University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the Richard Garriott Papers, 1980-2007

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Garriott, Richard
Title: Garriott, Richard, Papers
Dates: 1980-2007
Abstract: Richard Garriott (b. 1961) is best known as the creator and producer of the Ultima series of computer games, one of the most popular and commercially successful role playing game series of all time. Collection includes papers, hardware, software, published videogames, design documents, production materials, promotional material, oversize art and artifacts that document Garriott's career in game design and production.
Accession No.: 2007-032; 2007-188; 2009-241
OCLC No.: 956315742
Language: Materials are written in English.
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Note

Richard Garriott (b. 1961) is best known as the creator and producer of the Ultima series of computer games, one of the most popular and commercially successful role playing game series of all time. Born in Cambridge, England to American scientist/astronaut Owen K. Garriott and professional artist Helen Garriott, Richard moved at an early age with his family to Nassau Bay, Texas.

Inspired by his father's scientific career, Garriott was fascinated by computers and computer games, and began coding simple computer games on a teletype, paper tape reader and modem while attending high school in Houston, Texas. In 1979, while working at a ComputerLand retail store, Garriott self-published his first game: Akalabeth: World of Doom. The game was picked up for distribution by California Pacific Computer Company and sold 30,000 copies, an impressive number to this day.

Soon thereafter Garriott began developing the first Ultima game. The game and subsequent series proved so popular that in 1983 Garriott and his brother Robert formed Origin Systems, Inc. to independently develop and publish all subsequent games. In addition to the Ultima series (which would eventually include 13 releases), Origin Systems produced the popular Wing Commander series, and many others throughout the 1980s and 90s.

In 1992, Garriott sold Origin to Electronic Arts. After relatively poor sales of Ultima IX: Ascension (1999) Electronic Arts suspended all future Origin projects, prompting Garriott to leave Origin Systems, Inc. and found the short-lived Destination Games. In 2001, Destination Games partnered with South Korean MMORPG developer NCsoft to become NCsoft Austin, where Garriott served as Executive Producer on popular titles such as City of Heroes and Tabula Rasa.

Apart from his work with videogames, Garriott also has a thirst for exploration and adventure and has used his considerable wealth to travel to the North Pole, the Titanic wreckage on the ocean floor, and to a canoe trip on the Amazon River. Most significantly, Garriott followed in his astronaut father's footsteps by becoming a "space tourist" and traveling to the International Space Station in 2008. Garriott's interest in space is also reflected in his involvement with private space travel "outfitters" Space Adventures and as a trustee for the Ansari X-prize.

While attending the University of Texas in the early 80's he joined a creative anachronism and fencing club and adopted the pseudonym "Lord British", a name which later served as his alter ego in Akalabeth and the Ultima series.

Scope and Contents

Collection includes papers, hardware, software, published videogames, design documents, production materials, promotional material, oversize art and artifacts that document Garriott's career in game design and production, the daily business of his former company Origin Systems, Inc., and various personal adventures.

The bulk of the collection relates to the development, production and promotion of Origin videogames, including the entire Ultima series. Design binders document games both published and unpublished at various states of development. Hand-drawn maps on graph paper represent Garriott's earliest attempts at designing and coding a videogame, dating to Garriott's first published game Akalabeth: World of Doom and earlier.


Access Restrictions

Restricted access.

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Garriott, Richard
Subjects (Organizations)
Origin Systems, Inc.
Video games
Video games--Authorship
Video games--Collectibles
Video games--Design
Video games--Handbooks, Manuals, etc.
Video games--History
Video games industry
Video games--Social aspects
Video game--United States--History
Space tourism
Austin (Tex.)

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Richard Garriott Papers, 1980-2007, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Matthew McKinley

Subsequent revisions made by Jennifer Allen, August 2016.

