By Stephanie "Bobbi Bergman
Company websites. Official websites. 99.99% of the time, boooring, right? Not in 3D Realms’ case. Joe Siegler, Webmaster for 3D Realms, is the man behind an official site that breaks that trend. The daily news, the AMOUNT of news, features, and the like, rivals the best. So, what makes a developer decide to beat the fans at their own game? :) We decided to find out.
Name/rank/serial number? Joseph Michael Siegler/Webmaster/SC937-0176 CEC
What do you do at 3D Realms? Well, my bio page on the 3D Realms site says it all, really.
Creation/Maintenance of the Apogee/3D Realms Web Site, author of all Tech Support Files for our games, makes disk and CD-ROM masters for mass duplication. Responsible for the consumption of most of the Coffee and Diet Coke at the office. It's odd that I also am the person who changes the Coke machine :) I'm also responsible for making sure the office doesn't run out of coffee, and I maintain our pinball machine. I also used to SysOp our areas on CompuServe and America Online when we had them.
3D Realms works very closely with its fan sites (and vice versa)...to the point that you are being interviewed for a column about the game community, not it's developers. :) As a developer, how do you think these roles changing has influenced the games themselves? Is it a good thing? I suppose one of the things that our company was in the forefront with was having dedicated personnel online. Scott & George hired me back in the fall of 1992 for the sole purpose of doing online customer support. Back then, it was a different scene, when I had to cover places like Portal, Prodigy (blech), Delphi, as well as CompuServe and AOL. Not to mention Scott & George themselves were also online. 7 years ago, that was really unheard of - to have the owners of a company online and intermingling with the "end users". It gave us (and still does) a direct pipeline into the people buying the games.
Hell, that's how I came on board here. I was an end user of this company before I worked here. I had bought a lot of Apogee games like everyone else, and that's what I always liked about Scott & George, I saw them online even before I came onboard. They had the foresight to hire someone whose whole job it was to hang out online. That someone happened to be me, but even if it wasn't me, it was still a pretty forward thinking move on their part.
Is it a good thing? Yes, I suppose it is, because it lets us know what the fans want. Ultimately, computer game makers make games to please themselves (or at least they should and not bow to distributor pressure), but it's still useful to know what the people who play your games actually like to see.
The 3D Realms web site is really one of a select few where the official company web site rivals the "unofficial" ones with content and updates. Why do you think it's one of the few? :) (i.e. What does 3D Realms have that others don't?) That's probably also due to what I said in the last question. It's been my perception that a lot of companies see the web site as an afterthought, and just put something up there once in awhile, there's no constantly changing live content there.
Again, I'm a dedicated Web employee. So, I feel it's my job to keep it fresh. I know others have dedicated web people too, but for some reason, the official sites don't seem to get updated as much as ours does. Why? I don't know. Perhaps it's me. Perhaps it's my fear of having people see the web site not being updated in awhile, and having them think I'm not doing anything. :)
One strange question...I know you're the voice of Duke in Duke Nukem II. Do you have any .wav files of Duke we could post? :) No, Todd & I never saved the sound files from my "recording session" for Duke Nukem II. I wish we did, actually. Really, I only said "I'm Back" quite a few times, I didn't actually say anything else for Duke Nukem II. There was some really brief talk about me doing the voice again in Duke Nukem 3D, but once the decision was made (rather late into the development, tell you the truth) to make the voice a big deal in Duke Nukem 3D, the decision was made to go with professional voice talent. I didn't have a problem with that, but I still can say I'm the original voice of Duke Nukem! :D
What is it about Duke? The attitude. 3D action games generally appeal to the teen male anyway, or the teen male that refuses to grow up. A lot of what makes Duke "Duke" appeals to that kind of person/humor, so it works pretty well.
He was the first big "character" in a game. Wolfenstein 3D had a name, but it didn't mean anything, and Doom was just "The Doom guy". These weren't characters. Looking back, I wonder if these games had HAD a character in them, instead of just the faceless ones they did have, if Duke would have been as big of a deal. Duke was the first big character 3D action game. That alone is part of it, I'm sure.
