In honor of the 20 Year Anniversary of the Rise of the Triad v1.0 we asked Joe Siegler to write a story describing his memories of the development and launch of the historic game. Besides being our dedicated Community Manager for over 22 years, Joe Siegler is known within 3D Realms as our archivist. He has fascinated us with his stories and pictures from the history of 3D Realms and our games.
This blog post contains parts of the introduction and conclusion from Joe's 11,000+ word blog post describing his memories. To read his entire post, head over to his site here: http://joe.siegler.net/2014/12/happy-20th-rise-of-the-triad/
Rise of the Triad turns 20 years old today (Dec 21st, 2014). It was 20 years ago today that v1.0 of the shareware episode was uploaded to the world (by me) to the Software Creations BBS, and from what we used to use as our FTP archive back in the day (wustl.edu). This was put out in the era of Doom, and while ROTT, like any game had its issues, it was by far my favorite game of any I ever worked on in any capacity during my time at Apogee/3DR.
ROTT was first internally developed game by Apogee (3DR hadn’t yet come into existence as a brand name at this point). At the time, much was made of wanting to develop “true” in house games (vs the "out of studio" type games we had done to that point), and Rise of the Triad was going to be the first. In fact, I remember going out to dinner to meet with the first developer hired, the late great William Scarboro. Scott, George, and myself took William out to dinner, and William and I struck up a friendship that would remain going forward, even past his death (more on that later). One thing that I had forgotten about which I was reminded of during my research for this article is one of the more notable firsts. Rise of the Triad was the first 3D action game to have the ability to play as women or as people of color.
We brought in other developers to work on Rise of the Triad, including Nolan Martin, Mark Dochtermann, and Jim Dosé. Jim had submitted a platformer game to Apogee called “Megaloman” that was never released (no, I’ll never stop referencing that Jim), but ROTT ended up using Jim’s sound code. Jim became the sound code guy for a while there, as his code was used in multiple games of this era (Boppin’, Hocus Pocus, Realms of Chaos, etc). But of course, our project lead was none other than Tom Hall, fresh over to Apogee from his time at id Software. Tom came off Doom due to creative differences, and we were more than happy to have him. I knew Tom both as a fan of his work (I had bought Commander Keen back in the day, as well as Wolfenstein 3D) as well as a professional colleague, as I would go over to id and do things like shoot pool with Romero & Tom. So to be working with Tom was a bit of a dream come true. Most of what made Rise of the Triad what it is, is down to Tom. There’s just so much in there to talk about, I’d be writing until the 21st anniversary to cover it all.
That wasn't all of the team. There’s plenty others who worked on ROTT as well. Lee Jackson did the bulk of the music on the game, with an assist from Apogee/id legend Bobby Prince. Susan Singer, Chuck Jones, Stephen Hornback, James Storey, & Tim Neveu also rounded out the dev team. There were also several of us who did maps. Myself, Mark’s later wife Marianna, & Joe Selinske (along with Tom) were the main map team. Rob Atkins did the really slick looking game manual as well.
I look back on all of this with fond memories. We were the “Developers of Incredible Power”. Some of this group formed the original Prey development team, but that is a different anniversary article. Haha. I get the feeling I’m forgetting someone from the team, but I hope not. If I did, it’s a mea culpa for sure. Granted, it was 20 years ago, and I’ll be 50 next year, so some of the memories start to fade, but there’s some great stories.
Speaking of stories, I originally intended this piece to be a “history of ROTT”. I started writing in that direction, but decided against it, as it wasn't feeling right. I wanted to write to my strength, which was stories about what happened - because I’d be writing from my point of view, not speaking for others so to speak. So, without trying to tell a story with the stories, here are several random bits I recall from my time on Rise of the Triad. Some I’ve told before over the years, some I haven’t, but all are from my own head.
Head over to Joe's site to read all the stories: http://joe.siegler.net/2014/12/happy-20th-rise-of-the-triad/
Summary & Closing
That is pretty much it for my look back at Rise of the Triad. I wanted to say thanks to you for reading. Thanks to Scott & George for hiring me 22 years ago and starting me on this journey. Thanks to Interceptor for buying 3D Realms and bringing it back to life, as well as bringing back my favorite Apogee/3DR game to the surface again. Thanks to Tom Hall & John Romero for answering my numerous questions about the past when I was writing all of this. Over the last few months I released a few videos showing behind the scenes footage from the original video recording sessions of Rise of the Triad. I am releasing a third with this article, so enjoy that, too! There will be more than this; I will do more of these videos. The 20th anniversary of the retail version of the game is still to come (February 17th, 2015), so there’s more time to get them in for that. Haha. Thanks for reading all of this, and thanks for being a fan of Rise of the Triad. I loved this game when we made it, and I still do.