocking guru (then Apu's Hardware) named "Mortin" who was interested in launching a UO shard for his huge community of overclockers, which was basically a built in shard population. They had found me via the RunUO forums where I had started being a bit more active and was dabbling in the emulation community. I launched Icrontic as their lead Administrator, which would go on to become one of the largest freeshards of all time with over 800 unique IP's connected concurrently. Icrontic was run on the POL emulator and spawned a family of shards (Icrontic, Icrontik, Neverlands) after it was shut down due to the untimely death of my co-founder & host.

After high school (and the stress associated with Icrontic closing down), I took a break from UO to focus on my post- education, but picked UO up again on the map development side of things in 2009. After playing around with it for a few years and starting/stopping various personal mapping projects, I started to check out the UO freeshard scene again. I connected with an old friend named Erast who was a developer on Oblivion, and at the time he was interested in making another UO project using my map work. As time went on, and he became gainfully employed (utilizing the skills he learned from programming for UO), we decided it would be best to call the unbown project off.

Upon stumbling into the UO subreddit, I first discovered UO An Corp which had released an "Expansion" and offered to develop some maps for them, which is when I connected with Luthius first. An Corp had it's fair share of internal struggles, and the maps I made never saw the light of day. I knew that from the minute I saw Luthius' post on Reddit that I didn't want to work with any other developer in the "freeshard world" and made it my goal to have him be the developer who brought my map to life.

At this same time, Rel Por was re-launching, and featured a custom map and also had the infrastructure in place to push out map content really seamlessly. I approached Admerylous about making some maps (I actually just edited his map and asked if he wanted it, and he obliged). I contributed 2.5 dungeons (Mount Oweno, Demergo lvl 2, Muskeg Chasm) during it's reboot, and was able to finally see players running around on my map work: I was officialy hooked again. (Mount Oweno is now Mount Petram, and Muskeg Chasm is now Darkmire Temple on Outlands; both have seen a nearly complete revamp since Rel Por.)

After UO An Corp closed it's doors, I approached Luthius directly about putting a project together, and thus Outlands was born. We came to an agreement that we wouldn't interfere too drastically in each others worlds (ie: code and map), and setting these boundaries very early on in Development has helped Outlands to grow organically into an incredible project.

In addition to being the map developer for Outlands, I am also the Lead Administrator in charge of the staff, community and web presence (including the website, forums, wiki, etc), now flanked by a small but talented and ambitious team of UO lovers. I have built the map exclusively using CentrED+ over more than 6500 hours (probably more...)

I'm a Canadian who currently resides on the East Coast of the USA, but my job brings me around the world, so you'll frequently catch me chatting and ingame from 30,000ft.


Luthius
Lead Developer / Founder

My initial experience with UO began in September of 1997, about 2 weeks after the game's official launch. I played on the Great Lakes server and was lucky enough to be apart of a few notable Ultima events/ interactions. I was in the Stormrune guild, one of the first (if not the first) Anti-PK guilds in UO, and OSI did a feature article on us on the main UO website back in 97, which was pretty neat. Our guild was either the first, or close to one of the first, guilds on the server to place a castle, and several GMs came to place some custom decorations in it to mark the event.

I spent a good amount of time in Shadowclan Orcs on Great Lakes in 1998, and split my time between that and a handful of misc guilds, including Lum the Mad's guild for a time, and took place in the Sage Humboldt and Kazola's Tavern events.

I quit UO in 2000, made a brief return to Great Lakes in 2001, and then began experimenting with RunUO around 2002 or so. My programming experience at the time was extremely limited, so it largely consisted of just messing around with properties in text files.

From 2002 and onward I played nearly every free server for at least 2-3 weeks, mostly out of morbid curiosity, until In Por Ylem (IPY) came along. I played both IPY1 and IPY2 through their entireties. I experimented off and on with each new update for RunUO, and after taking programming classes in college started a computer programming job. After that I became pretty familiar with coding UO content, although I still had a good deal of stuff remaining to learn (like Serialization!).

Around 2012 or so Admerlyous posted a forum post on the IPY2 forums about making a competitor server to IPY2 (the post was quickly deleted, understandably), and I got in contact with him to discuss the possibility of helping out. The server was called Rel Por, and I ended up doing a decent amount of the coding on the server (notably creature AI, combat revision, skill rebalances, and introducing a whole host of bugs, heh).

I left Rel Por a few months after it launched, and took a break from the UO community for a while. I followed the development of IPY3 and it's eventual transition to launch as UO An Corp. I played An Corp for about a month or so before taking another several month break from UO. Hazzard, a player I knew from IPY2 and UOAC, mentioned that UOAC was looking for possible development help, and suggested that I get in contact with them. I joined the UOAC team about 2 weeks before the server shut down, and only programmed a few mechanics in that short time (such as returning player skill scroll rewards and weapon enhancers).

