I’m just going to tell you now that you should skip everything I say below and just head over and read Raph Koster’s Website.
There are a lot of amazing little stories about UO’s development, such as the jungle biome:
An anecdote: We’re all meeting over the fact that we’re short on artists. It meant that we might lose the entire jungle biome.
I said to Starr, “If I can have a Wacom tablet, I can probably draw plants.”
Starr turned to Rick and said “Is he any good?”
Rick shrugged. “Yeah, he’s not bad.”
I got a Wacom tablet. And I did all of these. They were all drawn from issues of National Geographic that I brought in from home… that’s why there are several specifically Hawaiian plants there. Later, poor Chuck Crist had to go through and painstakingly remove the black edging from them — I hadn’t done them on a transparent layer.
And areas that never made it into Ultima Online :
In one of these pics you can see the faxed-in cover of Computer Games magazine… I had been slaving for weeks over a very cool and much more elaborately built environment called Teratha. It was a spider-worshipping culture that built its city around a volcano. It became the cover image for the magazine article — and was cut from the game a little while later. I was devastated… but we had to make a lot of cuts… I mean, three whole continents were the first to go…! I remember sketching stuff out for the cultures of the Lands of the Dark Unknown — I think some of this eventually became stuff used in the Lost Lands and in Elikki and some other locales in Britannia. So if you ever wondered where these extra islands and whatnot came from… like Ocllo… well, now you know.