Detailed Description of the Papers



Processing Apple II Plus [used by Garriott for his early work]
On Shelves Apple Silentype Printer


Published Videogames

On Shelves Ultima Collection (Origin Systems, Inc.), 1998
Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar (Origin Systems, Inc., Japanese version), n.d.
Ultima VII: The Black Gate (Origin Systems, Inc.), 1991
Ultima VIII: Pagan (Origin Systems, Inc.), 1996
Ultima IX: Ascension (Origin Systems, Inc.), 1999
Worlds of Ultima: The Savage Empire (Origin Systems, Inc.), 1990
Ultima Worlds of Adventure: Martian Dreams (Origin Systems, Inc.), 1991
Ultima Collection (Origin Systems, Inc.), 1998
Ultima II: Revenge of Enchantress (Origin Systems, Inc. Japanese version), n.d.
Ultima III: Exodus (Origin Systems, Inc., Japanese version), n.d.
Ultima III: Exodus (Origin Systems, Inc.), n.d.
Ultima IV: Ascension (Origin Systems, Inc.), 1999
Caverns of Callisto by Chuckles (Origin Systems, Inc.), n.d.
Black and White (Lionhead Studios/Electronic Arts), 2001
Heroes of Might and Magic III: Of Might and Magic (3DO), 1999
Caverns of Callisto by Chuckles (Origin Systems, Inc.), n.d.
Ultima Underworld: The Stysian Abyss (Origin Systems, Inc.), 1992


Tabletop Board Games

On Shelves The Wizard of Oz [Pressman Toys], 1999
Robo Rally [Wizards of the Coast], 1995
Robo Rally: Armed and Dangerous expansion [Wizards of the Coast], 1995
Palenque [Timbuk II], 1998
Tikal [Rio Grande Games], 1999
Lego Mindstorms: Robotics Invention System 1.5 [Lego], 1999


Game Design Document Binders

2007-032/1 "Ultima IX: Ascension: Technical Design Document," 105 pp., printed 12/01/97
"Wing Commander Privateer"
"Underworld 3: Design Document," 103 pp., includes annotations 8/27/97
"Underworld 3," prelimary draft of design document, 84 pp., 8/25/07
"Ascension: Ultima IX," Prepared by Bob White and Brian Marin, 60 pp., includes annotations, 8/13/97
Ultima 9 Engine Layout, 1 pp., 9/12/97
"The Theory of Code Re-Use: A Position Paper," by Bill Randolph, Lord British Productions, 4 pp., 9/22/97
"Terminus Overview: Being developed by Vicarious Visions," prepared by Jeff Anderson, 34 pp., 3/23/1999
"Temper of Wisdom: Volume Two of the Ultima Saga"
"Ultima IX: Ascension," 59 pp.
"Ultima VII: The Black Gate Character's List," includes annotations and loose-leaf notes, 9/30/91
Employee Project File Pages
"Ultima VII Clue Path Version 2.0"
"Ultima VII: The Black Gate: Black Book"
"Introductory Story Boards"


Production Material

2007-032/2 Ultima IX: Ascension "Journal", Magic "Screed", fold-out art and Certificate


"Pen and Paper" Gaming

2007-032/1 Ultima: The Role Playing Game Proposal and Outline [Binder], 1987
The Savage Empire Role Playing Adventure


Promotional Material

2007-032/1 Advertisement for Akalabeth, 1980
Fallout: Tactics promotional folder
Microforte company promotional folder


Pagon's Files

2009-241/1 General Info
"Mike's Subscriptions"
Steering Committee
Steering Committee '97
Forms and Manuals
Shipping Info
Vendor Info
PSM and Minutes (August '97)
PSM and Minutes (September '97)
Charitable Requests
"Job Descriptions - Update Web"
Organizational Chart
Hertz's Info
[Loose Origin Envelopes]
Fax to Electronic Arts Legal Department
Petty Cash Requests
OSI Headcount and Termination Report
Happy Hour Mardi Gras
2009-241/2 Beginning FrontPage97 for Windows 95, New Horizons Computer Learning Center, 1997
Wing Commander II Special Operations Mission Spec Script
Wing Commander III Celebration: The Interactive Party
Photos and proof sheets
Loose Ultima Advertisements
Origin Systems Furniture Standards (Binder)
Origin Systems, Inc. Picnic 1999
Picnic, 1998
Company Picnic, 1997
"Move Information"
Sent Faxes
2009-241/3 Holiday Party, 1998
Joye McBurnett
Menus and Brochures
1998 Lunches


