Duke Nukem Forever Museum

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Development documents - Interviews - Plan updates - Press releases - Take2 vs 3DRealms lawsuit - 3DRealms vs Gearbox lawsuit - Cheat codes
Development documents

Duke Nukem Forever outline - Document written by Scott Miller on June 22, 1998, containing elements for mechanics and story he wanted to have in DNF. OCR scanned from Scott's photographs of the original document: 1 2 3 4 5

Duke's SOS and More on the SOS: two emails by George Broussard, dated March 23, 2000, explaining the developers of Duke Nukem: Endangered Species how the Shades Operating System (game HUD) works in Duke Nukem Forever.

2001 letter of agreement - a letter of agreement between 3DRealms and Epic Games, written on September 13, 2001, that authorizes 3DRealms to use selected levels from Unreal and Unreal Tournament in Duke Nukem Forever as deathmatch levels.

Duke Nukem Forever World Chart - the plot of Duke Nukem Forever as it was conceived after the last restart. The original file was last modified on July 29, 2008.

Incubator Overview - A mission that was never implemented (presumably because "Cutting is shipping"), where Duke would have destroyed an incubator of Octababies in a swimming pool outside a hotel in Las Vegas, solved several physics puzzles and used a shrink cannon to defeat a 30-foot alien.

Desert Overview - An early description of the monster truck driving section, where the monster truck was supposed to be equipped with a missile launcher (like the Hummer in this 1997 screenshot). At the end, a giant Battlelord would have emerged from Lake Mead (as seen in these screenshots), and Duke would have killed it with the nuke. The mounted missile launcher, the giant Battlelord and the nuke fell victim of "Cutting is shipping", but the model and code for the nuke are still present in the demo.

Underwater Leech Boss Battle - The outline of the underwater battle against the Energy Leech. The description pretty much matches what was seen in the game, but with additional strength taps and Duke one-liners.

1996 GSW interview with George Broussard and Scott Miller:
GSW: What can you tell us about the next Duke Nukem game? Can we expect a sequel for Holiday 1997?

George: There will be a sequel to Duke Nukem 3D. We are deciding now what technology we will use. It is likely we will do one more 25-30 level game with an improved Build engine. Possibly with polygon characters, but we are still in the fact finding stages. I do expect to be in full production in a sequel to Duke by Xmas 1996.

Scott: Geoff, we are also making Duke Nukem Forever, which will be out next Christmas for sure. DN Forever is not a sequel though, rather it's simply another episode in the life of Duke, just like each episode of Star Trek is not a sequel to the previous episode.

DN Forever will be a side-scrolling platform game similar to the original two Duke games, but with far better technology and graphics. We're using the same Duke model from Duke Nukem 3D and adding dozens of new frames. Duke will climb chains/poles, ladders, walk hand- over-hand along wires and pipes, do midair flips and ride several vehicles, including a jet ski and a Harley.

The graphics will be very realistic and dark in style, and not cartoonish like the first two Duke platform games. Duke will have several familiar weapons, like the shotgun, RPG and Ripper, plus several new weapons. And, of course, he'll have his legendary attitude and Duke Talk(tm). <smiles> (The (tm) is a joke, by the way. <laughs>)
April 27, 1997 interview with George Broussard:
4/27/97 - 10:49pm
The news is pretty nuch out that we have licensed the Quake/Quake II engine for the next Duke Nukem game called "Duke Nukem Forever". We see this as an awesome deal with awesome potential. Mixing Duke's innovative gameplay with the amazing Quake engine should yield a massively fun game to play. See our web site for press releases pertaining to this. Here are some general answer's to common questions I've been getting.

Q: Why license the Quake engine and not use your own Prey engine?
A: It is simply a buisness decsion and a matter of timing for us. The Prey engine is in good shape and the project is marching along, but we are skipping a generation of tech with Prey and going 100% hardware only. By the time Prey comes out, the market will be there. In the meantime we wanted to make a new Duke Nukem game, and our goal is to have it out in mid 1998. The obvious choice was Quake. It is production code that is stable and out. id Software is 5 minutes away and we have a good relationship with them. It seems like a slam dunk decision.

Q: Will you maintain Quake's free play on the Internet model?
A: Yes. Duke Nukem Forever will be on TEN, but will also be available across the net in the same fashion Quake is.

We aren't discussing any more about the game at this time. We have been doing R&D and design work since December and suffice to say, we have a fairly solid game design plan to follow. We know what we want to do to push Duke Nukem as a character and a game, and for the most part we know how to do it all. We will be posting some survey's to see what you want in 1) a Quake engine game and 2) a Duke Nukem game. We will then go into a cave for the next year and work steadily on the game. When we emerge, you should be able to play something really cool. The official release for the game is, as always "When it's done".
November 1997 PC Gamer article (contains an interview with George Broussard and Scott Miller)
- 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

June 1998 CGW interview with George Broussard:
Duke's Back to Smash Bugs on the Strip
by Ken Brown

In the two years since DUKE NUKEM 3D's release, the game has been eclipsed by at least half a dozen action games with true 3D engines. But none of those games have surpassed DUKE 3D's combination of personality and interactivity. Duke not only walked the walk, he could talk the talk, and he could perform plenty of endearing actions, like relieving himself, busting urinals with his boot, collapsing entire buildings, tipping strippers, and shrinking alien monsters to squish them underfoot.
 Now the 3D Realms team is trying to wring the same level of interactivity out of the QUAKE II engine for DUKE NUKEM FOREVER. 3D Realms president
George Broussard was the project leader for DUKE NUKEM 3D and he's also heading up DNF. We caught up with Broussard long enough to ask him the following questions.

 CGW: Duke Nukem has a reputation as a tough S.O.B. with a sense of humor and a fondness for women. All we want to know is: will Duke finally be able to kick ass, ride a Harley, and get laid?

 Broussard: [Laughs.] I couldn't have said it better myself. Without giving away all the surprises, let's just say that it's Duke and we're 3D Realms. You can expect Duke's character to be improved upon. We have a firm vision of who Duke is and what the fans like and expect from him. We will give you no less.

 CM: You've told me Duke's heading to Vegas to handle some pest control. What kinds of buildings and environments are you planning to have? Will there be a lot of action outdoors, as in DUKE 3D?

 Broussard: DNF takes place in and around Las Vegas. The game is fairly well planned out, but we don't want to give away all the surprises this early. I'm sure you can imagine interesting places Duke might visit. Only one small part of the game will be set in the city of Las Vegas.

 CGW: You've built a reputation with DUKE NUKEM 3D, for greater interactivity with the environment than other 3D shooters. How much interactivity do you think you'll have in DNF?

 Broussard: I think we'll have more than any other 3D shooter to date. Chris Hargrove and Nick Shaffner (programmers) have spent the last month totally rewriting the QUAKE entity system. It was too restrictive for us, and we could do things like move a crane, or rotate it, but not both. We want insane interactivity for DNF. So they developed a text-based scripting system similar to QUAKE-C but more powerful and advanced. We also still support DLLs (Dynamic Link Libraries), but a lot of the game will be script-based, so people don't have to have a $300 compiler to make add-ons for the game. We feel it is very important for the average user to be able to experiment and play with the code of the game with just a brain and a text editor. So the bottom line is that you will see a very dynamic environment in DNF with lots of things to "do."

 CGW: If DUKE NUKEM FOREVER were a movie, what do you think it would be rated?

 Broussard: Probably PG-13-ish. Even DUKE 3D was PG-13. The strongest word he said was "Shit," and the nudity was right on the edge of PG-13. The sad thing is everyone wants us to make it R-rated, but we still have to sell games here. We will try to make the game sellable to 10-year-old kids, while offering content to interest us 30-year-old types. It's a tough balancing act, but I think we can pull it off again. I hope the day soon comes when chains like WalMart and CompUSA stop cen soring which games they will sell.

  CGW: Will Duke be able to drive vehicles?

  Broussard: We're not committing to vehicles yet. but again it's an obvious and very popular request. Everyone seems to want to see Duke on a Harley, JetSki, Hummer, or other vehicle. We will do what we can and have some definite plans in this area. We experimented with vehicles in SHADOW WARRIOR and even though we were limited by the engine, we think things turned out pretty well. We're looking to go to the next level now.

  CGW: What kinds of monsters do you expect to have?

  Broussard: There will be a broad mix of Dr. Proton's bad guys, mostly organic, and maybe a few robotic types. We're still designing enemies at this point.

  CGW: Last November a computer game magazine had a cover story on DUKE FOREVER. How much of the game has changed since that time? Are those screenshots representative of garneplay?

  Broussard: Frankly, those shots are turds. Those are all 8-bit source art running on a 3Dfx. DNF has been full 16 bit since about late November and we're really, really happy with the art style and quality in the game now.

  CGW: Now about weapons? Here's our wishlist: flame thrower, grenade launcher, minigun (a la Terminator 2), and laser weapons.

  Broussard: Most of those are listed as front runners, but we do weapons one at a time, as we make the game. Weapons aren't something you can screw around with, especially when it comes to play-balance in multiplay. Duke will have a pistol, shotgun, and a rocket launcher. Beyond that we either aren't talking about them yet, or they are still up in the air. There is a big push for us to bring back the shrink ray, which we really liked. People also love the sneaky weapons like the pipe bombs and trip bombs, so you can expect something similar.

  CGW: What do you expect the system requirements will be?

  Broussard: System requirements are hard to nail down this early, but the game will lean heavily on hardware acceleration. It'll probably run on a 2MB 3Dfx card, but as a poor man's base. You will likely want a 6MB Voodoo card, or a Voodoo2 card with 8-12MB for the best performance. We'd ideally like to drop software and focus on a kickass hardware-only game, but we wonder if the market will be large enough, I think it is for most games, but with DUKE, you have the potential to sell over a million copies. We're not sure we want to mess with that.

CGW: When are you expecting to finish the game?

  Broussard: When it's done. It's DUKE and we're not going to rush it out to make a deadline—even Christmas. It will be done when we all agree it's the best 3D game to play and it advances the DUKE NUKEM franchise the way we all want it to.

Developer: 3D Realms • Publisher: GT Interactive • Target Release Date: 04 '98
Engine: QUAKE II
Synopsis: Dr. Proton's back, and he's invited an alien horde to party down on the Las Vegas strip. Time to call Duke Nukem, exterminator extraordinaire. Profanity. partial nudity, extreme violence—you know the drill.

EARLY ERECTION - All is not what it seems in the sleepy ghost town of Morningwood.

VEHICULAR HOMICIDE - 3D Realms is experimenting with interactive vehicles like this jet. They'd like Duke to be able to drop into the cockpit and open fire, as James Bond did in Tomorrow Never Dies.

LET'S ROCK - No guard post will stop Duke from rushing into action. Many of the locations are complete, all using 16-bit artwork.

June 1998 Planetquake interview with George Broussard:
Come Get Some
by Fargo

It's late morning. The fog is thick around the lake, the water gray as it tears past the speeding boat. Suddenly a transport chopper descends from the fog, hovering a couple hundred feet in front of the speeding watercraft Its rear panel opens; men on jet skis drop out the back, plunging below the surface of the water.

A few moments later they burst out of the lake and high into the air, engines squealing. Then the jet planes roar by, spewing missiles. Other boats emerge from the fog behind. Guns pierce the fog with fire. Duke never takes off his shades.

C'mon, was this an action movie or a video game? George Broussard calmly turned Duke Nukem around and started blasting away. Jets exploded into huge fireballs, the debris splashing into the water as the boat roared on. The jet skis circled Duke's boat like angry hornets.

One of the other ships roared a little too close and Duke put the smack down, shattering it in a massive fireball. We couldn't believe we were watching the Quake II engine.

"Right now the fog doesn't change," Broussard explained. "But we'll be able to do things with volumetric fog-- you'll be able to go to different areas of the lake where it'll be denser or less dense. You'll be going along, and all of a sudden it'll get so foggy you can't see three feet behind the boat, and things'll be comin' out atcha."

Scenes like these, from the recent Electronics Entertainment Exposition, made the recent announcements so startling: Duke Nukem 4Ever was scrapping the Quake II engine in favor of Unreal. The fact of the matter was that everybody left E3 with the impression that Duke Nukem 4Ever had done amazing things with the Quake II engine, with more to come. It was clear a lot of work had gone into ... well, into "Dukenizing" it.

So, what can fans of the Unreal Engine expect to see? Certain things, like volumetric fog and lens flares, are already part of Unreal. (Duke's developers were joking about taking lens flares "over the top," by having them glint off of every possible object, including gold teeth or pierced navels...)

Other elements, like the models and artwork, should transition over fairly seamlessly to the new engine. A few things are going to have to be rebuilt entirely into the new codebase. To give you an idea of what to expect, here's a quick roundup of what visitors to E3 were treated with:

Third-person Action Sequences
"This time we'll be in third-person," Broussard pointed out as he loaded a new level. Duke was on the back of a steam train as it emerged from a tunnel and wound its way through a mountain valley. Instead of a first-person perspective, we were viewing the action from just behind Duke -- Tomb-Raider style. No surprise that he was manning a huge-ass gun mounted to the back of the train.

"We've got the ability to do third-person pretty easily with this thing. In fact, there may even be times when we force the third-person viewpoint, just to break it up a little. One thing we want to do, for instance, is have him in third-person riding around on a Harley -- with a shotgun -- that kind of thing. There's no reason we can't have him jump in a forklift and drive it around."

Don't be surprised if you get to jump a Jet ski off of the Hoover Dam as you blow it to smithereens.

Hardware Only Support
"You're going to see a little more bigger areas, a little more polygons on the screen," said Broussard. "We're probably not going to support software. That's up in the air at the moment, but I'm pretty sure software's going to go away. That's gonna enable us to do even more complex areas."

Later, we entered a nighttime mountain level with a huge highway overpass. It was possible to explore the big canyon below or walk along the highway above it all. Expanses like that aren't really possible in software using the Quake II engine, as Broussard explained, which is one motivation that prompted them to consider hardware only. They were concerned about making a great game, and didn't want to saddlebag it by cramping up the levels. (Wide open areas like this may have influenced the decision to switch to Unreal.)

The Characters
Next was a demo of the characters and animation. Broussard narrated as we walked into an old mine facility, filled with rust-colored fog: "We think they have a lot of resolution and detail in the characters. This is Gus right here, he's sitting here chopping away at a wall."

We walked up to a pudgy, grizzled old prospector. "Basically, Duke can't get through this wall here, but we can walk over to Gus, and he'll walk over and take care of it for us..." Gus strolled over and started whacking the wall, which crumbled away. 'Thar's Gold in them thar hills!' Gus shouted as Duke stormed through.

Later we went into a level Broussard described as "The zoo," which was used to showcase and test the different effects they were working on. "Let's get a closer look at Gus here," he said, finding a small room with nothing but Gus in it. "You can really see the facial detail on that guy," he explained. Sure enough, the lines around his eyes and the crinkly skin around his mouth were rendered in great detail. The texture looked very fluid as he looked around back and forth. Broussard typed in a command or two to force the model to talk.

"Heheheh ... you think those sunglasses make you look cool or somethun'?" Gus said on screen. The mouth and head motions were animated in time with the words -- I'd never seen anything like it in a first-person shooter. Even Half-Life, whose character interactions were stunning, looked a little stiff in comparison.

"His hat and pick-axe are totally separate items," Broussard continued. "We can take any item in the game and hook it anywhere on the model and it will work interchangeably. What I'm going to do now is have him drop his axe, and then he can pick up Duke's gun..."

Broussard typed commands into the game using a scripting language they'd built just for the engine, and Gus's axe dropped to the ground. He then attached the model of Duke's gun into Gus's hand, and started Gus's "run" animation ... The old prospector started running in place, carrying Duke's gun in his hand. As he pumped his fists, the gun moved in perfect synchronization. "Any actor in the game can hold any model."

For an encore we walked into another room featuring the Duke himself. Sure enough, the Duke had three different pairs of sunglasses he could swap on and off at will.

Yup. Wouldn't be a Duke game without 'em! Broussard demonstrated a quick nightclub level. "We have every intention of motion capturing these if we can ... We'll keep it within the constraints of PG-13, kinda like we did with Duke 3D, but we're gonna step on the line as hard as we can. Give people what they want!"

Water, fire, smoke and mirrors...
Broussard showed off some more effects. "You can see we have turbulent water. We've also got procedural effects on top of it. There's some actual calculations going on to change the patterns in the water. We can do hundreds of these. Now that the system's in place, it's real easy to go into the editor and fix it. We can do sine waves, cosine waves, we can do fire and smoke and whatever you want with this effect."

In another room were a pair of small campfires. The fires burned and the light around them flickered -- as he circled the flames it was clear that they were fully three-dimensional. "This is something we're almost happy with. The Unreal fire looks really good -- in fact the whole game looks pretty awesome -- but most of their fire effects are just a couple of polygons that are crossed and then procedural on top of it. We're trying to do actual 3D fire and we've got the effect almost where we like it. As soon as we mix in some white smoke and some black smoke, I think we'll be there."

We walked to another room where another creature was running in place. "Basically, we can stick any procedural effect on any model," Broussard demonstrated. The character running in place looked to be liquid metal, like the second Terminator movie. A few script commands later, the model was nearly transparent, distorting the room behind him like the Predator.

"You can even have a guy look like he's on fire, because you get the fire effect going and put it on him."

Scripting Language
The short commands Broussard would type into the console to affect the models and behavior in the game were just a hint of a larger scripting language beneath the surface. Every level could have hundreds of small scripts associated with it, similar to the scripting language that Ritual is incorporating into Sin.

"You can layer all these things on top of each other and associate them with a guy -- you know, do this, do that -- and string them all together, and that's how you build your AI." he said. "You do that right in the editor, so it's really easy to access that sort of thing."

"By the time we get through the game we're going to have 2 or 300 script functions, all really small and compact. You won't have a single script to do everything for a guy, you'll have like 200 small functions for each behavior that you just lay on top of each other. That makes it real easy for users to modify."

The Duke Nukem ... "Attitude"
It's hard to define, and yet you know it when you see it. It's the attitude that made Duke Nukem 3D such a cool game to play, even after Quake came out with much better technology. It's the strippers and the wisecracks. It's the big guns and colossal explosions. It's ... well, cheesy. In all the right ways.

It would be pretty easy for 3D Realms to run the Duke franchise into the ground until it stops bleeding cash for them, but from what I saw at E3 that was the farthest thing from their minds. They were particular about every detail. Everything they did oozed the Duke attitude.

For instance, when you drop down the console in Duke Nukem 4Ever, it comes down looking like the left lens of a pair of sunglasses. It's labelled the "Shades Operating System," and featured green computer-type layered over a shaded view of the action. If you select something that requires a submenu, it scrolls over to the right lens for more options. Now we know why Duke never takes his damn sunglasses off!

That kind of attention to detail is great -- and it's not about the technology, it's about ... well, Duke!

The Impact of Using Unreal
Having met the 3D Realms crew, and having seen what they were doing, I'm pretty confident that they'll be able to use any game engine to make a winner. It's also safe to say that when George Broussard says, "We never cared about the $$$. We care about the game and we felt this was the right decision for the game," as he did in the recent Duke4Ever.com interview, that he's probably talking straight.

There's no doubt that they lost a lot of money in the move, and despite their claims, all of the work they did to create the effects listed above will have to be scrapped in order to convert everything to Unreal. But one can be sure that the decision stems from a commitment to make a better game -- one that's not going to let the Duke fans down.

What remains to be seen is wether the Unreal engine will suit itself to a fast-paced game like Duke. Chances are, the engine will be unrecognizable after they get their hands on it for a couple months.

Duke Nukem was expected sometime this Winter, most likely early 1999. No release date has been announced but the transition to Unreal will probably add to the development time -- keep your eyes open for Duke Nukem 4Ever to hit shelves in the Spring or possibly even Summer of next year.
June 16, 1998 interview with George Broussard:
1. You guys shocked the gaming world by announcing well into the development that Duke Nukem Forever would use the Unreal engine instead of Quake II. Why make that decision so late into development, and after Duke Nukem Forever was so well received at E3 using the Quake II engine?
George: Actually we aren't as far along as you might think and that in part led to the decision. We started working heavily on the game after we got the Quake 2 code in mid Dec (97). So at E3 we had about 4.5 months into the demo. The decision was a business one based on where we were with the game, where we wanted to go and the financial issues involved.

2. Was the whole design team behind the decision? Were you discussing it long before E3, and when did you arrive at this decision?
George: We "toyed" with the idea prior to E3, but nothing serious. After E3, we were sitting around talking one evening and someone said "Hey, let's switch to Unreal". The room got quiet for a moment and I kinda excused myself to some thinking. Once we discovered it was a doable deal, we sat as a team and said "Here's what we wanna do. Any problems?" It was unanimous. So then we set about putting the deal together. This all happened the week after we got back from E3.

3. Was there one or two things about the Unreal engine that made this decision easy, and what other technologies does the Unreal engine offer, that the Quake II engine did not? What new things will you be able to do that you weren't able to do with the Quake II engine?
George: Both engines are very competent and both do different things better. But overall, we were very impressed with Unreal and it's suite of features. They had many of the things we intended to add over the next few months (like large outside areas), and some things we just added (but were not quite polished) like procedural water etc. In general I think the game is opened up a bit more to us now, and that's more conducive to a Duke game. We did great things in Quake 2 to get Duke "outside", but we wanted a little more.

4. Was doing large outdoor areas a factor? The Unreal engine certainly seems more capable of handling larger areas, but the E3 demo of Duke Nukem Forever showed many large outdoor scenes...
George: We achieved what we wanted to at E3, and wanted to go farther. Again, the whole issue was "do we spend dev time and re-vamp Q2, or just switch to Unreal, and add features as we go?". There are pro's and con's to both decisions. Going with Unreal would cost us $$$ in the short term, but maybe get us tech faster than we could add it. Staying with Q2 assures more solid net play, but maybe Unreal will have that. So it was a constant balancing act that we were trying to do to decide. In the end, we just decided to switch. Right or wrong, it's what we felt we needed to do, and it made sense for us, right now. Maybe not for other developers, but for us.

5. Was the Unreal engine's superior software renderer a big factor in your decision? After all, making Duke Nukem Forever hardware only could have potentially hurt your sales...
George: That was a small factor. We dropped software in Q2 in order to get some other benefits. Writing a 16 bit software renderer was a considerable chunk of time, and one we really didn't want to invest in. I really feel software is dead now anyway, but it's a nice feature to fall back on.

 6. 3D Realms has invested a great deal of time and effort into improving the Quake II engine, most notably with the entity system, which was completely re-written. How much of that work will be thrown away, and how are tools that were previously developed for Duke Nukem Forever affected by this decision?
George: Our tools will got right over to Unreal. We really just have one primary tool called Cannibal that we use to skin the characters, play sound effects, and pretty much anything else to do with a character. The entity system is nice, but so is Unreal's. It's doubtful we will need to do anything other than extend Unreal's a bit.

7. What adjustments will your Programmers, Artists, and Level Designers have to make with the engine change?
George: Art is a non factor. Everything they have made will go over and the tools are virtually the same. The artists are hardly even affected by this. The mappers are probably affected the most because they need to learn a new editor, but they are professionals and have already been at it a couple of weeks and are on the verge of production quality again. The programmers can change gears farily easily as well. What we don't take over from Q2, we won't need because Unreal already does it, or has something similar.

8. In the press release, you stated "it will take a little time to get up to speed with the new engine and learn how to exploit it. Fortunately, all of our game data will transfer very easily and we see being back to where we were at E3 within a month to 6 weeks." Now as far as artwork goes, that sounds pretty reasonable. But how can you possibly convert Quake II style levels to work with the Unreal engine?
George: We may/may not convert actual levels over. It's actually faster to re-build them taking advantage of the new engine. In reality we had a lot of test maps and they won't be missed if they go away. We will be hiring one new map designer to lessen the work load, so again, we're really not worried about long term effects of the maps.

9. How much engine modification do you foresee having to make in order to make Duke Nukem, the Duke that fans have come to know and love, come alive? How will these modifications affect the release date of Duke Nukem Forever?
George: What we do now, is take Unreal and make a Duke game out of it. Not a very hard task. Their scripting system is really flexible and nice. Our programmers will add tech as we go to keep the engine fresh, but 75% of their time will be on game logic code. Making the game Duke in essence. They are really looking forward to it.

