Amazing Tech from Texas - Part 1: 3D Realms
If you think about technological, developments. It seems that most of the credit seems to go to california. But not even the whole state really just this small area we like to call, silicon, valley. But i'd like to take a moment to show you that texas, has played an enormous, role in the development, of computer technology. Probably far more than you think, so i'm calling this video series, the amazing, tech from texas. But first since i know i have a lot of viewers from other states in fact other countries. I thought i should spend just a little bit of time to tell you a little bit about the state that i call home. And, maybe set the record straight on a few things. Texas, is big, it's really, really, big, in fact to put some perspective, with that if you overlay, texas, on top of europe. You can see it's bigger than most any country. Which makes sense being that texas was its own country from 1836. To 1846. Before joining the united states of america. If you want to drive, from one end of texas to the other without ever stopping it would take over 11, hours for the drive. Not only is texas, bigger than germany, but you'd have to add in the netherlands, belgium, denmark, the czech republic, switzerland. And austria. And you'd still be looking at slightly, less land area than the state of texas. However, one notable difference, is the population. We have roughly 28.9. Million people living here in texas. Where that same land area in europe has 146. Million or roughly, five times the population, density. Texas certainly has a lot of rural land, and we still have a reputation, that suggests that people who live here all live on farms and ranches and wear cowboy hats and dry pickup trucks. Well, actually the last two things are true lots of texans do wear cowboy hats especially in the rural areas and we do drive a lot of pickup trucks even in the city. Many tv shows such as dilbert poke fun at the stereotypical. Texan. Eat your possum. Dorian. Or you ain't getting another, one, or like howard in the big bang theory where he visits texas please take that stupid hat off. No i want to blend in. However what you might not know is that texas is also home of some very large cities, such as fort worth and dallas which is where i live, and then austin, houston, and san antonio. Together these form what we call the texas, triangle. It's basically the largest metropolitan. Areas of the state. But we do have some smaller cities that i will be mentioning in the series such as el paso, and lubbock. Also this part of texas up here is what we refer to as the panhandle. So if you imagine texas is a cooking pan that would be the handle you'd grab onto. And while texas has a reputation, as being rich in oil. You might also be surprised, to know that texas has the largest, installed base of wind power, of any other state in the usa, and pretty much any other country besides china germany or india. We also produce a lot of nuclear power at comanche, peak. During the course of this series of videos i'll be taking a road trip across texas to visit some of the famous sites where technological, breakthroughs, took place, and also just visiting few places that you've probably never heard of but i think you'll find it fascinating.
However We're going to start right here in the metroplex. We call it the dallas fort worth metroplex, because the two cities along with several others have just grown into one giant city. So where's the downtown, area well, we have downtown, fort worth and dallas which i think everyone knows about, but then we also have another skyline, area here in las colinas. And then in the northern part of dallas we actually have two more downtown, areas with their own skyline. And if that wasn't enough you'll find more tall buildings in plano and frisco, areas giving us like seven downtown, areas with their own unique skylines. If you watch the 1978. Tv series called dallas. You've probably, seen the dallas skyline, before but let me tell you something dallas has grown by leaps and bounds since 1978.. Now the downtown, area is really something to look at the tallest building, is 74. Floors. Now both me and my wife used to work in these buildings a while back not the same companies of course. This is the high five, a massive, five-level, mix master in north dallas. And see that complex, of buildings, right there next to it, all of that is texas instruments, which we'll be talking about in the next episode. On the other side of the high five is the north dallas skyline. And if you look towards the horizon in the background, you can see two other skylines, off in the distance. In fact i'll show you one of them this is another part of north dallas by the galleria. In fact i filmed a previous episode here on the fisher-price, pixel camera a few years ago. Now this is las colinas, which has its own impressive skyline, and microsoft, is located in this area and i'll talk more about that in the next episode. This is downtown, fort worth now i live about 10 minutes away from here in fact i can actually see the skyline, of fort worth from the roof of my house. Now my brother has worked in this part of the city for like 20 years and, this is where radio shack or tandy corporation, was