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Don Daglow papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 116.5673

The Don Daglow papers contain materials from 1977 to 2012, with the bulk of the papers dated between 1988 and 2008. This collection contains materials related to Don Daglow’s early career and early game designs, the founding of Stormfront Studios, Inc. and company records, video game development, resources used in game development, research, Don Daglow Interactive Entertainment company records, and references. Of note are more than 150 game concepts and proposals, as well as considerable information on published games covering concept through development, marketing, press, legal, consultant work, and player feedback.

The Don Daglow papers have been arranged into five series, four of which have been divided into subseries, several of those further divided into sections to facilitate use of this collection. This collection is housed in 96 archival document boxes, 5 oversize boxes, 26 rolled storage boxes, 42 specialized boxes, and 2 flat file drawers. Additional scope and content information can be found within the Contents List section of this finding aid.

Many of the video games have working titles which have been included in this document as part of the development folder names. Published game titles will appear italicized and working titles (as well as unpublished game titles) will appear within quotation marks. A list of working titles is at the end of this document.

Media materials have been incorporated into this document with the game development media in a separate subseries. Media include Beta tapes, DVDs, CDs, data cassettes (CT-600N), data cartridges (LTO Ultrium 2, LTX200G, Ultrium LTO 3), 3.5” and 5.5” floppy disks, Hi8 tapes, mini data cartridges (DG90M, DC-2000, QIC-40), VHS tapes, Video 8 tapes, Wii RVT-R discs, and a zip drive. Effort has been made to identify unlabeled media in this collection. Through this process, many of the 5.5” floppy disks have been imaged and a digital copy has been created and is available on-site at The Strong. It is possible that certain formats may be inaccessible or restricted at this time.

Dates

  • 1977 - 2012
  • Majority of material found within 1988 - 2008

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

Access to portions of this collection have been restricted by the donor. These documents will not be open for research use until the year 2050; they are denoted as such in this finding aid and are separated from unrestricted files. Access to media and digital materials requires advance notice. Currently, access to data cartridges/cassettes, Hi8, Video 8 tapes and some floppy disk data due to formatting is unavailable; it is possible that certain other formats may be inaccessible or restricted.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection is open for research use by staff of The Strong and by users of its library and archives. Though the donor has not transferred intellectual property rights (including, but not limited to any copyright, trademark, and associated rights therein) to The Strong, he has given permission for The Strong to make copies in all media for museum, educational, and research purposes.

Extent

89 Linear Feet (This collection is housed in 96 archival document boxes, 5 oversize boxes, 26 rolled storage boxes, 42 specialized boxes, and 2 flat file drawers.)

1.3 Gigabytes

Overview

The Don Daglow papers are comprised of video game concepts, development papers, artwork, baseball references, and Stormfront Studios company records of varying sizes and formats. The bulk of the materials are dated between 1988 and 2008.

Biographical Note

Don Daglow is an American computer and video game designer, programmer, and producer. He is best known for pioneering simulation games, creating the first online multiplayer role-playing game with graphics, and founding game developer Stormfront Studios.

While studying playwriting at Pomona College in Claremont, California, Daglow discovered his talent for writing computer programs. During the 1970s, Daglow created games such as Baseball (1971), the first interactive computer baseball game; Dungeon (1975), the first computer role-playing game; and other titles freely shared via university mainframe computers. In 1980, Daglow started at Mattel Electronics as one of the original Intellivision programmers. Daglow produced Utopia, a groundbreaking simulation game (also called a “god game”) in 1982. At Mattel, Daglow also worked on Intellivision World Series Baseball (1983), a game which incorporated multiple camera angles into the game display. Daglow joined Electronic Arts in 1983, designing more than a dozen titles. He moved to Brøderbund a few years later, notably signing the original distribution deal for Will Wright’s Sim City (1989).

Daglow founded Stormfront Studios, Inc. in 1988 in San Rafael, CA. Originally called Beyond Software but renamed in 1991, the company had placed on the Inc. 500 list of fast-growing companies three times by 1995. Neverwinter Nights (1991-1997), the first graphical MMORPG and Stronghold (1993), the first 3D real-time-strategy game, helped earn Daglow the title of the only games industry pioneer to create ground-breaking games in four genres (role playing, sports, simulation and god games, and real-time strategy). Other innovative and popular titles include Quantum Space (1989), the original play-by-email game to be offered by a major online service; Treasures of the Savage Frontier (1992), the first game where an NPC could fall in love with a player character; Tony La Russa Baseball games (1991-1997); The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002); and Eragon (2006). Daglow served as president and CEO until the company closed in 2008, by which time Stormfront Studios had sold over fourteen million copies of games.

In 2011, Don Daglow established Interactive Entertainment in Sausalito, CA, as a mobile and social games studio. As of 2019, Daglow continues to consult with game publishers and developers as well as perform speaking engagements.



Daglow has received many honors, including a Technology and Engineering Emmy award and an Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences Achievement Award. His role in establishing simulation and online multiplayer role-playing games has greatly shaped the modern video game industry.