10. How will the use of the Unreal Engine affect other aspects of the game, specifically, sound effects, and music?
George: The sound system in Unreal is really nice, supporting things like reverb and doppler. The music system is a bit of a change being digital (MOD) driven, but that lends itself perfectly to contextual music which we always planned for DNF anyway. So again, no negatives. The engine also supports redbook should we decide to go that route.

11. You've spent nearly a third of a million dollars on engine licensing fees and invested a lot of time into customizing the Quake II engine. If you had it to do all over again, what would you have done differently? Would you have gone with the Unreal engine to start with?
George: Hindsight is 20/20. We made the decision based on where we are now, not what we knew or might have known a year ago. In reality had we been in production a year like Sin and Half Life, this wouldn't even be an option. But DNF's not gonna be out in 3-4 months, so that frees up our alternatives. This is all a matter of timing and business.

12. How much did you pay for the Quake II engine? How much more would you have paid had your product gone to market using that engine?
George: We're not discussing the financials of the deal because it's not relevant to the decision. We never cared about the $$$. We care about the game and we felt this was the right decision for the game. Again, had we been under development for a year with Quake 1 code, I doubt we would have chucked it all to swicth. Quake 2 is a really solid engine.

13. What kind of deal, financially, was Epic offering? Understood that you can't give all the details, but in what ways was it superior to the id/Q2 deal?
George: Call Epic for a licensing deal to find out ;) Needless to say, we are very happy with where we ended up and in the end all you fans care about is the game. And that's what we're going to give you.

14. Quake and Quake II have widely been accepted for Internet play, and Unreal is still somewhat unproven in this regard. Can you talk about your concerns, if any making the switch to the Unreal engine in that respect? If you have any concerns, what can or will you do about them?
George: Epic is clearly working hard on the Internet play of Unreal. It's in their interests to do so. Unreal is #1 in sales right now and poised to be a blockbuster. If Epic doesn't fix the net play, people will move on and the game will die. If they do fix it, the game will live for 2 years and be a serious contender to the throne. Our concerns are few. What they don't fix, we are capable of, and we have time before the game comes out.

15. When you announced that Duke Nukem Forever would use the Quake II engine, many wondered why you would not use the Prey engine instead. The press release states that it is very important that Prey be the first game with it's engine. The reasons provided in the press release are somewhat vague, can you expand on that issue some more?
George: We simply want DNF out as fast as possible. Unreal is done. It's shipped. The engine is done. We need only make the game now. We also don't want to (or need to) steal Prey's thunder. Prey got extremely good press from E3 (again) and we feel it only appropriate that Prey show case that technology.

16. Many Duke fans had negative opinions about Duke Nukem Forever using the Quake 2 engine. Now some have negative comments about the use of the Unreal engine. What would you say to the people with negative thoughts on use of the Unreal engine?
George: The only negative emails I've gotten consisted of 3 things. 1) Internet play. Clearly it will be addressed and on par with Quake's. 2) Machine spec. Clearly 3D games are advancing and systems will as well. I remember people bitching because Quake 1 didn't run on a 486, or P66. 3) DNF Delay. The game was 1999 (albeit early) anyway. This chage will cost us a little time in the short term, but might actually save us time in the long run. Because we will not have to do as extreme of engine mods and can focus more on the game itself.

17. Will the switch to a new game engine require another round of painstaking strip-club research by your design team? Are they stressed about this?
George: Yes, I think we will need many hours of stress relief, and research ;)

In closing George, we'd like to say thanks alot for taking the time to answer these questions for our readers. Please make Duke Nukem Forever kick ass!
George: We did this switch for the fans at considerable financial cost to ourselves. Remember that, and look forward to a cool ass game.
September 1, 1998 Game-interviews.com interview with George Broussard:
Duke Nukem is coming back, this time powered by the Unreal Engine in Duke Nukem Forever! We talked to George Broussard, one of the head honchos at 3D Realms, to get the details on this hot upcoming game!

Game-Interviews.com: I understand that Duke will have a new ally this time. Can you tell us about Bombshell and how she will be important to the game?
George Broussard: We're leaving a lot of the details out until the game is released because we don't want to spoil the surprises. But I can tell you that BombShell is the female counterpart to Duke. She's strong, sexy and very independent. She also has a sadistic nature that makes dealing with here like dealing with a wild animal. You're never sure where you stand. Duke will interact with her in key parts of the game and their "relationship" will grow from these encounters. We aren't saying much more this early, except that DNF will be full of interesting new characters for Duke to interact with. You won't just be killing everything you see (although you will do a lot of that).

GI: Will you be able to interact with NPC’s (excluding Bombshell)? How interactive will the environment be?
GB: I expect DNF will be the most interactive environment to date, much like Duke 3D was. We are doing things that are just insane as far as interaction goes. Yes, you will also be able to interact with NPC's a good bit.

GI: How will the game deviate from the find the key/exit formula?
GB: In essence every game uses keys/doors, but you call them something else. We are defiantly not doing the find blue key, then blue door formula. DNF will play and feel like an action move from start to finish. You will be in real world places doing real world things. This might sometimes mean finding a key, but you can bet that will not be the norm, and it will be in context to the game.

GI: One of the best things about Duke Nukem 3D was the amazing variety of weapons. Can you give us some details on the planned weapons?
GB: No, as that would spoil the surprises. But it's safe to bet that we know what players want in weapons and deathmatch. We all play dmatch every day and know that balance is the key. We also know that people want variety. You want rockets and the normal bullet weapons, but you also want sneaky/stealth weapons like the pipe bombs, trip bombs, or Shadow Warrior's sticky bombs. We will give players a mix of many types of guns, all balanced for fair and interesting net play.

GI: Sources say Duke will be able to use vehicles this time around. If this is true can you tell us what they might be?
GB:We are heavily experimenting with vehicles and I think it's a no-brainer to include them in the game. As for specifics of what kind and where? You will have to wait. But Duke on a Harley or motorcycle of some kind is a very popular request.

GI: How much focus (if any) on story will there be?
GB: Lot's. There will be a reason and purpose to everything you do. But the game also will not get bogged down in something you have to read, or really care about. The plot points in the game will be presented painlessly so the player will know what's going on, then get back to kicking ass.

GI: Can we expect Duke Nukem Forever to be as controversial as Duke Nukem 3D?
GB: Yes. We're 3D Realms. What else would you expect from us? ;) If we don't keep pushing boundaries, then you will get the same game over and over.

GI: 3D Realms obviously take a different approach to making games. If Duke Nukem 3D had come out from most companies we would probably have seen 2 or even 3 Duke Nukem 3D sequels by now. So what exactly is 3D Realms design philosophy?
GB: We take the time to try and do something different. I'm amazed that people keep buying Tomb Raider every xmas, and it's maybe 10% different from the previous one. Don't get me wrong, I like the game, but it's clearly the marketing weasels that are pushing the franchise and not the developers that made it. With Duke we aren't going to crank out a game just to make $$$. We want to make sure we create something that will elevate 3D game's and Duke's franchise at the same time. That takes time and commitment to do.

GI: What is your favorite new Duke insult?
GB: We have only recorded a couple of new ones, with many, many more to come, so it's a little too early to pick a favorite.

GI: We would like to thank George Broussard for taking some of his valuable time to answer our questions.
October 19, 1998 GameSpot UK interview with George Broussard:
George Broussard is the owner and partner of 3D Realms, the company behind Duke Nukem. Last week he talked to us about Duke's new adventure Time To Kill. Now he tells us a little about Duke's new PC adventure Duke Forever.

GameSpot UK: You've said the move to the Unreal engine will allow more of the kinds of things you wanted to add to the game. Can you provide an example?
George Broussard: First and foremost are large outside areas. Unreal also had less constraints on the size of the maps, and how things could move in them. There were also lot's of visual things like procedural textures and better lighting on the models. Quake 2 is a fine engine, but we had slipped in produciton a little and Unreal did so much more than Quake 2, that we were forced with adding the new functionality in, or just switching engines. In the end I think we will save more time, because we will be doing more game coding and less engine coding.

GameSpot UK: Unreal engine games tend to use less polygons and ultimately the characters appear to slide along the floor. This detract from the grittyness of Duke that we love, are the developers tackling those Unreal engine shortcomings?
George Broussard: Those aren't even shortcomings. Unreal can do any poly count models, and can handle up to 1000 per character nicely. I suppose Epic just did their models a long time ago, and didn't want to redo them to add more poly's. Sliding is also simply an issue of coding and the way they were animated. None of that has to do with the engine. the characters in DNF will be very, very detailed with no real detriment to the engine.

GameSpot UK: We heard you'd like to get some famous bands to do the classic Duke midis. That seems to imply Redbook audio where Unreal used sequenced 'mods' to provide a high quality and yet lengthy sound track. How is Forever going to do music?
George Broussard: There are a few options. Unreal supports MODS and CD music now. We definately want contextual/changing music in DNF, so that will probably leave out CD music. Let's just say there are other options other than CD, midi or mods that we've tested and looked into.

GameSpot UK: Duke's now got a female sidekick Bombshell, does this mean he's turning into a 'new man'? Who opens the door who buys the beers?
George Broussard: BombShell is not a sidekick. She's simply a new character in the Duke universe. She has a mind of her own and doesn't like men very much, at least men like Duke.

GameSpot UK: Lara Croft is scrambling to add intelligence and respectibility to a female character where Duke presumably still plays on the hung ho not-too-bright maschismo. Isn't that getting dated now?
George Broussard: I think Eidos is screwing up by changing Lara. You can't try to please everyone and in the end they will have such a watered down politically correct action hero, nobody will care. You shouldn't change the one thing that made Lara popular. Her body. As for Duke, I don't think it's getting dated at all. People seem to want more and more of him. There are versions of Duke games coming out on the PSX (Time to Kill) and an exclusive title under development on the N64. I think Duke represents the ultimate macho action hero, and he's someone that most people want to play and listen to for a couple of hours.

