Formed in 1987 in Garland, Texas, 3D Realms (Apogee Software, Ltd.) began life as Apogee Software with independent developer Scott Miller, creator of 1986’s text-based adventure Beyond the Titanic and 1987’s episodic gem-collecting series, Kroz. Four years later, Miller’s long-time friend, George Broussard, joined Apogee as co-owner and project leader.
From there, the company grew. From popularizing the groundbreaking shareware distribution model to developing the ass-kicking, shade-wearing antics of 1996’s Duke Nukem 3D, Apogee Software — which became 3D Realms that same year — continued to contribute to the industry in bigger and better ways.
Though world-renowned for the Duke Nukem franchise, 3D Realms independently developed over 40 titles, including Shadow Warrior, Bio Menace, Major Stryker and Rise of the Triad — the latter games of which saw remakes at the hands of Poland-based developer Flying Wild Hog, and Denmark-based developer Interceptor Entertainment, both games of which were released last year.
And when 3D Realms wasn’t developing games, it was producing and publishing them. With over 40 titles under its atomic belt buckle, the studio was prolific in the still-fledgling industry. It would go on to develop games like 1991’s Duke Nukem to publishing id Software’s Wolfenstein 3D. It would also produce Max Payne nearly a decade later, a game which went on to receive multiple awards and near-universal acclaim.
3D Realms was also known for remaining firmly grounded to its roots, despite great success. Self-funded, the studio would develop games independently, free from the pressures of traditional video game publishers. This imbued them with a creative control few developers had.