Early Design Material

2009-241/4 2 hand-drawn maps on graph paper, 2 Dungeons & Dragons Character sheets in folder labeled "S-Z", 1977
Hand-drawn map on graph paper with title and legend in runes [O/S]
Gameplay notes on loose paper
"Secret Map of Mount Drash First Level" hand-drawn map on graph paper in plastic binder sleeve labeled "7-12.3"
5 hand-drawn maps on graph paper in plastic binder sleeves labeled "Faerie 21-13"
Hand-drawn map on tracing paper with runic script [O/S]
2 sheets of graph paper with unidentified drawings
Print-outs of events in text-based role-playing game
Computer tape containing the program code for "D&D 1", a pre-cursor of Akalabeth and the Ultima series


Production Materials

2009-241/4 2 sets original zip bag packaging for Akalabeth: World of Doom
Large paper with Origin Systems, Inc. logo and (Houston) address
Hand-drawn design for Origin Systems, Inc. logo on card stock
Caverns of Callisto map and instruction booklet
3 unconstructed boxes for Ultima III and Caverns of Callisto


Software Related to Published Videogames

2009-241/4 Ultima Ascension IX: The Enhanced CD, original music CD (Electronic Arts), 1999
Ultima Generation: Road to the Avatar digicube, 2002



2009-241/5 2 Mousepads with Garriott's face imprinted on a Kraft Macaroni & Cheese logo
Kraft Macaroni & Cheese box with Garriott's face imprinted
Ultima: Generation Japanese game cards in FedEx package from E.A. Japan intended for (Garriott's?) signature
Caverns of Callisto box containing hobby paint, sewing needles, packaged utility hinge and picture of child, as well as all game materials except disk
Novelty (Ultima related?) Currency, 5 pieces in folded green paper
2 pictures of Garriott ca. 19 years old
Plane ticket in Garriott's name, San Jose CA to Austin TX, 7/2/98


ID Cards

2009-241/5 Richard Garriott business card Vice President Origin Systems, Inc.
Richard Garriott business card Producer NC Soft
Richard Garriott Space Adventures Photo ID


Game Design Documents

2009-241/5 "Privateer 3: Design Specifications", 91 pp., 8/25/97
"Wing Commander Online: Privateer Design Document Review", 268 pp. (first page signed by development team), 10/6/99
"Ultima Online II: Technical Design", 133 pp., 1998
"Ultima Online II: Design Document", 213 pp., 5/20/99
"Crusader: Online Design Review Document", Origin Systems Inc. and Harmless Games, 84 pp., 1998
"Ultima Ascension Summary", 150 pp., 12/1/98
"Ultima IX: Ascension", includes annotations, ~300 pp., 6/20/95
"Ultima: Battle Master Design Document", Cyberlore Studios, Inc. and Origin Systems, Inc., 171 pp., 1998
2009-241/6 "Janis' Spanker Design Document", Origin Skunkworks, 51 pp., 5/15/09
"Crusader Online Technical Design Document", Electronic Arts and Harmless Games, 43 pp., 1998
"Shadow Force" Design Document, Electronic Arts, 66 pp.,
"Battle Cry: A Call to Arms" Design Document, Electronic Arts, 59 pp.,



2009-241/6 Juggle, picture of Garriott juggling in space, Summer 2009
Your Austin Lifestyle, feat. interview with Garriott pg. 20, 2009
Austin American Statesman, front page article on Garriott's space trip 8/2/08


Space Trip

2009-241/6 Envelope in Russian with Garriott in space suit
"Le Tourine Spatial" souvenir stamp with Garriott's face
Signed photo of Garriott and crew in space suits
Photo of Garriott solo in space suit
Printed "Google Map" of address in Austin, TX (2 pp.)

