Richard Garriott Interview

Ultima creator Richard Garriott and Doom creator John Carmack were on hand at this weekend's QuakeCon to talk about space travel, and while that doesn't necessarily have a whole lot to do with Ultima, I can't help but feel like many of us helped fund Garriott's endeavors over the years. From Did those interests inspire you to work in games and inspire the setting of the games you made?

Carmack: It is a complete coincidence that we have made games involving Mars and rocket launchers, but it would be sort of interesting if somehow Armadillo Aerospace became the UAC.

Garriott: If you remember, Ultima one and two not only included swords and sorcery, but also spaceflight. So space was a part of the early Ultima series until medieval stuff kind of became the pattern.

... The financial windfall of selling your respective companies seems to have been very helpful in financing these expensive efforts.

Garriott: My spaceflight was a $30 million event. That was the majority of my net worth at the time. I was so devoted to doing this that I was willing to give, basically, all the money I had in the world to it. Because it was that important to me. I'm still a wealthy person, but I'm much less wealthy than I was before doing that. And, no, I couldn't go on another orbital spaceflight without building and selling another company.

Carmack: I was very proud that Armadillo has been able to support itself for a while now with work for NASA and the Rocket Racing League, but being an aerospace contractor is really a dead end, and it would be easy to settle in as another largely irrelevant small engineering company. Pursuing our own designs for cost-effective reusable rockets is where I think the real impact can be made, and now that I have more financial resources at my disposal, I am able to prioritize internal R&D over continuing to chase contract work.