May 5, 2009

Wolfenstein 3D turns 17

Seventeen years ago, Wolfenstein 3D's intial shareware release came out. If you are reading this story, you know the history of Wolfenstein 3D. Authored by id, published through us when we were going by the name "Apogee Software", Wolf3D was responsible for a great number of people and companies doing what they do. The influence of this title goes way beyond what the mere pixels on the screen.

Today the granddaddy of shooters turns 17, as it's original 1.0 shareware release was on May 5, 1992 on the PC - something we still sell to this day!

Since then, the game has been ported to a ton of various consoles and systems. The list includes the Super Nintendo, Atari Jaguar, Macintosh, 3DO, Acorn Archimedes (huh?), Gameboy Advanced, and the Apple IIgs. Most of these ports have long since been out of print, the links above mostly go to where you can try and get a used copy if you're interested.

However, most recently the game was ported to the iPhone by id Software. You can read about the iPhone version over at id Software's website, or you can go straight to the page for it in the iTunes store. In researching this article, this author noticed that the iPhone version is on a special sale right now for just $1.99!. That's a limited time "anniversary price", so you should move on that price quickly. If you have an iPhone, you should check it out.

There were other games, too. Going way WAY back, you have the original "Castle Wolfenstein", and it's sequel, "Beyond Castle Wolfenstein". These were games that originally appeared on the Apple ][ (and later elsewhere). The original game was the major inspiration for Wolfenstein 3D (which is frequently called Castle Wolf3D, which it is NOT really called). Appearing after Wolf3D was a true sequel game, called 'Spear of Destiny" (which had it's own addon packs). There were other titles named "Return to Castle Wolfenstein", "Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory", and most recently, "Wolfenstein RPG", a game for cellphones from id. Plus, in the future is a title merely called "Wolfenstein", so this franchise is not finished yet!

As we were heavily involved in the original all those years ago, we have several things we have lying around which we're bringing to you in celebration of the anniversary.

The first is something called the "Wolfenstein 3D Super Upgrades". The Wolf Super Upgrades was an addon pack for Wolfenstein 3D that we sold during 1994 and 1995. It comprised several addons for the game, including a map editor, multiple hundreds of maps, a random level generator, and some other related items. We originally released this as freeware on May 22, 2006, but we have something new to add here. Today we are releasing a document which we sent to our registered customers back in late 1994 about the Upgrades. In this pdf (which you can download here), you can see the sales letter we sent out, the original order forms, as well as a letter sent to people who bought the game. If you have the old DOS Wolfenstein 3D, check out the Upgrades pack, there's a lot of cool stuff there, and it's free!

Finally, we have a document which was our internal sell sheet for the game back in early 1992. If you want view that, click here. The sell sheet refers to two "trilogies" - this version of the game was long since discontinued, and sold as the more well known "six episode" version of Wolfenstein 3D. A bit of trivia, episodes 4-6 had their own name, "Wolfenstein 3D: The Nocturnal Missions".

As we said earlier, we still sell the original all these years later. You can check out our page for the game, download a shareware version of the game, and buy a classic!

Happy birthday William J. "B.J." Blazkowicz! I guess you're now a Teen Wolf. har har har.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 11:36 AM | Discuss this story on our forums

March 20, 2009

Several old games released as Freeware

When we used to go by our original name of "Apogee Software", this company was involved in a lot of games. Most of them of a different era, they looked different, they felt different, and they were a lot less complicated. The legacy of the company is quite large, and as the years have marched on, a lot of titles from that era have been left behind technically. We started to release some of the old titles for free way back as far as March 1998, when we released some old 80's era Infocom style adventure games such as "Beyond the Titanic" & "Supernova". That was our first foray into the world of freeware releases. As the years went by, we started releasing more and more of our older discontinued games as freeware. A lot of them were released in the "Apogee Legacy" series of interviews from about three years ago. (If you never read that series, you should, there's a lot of good stuff in there).

However, we've been getting requests since then about the remaining titles that we no longer sell. Today we're here to bring the freeware releases full circle, so to speak. Today we are releasing five more games as freeware, and re-releasing three others as well! The one game that is most notable in this release group is Kroz. Kroz was our first ever game, it was the one that founded the company, and got everything rolling back in 1987. Hard to believe our first game is 22 years old now, but that's what was built out of Scott Miller's bedroom in Garland, Texas all those years ago. Here is a complete list of what is being released today:

  • Kroz - Our first ever game, a text adventure game by Scott Miller [ download ]
  • Arctic Adventure - a CGA based scroller game by George Broussard [ download ]
  • Dark Ages - an EGA based scroller game by Todd Replogle [ download ]
  • Monuments of Mars - a CGA based scroller by Todd Replogle [ download ]
  • Pharaoh's Tomb - a CGA based scroller game by George Broussad [ download ]

We're also re-releasing some previously released freeware games.

  • Beyond the Titanic - Text based Infocom style adventure game by Scott Miller [ download ]
  • Supernova - Text based Infocom style adventure game by Scott Miller [ download ]
  • Word Whiz - A text based trivia game from Scott Miller [ download ]

The reason we are re-releasing those is because they're being released with source code (under GPL). These were found when we were doing research into Kroz, which is also being released with source code, too!

There were a lot of Kroz games. Seven officially, but many of them had alternate names and variants. There's been a small, but persistant number of requests over the years for the Kroz source code. In the earliest days of the company, we used to actually sell the source code to Kroz (and other titles from that era). We were finally able to make it through the dusty old floppy disk archives in Scott Miller's effects. We found the Kroz source along with the source for these other games, so it's all been GPL'ed, and you can check it all out for free! Kroz has a rather complicated list of games and aliases and whatnot. We strongly suggest reading the readme file that comes with that download.

A few notes about these releases:

  • These are all being offered as freeware (which is not to be confused with public domain or the illegal concept of "abandonware"). YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN WITH THESE Do not contact us for help with them, you will be mercilessly ignored.
  • Given the ages of these things (the newest one came out in 1990), you almost certainly will need DOSBox to get them running. This is a free third party program that lets you run older DOS based games in newer OS's (especially Vista) when they wouldn't be able to otherwise. You can get that at
  • A huge thanks go out to two fans who helped out a lot with the restoration of the Kroz archives. This would be Frenkel Smeijers & Jeremy Wrezinski. We probably couldn't have been able to put out the release without their help, as some of the materials we no longer had in our archives. Thanks, guys!

You can download these releases via the links above, or visit our main downloads page where you can check them out as well as everything else we have available.

This bunch of freeware brings our concept of freeware releases to a close. The reason I say that is that of all the games we no longer sell, they've all either been released as freeware previously, or are in this batch (except for one, and that might be revived at a future date, hence no freeware release on that one yet). Unless we discontinue something new in the future, there's no more to come from this well. Make sure and read our games page for a list of freeware, discontinued, and whatnot games. You can also check out our timeline history page for more details as to when what was released.

We want to close out by giving you this really cool little extra. It's a flash based version of the "Kingdoms of Kroz II" game. It was put together by the aforementioned Jeremy Wrezinski and his friend Wayne McMahon. It's quite cool, and we spent some time here playing this for real. A big thanks to Jeremy for letting us host it on our site. It originally appeared on his site at this location.

You can also check out the game on our site at this page, which also includes instructions on playing the game.

P.S. Hi Bryan!

Posted by Joe Siegler at 3:13 PM | Discuss this story on our forums

December 15, 2008

Happy 18th Birthday Billy Blaze!

3D Realms has been around for a long time now - the company was originally founded in 1987, and in the first decade or so, was known by our former name, Apogee. Back then we specialized in sidescrollers (amongst other games), and one of the most famous from that era was Commander Keen. Created by a newly founded id Software, the game was published through us, and became a major hit for both companies.

The original trilogy of Commander Keen games came out on December 14, 1990 under the banner title of "Invasion of the Vorticons". One year and one day later, the second trilogy game out under the title of "Goodbye Galaxy" (the third episode came out as a separate commercial release, but we won't quibble about that now). We're here to mark this birthday with a few Keen goodies of recent vintage (and a few that are not):

First is a birthday retrospective by Nova Barlow over at the site The Escapist. This is part of their regular "This Week in Gaming" segment on their site, and speaks of the now 17 and 18 year Keen birthdays that are up now. They cover the original Keen games, Keen Dreams, the second set of games, and even the Gameboy Advance Keen which came out in 2001. It doesn't go into great depth, but it is obvious the person who wrote it really loved the old Keen games. Check it out.