Arrangement

Series I: Early career, 1977-1989

Subseries A: Business papers, 1977-1989
Subseries B: Game design concepts, 1981-1982
Subseries C: Computer program codes, 1980


Series II: Stormfront Studios, 1988-2008

Subseries A: Administration, 1988-2008
Subseries B: Finances, 1989-2008
1. General finances, 1989-2008
2. Royalty reports and amortization schedules, 1991-2007
3. Taxes and audits, 1991-2007
Subseries C: Legal, 1985-2008
1. Company incorporation and name change, 1988-2001
2. Intellectual property, 1990-2007
3. Litigation, 1990-2001 [RESTRICTED]
4. Development-related, 1994-2008
5. General legal/references, 1985-2008
Subseries D: Press and publicity, 1988-2004
Subseries E: Building and lease, 1988-2007
Subseries F: Personnel, 1990-2008
1. Recruitment and employment, 1990-2008
2. Benefits, 1992-2008
3. Policies and procedures, 1991-2006
4. Time and payroll, 1992-2007
5. Personnel, 1990-2006
6. Events, 1997-2005
Subseries G: Conferences, conventions, and seminars, 1985-2010
Subseries H: Awards, 1987-2010
Subseries I: References, 1985-2008


Series III: Stormfront Studios game development, 1988-2010

Subseries A: Development planning, 1992-2007
Subseries B: Game development (paper records), 1989-2009
Subseries C: Game development media, 1989-2008
Subseries D: Other development projects, 1988-2006
Subseries E: Resources, 1987-2008
1. Platforms and technology, 1988-2007
2. Company profiles and services, 1987-2008
3. Manuals, 1991-2003
4. Research, 1993-1996
Subseries F: Baseball research, 1980s-1990s
Subseries G: References, 1991-2008
Subseries H: Miscellaneous media, 1987-2007
Subseries I: Untitled media, n.d.


Series IV: Don Daglow Interactive Entertainment, 2010-2012 [RESTRICTED]

Related Materials

The Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play holds the book Gamers at Work: Stories Behind the Games People Play, which contains an in-depth interview with Daglow. In it, hHe discussed the creation of Stormfront Studios, the company’s successes and challenges, and the development of company culture. Other highlights included the company’s name change to “Stormfront Studios” suggested by Sarah Stocker, the use of the company logo on company promotional items, the development of the first MMO game, and the experience of publishing baseball video games..



Researchers may also want to reference Swords

Game and Working Title List

Working Title Game Title (published and not published) “Abbott” ESPN Baseball Tonight “Azure” Eragon may be “Basil” Eagle Eye Mysteries in London “Beyond Pool” Gateway to the Savage Frontier “Bianca” Tony La Russa Baseball 3 “Black Adder” or “Pool of Radiance II” Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor may be “Charlie” Old Time Baseball “Columbus”/“Planet Explorer” Byzantine: The Betrayal “Costello” “ESPN Football” “Curly” Tony La Russa Baseball II (3DO) “Devon” Tony La Russa Baseball II (PC) “Diamond” Eagle Eye Mysteries in London “Elaine” Tony La Russa Baseball 4 “Eternal Blade”/“Firefly” Legend of Alon D’ar “Flipper” "Johnny Mnemonic" “Gateway II” Treasures of the Savage Frontier “Gores” “Warlords Dungeons” aka Legend of Alon D’ar “Greased Pig” “The Simpsons’ Adventure” “Kid Detective” Eagle Eye Mysteries “Leo” “Rollerball” “Moe” “Madden ‘95” “Monkey Business” Lego My Style: Kindergarten and Preschool “Ogre” The Spiderwick Chronicles “Phoenix” Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone “Project 42” “Titan” “Rosebud” You Don’t Know Jack “Sandlot” “Hard Hat” “Scary Larry” “Tales from the Crypt” “Sega Hockey” NHL Hockey ‘98 “Southern Comfort” NASCAR 2000 “Splash 1.5” “Blood Wake Battles” “Splash”/“Scalawag” Blood Wake “Star Rush” formerly “StArchitect” Rebel Space “Victory Dance” Starfire Soccer Challenge “Wayne’s World” ESPN National Hockey Night “Wicked” “Fairy Tale” “Wishing Well” Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Harbinger “Yosemite” or “Fusion” The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Processed by

Initial inventory of collection by Robert Ramos in 2016. Subsequent inventory, processing, and finding aid by Nicole Pease done from May-December 2019 and completed in January 20192020. The first donation of materials (Object ID 110.3320) was initially inventoried by Doris Sturzenberger with additional processing and finding aid by Julia Novakovic in September 2013 and has been assimilated into this collection.

Creator

Title
Finding Aid to the Don Daglow Papers
Status
completed
Author
Nicole Pease
Date
January 2019
Description rules
dacs

Repository Details

Part of the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play at The Strong Repository

Contact:
The Strong
One Manhattan Square
Rochester NY 14607 USA
585.263.2700
585.423.1886 (Fax)