located. Which we'll be talking about in one of the next episodes. I should also mention central expressway. If you drive up central expressway, in dallas. You can go for 20 minutes and just see one little cluster of tall buildings after another. In fact we have around seven million, people living in this metroplex, alone which is actually more than the entire, population, of the country of norway for example. In fact it's the fourth largest metropolitan. Area in the whole united states. Myself. I live in the town of canada, and when i want to go visit a friend that lives in plano for example, it's a one hour drive just one direction, two hours for a round trip and that's assuming there isn't any heavy traffic. Of course over the years we've had quite a few influential, tech companies, in the area. Such as tandy, ast. Cyrex. Texas instruments. 3d realms. Id software. Apple. Microsoft. And mauser electronics, just to name the big ones. So in this series i'm going to be driving around to these various locations, so we can see what's there, some of these companies are still around but most have gone out of business, in this first episode, i'm going to drive over to see where 3d realms was located, and, i have a special guest meeting me there. Just a little recap, 3d realms actually began, as apogee, software. Some of the early games were things like kingdom of cross which actually runs in text mode. Later on they made things like monuments, of mars which is a cga, puzzle side scroller, which i spent many hours of my life playing back in the day. Or the original duke nukem side scroller games. Now later on they came out with wacky wheels which is a very mario kart inspired, racing game. If you look at the complete list you'll see they released an impressive, number of games over the years but there's little question that the most influential, game they ever released would be duke nukem 3d. The game was not only the third incarnation, of the duke nukem character but also moved from a 2d side scroller to a 3d first person shooter. Hence they published it under the 3d realms name even though it's really just all part of apogee, software. Chances are if you've played ms-dos, games back in the day you've probably played this game and possibly, several other apogee, or 3d realms games. 3d realms was based out of garland texas, and there were two different office locations.
We'll Go to the first one which is located at 3960. Broadway, boulevard. Where i'll also be meeting up with former 3d realms employee. Joe siegler. Hey hey how's it going. Should we do this thing miss yeah yeah. It's been so long since i've been here it's so many memories. So. You talk about some of them. Yeah. Yeah. Um does it look pretty much the same to you. Well. The color has changed a bit, the color stripe, has changed, over the years, and. But overall it still mostly looks the same. Yeah there's been so many things changed here this canopy, wasn't here when i was here before. The picture over the statue, of. Same houston wasn't here before, but overall, it's still mostly the same. Yeah walking into this building, is a. An old memory i can't tell you how many times i did walk into this building. See this, stairwell, here. Yeah the elevator. Oh this stairwell, is. We used to just. Hang at the top up there and just watch people in the lobby speaking of the lobby. This wall here. When we used to, in the old days, this door wasn't here. And, this wall had this giant, rug. Almost to the, ceiling i don't know how far your camera is but, almost to the ceiling and down here we used to take staff. Team photos. With this. Wall, with the staff members. Um, if you got duke nukem 3d the team photo that's in the booklet. Is taken in front of this, wall, all right so speaking of that. What games. Were actually. Developed here in this building, well duke nukem 3d was made here, and that i mean that in of itself is just. To to think i'm standing in the presence of where. Duke nukem 3d that's probably my all-time, favorite game freemasons. Um. And i still play it today. I've been playing that game since the 90s and i just always sat on duke. I just can't stop i actually like it better than doom. And, uh it's, i'm not going to argue with that. It's amazing to think i'm standing in in the place where that was developed, where the birthplace. Duke nukem three yeah that was probably the most famous one i mean we had other ones here too max payne was done here shadow warrior was done here. The original shadow warrior not the newer ones but um. Oh. What else 95, star gunner was here. Raptor. Was. Well it wasn't made here but it was put out when we were here, uh 3d realms i think you said it was mostly upstairs, yeah. When. When we first moved into this building we had a little corner. Down at the end of this hallway, it was like one two offices. And as we expanded, we needed more space so we started going upstairs. Eventually, we moved all the downstairs, upstairs so it would be in the same spot. And. Um we eventually. Took over, the entire, upper floor, on the right side of this building. Plus, one or two offices, on the other side for like motion capture and stuff because we just ran out of room. But. When we were expanding. It brought the most interesting story.
