While students at the University of Rochester, Rick Rashid and Gene Ball developed what later became the inspiration for Allegiance, Alto Trek. It was one of the first networked games ever made. With a desire to learn DirectX, Rick Rashid took the ideas behind Alto Trek and begin working on a new space combat game. The project expanded as more contributors were brought on board and Microsoft Research Games was founded.
Allegiance’s origins are rather unique as most of the team had no experience in the computer games industry. Some went on to work on hit games such as Halo, Crimson Skies, Microsoft Flight Simulator, and Sid Meier’s Civilization, but many resumed their regular work within Microsoft Research.
Back around the time Allegiance was originally released by Microsoft, IGN posted a series of wonderful Allegiance developer diaries which provide insight on the Allegiance development process and the challenges the team faced.
Allegiance Developer Diaries
Developer Journal: Allegiance, Chapter 1
Executive Producer Joel Dehlin: What Allegiance is and how it happened.
Developer Journal: Allegiance, Chapter 2
Lead Designer Rob Girling: Allegiance concept, play balancing and the way people play together.
Developer Journal: Allegiance, Chapter 3
Gameplay Designer David Pugh: Crafting the perfect balance.
Developer Journal: Allegiance, Chapter 4
Lead Developer Curt Carpenter: multiplay headaches from a technical standpoint.
Developer Journal: Allegiance, Chapter 5
Executive Producer Joel Dehlin: How to make games.
Developer Journal: Allegiance, Chapter 6
Executive Producer Joel Dehlin: Combining Action and Strategy
Developer Journal: Allegiance, Chapter 7
3D Art Lead Pete Arisman: His exciting-but-not-so-dangerous career in art design.
Developer Journal: Allegiance, Chapter 8
Hints and strategies for Allegiance.
Concept Art and Original Marketing Material
Early sketches of ships, space stations, and pilots plus promo graphics, box art, and the original opening cinematic.