Second is a new image we were told about which takes a quite different slant on Billy Blaze. It's called "Commander Keen: The Undead Return". It was done by Kristof Minneart over at the Australian site "CG Society". It's quite cool, and we showed it around up here as well as letting Tom Hall & John Romero know about it. All thought this was quite cool. You can check out the thumbnail and a local copy here.

That's it for the "new" stuff. Let's turn back the clock a bit.

It was eighteen years ago (on Dec. 14, 1990) that Apogee released id Software's Commander Keen: Invasion of the Vorticons. The story of id started several months earlier when Scott Miller, Apogee's founder, contacted John Romero who worked at Softdisk, Inc. (a company that developed a monthly disk magazine with articles, small utilities and applications, and small games) about the possibility of creating a shareware game that Apogee would release.

As luck would have it, John Carmack, also at Softdisk, had just written an EGA smooth scrolling engine capable of doing Nintendo style platform games like Mario Bros. Romero sent Miller a demo of this technology, and very quickly a deal was struck to develop an original game, Commander Keen.

Tom Hall, also at Softdisk, wrote a brief story about the game, which Miller approved. Part of the approval was id's request for a $3000 advance, which at the time was quite a risk for Miller. In hindsight, of course, it was one of the deals of the century, as id and Apogee also had a publishing relationship for id's next Commander Keen series, as well as Wolfenstein 3-D. The Apogee-id relationship or the early 90's enabled both companies to quickly rise to fame, and earn enough money to avoid signing bad publishing deals with more mainstream publishers.

Click here to see the original proposal from id Software (then known as IFD -- Ideas From the Deep) sent to Apogee for Commander Keen. The four signatures are John Romero, John Carmack, Tom Hall and Lane Roathe.

Here are a few last bits you probably will want to check out. They've both been on our site for some time now, but are worth pointing out. The first is the life story of Commander Keen done in the style of A&E's Biography, or E!'s True Hollywood Story. It's called "Commander Keen: 10 years on". It was done by a fan named Andrew (don't know his last name). It's quite awesome, and includes several pices of original art, and has a fictional history of Billy Blaze (aka Commander Keen). Don't know how else to intro it, so just go and check it out.

The last item is our "real life" Keen 10 year retrospective, originally published in 2001. This tells the real life story of the creation of Keen with input from the original id team responsible for bringing the game to life.

We hope you have enjoyed this short look back at the history of Commander Keen. If you have never played the games, they're still available, actually. The original Keen games have been passed on technology wise, and as such require some help with more modern computers and operating systems (like XP & Vista). You will need to use the third party program DOSBox to get 'em running. Below are a set of links for you to check out to whet your nostalgia whistle.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 2:49 PM | Discuss this story on our forums

September 4, 2008

Apogee Themes

This company has been around for awhile - it started in 1987 in Scott Miller's bedroom. In that time, we've been involved in a lot of games. From the start through 1996, we published games under the name "Apogee Software". That name has been revived recently, but in the classic era of Apogee, we were known for having a theme song at the front of our game releases. It's for that reason this story exists.

Recently, a fan put together a video which shows the progression of the theme song from its earliest use through the last game (to date) to use it, that being Stargunner. Check out this video, it's pretty cool to check out if you're an old school Apogee fan! It also includes some bonus themes, one of which hasn't been released before. :)

Posted by Joe Siegler at 7:23 AM | Discuss this story on our forums

June 16, 2008

Top 10 FPS of all Time

The website ScrewAttack just posted their list of the Top 10 FPS of all time. They hit a few Apogee / 3D Realms titles from the past, those being Duke Nukem 3D & Wolfenstein 3D.

Duke Nukem 3D, the "coolest character in videogames", came in at #7 on the list. This placed it higher than Doom 3, Bioshock, & Half Life 2 on their list. Of course all of these games are below Wolfenstein 3D, which came in at #4 on the list.

Check out their complete Top 10 video here:

Posted by Joe Siegler at 4:50 PM

May 7, 2008

Wolfenstein 3D's Sweet Sixteen!

We don't know if you realized it, but Monday was the sixteenth anniversary of Wolfenstein 3D. Released by Apogee back on May 5, 1992, this game by all accounts was one of the all time most influential titles, well.. EVER! Originally created by id Software, and released by us (under our then name Apogee Software), this title laid the groundwork for a lot of things that have come since.

Since it is Wolf's birthday, we wanted to bring you a few small tidbits to mark the anniversary. First up is a recreation of the Episode 3 Boss battle with Adolf Hitler from the game. The unique thing here is that it was done in Lego! There is a current craze in doing things (especially games) in Lego, so why not recreate a classic game? This was done by Wolf fan Ciamoslaw Ciamek. Here is a screen capture below - make sure and check out all of his Wolf3D Lego pictures.

Second up is an old piece of video. It's a TV interview from 1992 by Byron Harris for NBR with Scott Miller & George Broussard of Apogee as well as John Romero (then of id ). It talks about the two companies, and shows some of the background development of Wolf3D. We originally posted this video back in the summer of 1998, you can read that old news story for some background on the video.

Wolfenstein 3D is still an item we sell 16 years later. The game has been ported from its PC original to a ton of platforms, including the 3DO, Super Nintendo, the Game Boy Advance, the Macintosh, the Atari Jaguar, and the good old Apple IIgs.

Here's a few links for Wolfenstein 3D for you to check out:

If you're one of the two people left who have never played Wolfenstein 3D, hit our Wolf3D page to grab yourself a copy of the shareware game. Thanks to John Romero for the Lego story. John, it's time for YOU to go down the *)*$%)$ stairs! ;)

Posted by Joe Siegler at 9:39 AM | Discuss this story on our forums

June 18, 2007

Earth No More

We've got some exciting news to bring to you today. Hitting subscribers mailboxes today, and newsstands later this week (likely Thursday) is the July 2007 issue of Game Informer Magazine.

What makes this issue so special, and of great interest to 3D Realms fans is the huge four page spread which talks in great detail about us, our past (including a brief look back at titles like Wolfenstein 3D, Prey, Max Payne, & Descent - yeah Descent), and how we work with external companies. One of these external companies is Recoil Games, a new game company founded by ex Remedy staffer Samuli Syvahuoko. Samuli worked on Max Payne with Remedy and us (and as well as 1996's Death Rally), but the exciting part here is the future. In this article is some detail on our newly announced game, "Earth No More".

Earth No More will be produced for the PC, the Xbox 360, and the Playstation 3 and is currently slated for 2009 according to the article. There's plenty of info in this piece about Earth No More, including text, a few screenshots, and interviews with Samuli Syvahuoko from Recoil, as well as Scott Miller & Raphael Von Lierop from 3D Realms. Here's a few quotes from the article:

"The development team is specifically moving away from what they call the 'lone hero,' while also avoiding a squad-based direction."

"'We're going to design almost every weapon in the game to where it's going to have a sort of collaborative mode to it,' says Miller. One gun called the Linker works like a reverse proton pack from Ghostbusters."

"The good guys aren't the only ones who can team up, however. Enemies are being designed to complement each other's skills as well."

"The team is intricately analyzing how group dynamics work in movies like the Alien, The Thing, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and 28 Days Later, hoping to emulate that kind of tension in game form."

We don't want to give away too much here - you are going to want to go to your newsstands and check out the full article. We think you're going to like it.

Oh, and it can't be a magazine article about 3D Realms without talking about Duke Nukem Forever. There is a small sidebar article about DNF in here, including... a new screenshot from the game that hasn't been seen before anywhere. Go check it out.

Finally, you'll also want to keep your ears open for another big announcement coming soon (which doesn't have anything to do with DNF).

Posted by Joe Siegler at 12:25 PM | Discuss this story on our forums

May 24, 2007

Alien Carnage Released as Freeware

Back on October 10, 1993, we released a title that was unique in our company history. It was the only game that ever got released twice - each time with two different names. That's right, I'm talking about Halloween Harry, which was later renamed and re-released as Alien Carnage in the fall of 1994. We've been involved with many games in our history, but this was the only one to undergo a name change after it had been released. In hindsight, the name change probably wasn't the best move, but at the time it was felt the Halloween Harry name made people think it was merely a "Halloween themed game". Still, the game had one of the more unique final bosses in one of our titles (I won't spoil it if you don't know), and it is still a lot of fun almost 14 years later.