Um. Probably. There was one guy who had a who had an office here long time ago, and, he was having personal problems i remember all details now it's been way too many years, but. He basically, was living, in his office. And he didn't, want to leave. And. He was basically, ordered out by landlord, still didn't want to leave. And, eventually the cops had to get involved to get him out, and, he. Was armed. And. The cops came into our office and said. Don't care what you're doing. Whatever you're doing don't save anything don't grab anything, get the hell out we had about, eight cops. Um. At each exit door of our office upstairs. At the middle and the bottom of the stairwell down there which you can't see and here, and all of us were being. Escorted, out of the building, by an armed, cop, i have never been in anything like that in my whole life. And, i guess they got the guy out they did eventually, because he didn't, like, harm himself at least not that we're aware of anyway but. So. Yeah this elevator, here in the building, this is where we used to bring all the stuff we'd ship. Outside, you know to, come people who ordered it. Most notably. Duke nukem 3d, i mean, you you ordered it back in the day. I didn't order it because i was here but. If you ordered it it came out of this elevator. Out the door, and and into the truck to ship this this was. Where your order was, if if you ordered anything from us, max payne was like that too and we shipped max payne, we actually filled the elevator, floor to ceiling with with shipping boxes. It was so bad we couldn't even get in the elevator, to to, take it down we have to push the button and run out and come downstairs, because it was filled with boxes. I'm sure it dwarfs my production of planet x3. Well, maybe. Maybe, a little maybe a little bit yeah. So um. There's another facility, that we've got to go visit. And, um, it's just down the road isn't it yes it is, yeah so i think that's where we go next we need to go visit.
Next Facility, let's get going. We got in the car and drove to the next location which was actually just a few miles down the road located, at 1661. East northwest, highway. This building now appears to be a goodwill, store, okay so we are here at. A goodwill. Now, you know if lgr, were here he'd have to go in and do, some thrifting, i'm sure because, you know. This would be, i sent him some stuff from here in the old days but. This would be the ultimate, goodwill to go thrifting in i suppose, but uh just because of his history but, yeah tell us a little bit about, about the building, well this is when we moved from, the last location, over here, because, as we talked about we were expanding expanding, expanding. And we got tired of, you know, lease and whatnot so we wanted our own place we took over this entire building, it was, i forget how big it was 11 000 square feet or something like that and it was all us we did we reconfigured, the whole interior. We had a. Badass, looking lobby, it had a duke nukem logo on the floor, it. It was great it was a lot of fun the backyard, we used to have parties and just do dumb, back there. Yeah so when we moved over here we took. We took some effort to. Not, say. Who where we went because we had, issues with gate crashers, at the old place, people, actually would walk in and go what are you doing. Well we couldn't do that so when we moved over here, we made an effort not to identify, where we were there's a sign up by the curb which is goodwill, sign, when we were here it was blank. We didn't have, 3d realms or or duke nukem, or apogee or anything on the outside. After a while the city said well wait a minute. You can't. Be here and not say who you are. And which. Runs counter to what we wanted to do which is not say who we were. So, we found out what the minimum city code was to identify. And we put the letters a and s on the front door for apogee software. And that was it that was our complete, identifier, in the 10 10 or so years we were in this building. So what software was actually developed here.
