School, where they began writing
computer games at age 12. Their first game idea, a parody of the famous
Zork series, came to them while having lunch one day at Farmer's Market
Fairfax for those of you familiar with L.A.). Before long the
two were off and running, writing a series of text adventure
games. Over the years they honed their
skills, and the culmination of this phase happened in 1989, when they
won the Grand
Prize at the Rockwell
International Computer Science Competition for their text adventure
Star. In 1990,
they released Skyland's Star as shareware.
By the mid-1990s, the two had formed 11th Dimension
Entertainment, but by then the market for text adventure games was
essentially gone. Dan and Matt turned toward another source of
inspiration - the Ultima series - and the seeds of Excelsior were born.
They spent nearly three years working on Excelsior Phase
One, which they released as shareware in 1993. It turned out to be
quite a success.
The two then turned their attention to a sequel.
Excelsior Phase Two would be bigger and better in every
way, and ended up consuming nearly five years of their lives.
Excelsior Phase Two was originally set forth upon the world in
Matt and Dan keep this website going and do occasional
updates to their games partly out of nostalgia for the games they grew
up on, and hope that others out there enjoy the results of their work.
Who are these two dedicated gamers? Let's meet them,
shall we . . .
Matt has a degree in
Communications with a minor in Philosophy from Loyola Marymount
University. He worked in the film and TV industry for a few
years, when, in the mid-1990s, his two passions - film and
computers - were merging into a newfangled buzzword called
"Multimedia." In 1993 he dove into this brave new world by
joining Disney Interactive, where he produced the Gameboy version of
Story. He subsequently worked as a senior
Knowledge Adventure, where he produced and designed many PC titles,
most notably SpyMasters and several products in
the bestselling JumpStart series of educational games for kids.
Eventually Matt decided to change directions, and he
now a corporate transactional attorney living in Phoenix, Arizona. He
has a pet tortoise named
Matt focuses on game design, writing, and doing the
graphics for 11th Dimension Entertainment.
Dan has a degree in Computer
& Systems Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. After
graduating in 1993, he got sucked into the defense industry, but his
ultimate goal was to get into
professional game programming. In 1995 he
got his break and was hired at what turned out to be a doomed start-up
game company. That lead to jobs at more established companies
including Electronic Arts, Monolith Productions, and Microsoft.
In addition to his work
in the game industry, Dan develops software for running fencing
tournaments. His program, Fencing Time (www.fencingtime.com),
Over his long career in the
game industry, Dan has worked on a wide range of games and
platforms. His credits include Earthworm Jim 2 (Sega Saturn),
Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit (PC), Need for Speed: High Stakes (PC),
No One Lives Forever (PS2), Finding Nemo (PC), and Shark Tale
(PC). Eventually Dan wound up at Microsoft working on the Xbox
Dan is responsible
for programming and anything
remotely technical for 11th Dimension Entertainment.