Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Duke Nukem 3D

John Marine | 4/06/2010 05:48:00 AM | |
"Come Get Some!" Duke Nukem Ready to Wipe Out Alien Scum.

(UPDATED: November 9, 2011)

Duke Nukem 3D was released in 1996 and was probably the last great Duke Nukem game. This was the third installment of this classic franchise. The first title back in 1991 had Duke Nukem going through three different episodes to stop the evil Dr. Proton from destroying Los Angeles with his robots and aliens. Duke Nukem II in 1993 consisted of Duke being captured by another alien race as he was doing an interview for a show. Duke Nukem 3D continues where Duke Nukem II left off. As Duke returned to Earth after defeating the Rigelatin alien race from Duke Nukem II, he learned of Los Angeles being taken over by another bunch of aliens. This alien race made itself a new home in Los Angeles, and it's up to Duke Nukem to clean up the streets and save the earth (and probably humanity as well). Along the way, Duke will be on a mission that takes him around L.A. and even head into space. Over 39 levels of chaos are available for you to kick as much alien butt as your heart desires. If you think you can make better levels and art, there are programs for you to edit the game's art, maps, and more. This game utilized the Build engine, a game engine delivering much more than Wolfenstein 3D and Doom could ever provide. It still remains an easy-to-use and very detailed 3D engine even to this day. It's not true 3D, though (like Wolf3D and Doom were true 3D, either). A reason why this game was so favored among PC gamers was the fact that you could actually make your own total conversions of Duke Nukem 3D. This meant that anyone can basically hard-wire the game's internal code and make their own Duke Nukem experience for all of you. It's still Duke Nukem 3D, but these TC's give this game new life. So MANY total conversions for this game were made for this game. And one thing I forgot to mention- this game is for Mature audiences because of lots of blood and other offensive themes.

Future installments include an add-on pack called "Duke Nukem 3D: Plutonium Pack," and a more-enhanced version called "Duke Nukem 3D: Atomic Edition." These basically added one more new weapon and a few new enemies. The Plutonium Pack was basically an upgrade of DN3D while the Atomic Edition is DN3D with the Plutonium Pack already installed. Some versions of DN3D Atomic Edition, especially those bought from Walmart, had patches on them that completely blocked out all the mature content. A download to patch this issue can be found online. LOTS of add-on packs (such as "Duke it Out in D.C.") were also made for this game. This game was also available for consoles like the Sega Saturn and PlayStation 1.

Here is the box art for this game. First, the original box:

Duke Nukem 3D
^ from: image.com.com - The oringal box art for the first Duke Nukem 3D.

Duke Nukem 3D Plutonium Pack
^ from: imageshack.us The Plutonium Pack expanded upon an already-hot Duke Nukem 3D.

Duke Nukem 3D Atomic
^ from: giantbomb.com Duke Nukem 3D Atomic Edition offered the ultimate experience for Duke Nukem 3D.

--- "Duke Nukem 3D" at a Glance ---

Duke Nukem 3D gives you three levels, while the Plutonium Pack and Atomic Edition gave you an extra episode. The first episode takes you around Los Angeles to clean up the streets of alien scum. The second episode takes you into space and onto the moon to kick more alien butt. The third episode has you returning to Los Angeles to finish off the remainder of the alien scum. The fourth episode has you battling a new alien race and a very strong boss. There are some very exciting levels in the fourth episode.

There are four difficulty levels. "Piece of Cake" is the easiest setting, "Let's Rock" is the default and normal setting, "Come Get Some" is the hard setting, and "Damn I'm Good" is the expert setting. The harder the difficulty, the more enemies will show up to fight. Also in "Damn I'm Good" difficulty, the enemies respawn after about 30 seconds or a minute. So you may want to make sure you blow up your enemies to make sure they don't come back again to annoy you. Only the rocket-firing Commander doesn't respawn.

You start off with a pistol and 48 rounds of ammunition. You can pick up many more weapons to assist Duke in completing the job. There are also inventory items to aid you. It's up to you to find all of them, but a few items include the Jetpack, Boots, and the VERY helpful Portable Medikit. Pick up Medikits to help replenish your energy. If you're fortunate, you'll find Atomic Health, which will greatly heal your health. You need Access Cards to unlock doors to access other places within the level.

