Fear-to-play: F.E.A.R. Online launching on Steam next month

ArcheAge review

Here's how to survive The Evil Within

Wolfenstein 3D

The Dawn of the FPS: inside the making of Wolfenstein 3D

In 1981 Castle Wolfenstein was the game to be seen with. Developed by Muse Software, led by the man-mountain Silas Warner, the World War II title was the first ever stealth-based game. Players would sneak through the castle, disguise themselves as guards, and used some of the earliest digital voice samples. It was a spectacularly popular and innovative game.

What, you thought Carmack, Romero and id software made Wolfenstein? Think again.

The story of Wolfenstein 3D starts with Muse Software. Silas Warner was the lead designer and programmer of Castle Wolfenstein. Muse founder’s Ed Zaron description of meeting him is straight out of Damon Runyon: “Silas is a big guy, maybe 6'8" and say 320lbs. Here's the picture: he was walking down Mainstreet in downtown Baltimore wearing a huge, sagging sports coat. He had a car battery (yes, car battery!) in one pocket, a CB radio in the other pocket and a whip antenna stuck down the back of his jacket. He was occasionally talking on the CB as he held two magazines open in one hand. One of Silas's favorite things was to read two mags simultaneously, kinda one inside the other, flipping back and forth.”

Silas was a big man in a small company – though Muse's games were hugely popular, the company never really took off. When their sales guy was taken ill, the company just couldn't afford to keep going. In 1986 they shut down and, soon after, their trademarks on the Wolfenstein name lapsed. Silas, sadly, never made another big hit and passed away in 2004 after a long struggle with kidney disease.

Skip to 1990. Over in Shreveport, Louisiana, id Software was thriving. The four man team – John D Carmack II, John Romero, Adrian Carmack (no relation) and Tom Hall – had made a working copy of Super Mario Bros. 3 on the PC, whilst moonlighting at game publisher Softdisk. They thought they might to get a chance to work with Nintendo: but whilst Nintendo weren't interested in expanding away from consoles, Apogee Software's Scott Miller (later to work on Duke Nukem Forever for ten years) was definitely interested.

Miller had seen John Romero's Dangeous Dave games and wanted to hire the team. US business law at the time meant that he couldn't approach Romero directly, so he sent fan letters through (all from the same address) until Romero contacted him. They came to an agreement. Again moonlighting, the id team developed Commander Keen for Apogee. That was until Softdisk found out about the arrangement forced them form a new company – id Software. It was named after Sigmund Freud's word for the uncoordinated instinctual trends underlying a human's psychic apparatus.

Login or Register
0
+0
-0
avatar
20

I miss Shareware. Free-to-play should follow that example. Break up your game into chapters, give away a third of it or something for free, and then pay for additional chapters. People don't finish games anyway; an "a la carte" approach would work wonders. Not to mention, it would blur the line between shipped game chapters and DLC expansions. It's just more game; play until you're bored. But get your initial fix totally free, just like shareware. Back on topic, can we get a little feature on the precursors to Wolfenstein, like Hovertank 3D and whatnot? Or was it Catacombs? I know id did 3D games before Wolfenstein... and other studios' games, like Faceball 2000.

Alienware - Game VictoriousNvidia Shield - Titanfall
ArcheAge review

ArcheAge

ArcheAge review

Fear-to-play: F.E.A.R. Online launching on Steam next month

Fear-to-play: F.E.A.R. Online launching on Steam next month

Here's how to survive The Evil Within

Here's how to survive The Evil Within

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor ignored Gandalf when he warned

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor ignored Gandalf when he warned "You shall not season pass"

Here's the Alien: Isolation advert currently upsetting telly-watchers

Here's the Alien: Isolation advert currently upsetting telly-watchers

FIFA 15's Luis Suarez serving same suspension as IRL counterpart

FIFA 15's Luis Suarez serving same suspension as IRL counterpart

Blizzard on World of Warcraft PvP as an eSport:

World of Warcraft

Blizzard on World of Warcraft PvP as an eSport: "it's kind of hard to watch"

Superhot loses a programmer and PR man to higher education

Superhot loses a programmer and PR man to higher education

Windows 9 will be a free upgrade for Windows 8 adopters, reports suggest

Windows 9 will be a free upgrade for Windows 8 adopters, reports suggest

Reflex movement trailer shows off how to go from A to B in style

Reflex movement trailer shows off how to go from A to B in style

Visceral on Battlefield Hardline:

Visceral on Battlefield Hardline: "we take shipping a working game pretty seriously"

Payday 2 Hotline Miami DLC launches on Tuesday; promises animal masks for all

Payday 2 Hotline Miami DLC launches on Tuesday; promises animal masks for all

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter PC review

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter PC review

World of Tanks update 9.3 rolls in new light tanks, Stronghold features and more

World of Tanks update 9.3 rolls in new light tanks, Stronghold features and more

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare trailer shows off new four player co-op survival mode

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare trailer shows off new four player co-op survival mode

Assassin's Creed Rogue sneaks onto Uplay for PC, before sneaking off again

Assassin's Creed Rogue sneaks onto Uplay for PC, before sneaking off again

War Thunder to throw birthday smash in Moscow, and you're invited

War Thunder to throw birthday smash in Moscow, and you're invited

Far Cry 4 trailer reintroduces Pagan Min with kidnapping, torture and an absurd chase sequence

Far Cry 4 trailer reintroduces Pagan Min with kidnapping, torture and an absurd chase sequence

Playing With Myself: The Long Dark

The Long Dark

Playing With Myself: The Long Dark

No Pineapple Left Behind uses fruit and magic in a parody of the US education system

No Pineapple Left Behind uses fruit and magic in a parody of the US education system

Endless Legend review

Endless Legend review

Welcome to the VRAM apocalypse

Welcome to the VRAM apocalypse

Mobile network giffgaff open £10,000 League of Legends tournament; open to all UK residents

Mobile network giffgaff open £10,000 League of Legends tournament; open to all UK residents

Escalation: Middle-Earth Shadow of Mordor requires 6GB of VRAM for

Escalation: Middle-Earth Shadow of Mordor requires 6GB of VRAM for "Ultra" textures