2009-241/6 Artifacts
Wing Commander III Premier Edition [in film canister], 1994
Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger [4 CDs]
Behind the Screens: The Wing Commander III Interactive CD
Origin Audio CD Vol. 3 [sealed]
Play guide
Install guide
"Victory Streak" in-game magazine supplement
Reference card
Cover art poster
Terran/Kilrathi ship guide poster
Promotional Flyers
Behind the Screens install guide
Wing Commander III Monthly Calendar 1995
Wing Commander III Terran Confederation t-shirt
Wing Commander: Fleet Action by William R. Forstchen
The Making of Wing Commander III: The Interactive Movie [VHS]
Origin Systems, Inc. coffee mug
Disney pins, Ultima novelty currency and chess pieces in plastic bag



2009-241/6 A/C Connection table [POWER-ONE Inc.]
Super Serial Card II [Apple], 1981
Synch Interface Printer Card [Apple], 1979
Language Card 670-X006 [Apple], 1979
Model 7811 Arithmetic Processor [California Computer Systems, in package]
E & L Systems Universal Component Socket [in UPS box w/ grid board]

2009-241/6 Silentype black image thermal paper [Apple]

2009-241/6 2 small boxes of 5 1/4" disks labeled "Game Library"/"CCSC"


Manuals [labeled "CCSC"]

2009-241/6 A micro-PROLOG Primer [Logic Programming Associates Ltd.], 1981
Apple II Reference Manual [Apple], 1979
Super Serial Installation and Operating Manual [Apple], 1981
Silentype Operation and Reference Manual [Apple], 1980
The DOS Manual [Apple], 1980
The Applesoft Tutorial [Apple], 1979
Graphics Tablet Operation and Reference Manual [Apple], 1979
BASIC Programming Reference Manual [Apple], 1978


Design Material

2009-241/8 Skull Island Pirate DDR event sheets, structure notes, concept art
Ultima Online 2 notes, structure map

2009-241/8 "List of concerns about development culture at Origin" with notes

2009-241/8 Blank sheets of square and octagonal map grid paper

2009-241/8 Ultima cloth grid map labeled "sample"

2009-241/8 Stickers/instructions for six-sided die in German



2009-241/8 6 rubber bats
2 fighting robots with attached control pads
Bag of die, chess pieces, game pieces etc.
2 plastic pirate swords [in Sanger collection--2008-17/3


Original Ultima Art

2009-241/7 Marker on Cardstock
3 men in profile with sword, Faery Tale Adventure
Walking mummy
Serpent bracer
Serpent jawbone
Serpent tooth
Ice elemental
Polar bear
Stone harpy
Four men with one woman (robots?)
Ice troll
Walls of Light
Great Heriophant's serpent armor
Ice worm
Female Sorcerer
"Troxa, Master of Chaos & Sassarith, Shamino Nobel/Regal"
Turtle ferry
Phoenix bursting to life
Forest master with hound
Selina seducing Schmed
Great Heriophant's serpent crown
"Order vs. Chaos"
Blackrock chaos serpent
Shamino's castle
"Simon Removing Disguise"
Chaos bone/soul prison
Crystal rose
Blackrock order serpent
"Order Serpent"
Great Heriophant
Skeletal dragon
Moonshade map
Frost serpent
Boyden being created
Serpent pillars
Chaos serpent
Gwani bust
Serpent battle
Kane and ale
Giant cat
Tangle vine
Silver serpent
"Weapons" border
"Kingdom" border
Fletchers (shield)
Tentacles in water
Iolo playing lute
Earth Serpent
Teleport storm aftermath
Wrecked pirate ships
Ruined landscape
Stable sign
"Tailor (clothier, weaver?)" sign
Serpent sword, symbol of axiom balance, necklace, staff, earring
Serpent arrow
Marker on paper/tracing paper
Male and female warriors
Male and female sorcerers
John Paul, Kliftin, Russell headshots
Man stabbing a dummy (2 copies)
Map of Glacier Mountains
"Goblins" map
"Moonshade" map
Isle of Crypts/Moonshade catacombs map
Fawn map
White Dragon Castle and basement map
Knights test map
Skullcrusher level I & II map
Dark Path/Shrine map
Spinebreaker Mountains map
Man holding crystal
Wizardry IV: The Return of Werdna
Collection of drawings labeled "To Cori Ogouler"
Guild of Thieves
Dark Lord
Questron II
Twisting Serpent
"ATW IFBMP" letters
Gwani bust
Serpent King accessories
Serpent alphabet, white
Serpent alphabet, black with English letter equivalents
2 copies without English letters
Map of Ice Dragon's Lair
Map of Mad Mage isles
Serpents entwined around staff
Knights and Ogres
Gargoyle and blacksmith
Gargoyles mining
Scribe and serf
Headshots of 22 characters
Sorcerer & daughter/wife
Various items
Various geometric shapes & satchel
Scribe in dungeon, escaping mob
Man stabbing dummy
Marker/Print on Cell
3 men in profile with sword, Faery Tale Adventure
"Voyages of Fantasy"
Flying Bird
Serpent entwined around staff
Giant ant warrior
Page Proofs
"Questbusters" (2 pages, 1 with notes)
"Edited by Shay Adams"
Quest for Clues II table of contents
Quest for Clues II introduction (2 copies)
Big Quest Play Book with note (7 pp.)
Photocopy of Serpent King's armor
Photocopy of Serpent King's shield, chalice and jewelry
Photocopy of skull key
Photocopy of gate, goblet, ant, spaceship
Folder labeled "UA art" containing page proofs of Quest for Clues VI book and Ultima Underworld II's manual "A Safe Passage Through Brittania"