One of the best things about this game was the ability to interact with the environment. You can actually play a little game of pool, use toilets, and other things. There were lots of elements of surprise. Entering a room or something can trigger enemies to come your way. You'll see a lot of ladies in the game. They are either ladies who just happen to be in the way of Duke Nukem to provide a sweet distraction, or they are women who were captured by aliens and covered in alien slime. You can't rescue any of them. Be careful not to kill them, though, because enemies will come from out of nowhere to attack. In some levels, you're almost tempted to kill the trapped/captured women even if unintentional. I personally get easily scared seeing any trapped women in areas, so I'm thinking kill just so I can not be as scared. The fact that there scantily clad women in this game and murder themes led to a great deal of controversy for this game.

Multiplayer action is also available for up to eight players. This includes Co-op and deathmatch (called DukeMatch in this game). You can even set up Fake Multiplayer to set up some fantasy DukeMatch action. DN3D Atomic allowed you the opportunity to do multiplayer battle on TEN, the Total Entertainment Network.

--- My Duke Nukem 3D Memories ---

I still play this game. I bought the first title back in 1997 or so. It's okay to say that I've played this game now for almost 15 years. It was just enough for my 8 MB RAM Packard Bell computer with a 75 MHz processor to handle. There are lots of things I remember in my playing of this game. I got "Duke Nukem 3D" and beat it. What I've remembered most is how well executed everything is. It manages to be both action-packed and funny at the same time. There was even a bit of crude humor and a lot of adult-oriented themes.

Scary Moments.

This game as always scared me at times. I always remember having to deal with those slime aliens that will crawl up your legs and bite your head off. That has ALWAYS scared me. Only thing that scared me more was seeing the women in this game, especially those covered in alien slime and stuff. A lot of the women whom have been covered in alien slime just scare the holy hell out of me. Many of them are hid away in dark, secluded areas, especially in the first episode. Even scary is when you go up to them and try to talk to them. They say "kill... me..." SCARY!!! You only saw one kind of these poor women. When you did episodes 2 and 3, you encounter many more of these trapped women in a slimy mess. It's almost like you had to get rid of them if you don't want to see them on your screen. My scariest memory of these encounters was in the first stage of the third episode (called "Raw Meat"). After opening the main restaurant area, the doors open up to lots of Slimer eggs and dozens of women trapped in alien slime with explosives. You basically had to blast one of the explosives just to get rid of all the slimer aliens. Blowing up those slimers, however, came at the expense of the women being killed (and more aliens entering the area). Some people have made far worse situations where the very presence of them just scares the crap out of you! There are no trapped/cocooned women to speak of in any level of "The Birth" episodes. In fact, actual women are rather rare (though you will encounter some in the "XXX-Stacy" level.

So what was my way around the scary art tiles? I used Editart, the game's primary art program, to edit any of the offensive spites and textures. I usually replaced most of the ones that most scared me with some more comfortable images. An art program is recommended if you plan on importing your own art to the game. I even changed around a few textures to some stuff that I'd like. In the future, I'd download this package that allows you to edit the palette of Duke Nukem 3D to your liking. So I used the package to make more vivid colors for Duke Nukem. I replaced a lot of the drab colors with more vivid colors. Only issue is that when going underwater or using night vision goggles, hints of the old palette remain (but only temporarily).

Build and Editart.

My copy of Duke Nukem 3D didn't come with Build, so I had to settle for the Build version with Duke Nukem 3D Atomic. I had a book on how to make better levels with the Build engine. This even included various sector effects. These sector effects included effects like subway cars, revolving doors, earthquakes, underwater sectors, and more. The Atomic Version allowed you to fight in areas while a thunderstorm is going on. Thunder sounds and actual thunder bolts can be configured. I had created my own little adventures, though they were nowhere near the complexity and charm of 3D Realms' original levels.

--- Me With Duke Nukem 3D Today ---

I've actually saved a few different copies of Duke Nukem 3D on my computer. One is for the single-player action while another is for a racing deal against Fake Multiplayer. It's a fact- I've made my own racing levels in Duke Nukem 3D to use against the Fake Multiplayer bots. Why Fake Multiplayer? The reason why is because I'm not much of an online gamer, and the model I've set up wouldn't be very fun if it were multiplayer-ready.

My Racing Version of Duke Nukem 3D.

The tracks I've designed are all fictional, but realistic. I couldn't care if my levels were geographically accurate to the places the fictional courses are based in. My tracks were as fictional as seeing Mount Fuji in New York City. My track levels were in multiple places. Want to know some places? Here you go: United States, Chile, Wales, the French Alps, Spain, Italy, South Africa, Japan, China, India, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Australia. Levels had multiple versions. Some are raced in the day, some are raced at night, some have rainy conditions, and some have snowy conditions.