As with a lot of our games from this era, time and computers marched on, passing the game by. Alien Carnage had issues with running under Windows, and as such was discontinued from our product line on April 21, 2000 due to the aforementioned technical problems. It's been dormant with us since then. There actually was a sequel produced entitled "Zombie Wars" (which we didn't have anything to do with). But today we're here to bring the character of Halloween Harry back. Today we're releasing Alien Carnage into freeware with the permission of John Passfield. John participated in our Legacy Interview series last year, and at that time was not ready to release Alien Carnage as freeware. But now he is, and here's the game!

John is still active in making games both on his own in the casual games market, and as well with Pandemic. In fact, John is about to release a new game entitled "Brainiversity". If you want to see what John's up to, you can check out his website, "Passfield Games", as well as his blog, "Game Musings". Both have further information on Brainiversity, which is about to have an imminent release. Here's a small screen capture of one of the sections of Brainiversity, which is a game that is designed to stimulate your brain with 16 different activities covering Language, Memory, Math, and Analysis. Brainiversity should appeal to folks who were fans of our Math Rescue & Word Rescue titles from some years ago.

We've got a few words from John Passfield & Scott Miller about Harry/Carnage. There's more from both of them in the readme that comes with the freeware download, this is just a portion.

John Passfield:

Halloween Harry, the tough as nails marine from Alien Carnage, is 22 years old this year. He was the star of a game I wrote on the Australian Microbee computer system and released commercially in 1985. I was still in high school at the time and was super excited to have sold my second computer game (the first was called "Chilly Willy", a clone of the classic arcade game, Pengo).

Then, through sheer luck, we hooked up with Scott Miller and George Broussard from Apogee and before we knew it, the hottest shareware publisher on Earth was publishing us. Back in 1993 when Alien Carnage was first released, we had the honor of being one of the best selling shareware games of the year - an honor that we held on to until a little old game called "Doom" was released a few months later!

It's been almost 15 years since Alien Carnage was released, and the guys behind it are all still involved in making games. Robert Crane is preparing to release his first casual game from his site, while I've just released my second casual game, Brainiversity, which you can download and play from

Well, I hope you enjoy taking a trip down memory lane with Alien Carnage.


John Passfield

Scott Miller:

Halloween Harry was a project I particularly liked because games with both flame throwers and zombies were few and far between back in the early 90's! This was also our first project working with a team in Australia, the country where I grew up during my high school years, so this project re-established my connection to my favorite country outside the States. (We would later work with two more teams in Australia, riding the roiling wave of their fast cresting development community.)

The people we worked with on this project were creative, professional and collaborative, and many (maybe all) still work in the game industry today. It cannot be underestimated how important it is to work with collaborate creative types, where the best ideas win. And that was definitely the case with the Halloween Harry team.

We later changed the game's name to the unfortunately generic Alien Carnage because sales for Halloween Harry were below expectations, and we feared that people thought this was a seasonal Halloween game. Looking back, probably the real killer was Doom, which clearly set a new standard for shareware games, a standard that took a few years for everyone else to catch up to. Still, this was a well polished, fun game that deserved a wider audience, and even today is worth a try.

Scott Miller, founder & owner
Apogee Software, Ltd.

If you'd like to read more about Alien Carnage, you can do so via this archived catalog page for the game on our website. You can also read this interview over at "Classic DOS Gaming", which goes into further detail on the history of Halloween Harry.

And finally, what you've wanted - the download links:

While you're downloading, you should make sure you have the current version of DOSBox. DOSBox is a program that facilitates running of these older DOS games on Windows 2000/XP/Vista. You will probably need this. :)

Please be aware that this game is being released as freeware - not public domain (or even abandonware which is illegal). You're welcome to enjoy playing the full game, but this means that copyright is retained on the game, and you're not "free to do what you want" with it. Having said all that - enjoy Alien Carnage!

To wrap things up, here's a screen capture from John's original Halloween Harry game from 1985. It's quite different from what was released under the same name with us in 1993. :)

Posted by Joe Siegler at 2:34 PM | Discuss this story on our forums

March 13, 2006

The Apogee Legacy #10 - Allen Blum

Today our "Apogee Legacy" Interview series continues into its tenth edition, this time with long time Apogee staffer, Allen Blum.

Allen has had his hands in a ton of titles of ours, and goes all the way back to some of the earliest works of our company. He's been involved as a developer on all the Duke Nukem games released by Apogee/3D Realms (Duke Nukem I, Duke Nukem II, Duke Nukem 3D, & Duke Nukem Forever) directly. He's also been involved in many others such as Shadow Warrior, Dark Ages, Cosmo's Cosmic Adventure, as well as the aforementioned Duke games. He was however, the lead designer for our 1993 title, Major Stryker. Stryker was an (EGA) scroller game in the vein of our other such titles like Stargunner & Raptor.

Allen's also one of our internal beta test team, so even if's not listed above, he's played through it a lot and had input into the titles (some titles under this category are both Max Payne games as well as the forthcoming Prey). Allen (and his hats) have been a major part of our company history, and it's a pretty safe statement to say we wouldn't be where we are without him.

The Apogee Legacy
Past Pioneers of the Shareware Revolution
Issue #10 - Allen H. Blum III
Allen with Randy Pitchford, Doug Wood, & Dirk Jones.

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

In 1990 my High School friend Todd Replogle was working on some games for Apogee such as Caves of Thor and Monuments of Mars. At the time I was into the graphic abilitys of the Amiga and was working on a Super Mario Brothers 3 clone for fun.

Todd started working on Dark Ages and needed a level editor so we used my Mario clone editor on the Amiga. I ended up doing art and level design on the Amiga while the game only ran on the PC. After that we did Duke Nukem 1 the same way with most content made on the Amiga and the game running on a PC. It was pretty nice being able to see most of a level and all the textures for the game on one high-res screen on the Amiga while the PC was only able to do 320x200 EGA. With the success of Duke Nukem 1, Todd moved to Texas to work closer to Apogee on Cosmo's Cosmic Adventure while I continued school at the Univisity of California at Santa Cruz. I little while later while I was out visiting Todd and checking out Apogee, I was working on a top down shooter for fun called Dr. Protons Revenge. Apogee happened to see it and asked me to make it into a complete game which was released as Major Stryker in 1993. After that I moved out to Dallas and did Duke Nukem 2, Duke Nukem 3d and currently working on Duke Nukem Forever.

Allen holding his gift from the gift exchange at the 2005 3D Realms company Christmas Party.

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

Back in 1992 the "Shareware model" seemed like a great way for me to make my own game. It was easy enough to just release it on bulliten boards for people to play and if they liked it they could buy it.

I'm glad to see that a simular thing is part of the Xbox360 with the Live Marketplace. They just need to get rid of the "old tech" games like joust and have more games like Wik or Geometry Wars.

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

Other than bulletin boards and flyers sent out to thousands of people, I would have really liked a Superbowl commercial. :)

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

No response to question.

Allen averting his eyes to the light at his desk at 3DR - May 2005

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?

This didn't really apply to Major Stryker.

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

Not really, as I never did anything with the Major Stryker franchise. Can it be a franchise with just one title in the line?

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

Duke Nukem Forever is getting closer to being done day by day.

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

It's all a blur, man!

Allen at the 2001 company Halloween Party

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 have no idea! Money? It's all about the bling-bling now, isn't it? You want to have the largest piece of the pie, I'd suppose, and that's diluted this way.

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

Back when I started you could really make a game from home. Major Stryker only had 3 people working on it, Bobby Prince in Florida doing music, Gary Sirois in the north east doing art, and me in California. We never worked in the same room and actually never even saw each other. We only worked over the phone. I'm sure you could probably do the same thing much easier and faster with todays tech and such for small games. But for anything else like DNF you need a big bunker filled with people. At least now I get some excecise running around to the other side of the building to the coders area.

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

Since? I'm still here!

Just WHAT is Allen doing with this Lara Croft statue at E3 2000?

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

I'm still here! Are you trying to get rid of me or something?

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

OK, why do all these questions make it seem like I'm some old fogey who has retired in a corner and drools on themselves? I'm still here!