GameSpot UK: Finally, about when Forever ships, there's going to be a host of first person shooters with involving stories and environments (Half-Life) and spectacular 3D engines (Prey), what will Duke Forever have - what will the game be famous for?
George Broussard: We're not going to give away all the stuff that will make Duke stand out this far in advance. But we're very confident that the game will stand on it's own and up to any competitors at the time. Duke 3D was the first ultra realistic, hyper interactive 3D action game and in the 2 years since it's release, only now are games like Sin and Half Life coming out to top it. So I think we have a pretty fair idea where the next level of 3D action is and how to achieve it.
February 5, 1999 IRC chat session with 3DRealms developers:
<TANSTAAFL> i have code that doesnt care whether the BMP is 8 bit or 24 bit, and doesnt care what bpp the surface is...
<four> :)
<Khawk> hehh
<[Mithrandir]> oh wow
<four> lol
<Khawk> there he is
<kiwidog> Uh...
<Jered> ;-)
<kiwidog> :)
<four> slol
<kiwidog> whatup
<Khawk> hey chris
<Blah> Hi kiwidog_
<Jered> Yo
<dFnord> ;)
<f||lter> lol
<Billy> f||lter: for me, it's painful, because Internet is expensive
<four> Who is this imposter???
<Billy> hi
<f||lter> Billy: why is that?
<Jered> BAD fnord.
<Jered> ;)
<dFnord> It was Four's idea.
<four> who? what?
<f||lter> lol
<Khawk> how are ya chris?
<[Mithrandir]> ok, my code reads in all the bitmap headers and the palette if there is one
<Khawk> as you can see, you have lots of fans :-)
<Billy> f||lter: coz I live in Switzerland
<four> It's dark in here. . . and it smells kinda funny.
<f||lter> oh
<Billy> chris! chris! chris! :)
<Blah> Mith: My code is for 24-bit bitmaps, so it doesn't read in palettes...I don't know how to do that because I didn't read about it...
<dFnord> Yeah, 15 or so. ;)
<kiwidog> khawk: doing well, just doing some work from home right before i came in
<[Mithrandir]> then it backtracks from the end of the file waht bitmapinfoheader.biSizeImage is, but i think thats a bug
<kiwidog> khawk: so i noticed... scary... :)
<f||lter> where's chris?? oooh ooh lol
<Khawk> heheh
<f||lter> ??
<four> Man, you guys would never hold up in a maphia.
<Jered> kiwidog, I trust that you've read the chat info...you realize that you can sell vacuum cleaners, right?
<Khawk> better start watching your back :-)
<Jered> <G>
<TANSTAAFL> "maphia?"
<f||lter> mafia?
<Blah> Mith: Use the offset in the infoheader to find where the actual pixel data starts
<kiwidog> jered: actually i haven't read the chat info, to be honest
<four> "Tell us were Shorty is, or we'll untie your shoelaces!!!". OKAY, I'LL TELL YOU!
<[Mithrandir]> see, In my bitmap, its 70X69 which should be 14490 bytes in 24 bit mode, but DirectX reports something different
<Billy> what about some moderation?
<f||lter> direcx=satan
<TANSTAAFL> have you thought about the 32 bit boundaries?
<Jered> kiwidog, okay. Basically, you give me $2,000,000...and..uhm...oh, right, a one-way plane ticket for Tahiti...and...
<Jered> Gonna need your gf's phone #, and....;)
<TANSTAAFL> BMPs align on 32 bit boundaries
<Khawk> ok
<kiwidog> jered: ah, i see how it is
<Khawk> Since Chris is now here, and he's probably limited on time, we're going to need to moderate.
<Jered> In other words, everyone shut up or Khawk will show you pictures of himself.
<TANSTAAFL> "i'm a unicorn!"
<Jered> <G>
<dFnord> So, we have to take turns looking at his typing, or what?
<kiwidog> i'm not really limited on time to be honest, the only thing you'll have to remember is i'm multitasking between two machines during the chat, so i may be slow on a few responses
<Khawk> If you have a question that you would like to ask Chris, or even a comment, msg one of us ops
<Khawk> alright
<Khawk> we can go 2 people at a time
<Khawk> and see how that goes
<TANSTAAFL> take a number, y'all
<dFnord> What happens if one of the "OPS" has a question?
<Khawk> so, any takers? :-)
<Khawk> go for it df
<dFnord> Ooh, a Goldenian loop.
<dFnord> I don't *really* have a question. I was just trying to throw a monkey into the poop.
<dFnord> Or something.
<Khawk> ok, mith is up
<[Mithrandir]> Chris: Whats the deal with D3D vs. OpenGL? Which do you think is better, and which one will most likely 'make it' as the standard in the next few years?
<Jered> f||lter will be next.
<Khawk> then queasy..
<[Mithrandir]> lol
<[Mithrandir]> I took f||lters question ;)
<[Mithrandir]> sorry
<Khawk> bringer is 4th
<[Mithrandir]> f||lter: I wanted to know too
<kiwidog> mith: hard to say, because as much as I'd like to say it's all about the API quality, it's largely political. I think OpenGL is a far better API, but D3D is Microsoft and therefore the market share. Right now many vendors are trying to equally support both, such as nVidia. And of course there's always Fahrenheit coming up, which may stop the war.
<[Mithrandir]> i see
<kiwidog> mith: for now, I prefer OpenGL, but when possible it's better to support both APIs until the dust settles
<[Mithrandir]> What about Matrox?
<[Mithrandir]> lol
<[Mithrandir]> They still don't have OGL support yet (grrrrrr)
<kiwidog> mith: and of course if portability is important, OpenGL is a must (even if it doesn't rule out D3D support in addition)
<kiwidog> mith: I don't have much faith in Matrox these days
<[Mithrandir]> Neither do i
<[Mithrandir]> They don't support VESA either
<kiwidog> mith: right now my top company from a developer-support standpoint is nVidia
<[Mithrandir]> thats why I started programming in Windows
<[Mithrandir]> I dunno about nvidia
<[Mithrandir]> They are dragging their feet on 3DNow support
<[Mithrandir]> their latest 'detonator' drivers kinda sucked =(
<kiwidog> mith: Regardless the OpenGL/D3D decision isn't a big deal, if your wrapper is generic enough
<[Mithrandir]> i guess
<[Mithrandir]> Now that the Macs support OGL...
<[Mithrandir]> I guess it will gain popularity even more
<kiwidog> Why should nVidia have to worry much about the 3DNow?
<f||lter> What are your future plans kiwidog?
<Khawk> oops..sorry mith :-) chris was still talking to you
<f||lter> lol
<dFnord> Chris: Quickly, Four, (and others, I'm sure) want to know how long DN takes to compile. ;)
<f||lter> hehe
<kiwidog> OGL is the most portable graphics API in existence; if you want cross-platform support, you need OpenGL in some form.
<f||lter> errr
<kiwidog> df: roughly 10 mins in debug mode, 15 mins in release mode, on a P2/450/KNI (I guess you could call it a prototype PIII)
<kiwidog> filter: future plans? In what timescale (months, years, ...) ?
<dFnord> Not bad.
<f||lter> 6months-year
<Jered> kiwidog, how many warnings?
<kiwidog> jered: zero
<f||lter> any projects you can tell us about? ;-)
<Khawk> nice
<f||lter> wow
<TANSTAAFL> (damn, I always have warnings...)
<f||lter> indeed
<f||lter> what are you using to compile?
<kiwidog> filter: well, 6 months i'll still be wrapping up DNF, a year I'll be starting the next project, which is still up in the air
<f||lter> what compiler i mean?
<kiwidog> filter: MSVC++ 6.0 SP2
<dFnord> Let me point out that Chris knows about the #pragma warning directive. LOL.
<f||lter> i'm done. ;-)
<kiwidog> tan: if there are some warnings that annoy you and you don't care about them, just disable them
<dFnord> See?
<dFnord> ;)
<kiwidog> df: it's a necessity when you're on warning level 4
<Queasy> i have a few questions 'bout them game developer conferences.
<TANSTAAFL> i'm not ANNOYED by the warnings i get.
<Queasy> Have you been to any of 'em, and if so how were they?
<kiwidog> queasy: i've never been to CGDC unfortunately, due to time constraints (they always seem to happen at the wrong time). I've been to E3 once, as well as a few other smaller conferences, and they're all quite fun. E3 is a madhouse. :)
<Queasy> heh, would you recommend a small timer to go to one of these conferences to get connections?
<Queasy> (i mean for publishers and stuff... y'know)
<kiwidog> queasy: I'd recommend them, yes. Going to conferences is probably the easiest way to get contacts there is.
<kiwidog> queasy: for publishers, it's a bit more tricky
<kiwidog> queasy: if you have a demo you think will really impress a publisher, bring it to E3 and try to grab a producer hanging around their booth when they have a few minutes available
<Queasy> oh... is it likely thougH?
<Queasy> and what if you had a finsihed product instead of a demo?
<kiwidog> queasy: likely, no... the industry is just too competitive these days. But the more kickass the product looks, the better your chances. Regardless, showing a demo to someone from the company at a conference is still better odds than sending something in (which never works).
<kiwidog> queasy: even if you think your product is "finished", it's never finished until a publisher says it's finished. Always call it a demonstration to a publisher.
<Queasy> ahh... what 'bout shareware?
<Queasy> like, i'd rather distribute it nationaly than just to a few friends, if you know what I mean...
<kiwidog> queasy: shareware is a good way to get stuff out the door, especially early stuff ("proving ground" titles, so to speak), but don't expect much money from it unless it's the next Doom. Instead, use shareware as a way of marketing yourself
<Queasy> that's what I was thinking... but will there be shareware vendors at E3 and such?
<kiwidog> queasy: you'd have to ask the vendors; it all depends on their marketing plans
<Queasy> okay. thanks for your time
<BRiNGER> How extensible are you planning on making Duke Forever? Do you feel that allowing drastic changes to the game would dillute the feel of Duke, or is it something that you want to encourage?
<kiwidog> bringer: you mean on the user mod side of things?
<BRiNGER> Yeah, will there be a sourcecode or SDK release?
<BRiNGER> Also, I noticed you were talking about how portability is a large asset of OpenGL; Are there any plans to port DNF to an alternate platform, such as Unix/Linux or Macs?
<kiwidog> bringer: the more extensible the better; servers always have the choice of what mods they want to run, so the game's feel is really up to them and their players. It won't affect the feel of the single player experience, regardless. Keep in mind that DNF is being built on top of the Unreal engine, so the UnrealScript source will be entirely accessible through the editor
<kiwidog> bringer: DNF might very well be ported to other platforms (it makes good marketing sense; Duke3D has been ported extensively), although those ports are generally farmed out by us to other developers who specialize in that sort of thing. If there are ports done for DNF, they'll likely not be done by us.
<BRiNGER> Cool, one last question before I'm done :)
<BRiNGER> How hard was the change from Quake 2 to Unreal?
<Khawk> slart, you can ask questions
<Khawk> heh
<slart> ok, heh
<slart> Bump mapping in duke forever: this was speculated earlier, but is it actually in, and if so, what kind of speed decrease is it (assume a voodoo 2 or TNT 3d card). It would seem to be incredibly slow, especially since it would mean a 5th rendering pass for the Unreal engine.
<dFnord> Cybrpussy... that's for later.
<kiwidog> bringer: simple in some aspects, painful in others. A lot of our world interaction code had to be redone simply due to changes in the game logic code between the engines, fortunately the change was for the better and the framework is even stronger now. Much of my model control code went over pretty painlessly because it's largely external to the engine core, but the rendering side had to be redone. It was a whole mix of different complexities. It w
<TANSTAAFL> no doubt
<Khawk> Whenever we voice you, you can ask your question/comment.
<Khawk> good one df
<kiwidog> slart: bump mapping is something i unfortunately can't discuss at this time; it's not a done deal so I can't make a statement either way
<dFnord> ...one of those "I could tell you, but then I would have to kill you" sort of deals? ;)
<Billy> Okay... How long do you usually take to design your code? I have this "problem" which is, I design too much my code and finally I don't code much... What's your point about this?
<kiwidog> df: pretty much, yeah :)
<slart> I'm willing to die. Mmm. bump mapping :). Well, thanks for your time, and good luck on DNF
<[Mithrandir]> oh wow, me again ;)
<[Mithrandir]> i almost went back to coding... then you would have never gotten me back here (I missed dinner tonight because I coded right through it... ugh, a sickness, really)
<kiwidog> Billy: the balance between design time and coding time is something that it takes a while to work out. You do want to design more than you code, if you want your designs to be effective. The stopping point is when you think "maybe i'm going too far", or "what the hell am i adding all this complexity for?" and that's when you freeze the design at a stable point and get to work. It's a cycle; most designs have to go through at least 2 or 3 minor (or ma
<Billy> yeah I see what you mean... although the sentence is not finished :)
<kiwidog> Billy: personally i design much more than i code.... i've got plenty of cases of code blocks that took me days or weeks to design, and under 6 hours to implement.
<kiwidog> Billy: i finished the sentence; maybe not all of it went through... lemme repost the second half...
<kiwidog> Billy: (repost) It's a cycle; most designs have to go through at least 2 or 3 minor (or major) revamps until they're "final".
<Billy> actually, I can code soemthing very quickly once it has been well designed
<Billy> okay :)
<Billy> just another question:
<Billy> At 3DRealms, how much can you say about the design of DNF? Moreover, do you have tight schedules or do they let you know what needs to be done?
<Khawk> mith: you can say your question/comment since you're voiced
<[Mithrandir]> Anyhow, I have a fairly large question: Brian Hook of ID software, stated that 3DNow would make almost no significant improvements in speed in the Quake 3 engine, and I'm pretty much sure he's lying. Sure, I didn't code the engine at all, or know that much about it, but from what I know about 3dnow, is that it is effective mostly in engine code (Physics, transformations, etc) and the rendering is done by the video card. Since you expressed su
<kiwidog> Billy: we (the programmers, nick and I) have a say in the game content design, although we don't focus on that; we prefer the technical design issues. The mappers and artists are the content guys, so we let them do their jobs in that area.
<kiwidog> Billy: the schedules are flexible although we generally have "mini-milestones" for certain things we want in the game by a given time
<[Mithrandir]> that I expected nVidia to optimise their drivers, i expect you know the same, 3DNow is effective in engine code, not video drivers. Brian Hook said that 3DNow would only improve Q3 performace if the video drivers were made 3dnow compatible. What do you think?
<Billy> okay. I guess it's great to work at 3DRealms then :) I know that some game companies don't let everyone give his comments about the design (but those companies are rare hopefully)
<kiwidog> mith: 3dnow support is mostly in the engine code dealing with transformations etc; regardless, it still doesn't have a significant benefit. The processor is not the limiting factor in games like these, the bus is. The video drivers may improve things, but I still don't see it being a major improvement.
<[Mithrandir]> And what do you think about the difference between 3DNow and KNI (If you've had any experience with either)?
<Billy> thanks for having answered my questions :)
<Khawk> you're up blah
<[Mithrandir]> tis as I've expected. Now which bus are you refering to? AGP bus, or system memory bus, or even cpu->L2 cache bus?
<kiwidog> mith: 3dnow is nice but I think KNI will have a much greater impact, not because of the vectorization support but because of KNI's extra precaching instructions
<Blah> Hey Chris, just a very general question: I noticed that in your loonygames articles, you
<Blah> said you read a lot of books to get where you are, and very few of them had "game" in
<Blah> the title. So, what programming books (specific or general) have been the most influential
<Blah> to you?
<Blah> oops, sorry
<Khawk> it's ok
<Khawk> he'll get to it :-)
<kiwidog> mith: all of the above (re the buses). AGP is definitely a big big boost, but all it takes is one part of the system to slow the others down
<[Mithrandir]> on KNI, how inconvienient is it, that its based on a whole new cpu mode? Is that a problem? I would think that 3DNow is easier because it doesn't require a new CPU state
<kiwidog> blah: there's a few books on my shelf that I consider "must haves", on a variety of topics.... i'll write out a few of 'em, gimme a minute
<Blah> Okay, 60 seconds...hehe :)
<kiwidog> mith: you don't need a completely new cpu state for KNI once it's enabled, and Win98 or other KNI-compliant OSs deal with that
<[Mithrandir]> i see
<kiwidog> blah: on the graphics front, there's Foley, van Dam, Feiner, and Hughes "Computer Graphics : Principles and Practice, 2nd ed.".... the graphics bible, basically
<[Mithrandir]> also, I'm no expert, but I heard that half of the KNI commands (70 in total) are just re-hashes of MMX commands so that they will all work without switching cpu registers, is this correct?
<kiwidog> blah: for design, there's Gamma, Helm, Johnson, and Vlissides "Design Patterns : Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software", another must-have
<dFnord> Chris, Nick Murphy will be glad you siad that. I just told him to buy Design Patterns, and he was very reluctent.
<dFnord> :)
<[Mithrandir]> my god, I took a few of my basic classes I designed a few months back, plugged them into my new project and they worked... I was so extatic ;)
<kiwidog> mith: some are MMX rehashes, but not half, no. The bulk of the KNI instructions are for the new floating point quad registers
<Khawk> heh
<Khawk> nicko.....
<kiwidog> df: that book is god
<Blah> Okay, I wrote those down....thanks Chris! That's all I had to ask
<Khawk> ok, thanks blah
<[Mithrandir]> oh, and one more question:
<Khawk> cap: you may say stuff now
<kiwidog> blah: there are plenty more, but i'll write up a list in COTC sometime before the series is over
<CapCaverna> What advices do you say to a starting game developer?
<[Mithrandir]> how does it feel to have designed one of the most intuitive engines (duke3d) and then to go and use another companies engine? I mean, I know there are a lot of engines nowadays, but why go to an external source for DNF, especially after 3dreals being defined as a premiere coding company?
<[Mithrandir]> 3drealms, soory
<kiwidog> cap: learn, learn, learn. Read everything you can, buy every book you can (people who think you can learn exclusively with online docs and get the same results are kidding themselves; books may not be cheap, but then again, good education is never free)... and don't ever think you've learned enough to stop moving forward
<CapCaverna> I know that, but Assembler, C and C++ is good enougth to start it ?
<[Mithrandir]> (by the way, I never really realized how good the duke3d engine was when it was released... I just recently started making levels for duke and I was impressed)
<kiwidog> mith: Duke3D used the Build engine, which was only partially built in-house; it was actually made by Ken Silverman, who was kindof like a "one-guy licenser". As far as the company was concerned, with the exception of Ken, the engine _was_ licensed. Regardless, I would prefer to write an engine inhouse rather than license one, but that's a future endeavor.
<[Mithrandir]> oh, i didn't know that
<[Mithrandir]> well, thanks for your time.
<Jered> (the build editor is extremely cool)
<kiwidog> cap: C and C++ are more important than assembler in terms of languages, although you should learn assembler at some point just to have the knowledge of what the machine is doing (and where optimizations should be)
<dFnord> Chris, why would you prefer to do that? Sounds like the "not-built-here" syndrome.
<Khawk> thanks mith
<Khawk> four, you're up
<four> Just one question...
<Khawk> As a general notice to everyone, we currently only have one person in the list queue
<TANSTAAFL> if the queue becomes empty, do we have to talk about the weather?
<dFnord> Which is is, a list or a queue? ;)
<dFnord> it
<Jered> It's a stack
<four> Dealing with the "difficulty" of 3D programming, do you generally get a lot of design/programming objectives done in one day, or do most things take just a couple of hours?
<CapCaverna> But learning something like PROLOG, LISP or some language of high level is good too ?
<Khawk> it's a queue that holds a list :-)
<Khawk> each element in the queue is an element in the list
<dFnord> All queues hold lists.
<kiwidog> df: because the engines I've worked with, as feature-packed as they are and as impressive as their products may seem, have certain design flaws that irk me. There's always "NIH syndrome" yes, but I tend to not have NIH if the code I'm working with lives fully up to my expectations.
<Jered> TAN, no, we talk about politics
<four> ...and networking
<dFnord> Ok. But is it realistic to except that you could do better? I mean, wouldn't the effort be better applied to perfecting/optimizing an existing engine?
<kiwidog> four: some of my objectives are small tasks that get done in an hour or two, but I tend to group my tasks into things that take me between a few days or weeks and then break things down from there.
<dFnord> (I don't mean to undermine you... I'm just wondering about your motivations).
<four> alright, that's all. Thanks :)
<kiwidog> cap: everything you can learn is a good thing, even if you don't end up using it much (you won't use much prolog or lisp in game programming, but if you ever needed to write a script language for example, then knowing those languages could help improve the design of your own language)... everything has a use
<dFnord> Except APL. :)
<dFnord> And Perl.
<CapCaverna> :)
<kiwidog> df: not if the engine needing improvement has flaws that keep it from being improved
<dFnord> That's fair.
<Khawk> and maybe Ada
<Khawk> ugh..ada...
<Jered> dF, don't KNOCK perl
<TANSTAAFL> children....
<f||lter> chris, exactly what role are you playing in creating DNF? What parts of it are you programming?
<f||lter> PERL isn't that bad
<f||lter> ada is worse.
<kiwidog> df: some of the things I would want to do to Quake2 or Unreal for example would take almost as much time to work into those engines as it would to write a new engine from scratch. Granted these engines let us do a lot of things with less work, yes, but some modifications are unnecessarily hard
<dFnord> I was kidding. Trying to get Jered's goat.
<dFnord> Or something to that effect.
<Jered> Yeah...you and your third-circuitness. ;)
<CapCaverna> What theories do I have to read about to make some inteligence in a game ?
<f||lter> sorry
<dFnord> Chris, I can relate. Most of my job is maintainence, and I am often faced with the fact that modifying or otherwise changing X requires a basic rewrite of X.
<f||lter> hey dragun, you're right, it is the oriental new year
<kiwidog> filter: I'm programming half of everything (there are only two programmers on the project). Both of us have our hands in everything, although there are a few topics that we keep separated between us just to simplify things. For example I handle the character/model stuff, and nick handles the world geometry stuff, that kind of thing. But we both do 50% of the work
<f||lter> sorry, i didn't know lol
<f||lter> oh
<dFnord> However, most managers would prefer to maintain their existing bad code, than to write new bad code.
<dFnord> Too bad.
<kiwidog> cap: you're missing the point; you're asking about specific languages, specific theories, etc; that's not the big picture. Read _everything you can get your hands on_.
<f||lter> i've never worked with another programmer on a project, i was wondering how exactly you guys manage to keep the code working when it's two seperate people. that always fascinated me
<dFnord> Except "APL - The Definitive Guide".
<dFnord> Source Safe?
<dFnord> ;)
<Jered> (and Perl 5 Unleashed)
<kiwidog> filter: judicious division of labor, and version control software. MS Visual SourceSafe is a godsend.
<f||lter> what exactly does MS SourceSafe do? I've seen it before, but i was kind of confused. ;-)
<dFnord> Breifly, you can only work on files that you have checked out, (which also prevents other from working on those files).
<f||lter> ok
<dFnord> Mutually execlusive.
<CapCaverna> ok, thats I was reading in some reference in Sweetovlivion web site , like AI, Neural Networks, hehe .Thanks a lot...
<kiwidog> sourcesafe is a VCS (version control system). It archives old versions of files (usually source code), controls modification by allowing only one person to "check out" and modify a file at a time, etc.
<f||lter> I read that Neural Networks article too! well, i tried to
<f||lter> hmm
<f||lter> i see
<kiwidog> filter: for one person, it doesn't have much use except as a good archiver. But for more than one person, the "modification mutex" is a necessity
<dFnord> ...the list vector.
<f||lter> do you debug your code as you go along? normally what i'll do is add a class/few functions and then debug (compile and check for errors). how do you go about doing that considering it takes 10 min. to compile?
<kiwidog> filter: it takes 10 mins to do a full build; normally i only do full builds a few times a day. Often I'll just recompile a file or two and work from there. I usually recompile every few hundred lines and check for errors, if i haven't compiled in a while
<Khawk> done cap?
<f||lter> ok
<CapCaverna> yeap, but I have some others questions, maybe later...
<f||lter> Khawk: i'm done. beam me down scotty
<Khawk> alright
<f||lter> =-)
<BRiNGER> With Internet gaming becoming more and more popular, do you see a change in how Duke's multiplayer will work? There's quite a difference between a two player modem game (or even an 8 player LAN game) and a chaotic free for all on the Internet. How are you hoping to change this and still keep the feel of DukeMatch?
<dFnord> So one try and interate it!
<Khawk> oh well. we lost our bot
<kiwidog> bringer: Duke's multiplayer will of course feel different from Duke3D's, but what's important to us is that it stays fun. That priority is the same whether the target is modem-to-modem like it was for Duke3D, or the internet like it is for DNF.
<TANSTAAFL> (damn... when X2 gets bored....)
<Khawk> damnit x2....
<dFnord> And then...
<dFnord> Jered, it really is a queue.
<BRiNGER> On a different topic, but related to books and coding, what would you recommend for learning AI code in relation to games?
<Jered> dFnord, no, a queue flushes at the left end
<dFnord> Jered, think about it.
<TANSTAAFL> (geeks)
<dFnord> PersonA ask to be pushed.
<Khawk> queue is FIFO
<dFnord> PersonB asks to be pushed.
<Khawk> stack is LIFO
<dFnord> PersonC ask to be pushed.
<dFnord> Who is popped first?
<dFnord> A.
<dFnord> Not C.
<dFnord> On that topic, Chris, does 3DRealms use the STL?
<dFnord> ;)
<dFnord> Or, as is the popular misconception, does it have "too much overhead"? ;)
<Khawk> Billy, you can talk
<kiwidog> bringer: AI is a very broad topic, and how it gets applied in a game depends largely on the game logic system of that game. The best thing to do is get a broad overview from several books dealing with fuzzy logic, neural nets, genetic algorithms, etc. One or two books for each works fine.
<Billy> Hi I'm back :) What do you think of Internet projects? You probably know what I mean... several people who doesn't know each other but who wants to do a hit game...
<kiwidog> bringer: there's also the issue of pathfinding, which has a lot of material on net
<kiwidog> df: I don't use the STL, no. I personally believe it's too abusive of exception handling.
<dFnord> So you exclude exception handling during compilation? /GX I think.
<kiwidog> Billy: To be honest, I don't put much faith in those projects. People need to know each other at least to some degree if they're going to gel.
<Khawk> i agree there chris (for Billy)
<kiwidog> df: from what I remember STL requires exception handling to be worthwhile, since many of its errors are reported by throws
<Jered> In the words of Nick, true dat
<dFnord> Yeah. But I was asking in general.
<dFnord> I mean, if you're including the exception handling support, you may as well use STL right?
<Billy> I agree.. I'm on one of those projects, and, well, it has started for more than 6 months and we are finally know each other well.. we are finally starting development but it's not easy
<dFnord> (Which *is* turned on by default).
<kiwidog> df: I don't disable exception handling, no, but I don't use it much. Usually only around the main message loop.
<kiwidog> df: exception handling isn't a one-time cost. Every time you throw, it does an exception, and those are lethal to performance
<dFnord> Ok, that's fair. I think that this may lead to another good question... to what extent do you use OOP?
<dFnord> Well... lethal is a bit harse.
<Jered> English major. :)
<kiwidog> df: I usually only use them for fatal errors where recovery isn't an issue nor is performance (since the app will end immediately afterward)
<Khawk> ok, bringer: are you done?
<dFnord> Yeah.
<Billy> Silly question maybe, but... If I have done a non-game shareware, do you think it's something a game company would consider as a plus?
<BRiNGER> Sure
<Khawk> ok
<dFnord> Jered, leave me alone... you ... you... STACK!
<dFnord> ;)
<Jered> ::sniffle::
<Jered> ;)
<kiwidog> Billy: that depends on the game company and what they're looking for in a programmer
<Blah> Chris, I was just wondering, how protective are you of the source code you're writing in loony games? I've been using your style in a game I'm writing right now, but since I'm kind of using your code as a guide,
<Billy> okay. thanks again :)
<Blah> some of my subsystems are looking a lot like yours, like the input system for example...cuz I can't think of any way to improve it...
<Blah> Do you know what I mean?
<kiwidog> df: I use OOP all time time, but not necessary a C++ abusive form of OOP. I prefer composition to inheritence wherever possible, for many reasons. Check my COTC article #5 (i think it was loonygames issue 1.9) for my little rant on that topic
<dFnord> Ok.
<Khawk> done Billy?
<Snowman> Kiwi: thanks for stopping bye, even though I didn't ask anything, I learned plenty
<Snowman> goodnight every one
<dFnord> Bye, Snowy.
<Jered> 'night, Snow.
<Snowman> hehe, they can't say bye back....
-> *snowman* bye. thanks for letting me know about this.
<Khawk> Billy?
<Billy> yes
<Billy> I'm done
<Khawk> ok
<Queasy> yay! :)
<dFnord> Chris, I have a highly technical question:
<Queasy> okay, short question [more out of curiosity] when did you get started?
<dFnord> What's your favorite Tool song?
<Blah> Queasy, he wrote about that in one of his articles...I think it's 1.15
<Queasy> d'oh!...
<Blah> hehe
<Queasy> okay... blast me then khawk.. wait, not yet. NOW!
<Khawk> uh oh
<Queasy> cya guys, and thanks Chirs
<Queasy> for your time :)
<Khawk> must've had a split somewhere
<dFnord> Hmm... wierd.
<Blah> Chris left? d'oh, I guess he didn't know the answer to my question
<Khawk> he didn't leave
<Queasy> wha..
<Queasy> whoops.
<Khawk> the network is screwed up
<Queasy> !?
<Queasy> heh, I say bye after he leaves ... good one.
<Khawk> well, he left, but not on his own will
<Blah> maybe its all part of his master plan
<Jered> I believe AfterNET may have experienced its first (?) split. Please allow a few moments.
<Queasy> i thought it split the other night Jered?
<Queasy> remember, when you were explaining irc (dear God no! HACKING) to me?
<Jered> ;)
<Jered> We were on DALNet.
<Queasy> DOH!
<Khawk> ok, in the meantime, i will unmoderate the channel until he gets back (hopefully)
<Queasy> man, I'm out of it.
<f||lter> down with DALnet
<Blah> hehe
<Queasy> lol
<f||lter> =-)
<Billy> hmm it's 5:00 am here, so I won't stay long
<bstach> Hello all
<lurker> hi
<Queasy> anyways, okay, i gotta guys, cya l8r and... ~have fun :)
<four> Here = where?
<Spider> cool interview. is anyone going to post the log?
<Billy> Switzerland of course :)
<Khawk> possibly
<f||lter> i've got the log
<Khawk> we haven't really discussed posting it uet
<Khawk> yet
<four> OF COURSE! Switzerland.
<dFnord> We should probably edit it... put it in Q and A format, you know?
<Khawk> yeah
<CapCaverna> 01:28 am here in Brazil
<f||lter> yeah
<f||lter> that's a good idea
<Billy> lol
<Khawk> need to see what daveed wants to do
<Jered> Will kiwidog be able to find another server?
<lurker> Yeah, edit all his replies to "I love sweet oblivion! I love sweet oblivion! I love sweet oblivion! etc..."
<dFnord> Does anyone have him on their ICQ list?
<Khawk> there :-)
<f||lter> lol
<Blah> Hiya chris
<Khawk> moderation back on
<kiwidog> oh wait, i'm back
<f||lter> wb
<kiwidog> it worked this time
<Khawk> heheh
<Khawk> welcome back :-)
<Jered> Hullo
<Blah> Should I repost my question?
<Jered> kiwidog, server down?
<Khawk> yeah, blah, go ahead
<kiwidog> it worked this time
<kiwidog> khawk: ignore the email i just sent you then :)
<four> How is the 3DRealms office set up? Is it like a big studio with everyone in the same room? Do you have your own office?
<kiwidog> anyway, i was saying something to blah but i can't remember
<Blah> Chris, I was just wondering, how protective are you of the source code you're writing in loony games? I've been using your style in a game I'm writing right now, but since I'm kind of using your code as a guide
<Khawk> heheh, ok
<Blah> some of my subsystems are looking a lot like yours, like the input system for exmaple...cuz I can't think of any way to improve it...
<Blah> Do you know what I mean?
<TANSTAAFL> "AssHead?"
<kiwidog> blah: i had typed out a long answer to this, but i lost it when i got dropped.... so i'll just give the short answer, which is "fine by me if you have a conscience". You know what I mean.
<four> Ass around head - he was gay.
<four> that's gross :)
<kiwidog> four: we have offices with several people in each office. I share my office with Nick.
<Blah> hehe, okay thanks
<Blah> that's all I had to ask
<four> Oh okay. That's it then.
<CapCaverna> Do u think that is hard to one person make a game like Duke3D or Doom? That person would be an drawer, music composer, designer and good programmer ?
<f||lter> yeah
<kiwidog> blah: basically you know those people out there who are generally referred to just as "rippers"; those are the kind of people i try to keep the COTC code from. Everybody else is fine though, since I assume that in exchange for what I give out, I'll get knowledge back from others in return. The free trade of information, so to speak.
<kiwidog> cap: I think it's impossible for one person to do, these days. Unless you have a decade to burn.
<CapCaverna> hehe
<dFnord> Matt, you don't have any questions? ;)
<CapCaverna> What sector r u in ?
<kiwidog> actually, could i take a quick recess? I really need a smoke
<Khawk> alright
<Khawk> we can do that
<Khawk> heh..tan
<Jered> kiwidog, okay, but the lunch lady is gonna be watching...
<dFnord> Just kidding.
<kiwidog> hehehe :)
<kiwidog> back in a few
<Khawk> alright, I declare a recess until kiwidog gets back
<Khawk> cap: are you done? or do you have more questions to ask?
<dFnord> is bad, mmmkay?
<CapCaverna> Where can I get some more informations about his documents ?
<Khawk> www.loonygames.com
<CapCaverna> good ...
<TANSTAAFL> www.sluggy.com
<Jered> TANSTAAFL, so does fnord fall under your definition of an evil non-smoker? ;)
<CapCaverna> Yes, He don't ask my question...
<CapCaverna> Yes, He don't askesx my question...
<TANSTAAFL> well, he's a non-smoker, and he is evil. therefore, he is an evil non-smoker
<TANSTAAFL> luckily, he is not an anti-smoking nazi
<TANSTAAFL> (and NOW for the half-time show....)
<Khawk> ok
<Khawk> ok, until he gets back, i'm going to unmoderate
<f||lter> yaaaa
<Khawk> f||lter and lurker will be the next two to be +'d
<Batman> I'll kick all of your freakin butts all over this place with my Bat boot!
<Jered> Okay. Everyone, get more food, fart, urinate, obtain caffeine, and be back in 3 min
<Blah> I already did that
<[Mithrandir]> still moderated?>
<Khawk> and after those two, i have nobody in the list
<Jered> Four, you are a sick kid.
<[Mithrandir]> cool
<lurker> Ok, first one done type "I"-it's a race
<Batman> I'll just get one of these Batsoda's from my Batbelt.
<f||lter> get more urinate?
<f||lter> I
<Blah> no, the "get more" was only for food
<f||lter> oops, forgot to fart
<f||lter> ok, I
<Khawk> I do want to take the opportunity to thank everyone for coming out and being patient with us. This was kind of just thrown together at the last moment
<f||lter> np
<Khawk> in fact, yesterday :-)
<f||lter> i'd like to take this opportunity to ask if anyone knows a way i can manually deconstruct an object?
<dFnord> The same one, in fact.
<Blah> delete it, f||lter?
<[Mithrandir]> god damnit
<[Mithrandir]> I hate bitmaps
<dFnord> delete it?
<TANSTAAFL> bitmaps are cool
<f||lter> can i use delete?
<dFnord> Duh. ;)
<TANSTAAFL> 32 bit boundaries, remember...
<f||lter> i just want to run the deconstructor
<f||lter> hehe
<[Mithrandir]> fuck you, bitmaps are from hell
<Blah> Mithrandir, you can still have my source code for loading bitmaps if you want it
<f||lter> my brain hurts...............
<lurker> You too?
<f||lter> ClassBob bob;
<f||lter> delete bob;
<f||lter> ?
<dFnord> No..
<[Mithrandir]> TAN: 32 bit boundaries? is that related to bitmaps?
<dFnord> You have to create it using new.
<bstach> 28f||lter, if the object is allocated on the stack you can control the life time by using brackets to create a new stack frame
<f||lter> that's what i thought
<TANSTAAFL> the rows are aligned on 32 bit boundaries
<[Mithrandir]> what does that mean?
<dFnord> And when you delete it, the desctructor will be called... naturally.
<dFnord> bstach... true.
<f||lter> yeah
<Batman> Uh, Sorry about that. I had to go to the little bat's room.
<TANSTAAFL> so, if you have a 70 pixel wide bitmap in 24 bit color, the row takes up 210 bytes
<Blah> ClassBob *bob = new ClassBob; delete ClassBob;
<dFnord> Just surround the "life-time" with { and }.
<TANSTAAFL> BUT, the row is 212 bytes wide
<TANSTAAFL> extra 2 bytes at the end of the row
<[Mithrandir]> oh geez
<Jered> Je suis returne
<[Mithrandir]> I really hate WGPFD
<f||lter> ClassBob *bob;
<four> What's that?
<f||lter> bob = new ClassBob;
<f||lter> delete bob;
<f||lter> right
<f||lter> ?
<bstach> I use that a lot with DCs since you don't want them tied up long
<dFnord> Yes.
<[Mithrandir]> WGPFD = Windows game programming for dummies, its a book
<dFnord> Then be sure to use the indirection operator.
<[Mithrandir]> and half of his routines are buggy/ineficient
<four> :) I'd be insulted to by a dummies book.
<f||lter> ?
<dFnord> Not the reference operator.
<dFnord> obj->func
<dFnord> not
<Batman> You would you little fruitcake.
<dFnord> obj.func
<f||lter> ->
<[Mithrandir]> plus he uses retarded 16 bit color code tghroguhtout the book
<f||lter> yeah, ok, i know
<Blah> while ( deadHorse ) { beat(); }
<f||lter> just making sure
<BRiNGER> Yeah, it's by the guy who wrote "Teach Yourself Game Programming in 21 Days," isn't it?
<lurker> !! Retarded?
<[Mithrandir]> Andre Lamothe
<[Mithrandir]> hes an idiot
<f||lter> lol......teach yourself game programming in 21 days?
<[Mithrandir]> his code pisses me off
<f||lter> [Mithrandir]: no, he's a dummy
<f||lter> lol
<lurker> He's actually a programming genius
<four> Windows game programming by a dummy :)
<BRiNGER> I don't like buying books unless the author has done something of note.
<Jered> LaMothe?
<CapCaverna> So, what's the book ?
<BRiNGER> And LaMothe seems to write books rather than do interesting things, so...
<Jered> He's a genius, but then again, a lot of people are.
<lurker> Which means the book will most likely be over complicated and filled with high leveled code that no one will understand
<four> No! I'd say maybe a wantabe money making genius.
<Jered> His code is functional, not genius.
<[Mithrandir]> nowhere in the book does he even mention the ddpfPixelFormat class
<f||lter> ummmm ok....i guess that's possible. here, i can also teach you how to become a master carpenter in 21 days, a plumber in 21 days, and a prostitute in 10 min.
<dFnord> There is no such thing as genius code.
<bstach> Actualy his book Black art of 3d game programming is not bad to get some one started
<f||lter> genius? lol
<dFnord> You know that, Jered.
<TANSTAAFL> LaMothe writes teaser books.
<f||lter> i'm a genius....
<TANSTAAFL> he gives you just enough to almost get started.
<f||lter> i can put a spoon on my nose and hold it there
<Jered> dFnord, actually, there IS such a thing as genius code.
<f||lter> that's talent
<BRiNGER> bstach: Yeah, I've read through that, it's not bad, but it doesn't cover much.
<Jered> But you can never quite get there.
<Jered> You can only approach it.
<f||lter> genius code? explain
<dFnord> Oh, come on.
<[Mithrandir]> well all his examples eitehr dont compile or or stoopid because he assumes my video card uses 555 16-bit mode
<TANSTAAFL> i read wgpfd, got the basics of directx, then went from there using the help file
<dFnord> There is such as thing as optimized to point of no futher possible optimization.
<four> The problem I have with his books, is all of the projects are so damned lame, I never wanted to make them, just learn about the functions.
<lurker> Inside DirectX-now there's a good beginner's book
<f||lter> dFnord: how is that possible
<Blah> Mithrandir, the code I wrote doesn't assume anything about 16-bit...you could have 655 or 556 and it would still work
<Jered> No...that's not genius, that's speed. Genius is elegance.
<TANSTAAFL> but, there aint no such thing as the fastest code
<f||lter> dFnord: routines can always be reorganized so they are more efficient
<dFnord> Oh... you mean the actual code? I get it.
<[Mithrandir]> yeah, I wrote a 16 bit plotting mode that works flawlessly now
<dFnord> I agree.
<lurker> Genius is the ability to shape, mold, and present your ideas in such a way that people will gawk at your masterpiece for hours on end
<dFnord> filter... think about it.
<f||lter> dFnord: you can actually redesign the way the application works. nothing there is set in stone
<dFnord> The machine has limits.
<TANSTAAFL> i use DCs to load bitmaps onto DX surfaces
<Batman> Hey DINK, does that stand for anything?
<[Mithrandir]> DC's?
<lurker> Genius is not just code, but creative ideas
<f||lter> dFnord: but the design doesn't. i don't think so
<Jered> So do I.
<TANSTAAFL> Device Contexts
<[Mithrandir]> er... what the hell is that?
<Da_Slayer> yeah I agree with the idea of there is no such thing as the fastest code. As computer progress and hardware and architecture change new ways will become apparant of doing things faster
<[Mithrandir]> ack
<f||lter> ummm DC that rings a bell..
<[Mithrandir]> GDI is evil
* Lurker shudders
<TANSTAAFL> take a look in the VC++ help file under PutPixel()
<TANSTAAFL> ah, but using GDI, it doesnt matter what the bit depth of the surface is...
<lurker> Well? How long does it take to chug a cigarette?!
<lurker> Get back to the keyboard!
<f||lter> there is always a faster way.
<TANSTAAFL> no shit, right?
<Khawk> right, tan :-)
<f||lter> i think he's smokin a whole pack
<Da_Slayer> I actually think the directX help that came with VC++ was helpful
<lurker> Oh, that'll explain it
<Jered> Hey, dudes, give him a break.
<Khawk> after all that typing, probably :-)
<Jered> It was really most super spiffy of him to do this.
<f||lter> i didn't install mine, and my best friend is borrowing the stupid cd to try it out
<Da_Slayer> also I recommend everyone get a copy MSDN development library. I find it has helpful refrences and charts
<lurker> Yeah, many professionals look down on us
<Khawk> he's probably the 1% of the people in the industry that would do this
<bstach> How do we get into the queue to ask questions?
<lurker> But we'll show them, right?
<four> Whow wait a minute. When exactly did we arive in the 60s?
<Khawk> msg me
<Blah> I agree with Da_Slayer, I use MSDN too
<Khawk> bstach...
<Jered> Lurker, ever read Shimomura's writeup on the Mitnick attack?
<f||lter> anyway
<lurker> We'll beat them in their own game, when the time comes...
<TANSTAAFL> uh huh
<lurker> Huh?
<f||lter> the 60s never ended man....it's a government conspiracy man...don't you get it?
<f||lter> they're turning back the clocks!
<Khawk> in fact, just tell me right now in the channel and i can take requests
<f||lter> =-)
<lurker> Is this something about Samurais and katanas and stuff?
<dFnord> Everytime you press F1, you're using MSDN.
<Jered> Lurker, no.
<Jered> Security.
<four> Whow that's heavy dude.
<lurker> Oh
<lurker> OHHH!!!!
<lurker> That!
<f||lter> lol....everyone press alt+f4 really really fast....on 3......
<f||lter> 1....
<f||lter> 2....
<f||lter> 3!
<CapCaverna> oerias
<CapCaverna> oreias
<lurker> The Chinese dude who caught Mitnick after he attempted to infringe on his computer!
<[Mithrandir]> well
<four> see ya :)
<lurker> I saw it, never read it
* Khawk notes that there is now $ people in the list.
<Khawk> damnit..
<Khawk> didn't work
<Blah> $?
<f||lter> hehe
<Jered> Yes. The sort of elegance that was applied in the attack is effectively what "genius code" encompasses.
* Khawk notes that there is now 3 people in the list.
<f||lter> identifier problems?
<Khawk> there
<[Mithrandir]> I don't like GDI, I like having total control over the screen mode
<[Mithrandir]> thats why i hate windows
<Jered> Here, try http://outland.cyberwar.com/~matrix/data/shimomur.txt
<lurker> I think that guy was smoking extra concentrated crack or something. I would have given up
<f||lter> windows sucks
<BRiNGER> f||lter: tty4 isn't *that* interesting
<Jered> Lurker, catching him was easy.
<f||lter> tty4?
<lurker> Only a true nerd would do such a thing
<lurker> It was?
<TANSTAAFL> i only use GDI to get the bitmap from the file onto a surface... after that, it's all DDraw stuff
<Jered> The attack (successful, AMOF) was the hard part.
<Da_Slayer> hey what did the big CHEESE from 3drealms have to say?
<Khawk> he's still here slayer
<TANSTAAFL> it allows me to use 16 bit color without having to deal with ddpfs
<Khawk> and you'll probably see in a few days
<lurker> Attack, you mean, blowing down the door with a 12 gauge and shooting the fatso near the computer in the head?
<Khawk> we're just having a recess
<Da_Slayer> hmm bad habit
<Da_Slayer> good byeproducts though
<lurker> Yes, but what? Cigarette, crack, marijuana...the good stuff
* Khawk wants all people who have logged the chat from the beginning to press 1
<f||lter4_20> dammit, i just can't win
<f||lter4_20> tty4? what does that mean?
* Lurker looks back at his addiction days with nosalgia
<f||lter4_20> 1
<TANSTAAFL> i'd bet he smokes marlboror
<Da_Slayer> He is not smoking in the sense we are thinking
<CapCaverna> 1
* f||lter4_20 log was interrupted twice by being disconnected
<Jered> Lurker, no, predicting the behavior of the sequence number generator, flooding the rlogin port, exploiting the trust relationship to get a shell...
<Blah> 1?
<f||lter4_20> he's smoking weed
<lurker> 1
<Khawk> f||lter are you planning on staying until the end?
<Da_Slayer> 1
<Jered> THEN knowing what to do (the classic rhosts exploit)
<Blah> oh wait no I got disconnected, nevermind
<lurker> Uh, okay...
<Khawk> i seem to have a little problem with my logging
<f||lter4_20> Khawk: i wasn't sure how much longer it was going on
<lurker> I think he's pretty smart them
<lurker> then
<Khawk> me either actually
<BRiNGER> f||lter: tty4 is what I get with alt-f4, and it's not very entertaining.
<f||lter4_20> Khawk: plus i was disconnected twice. i know mithrandir has it logged
<Khawk> it's all up to chris
<[Mithrandir]> another question...
<Khawk> ok
<Blah> TAN, you said you use the GDI....but do you still use your own functions to read in the actual bitmap?
<dFnord> Ok, let's moderate this room again. I can't handle this. :)
<f||lter4_20> hmmm that sux
<Jered> Then installing a hand-written KERNEL MODULE just to make it more personal.
<Khawk> mith: you have it logged since the beginning?
* f||lter4_20 calls voice
<[Mithrandir]> Why the hell are bitmap files inverted?
<TANSTAAFL> blah: yes, i open the file myself, then use GDI to plot the pixels.
<lurker> But I think genius presents itself in a more innate function-such as the arts
<Jered> All without him noticing, until he was...uhm...there was a voice from the heavens?
<TANSTAAFL> not all BMPs are inverted
<lurker> The stuff he knew were all learned
<Blah> How so? I tried using the CreateDIBitmap function, and I couldn't get it to work
<f||lter4_20> what exactly is genius?
<Khawk> alright, we probably should moderate soon
<Jered> *That* is elegance.
<Da_Slayer> Hey I have to give mad props to 3drealms. I was looking at job openings and even though they do not have any openings I found that 3drealms gives their employees the best.
<[Mithrandir]> hey guys I have a complete log so far
<TANSTAAFL> i open the file using CreateFile()
<Khawk> ok mith: i need you to stay in here until the end, ok? :-)
<TANSTAAFL> i read in the headers and the palette(if present), then the data from the BMP
<lurker> Genius is undefined
<Khawk> mith: i had a little problem with my logging
<[Mithrandir]> ok
<Blah> ...k, taking notes...
<lurker> There is no word to describe it since it is malleable
<f||lter4_20> hmmmmmm....
<TANSTAAFL> there is a lot about the BMP file header information in VC++ help
<lurker> But genius is definitely innate
<Blah> I can read in the BMP header and stuff alright
<Khawk> mith: after the chat, could you send it to me via icq?
<Blah> Its getting the data to the surface using the GDI that boggles my mind
<[Mithrandir]> i just want to know what the crackheads were thinking when they made BMP files inverted...
<[Mithrandir]> sure khawk
<Khawk> alright, thanks
<TANSTAAFL> blah: are you reading in 24 bit or 8 bit, or both?
<lurker> Dali-the Persistence of Time...now that's genius
<Blah> 24 bit
<[Mithrandir]> is there any reason for it?
<CapCaverna> who used Allegro lib?
<dFnord> Inverted?
<Khawk> we're probably going to put up a transcript of the chat
<lurker> Wait, was it the Persistence of Time or the Persistence of Memory?
<Khawk> in a few days or so
<TANSTAAFL> after the headers, there is the pixel information, which is aligned by row on 32 bit boundaries
<Da_Slayer> no what I think is really gay is the method by which you used to have to create a DX video surface and then create a temp one to extract a newer version one convert and then trash the temp
<lurker> Go figure
<four> There's a reason...
<Jered> Lurker, memory
<Da_Slayer> that is real crack smoking
<f||lter> lol
<Jered> And it was damned wierd modern impressionism
[ Editor's note: Jered means surrealism here. =]
[ Jered's note: No, Jered means impressionism. Surrealism, rising out of Dadaism, was a movement related largely to the perceptions of the sub-concious mind. Dali's Persistence of Memory depicted the artist's own impressions of concepts from relativity theory, not abstract ideas. Although in one sense the word refers to the movement of definition in the absence of elaboration, I often apply it also to concept. ]
* Lurker bows down to Jered once again
<dFnord> You you that Chris is reading all this.
<dFnord> That bastard. ;)