2009-241/7 Original Art - other games
Soldier, Bard's Tale [print on cell]
Pistol and Rose, Plundered Hearts [marker on paper]
Star Command [marker on paper]
Shattering face, Dream Zone [marker on paper]
Star Command [print on cell]
Magnifying glass, Sherlock Holmes and the Crown Jewels [print on cell]
Deja Vu [print on cell]
King's Quest/Perils of Rosella [marker on paper]
Dream Zone [marker on paper]
Pistol and rose, Plundered Hearts [print on cell]
Dr. Dumanti's Wild P.A.R.T.I. [print on cell]
Spacequest II: Volhaul's Revenge [print on cell]
The Eternal Dagger [marker on paper]
Knight, The Bard's Tale [marker on paper]
The Uninvited [marker on paper]
Zak McCracken [marker on paper]

2.116/OD1440 Oversize Art
Map of dungeon in unidentified game [pen, marker and pencil on graph paper]
Prototype Ultima Worldmap [marker and stamp(?) on hexagonal graph paper]
Packaging/Supplemental/Promotional Materials
Color print of map of Brittania, Artist Touch Design Firm, 8/3/99
2nd version with darker colors
3rd version marked "Our Starting File" with color test bar
Ultima IX: Ascension test artwork for back of box [cell taped to poster]
2nd version with no cell labeled OLD
Ultima VII game map [cell taped over crescent board]
Ultima VI game map [marker and paper cutout glued to drafting paper]
Ultima IX Ascension cover artwork
Ultima IX Ascension artwork labeled OLD
"Tapestry of the Gods" art by Gred and Tim Hildebrant
Dungeon keeper magazine ad concept art
Ultima IV player reference card [tracing paper on cardstock with paper cutouts]
Cover and pg. 1
Pg. 4-5 with multiple versions and notes taped to tracing paper
Pg. 6-7
Pg. 2-3
Ultima III: Exodus cloth map
Ultima III: Exodus map, labeled marker outline on cell over colored unlabeled map on cardstock
Ultima VIII: Pagan 2-layer cell and poster print for T-shirt
1st proof [no mylar], 10/5/93
2nd proof, 12/21/93
3rd proof, 12/23/93
Color photocopy of Akalabeth box cover design
Color photocopy of Ultima box cover design
Color photocopy of Akalabeth box cover design
Ultima Online paper shopping bag
Ultima IX: Ascension poster of cover art
Ultima IX: Ascension poster of villain/gameplay [1999]
Ultima IX: Ascension poster of Lord British/gameplay [1999]
Ultima IX: Ascension poster of Avatar/gameplay [1999]
City of Villains poster (2004)
Poster featuring Lord British's (Garriott) "death" in Ultima Online with account of event by Lord Blackthorn (Starr Long), signed by British/Garriott and Blackthorn/Long
City of Villains un-built box packaging (2005)
Auto Assault un-built box packaging (2005)
Architectural blueprint of Garriott's property and residence
Photo of boxing match mounted in Crescentboard frame with Garriott's business card taped to back
Oversized photo/poster of Garriott in space
Painted and lettered wooden sign with couplet about Garriott
Original Art
Man entering glowing doorway (Ultima Moongate?) [marker on poster stock]
Alien mind [marker on paper]
The Colony [marker on paper]
Manhunter [marker on paper]
Maniac Mansion [marker on paper and smaller print]
Map of Dream Realm [marker on cardstock]
Map of Monk Isle [marker on tracing paper]
