Judging the Sudiva Fiction Writing Contest

June 14, 2012 By: Watchertoo Category: General News

Judging the Sudiva Fiction Writing Contest

Bonnie “Mesanna” Armstrong

14 Jun 2012 10:30:26 EST

Hello Everyone,

   I was asked to judge the Sudiva fiction writing contest and recruit more judges to join in. The first person I asked to read the entries was Mike “Phoenix” Moore. But there are other people even outside of the UO team who have a lot of knowledge and love for the UO history – one of them is Kate Flack, one of our Lead Designers who also has a great collection of the old UO games. I respect her opinion and love her creativity so Kate was a logical choice to be a judge. With that said she has written a note to you guys.

  When Ultima Online producer Bonnie Armstrong asked me to help judge a fiction competition, little did I know just how creative and inspired the entries would be! As a Lead Designer for BioWare Mythic, I deal with writing every day. Whether it’s technical precision or emotive dialogue, I’m constantly assessing my team’s writing and pushing them to deliver at ever higher grades of quality.

   I fully expected to be the ‘bad cop’ judge. I’ve made a career of IP interpolation (that’s industry jargon for ‘coming up with new stuff that fits the game world’) and I’ve lost count of the times I’ve had to explain ‘that’s a good idea, but it doesn’t quite fit because of x, y or z’ to an eager designer with a new idea. I was worried how I’d give you feedback that was kind, but accurate. You know the sort of thing- should I choose Justice or Compassion?

  Imagine my happy astonishment at the depth and more importantly, subtlety of the entries we received. Ultima isn’t an easy Intellectual Property to grok. The heritage of the game is long and winding. The systems of the various games are intricate. It’s high fantasy with even higher ideals behind it. It was a pleasure to read stories dealing deftly, even effortlessly, with the world. From despair in the darkness to the glittering heights of dragonflight, these tales do Ultima proud. Whether it’s Paladins with Mice, cunning peasants or spiritual insight, you’ve found inventive and entertaining ways to free Sudiva from the shackles of the Dungeon Covetous. 

  It’s been hard to choose a few winners from amongst this crop. I was particularly charmed by the use of ‘dragonsmirk’ and even the idea of Sudiva settling in Moonglow Zoo. Still, this is a competition, so I’ve tried to pick stories that speak to the Virtues and the history of Ultima, whilst also being a damn good read.

   Well done to everyone who took part. Let’s do this again sometime!

Kate Flack
Lead Designer, BioWare Mythic.

We are currently compiling the results of the different judges and will announce the winners soon.

Thank you for all the great stories!

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