<CapCaverna> where is the guy ?
<f||lter> anyway guys
<four> Microsoft is saying "look here. we can write the absolute largest piece of crap APIs anyones ever came up with, and still maintain the largest market share".
<Blah> TAN, then what?
<f||lter> he knows that we're just kidding anyway
<lurker> Chugging away at those cigs again
<Blah> lol four
<f||lter> I HATE microsoft
<Da_Slayer> well if u had 96 billion dollars you could do what u wanted to
<[Mithrandir]> rage against the machine
* f||lter may or may not have 96 billion dollars, he's not telling
<[Mithrandir]> microsoft is the machine
<Spider> all genius is, is a comparison to the average. IQ is the same. if you're different from people, you're weird or a genius. it all comes down to a conformist mentality.
<Jered> http://www.deryni.com/dali2/persis.html
<four> Oh yeah. I know I could. But I wouldn't want to make shit.
<Da_Slayer> I wish Redmond washington was vaporized except for the section of it that houses Nintendo. They ROCK!!!
<lurker> Hey, you guys heard about those two college guys from Princeton who discovered a flaw in Mircrosoft's video testimony? They're being bribed with high paying jobs now from Microsoft.
<[Mithrandir]> lol
* kiwidog is back -> whee
<[Mithrandir]> I hope you're not serious
<f||lter> LOL
<Khawk> alright
<Khawk> moderation is the key :-)
<Blah> TAN: thanks for the file
<f||lter> seriously?
* Da_Slayer slaps Da_Slayer around a bit with a large trout
<lurker> OK, ME FIRST
<Jered> My mother is not highly intelligent, but I consider her a genius in the social respect. Genius is not a quantative measure of intelligence, but a qualative measure of humanity.
<TANSTAAFL> IQ is important only when communication is occuring. the point spread is important because a larger point spread means that communication will be less effective.
<kiwidog> sorry bout that, tom was having a smoke too and we started talking about some stuff
<f||lter> thnx
<TANSTAAFL> what brand do you smoke, chris?
<Khawk> no prob chris
<lurker> Genius is a measure of ability and persistence. When Van Goh started out in his 20's he sucked bad
<f||lter> and one more time.....
<kiwidog> tan: sampoerna classics
<lurker> Oh, my turn
<lurker> So Chris, what's your opinion on the debate between 3D vs. Isometric vs. 2D? It seems the gaming community and developers are continually striving for bigger and better 3D engines, to the point of alienating people who have just bought a computer a year ago by making the requirements so steep that it renders it inferior? Many reviewers dismiss 3D games that are sub par on the graphical side with a sneer, thus forcing developers to a
<f||lter> what brand do u smoke? (this is not my question)
<Khawk> damnit tan, read the shrine :-)
<dFnord> Moderate, God damn it.
<dFnord> ;)
<Khawk> i did df
<TANSTAAFL> cloves rule
<Khawk> :-)
<Khawk> i can't moderate us ops though :-)
<f||lter> Chris, I want to begin programming a 3d game i have been designing for some time. I was wondering if you could point me in the direction i need to go.
<f||lter> ?
<lurker> engines, thereby feeding this frenzy until some day technology won't be able to catch up
<lurker> Is the choice for 3D a must or does engine selection largely depend on what is good for the game and not for all that hype
<lurker> ?
<TANSTAAFL> all games should be isometric
<lurker> I agree with Tan
<kiwidog> lurker: reviewers may dismiss technologically "inferior" games sometimes, but only if the game doesn't have much else going for it. If the game is good enough, and fun enough, the public nor the reviewers will care about the technology. Worms 2 for example... or hell, any modern RTS game. Starcraft's sold millions, and it's not 3D. The tech doesn't matter if the game is good, although good tech can make a good game better
<lurker> Thanks for your time, that's all I wanted to know
<Khawk> ok, thanks lurker
<bstach> I have heard that 3Drealms has a philosophy of "It will be done when it is done" how does that relate to the development team and deadlines. The team I work with is trying to avoid concrete deadlines to promote creativity. (and to keep developers going postal) Is that similar to what your team does and if so do you see an advantage to it?
<f||lter> Chris, I want to begin programming a 3d game i have been designing for some time. I was wondering if you could point me in the direction i need to go? anything would be useful, books, programs, etc...?
<kiwidog> filter: there's no one direction, unfortunately. The best thing to do in my opinion is to pick up a number of books, read online info as you see it, and start working. If you find during the creation of your game that there's a topic you think you need more info about, seek out that info, because it's there. Basically, if you want to write a game, start writing it; what you need along the way will fall into place
<f||lter> ok thanks
<f||lter> any books covering directx you would recommend? i'm having trouble finding something to learn direct3d
<dFnord> bstach, you may wish to keep your developers FROM going postal. ;)
* Jered plugs his search cgi
<bstach> LOL
<f||lter> lol
<Jered> ;)
<kiwidog> bstach: there's a definite advantage, although even if you don't have actually "dead"lines (which most development houses do without any choice, due to publisher demands), you should still have internal goal times to get stages of a project completed, and they shouldn't be too relaxed. DNF may be "when it's done", but that doesn't mean i don't bust my ass :)
<Jered> http://www.sweetoblivion.com/cgi-bin/search/search.cgi?terms=Direct3D
<Khawk> busting ass :-)
<dFnord> Jered, you actually wrote this?
<bstach> Thanks kiwidog
<kiwidog> filter: directx books are pretty lacking in general. To be honest I've gotten more life out of the directx documentation and their lame samples than most of the directx books i've seen
<dFnord> Way to re-invent the wheel.
<dFnord> ;)
<f||lter> thnx
* Khawk would like everyone who chats to let him know when they are done speaking from now on.
<Jered> (badly at that..I need to rewrite it to do real boolean stuff)
<TANSTAAFL> dont forget the ever-necessary NXOR operator....
<f||lter> well, the sdk is almost finished downloading, and i need to get some sleep so, thanks for everything. Thanks Chris, and i'll talk to you guys tomorrow
<Khawk> alright f||lter
<dFnord> Lada.
* Jered contemplates the results of the query Direct3D NXOR Microsoft
<CapCaverna> And about MEMORY MANAGEMENT ? Are u use something like gabage collect ? What your company do about this ?
<dFnord> C++ and garbage collection! BWAHAHAHA!
<dFnord> :)
<kiwidog> it'd be kinda funny if "floating point unsigned exclusive-or" actually were a real logical operation. That'd be an interesting assembler mnemonic.
<Jered> Heh heh.\
<kiwidog> cap: that depends on the program; the engine we're using now (unreal) garbage collects, but in my own code I try to avoid garbage collection when possible.
<kiwidog> cap: sometimes it's unavoidable if you absolutely need to insure against memory leaks, but for the most part you want to use garbage collection minimally in order to keep performance up
<CapCaverna> yes
<Khawk> da_slayer: you may ask your question now
* Khawk notes that there is now 0 people in the list.
<Da_Slayer> Chris I have been experimenting with 3d engines specifically unreal & genesis3d. I have noticed certain lighting effects that try and emulate real life but they create what I consider some disturbing effects that seem unnatural. Whats you opinion on lighting effects.
<Da_Slayer> An example.
<Da_Slayer> The idea is that when the light pops out of view due to motion, the corona doesn't
<Da_Slayer> immediately disappear. If it does, there is a jarring discontinuity that feels strange. So
<Da_Slayer> the corona is faded out over the next few frames even though the light is out of
<Da_Slayer> view.
<Khawk> whoah
<Da_Slayer> I suppose a more accurate solution would be to model the light as a sphere rather
<Da_Slayer> than a point. Then you would adjust the corona according to the percentage of the
<Da_Slayer> sphere that is visible... You could use some math similar to shadow penumbra
<Da_Slayer> compuations - but it's not cheap.
<Da_Slayer> sorry big questoin
<dFnord> eek is right.
<Khawk> heh...type it out next time :-)
<dFnord> Whitespace is bad, mmmkay?
<Da_Slayer> I know
<TANSTAAFL> . no kidding
<Da_Slayer> having problems with win98
<Jered> Chris probably feels like he is giving a bluebook answer on this one. ;)
<Da_Slayer> So my question in laymans terms is basically if you could would you redesign corona effects used by 3d cards such as 3dfx to create real lighting effects that are less optimized than optimized ones that don't look as real.
<kiwidog> daslayer: of course the more accurate you can make the lighting calculations, the better; we all know pretty much what stuff _should_ look like, and many texts describe ways to achieve those visuals. Unfortunately those texts aren't aimed at realtime rendering. Anything that's not as realistic as possible is usually done to cut performance costs, such as in the case of point lighting for coronas. You just have to balance what an effect is worth to y
<dFnord> "layman"
* Khawk wants to remind everyone to notify him when they are done speaking.
<CapCaverna> Is there the most of your game sources in C or C++?
<kiwidog> daslayer: those corona effects aren't used by 3d cards, they're done by the engine. They're just modulated textures
<kiwidog> cap: I use C++ but sticking with C-style interfaces as much as possible, using C++ only where the benefits are too great to ignore. For example, I will never write another 3D program with standard C, because C++'s operator overloading is a godsend for 3D programming.
<Da_Slayer> Yeah but you would assume that a 3d card would enable more flexability to change current effects. I mean 3d cards made effects not considered realtime possible. Now with stuff like RivaTNT 100 & voodoo^3 3500 it would allow the speed needed to turn non-reatime effects into reality
<Da_Slayer> a type of unreal reality
<dFnord> And exceptions... Can't live without exceptions. ;)
<CapCaverna> What do u think about new and delete operators in C++, is good enougth to freeing memory ?
<kiwidog> daslayer: the cards make more effects possible yes, but the effect itself is controlled by the engine.
<dFnord> Kevin, why are you letting two people talk at a time? If I were Chris, I would find that overwhelming.
<Khawk> he said it was ok :-)
<kiwidog> cap: new and delete are nothing more than malloc and free with calls to your constructors/destructors when you have them. You can overload new and delete to enforce this, as a matter of fact, and I often do just that.
<dFnord> (I mean, *besides* us... we can do whatever we want). :)
<dFnord> Oh, ok...
<dFnord> (And automatic casting).
<Da_Slayer> Okay last 2 questions. First off do you personally believe it is good to work such a great company as 3drealms or do you prefer to work in a small group or alone?
<kiwidog> I actually like the fact that C++ is more anal about its casting than C was. Catches a lot of bugs.
* Khawk notes that there is now 0 people in the list.
<dFnord> No, I just meant that new returns a pointer of the appropriate type. Not really cast, actually.
<dFnord> a cast, that it.
<dFnord> is
<dFnord> Damn.
<Jered> Stack.
<Da_Slayer> Second I am trying to work out some multiplayer things to help with a game I am designing. I plan to use Delta compression, along with ip header compression and compressed data sending with a server client setup. I cannot seem to find any good texts on these subjects. Cloud you point me in the correct direction for network/multiplayer programming?
<kiwidog> da: I consider 3drealms a pretty small group, actually. There are only two of us programming this game, and even with all the mappers and artists the team is still pretty small. So I get the best of both worlds. I wouldn't like to work in at Mega Huge Corporation (tm) though....
* Jered is writing this....
<Khawk> nice...a tm in there
<kiwidog> df: new, or operator new? new returns a pointer to the type, but operator new only returns void*
<dFnord> operator new
<dFnord> Nevermind...
<dFnord> The un-overloaded one... you know what I mean. :)
<Snowman> cool
<kiwidog> da: delta compression doesn't need much of a text description, because there's not much to it. If the server knows what the client has, and what the server wants to send over the same thing, it doesn't bother because the client already has it. That's all there is to delta compression; for games that covers a whole lot of bandwidth savings
<dFnord> Chris, since 3dRealms is so small, do they offer any benefits? If so, what?
<Da_Slayer> well my spelling stinks and I bow down to let someone else ask questions.
<Jered> Slayer, a word of advice...screw IP header compression.
<Khawk> alright, thanks slayer
<Khawk> unless jered is going to talk to you :-)
* Khawk notes that there is now 0 people in the list.
<Da_Slayer> why isn't it supposed to help
<dFnord> Jered, would you apply that logic to v6?
<dFnord> :)
<kiwidog> da: for compressed data, the best compressed data is data you don't send. For example if you have a 32-bit long on both sides for, say, somebody's health, and you know that health can never exceed 999, then there's no point in sending more than 10 bits in the packet
<Jered> ;)
<kiwidog> df: benefits as in the usual benefits (health and dental)?
<Jered> Yes. Pack like vacation.\
<dFnord> Yeah... options... that sort of thing.
<Jered> Slayer, IP header compression can hurt more than it helps.
<Jered> If anything I would recommend leaning more towards source routing options, particularly in the new IP suite.
<kiwidog> da: IP header compression and other gimmicks don't mean anything if you just only send over what you need to and nothing more. That's why Quake's multiplayer works so well, it's minimalistic. Automatic compression won't hold jack against a finely tuned packet.
<Da_Slayer> oh yeah might as well slip question in now. My real problem now that I analyze it is how to go about programming an efficent client server system and someplace to find refernces to working with a system like that?
<Snowman> I just have one quick question right now. As I understand it there are 2 points that a game does things in. (that's a bad sentence). One is right before it renders, and the other is a timer. First of all, what's a reliable way to get a function called under Windows at a specific time interval. I have heard that Window's SetTimer() and the WM_TIMER aren't good because of multitasking, and teh general idea that the OS has othe
<Jered> Exactly, kiwidog.
<Jered> Simple datagram-based transit.
<kiwidog> df: just the usual; i get health and dental, and some other stuff that i can't talk much about
<Khawk> chicks? :-)
<Jered> (the NSA stuff)
<Khawk> oh wait, you have a g/f :-)
<Snowman> use those, and are they what I need? Also, second what is done when? What do I do based on the tics, and what do I do right before rendering?
<dFnord> Something to do with an IPO?
<Jered> Da_Slayer, how far off do you project your product?
<Da_Slayer> Unrelated comment that will probably get me killed. I am watching Die Hard 2 and Duke3d & Bruce Willis seem like they would be an unstoppable team.
<Jered> (Is that the one where the senile dude steals the robots?)
<Da_Slayer> My product will be done by the end of '99 1st quarter 2000. multiplayer support is just an extra. I can say it is not the focus of our game.
* Khawk wants to remind everyone to notify him when they are done speaking.
<Da_Slayer> Oh I am done. I do not want to look stupid anymore.
<Khawk> heh, ok
<Da_Slayer> ooops :(
<bstach> I am working on a project that uses a lot of small bitmaps (stored together on larger surfaces) and I have more bitmaps than will fit into video mem. I have been considering implementing a management system to move the most used bitmaps from sys mem to video mem and removing the least used bitmaps. Do you have any recommendations on how to
<bstach> implement this or where to find some good info?
<kiwidog> da: i haven't specifically looked for references on client/server architectures, although from my standpoint one really shouldn't need them (i know i don't have any books on the topic at least). It's just kinda intuitive... only send over what you need, pack as much as possible, support reliability and sequencing for critical packets, etc.
<Jered> Da, then focus on traditional IPv4 and how to live with it. UDP with simple control measures can suffice. I will post a message regarding lag to the Sweet.Oblivion board sometime tommorrow morning.
<dFnord> Jered, don't forget to reccomend WinINET.
<dFnord> ;)
* Jered gags and chokes on his Diet Coke
<kiwidog> For example it's funny how many games have tried to get multiplayer as efficient as Quake, when the fact is 9 times out of 10 they're just trying too hard or not thinking clearly. Quake doesn't do much; it's networking layer is quite tiny. It does what it needs to and nothing more, and for networking that's a good thing.
<kiwidog> khawk: what about em?
<kiwidog> snow: there's no point in locking your game to a timer if the game is flexible enough to deal with arbitrary frame times
<kiwidog> snow: if your game logic etc. can handle arbitrary frame durations, it can adjust at runtime to whatever framerate the machine is getting
<Khawk> chris: joking about benefits :-)
<Snowman> so, do everything before I render, not based on a timer?
<bstach> kiwidog could you repeat. my chat client just wigged
<Snowman> won't that give a different [style] game on every computer?
<Khawk> bstach: he hasn't responded to your question yet
<bstach> OK
<kiwidog> bstach: a systemmem/videomem arrangement is necessary regardless of whether you think you'll need it or not, because you probably will. As for how to do it, that depends on how often you need to switch bitmaps, if they have priorities, etc.
<Jered> Shameless plug: http://www.sweetoblivion.com/cgi-bin/search/search.cgi?terms=timing
<Snowman> J: no offense, but I hate reading things online =) I prefer books
<kiwidog> bstach: I'd look up how to do a memory management heap system, and emulate that kind of structure with relation to your video memory, only instead of allocating actual memory blocks, you simulate the blocks to mimic video memory. You'll probably want priorities and time stamps to determine what to cache out and what not to
<Snowman> and chats
<dFnord> A chat involves reading on-line.
<dFnord> Your logic is riddled with ripocrascy.
<dFnord> (spl?)
<Snowman> yeah, but you control it and get to ask questions along the way
<Khawk> mmmmk
<dFnord> It
<dFnord> 's mmmkay?
<dFnord> oops.
<kiwidog> bstach: That's the way I deal with 3D card texture memory for example; I have a "virtual heap" that doesn't allocate memory, but just offsets into a "pretend" block of memory. Such a heap is generic and could be used for a real memory system, or for video/texture memory, etc.
<Snowman> in an article you don't you read it and are left with questions, or you don't get it
<bstach> So a system not to different than texture caches. Do you think DX6 and its texture management could be used with straight bitmaps?
<kiwidog> bstach: possibly, although I haven't clocked it to see what the performance cost of doing that would be.
<dFnord> I know, Snowy. I'm kidding.
<Snowman> hehv <bstach> thanks kiwidog. Khawk I am done.
<Khawk> alright, thanks bstach
<kiwidog> anyway guys we're coming up on two hours, i'll probably have to get back to work pretty soon... any last questions?
<Jered> Chris, as far as questions go, I've only got one.
<Khawk> yeah, if you have some, better msg me quick :-)
<dFnord> IM NeW tO CodEZInG.. HoW Do I MaKe A BiChIn 3D GAME?
<kiwidog> df: hehehehe
<dFnord> :)
<Khawk> chris: i msg'd you my only one :-)
<Jered> You obviously had free will to say "get lost" when Sweet.Oblivion expressed interest in featuring you.
<Khawk> nice df :-)
<kiwidog> khawk: i missed it
<Khawk> alright
<Jered> What motivated you to spend hours answering amateurs' questions?
<Da_Slayer> Okay here is question that makes me cringe just asking it. I was thinking about unrealscript & quakeC (gasp). Anyway how would you go about programming and implamenting a system that uses a personalized scripting language to create events and levels in the game. Some outside groups of programmers have been able to do it however these people are not forth coming on giving out tips.
<Da_Slayer> A friend designed a compiler and language but he cannot help create one that can run on the file in some game.
<Khawk> chris: i'll ask again after these are finished
<Snowman> I thought about asking that too, but figured I wouldn't understand the answer :P
<Khawk> slayer: for timesake, i'm going to have to devoice you
<Da_Slayer> I know it would involve setting up the API in such a way that it can be accessed and run on the fly with overloading
<Da_Slayer> ok
<Khawk> uh oh. i hope not another split :-)
<dFnord> Yep, looks like it.
<Jered> No...
<dFnord> Why?
<dFnord> You think he just fell asleep or something?
<dFnord> :)
<Jered> A split would be characterized by like four or five people exiting at almost exactly the same time then re-entering.
<kiwidog> jered: dunno, probably the same motivation that makes me write COTC. Sharing information is one of the big reasons I'm able to do what I do for a living; I wouldn't have been able to learn what I needed to do this job otherwise. I guess I'm just trying to pay the community back.
<kiwidog> da: you mean how do you create a scripting language?
<dFnord> Oh.
<dFnord> He can't talk.
<Khawk> go ahead slayer
<dFnord> ...
<kiwidog> da: if you want info on writing compilers, I'd suggest looking at "the dragon book", i.e. Aho et.al (i can't remember the exact title, "compiler design - principles, techniques, and tools", or something like that; I don't have mine with me)
<dFnord> There's always a parser generator.
<kiwidog> da: there's also a very good compiler construction book by Holub, "Compiler Design in C", published by Prentice Hall, aka. "The Big Brown Book"
<Jered> More canned compiler advice: Get LCC a retargetable C Compiler - design and implementation only with a good design book.
<kiwidog> jered: I have that book, although for some reason i didn't care for it that much
<Da_Slayer> I mean in unreal for example do they have a minicompiler in the game that precomputes unrealscript before startup and then execute it when the game engine is running?
<Da_Slayer> I think thats what the build engine did but I am not so sure
<kiwidog> da: unrealscript is compiled within the editor; the pcode is stored with the class data inside the .u package the class resides in
<Jered> kiwidog, the literate program thing is pretty lame, granted
<kiwidog> da: the build engine didn't have much of a script; that was basically just a console language
<Da_Slayer> I guess the one thing that elludes me is how do you go from some sudo-compiled scripting thats external to something running in the actual game. Is it just a modular design in which you can drop componets in and out?
<dFnord> Try "Writing a milti-threaded Interpreter". Pretty good.
<kiwidog> da: most game scripting languages use some form of byte pcode with a small set of instructions, often just a stack machine. You probably want to look at those compiler books I mentioned; compiler construction is a pretty large topic with several stages to it
<Jered> Depending upon the magnitude of a scripting language, though, it can also be pretty simplistic...
<Da_Slayer> oh yeah that other question earlier about memory management reminded me that to cover something like that you should either read the POSIX thread compliency sheet or read up on how a SUN unis machince uses p-threads to setup a multithread OS.
<Jered> It's really your choice.
<Jered> For the benefit of our unilingual viewers, the preceeding will now be repeated in English.
<kiwidog> da: unless you only want to do a console language (which isn't really a language at all, just a set of variables and one-line commands executed on a string basis, i.e. like the quake console) then you should treat writing a script language as writing a real compiler for a virtual machine that's interpreted inside your game
<Da_Slayer> Time for a non-programming question
<Da_Slayer> is being a programmer cracked up to everything you thought it would be?
<dFnord> Actually, I'm writing an installable virtual machine right now. I can see how it could be easily applied to games... hm...
<kiwidog> da: i can't say, since i never "thought it would be" anything; i became a programmer almost by my own surprise, so i didn't have a lot of time to think about it beforehand. Although that's the best kind of career I guess, not something you look toward but something you're just "pulled" to do. I like it :)
<kiwidog> anyway guys, i gotta get back to work... been good chatting with ya :)
<Khawk> alright, thanks chris
<Jered> Chris, thanks immensely for doing this.
<Jered> We have all appreciated it; it was a pleasure to work with someone of your caliber. :)
<kiwidog> no prob, it's been fun...
<Khawk> e-mins-lee
<Khawk> heheh
<Da_Slayer> This has been very insightful and I thank you for your time
<kiwidog> hey my ego is bad enough as it is, don't promote it :)
<Khawk> haha
<Jered> ;)
<Da_Slayer> you ROCK
<dFnord> Hehe.
<Khawk> alright, cool
<Da_Slayer> if that is not an ego boster I do not know what is
<Jered> Okay...should we tear him down, folks?
<Jered> STACK!
<Jered> ;)
<Da_Slayer> hmmm
<Khawk> chris: we may be posting a transcript of this, so we'll email you when we're ready to post it
<kiwidog> khawk: cool deal
<Spider> kiwidog, thanks for coming, and thanks for code on the cob.
<Khawk> so you can check it over..
<Da_Slayer> it might be fun
<Blah> thanks for your time, chris
<Snowman> no moderattion?
<dFnord> Jered, are you fond of your anal tissue?
<Snowman> wow
<bstach> Thanks for the info
<dFnord> Yuck.
<Snowman> thanks kiwi
<Jered> dFnord...uhm....
<Da_Slayer> I want your body!!!
<Spider> good luck with DNF. we look forward to it!
* Jered throws up
<Da_Slayer> Man I am pre-ordering a copy
<Snowman> Spider: when I comes out I'm gonna waste you in DM =)
<kiwidog> no prob, i'll talk to y'all again soon. And thanks for all the support :)
<Da_Slayer> Hail to the King baby!!! -duke
<Khawk> alright, talk to you later chris
<kiwidog> ciao folks :)
<dFnord> Yeah, see ya.
<Snowman> bye
February 10, 1999 interview with George Broussard:
1. Duke4Ever has been kept in extreme secrecy for the past 2 years with only a few screenshots released and the highlight being an E3 movie. Why all the hush-hush?
George: We want players to be surprised the first time they play the game. Duke Nukem is a very well known franchise now, so there is no need to scream from the rooftops about features or release mass amounts of screen shots. In the long run, anticipation is what it's all about. With Duke 3D, players had no idea what to expect. No weapons list, characters list, or locations list. And I think that lack of info actually made the game more fun and popular. These days it seems as if we all know everything about a game before we play it. What's the point of playing if every 5 minutes I think "Hey, here's that screen shot, or Hey, here's that Boss I read about"?