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

There's other games besides the ones I worked on?

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

Seeing that I live in an FPS working on DNF and play most all FPS games, I would say almost any racing game would be my favorite, just becuase it is completly different from an FPS. And I like to drive fast without worrying about wraping my car around a telephone pole. Current top of the list would be Trackmania, Burnout or Flatout.

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

....need more stripper research.

Screenshots from Major Stryker

Thanks to Allen for sending in his answers, and being a good sport about so many goofy pictures of him being taken over the years. While Major Stryker was discontinued some years ago, here's a few links about some of the other games Allen has worked on over the years you might find interesting:

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

Posted by Joe Siegler at 4:09 PM | Discuss this story on our forums

December 23, 2005

Bio Menace released as freeware!

We at Apogee / 3D Realms want to wish you a safe, happy Christmas / Hanukah / whatever you celebrate season. :) To that, we're repeating something we've done in the past - releasing something as a "Christmas present" to our fans. This time we dip back back back into the archives....

Thirteen years ago, our company was heavily into the old sidescroller market. We had successes with games like Commander Keen, the original Duke Nukem, as well as Cosmo's Cosmic Adventure, and plenty of other titles. However, in 1993, we released one based on the Keen 4 game engine - this game was called Bio Menace. While it wasn't the runaway hit that Duke Nukem was, Bio Menace was a very successful game for its time. It stayed as a product in our line for many years, until being discontinued awhile back (mostly for technical reasons). However, now we're here to bring the game back to you - as freeware.

Continuing in our series of freeware releases from the past, Bio Menace is now available for you to download in a full registered form. This download contains all three episodes, and you can get it from our FTP site here.

In doing the work for the Bio Menace release, we managed to track down the original Bio Menace guy, Jim Norwood. Jim also worked with us on 1997's Shadow Warrior (also with another of our guys from back then, Frank Maddin).

Jim had a few words to say about the freeware release of Bio Menace..

'The good ol' days' - that's what I always say when I am referring to the times when a one person with a vision, some TLC, and a lot of time on their hands, could sit down and write a cool PC title from start to finish without a sixty million dollar budget and a team of one hundred.

I wore every hat while working on Bio Menace. From designer, to artist, to programmer - I was a veritable army of one (at least in my own mind). Alas, those days are long behind us. I have continued to be a part of the game industry as it has matured at a frightening pace over the last fifteen years, and these days, one needs be a lot more focused to find a niche among the mega-teams it now takes to create a competitive, cross-platform title.

....little games like Bio Menace still have merit as a learning tool on the road to gaining the coveted knowledge of the 'big picture' of game development that any development house worth their salt will look for in a solid candidate. Perhaps making Bio Menace freeware will take you one step further along that journey. That is my hope...

We've also got some words from Scott Miller, the founder of Apogee on Bio Menace...

Bio Menace is an interesting project for several reasons, not the least of which is that Jim Norwood created practically every asset on his own, from game code, to art, to sound, to level design. The one significant area not created by Norwood is the game's engine. It was created by Id Software, and was the engine original used for the second trilogy of Commander Keen games, starting with "Goodbye, Galaxy."

Because Bio Menace was a one-man show, it took close to two years to create, and by the time of it's release it was somewhat dated as a 16-color EGA game. Still, it sold pretty well, and allowed Norwood to pursue his next major game with us, Shadow Warrior, teaming up with Frank Madden, and using the Build engine.

Both of them have more to say in the readme file that comes with the freeware release, so make sure to check out what they say, including an interesting story from Scott on how id Software helped out with the creation of this title. We have a few more Bio Menace tidbits on our website, including our archived page of information on the game, as well as some game maps on every level from all three episodes (done by Apogee fan Frenkel). Check it all out!

For a complete list of our freeware releases (and our other games), check out our games page, which has a section on freeware releases, and what is available besides Bio Menace.

As one final Christmas present, we want to preview something we're going to be doing starting early next year. When doing research on Bio Menace, we decided to seek out quite a few of our developers from days gone by. We're going to be doing an interview series with quite a few of them based on their games, their time spent with Apogee, and how they see the industry today. Some of their answers might surprise you. Some of the names we have lined up for this series are Jim Norwood (Bio Menace, Shadow Warrior), Frank Maddin (Crystal Caves, Shadow Warrior), Mike Maynard (Blake Stone), Peder Jungck (Secret Agent), Karen Crowther Chun (Math & Word Rescue), as well as folks like Tom Hall & John Romero and many more. If you're a fan of the old school days of our company, you definitely will not want to miss this series when we start it sometime early next year. Keep your eyes peeled for more on that.

Once again, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all of us here at Apogee / 3D Realms!

Posted by Joe Siegler at 10:15 AM

October 24, 2005

Updates for some older titles available

This news story will probably surprise some people. We've got an update available for two of our older titles, Crystal Caves & Secret Agent. Crystal Caves was released originally back in 1991, and Secret Agent in 1992!

These updates fix a problem that we were made aware of last month. On some computers running Windows XP, if you played the games, your system clock would be set backwards 100 years after exiting the game. This patch corrects that problem. There are NO other changes to the game than this, so if you're not having this problem, you don't need the patch.

The games are now available for sale again in our online store in either floppy disk or registered download formats. We have also reissued the shareware episode with this fix, as well as patches for the existing registered episodes of the games. Here are some download links for these various files:

A special thanks go out to Peter Veenstra from the DOSBox crew and Frank Maddin (Crystal Caves' original programmer) for helping out in getting these problems fixed, so we can bring you an update. A patch for a 14 year old game, that has to be some sort of record. :)

Posted by Joe Siegler at 6:53 PM

August 19, 2005

Boppin released as freeware

Back in 1994, we released a puzzle game called "Boppin". It was a game that featured some inventive game design, rather varied graphic styles, and one stabbed and bleeding teddy bear. :)

We discontinued the title a couple of years ago at the request of the original author, and haven't sold it in awhile. However, the same guy who originally wrote the game has since released the game on his own as freeware! Here's the game text we originally had for it on our website when we were still selling the title.

Boppin' is a fun, addictive puzzle game disguised as an arcade game. Each screen in Boppin' (160 in the full version) is a unique puzzle with varied graphics. The game is easy to learn, and the built-in instructions are easy to understand.

The object of the game is to solve all 40 levels of each of the four episodes, and then defeat the end-of-level boss. Each episode has a lead-in story and different endings depending on how well you did. After episode four there is a special ending that wraps up the entire story. Defeating the ending boss for each episode is made easier by doing well (by accumulating points) on the 40 levels for that episode.

The idea on each level is to grab "bopping blocks" and use them to complete patterns on the level. Certain patterns will free a video game character that you might recognize from dozens of other arcade/action games (i.e. Space Invaders and Pac Man).

There are several strategies and skills to learn, and one or two players can play at the same time at the same computer. Every level also has a "mystery spot" (awards 10x extra points for a limited time) and a way to get a "perfect bonus" (if you solve all puzzles on a level).

While we don't have anything to do with this release, we thought we'd bring it to your attention. Boppin has also been updated for Windows as well, so head on over to the Boppin for Windows Page and check out the game for free!

In other classic game news, don't forget that we released our 1996 title Stargunner as freeware back in June. You can check that out here.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 5:10 PM

June 22, 2005

Stargunner Released as Freeware!

Back on November 19, 1996, we released a title that was legendary in our company history. Why is it legendary? It's because this title was the final release to be released under the Apogee banner, the name we released games under from the founding of the company in 1987 until 1996. This game of course, is Stargunner. A shooter game in the vein of Major Stryker & Raptor that preceded it in our product line, Stargunner garnered many awards and sales in it's day. It was discontinued a couple of years ago, but today we're bringing the full game to you.

Available now as freeware, you can download Stargunner via one of the following links:

* Fileshack
* Filefront
* Fileplanet

Please be aware that this game is being released as freeware - not public domain (or even abandonware which is illegal). You're welcome to enjoy playing the game, but this means that we retain copyright on the game, and you're not "free to do what you want" with it. We've got a few words from David Pevreal and Scott Miller about the release of Stargunner into freeware:

David Pevreal (Stargunner's original project leader):

Stargunner represented the first completed attempt at a game for all of the developers involved. While the commercial success of the game was mild, it certainly launched the careers of the 3 programmers who all moved on to find success in the games industry. Stargunner's artist also found success in his chosen field, though outside of games.