Because the transition from IPY3 to UOAC1 had been such a rocky one, with Az abandoning the project, blowing up the IPY forums, and disappearing, most of the remaining UOAC1 team (with myself now included on it) felt the server deserved have to have a redo and try to tackle a lot of the issues from the previous iteration, as many of them were out of our control. So we spent around 6-7 months in beta developing UOAC2 and making it something pretty unique . Ultimately I ended up doing the bulk of the coding on the server and became intimitately familiar with just about everything to do with RunUO. I ended up coding a large number of pretty interesting systems from scratch and rebuilt a good number of systems entirely from the ground up. Some turned out pretty neat, and some turned out pretty shitty. But I did learn an awful lot about how expectations differ from reality when it comes to developing content for UO players, and that there's a big difference between a neat idea and a good idea.

I left UOAC2 about 15 months after launch and took a break from UO (again!) for a while. After a month or so hiatus, I decided I would start developing again, but purely for myself, with no intention of ever making the content public. I focused on rebuilding entire systems from scratch just to see what I could do with them, without having the restrictions of requiring other staff to approve of changes, and largely doing what I wanted to with them.

Owyn contacted me a few months after leaving the server and discussed the prospect of us doing a joint project with myself as the coder and him as the world builder. I was pretty reticent to jump back into the UO community again and dealing with all the stress that comes with building content that other players will critique (and try to break!) but I told him I'd definitely consider it. So for about a year we stayed in contact daily in Discord and kept sharing what we each had built that day, mostly just enjoying the ability to each do exactly what we wanted with our own content without restrictions.

Every so often we discussed the prospect of making it an official server, and eventually we went through a few several different concept ideas, ultimately settling on Outlands a little over a year ago. And the rest is history!

I live out in Minneapolis, MN USA which has some of the world's worst winters and some of the strangest summers.

I work for a living doing Aviation Simulation software. I typically play soccer and hockey several times a week, and when I'm not programming UO (sometimes it happens!) I'm usually either canoeing, fishing, or playing Nuclear Throne.
 
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Lenz

Lead Gamemaster
Staff member
#2
Lenz
Lead Gamemaster
I began playing Ultima Online in 1998. At the time 'playing' meant the 1 hour a night that my internet plan allowed! I moved around a number of OSI and private shards over the years, but Pacific was my first, and this is where I became utterly addicted to the UO community just as much as the game itself.

Fast forward 15 years or so (!!) and my old friend Owyn got in touch to tell me about his new project - and have watched in awe as he and Luthius have constructed the wonder that is Outlands. I couldn't be more excited to see what the community manages to create here - there is no doubt this is the most exciting Ultima Online project since 1997. I've never been involved in other 'MMO' type games outside of UO, but have a strong interest in RTS and turn based strategy games.

I'm Europe based so will be the eyes of the admins during those hours. In my day to day life I work as a manager in a medium sized charity - which allows me a reasonable amount of flexibility. I plan on taking advantage of that and being around a lot for the server launch - I don't want to miss anything!
 
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Expo

Overseer
Staff member
#3
Expo
Overseer and Content/Event Coordinator

I will never forget receiving the Ultima Online beta CD in the mail, after sending a $5 check to Origin, and watching that treasure chest open to reveal a game that I would still be playing 20+ years later. Unfortunately, at the time I lived in on an island where internet wasn't really a thing so it would take me almost 2 hours to run from Minoc to Vesper and visiting Britain was impossible.

I became one of the original UO Stratics Shard Reporters for Chesapeake, known as Narga Saiyen, and reported on community events, roleplaying scenarios, vendor malls, PKs, even the opening of the Lost Lands with Sherry the Mouse. Paxlair, Clan of Vampires, J-D, the cities of Corwyn and Haven, the Falconer's Inn... all wonderful examples.

Eventually I had to stop playing due to real life but would return for the Age of Shadows up until Mondain's Legacy but wanted something different. That is when I ran into the grey shard community and have pretty much been a part of for almost 10 years. I was an Administrator and Developer for a couple of "top shards" but have never seen anything like Outlands or been this excited about UO since release. I have also worked in the gaming industry as a Player Support Specialist in the trenches and a Community Developer.

I used to (still do) drool over Luthius' creations on Youtube videos and always wanted to work with someone like him to create custom, involved, and amazing content for UO and now here we are. A reddit post was what brought me into contact with Owyn and ever since then I have been creating videos, images and content to bring Outlands into the forefront of the grey shard community.
 
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