2. Duke3D was famed for its highly interactive levels (ex.- the pool table that really worked). Can we expect the same kind of little touches in Duke4Ever? Can you give us some examples?
George: You can expect more interactivity than you've ever seen in Duke Nukem Forever. We're pulling out all the stops (and that's part of what takes so long to make these games). And no, I'm not giving lots of examples, as that will ruin the surprise factor. Just imagine Duke 3D interactivity on steroids.

3. Will vehicles be included within the game as in Shadow Warrior, and if so, what kind can we expect to see Duke riding?
George: We want to do vehicles and are still experimenting with doing them right. We'll see what sticks and what does not, but it's a common request to see Duke driving something cool. We'll do what we can, as long as it's fun.

4. Dr. Proton is said to make a comeback from the original Duke Nukem. Is this true? Can you let us in on the plot a little?
George: We're also keeping the plot under wraps. What's the point of playing if you know all the plot? You don't enjoy a movie if you know how it ends or all the details of the plot. Let's just say, Proton is back, causing trouble, and Duke has to kick his ass. That's all you should need to know this early. But rest assured that there will be far more plot than in Duke 3D. But in the end, Duke's about action and having fun with his attitude more than writing a novel.

5. What type of standard weapons will be in Duke4Ever? Will the shrink ray make it into the game?
George: The Shrink Ray and Pipe Bombs are the most popular requests, as well as items like the Steroids, HoloDuke, and JetPack. We will do what we can to stay true to old Duke fans while also adding enough new stuff to keep you all interested. It's a tough balancing act, as we feel the weapons and items in Duke 3D were among some of the best ever. It's hard to choose what to get rid of.

6. Will movie-like cinematics be used to uncover the plot, or will you be using in-game scripted sequences as in Sin and Half-Life?
George: In game scripting is clearly the way to go, as it keeps you in the game. You can expect a lot of it in DNF.

7. 1. Back in 1998, 3D Realms switched to the Unreal engine, for the most part, without warning. What drove you to make such a drastic change from the Quake/Quake II engine?
George: The fact that Unreal simply did more. It allowed us to do a bigger game more in line with Duke's world. The Quake engine is ideal for some games, and the Unreal engine is ideal for some.

8. Judging from the E3 movie, it seemed that quite a deal of work was already done before the switch was made. Did all that work have to be redone, or was it easy to move over to the new engine? How much time did the switch set you back?
George: It was a fairly easy move, but things like this always have a net result of costing you time. We took Unreal and added some major new technology to it and improved a lot of areas so that we could be more interactive.

9. What would you predict to be the minimum system requirements? Will you be using the same specs as what Unreal asked for (which weren't too precise anyway), or will they be changed?
George: We're not sure yet. In the end, the game will require what it requires. Unreal was a little slow when it shipped (mainly due to map inefficiencies), and CPU's levels and 3D cards will raise before DNF ships. We're going to make the most competitive game we can that will run on as many systems as we can. How's that for dodging the issue? In the end I'd predict you will want a Voodoo2 quality accelerator and P233-266 as a base.

10. When Unreal first came out, it was criticized for having unplayable Internet support. Did that at all worry you at the time? How do you feel now that Unreal netplay is on par with or beyond Quake II performance?
George: I never worried one bit about Unreal's net play. They simply shipped too soon. The new Unreal version 220 is 90% as good as Quake 2 from what I've seen and getting better. I think Unreal has finally achieved the performance they should have had when they shipped, and most people agree. I'd wager that with Unreal Tournament you will see a vast increase in Unreal's market share of online play.

11. Is multiplayer a vital part of Duke4Ever, or will it take a backseat to the single player aspect?
George: We see both as vital and will do both, really well, just as Duke 3D did. We don't believe in skimping on one or the other. The ultimate goal is to ship a game that absorbs you in single play, then keeps you playing for 2+ years in multiplay. That's what we saw in Duke 3D and what we hope to achieve again in DNF.

12. Duke3D's enemies were all aliens of some sort. Will Duke4Ever feature the same template of enemies, or will you take a different direction, to say, a technological/robotic feel?
George: We're not big on robots. They aren't scary or fun to fight. DNF's enemies will be a mix of a couple of different things that we aren't talking about yet.

13. In the E3 movie, Duke seemed obsessed by a certain cleavage-prone blond. Is this Bombshell? What part does she play in the Duke universe, and how will she affect gameplay? Can you describe her for us?
George: Yes, that was a very early prototype of BombShell in the E3 video. She will play a large part in the game (as will many other NPC's that Duke interacts with). How she affects gameplay will be seen when the game is released.

14. And lastly, when can we expect Duke4Ever to hit shelves? Even though its current status is "when it's done", in what timeframe do you estimate we will be able to play this great game?
George: When it's done ;) That's as close as we're going to get. In the end, we know what the fans want and expect, and it will take as long as it takes to achieve that. That's another reason to try and keep the hype level down until we are ready.
April 9, 1999 Gurutech interview with George Broussard:
Intaglio: How is Duke 4's development moving along with the addition and integrationin it? How do you feel the game has benefited from it? Are you planning to of Sven Technologies' Multi-Resolution Geometry technology? How long did the implimentation take, and what measures were involved use this technology in other upcoming games?

George Broussard: We've had the stuff in for something like 5-6 months. It dropped it in initially in a couple of days. We tweaked things over a couple of weeks and have had no problems. The game will benefit from drawing less polys than it needs to. DNF is a test bed for the technology for us, but I see no reason not to consider it for future games. It saves you from re-inventing the wheel.

Kind of interesting. I got motivated by yesterday's news of the technology being licensed.
April 9, 1999 Ear on Games interview with Lee Jackson:
EOG: Megadeth will be doing the theme song for DNF? Can you give some info on this?

Lee: They are doing a recording inspired by the extended version of Grabbag (the actual title of the theme song) that I wrote for the Plutonium Pak and Atomic Edition CDs. Anyone who has ever played track #2 of these CDs in a regular CD Audio player knows what I'm talking about. Megadeth is taking that version and running with it, so to speak. We plan on using this version as the "main titles" theme. I'll still be doing the rest of the music, with maybe one or two surprise exceptions that I can't talk about.

EOG: Can you give us some info on DNF's sound?

Lee: We're using the same sound engine that Unreal uses. Any hardware supported by that engine will be supported in Duke Nukem Forever.
April 13, 1999 post on 3DRealms forum by Chris Hargrove:
The choice of our not going to E3 this year shouldn't be construed as some kind of measure of our progress, or anything of that sort. We just decided not long ago that we really didn't feel like dealing with the time and effort needed just for another "dog and pony show" demo. Despite its size and popularity, that's all E3 really is in the end. Right now our time is better spent working not towards a demo, but the final product.

We're determined not to fall victim to the hype machine until the time is right, unlike many others who have made that mistake and paid for it. The secrecy is deliberate. It's possible that sometime in the near future we'll toss out a screenshot or two just to keep the lynch mob at bay (sometimes I feel like a thousand Dr.Evils are looking at us yelling "throw me a frikkin' bone here!" in tandem), but please be patient. We're doing what's necessary to make sure this game will be worth the wait.
April 13, 1999 email to VoodooExtreme by George Broussard:
Honestly the real word is that we're sick of jumping through pointless pr hoops for demos. Going to E3 will delay any game in progress, because you tend to focus on the more visual whiz bang effects to wow press than solid, fundamental gameplay that finishes a game.

The priorities are simply screwed. Why should a trade show dictate when a game should be shown? It's insane. You do not HAVE to show at E3 to be successful. Duke 3D never went to any show, and if anything I think that might have helped the game sell, because it came out of nowhere.

The bottom line is that we decided to stay and work, and not lose a man week going to E3, plus losing coding time the month or more before preparing an E3 demo. When you start asking questions in Jan/Feb like "what are we going to show at E3. What will wow the press?" and you start working towards that goal. And we're not doing that anymore. E3 is a lower priority than getting the game done.

We'll probably release a couple of new screen shots after all the E3 hoopla has died down. But rest assured, things are looking good.
April 27, 1999 HardOCP interview with George Broussard:
Q: Will DNF also integrate Sven's technology into the Unreal engine, and what other groovin benefits have come to surface from that?

A: We have had Sven's MRG Level of Detail code in for 6 months. It saved us months of re-inventing the wheel and creating our own LOD system. The benefits come from dealing with less polygon's that you have too. And the perceived poly drops in the meshes is negligible. I think everyone agrees that framerate is more important than keeping a model at full poly count when it's 1 inch tall on the screen.

Q: There are quite a few 3D APIs out there, Direct3D, Glide, OpenGL, will DNF offer the same level of visual effects and performance with all these APIs or is the game optimized for a specific API? Or maybe you prefer software only?

A: Software only is dead now. We will support whatever Unreal ends up supporting. Right now Glide is the best API for Unreal. Clearly we want to support D3D as well, since it will reach every other card. OpenGL is fine, but considering the state of the drivers, I think D3D is a better way to go. The bottom line is that drivers SUCK for 3D cards now. People need to get their acts together and give developers a good, solid, supported API.

Q: Lastly, where do you hang on the weekends so I come try to scam a couple of frosty adult beverages off cuz I never see you at Hooters.

A: This last weekend a few of us scouted out local strip clubs like the Million Dollar Saloon, looking for models for the stippers But usually, we're here working 6-7 days a week.
June 18, 1999 AGN3d interview with George Broussard:
Q: Considering that Unreal didn't, will DNF feature any engine modifications that allow for bullet marks and other marks created by gunfire?

A: Yes. Duke Nukem 3D & Rise of the Triad were the 1st FPS games to feature things like bullet holes and blood splats on walls, so you can be sure they are coming back.

Q: Will DNF maintain the EXTREMELY GREAT sense of humor that poured from Duke Nukem 3D?

A: Yes. Duke is Duke, and he won't change, although he might move a bit beyond only saying one liners in the game. But don't worry, there will be plenty of those as well.
November 1, 1999 Shugashack interview with George Broussard:
Q: another fun factor in the original duke nukem 3d was the weapons designs... so many different types of weapons, not just ones that fire at your opponent... like laser tripmines and stuff like that..

A: We're definately keeping that mindset in DNF. You need variety in weapons. You need in your face blasting action, but also the ability to be sneaky and set traps (ala pipe bombs and laser trip mines -- both replicated verbatim in Half Life BTW :)). If every single gun is designed for a straight up in your face fight you end up with very one dimensioanl DeathMath like "get gun...kill guy". That's great, but add to that the ability to be sneaky and stealthy and you have a whole new dimension of gameplay and fun.

Q: When it's released, it's gonna be like C&C Tiberian Sun... look how much it SUCKED. and we waited so long in anticipation for such a piece of shit... why can't developers learn that they need to develop innovative AND fun games at the same time? AKA Quake 3 and HOPEFULLY Duke 4??

A: Agreed. That's why DNF is taking so long. We flat out refuse to make a TC for Unreal. Innovation and fun take a long time to create.

Q: Hey guys, how about putting a CHAINSAW in duke 4 so's I can enjoy alittle alcoholicly induced godmoded ownage over the *&#^$@!!!! as I was able to do in Doom?

A: Wait for the screen shots ;) We know what you want ;)

Q: and oh make sure to include The Stadium map or a version of it in your final game.. hehe that's the best multiplayer deathmatch mayhem... Duff's Beer :P

A: Noted. Once again we know what you want. Seems it'd be stupid to release DNF and NOT have some of the favorite DM maps appear in an updated form. We'll also have plenty of new maps for you as well. The hard part will be selecting the old favorites, although a few are obvious.
November 1, 1999 Dukeworld interview with George Broussard:
Dukeworld: You guys recently announced via an interview with Scott Miller that you were switching to the Unreal Tournament version of the Unreal Engine. We have the following questions in that regard: why make this decision now despite the fact that you've stated in the past you had broken off from the Unreal code base?

George Broussard: We broke off our code at Unreal 220. But unfortunately that was a fairly unstable version of the engine. We had intended to continue on our own, but Epic simply did too good a job with UT. It's faster, has better net code, better interface, better video drivers. All in all UT is the culmination of all the Unreal tech work and the focus of Epic's efforts since Unreal shipped last year. Not patching to it would be a collossal mistake.