Seven Spirits of Ra [marker on tracing paper]
"Return to Atlantis"
Leisure Suit Larry II: Looking for Love in Several Wrong Places [marker on paper]
Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards [marker on paper]
Jinxter [marker on paper]
Dr. Dumont's Wild P.A.R.T.I. [marker on paper]
Dondre: A New Beginning
Deja Vu [marker on paper]
Beyond Zork [marker on paper]
Arazok's Tomb [marker on paper]
Ultima V: Warrior's of Destiny boat at night [marker on paper]
Tower of Myraglen [marker on paper]
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Pool of Radiance dragon [marker on paper]
Twilight Zone doorway [marker on paper]
Talisman [marker on paper]
Spacequest II: Volhaul's Revenge [marker on paper]
Sherlock Holmes & The Crown Jewels [marker on paper]
Pursuit of the Death Angel: Police Quest 1 [marker on paper]
Castle and trees [marker on paper]
Plundered Hearts [marker on paper]
Map with runes [marker on tracing paper]
Map of monitor [marker on tracing paper]
Map of Sunrise Isle [marker on tracing paper]
Map of Furnace Mountains [marker on tracing paper]
Map of Skullcrusher [marker on tracing paper on cardstock]
Headshots of Gwenno, Dupre, Centra, Batlin, Lydia, Yenanai, Erstam, Xenka [marker on cardstock]
Compendium cover art [marker on cardstock]
"Adventure" border [marker on cardstock]
"Chronicles" border [marker on cardstock]
"Magic" border [marker on cardstock]
"Armour" border [marker on cardstock]
Various items [marker on cardstock]
Silhouettes of action scenes [marker on cardstock]
Map of Mountains of Freedom [marker on cardstock]
Inn of the Sleeping Bull basement [marker on cardstock]
Original Art for sales catalog (Origin Systems, Inc.)
Bad Blood cover illustration (Origin Systems, Inc.), 1990
Cyber Mage: Dark Awakening (Origin)
Strike Commander (Origin Systems, Inc.) 1991
Ogre (Origin Systems, Inc.)
Ultima III: Exodus (Origin Systems, Inc., 2 copies)
Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar (Origin Systems, Inc.)
Unknown Game Original Art (Paint on Poster Board)
2.116/OD1441 The Fifty Best Games of All Time (Next Generation Magazine)
Unknown Artwork (Signed Tim & Greg Hildebrant)
Cyber Mage: Darklight Awakening (Origin)
Lineage: The Blood Pledge Japanese ad poster (NC Soft), 1998?
Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar (Origin Systems, Inc.)
Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny (Origin Systems, Inc.)
Ultima VI: The False Prophet (Origin Systems, Inc.) 1990
Ultima VII: The Black Gate (Origin Systems, Inc.) 2-sided Japanese ad poster, 1994
Ultima VIII: Pagan (Origin Systems, Inc.), 1994
2.116/OD1442 Aden Episode XII Japanese ad poster (NC Soft, 3 copies), 1998-2002?
Lineage II: The Chaotic Chronicle (NC Soft, 2 copies)
Moebius: The Orb of Celestial Harmony (Origin Systems, Inc.)
Omega (Origin)
Pacific Strike (Origin Systems, Inc.), 1994
Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger (Origin Interactive Movie)
Ultima VIII: Pagan (Origin Systems, Inc.), 1994
Ultima IX: Ascension Packaging Art (Origin), 1999
Skull Island pirate DDR hand drawn map/diagram
Skull Island concept art, alternate name mock-ups