The game itself was written in C++, but with heavy usage of assembly for the video and sound routines. It was one of only a few games that could run at 60 frames per second on the current "486" hardware of the day. Most of the art was developed on the Amiga using Deluxe Paint. In fact, the game was originally supposed to be an Amiga game with a PC version supposed to follow, but the PC version soon overtook and led development, and sadly the Amiga version was eventually dropped.

We hope you enjoy Stargunner, and appreciate the attempt to faithfully bring to life on the PC a style of game seen most commonly on the Commodore 64 and Commodore Amiga throughout the 80's; the good old days.

Scott Miller (President and founder of Apogee):

Stargunner, released late in 1996, was Apogee's final game. Apogee had officially started in 1987 with the release of a shareware game, Kingdom of Kroz, solely developed by Apogee founder, Scott Miller. The Apogee label rang loudly for nearly ten years in the shareware arena, with games like Commander Keen, Duke Nukem, Raptor, Wolfenstein 3-D (the father of the FPS genre), and Rise of the Triad. Apogee pioneered the shareware method of selling games, and it was this method that allowed Apogee (as well as Id and Epic) to rise from nothing to become a successful, entirely independent game studios.

But as the industry matured, it became apparent in to us 1994 that 3D was the future, and so a new company name was created, 3D Realms, and this is the name that soon replaced all signs of Apogee.

Stargunner was Apogee's final song. It was a great little game, but great little games didn't cut it by then, because in 1996 we lived in a would dominated by three-D's: Doom, Duke, Descent -- the 3D revolution had begun.

Many of Stargunner's developers are still in the industry, picked up by bigger studios and making their way just fine. So the story ends well. In fact, with the freeware release of Stargunner, the story continues...

If you'd like to read more about Stargunner, you can do so via this archived catalog page for the game on our website.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 11:54 AM

May 28, 2004

Some Ancient Apogee Games Released as Freeware

Apogee Software has been around for 17 years now - the first title was released back in 1987 when Apogee was nothing more than Scott Miller by himself in his bedroom. The games released back then were quite different, and over the years, we've released quite a few titles (well over 50 at last count - here's a complete list). Anyway, today we're here to bring you a freeware release of some of the earliest titles from our past. The two we're releasing are "The Adventure Fun-Pak" and "The Puzzle Fun-Pak". Each of these packs consist of four titles on their own. Here's a rundown on what's in them:

Adventure Fun-Pak:

*Rogue Runner
*Night Bomber
*Raiders of the Forbidden Mine
*The Thing

Puzzle Fun-Pak:

*Block Five
*Asteroid Rescue
*Phrase Master
*Maze Machine

Most of these are old text based games, and some of them won't run terribly well on today's faster computers. We do offer two "slow down" programs on our downloads page (Moslo & CPU Kill) - you might need to make use of one of these in order to play them. The slowdown programs are not ours, we're just offering them as a convenience - we can't help in getting them working for you. We're also told that the DOSBox emulation program has slowdown routines, too. Furthermore, we offer no assistance of any kind with these freeware releases - we do not support them anymore. Please don't ask for help with them, you won't get any.

Keep in mind these games are being released as freeware. They are NOT public domain. The difference is that while we will allow you to download these for free, we still retain copyright on the titles, and you can't turn around and sell them; you can't do whatever you want with them, basically. You can grab the zip file with the two packs here. Enjoy these really early examples of our company's legacy for free! We do have two previously released early titles available as freeware - old text adventures Supernova & Beyond the Titanic - you can get them from the downloads page as well.

If you'd like to learn more about the early days of the company, we strongly urge you to read the "Apogee FAQ", which is available on the FAQ page of our website. It has answers and information for just about anything you could possibly want to know about us.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 5:00 PM

May 28, 2004

Dipping into the Past

Today we have a few entries for you about things and projects from the past. First up is something that was brought to our attention by John Romero. This is a remix of some of the music from Episode IV of Commander Keen (Secret of the Oracle). The remix is entitled "Man Sieht Sich Galaxie", which translated to English roughly means "See you around the galaxy" (or so says a web translator). The remix was done by someone who goes under the name of analoq.

If you were a fan of the old Commander Keen series, and if you like music remixes, then you should definitely check this out. You can download the mp3 here, and you can visit the website where this and many other game music remixes are hosted at

Posted by Joe Siegler at 5:00 PM

April 30, 2004

Update to the Commander Keen FAQ

Here's another old time game that has had something new for it put out. The classic Commander Keen from 1990/1991 has had it's FAQ updated. Keen is a classic game that had a lot to do with the early success of this company, as well as id Software. If you've never tried out Keen, it's still available - we have demo/shareware versions on our downloads page.

The game hasn't been updated since 1991, but the FAQ is new. Check out the latest version here - it's chock full of goodness. If you're a fan of Commander Keen, give it a read.

Also, check out our FAQ section of the website, it has FAQ's on several of our games, including Sam Stoddard's most excellent "Apogee/3DR FAQ". Sam's FAQ covers just about any piece of minutiae about our company history that you'd want to know. And of course, in a Keen related link, if there's anything you ever wanted to know about the Keen character of Dopefish, then check out the Official Dopefish site here.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 12:40 PM

August 19, 2003

Blake Stone New CTO of Borland

UK news site "The Register" has reported on an article talking about one of our own, Blake Stone. He apparently has taken up a job at Borland as CTO of the company.

Stone rose to fame in 1993 through his exploits defeating the Aliens of Gold plot. He returned the following year to deal with the Planet Strike incident. "Blake Stone has made incredible technological contributions to Borland, helping our customers to maximize the value of software to their business and reduce the costs of new services," said Dale L Fuller, president and CEO of Borland, today.

If you want to read the full story about Blake Stone & Borland, you can click here.

Those of you who realize it's a joke can check out our information on Blake Stone here and it's sequel Planet Strike here.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 2:50 PM

July 12, 2002

A Little History

Yesterday, in going over some older areas of our web site, it got me wondering exactly how many games our company has published in the 15 years or so we've been around. So, I went through some notes, and comprised a list of every game we've published, and it was quite a lengthy list - a total of 55 titles!

Anyway, if you check out this thread on our forums, you can see the complete list of titles, as well as a poll in which you can vote on your favorite game of all time.

You can check out our detailed release history here, which details every single release the company has made over it's 15 year history. And while you're at it, make sure to check out "The Apogee FAQ", which covers all kinds of minutiae about us, and our games - including several things we wager you didn't know about our past.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 2:40 PM

January 29, 2002

Commander Keen: Ten Years On!

Yesterday we were made aware of one of the best fan things ever created for one of our games. It's the life story of Commander Keen done in the style of A&E's Biography, or E!'s True Hollywood Story. It's called "Commander Keen: 10 years on". It was done by a fan named Andrew (don't know his last name). It's quite awesome, and includes several pices of original art, and has a fictional history of Billy Blaze (aka Commander Keen). Don't know how else to intro it, so just go and check it out. If you're a fan of Keen, and old Apogee games, then you will most definitely enjoy this!

Also, while you're at it, check out our "real life" Keen 10 year retrospective, published last year. This tells the real life story of the creation of Keen with input from the original id team responsible for bringing the game to life.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 6:15 PM

March 1, 2001

Commander Keen Lives!

Not all that long ago, we ran a historical piece on Commander Keen, tracing it's original creation, the creation of id Software 10 years ago, and had this text in it:

Will there ever been more Keen? Probably. When will it be? Who knows? There are no plans on the books for anything official at this point. id Software still owns the rights to Commander Keen, and given the direction and focus their company has now, you can bet they wouldn't be likely to do more Keen on their own.

Well, that text is now both right and wrong. It's wrong in that there has been an announcement of a new Commander Keen game made! Announced today in a press release was a new Commander Keen game for the Color Gameboy! Here's a bit from the press release:

Commander Keen marks a return to id Software's roots -- developing over-the-top, comic book-style adventure games for kids. Based on id's original Commander Keen series on the PC, Commander Keen finds precocious 8-year-old superhero Billy Blaze on an all-new quest to save the world from his alien adversaries, the Droidiccus, Shikadia and Bloogs of Fribbulus Xax.

id CEO Todd Hollenshead made a a .plan update which has basically the same information about the game.