Dukeworld: In the past, you have stated that Duke Nukem Forever would not have team play, or CTF support with the retail version, and that you would rely on expansion packs, and the fan base to create such mods. With the switch to the UT engine, can we expect to see this support now in the retail version?

George Broussard: I'd think you can expect some sort of CTF based play now. Since it's all in the current UT code base, it'd be silly to throw it out.

Dukeworld: What kind of delays has the switch to the UT version caused if any? And does switching to UT actually save you guys development time in the long run with some of the new features they have added?

George Broussard: Patching to UT is no different than patching to Unreal 220, 218 or any other version. Takes us about 3-4 weeks. The time we spend patching is FAR less that it would take us to improve the code to the same level. Since we were at version 220 of Unreal, patching to UT essentially gains us 6 months or so of Epic's programming efforts. It's definately worth it.
Hopefully the UT code will proove stable and bug free enough to avoid us having to patch again.

Dukeworld: You guys announced earlier this year that you would be using the Sventech LOD system, and in fact already had it implemented in the game. Since Unreal Tournament has an LOD system already, which LOD system will end up being implemented?

George Broussard: We'll probably stay with our own system since we've tweaked things for it. But both will be evaluated side by side at some point.

Dukeworld: Epic has built in support in the UT codebase to support realtime stats via Netgames USA. Any plans on supporting something similar in DNF?

George Broussard: The Netgames stats are a lot of fun, so I'd imagine we'd keep them in place, but we won't know until we get closer to release.

Dukeworld: 3D Realms recently spread the word of a job opening available for Duke Nukem Forever. How have things progressed since the announcement?

George Broussard: We hired Tim Weisser as the third programmer on DNF. His bio should be up soon on our web site.

Dukeworld: Duke Nukem: Music to Score by was recently released, the music CD included what could be the title song for Duke Nukem Forever done by the band Megadeth. Have you guys reached a final decision here yet?

George Broussard: No. We weren't really happy with the final version, and had some changes to it. Politics and lack of communication led to things falling apart. Next time we'll deal with bands directly instead of through publishers and record company agents. Things tend to get muddy then. Had we and Megadeth talked directly I'm sure we both would have been a lot more happy.

Dukeworld: Have you finalized the weapons in Duke Nukem Forever, and can you talk at all about what they might be?

George Broussard: We're not talking specifics as it spoils the surprise of the game. But only about half of the weapons currently exist. All of them are planned out on paper though. It's just getting to the work of getting them in the game and making them fun.

Dukeworld: Have you made final decisions about Dukes enemies? Will we see aliens, human foes, or a mix of both?

George Broussard: Again, no specifics, but there are plans for both.

Dukeworld: Any final thoughts yet on the return of the jet pack, or any other items that made Duke Nukem 3D so popular?

George Broussard: Lot's of the old Duke 3D items will return, as we have a pretty good idea what the fans want in DNF. The jetpack causes problems in single play, so may be limited to a few deathmatch levels.

Dukeworld: 3D Realms made some interesting decisions with cheat codes in Duke Nukem: Zero Hour for the N64. (there are only hints/cheats as you progress through the game). Will we see something similar in Duke Nukem Forever?

George Broussard: We'd like to do that. I'd really like to avoid someone running the game and immediately typing "god" or "giveall" in the console. It's just so incredibly lame that, that's the way things have become. Would be much better if cheats were earned as you went. Sure people will hack it, but at least the average person can't ruin the game from the moment they open the box.

Dukeworld: There has been talk in the past about the use of vehicles in Duke Nukem Forever. The stuff seen when Duke Nukem Forever was being developed with the Quake II engine was impressive. Have you guys been able to adapt the Unreal engine to make use of vehicles, and if so, to what level?

George Broussard: Vehicles are something that willmake it in, if we have time. We have an awesome plan for some vehicle based gameplay that we'll keep quiet until it's actually in and working. But if all goes well, that would be early next year after Christmas.

Dukeworld: How are customizations to the editor (Dukeed) coming along? And have you had to make alot of customizations to the editor to support new features that you've added to the engine?

George Broussard: The editor is really the same as it ever was, except that we've added support to it to allow you edit Duke Forever specific content.

Dukeworld: Have you guys worked out issues to prevent software piracy? Will there be a CD required for play? Some gamers really have a problem with the WON authentication system used in Half-Life. What steps will you guys be taking to cut down on piracy?

George Broussard: We believe in doing something to stop piracy, but the WON method was a mistake. In the end, the game will be pirated regardless. The goal is to stop casual, next door neighbor piracy, without burdoning people too much. I'd expect things like CD required or entering a code from the CD ala Windows to happen.

Dukeworld: You have stated in the past, you thought the minimum specs for Duke Nukem Forever would be a Pentium II-266mhz processor. Have you had a change of heart on that yet? With processors now available at 600mhz and up, is this likely to change before Duke Nukem Forever ships?

George Broussard: You can get your specs from Unreal Tournament. But we expect a realistic system (one that would make it fun) to be: 128 megs, Voodoo 3/TNT 2, and P400 or so. It would certainly play on less, but performance would start to become an issue.

Dukeworld: There has been alot of hype lately about the latest and greatest 3D Hardware. The latest 3DFX and NVidia announcement seem to have generated quite a stir. What are your recommendations at this point about how well these various boards will work with Duke Nukem Forever?

George Broussard: You can't go wrong with either the current generation of 3Dfx of nVidia cards. They both have strengths and weaknesses.

Dukeworld: Will Duke Nukem Forever take advantage of specific features in 3D accelerators or will things be done in a standard, generic form, causing some 3d accelerators to perform at sub-standard levels in terms of image quality, etc.

George Broussard: Well, since it's not a D3D specific game, I'd say there will be some specific features for various cards supported. Ultimately I wish Unreal were a unified driver like D3D or OpenGL, but that's just not the case, and won't be prior to shipping.

Dukeworld: Obviously, there will be support for Windows 32bit servers in Duke Nukem Forever. Have you guys yet taken a look at supporting UNIX, and where does all of that stand?

George Broussard: Nope. Haven't looked at that at all.

Dukeworld: Any feel for the number of players servers will support, and how much actual bandwidth might be required to run a server? How about hardware specifications for a dedicated server?

George Broussard: No ideas. Again, look at Unreal Tournament for what it does. We should be in the same ballpark.

Dukeworld: You know we are going to ask it, and I am sure what we know what the answer will be. What are the chances that we see Duke Nukem Forever around the time of E3 next year?

George Broussard: You will probably see DNF at E3. Wether it's released at that point, I can't say yet ;)
November 18, 1999 Stonewall interview with Scott Miller:
stonewall: Duke Nukem 3D had an arsenal that was imaginative and a blast to use. So much so that the weaponry, in my opinion, has yet to be equaled in a first person shooter. Which of the original DN3D weapons are currently still in the plans to be included in Duke Nukem Forever?

Scott: Duke will have several improved versions of his basic DN3D arsenal, as well as several all- new weapons. Our philosophy with weapons, beginning back with DN3D, is that more is not necessarily better instead, weapon balance and variety are the two most important factors. Weapon balance means that weapons should not get increasingly more powerful. We design the top five or six weapons to be equal in power, but each weapon has a unique strategic use, as well as an Achilles' heel.

stonewall: Is the rest of the DNF development plan basically mapped out or are there still a lot of cool ideas and "what ifs?" floating around that add on to the development time?

Scott: Most of the top level design is in place, but we design games with the flexibility to add and remove elements at any time. For example, in DN3D, the engine was improved to allow for sloping surfaces only a few months before the game's completion, but it was such a striking improvement that we chose to revamp all the game's levels to add slopes, which we thought substantially improved the game, but added two more months to the game's release date.
Generally, if an idea is cool enough, we'll find a way to add it to the game unless it would shift the release date too far back. This doesn't mean that every single cool idea is added, only those that add to the game in a meaningful way.

stonewall: Is the female character of Bombshell still part of the plans as a sidekick for Duke?

Scott: Bombshell is a somewhat complex character who's involved in a few plot surprises, so I can't say much until the game's release.

stonewall: Now don't tell my wife but the reason I bought my first PC was to play Duke Nukem 3D (and not to write my thesis ;) It is safe to say that DN3D has a large and loyal following that will likely purchase DNF as soon as it hits shelves. Do you see this as more of a good business situation or as a huge pressure to release another top-notch game for the fans?

Scott: The fact that Duke Nukem has become one of gaming's top 'franchises,' (as it's known in the biz) means that we're under seismic pressure to live up to fans' expectations. The last thing we want to do is vomit low caliber yearly sequels just to rake in the bucks.

stonewall: You recently stated that DNF is using the Unreal Tournament version of the engine but that "a LOT" of new technology has been added. Could you give a few examples of enhancements that the DNF team have made?

Scott: A few general things:
- Model/animation system on par or better than anything I've seen in PC gaming. (This system, combined with our motion captured animation, will give DNF perhaps the best looking characters and enemies seen on the PC.)
- The scripting system is greatly enhanced and far more flexible.
- Realtime backward and forward level-of-detail, which scales down models to increase framerate (when characters are at a distance), and also adds detail to models when close up (meaning that characters will look more detailed than even the source model).
- There are other major tech additions, but I cannot go into them now. However, I can add that DNF's scripting system is so advanced that we can make practically anything in the game interactive. For example, we've released a screen shot that shows a video poker machine. It ain't just for looks. ;-)

stonewall: Comparing the screen shots done originally with the Quake 2 engine compared to the recently released PC Gamer screen shots seems like night and day. The lighting, environment and models (including Gus the miner) all look incredible. How were you able to make such significant graphical enhancements? Was the Unreal engine the platform your developers needed to make a stunning game?

Scott: If I remember right, when DNF appeared at E3 using the Quake 2 engine in 1998, it blew away everyone who saw it. Now we're doing the same thing using the Unreal technology. So maybe it's not the technology, it's the people using it. ;-)
Seriously, we have used special techniques that exploit all the power of the engine, plus we've added our own technology enhancements (many which were not shown in those screen shots). One thing we're striving for in both DNF and Max Payne is photorealism. Most 3D games have cortoonish art and characters, and this is something we're avoiding as best we can. The goal is to make a game that looks like real life. DNF is coming close, and Max Payne actually comes even closer, as people will see when we release new shots of that game next year.

stonewall: After the DNF engine switch from quake to unreal was the media blackout real or perceived?

Scott: Real. Early on we decided that we didn't need to be distracted by media requests for screen shots and stories. We've been offered many covers that we've turned down. We recently agreed to the PC Gamer feature because PC Gamer has always been a great supporter for us, and they're the top PC gaming magazine. The fact that they offered us their most prestigious Xmas issue convinced us to let them do the first story on the Unreal version of DNF.
Our plan is to release more shots and info next year, but in a controlled way so as not to give away the story or key plot points of the game. Our main concern is to make sure that first time players experience the game without prior knowledge of the story, and without knowledge of all the locations, weapons, enemies, characters, power-ups, etc. Nothing spoils a movie more than seeing a trailer that practically gives away the story, so we don't want to let this happen with our games.

stonewall: Does having the public (and annoying interviewers ;) always lusting after more information on your upcoming titles create a big distraction or is it fairly easy to deflect?

Scott: It's only a small distraction because George (my partner) and I are the first line of defense to shield the team from the constant requests for DNF info and screenshots. It would be a huge distraction if we followed through with even one tenth of the requests, which is one reason why we just cannot fall into that trap.

stonewall: The MaxEd has received some critical recognition even before the game is released. Is MaxEd going to be the easiest tool ever seen for 3d gamers to make their own user maps?

Scott: I think so. It's certainly the easiest level editor I've seen to date. It works very similar to how the Prey editor used to work, but with many additional features and enhancements. Overall, MaxEd is the most intuitive editor I'm aware of, and allows for the quickest creation of levels I've ever seen. Not even Unreal's editor comes close to being as simple, quick and powerful.
Once this engine is available for third-party licensing, I think it'll be in big demand by other developers.

stonewall: Will gamers be able to setup their own cinematic sequences that go along with those maps to create more Payne?

Scott: Yes, if you mean in-game scripting.

stonewall: How will the slow motion action sequences be used in Max Payne? Will it be as a replay only or can the player choose when to slow things down and have a good look at the action?

Scott: This treads into a top secret area, but I will say that the slow motion sequences are not just eye-candy, they'll be a part of gameplay, too.

stonewall: Music can be a crucial element to creating an action movie feel. Who have you (or Remedy) hired to do the music in Max Payne?

Scott: A very good in-house sound artist, Tero Kostermaa, who's making highly appropriate mood- setting music that'll be context sensitive. Making original music usually produces better end results than hiring a well-known band and hoping that the band understands the vision for the game.

stonewall: You have said in the past that you had learned that a company can't be involved in making too many games at once. Was having 3 major titles coming up simply too much and Prey was the natural choice to put on the shelf due to the large amount of time and effort needed to create an engine from scratch? Once DNF and Max Payne are released will 3D Realms resume work on Prey?

Scott: It's absolutely true that more is not always better, and that making two games is often not as productive as just focusing on one game. That's a big part of why we put Prey on hold, and relocated the Prey developers to DNF. Even with all the hype and anticipation for Prey, let's face it, Duke is our bread-and-butter franchise and the most important thing for us to do is make sure DNF is developed to exceed players' expectation. That takes the focus and talent of the entire company.
Remedy is developing Max Payne (with our design and financial assistance), so it's not in the same boat as Prey. They're company is entirely focused on their single game.

stonewall: The fact that the bullet trajectories in Max Payne are modeled according to real world physics (e.g. gravity effect) sounds incredibly cool however won't that open up a can of worms when it comes to internet play?

Scott: Most likely each player's server will compute the paths, so it shouldn't add too much to the bandwidth. In any case, pushing forward with cool ideas often means clever solutions, and I'm sure the coders and designers at Remedy will solve this without too much sweating.

stonewall: id software, and now Epic as well, use the method of releasing a test version of the game to work out all the multiplayer glitches. Do you plan to have Max Payne and DNF use the public as free play-testers (use us please ;)?

Scott: There are benefits and disadvantages to releasing a test. At this time I just don't know if we'll do this for DNF or Max yet.

stonewall: What roles do 3D Realms and the Gathering of Developers have with the development of Max Payne?

Scott: 3D Realms provides design guidance and experience, as well as handling all the voice work (Lee Jackson, our sound artist, oversees that). 3DR's major contribution is as a mentor, and creating the plan to ensure Max Payne becomes a successful franchise like Duke Nukem. Gathering is not involved in the design, but like us provides funding for Max Payne's development. All three companies will be heavily involved with the marketing and promotion of the game.

stonewall: What FPS games have made you stand up and take notice over the last year?

Scott: Half-Life without question impressed everyone at 3DR. But maybe not as much as most game players because most of the good ideas in H-L we had in the Prey design already (such as the health stations) or we have them in DNF in some form. H-L is a finely polished, well executed game (at least until it became an arcade jumpfest on the alien world) and the scripted events added a lot of life to the experience. Also, Unreal Tournament looks like a grand slam winner, though I've only played the demo.

stonewall: It was announced in 1997 that Pocket Books was going to be creating some Shadow Warrior and Duke Nukem novels. The Duke books were slated to be released in conjunction with DNF. Is this still planned?

Scott: No, because DNF is introducing so many new characters and ideas that until the game is done we don't want to have any novels written that might wind up being based on old or incorrect background information. Also, just because Duke is a great video game star doesn't mean that he'll translate into a great book character. I think Duke could make a great comic book, but I have my doubts about doing novels. We'll see. If we get a great writer on the project, then we might still do some novels.

stonewall: You have said that 2000 will be a big year for 3D Realms. Is there a chance I will be asking for Max Payne and Duke Nukem Forever for Christmas next year?

Scott: You're probably safer putting Tomb Raider 5 on your list, because we all know Eidos doesn't let a Christmas go by without milking their franchise. But realistically, I'd say that at least one of our games will be out next year and hopefully both, but the official release date is as always, "when it's done."

stonewall: Do you have 'Music to score by' in your bedroom cd player?

Scott: No. It's in my car's CD player. Honestly, I'm not a rap fan, and some of the rap oriented songs on that CD do not appeal to me, but I do like the rock stuff. In hindsight, we should not have allowed the rap songs on the CD. We have a much better plan for a second CD, with songs that truly relate to Duke and aliens.

stonewall: Do you recognize this quote: "This is a testament that 3D games, with realistic 3D worlds, are *very* tough to make, and this is compounded at companies that have never made a 3D shooter before and are overcoming unexpected hurdles. The stakes and standards in this genre are so high now that no one can afford to make a bomb or even an okay-seller, and that, too, adds to the development time."?

Scott: I believe I said this, maybe in my plan file. Anyway, it's very true, and the fact that most 3D shooters (whether first-person or third-person) have not been solid hits (Blood2, Shogo, Sin, Tresspasser, Hexen 2, Heretic 2, Powerslave, Shadow Warrior, Kingpin, Chasm, Requiem, Rebel Moon Rising, on and on). It's really a lot easier to name the very few hits this genre has had. 3D shooters are tough to do well, especially for developers that are under publisher deadlines to make one in less than two years.

stonewall: Has the past few years given you any more insight into the game making biz that you would like to share?

Scott: I think that designing games is actually quite easy if considered from a lofty viewpoint: Game players like to experience something new, they like variety, they like eye-candy and great graphics, and they like a good, unfolding story with several surprises, that compels them to finish the game. Every thing else about designing games is just little details.
The problem with most games is that they fail to offer the player something new, and therefore they're clones, and clones are generally dead on arrival.
March 10, 2000 Shacknews interview with George Broussard :
Shack: With the major focus primarily on single player (which I totally like), how will the replayability factor of the game be? What I mean is, if I play the game with an awesome story line, what will make me want to go back and play single player again when I know how the story turns out? (Will there bemultiple endings?)

Broussard: Multiple endings are something we are playing around with.  We certainly love how good colsole games like Resident Evil reward the player for finishing the game twice.  But the ending has to be worth the effort of seeing it in the first place, or it shouldn't be there.

As for replayability: What makes you play any game over and over?  DNF will be very interactive and there will be a lot to do and play with, so I'm sure that will be a factor in replayability.  I'm not sure many people (other than the die hards) will play the game from beginning to end multiple times, but I do expect almost everyone to re-load maps and look at specific cool things they saw or did.  Strippers come to mind.  And the goal is for every single map to have visual or gameplay things that make you say "Wow" and want to see then again.

If you don't load parts of the game to show your friends when they come over, then we've failed.


Shack: Engine licensing: Do you think it's worth the investment of so much time, money and energy to develop your own engine when there's already a good handful of quality engines out there to license? Clearly (in my mind, anyway), even when 3DR used its own engines such as Build, the true strength of the company lies in design and content. Do you see the company returning to in-house engine development, or continuing on this new path of licensing technology?

Broussard: I've said for a couple of years that I thought the playing field would be levelled by 3D hardware.  There are now 3 really good engines available in Quake 3, Unreal Tournament and LithTech 2.  It really makes little difference which one you use.  The average end user won't even be able to tell the difference between them.  Only the die hard 5% online.

Realistically one of those engines can do the game you want to.  Content and gameplay almost always win over technology.  If you can have both, good gameplay AND good technology, then you have a blockbuster hit.

We will decide on licensing vs developing and engine on a project by project basis.   There are positives and negatives to both.


Shack: How robust will DNF's multiplayer component be out of the box? , How many different multiplayer modes will DNF ship with? , and How many multiplayer maps will the game ship with?

Broussard: Very robust.  We do not believe in shipping now and adding functionality later. Patches should be for bug, not gameplay.  I think we are planning 10+ multiplayer maps, but really we have to get down to making them and seeing how much time we have.  But I think anything less that 10 is a waste of time.

As for multiplayer modes, we're still talking about options.  We want to do a couple of different things other than DeathMatch, but we haven't decided yet. Some form of class based team play is appealing to us.

Shack: What ever happened with Prey? It seemed to have been going so well and nearing finish with all the makings of a hit game.. Then suddenly one day the whole Prey team has been let go and the game is gone.

Broussard: Prey was "this" close twice.  Ultimatley it was a problem with project management and getting the tech solid/stable.  It just didn't happen, but it could have, and that irritates me on a daily basis.  Our focus is to finish DNF, then decide what to do for the next project.  It may be Prey (in a new form), may not be.  Don't hold your breath.


Shack: To what extent do you feel interactivity lends to gameplay? Is your aim with DNF more to the immersion quality of gaming or to the action/cinematic feel that makes the player more of a spectator to his surroundings?

Broussard: Interactivity is everything in a game.  Everything.   Without things to "do" and interact with, you are reduced to walking around, shooting stuff.  That kind of gameplay was ok 3-5 years ago, but it's stale now.  The world needs to be deep and rich with things to do and interact with.   You want to draw the player in so they play for 6 hours before they look at the clock.  In DNF you will be a spectator as well as a participant.

Our thoughts are that running around killing guys is the boring stuff you do in between doing cool things.  It's pure filler.


Shack: Realistically, what sort of system will DNF run on acceptably? , and will Will DNF have software mode?

Broussard: Software is a debate now.  It think it will go away, but we will see. Put it this way.  If software gets in our way at all, it's gone.  Dead and burried. We aren't going to spend time making things run fast or look great in software.

As for system specs, look for Unreal Tournament for a good exmaple.  I think something like a P2/400 with Voodoo 2-3/TNT 2 and 128 megs would be a good base system for the game.  A P2/600 with Voodoo 4/GeForce and 256 megs would be better.


Shack: What games take up your free time?

Broussard: EverQuest.  Period.  There is no other.  It's the most significant/important game of the decade.  You can say Doom/Quake all you want, but EverQuest has as average of 50,000 people playing it's been out less than a year.   And these people pay $10/month to play.  You cannot compete with a virtual world that has thousands of real life breathing people in it to talk to and play with. Hail the future of online gaming baby!

Shack: Do you think we take these gaming related issues too seriously and desperately need to lighten up? Or do we serve the purpose of generating valuable feedback for the development community?

Broussard: Developers do read message boards.  It's like anything else.  You ignore the lamers and flamers.  And sometimes you find a really good post from someone that is really trying to help and suggest a way to make things better.  But the bulk of messages and newsgroup traffic is "noise".


Shack: What do you say to the media, the government (any one will do) and old people in general that criticize games involving violence for contributing to youth violence around the world? Allthough most gamers take everything with a grain of salt, it would seem that the world at large doesn't. Is there anything that you and other game makers can do to combat the negative images that parents are getting?

Broussard: I think the bulk of mankind knows that blaming games for violence is stupid.  Just like the net, the vocal minority gets heard.   Bottom line is parents need to look at what their kids have access to.  If your 8 year old kid is listening to parental advisory cd's, playing mature games and watching nekkid chicks on cable, then you suck as a parent.


Shack: LichTech vs UnrealTournament, why did you make the choice you made?

Broussard: LithTech wasn't a consideration.  There wasn't a game out with it, and we were already a done deal with Epic by the time we saw Lith.

Shack: Will there be hordes of scantily clad strippers in Duke4 to provide us with sensory overload and consequently a richer gaming experience?

Broussard: Yes. But love us for more than our bodies. We have a mind too..

Shack: Would you do Buffy in the pooper? (heh, sorry)

Broussard: This question is better suited for Jack Mathews.

Shack: Will the city levels be big? Big meaning, will the level have dozens of city blocks with dozens of buildings that the player will be able to enter and explore?

Broussard: No, probably not. That's more suited to an adventure/RPG style game. There will be big, large areas, but you aren't going to be presented with "Here is a city, now go any direction and explore it". That is, however, a great idea for a future game.


Shack: You said that there may be drivable veichles in DNF. If so, will these veichles be in DNF's multiplayer games?

Broussard: Probably not.  We REALLY want to do driveable vehicles in DM, so you can
have a gunner and driver etc.  But DNF is already huge in scope and I just
don't think we have the time to do it, and do it right.  Doens't rule it out
for a sequel game or add on though.

Shack: Do you think that Duke should be spending more time in the game or in the comments section here at the Shugashack nuking posts?

Broussard: We can't control Duke and the guy does what he wants. Who's going to tell him what to do? I personally think he enjoys nuking messages though.


Shack: How many weapons will be in Duke Nukem Forever and can you give us an overview of the weapons that will return or be from Duke3D?

Broussard: There are about 13-14 weapon designs we are working on now.   I know the Shrink Ray and Pipe Bombs will be back from Duke 3D.  But beyond that, it's too early to talk about specifics..


