Ultima Online Seattle Player Gathering
My friend, Nai Grath, and I finally arrive at 6:10pm. We asked at the front desk where the Ultima Online Convention was and we were told 12th floor Seatac room. We got upstairs and the revolving restaurant was filled with people that looked like they were there for a party. Since I was still putting my costume on I sent Nai over to ask where the Seatac room is. We were directed back to the first floor which with the new directions found the room easily. It was now 6:20pm, sign in started at 5pm and ended at 6pm.
My first impression was, what did we do last year to deserve being put in to this box. With a little trouble we found Joshua Rowan, got signed in, then received our door prize tickets, Dinner tickets and a special Stratics T-Shirt. Unlike the previous year, finding a place to sit wasn't that hard. I'm not sure of the exact turn out, but it appeared there weren't as many people as the previous year. Awaiting us at the table was the Itinerary. No other gizmos this year, Joshua later on in the day explained to every one that the extras cost to much to provide them again this year. This was fine considering we got the T-Shirts. T-Shirts aren't exactly cheap.
The first order of business was to figure out which table had the OSI employee. Only problem, no one at our table had a clue what he/she looked like. I figured he/she must be at the center table because that's where Joshua was sitting.
Joshua had been nice enough to get two salads for us since we were late. This worked out kind of well because shortly after we finished our salads our dinner was served. I had the London Broil again. It had been okay the last year, Nai thought it was better this year. I still thought it was a little too much show and not enough actual food.
Next was the door prize give away. I didn't win anything the first round. Then there was a Trivia Contest, which I was able to answer most of the questions, but other people got their hands up first.
Next was the Q&A where we found out Melantus was a guy. Unfortunately this year we didn't have microphones which had me really concerned because I'd bought a Creative Nomad to record the Q&A, but long range tests hadn't turned out to well. I had a tape recorder for backup in the car, but I couldn't find it before heading in. Fortunately it sounds like the Nomad worked out pretty well.
After the Q&A they gave away the rest of the door prizes. I didn't win anything which was kind of disappointing because at least last year I'd gotten a zipper pull. Joshua had a bunch of extra UO tattoos left from the Trivia Contest and told people to take one, so I guess I did get something.
The reason I was given for the dinner being held later than the previous year was to place it near Halloween so there could be a costume contest. I had dressed up as my character from UO, but didn't win anything. That was a little disappointing because I'd spent about 60 hours hand sewing the cape together. At least I took second place in my company's costume contest.
After that was the showing of the Ultima Worlds Online: Origin movie that was featured in PC Gamer Magazine and is available on http://www.uo2.com/. I didn't watch it because I've got it at home and have watched it enough times. Instead I headed over to talk to Melantus. (OSI's UO Online Community Coordinator) The following is the recording of my and other people's chat with him.
I hope I didn't annoy him too much with constantly holding the Nomad near him to record what he said.
I noticed that Joshua was playing the Ultima IX music CD so I figured he might have Ultima IX with him. On one of the message boards around the time Ultima IX came out someone had mentioned that if you renamed the files in the movies directory from .DAT to .MPG that you could play them in any player that could play MPEG 1 video files. I figured that Joshua probably knew this, but thought it might be nice for people that didn't have Ultima IX to see the cinematics. Well Joshua didn't know you could do that so he had fun looking at the different cut scenes. BTW, you don't have to rename the files to play them in Windows Media Player. You can just open Windows Media Player then drag and drop the .DAT files on to the main video window and it will play them.
Since it was a long ride home, and it was later than the year before we decided to leave at about 10pm. The previous year we'd left a half hour early, but this year was 1 hour because things really did start to wind down then.
I must say that I did have a good time. Not quite as good as the year before, I much preferred the elegant upstairs restaurant, but also missed the technical aspect that the Lead Programmer had brought the previous year. I look forward to next year where the lunch/dinner might be a UO/Origin dinner. That would sure make an interesting Q&A session.
In my email correspondence with Joshua he informed me:
* There were 100 people this year as opposed to 150 last year *
* Holiday Inn needed the restaurant this year as a result of a couple High School Homecomings *
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