Who is Dopefish? :) http://www.dopefish.com will take care of all your Dopefish wants and desires. The truth of the matter is that I latched onto it when I first got Keen4 back in 1991, and the fact that a game character just burped and did nothing more just struck me as silly. The main reason Dopefish has had the game cameos he's had is mainly because of me. It's gotten me into some hot water a few times here, as some of the Dopefish cameos in our games (Wacky Wheels, Duke3D) were pushed out without George knowing about them. Will we see Dopefish again?
Count on it. :)
You write in your .plan fairly regularly. Do you think .plan files give fans a real insight into the minds of the developers? I suppose it can. It really depends on what the developer writes about. John Carmack writes about stuff that's probably over everyone's head except for a very small percentage of people - I perceive his .plans as probably the most pure use of the .plan file still going. :) I tend to write about non technical stuff, and I've been accused of "wasting bandwidth" with what I write about. Occasionally I'll write about real work things, but for the most part, there isn't a whole lot to say sometimes. I'm sure the people who don't like me are thinking "then don't say anything", but hey, no one is forcing anyone to read my (or anyone else's) plan file. I suppose these things kinda fed themselves for awhile. Last year was a big deal for .plan files. This year, they're still out there, but don't seem to be as big of a deal. All the gibberish flame wars out there seem to have been dead for some time now.
I suppose when someone gets bored and decides to start asking something stupid in a .plan file, it'll all come up again.
You work on a number of webpages...why so many? (in other words...don't you
get sick of all the html?) :) Nah, I love doing it. Why so many? I get bored, I make web pages. It's my hobby, and I'm lucky enough to get a paycheck for it. If I wasn't working here, or in this industry at all, you'd probably see me doing web pages for SOMEONE. I really love doing it.
As a Star Trek fan and a gamer...how would YOU like to see a Star Trek game
made? Well. :)
As a heavy metal fan...what do you think of the upcoming KISS game? :) I reserve judgment. This kind of crossover has never really worked before, I don't see why it will in the future. Not to say it can't, but I dunno...
How big a Black Sabbath fan are you? :) Oh, the fact that I own http://www.black-sabbath.com tell you anything? Been listening to them since 1981 (when I was 16), and they've been 'the shit' ever since. I've done websites for two ex/current Black Sabbath members (for pay - Bill Ward & Cozy Powell). I've spoken with SEVERAL people who have been in Sabbath at some point over the years, and have had email contact with several famous people because of my Black Sabbath Web site connection. Hell, I sent a Duke Nukem to Brian May of Queen. :)
There was an incident a few months (or maybe as long ago as a year now) involving you and a website, ushering in a new kind of website. Do you think that incident changed the community? (as some have said) People loved flaming me for my Top 10 list in a plan update some time ago. I'm sure that's what this is in reference to. I tried to be funny in a plan file, and I thought that the fact that "Top 10 lists" was the first item in my own top 10 list would tip people off that it was a joke. Apparently not. I learned long ago that people will crap on you no matter what stance you take, so you might as well take the stance that you happen to believe in. :)
So long as there are people out there, there will be others who will want to rag on you for what you do. It's always been that way, and it will always be that way, unfortunately. Some people just like to rag on people. This goes back to the "waste of bandwidth" thing from before. Jerry Springer is around, gossip sites will always be around. If you ask anyone who's been in the industry for as long as I have (6.5 years now), you'll probably get the same opinion that lately it's not as much fun. It's way WAY more serious than it used to be, and feel that gossip sites are a part of it.
What are your favorite games? Right now not counting our own stuff? I'm playing Hardball 6, Sim City 3000, Madden 99, Monster Truck Madness II. I'm kinda the anti-gamer in regards to the 3D action genre. I like Sports games. Always have.
Thanks!! Check out 3D Realms at http://www.3drealms.com.
- Stephanie "Bobbi" Bergman is an associate editor at loonygames. She's probably the most normal person on the staff. That's really sad.
Credits: Community Profile logo illustrated by and is © 1999 Dan Zalkus. Community Profile is © 1999 StephanieBergman. All other content is © 1999 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is just a bad idea. We have lawyers.