Thomas “Hanse” Eidson

ThomasEidsonName: Thomas Eidson
Alias: Hanse
Role: Game developer, Origin Systems

Spending his days as a lead software engineer at Compaq Computers, Thomas Eidson spent his evenings braving Britannia in Ultima Online. Determined to land a role working on what was quickly becoming his favorite game, Eidson quit his job to focus on improving his computer programming skills. Luckily, it wasn’t long after making such a drastic life change that Eidson saw the job posting that would change his life forever.

As a lead software engineer at the Compaq Computer Corporation, Eidson discovered the power of an ISDN internet connection in 1996. The faster connection allowed him to run circles around his fellow players, in every meaning of the phrase.

Eidson said he invited several friends to his condo where he’d set up four computers—all utilizing the ISDN speeds—and the group worked together to surround players with their thief characters, robbing them blind.

The longer Eidson played UO, the more he dreamt of working on the game in an official capacity. In an effort to get to know UO’s developers, Hanse made the three-hour drive from his home in Houston, Texas to Austin to attend Ultima Online player luncheons. There, he’d meet the Origin Systems team face-to-face.

“I knew the game as well as anyone who plays a game for years and was on it daily,” Eidson said. “I saw massive potential in the game and I wanted to be part of its evolution. I had known, since the 1980s, that multiplayer games were the future and wanted to be part of that future.”

Read more of Thomas Eidson’s story in Chapter 6: The View from 10,000 Feet.

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