In addition to the many tracks, there are also eight teams that are on the track to take you down. Each team represents a certain international team.

Playing with the Skies.

Maybe what I enjoy most about my edits of Duke Nukem 3D is in making my own animated sky. In my days of learning Duke Nukem 3D, I made ten different sky textures. What was so special about them? These skies would animate... to simulate time cycles! Day becomes evening, evening becomes night, night becomes morning, and morning becomes day. This was my 24-hour sky animation. The only problem is, these were animated skies. So if I used them in a level, it would automatically be morning (since my skies were set for morning to be the first phase). I then started to make Noon my first phase for my animated sky. In addition, I made some sky textures that start off in the evening, go into sunrise, then go back to the evening. I called this my "All-Night" skies. Some time later, I experimented with weather. So I now made one animated sky with clear skies, but now made another pack featuring cloudy skies to simulate either a wet day or a cloudy day. I even made an all-night and 24-hour cloudy sky pack. The animated skies I use are mostly relegated to "endurance" races. I use some of the individual sky textures as the permanent sky for certain levels.

The initial package called for 10 textures. Now, I use a total of 17 textures for the 24-hour sequence and 13 for the All-Night sequence. Here is the setup- Day, Night, and Morning sections feature four textures simulating four different times of day. Only the Night section features five animations. To make the skies work properly, I had to edit the animation speed of the skies. I have to set the animation to run slower to give ample amounts of time for skies to change from one time of day to another. I called each individual animation a phase. The Day animations have four phases, the Evening animations have four phases, the Night animations have five phases, and the Morning phases have four phases. The time between one phase and another used to take about 2 minutes. After lengthening everything, the time between one phase and another now takes about five minutes. Doing a complete 24-hour cycle with my current sky animations will take about an hour and a half. I made these markers to show how much time is left before the next phase. It was a series of eight different animated textures. When the markers reached the final point, the counter would start all over again for the next phase. It was an easier way of knowing how much time is left before the next phase came into focus.


An admittance of mine was that I relied too much on using art from other resources because I was completely unskilled at making my own quality material. Making weather effects came from when I downloaded one total conversion for Duke Nukem 3D (name undisclosed). There were some textures that mimiced falling snow. I took this concept and applied it to my own personal Duke Nukem experience. I made some textures to simulate falling snow and even falling rain. I even did some coding for (especially the rain) so that as the rain falls, you can actually hear rain falling in the area.

I bought "Redneck Rampage" and "Redneck Rampage Rides Again" as a jeweled case package back in 2002 or 2003. Both games use the Build engine, but "Redneck Rampage" worked very well. So much so that I experimented making larger levels with its version of Build, called Editmap. I even edited the name of EDITMAP.EXE to BUILD.EXE. The modified version worked PERFECTLY. I had much more playing space to use. I even had a concept of "Long Tracks" where I took some of my existing racing levels and lengthened the playing field to make longer race levels. Some courses I made had a basic configuration followed by a long course. Some of my initial longer levels had some glitches from time to time, but nothing seriously concern-worthy. As many of my longer levels caused Duke Nukem 3D to crash, I've stopped making certain longer levels. Only so few of them got longer versions anyhow.

The most prestigious track I've created is this fantasy street course based in Cardiff, Wales. My little track is famous for a 24-hour race. It is also the only street course of mine that has a long course layout.

The Racing.

I made edits to USER.CON for Duke Nukem 3D specially for the purpose of my racing concept. I changed the running speed from 53200 to about 58100. I changed the maximum health from 100 to 250, and the maximum armor from 100 to 250. The way I maneuver around the course is by going forward and strafing. I sometimes intentionally strafe hard into corners to mimic drifting around corners. To prevent any unfair advantage of going off course, blocking bits have been used to prevent the racers from going out of bounds. To prevent from any unfair advantages in killing an enemy from a mile away, blocking hit limits have been set. There are lots of small lines to run over to boost health. There are three Intermediate checkpoints that must be crossed to complete each lap. Up until recent when downloading the JFDuke3D package (more information on this later in the blog entry), I've decided to use a "lap counter." There are two start/finish lines to cross- the primary one and the secondary/reverse finish. The lap counters are at the secondary/reverse finish. They MUST be crossed to have an idea of how many laps I've completed. Events are referred to more like the number of required points, much like how you have races of 500 miles here in the States like the Daytona 500 and Indy 500, for example. Only I add "ex" to the name of the event. So as an example, I have events like the (insert race here) 150ex. The "ex" stands for the number of scores the race requires for a winner. Long Course events are more like the (insert race name here) 75lcp.