Shack: Are you planning on implementing secondary fire for the weapons in DNF?

Broussard: Already in.  Every weapon will do something when you press the alt fire key.  It simply adds too much gameplay and fun to not have alternate firing modes.  Sometimes you have a really cool weapon idea, but it doens't justifiy it's own weapon.  But an alt fire is the perfect spot for it.!
March 14, 2000 Shacknews interview with George Broussard:
Shack: Why did u guys say the reason u switched to the Unreal engine is becuz u didn't want to have to do heavy modifications like y'all were doing with the q2 engine, and then shortly after saying that you guys immediatley started to do heavy modifications to the unreal engine? Was that a lie or did u guys just fuck up?

Broussard: We just made a different set of changes. Unreal all in all had a better tech base than Quake 2 did. Period. Net code aside of course. But we still wanted to add things like skeletal animation, and better brush/world geometry manipulation that Unreal had. Most of our changes have been gameplay/game system based and not raw rendering tech. Although there have been some improvements there as well.

Unreal was a better choice for the game we wanted to make, but even that engine needed modifications for what we wanted to do.


Shack: Don't you think your game will look dated if you don't finish the game this year? Hell it's gonna look dated anyways no matter how many cool textures you guys use. But If it's not out before all the q3 engine games don't u think u ppl will have missed ur technology window?

Broussard: This is a very narrow, elitist 5% online gamer view. Your mass market player (that will push a game over 1 million sales) can't even tell between UT and Q3A tech. In fact a lof of die hard gamers don't even care. Further, there isn't that huge a leap betweeen the two engines. They both do different things, and each do things the other doesn't do. In my opinion it's a draw and a toss up.

If you think someone will look at a UT based game, then a Q3A based game and say "ugh, I'm not buying that because it looks dated", then you are simply wrong.


Shack: will duke4 EVER COME OUT?

Broussard: Yes.


Shack: Will Duke4 be 3dfx's Bi@tch!?

Broussard: Clearly the Unreal tech was based on Glide. That's a fact and not much can be done about it.


Shack: How is Duke4 performing on D3D based 3d cards?

Broussard: D3D code is the same as UT's now. Clearly it needs work, and we'll see what we can do about performance. Also bear in mind that by the time DNF ships, cards will be even faster, so I'm not sure performance is a critical issue. DNF on a GeForce/Ultra card blazes.

>>Is the current state of the UT engine a good indication of the performance we will get, or is more work being done to get D3D or OpenGL working better?

See above.


Shack: Why didnt he answer these questions.....

Broussard: Because they weren't sent to me. Steve pre-filtered the questions.


Shack: Have you gotten rid of the "cheap" feel of the Unreal Engine? Unreal engine technology plays like shit, especially online (yes, UT netcode is still a joke) I would hate to see it spoil a promising game.

Broussard: This is just flat out wrong. UT net code a joke? Tell that to all the servers running UT (which seems to always ne neck in neck with Q3 servers). If it's crap, there wouldn't be all those servers. We play UT online all the time and it's just fine.


Shack: Broussard: "EverQuest. Period. There is no other. It's the most significant/important game of the decade. "
Oh please, how ghey.  MUDs been around much longer. Hell, I hear NetTrek is still going strong.

Broussard: See here's the deal guys. It doesn't matter who's first. It matters who brings a whole ne genre to light. There were FPS games BEFORE Doom. But it executed things so right that it blew the lid off and created a whole new genre.

EverQuest wasn't first, but it's the best, most popular and more mass market. That's why it's significant. UO was ok, but it was a die hard game. Hell my girlfriend, and some of the guys wives here play EQ daily! What does that tell you?

EQ appeals to lot's and lot's of people. Die hard and casual gamers alike. In the future massively multiplayer games will huge. Sit back and watch it happen. We are all going to move from playing 1 on 1 and 16 player servers to rich, complete worlds with thousands of people playing at once.


Shack: My question is: do you think we will ever get to the point with an engine where you can use it for several games without having to go back and redo a lot of engineering on the engine? It seems to me that the bottleneck right now is how many polys and fillrate current 3d hardware can do. If an engine was scalable enough that you could just keep using it and scale up the poly count and number of texture passes (surface properties)

Broussard: This is the way of the future for engines. You want to create an engine with many pieces that link together. Then as time goes on, you wimply update the piece that's out of date or needs freshening up.

You will see engines get more modular in the future. So that only the rendering engine needs to be updated. Or the networking layer etc. But there is little need to start from scratch each time and re-invent the wheel over and over.


Shack: Very Good point, but I have many co-workers and friends who ask me what I play and I show them and they like them too. I don't show them unreal... And I haven't heard of any of them buying it. I know it's personal experience and all, I'm just saying that the enthusiast market must have some filtering on the rest of the market... Shit, Netscape got so popular without a single advertisement in the olden days, simply word of mouth and eye candy...

Broussard: No doubt. Game sales are all word of mouth, just like movies. My point is that regardless of engine, if we succeed in making a cool game that makes you want to show your friends when they are around, then we've done our jobs.

You aren't going to load a game and show a friend "oooh, look at these shiny textures". Well you might, but more likely than not it will be to show them some kick ass gameplay in the game that makes them "oooh and ahhh".

The bottom line is that UT, Q3A or LightTech 2 are all good enough to compete and make gmaes for a couple more years. Period. It will all come down to gameplay and execution. Not which engine you used.

>>#69, My god, I can't believe you read this thread.
Don't the flames ever get to you?

Heh, not really. Why would some flamer bother me? They just do it for reaction. We read and answer the boards to get info to those of you that care and have a clue.

The flamers are easily filtered out. Eventually they will grow out of it.


Shack: line - the technology is there, but do you feel its really sitting on everyone's desk

Broussard: No, we don't. Most of the team are on P400/450's and either voodoo 2's/voodoo 3's/or the odd GeForce. Most systems have 256 megs (but that's because of running UnrealEd).

We aren't upgrading dev systems, because we want to develop on "real" systems, so the broadest base can play them. These days you can't really even buy less than a P500.

But it's been part of owning a PC, that you almost need to update every 2 years (3 at the outside). It's unfortunate, but people want bigger and better games each time. Larger levels, higher res textures, higher poly counts etc.

That all comes with a pricetag. But just know that we aren't developing on Uber systems, for the sole reason of we want to keep our heads out of the clouds, so the game will run as well as it can on average systems.
2000, miscellaneous answers from 3DRealms developers:
"Yes, we will lock out offensive material. In the end the game won't be rated R and will be closer to PG-13-ish at best. But language, violence and adult material will be locked out to a degree, that we think it would be suitable for a 10 year old to play it with parental supervision."
George Broussard, June 15 2000

"99% (if not all) of the cinematics in DNF will be in game. Not pre-rendered. And we intend to keep the story in game (and not take control from the player) as much as possible."
George Broussard, June 26th 2000

"These will change as we near release and optimize things, but it's what I'd suggest for the moment. We play now on P2-400 or 450's, Voodoo 3, and 128 megs and it runs fine. We'll probably be slower than UT [because] UT is a basic game. Pure DM, not many items or single player code running, and less complex levels. But we won't ever be as slow as Deus Ex, or even close."
George Broussard, June 28, 2000

"In terms of system requirements, we can't state for certain what the minimum would be officially, but you can figure that most of us are developing on machines in the P3/450 range, with a decent amount of RAM. If we're *developing* on these systems, then one can guess the requirements won't be excessive. You will definitely want a decent video card though, and preferably 128MB RAM"
Chris Hargrove, June 28, 2000

"After talking to Brandon a bit, I think we'll be keeping the mutator system for DNF. As such, we had the most fun with InstaGib, so I would expect that one to stay. We'll know more as we get closer to release."
George Broussard, July 14th 2000

"...Our lip synching is much more convincing than Deus Ex's. We have several bones for the mouth that are all controlled by code according to the amplitude of a WAV file. The end result is pretty realistic. Lips move to reveal teeth, the edges of the mouths move around etc."
"Actually the final touches of putting MP3 support in DNF should be about done today. We do plan to allow users to map their own MP3's to ours via some jukebox feature in the menus. Wanna frag to Metallica? Go ahead."
George Broussard, 28th of July 2000

"Yes. When a character "speaks" a WAV file it's all automatic. Down to pain sounds in single player. If you look closely the guy you just shot with a shotgun screamed and his mouth moved appropriately."
George Broussard, July 29th 2000

"...the Unreal engine allowed us to focus on the gameplay we wanted to do. We couldn't create the situations we wanted to in the Quake engine due to limitations in the Quake engine (not enough world space, engine slowing to a crawl when you create larger areas or more complex maps). The added bonus is we also get a visual improvement, but the switch was for all the stuff we could get from Unreal that allowed us to make the maps and situations we wanted to make."
Charlie Wiederhold, August 1st 2000

"We've completely redone the decals to use our particle system. They are faster to render, and have nothing in common with UT's decals anymore,"
George Broussard, August 1 2000

"There is a HUGE difference between making a co-op map and a DM map or any other teamplay or DM based map. The complexity is along the same lines of a single player map, and if you intend to do anything remotely cool (beyond having the players shoot at monsters) I'd say co-op maps are even more complicated than single player maps. Considering the amount of man hours that go into each single player "map" will be more months than you would believe, it should be obvious why co-op isn't something on our list. We wish we could offer co-op, it's cool... but it's just not reasonable. DM maps and teamplay maps can be worked on on weekends, after hours, and any other extra time we have. The primary thing with those sort of maps is just having everyone playing them for hours and hours to make sure the balance and flow is right, but the actual construction is fairly short compared to single player or co-op maps. And no, we aren't going to make a type of co-op where you just run through and kill bad guys through static levels. If you want that just setup a team game with your friends of you against the bots."
Charlie Wiederhold, August 19 2000

"We're going to shoot for 100 megs or so (for the demo), but we have no idea as the game isn't to demo stages yet. But the smaller the better."
George Broussard, September 10 2000

"We aren't developing a Linux client right now, but we'll see how things go later on. I am not above doing a Linux client as a side project in the future, but I am also not particularly interested in the Linux platform. Also, there is always Loki. I know Dan Vogel fairly well and they do a kick ass job there. I believe it is highly unlikely a Linux client will ship with the game. There will most likely be a Linux dedicated server. We'll see how things go. Right now the Duke Nukem team is focused on the single and multiplayer game, crossplatform issues will have to wait."
Brandon Reinhart, October 2000

"Our philosophy on music is to not really have music. That is to say, nothing with a beat while you play. We are trying to create an experience and a sound track distracts you while you play. We are opting for lot's of ambient sound effects and noise tracks/moodtracks playing in the background to create the proper mood. You aren't going to hear loud rock music while you are playing. For menus or end level screens, sure, but not for gameplay."
"No T&L. It's really not possible with the current Unreal engine. There also isn't a critical mass of video cards that support T&L at the moment, so it won't even be an issue until a year after critical mass. That's the time you will be required to have hardware T&L."
"We stopped engine updates with the released UT code, and have taken to making our own modifications now. it sets you back every time you have to patch in new Unreal code (especially if you are making engine changes like we are). So, at some point you lock off your tech and finish the game, and that's what we've done."
George Broussard, October 3rd 2000

"Doubtful for the reason that I don't see it as wise to support something that's not a "standard". Also there's no way we're taking the time to create 10,000+ textures (or more in the game now) to higher res versions. Just not for this game. Next game, I'm sure high res textures will be standard."
George Broussard, October 11 2000

"...We're striving for a fairly realistic game and something like that is a little arcade-y. But I think we're still in favor of end level stat screens telling you how you did. May not be realistic, but it is gameplay in terms of stats and rating yourself with other players."
"We do intend to release new DM models at a regular rate after the game ships. I'd like to do what Total Annihilation did all those years ago and offer a new DM model at least every month. But we'll see how things pan out."
George Broussard, October 31st 2000

"...[Our] models have skeletons and bones. We also have per-poly hit detection. So if you hit a poly, the game asks 'what bone is the poly assigned to?'  For there [it] assigns damage, plays an animation or makes other determinations based on where you hit the character..."
George Broussard, November 9, 2000

When I hear people talk about the main strengths of DNF they quickly mention, "INTERACTION". What does this really mean? Like driveable vehicles? Like healing other team members? Like blowing through walls? Like choppin down trees with my chainsaw? Like kicking down doors? Like bullet holes that remain longer than 3 seconds? . . . Like NPC[s]?

Broussard: Yes, merry Xmas.
George Broussard, December 2000
2001, miscellaneous answers from 3DRealms developers:
"Brandon has been working on a little project the last couple of days that will be of interest to mod authors.
DNF will support UnrealEd 2 as it's primary editor. We plan to make the switch in a couple of days and Brandon already has UE2 loading DNF maps.
UE2 is in C++ and not basic, so it's more stable and a little faster. We also no longer have to distribute clunky/confusing Visual Basic runtime libraries.
It will also be much easier to add new features to UE2 as it is better written and in the natural language of the game (ie not Basic).
Some features we get from moving to UE2:
        New vertex manipulation tool.
        Brush clipping.
        Tools to remove backfacing textures.
        Drawn interpolation paths.
        Freeform polygon drawing tool w/ extrusion. (From next Epic game)

This is a good thing and gets us up to date with the state of the art of Epic's editing tools.
Thank Brandon for working on this from midnight till 8am Saturday night
George Broussard, January 15th 2001

"Freeform poly editing is like 2D shape editing but you create the polys in the actual 2D editor views. As opposed to using a seperate shape editing tool.
Note that these enhancements are to Epic programmer Warren Marshall's credit, not mine. I integrated the new editor and was quite impressed at how easy it worked out despite the numerous changes we've made to the game. All hails to Warren for making the new editor that much more modular.
Now that the new editor is available to us, it'll be much easier for me to add our own custom features that our level designers request. I imagine that in the end DukeEd will end up diverging from UnrealEd 2 with us having new features relevant to Duke (and Epic of course having features relevant to their new game).
Anyway, I wouldn't have gone forward with the merge if I thought it would delay Duke. It went very smoothly and I'm in the process of adding back a few features we had added to the old editor. After that, I'll be maintaining the editor mostly on the weekends and my focus will return to gameplay programming."
"It'll be called DukeEd and have its own splash screen and so forth. We wouldn't be so tacky as to have it be called UnrealEd"
Brandon Reinhart, January 15 2001

"We're really not doing a Class Based CTF game. And we're not doing a tactical, anti-terrorist game like Counter Strike either.
But it will have "teams/sides" (2) and there will be "classes" on each team. At least we plan it that way - haven't really started yet - but soon."
George Broussard, January 24 2001

"We will do a PS2 port if:
    - Based on economics a port makes sense.
    - A technical evaluation determines that the PS2 can run the game without removing too much content.
We will not start any DNF ports until the PC version is nearly done. XBox and PS2 would be the prime candidates at this time to consider."
George Broussard, February 1 2001

"XBox should be a given based on the specs.
PS2 would be nice, but the 32 meg limit is tight. We'll see. We'd like to do this one.
We'll see once the game is close, what platforms make the most sense and go from there."
George Broussard, February 22 2001

Yeah, the game will run on a P450/Voodoo 3. Are you gonna like it? I dunno. It's gonna run slower than UT for sure. We have higher poly counts on everything, more textures and in general just more.
Time marches on and so does technology and minimum systems.
We are doing everything we can to squeeze performance out and make it as playable as we can, but there is only so much to be done.
Most games today run pretty crappy on P450s/Voodoo 3's. And it's going to get worse as time goes on.
A P450/Voodoo 3 is a couple generations behind what is currently available and it's on the trailing edge of hardware. I don't think you can even buy a P450 in a store today.
George Broussard, February 27 2001

"I totally want to write up a bunch of small mods for DNF after it's done. I also want to write extensive documentation for the script code. That was one thing Epic never pulled off...the mod community ended up writing all the tutorials."
Brandon Reinhart, March 1 2001

"...I recommend a P700+, GeForce 2/Voodoo 5 (we're working hard to ditch glide and ship with awesome D3D support), and 128 Megs RAM.
George Broussard, March 11 2001

3Dfx is dead and gone. Glide is dead, and their cards are dead. People should start moving to GeForce 2's/GeForce /Radeon's. Voodoo cards won't make it past Xmas.
We chose D3D over OGL because Epic's D3D drivers are in better shape than the OGL ones. Two tech programmer's jobs for the remainder of the project is to do one thing - make DNF scream under DX8 and GeForce /GeForce 2 class cards.
DNF currently runs well under DX8 and we're doing things like bringing our particle systems and other visuals over from Glide. The editor is now D3D only and software rendering has been dropped from the engine (with a slight speed boost). It's out goal to have Glide totally exercised by E3 or before and be pure D3D with everyone running on GeForce 2's. That's completely realistic.
By moving to DX8 we gain access to new features we can take advantage of. We're not going to have time to do it all, but there is a possibility of things like bump mapping on characters, and some vertex shader effects. These are things that Glide prohibited, but are fairly simple in DX8.
A P450/500 class machine is definitely on the low end of currently available hardware. If you are happy with a game's performance on it, then that's great. Different people have different thresholds for performance. All we can do is optimize as best we can and see what happens.
George Broussard, March 12 2001
January 31, 2006 1UP interview with George Broussard:
 1UP: So what about Rise? Have you guys ever thought about playing with those guys again? Playing with that world?

GB: It hasn't really come up, but it's one of those things where, I mean, never say never.

1UP: Right.

GB: You know, we've been so busy on Duke Forever for so long that we can't really see past just finishing this game, but you never can tell when it's done, you know, what you want to work on next.

1UP: Wait, wait. You guys are working on Duke Forever?

GB: [Laughs] And ever and ever.

1UP: And when's that due out again?

GB: [Laughs] I think it'll be out when pigs fly. But it's definitely going well now. Things are together; we're in full production. We're basically just pulling all the pieces together and making the game out of it. There's a lot that's finished. All the guns are finished. Most of the creatures are finished. And as I said, we're just basically pulling it all together and trying to make it fun. We've kind of got all these disassociated elements that make up a game, and you put them together and things happen. And then you just tweak it and polish it until it's fun, and that's kind of the phase we're in now, just trying to make something that is really fun to play and interesting.
July 3, 2006: Charlie Wiederhold answers questions about the 2001 trailer:
Actually, that video is old enough now that I don't think anyone will care if I go through it and point out specific stuff I worked on, and it'll be kinda fun for me to take that trip down memory lane.

All the ghost town stuff (donkey + sand worm, EDF guy being blown up by a pipebomb, etc) was my Ghost Town map, which is the same base that the screenshots in 1999 were taken from. Those were the Gus shot and the church shot. The church screenshot is the location that the sandworm came out of the ground to eat the donkey in the video.

Also, if you remember the "developer desktop" screenshot from Voodoo Extreme, that was a very early version of the interior of the church.

The Lake Mead section (jetskis, flying jets, boat turret, crashing through the building) was also something I had worked on. That map is partly responsible for my transition over to almost pure coding. I think there is some footage out there of the Quake 2 version of that map that was shown at a much earlier E3 one time.

Funny note, if you look closely at the jetskis when the turret zooms in on them (late in the video) you can see that we accidentally recorded the footage with some LOD stuff setup incorrectly, so the polys on the riders are all messed up. Doh!

The cockpit riding through a tunnel where you can see Duke's legs. I didn't build the cockpit. Just the very basic tunnel. Well and the gameplay that went with it. I was proud of the solution I came up with to make that section work... but that'll be saved for a much later date, if ever.

I had done quite a few of the particle systems as well (not the art, just the functionality). Tripmine explosion that blows up the guy in the blue shirt being chased by an Octabrain, projectile explosions, shrink ray effects, decorations blowing up (like the paint can blowing up and leaving splatters everywhere). Nothing really fancy to write home about, especially compared to particle effects that can be done now, but it was fun and something new and interesting to work on. The bigger flashier effects were usually done by other mappers though for key events (like the mothership blast, pirate ship, ship shooting the Lady Killer sign, etc).

Also the strip club scene at the end with Gus was from one area of the strip club map I had worked on. That map showed up in one of the 1999 screenshots as well, just a different room. Shouldn't be hard to figure out which one.

I think that's about it... I know myself and plenty of the other guys involved in that video are still proud of it to this day. George did a good job coming up with proper pacing for it by learning what works in good movie trailers and applying it to that one, and then we found situations that really showed off the game and Dukeness.
March 20, 2007 YouGamers interview with Scott Miller:
Around the world, the name Scott Miller is obviously quite a common one but if you’re into your PC gaming (and more importantly, you have been for a good few years) then you’ll know exactly which one we’re talking about! His bio lists an impressive array of achievements but this Scott Miller just happens to be the Vice President of Action Entertainment Inc., who are in turn a part of Apogee Software Ltd.

Oh and 3D Realms just happens to be a part of the group too! 3D Realms made Duke Nukem. Yes! THAT Scott Miller!

Read on for our interview with Scott...

Conducting interviews via email is never easy as they miss the all-important level of human contact that you need when talking to someone for the first time. It’s often hard to judge what a person is really like or what their true feelings on the matter is, so to start the balling rolling we fired a couple of questions towards Scott to ask him about his background and history, and what his general thoughts are on the gaming industry at the moment.

So just who is Scott Miller then?

Scott: This link sums things up well: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scott_Miller_(programmer)

In short, I founded Apogee as an online publisher in 1987, the first game company of its kind. We also pioneered the episodic model of releasing games, which we continued to use even after we re-branded ourselves 3D Realms in the mid-90’s. Some people may remember, for example, that Duke Nukem 3D was released as three episodes, with the first episode freely available as shareware.
Ah good old Duke...doing what he does best!

Twenty years is a long time to be in the business and Scott must have surely seen witnessed a great many changes. We asked him whether he had ever thought “Enough is enough” and decided that it would be best to move on to other, completely different, areas? What keeps somebody motivated after such a long time in one job?

Scott: It’s hard to consider what I do "a job". It’s something I look forward to every day. There’s so much creativity involved, and so little stress. Not to compare myself to Spielberg, but does he ever wake up and say "enough is enough," even after his tremendous success? I doubt it. He’s having far too much fun. And it’s the same for me, as well as most people I know in the industry. It really is a dream job. And as long as there’s any creative energy left in me I hope to stick around. How old is Spielberg now? ;-)

The next question was an obvious one to ask, given the length of experience Scott has: what do you think have been the best and worst changes in the gaming industry since you started?

Scott: This is a question I can answer in many different ways. For example, as an industry we’ve generally been overly occupied with graphics technology at the price of gameplay innovation. The cost of games is getting to be so high that we are seeing less and less original IP [intellectual property - Ed] given a chance. I’m not a fan of licensed IP, and as an industry we rely far too much on it, even though the data clearly shows that IP born within our industry is, by a large margin, more successful than licensed IP (if you exclude kids licenses and sports licenses – two special cases).

A new threat to our industry is resells, something that was not a factor only three years ago. Gamestop is the biggest offender, and makes over a billion dollars a year on resells now – with none of that going to the publishers or studios that created these games. This is a serious blow for content creators, and will only make it harder and harder for original IP to be given any sort of a chance in the future.

On the positive side the Wiimote is bringing in a horde of new players who are now finding games to be much more interactive, by using much more of their body. The casual games market is exploding, too, which is tremendously positive for the industry, by broadening the base.

We’ve often wondered whether the sheer complexity of modern games makes it virtually impossible for people interested in making games to start in the same manner as Scott did. So is there is any chance for the ‘bedroom’ programmer or designer, or is it is case that these days companies are only going to take on people with degrees in these areas?

Scott: Sure. As I mentioned above, the casual/puzzle game market is the current low-cost, sweat-equity doorway to get a foot into the industry. But, in this industry a studio is immediately stereotyped based on their first successful game, and so it becomes very difficult to convince a publisher that, just because you have a hit in the casual market, you can make the leap to making larger games. Still, there’s plenty of success to be had on either side of the coin.

And as a final “warm up” question, there’s currently a particular trend in the game (and movie) industry to remake old favourites. What would make Scott’s top 3 list for being remade?

Scott: I would most love to see a fully 3D, real-time version of Planetfall, a modern remake of M.U.L.E. (would be a brilliant causal, online game), and I think a remake of Duke Nukem 3D would be quite fun, too.

Hmm, looks like I have the con…

3DRealms is reasonably unique in the industry for being a producer as well as a developer, which must have given them quite a different level of understanding of how things work in the world of video games. For example,” what does a producer do?” is a relatively simple question but one could write a whole book on the matter and we thank Scott most profusely for not doing so!

