The Greatest Developers
The April 2009 issue of PC Gamer has just hit our mailbox here at 3D Realms, and at the top of the issue was an article entitled "The 49 Greatest Developers!" 49 seems like an odd number to pick for one of these things. The article says that the reason they didn't put 50 in there was that they wanted to leave a spot for a reader submitted developer; see the article for more detail on that. Anyway, the developers do not appear to be in any sort of order. It's an impressive list. Companies like Blizzard, PopCap, Sierra are in here. Names from the past like Infocom as well as individuals such as Will Wright and Sid Meier are in the list.
Also in the list is our company. From 1987 through 1996 we used our original name of "Apogee Software" (which has recently been revived, but that's a story for another time). We pioneered shareware distribution in games (something which id Software - also in this list was popular for). Here's what the PC Gamer magazine had to say about us..
Apogee: Episode 1: Birth of a Sales Technique
How long should a demo be? A level? Two levels? Apogee had different ideas. Starting with the concept of "shareware" (try before you buy), they pioneered the idea that a game could be successful by giving out anything up to a third of the full game for free, and encouraging gamers to pass on the disks. This was how Doom was first sold, not to mention Wolfenstein 3D, Duke Nukem 3D, and Traffic Department 2192, which we all remember fondly. Right? Unlike demos, these offered a full game experience from start to finish, and became the standard way for indie developers to get started. Sometimes it backfired when the demo experience was too satisfying to need the rest of the game. Descent suffered heavily from this, and the model was largely phased out when demos could be easily downloaded from the Internet.
It is nice to see our legacy remembered in such a fashion, although the inclusion of Traffic Department 2192 is odd, as it wasn't one of our titles. :) Anyway, go pick up the new issue of the magazine to see the complete list. You can also download all of our old sharware releases from our downloads page. They're pretty much all still available. If you'd like to see a timeline of our releases, you can check out our history page here.