In a simulated 24-hour deal, the most scores I've ever made was 256.

The way the racing goes is all about scoring the most kills either after a certain number of laps, at a certain time limit, or at a certain maximum number of scores. I set it so that I was the one doing the real racing while the other seven opponents were trying to kill me. The others are only there to try to defeat me (and themselves). The only allowed weapons are the pistol, shotgun, chaingun, and pipe bombs. The only inventory items allowed are the Portable Medikit and the Steroids (I don't like the steroids idea, so I just called it the Turbo). It used to be that the Armor didn't play any real role. I changed that. To make things interesting, I make mandatory pit stops for every 20 scores. Because I'm such a sportscar racing fan, every 25 stops was a "driver change." Every 100 score mark means both a driver change AND a regular pit stop into one elongated pit stop. I even make little noises of the air gun changing tires.

In an "Endurance" race, one important rule is that you MUST score at least one point in each phase. After the final phase and when the animation goes back to the very first texture, it will be the final lap. If the final Intermediate has been cleared as the final phase is made, the next time by the Start/Finish line by will be the final lap. On designated long courses, I make it just a bit fair as I need to score twice to equal one point. I call these as long course points, or LCPs.

The conclusion of each race features overall champions and international conference champions. The conference champions consist of the highest-placed team from the three international conferences: Pan-American, Mediterranean, and Asia-Pacific.

Oh... and if I'm defeated, I head back to the pits to change to a healthy driver.

--- What I Still Want to Do for Duke Nukem 3D ---

The biggest thing I wished I could work on was completely changing up the movement dynamics to resemble a car. This comes from "Redneck Rampage Rides Again," which lets you be able to ride on a motorcycle and ride on a swamp boat. I wanted to make the movement dynamics so that they mimic using a car. This would make the action more like real racing and not so much pretending to be in a race car when it's just my character on foot.

--- Duke Nukem 3D: Video Preview ---

Here is a preview of the game I've made mention to all post long. I tried to find original gameplay video, rather than any enhanced versions. So have a look at this (WARNING: May not be suitable for most audiences):

So there is your look at Duke Nukem 3D.

--- A Look at Duke Nukem Forever ---

(added: March 11, 2011)

I mentioned in my initial post that Duke Nukem Forever was never coming out. Since 3D Realms went defunct and Gearbox took over for creation of Duke Nukem Forever, a wicked trailer was unveiled in completion of this game. Take a look at this trailer to get your look at Duke Nukem Forever:

I think Duke Nukem's still got it even after all these years between DN3D and DNF. Don't you think so, too? :)

(added: November 9, 2011)
According to reviews of Duke Nukem Forever, the game was left with lukewarm reception. It was not received very well at all.

If you want your own Duke Nukem 3D, here is this game on Amazon. Consider this my thanks to you for reading this blog entry:

^ The classic game. Play it, love it.

^ Enhance your copy of Duke Nukem 3D 1.3 with this add-on that includes a new episode and some other new stuff.

^ Who needs Plutonium Pak when you have this deal that comes equipped with the Plutonium Pak add-ons?

And here are some add-ons for Duke Nukem 3D:

^ "Duke it Out in D.C." This game has you going to Washington, D.C. to save the President of the United States from the same aliens that tried to take over Los Angeles.

^ "Duke Nukem: Nuclear Winter." Rescue Santa Claus from the aliens and bring Christmas joy back to the world again. However, I hear this Expansion Pack isn't all that good...

Here are some more resources for you:

3D Realms' Official Duke Nukem 3D page - Official and unofficial material for Duke Nukem 3D and DN3D Atomic. It even includes Lameduke, a very popular beta of Duke Nukem 3D.

DOSBox - If you prefer playing Duke Nukem 3D (or any other DOS game for that matter) and have an operating system of XP or any further OS'es, DOSBox is the best way to play classic DOS games. It is recommended you visit the site to learn more about how to properly set up DOSBox. Or, you may visit a YouTube friend of mine, CuteFloor, with MANY videos of classic PC games under DOS for more help.

JFDuke3D - This is a port of Duke Nukem 3D that allows you to play this game comfortably in Windows. Enhancements allow you to play this game in higher resolutions including high-res textures. This is the version I use to play Duke Nukem 3D to this very day.

Thank you for reading!

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