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Article - From Apogee to Gearbox

by YicklePigeon on Tuesday 10 June 2011

The end is fast approaching…as is a new beginning.  So says the YicklePigeon anyway!

As many in the forums are commenting, it’s the end of an era, a big long journey of Kaisersoze eating underpants and dating advice forum threads, the end is indeed nigh.

Before I go any further though, let me be clear: this ISN’T going to be an article covering the history of DNF (or Duke in general for that matter), kissing Gearbox’s feet, ranting about Max Payne 3’s tortured development so far, George Broussard’s ability to play poker or Randy Pitchford’s love of US and UK action/adventure shows from the 60s.

And with that said, between 1990 and 1992, me and my sister often taken trips to my father’s house and it was there we had our first play of games such as Commander Keen, Bio Menace and a little game known as Wolfenstein 3-D.  So essentially, the Apogee fanfare became as familiar as a BBC television ident for us.

Eventually we got our own PC, then my sister moved out (woo! PC all to myself! At last!) and I discovered – thanks to a magazine cover CD – a whole raft of games from all kinds of companies.  But the mainstays have always been Apogee titles (Wacky Wheels especially!), and in modern times when I have shown games to young kids – its Apogee developed/published titles they first play before anything else.

Come the end of 1993 and the beginning of 1994, the shareware version of Doom was making the rounds and my father was telling me all about how you could go up and down stairs, go outside and it looked very real! And there was me, all of about 9 years old, going up and down the stairs of E1M2, being amazed that I was outside and it was so much better than Wolfenstein.

In the following years, I played games like Descent, The Dig, Rise of the Triad,  Terminal Velocity, Broken Sword (or Circle of Blood for those in North America, Baphomet’s Fluch for those in Germany), Thief, Unreal (thanks to my father again!), Half-Life and so on.  It wasn’t until 1999 that I was revisiting older titles (now being 15 and having some money) and enjoying them anew, that I got back into playing Duke 3D.  After first playing Duke 3D back in 1996, I wasn’t too keen on it, but upon revisitation, as it was also a time of getting on the internet for the first time – 14.4k modem FTW! – and obtaining the shareware versions of the games I enjoyed most yet again, a new fan was born!

It was also when I first learned about DNF and the time I started lurking on the 3DR forums, although it wasn’t until 24th December 2001 when I registered and started posting.  And from that fateful day everything changed, it’s was the only forum that I have constantly posted on as it was mostly filled with intelligent people.  Many threads I remember, and in no chronological order - some of which I participated in - were the gargantuan Diablo 2 threads, the Camera Caption competitions, the links to the Daily Dementia shows, the Max Payne 5-year anniversary giveaway (thanks Yatta for notifying me and thanks Joe for organising and posting my copy to me!), Drazula’s rants, Damien_Azreal’s devotion to all things Monolith (and I can’t say I blame him – get with doing NOLF3 dangnabbit!), SimonCharles’ old website with his musing about women before he became good at getting dates, people complaining about my avatar looking like the head was decapitated, Mariamus’s love of all things Vinnie Gognitti, the now infamous “We Want The Prey Demo NOW!” thread and moving beyond the 3DR forums…to the unofficial #3drealms IRC channel.

In that channel, games of F.E.A.R. were organised, Duke 3D was indulged in, chats went on for hours about seemingly nothing of consequence and much fun was had by all.  But only by a limited few, and I like that as it gave a true sense of community and represented the higher echelons of 3DR-dom.  The “Don” of that channel was always (and still is) TerminX, aka “The_Clairvoyant”, aka “The Red Screen Of Your Demise”.

So, rather than have another person lamenting how long DNF taken or pointing out the necessity of restarting development (look at the threads to see the consumers complaining how DNF doesn’t “look at 2011 game! waa! waa!”) without understanding the game development world to even a simplest of degrees, so instead you will find at the end of this article some screenshots I taken that could only have happened thanks to 3D Realms, Duke Nukem 3D and the forums being in existence (and being moderated fairly and tirelessly by Joe Siegler and his specially selected crack team of admins).

There are lots of people that should be mentioned, and certainly I didn’t capture them all in the screenshots.  Those that are there are TerminX (as The_Clairvoyant), Yatta, Micki! (as LaggyN00b), myself behind the camera , SimonCharles, Hudson, avatar_58 and gamejunkie (and possibly others that I’ve forgotten).  I’ve also included a screenshot that didn’t make it on to the eDuke multiplayer guide where myself, Yatta and special guest Charlie Wiederhold played several matches and posed for screenshots.

If anything, this article is more a testament to the decent elements of the community (past and present) who scoured previews of both Max Payne 1 & 2, Prey and anything with a screenshot of Duke for any DNF-related information, George Broussard’s shacknews posts, Scott Miller’s blog, those two forumers who located 3DR’s HQ and got a tour (the lucky good-for-nothings! ) and indeed to the aforementioned George Broussard and Scott Miller for helming Apogee Software and its alter egos of 3D Realms and (the once used) Pinball Wizards for developing and/or releasing the kind of games that – occasionally with adult supervision – an 8 year old could happily play, either alone or along with the rest of the family.

And there lies a head-fake.  It’s not just about me playing with others, having met them through 3DR’s forums, it’s about all our stories of how we came to know Apogee.  I’m willing to bet its usually through either a blood relative or friend of the family.

Finally though, as an optional side quest, before you launch straight into the game once you have it – spare a moment for those who didn’t make it for whatever reason.  Then another thought for all those who used much of their time on this world to making the game happen, no not just making levels or coding, but the legal wrangling, the deal making and the alleged threats of being hit over a chair if the NDA isn’t signed in blood (or pomegranate juice depending on availability) just to get this game on the market and into the hands of us.  The customers.

Now enough, go play the hell out of it and enjoy.  It’s what the game is there for! =)

Happy Duking,

The YicklePigeon!


P.S. Details on the pics:-

"boom_baby.jpg" - This one is of TerminX having just killed me, being killed by me thanks to a sneakily placed proximity mine for just such an occasion!

"its_here.jpg" - The box containing Max Payne, having won it in a the 5-year anniversary giveaway

"duke0071bulge.jpg" - Looking up Yatta's jeans

"simoncharles_and_yickle.jpg" - I have renamed this file, but I do believe it to be true given the amount of skeleton mages.  Whenever I can get a new caddy for my now mothballed hard drives, I'll be going through them looking for log files, photos and anything else worth having (and backing up on DVD this time!)

 10.0 - 2 votes