Ultima Forever – Details on Payment, Possible Android Version

I saw a mention of Christopher (Chris) Ondrus on UO Stratics, discussing how he is the producer of both Ultima Forever: Quest for the Avatar (which we already knew) as well as producer of Dungeon Keeper Online (which we also already knew) and some of the things that he has added to his LinkedIn profile. In the summary of his profile, he mentions that “Currently I’m working on an iOS game called Ultima Forever: Quest for the Avatar.”

Here are the relevant parts of his LinkedIn profile that related to his tenure as the producer of Ultima Forever: Quest for the Avatar:

  • Successfully planned and managed the Ultima Forever alpha build launch.
  • Collaborated with team leads to create milestone and beta plans. Executed milestone plans using Hansoft and Dev Track to track progress against weekly goals.
  • Coordinated with multiple groups to ensure deployments of clients and servers, beta user registration website, press releases and CRMs.
  • Created detailed game documents for product compliances and worked with EA Legal to ensure payment methods passed currency online laws.
  • Scoped, designed and managed the implementation of key features such as UI touch mechanisms, in-game purchase loops and Origin platform integration.
  • Managed third party accounts with Apple, Android, Live Gamer, Lockbox, Origin and Intel.
  • Drove vendors to meet key milestone dates and deliver quality features through QA feedback and iteration.
  • Negotiated vendor contracts to achieve studio cost saving initiatives.

As far as account management is concerned, most people are aware that U4E is integrated with Origin.com and it’s client. When you sign up for the Ultima Forever beta, you are required to have an Origin account. EA has been moving its digital/online services into the Origin.com client for well over a year now and they have indicated this is the future for their digital offerings.

There was also a mention of “vendor contracts to achieve studio cost saving initiatives.” and a couple of other mentions of vendors, which everybody knows is related to the outsourcing that EA does for its games. We don’t know what was outsourced, whether it was artwork or other parts of development, but it most likely related to the artwork.

Here’s where things get interesting. There is a line in his experience relating to U4E that stands out: “Managed third party accounts with Apple, Android, Live Gamer, Lockbox, Origin and Intel.”

The Apple entry relates to the iTunes App Store (where it’ll be distributed) and possibly the Mac App Store, assuming they will be making a Mac OS X version of Ultima Forever, which has been hinted at in interviews.

Android…I think it was a given that we would see an Android version, but there’s your official confirmation that work was or is being done on it. From the interviews, it was clear that they wanted to have Ultima Forever on more than just the PC and iPad platforms. With an emphasis on U4E having a touch-based interface, and with Amazon.com’s moves towards a fully-featured Android-based tablet, and with the success of some Android-based tablets already, support for Android is a given.

Live Gamer, well I’ll let Live Gamer’s description speak for itself: “Live Gamer is the world’s first combined e-commerce and advertising platform. From its industry-leading micro-transaction engine and global payment gateways to the most innovative engagement advertising platform and targeted ad network…” I actually find the Live Gamer bit very interesting because it’s something I would have thought that EA would handle on its own through Origin.com, given that EA wants to handle all of its digital transactions in-house, but Live Gamer does offer some other things that are attractive, and it maybe that Origin.com wasn’t yet setup to handle certain aspects that the U4E team wanted.

The Lockbox and Intel mentions, I’m not sure about. I know that there were Lockbox references made to the Bioware Points systeme used for downloadable content (DLC) and it’s possible that was handled through a third party company named “Lockbox”. Intel is probably just an advertising thing, although it’s a bit odd given that many people will be playing it on tablets, and iOS and Android tablets are not Intel-powered.

So there you have it, Android suppo

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