That's about all the information there is available on it for now. Once there is more to tell about the new title, we'll cover it - but one final thing. Please don't email us about the title, Apogee/3D Realms are not involved in the creation of this game.

However, we are still selling the original 5 Keen games - if you've never played them, go check out our Keen Vorticons & Keen Galaxy - there you can see screenshots, read some about the game, and download shareware for them!

UPDATE @ 4:45PM! - An email to id CEO Todd Hollenshead confirms these facts about the game:

* It's for the Color Gameboy only.
* It's simply called "Commander Keen" (with no subtitle)
* Keen fans will recognize familiar foes, as well as getting new ones.
* It's a joint effort between David Palmer Productions and id.
* Adrian Carmack, one of the original Commander Keen team has done some new art for the game.

UPDATE #2 @ 4:50PM! - Stomped has posted a Q&A with Todd about the new Keen game announcement - check it out. While not many details are revealed, it's still a cool read.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 4:15 PM

December 14, 2000

Commander Keen is Ten!

Today is a landmark day in computer gaming. Ten years ago today, Episode 1 of Commander Keen was released - and gaming was never quite the same. Commander Keen laid the foundation for many of the computer games that we play today. If not by style, then by it's success, it paved the way for the creation of what we know now.

To this, we have a retrospective on Commander Keen online now. This historical article has pictures, screen shots, little known trivia, and much more! The creation of id Software & Commander Keen is detailed, all seven of the existing official Commander Keen games are discussed, as well as Keen's possible future.

Downloads and lots of cool Keen reading await - so make sure and check out our "10th Anniversary Look Back at Commander Keen" today. If you enjoy the article, make sure and discuss it on our forums!

Posted by Joe Siegler at 6:15 PM

September 27, 1999

Apogee Shrine!

A follow-up to the Duke Shrine email from a few days ago.. We received an email from Eric Baker (one of our old beta testers), and he sent some captures of the walls of his computer room. Here's what he has to say about his "Beta Shrine!":

Hey Joe,
I saw the article about Ross' Duke shrine in the news section of the 3DR web page and I thought I'd pass mine on...

The first picture consists of posters I made when I was a beta tester. I made one for every game I beta tested except for Shadow Warrior (which I really need to do.)

>From left to right- Beta symbol, Xenophage, Duke3D, Stargunner, HiSpeed/Death Race/Death Rally, Duke Nukem Plutonium Pak, and Balls of Steel. I made the posters by collecting screenshots from the game as it evolved from it's buggy unpolished state to what it looked like when it was released.

The second picture is a poster that I made from the boxes that you guys used to send games in before they were sold in stores with fancy foiled, embossed graphics.

If you have any of these kinds of pictures, please let us know about it. If we get enough of them, we'll start a section devoted entirely to these things. Thanks! (You can click on either of these thumbnails for a larger image.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 1:00 PM

April 30, 1999

A Lighter Link

Joe Siegler writes, "Right as this news update was being put together, I was sent a link by Tom Hall. It's a link to a fan site about Commander Keen called "Bloogology". It's quite cute, and if you're a fan of Commander Keen, you should check it out".

Posted by Joe Siegler at 1:00 PM

April 5, 1999

The History of ID Software

There is a really cool article out now about the history of id Software, entitled "The History and continuing legacy of id Software". It covers many topics about id (several of which relate to Apogee Software) such as the creation of Commander Keen, Wolfenstein 3D background, Doom, Quake, and beyond. Here's a tidbit about Wolfenstein 3D from their article:

In 1983, a game programmer named Silas Warner made an Apple 2 game called 'Castle Wolfenstein.' It featured a captured U.S. soldier escaping from a Nazi P.O.W. camp. The guys at id software had played Castle Wolfenstein, and felt that the Wolfenstein story would work perfectly with the new '3d' engine that they had developed. They hunted down Mr. Warner, only to find that he had sold the rights. The rights trail led through three or four long-dead companies, finally ending with a guy selling the original game out of his basement. The copyright on the game had long since lapsed, so they applied for the copyright themselves. Wolfenstein 3d was born! On May 5, 1992, Wolfenstein 3-D, was released by Apogee.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 1:00 PM

March 17, 1999


We wanted to point out that we have several books available for sale through our web site (well, they're actually from about our games.

* First off, we wanted to point out that the two original Shadow Warrior Novels, For Dead
Eyes Only
& You Only Die Twice are still available. If you haven't read these books, and you're a Shadow Warrior fan, you should check them out! In fact, we have the full text of the first chapter of For Dead Eyes Only available for you to read online! You can also read several reviews of each book written by people who have read them (or add your own if you wish).
* We also have several book links for titles about Duke Nukem! From strategy guides, to help with editing your own levels, to Internet help, we have something that you can use if you play Duke Nukem (either on the PC or the console games)!
* There's also links to older games like Terminal Velocity & Rise of the Triad, too!

If you want to see the complete list of books we have available, check out our Books page today!

Posted by Joe Siegler at 1:00 PM

February 25, 1999

Jumpman Died!

One of the earlier games Apogee did (slightly over eight years ago now) was a game called Jumpman Lives. We no longer have anything to do with this title (we hold no copyright or anything on the game). In fact, our official stance on the game is this:

Apogee no longer publishes Jumpman Lives, nor do we provide registered versions, or offer any support for it. We retain no copyright to the game, and we cannot assist people looking for the program, and disavow ourselves of the game.

No further information about Jumpman Lives is available from Apogee. In short, Jumpman died.

With that said, we'd like to point out a link that recently popped up on the Internet about this old game we did. Lon Matero's Apogee page has done a feature on the Jumpman Lives! game, giving some of the history of it. If you're at interested in this game, you should check it out.

If you're interested in reading some more of our company history, make sure to check out our Milestones & History page, as well as our Detailed Release History page.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 1:00 PM

January 4, 1999

Duke Nukem Voted 7th Best Game of all Time

The February 1999 issue of PC Gamer has a feature article titled, "The PC Gamer Readers' Top 50." These are games that are voted by readers and game players, not the press, and they include all games ever released.

Two games originally released by us made the list:

* #7 -- Duke Nukem 3D, developed by 3D Realms and released May 1996 (full version).
* #29 -- Wolfenstein 3-D, developed by id Software and originally released by Apogee in 1992.

A big thanks to all of the game fans who voted for us! Also, a deserved congratulations must go to Blizzard, with three of the top five games: StarCraft (#1), WarCraft (#2) and Diablo (#5).

Posted by Joe Siegler at 1:00 PM

December 17, 1998

More on Commander Keen

In September of 1990, a group of game developers from Softdisk Publishing moonlighted by working on a project utilizing an engine that Softdisk didn't want used in their own games. Why? Because the engine didn't work in CGA, like the rest of the company's games. That turned out to be a big mistake. The game the group had developed was released as shareware in December, and in January the group left Softdisk based on the game's success to start their own company. The rest, as they say, is history.

That's the start of a news story by Classing where they give Commander Keen their "Game of the Week" award. They talk a lot about the original Commander Keen series, as well as the second series, and the "Quake Premonition" that was in the original Keen game. Some of the stories in this article are not new, but it's a nice refreshing look at Commander Keen. Thanks Jay Gianotti.

If you want to read some more about Commander Keen, check out the Apogee FAQ in the FAQ area of our web site - it has a lot of Keen info in it.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 1:00 PM

December 16, 1998

Id & Apogee's First Shareware Hit - 8 Years Ago!

It was eight years ago (on Dec. 14, 1990) that Apogee released id Software's Commander Keen: Invasion of the Vorticons into the shareware jet stream, putting two game companies on the map with a quake still heard today.

The story of id started several months earlier when Scott Miller, Apogee's founder, contacted John Romero who worked at Softdisk, Inc. (a company that developed a monthly disk magazine with articles, small utilities and applications, and small games) about the possibility of creating a shareware game that Apogee would release.

As luck would have it, John Carmack, also at Softdisk, had just written an EGA smooth scrolling engine capable of doing Nintendo style platform games like Mario Bros. Romero sent Miller a demo of this technology, and very quickly a deal was struck to develop an original game, Commander Keen.

