Scott Miller (entrepreneur)

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Scott Miller
Born1961 (age 58–59)
OccupationVideo game designer
Video game programmer
Known forApogee Software

Scott Miller (born 1961 in Florida)[1] is an American video game designer, programmer, and entrepreneur best known for founding Apogee Software, Ltd. (which later became 3D Realms) in 1987. Starting with the Kroz series for MS-DOS from that year, Miller pioneered the concept of giving away the first game in a trilogy—distributed freely as shareware—with the opportunity to purchase the remaining two episodes.[2] This method became the standard distribution method for Apogee. Competitors such as Epic MegaGames later adopted the same business model.


Growing up, Miller lived with his father, Boyd Miller, an engineer at NASA who worked on the Apollo and Gemini programs.[1] Miller began writing video games in 1975 on a Wang 2200[3] while living in Australia. He wrote several MS-DOS games that circulated widely on BBS file bases: Computer Quiz, Astronomy Quiz, BASIC Quiz, Beyond the Titanic, Supernova, Kingdom of Kroz, Word Whiz, Trek Trivia. Miller started as game programmer, but now handled primary business duties of 3D Realms, as well as producing and co-designing all third-party games associated with the company, including Wolfenstein 3D, Raptor: Call of the Shadows, Terminal Velocity, Max Payne and Prey.

He pioneered the shareware method of game distribution where one episode of a game is released freely through digital distribution, and the follow-up episodes are sold through the company. In effect, the free episode is the carrot-on-a-stick; an advertisement to purchase the remaining, commercial episodes. Kingdom of Kroz, in 1987, was the first game to use this method, which Miller refers to as the "Apogee Model." Upon success with this model with the seven Kroz episodes, Miller left his full-time job in early 1990s and devoted full efforts into growing Apogee. It was at this time that Miller contacted key members at Softdisk (a monthly software magazine delivered on floppy disks to subscribers) who later formed id Software, and convinced them to make Commander Keen as a shareware game to be released through Apogee, which proved to be an outstanding success, and led id Software to become an independent studio. Miller was later instrumental in the formation of Gathering of Developers in 1998, a new publisher created with the aid of several leading game studios, and later sold to Take-Two Interactive. He later helped found the Radar Group.

Miller was also a professional industry writer in the 1980s, having co-authored a book on video games, Shootout: Zap the Video Games, and writing a weekly column for The Dallas Morning News for four years (1982-1985), titled "Video Vision", and later changed to "Computer Fun". He has also written for COMPUTE!'s PC and PCjr and other now defunct national game industry magazines. From 2006-8, Miller maintained an industry blog,, where his views show him to be a strong proponent of studio independence, and of studios and publishers creating original brands rather than licensing brands from other media sources.

GameSpot once named him as number 14 in their listing of the Most Influential People in Computer Gaming of All Time.[4] In 1997, Computer Gaming World ranked him as number 14 on the list of the Most Influential People of All Time in computer gaming for originating the shareware model.[5]


  1. ^ a b c Edwards, B. (2009, August 20). 20 Years of Evolution: Scott Miller and 3D Realms. Gamasutra
  2. ^ Hague, James (1999). "Gimme Your Money: A Half-Baked History of Shareware". loonygames.
  3. ^ "Scott Miller, Chief Creative Officer". Retrieved July 11, 2013.
  4. ^ "Number 14:Scott Miller - The Most Influential People in Computer Gaming of All Time - Gamespot". Archived from the original on May 16, 2008. Retrieved 2012-04-09.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  5. ^ CGW 159: The Most Influential People in Computer Gaming

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