April 10, 2006

The Apogee Legacy #14 - Scott Host

Today our "Apogee Legacy" Interview series continues on with an interview with Scott Host. Scott was involved with us on two games, although only one of them was released.

The first was Apogee's only attempt at an RPG game, one called "The Second Sword" based on the old Shadowcaster engine from id Software. It never got very far, though and was abandoned. Scott did do a game that is more well known to Apogee fans, that being "Raptor: Call of the Shadows". Raptor was a scrolling shooter game much in the vein of Scott's own independant game Galactix. It was a big hit for us and Scott back in 1994, and it's following continues today.

Scott was a local developer. His company at the time (Cygnus Software) was based in the same building that id Software was while they were working on Doom and Doom II. Scott has returned to his roots from his pre-Apogee days and is an independant developer again operating under the name "Mountain King Studios".

The Apogee Legacy
Past Pioneers of the Shareware Revolution
Issue #14 - Scott Host

1) How did you first come in contact with Apogee?

As far as I remember, Scott Miller sent me a letter after seeing a game I made called Galactix and so I called him. We made a deal to make a 3D RPG game Called "Second Sword". Which we stopped working on to make "Raptor".

2) Was there a reason you decided to work with Apogee, say versus going on your own or working with another company?

Well at the time in shareware Apogee was "the shit" so there was no real other choice. At the time I was selling my game "Galactix" and it was a pain in the butt.

Raptor Manual Artwork

3) Looking back, was there anything Apogee could have done better, regarding the marketing and distribution of your game?

Higher level of Marketing towards the Pygmies on the isle of Zoot. They only have 1 pc but damn there is millions of them little buggers.

4) Do you think your game was made better or worse by working with Apogee?

Better. Though it was difficult to have an outside source commenting on the making of "Raptor", I look back and think of that as a good thing.

5) Apogee had a policy of letting the designer or studio retain full intellectual property rights to their game. Nowadays, it's rare to find a publisher who allows this, especially if the publisher is providing the funding. Do you believe that it's best for the creator to retain IP rights? Why or why not?

I think its better, at least for me it was. ( more under next question )

5a) And if applicable, have you benefited from retaining ownership of your own IP?

It was good for me because we stil sell "Raptor" today ( ported to windows ) and it is still selling after all these years on www.mking.com ( << can i do that hehe ? ) [ Ed Note: Sure, but remember we still sell the original version, too. hehe :) ]

5b) Do you think there'll ever be a sequel to your game(s)?


6) Is there any story/incident that stands out as interesting during your time associated with Apogee?

Playing PaintBall and The Pygmy thing but since I dont want to be cursed by the Chief Of Zoot again, I shall not discuss this.

Scott after a Jimmy Buffett concert

7) Apogee was an early pioneer in terms of teaming up with external designers and studios, and continues to do so even to this day (currently working with Human Head Studios on Prey). Why is it that so few other studios do this (mentor and fund outside projects with lesser known teams)?

I think today at least they do not want to take the chance because its so easy these days to make something that looks good but is no fun. It seems in the past, alot of publishers where putting out anything that "looked good" but didn't sell.

8) What the biggest difference in the industry nowadays versus when you worked with Apogee?

Shareware was new so it was easier to make something small that had a big impact.

9) What have you been doing since your time with Apogee?

I moved back to Chicago ( where Im from ) and renamed my Company to "Mountain King Studios". To this day, I am still making shareware games and now selling them too. My Girlfriend Nadeya moved in with me and we play "Worlds Of Warcraft" together alot. For the last 2 years I have been working on not a game, but a "paint/animation" program which will hopefully be done soon.

10) If you're no longer making games, have you thought about returning to this industry? If not, why not?


Title screen for Raptor when it was known as "Mercenary 2029"

11) Looking back, are there any missed opportunities that you wish you'd have jumped on?

Not really. I wish I didn't try making an RPG 3 times in the last ten years. I put alot of time in trying to make the games yet they never got done, but it was fun trying.

12) Other than your game(s), what's your favorite game released or produced by Apogee (or 3D Realms)?

Duke Nukem 3D and Wolfenstein.

12a) And what's your favorite 2-4 games released by anyone else?

I like so many games, I will just name the ones I put the most time in playing... Origins Ultimas ( all ) WarCraft 2 StarCraft Elite Force

13) Is there anything else you'd like to add about your time here or to fans of your title(s)?

This ain't no dinosaur game!

Screenshots from the abandoned Apogee RPG, "The Second Sword"

Scott with his son Dean at a Go Kart track

Scott at his computer at home.

Thanks again to Scott for helping out. Raptor had one unique thing in it's release date, it was put out on April 1st, 1994. At the time, most people didn't believe we were actually going to do that, they thought it was a joke. Since then, we've released a few other things on April 1st - each time most people don't believe it's actually happening. :)

Make sure and tune in again next Monday morning, when we bring you the next in our Legacy Interview series.

Posted by Joe Siegler on April 10, 2006 at 12:00 PM | Permalink | Discuss this story on our forums
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