Tom Hall, also at Softdisk, wrote a brief story about the game, which Miller approved. Part of the approval was id's request for a $3000 advance, which at the time was quite a risk for Miller. In hindsight, of course, it was one of the deals of the century, as id and Apogee also had a publishing relationship for id's next Commander Keen series, as well as Wolfenstein 3-D. The Apogee-id relationship or the early 90's enabled both companies to quickly rise to fame, and earn enough money to avoid signing bad publishing deals with more mainstream publishers.

Click here to see the original proposal from id Software (then known as IFD -- Ideas From the Deep) sent to Apogee for Commander Keen. The four signatures are John Romero, John Carmack, Tom Hall and Lane Roathe. If you'd like to download the shareware episode of the original Commander Keen, you can do so by clicking on the big slug.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 1:00 PM

December 4, 1998

Mystic Towers Redux

Lon Matero's Apogee Page has posted another in his series of looks back at classic Apogee games.

This time, the game he reviews is one of our 1994 releases, Mystic Towers. This is probably the most unique game in our entire product line - there's nothing else quite like it. Based on the character Baron Baldric, this adventure game takes through a land of magic.

If you're into puzzle games, and are looking for something different, check out Mystic Towers. You can check out what Lon Matero had to say about the game by clicking on the logo to your right.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 1:00 PM

November 12, 1998

3D Realms Makes Gamecenter's Top 10 List - 6 Times!

GameCenter has been around for two years and decided to rank their top ten feature stories of more than 2000 total. Six of those features included 3D Realms!

* Best Feature #9: Prey was one of the games ranked in a feature titled, "The Magnificent 7."
* Best Feature #8: Wolfenstein 3-D is ranked number three is a feature titled, "The Hall of Game Innovation."
* Best Feature #6: Duke Nukem 3D was matched against Quake in another major feature, with Duke winning in the areas of weapons, deathmatching and interface.
* Best Feature #4: The original Duke Nukem ranked number five in a feature titled, "The Top 10 Downloads of All Time."
* Best Feature #2: In a feature titled "Separated at Birth," Duke Nukem and Tom Jones are compared with shocking results. GameCenter rates this feature as maybe "the funniest story GameCenter has ever published."
* Best Feature #1: This probing feature on "Sex in Games" also references Duke Nukem a time or two!

This is a really fun set of stories, some of which you might have missed. You can also vote for your favorite feature. At the time of this writing the top four features leading the voting all include Apogee/3D Realms games.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 1:00 PM

November 4, 1998

Historical Charts

Scott Miller was looking through some old magazines in his office this week, and happened upon some old sales charts from Shareware Magazine in July 1993. Shown below, these charts detail Apogee's dominance of the charts, having 7 of the Top 10 games, as well as 2 of the top 3 Top 10 Educational games (and the Number 1 title on both charts). Some of the titles on the list are Wolfenstein 3D, Major Stryker, Crystal Caves, and Commander Keen (which had been out for over 2 years at that point). You can click on either of these small thumbnail images to see a larger version of each.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 1:00 PM

September 23, 1998

Star Trek

Lon Matero, a long time Apogee fan, has covered some really old Apogee games on his latest site update. The two games he covers are Star Trek Trivia, and Star Trek TNG Trivia. We don't have anything to do with these titles anymore, but if you'd like to take a look at these, head over to Lon's Apogee Page.

In an unrelated Star Trek bit, the official site for Star Trek: Insurrection (the next Trek movie) is now online. You can download the movie trailer there.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 1:00 PM

August 4, 1998

Wolfenstein 3D for the Apple IIgs

The original Wolfenstein 3D was released May 5th, 1992. In the time since, it's been ported and released on several computing and gaming systems. Some of these were the Super Nintendo, the Atari Jaguar, and the Apple Macintosh.

Some time ago, there was a port of Wolfenstein 3D for the Apple IIgs system started, but (I thought) abandoned. I found out this weekend that it wasn't completely abandoned. The project is still alive out there. Here's some text I wrote on the matter for the Apogee FAQ...

In the fall of 1994, it was revealed that Vitesse was working on a version of Wolfenstein 3D for the Apple IIgs. This version was being written by none other than "Burger" Bill Heinemann, as the original Castle Wolfenstein was written for the Apple //e. My knowledge of WolfGS ended at the plan to sell WolfGS by Vitesse. Jay Wilbur (then of id Software) told me that this was against a licensing agreement, and as such, distribution was stopped before it was released. That was it I thought. Until now. On August 2, 1998, I received an Email from a user saying this..

I wanted to let you know, in case you hadn't heard, that Wolfenstein 3D for the Apple IIgs was finally released this year, on Valentine's Day, as freeware.

This was news to me. Well, I wrote to John Carmack at id Software about this issue (saying what happened, relaying what I just said above), and this is what I was told by him..

The contract negotiations had dragged on for a long time for very little potential money, so we finally just said that it could be released as freeware. At the time, they still wanted to try to make some money off of it and didn't release it, but we never specifically rescinded the offer, so I guess they finally took us up on it.

So, it would appear that Wolfenstein 3D for the Apple IIgs was finally released on Feb 14, 1998. I have had a copy of it since it was first written almost 4 years ago (from the author), but it's been changed a bit since Burger Bill was working on it. Here are some links about WolfGS:

Posted by Joe Siegler at 1:00 PM

July 29, 1998

Lon's Apogee Page Updated

Lon Matero, long time Apogee fan has updated his Apogee page.

About a month ago, he refocused his site from being an Apogee/3D Realms news site to an "Apogee Classics" site. He is now profiling older games of ours one at a time. His new update includes a profile of Pharaoh's Tomb, and old CGA game written by George Broussard (Duke Nukem producer).

Go check it out - it's a cool update. This is his second profile, the first one being on 1992's Cosmo's Cosmic Adventure.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 1:00 PM

July 15, 1998

Commander Keen Interview

There is an interview online with Tom Hall (ex 3D Realms, Ion Storm, id) where he talks about the early days of id, and Commander Keen. If you're a fan of Apogee from that era, and you like Commander Keen, you should check out this interview.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 1:00 PM

July 9, 1998

The Apogee Temple Moves!

Gee, that was quick! :) The Apogee Temple site we reported on the other day has moved to a new home. It's now located at This is a pretty slick site run by Chris Ivarson. Go check it out!

Posted by Joe Siegler at 1:00 PM

July 3, 1998

Lon Matero's Apogee Pages Overhauled

Lon Matero (long time Apogee fan) has overhauled his web pages. His is one of the older Apogee related sites on the web. He used to run an Apogee/3D Realms news related site, but with the recent rise of other such sites, he (unfortunately) took his own site down.

Anyway, his page is back, redesigned with a new look. His new focus will be on one classic Apogee game every couple of weeks or so, and he launches his site with our 1992 classic, Cosmo's Cosmic Adventure. Click on the logo here to be taken to his site.

See Lon? I told you I'd get the Apogee logo back on the front page of the site eventually.

In other Apogee site news, I just happened across a new site devoted to us and our games entitled "The Apogee Temple". This is a relatively new site (at least to me it is). Chris Ivarson runs this - make sure to check this out as well, there's some really nice sections on Commander Keen & Dopefish. :) Click on the logo to go there.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 1:00 PM

July 1, 1998

Wolfenstein 3D TC for Unreal

This game just doesn't want to die, does it? :) I ran across a link to TC for Unreal of Wolfenstein 3D. It's being hosted by UnrealNation, and if you'd like some more info, including screenshots & videos, check out their site.

On another note, there is also a Wolfenstein 3D for Quake II conversion. Make sure to check that out, too. Thanks to John Piddock who Emailed me and gave me the link (I had lost it).

Posted by Joe Siegler at 1:00 PM

May 5, 1998

Happy Birthday B.J. Blazkowicz

Six years ago today Apogee Software released a shareware game that changed the world forever. Wolfenstein 3D was released today in 1992. Authored by id Software, this game broke all kinds of new ground, and pretty much paved the way for all action shooters to come since. If you have this game, you should get it out and play it today. If you don't have it, click on the logo above to go to our Wolfenstein 3D pages.

If you'd like to see some other history we have online, check out our Milestones page, and detailed release history pages.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 1:00 PM

April 17, 1998

Classic Downloads

C|Net's Gamecenter is running a special called "Classic Downloads", and their pick for the day is our game, Alien Carnage (it's also listed there as one of their most popular downloads).