In This building. This was mostly duke nukem forever. See the thing is duke nukem forever, started. At the old building. In late 96. And. It came through the entire life of this building. Into. The gearbox, building at the end so. It, spans, multiple, locations. But um, yeah the biggest one out of here would have been um. Duke nukem forever. And a bunch of console, games and ports and things. But internally, that's pretty much what we worked on the whole time we were here. Okay we're gonna try just to go into the store and see if we can do a little bit of thrifting i don't know if we'll find anything but, let's cover it don't think we're going to find any old duke games, yeah that wouldn't that would be the thing wouldn't it. That would be. Hilarious. Well it looks like they got a lot of clothes, they have any like electronic, stuff i see some like cds and records and stuff over there over in the corner. Here's. This was my desk. This, was your desk. Right here right here. That was my desk that's depressing. But uh let's, see what we got over here. Record homes vinyl records. Might uh. I don't know that was over here i don't usually see those at goodwill. Especially that. Quantity. I just recently bought a record player for the first time since 85.. I used to have one of these. Got rid of a long time ago because you know it's the old style iphone connector you can't use that anymore. Oh look there's a. Like an old. Boombox, clock radio of some kind. Oh look. What is it. That is the, duke nukem logo. That is uh quite a coincidence. That's probably the closest thing we'll find an actual duke nukem in here oh look we got an old. Little uh. I've seen one of these before. And some old video cassettes. Was looking to see if i could find maybe the max payne movie. Yeah. Well, i guess i guess that's gonna i guess it's gonna wrap it up i don't think there's really a whole lot i mean, i don't usually have much much luck in goodwill's anyway, uh lgr, seems to be the one that, always finds all the way, crazy stuff, he's coming and it just transports, therefore. Of course technically there's one other location, i want to show if you look at some of the earlier releases from apogee software. You'll see an address listed for 4206. Mayflower. Also in garland texas. But the interesting thing is it has this message next to it that says this address, will always be valid. Well it turns out this is where apogee software, really got its start which is not uncommon, for the time period for software developers, to work out of their homes, this was actually scott miller's parents house and. I say was because they moved out several years ago but apparently they made a contract with the new buyers that they would agree, to forward, on any mail for apogee, or 3d realms that came to this address. And here it is, i won't bother these people since they don't, have anything to do with 3d realms today but this is where it all started. We have just enough time left in this episode, i want to travel to one more location. Now everybody, has probably, seen these dallas clock chips, they were used in practically, every motherboard, throughout the late 1980s, and through most of the 1990s.
These Chips were big because they were both a real-time, clock and a battery, all integrated, into one. Well it seemed like a good idea at the time when the batteries went dead after about 10 years usually meant replacing, the whole chip or. Sawing the top off so that you could mount your own battery like this. Anyway, the fact that they say dallas on these chips is no coincidence. While this one ironically, was made in the philippines, because it's a newer chip, the original ones were made right here in dallas by a company called, dallas semiconductor. Located at 4401. South beltwood, parkway. And while their official address was a dallas texas address they technically, resided, in the city of farmer's, branch, the zip code they're in is partially, in dallas and partially farmers, branch. But they were just a few hundred feet away from the city of addison, and a totally different zip codes, maybe had they been a few hundred feet to the north or the east, those chips would have said addison, on them instead. So i took a drive out to find dallas semiconductor. And what i found was a little disappointing. All right so i'm standing in the location, of dallas, semiconductor. Where all those famous chips were made, except there's only one problem. Does that look like a chip fab to you. If you think it looks like a funny chip fat building it's because it's not, the entire. Dallas facility. Was demolished. Several years ago and then this sports facility was built here instead, so, there's literally nothing that remains in the building. Thankfully, due to the miracle of google earth we can see what the building looked like from satellite view back in 2007.. You can see it's surrounded, by cars and i guess work was still going on there, but then in the 2009. View you can see that there are no more cars anymore. The company had been bought out by maxim, integrated, and everything was moved a new facility. In 2011, construction, began on the sports facility, and today. The parking lot i was standing in was where the building once stood. And while these chips still live on today, and still carry the name dallas on them, they are no longer manufactured, in the area. Okay so we've reached the end of the first episode there's gonna be several more episodes of this where i travel throughout dallas, houston, austin, and other places. Now i spent a lot of time. Trying to find these addresses, some of them were really difficult, to find, and so, for each episode i'm going to put the addresses, of all the places i visit down in the description field so if you ever want to have a look or, visit those places yourself you'll be able to find them, so the other thing is, i have a lot of other companies or former locations, i'm going to be visiting, and i don't always necessarily, have any inside contacts, of people who either currently work or used to work at those facilities. So i'm going to put a list of companies, down in the description field that i plan to visit. Over the next few weeks and if you happen to have worked there or know somebody who worked there or have any other inside information, on that. Please get with me i might be able to connect with you before the end of the series. And, but that wraps it up for now so as always, thanks for. Watching. You.