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3D Realms (legal name Apogee Software, Ltd.) is a publisher and video game developer based in Garland, Texas established in 1987. It is best known for popularizing the shareware distribution model and as the creator of franchises on the PC such as Duke Nukem, and also the publisher of other franchises such as Commander Keen and Wolfenstein 3D.
While the company is known as "3D Realms", the legal name of the company is Apogee Software, Ltd. The name "3D Realms" was initially created as a branding label in July 1994 for use by Apogee which would be dedicated to just 3D games (as Apogee was then known for several styles of games). However, shortly after this, 3D games started to dominate the industry, and Apogee decided to direct its focus on this style of game; as such, "Apogee" was abandoned as a trade name in late 1996. In July 2008, however, it announced that the brand Apogee Software would be revived with new games, but licensed to an external company, Apogee Software, LLC.
Apogee started in 1987 with the release of Scott Miller's Kingdom of Kroz, which used crude extended ASCII characters as graphics. Nevertheless, the game sold quite well and Apogee was born. In 1991, George Broussard joined the company as co-owner, bringing with him several games of his that were previously released under the name Micro F/X.
Apogee published games by other developers in addition to its own in-house titles. One of these developers, id Software, contributed to Apogee's success with games such as Commander Keen and Wolfenstein 3D, but later severed their ties with Apogee with their release of Doom in 1993 (although in its earliest stages, Doom was still an Apogee title).