When I first started out in game development, still in college, I was focusing on Macintosh projects because that's the hardware I had. I worked largely by myself with several contractors and hugely helpful friends. Today we might call these "indie" projects. I used the name Paranoid Productions because when I found out MacSoft (part of WizardWorks, later acquired by GT Interactive) would be publishing my first game I had Black Sabbath's Paranoid playing. I turned it up.

The first game I shipped was in 1996 and it was Odyssey: The Legend of Nemesis - a narrative-driven RPG for the Mac. I was largely inspired by Ultima both in tone and in the dated codebase I was working with. The game was actually built on the "engine" that powered Bungie's second game, Minotaur. The game was very narrative-focused and explored a lot of moral themes that I would come back to in The Suffering and numerous subsequent projects (including my current one).

Damage Incorporated is a first-person shooter where you could command your squad - an idea that hadn't really been done before (it shipped around the same time as the original Rainbow Six). The game's story dealt with a homegrown terror threat in the US and was built on Bungie's Marathon 2 engine. Looking back now, I think it's probably the ugliest game I have ever shipped - partly due to 3D engines from the 90s dating horribly, partly because I was young. But it still got 4s and 5s from Macintosh game reviewers, including a 4 out of 5 from Next Generation magazine. The game came out for Macintosh in 1997 with a Windows port following in 1998.

  • The game is usually available on Ebay, both for Mac and PC.
  • This game also runs only on older Mac OS's. Here's a guide to getting it to play on newer systems.
  • Cover art (above) for Damage was made by Glenn Fabry, at the time best known as the cover artist on the the Preacher comic series. Another artist I was thrilled to work with, though his painting unjustly didn't end up being used on the box for reasons too tedious to explain. I was glad to also get Derek Riggs back on this game, and he did some of the chapter title paintings (see one of them below).
  • The music on the loading screen was the song "Cosmic Sea" by the band Death. I am very glad I got to talk to composer/Death mainman Chuck Schuldiner during the licensing, and was greatly saddened when in 2001 he passed from a brain tumor at the way too young age of 34.