If you'd like to see what Gamecenter has to say about Alien Carnage, click here.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 1:00 PM

April 3, 1998

Duke Nukem is a Top 10 Most Important Download

CNet's Gamecenter recently ran a special on what they called "The Top 10 Most Important Downloads of All Time". In this special, the original Duke Nukem game placed at #5. The article had this to say about Duke Nukum:

* Duke Nukem was originally Duke Nukum (gasp), a side-scroller with all the attitude he could muster before sound in PC games made it to 16 bits.
* Though he may be 2D, Duke still brings a tear to our eye. My how our boy has grown up to be a man!

On the page, they offer both Duke Nukem I and Duke Nukem II for download.

Furthermore, Wolfenstein 3D placed at the Number One spot! They had this to say about Wolfenstein 3D:

* No other game (at the time) gave you the feeling of actually "being there" like this one.
* A "3D" first-person shooter that took gaming violence to a new level.
* The action--complete with hidden rooms, pouncing German shepherds, nasty Nazi guards, and SS troopers--was like nothing we had seen before.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 1:00 PM

March 26, 1998

Older Games Can be Just as Fun

Brady Cox of PC Gaming Magazine Emailed us about an article he did, entitled Older Games Can Be Just as Fun. In it, he talks about being able to pick up some really fun (but older) games of ours from this site. Check out the article here. Go check out what Brady thinks of some of our older games such as Boppin', Paganitzu, & Duke Nukum! :)

Posted by Joe Siegler at 1:00 PM

March 26, 1998

Supernova Released as Freeware!

Back on March 10th, we released one of our really old games as freeware (Beyond the Titanic). Due to this release, we've been getting a lot of requests for us to release it's sister game, Supernova, as freeware.

Well, your answers have been heard. Today, Supernova has been released as freeware. Like Titanic, Supernova is a text based adventure game done by Scott Miller (this time with some help from a friend, Terry Nagy) before he founded Apogee. Supernova is one of the two programs ever released that weren't under "The Apogee Model" (Supernova & Titanic had the whole game released in shareware, instead of being split up like "The Apogee Model" does). This program has long since been deleted, and we thought that we'd release it now as freeware.

The Story:

Working 14 hours a day in the core of some dusty, smelly mine is not your idea of the perfect lifestyle. Barre-An is a dust ball in space, its only salvation being that it is rich in precious barre-an metal. Or used to be. Nowadays the mines don't seem so generous, which is why you're looking for a more profitable venture. A break, that's all you ask for, maybe today you figure...

You can download Supernova here. Enjoy! Just remember, the program is freeware, and is not registerable. Please do not call us about this, we are not offering any support on this program. If you missed it, you can download Beyond the Titanic by clicking here.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 1:00 PM

March 10, 1998

Beyond the Titanic Released as Freeware!

By now we're sure that most everyone has seen the James Cameron film, Titanic. It occurred to me that we had released a game a long LONG time ago about the Titanic. It's called "Beyond the Titanic", and was one of Scott Miller's really old programs that he wrote. It's one of the two programs ever released that weren't under "The Apogee Model" (Beyond the Titanic had the whole game released in shareware, instead of being split up like "The Apogee Model" does). This program has long since been deleted, and we thought that we'd release it now as freeware.

Our game was originally released back in 1986, and is a text adventure game where you have to make your way off the Titanic as it's sinking and get home before you die trying. This re-release is being put out for fun, and as such, we are not taking any registrations on it, nor are we offering any kind of support or hints on it. Click here to download the program.

Also, if you'd like some information on James Cameron's movie, you can click on the banner below.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 1:00 PM

October 3, 1996

Death Rally 1.1 Shareware Released!

Today Apogee released the new hot racing game from Remedy Entertainment, Death Rally. This game is sure to be a hit with any fan of racing games, as well as any fan of games in general! You can get more information as well as a list of places you can download the shareware episode by going to the Death Rally page!

Posted by Joe Siegler at 12:01 PM

June 7, 1996

Blood Development Update Page Added!

We've added another game development page to the site! Due to the positive feedback for the Shadow Warrior and Prey pages, we've added one for Blood! Blood is a game from Q Studios and 3D Realms using an enhanced version of the Build engine seen in Duke Nukem 3D. If you'd like to get the latest weekly updates from Nick Newhard of Q Studios, make sure to tune in the Blood weekly update page!

Posted by Joe Siegler at 12:01 PM

April 26, 1996

Xenophage v1.0 Shareware Episode released!

Today, the shareware episode of Xenophage: Alien Bloodsport from Argo games has been released! If you're a fan of fighting games, you should check this out! Strategy Plus said of Xenophage.. "...revolutionary game design, it may indeed knock fighting fans into another universe of apocalyptic action." Check out the Apogee Files area in the File Area section to get your copy!

Posted by Joe Siegler at 12:01 PM

April 3, 1996

Hispeed & Balls of Steel info added to Web!

Hispeed & Balls of Steel are two new games coming in 96 from Apogee. You can read about them in the Apogee Catalog here on our Web site. You can also read a message there from Scott Miller, the president of Apogee regarding other future Apogee games.

NOTE (May 2005): - HiSpeed was the original name of Death Rally.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 12:01 PM

December 29, 1995

Xenophage Public Beta Released!

Today, Apogee releases a public beta for the fighting game from Argo Games, Xenophage: Alien Bloodsport. Xenophage features unique creatures 3D-rendered at huge size, panoramic backgrounds with a pixel-smooth panning & zooming camera, and other gratuitous cool stuff. Want to download it now, and get fighting? Well, you can do it by going to the Xenopage. Get fighting!

Posted by Joe Siegler at 12:01 PM

November 19, 1995

Duke 3D Slide Show Released & Ravager Shots Added

Today, 3D Realms releases the official slide show for Duke Nukem 3D! It has over 20 screen shots, an included PCX viewer for viewing them, and includes text about the game listing some of the features, and what kinds of weapons, etc will be in the game!

Click here to be taken to the Duke Nukem 3D page, where you can download this slide show, as well as view a few other screen shots that aren't in this file!

Also added today are 5 screen shots for Ravager, a hot scroller game under development by Apogee. Click here to be taken to the Ravager page, where you can view them!

Posted by Joe Siegler at 12:01 PM

November 10, 1995

Realms of Chaos v1.0 Released

Apogee released Realms of Chaos v1.0 today. If you'd like to go right to the Realms of Chaos page, where you can download the shareware episode RIGHT NOW, then click here.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 12:01 PM

November 8, 1995

Ruins: Return of the Gods Cancelled

Ruins, a 3D game being developed by Lobotomy Software that was originally scheduled as a 3D Realms Entertainment release, will no longer be published by 3D Realms.

Lobotomy and 3D Realms mutually agreed to separate from each other and allow Ruins, now renamed as PowerSlave, to be released by another publisher.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 12:01 PM

October 23, 1995

Misc News & Tidbits

ITEM #1: In the new issue of Next Generation magazine, Scott Miller, founder of Apogee, is named as one of the gaming industry's 75 most powerful players. Scott is listed under the "Pioneers" section, specifically for creating the multi-episode marketing of shareware games ("The Apogee Model", as it's called in the industry), which is now used by many other game publishers, such as id Software, Epic MegaGames, Interplay, and many others.

ITEM #2: Realms of Chaos is nearing release. We're in final prep on it,and it could possibly be released within a week! Keep your eyes peeled to this WWWsite, it will be released right here!


ITEM #1: 3D Realms recently hired Billy Zelsnack, giving 3D Realms arguably the best group of 3D programming talent in the gaming industry. Billy is considered by John Carmack, lead programmer at id Software, to be one of the best in the business. Billy, along with Ken Silverman (author of the Build 3D engine), and the 3D Realms' Prey team (William Scarboro, Mark Dochtermann, Jim Dose'), give 3D Realms an incredible foundation of 3D programming talent that no other company can match. The results of this talent will soon be seen with the release of Duke Nukem 3D, and many future 3D games.

ITEM #2:3D Realms will publish (as shareware) Parallax Software's next big 3D game (as of yet untitled)! Parallax, who previously authored the super hit Descent, expect this next-generation game to come up in early 1997. Interplay Productions will handle the retail release of this game.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 12:01 PM

August 16, 1995

New Xenophage Screen Shots Put on Web!

Today, Apogee released 5 new screen shots for our upcoming fighting game, XenoPhage: Alien Bloodsport. To take a look at them, click here.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 12:01 PM