A little more background on the company to begin with though - if we run through the past 10 years, they’ve gone through being game developers to mostly being game publishers/producers. So, was this something planned in the early years?

Scott: We’ve released some 35 games, and only three were made internally. So, we’ve always been more of a producer rather than a developer, and this has been a super successful model for us, going back to when we first worked with pre-Id Software (I teamed up with them before they called themselves Id, they were just employees at Softdisk, and later called themselves Ideas From the Deep, or IFD Software).
Rise of the Triad...look familiar?
Shadow Warrior...err, this looks familiar too!

Our first internal project was Rise of the Triad, and our most recently released game was Shadow Warrior. In between we created Duke 3D, and that’s been it for us. The games did well, but we are fully aware that we’ve not be a fact in the last decade, internally-speaking. Our love of perfection has gotten the best of us with Duke Nukem Forever, and it’s something we’ve had to learn to back off on.

Luckily, our work as game producers/mentors has continued to pay off with huge successes, Max Payne and Prey. And this is an area we will continue with, even at a more aggressive pace.

Publisher/producer? What roles behind a game do these take? For example, how much input does one have in the actual design of a title?

Scott: When we act as a producer, we often contribute significant funding to a project, which allows it to reach a point where it is much easier to pitch to publishers. We also provide design guidance, marketing guidance (for example, I was a prime mover on all marketing for Duke Nukem 3D, Max Payne, and Prey, leading the design of the retail boxes, game ads, picking the screen shots, writing all of the marketing text, etc.), and at the end, we are deeply involved with play-testing and polishing. It’s quite a lot of work, but then, it’s also really fun.

A calm moment in Prey...

Prey was well received by press and gamers alike, so just how much input did 3D Realms have in its development?

Scott: All of the above! Big money. The overall concept came from me, and was then co-shaped by Human Head and me together. I brought in all three of the external writers and worked closely with them, and Human Head, to lay-out the story and characters. Human Head and I worked on all of the key gameplay ideas, some coming from me (death walk, spirit walk, Talon) and some from Human Head (gravity and wall walking). And many from 3DR were involved with the game’s play-testing. It really is a big collaboration.

Since Prey 2 is already under production, we asked Scott if we be seeing a long term series of Prey games:

Scott: That is always the goal. With Max Payne, for example, we always planned for a long series. I’m still puzzled to this day why – after 3D Realms and Remedy sold the IP to Take2 – there’s not been a Max Payne 3. That’s a franchise that sold over 7 million copies between two games. We should be hearing about Max 4 in development by now.

Well that gives quite a good impression as to some of the work that a producer does but some aspects aren’t always clear - for example, we wanted to know just who is ultimately in charge of support, patching and updating a game in general: the developer or the publisher?

Scott: Since most studios are actually publisher owned, like Blizzard, Bungie and Raven, for example, it falls upon the publisher’s shoulders. However, for independent studios like Epic, Bethesda and us, it is in our best interest to support our games and release whatever patches are necessary, even without the publisher pushing us to do so. It’s just common sense to support the players.

Having published titles over a wide variety of formats (PC, console, mobile), one would expect there to be a favourite but purely from a business point of view, 3DRealms have a clear winner:

Scott: PC. It’s the most powerful. Plus, For FPS games, you simply cannot beat the mouse controller. It is still light-years better than a console controller for rapid, accurate shooter action.

Strong words indeed but 3DRealms do like the mobile phone sector quite a lot, and have been keeping quite busy in this area:

Scott: We’ve been working with MachineWorks to develop mobile Duke games for two years now. These games have been quite highly rated and pretty big sellers.

We also have several other projects cooking that have yet to be signed with a publisher.

Hopefully those answers should give folks a clearer idea as to what it means to be a publisher, producer…err…developer. Hmm, we’re still none the wiser as to what pigeon-hole is best to put them in but 3DRealms can certainly claim to wear a great many hats!

Hmm, my kind of party! Wish I had time…
Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project - the last Duke game for PC...at the moment.

It would be rash of YouGamers to miss a great opportunity to ask Scott some questions about Duke Nukem Forever - perhaps the most famous game that’s not available…yet! The first thought we had though was ‘why?’ It’s been nearly 5 years since the last Duke game on a PC was released and although it was critically accepted, it was perhaps not the Duke game many fans were expecting; is it not a case that Duke’s time is now long gone?

Scott: First, we fully admit we’re screwed up the development of DNF, and it’s now an industry joke. I laugh (and cry) when I think about it, too. Our fault is that we set the bar too high, and we tried too hard to make the game to beat all games. In the last 18 months we’ve taken a much more realistic look at the project, we’ve hired a truckload of experienced help, and I personally believe we are now on the right track…finally.

As for the question of Duke’s lasting appeal, I believe strongly that it doesn’t matter at all. DNF will succeed or fail not because of the Duke brand, but solely based on whether the game is great, or not. The original Duke Nukem 3D didn’t have a large fan following, and yet it succeeded. DNF will have to stand on its own just the same.

Now it’s not unheard for games to have development times of several years (Half Life 2 being very notable, as an example) but it’s perhaps fair to say that none have had such an ‘interesting’ progress as Duke Nukem Forever! We asked him to be as brief as possible and here’s what Scott had to say about just why it has taken so long just to get to the point they’re at now:

Scott: As I said above, it comes down to our desire to not let fans down with anything less than perfection. However, perfection is not possible – that’s the biggest lesson we’ve learned. No game is perfect. Well, maybe Tetris. ;-)

DNF is also famous for its use of engines but the truth on the matter is:

Scott: We started with the Quake engine, but within six or so months we switched to the Unreal engine. However, I’m reminded of the story about the man who claimed to own the axe that George Washington used to chop down the cherry tree. The man said, “Yeah, it’s the same axe alright, but the head and handle have both been replaced a few times over the last 200 years of use.” The same applies with the Unreal engine we licensed so long ago.

Translation? Still on the ‘Unreal’ engine but nothing like the same version that they started with all that time ago! Licensed engines are just one part of the whole middleware package and the growth of tools for developers has been quite noticeable over the past 5 years or so - one would think that this would make life easier for a typical developer but is this being too naïve?

Scott: It’s true; these tools can make life easier. Just not as easier as the middleware providers like to hype. There are nearly always problems to overcome or modifications that are needed. Still, they shake out as a big net positive for the most part.

Scott politely refrained from spilling any juicy details about the engine and technology details of DNF but given its past history, this is understandable. So much has been said and not said, but rumoured, that anything now would almost certainly be taken out of context. However, Scott did have some reassurance that DNF would be aimed for a wide range of hardware configurations stating that:

Scott: Our general approach is a common one, I think: We try to support all of the newer, cool whiz-bang graphics features, but at the same time we try to make it so the game will run on middle-range machines, too.

Fans of Prey will hopefully remember the aliens’ choice of music, which made sense when Scott had this to say about the importance of scores and audio effects in a modern game:

Scott: We believe strongly in the power of music, and we used award-winning composer Jeremy Soule (and his brother, Julian) for Prey, which had three hours of original music, plus over an hour of licensed music, like Don’t Fear the Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult. I hope we have something equally as impressive for DNF.

Cynics may not believe this but Duke Nukem Forever is in full development and has a team of 33 people working on it; surely the history of its production would scare off potential workers, yes?

Scott: You would think so, but not at all. In fact, in the last year especially we’ve dramatically upgraded the level of experienced & talented developers in-house, hiring key developers from several blockbuster projects. These new developers have made a stunningly positive impact on the project. And we continue to hire. I think when any developer visits our studio, meets the people already here, and sees what we already have in place…well, it becomes an easy sell.

Given the publishing experience of 3DRealms and their willingness to tackle difference platforms, it made sense to enquire as to what lies ahead for DNF too. For example, are Take 2 Interactive Software still publishing Duke Nukem Forever? Given the amount of experience 3D Realms has in the production area, it might make more sense for 3DRealms to do this themselves:

Scott: Possibly, but Take2 has inherited the agreement we originally signed with GT Interactive back in the 90’s. This agreement does allow us to direct sale the game, such as through an online digital service, and we plan to take full advantage of this.

The point about using a digital service is a good one as we’ve seen a huge increase in its usage for shipping games; the two most well-known being Steam and Direct2Drive. Finally, concerning DNF, we enquired as to what platforms the game is being planned for: multiple or PC only?

Scott: The plan is definitely to bring DNF to multiple platforms. We have not announced which ones, yet.

Which should come as no surprise really - consoles are more than powerful enough to run against some of the latest hardware, so we should hopefully see few compromises between the different platform versions of Duke Nukem Forever.
December 17, 2007: Charlie Wiederhold tells the "Chair Story" about why Duke Nukem Forever was taking so long (he later recanted it):
I'm going to regret writing this and probably get myself into trouble but here it goes...

This all took place at E3 2001. I don't know who here knows much about what things were like at that E3 but I'll give a brief breakdown. DNF was being published by Gathering of Developers. They were known for being eccentric as publishers go, but had the best booths at E3 if you could get in. Rather than putting up a booth on the main floor, they rented out the parking lot across from the Staples Center, fenced it in and blocked off visibility. You could only get in if you were on the list, or for certain specified viewing events.

They had a stage with a huge screen behind it, midgets, strippers dressed as schoolgirls, punk and rockabilly bands, etc. Beer and burgers being grilled up by Levelord. The games were demoed in cool 50's era trailers (not so cool for game demos but hey... they made the lot look cool). This was all affectionately called the GoD lot and it's where the booth babes from all the *other* booths came to hang out in their off time.

Needless to say there really wasn't much reason to go anywhere else for those few days.

I'll use pictures from 3DR's site to help match up visuals to the story.

So for example this was the line to get into the GoD lot.

The Stage.

sCary (Shacknews Steve Gibson) playing around in the middle of the lot.

Levelord grilling some burgers.

Chicks sucking on popsicles...


Strangely enough it's hard to find stuff about the actual games being shown there. Dunno if that would have anything to do with why the Gathering isn't around anymore. ??


The DNF 2001 trailer was out as everyone knows, and it was doing insanely well. The entire team was jazzed, people seemed to really love it and all anyone kept asking was "When the hell do we get to play this oh god!?!?!"

Before heading out to E3, George and Scott Miller had arranged a meeting between Epic, 3DR, and the people who had worked on Duke 3D but weren't working on DNF. The intent of this meeting was... you guessed it... how best to handle the future of the Duke franchise. Epic was invited because having Duke around on the Unreal Engine was a constant PR boon for them. So they are almost just as invested in how well Duke does as 3DR (as you will see later). It was a secret meeting (there were actually two meetings, but I'll get to that later), not even the publisher knew about it (except Mike Wilson... he was operating outside of the Gathering of Developer's authority). The people there were Scott Miller, George Broussard, Cliffy B, Mark Rein, Tim Sweeney, Levelord, Allen Blum, Keith Schuler, myself, Brandon Reinhart, Mike Wilson, and even Todd Replogle and Ken Silverman made the trip out there.

Interestingly, Cliffy B wore his damn suits.

Which I don't have to tell you was incredibly distracting and made it hard to take his points seriously. But at least we knew when he was raising his hand to speak. Due to the level of "heat" in this meeting we had to have a more formal process for speaking because we'd all just wind up talking over each other if we didn't.

Brandon, Allen, and Cliffy on the way to the second meeting.

Note that they aren't as happy as in other pictures. There is a reason for this.

Don't forget that this is what we would see when we would look out the rear window of our trailer while having our meetings...

The silver trailer behind Scott and George is where it was being held.


Most of us didn't really know what the meeting was for going into it... and for the guys at 3DR at the time, we thought it was just going to be current 3DR people. Imagine our surprise to walk in and see that group of people sitting there! I'm such a huge Duke 3D fanboy, that I have to admit was a little intimidating being in the same room as pretty much all the core guys that made the game that got me started down the path of a game developer in the first place.

Anyways (for real this time)...

Scott quickly got to the point. Max Payne was going to do gangbusters... and 3DR had some other stuff up their sleeves that would be generating so much revenue for 3DR that they could continue on indefinitely... or at least another 5-10 years... without making a dime on internal development. Scott being the marketing buff he is (and Mark Rein being pretty much the same for Epic), they got this idea for how to generate the biggest story in the history of gaming. DNF being a monster hit is fine, but it wouldn't make "forever" history. As you can tell from the name and what I'm about to describe, Scott and George apparently had this idea from the very start but weren't sure they were going to act on it, but there wasn't any harm in using a name that would play into it. So in order to make "Forever" history there was only one way to do that, and that is to turn it into something completely unprecedented in the industry. Turn it into the sort of thing that will be talked about 100 years from now.

I'm sure you can guess where this is ultimately going.

See in 2001 the jokes about DNF being late and vaporware were already widespread. It had already won the damn Wired vaporware award twice. Here was the funny thing... the attention on the game was actually only getting stronger, not weaker. It was the release of the video and how it was received that put the nail in the coffin. The game just had something that nothing else in the industry had and there wasn't any way in hell such an opportunity could be missed. The attention had peaks and valleys, but it was looking sustainable.

When Scott and George put this out there, those of us on the DNF team were furious. I felt like I had been told my childhood was just an implanted memory, my parents were really actors, and that my penis was about 50% smaller than I thought it was. What the fuck had we been doing the past 3 years? Everyone else actually seemed to already see this coming though, and took it in stride. Mark and Scott were a force to behold when they would get going on the possibilities. George seemed torn, because he loved the game and wanted to see people enjoying the stuff we had put together for the video, but he also knew this was just not something that anyone else in the industry would have a chance to try again for a very long time, if ever.

Todd and Ken didn't say much, I think they were wondering why they were there. Levelord thought it would be fun to watch, but other than that had his own stuff going on with Ritual that was really his main focus. Mike Wilson kept cracking jokes, but he was clearly on board.

After they put it all out there, those of us on the team started to come around to what they were aiming for, and by the end of it we were bought in. It would be a lot of fun, we'd be paid well, and it would be a part of history that nothing else we would do would live up to. We didn't quite know what we were getting into, but that's why all the other guys were the experienced biz guys and we were young naive developers. :)

This was me during a break in the first meeting...

I was actually wobbly in my legs and really did need to lie down.

I don't think this was actually taken on any of the meeting days, but this is Mike Wilson.

The fateful video that I now wish hadn't been as good as it was...

Keith and I after the first day... trying to distract ourselves from what we had just learned.

So about that chair?

The first meeting was really just getting everyone up to speed. We all needed time to absorb it... and what was being proposed. They needed everyone involved to buy off on it because we'd all be working through the years to maintain the plan.

The plan was actually pretty simple... create the longest developed game in history that eventually is one of the greatest games ever made. You have the time to work on it properly (no shit), so given the intelligence and talent of all the people involved, it was a pretty good bet. All 3DR had to do was make money on other stuff. All Epic had to do was open up a wide channel between the two companies. 3DR would serve as a research house for future Epic engine updates, but also give 3DR everything they did as well. The boots on the ground just had to keep the drum beating and keep the image of business as usual going. The truly hard to swallow part of this was some of us had to eventually leave, but we were guaranteed we'd be ok. All we had to do was let go of the idea of just making DNF in the traditional way... which I'm ashamed to admit was easier to let go of than I thought it would be.

In fact, with my role in this, I wouldn't ever really work on the "real" DNF. That was a tough pill to swallow, but again the big picture looked good.

The beauty of the plan is that even though I'm telling you about it now, it is too late for it to have any negative impact on the long term goal. That's something that took me a long term to come to grips with. It just *works* and I'll be damned if I understand fully why or how. That's biz and marketing brilliance for you... I just know how to put maps together or script up some gameplay. *sigh*

What Epic got out of this whole deal was basically this mystery project that is a constant "customer" of their engine, with people always speculating on whether it was updated to the newest one or not, etc. You would be surprised at how many licenses this has helped sell through the years. Who said business made any sense? Not to mention a team to just do research into engine upgrades without any pressure of actually releasing anything. Huge advantage. Notice that Epic really pulled ahead in the engine licensing business after 2001? That's *not* an accident.

So that chair again.

We didn't end the first chat on a particularly *good* note, but I think we were mostly exhausted... but there was an undercurrent of "can we really trust each other on this?". That's typical of any big business deal, but this was a case where we would be agreeing to hold this story steady for decades. Yes, decades. You don't go into this lightly.

We all came back the next day (Cliffy in white thankfully, not red). We went around and gave our thoughts on things after having a night to sleep on it. Scott and George wanted to get paperwork signed that day if we were going to attempt it at all. This seemed *way* too soon and I didn't have a lawyer around to read the contract or anything. I was young, but I had had enough experience by that point to know you don't sign a contract of any significance without having a lawyer read it. Unfortunately it was made clear that this offer was active only so long as we were all in the room. Once any one of us left it was void and Scott, George, and Mark Rein (the three that put it together) would deny all knowledge. They had never done any discussions of this in written form except the contracts which Scott Miller was holding.

That was pressure... here was this deal where I would be set for life, and if I backed out of it, it would blow the whole thing for both companies and everyone involved. Not only would I be backing out of the opportunity of a lifetime, but I would also be ruined in the industry because those guys have way more power than I do. I wanted to do it, but how do you commit on such short notice and without really knowing what you are signing?

Brandon, Allen, Keith, and I kept hemming and hawing and we could tell we were really causing problems with everyone else in the room. I said that I wanted to do it, but I *had* to have a lawyer review it before I signed it. The fury in the eyes of the guys sitting across from me was literally enough to give me a third degree burn. I have *never* felt that much fear in my life. Well... up to that point at least.

I was told to think about my next words very carefully before giving my final answer. Honestly, I felt this was a test to see how well I would hold up to pressure later when we had to "hold the lie" (the similarity to "hold the line" isn't on accident), so I held firm and said I really wanted to, but needed to have it reviewed...

oh fuck...

Faster than I can even remember (literally... I don't remember) I was knocked out of my chair by I *think* of all people Tim Sweeney (it was a wooden kitchen chair) and was pinned on the ground by Mike Wilson and Cliffy B (he's so much stronger than I ever expected). George walks over to my chair and fucking stomps the shit out of it until the legs are broken off. He casually picks up one of the legs that had split into a shit your pants style point and starts tossing it up and down. Scott and Mark Rein alternate on and off saying that I apparently wasn't aware how *real* business is done and that if I didn't want to find out why those two companies had maintained such a strong position in the industry dating back to the shareware days (when it seems people didn't ask nearly as many questions about why developers appeared, made a game, and then disappeared without a trace)... I had better reconsider my answer.

I do remember the next part very very well though... I will never forget it and I have to admit that I have dreams about it pretty frequently.

Cliffy and Mike pulled me up and shoved my face about 6 inches from the point of the chair leg. I was drenched in sweat (the trailers didn't have decent AC so it was already hot as hell in there)... and if they had let go of me I would not have been able to stand on my own.

George looked me in the eyes and asked me one more time what I was going to do... so at that point I did what anyone would do...

This was written for another site in response to someone asking me to elaborate more on a "chair story" I had referred to that happened during my time at 3DR. It's not something I wanted to lose to the shifty waters of the Internet though, so I'm re-posting here. It's left as is except for some typo cleanups and other minor details. Hope you enjoyed.
December 20, 2007 Shacknews chat thread with George Broussard:
oatmela: what engine is it using? Not bashing at all, just curious.

Broussard: Unreal. I believe we branched off somewhere around the Unreal 2 time when they added static meshes. Since then we've redone the rendering 100% and it's a fully modern engine.

jimvolk: Now that the game has been through such a long development process and revisions, will it still be a LONG game? or will it be a fairly short experience (ala Prey)? Surely after 9-10 years, we can all hope for a decent length game, and a wide multiplayer experience.

Broussard: The game has not been one continuous game worked on. It's probably re-started 3+ times due to various issues. The current (and last) version is 2004-ish. As for game length we should be similar to competitive games in our genre.

Unleashed: how long does it take for one of your characters/monsters(duke for example) to get modeled/textured and ingame?

Broussard: 6 weeks?

Sturm08: What's your favorite part of the game so far?

Broussard: I like environment puzzles, and blowing the heads and arms off of things.

smacknca: any regrets breaking the long media silence with this teaser? its pretty obvious many people didnt quite get the whole 'this is just a teaser made by some cool folks at 3DR for the holidays and we wanted to share with the world'

Broussard: Gotta start somewhere. No regrets. With our development history if you let regrets bother you, you'd jump off the nearest roof. Onward and upward.

omnova: Is environment interactivity going to be a bullet point in the game's feature list?

Broussard: Big, big, yes.

pyrogen: Will it have over-the-top gibs flying everywhere? You know, the old-fashioned kind with body chunks and blood trails everywhere.

Broussard: Yes. But in a way that makes sense. Shotguns pull limbs off, but not a machine gun or pistol. Explode something or set off a pipe bomb and you can remove limbs that are within splash range and take enough individual damage. But yes, gibs are back.

Mister Groin: Which do you prefer? Boxes or barrels?

Broussard: To hide behind....unbreakable boxes and non explosive barrels. To shoot at, the opposite :)

edgewise: How many lines of dialog are you recording for Duke?

Broussard: We're definitely going to record 'I'm gonna kill you old school."

painangel: will I be able to impale aliens with a raging man unit ala brock samson?

Broussard: No, but maybe a forklift.
Broussard: Gotta run guys. Sorry. More later. We have a lot of work to do, but we really appreciate the interest and support shown today (even if you didn't like it, you checked it out, and that's cool).
January 29, 2008 Down In Front interview with Tramell Isaac:
For those of us that do not know much about you, tell us a little bit about yourself. How long have you been working in game development? What titles have you been a part of?

   Tramell - I am quickly approaching my 14th year in game development. I’ve been working in the industry long enough to see the transition from 2d to 3d , from my first Dx4-100 to Quad Core Processors, and of course the development of Duke Nukem: Forever.;-). The first title I worked on was “Blood and Magic” (BAM), a fairly low profile title with the distinction of the first D&D RTS. I was responsible for all the character animations on that title. After BAM, I moved on to “Fallout” and “Fallout2”. During my time on the Fallout teams I was able to wear multiple hats with my most memorable work being the “PipBoy”. After Fallout there was IceWind Dale, Planetside and all of its expansions, Never Winter Nights 2, and currently DNF.

What is your primary role at 3D Realms?

   Tramell - My job consists of a number of things; recruiting, training, asset tracking, level setup, lighting, mo-cap directing, scheduling, the list goes on but the most important roll is Artist management. I make sure the guys have everything they need in order to get their jobs done. Sometimes that means creating task lists, talking to George to hash out details, sitting with individual designers to get level specific tasks or setting up an “inspiration machine”. I do a number of things here at 3DR but it’s the same across the board, everyone has to wear multiple hats.

How long have you personally been involved with Duke Nukem: Forever?

Tramell - I joined 3D Realms in August of 2006 and I’ve been at 3D Realm since then.

With all the drama and controversy that surrounds 3D Realms, how do you and your team stay focused on the product.

   Tramell - Well, George deals with most of the drama and does his best to make sure we are all focused on DNF. When the teaser was released everyone was anxious to see how the world would respond, prior to that we (the team) had really never experienced that kind of interruption. I would have to say that we all know that the fans are looking forward to the game and we are working our hardest the deliver.

What size team are you currently managing?

Tramell - The internal development art team is 12. I also utilize outside contractors to help speed up the process.

With such a long development cycle how have you been able to maintain continuity within the art department?

   Tramell - I would have to say it has been some what of a challenge because of the significance of the title and the expectations that it carries. The length of the development cycle has had little to do with the style of art created for Duke Nukem Forever. I say that because the goal (art wise) has always been to create something more “realistic” looking, given the technology. The DNF art style has only changed because of the tech, not because we wanted to create a “cartoony” looking Duke five years ago and then switch to a completely different art style when I arrived.

   Art critiques are an extremely helpful tool to utilize when trying to achieve consistency. During our critique meetings we identify the parts of asset that don’t work or don’t fit and suggest ways of creating a more cohesive asset. When you have a talented group guys like we have on the DNF team, it’s much easier to keep the look of the game consistent.

The recently released teaser trailer seems to have caused quite a stir. How has the team reacted to the interest in the new trailer?

   Tramell - The Duke Nukem Forever teaser was a huge moral boost. The team didn’t really know what to expect to be quite honest. The response was overwhelming when we released the initial screenshot and even more so for the teaser the next day. Our servers took a pounding on those 2 days. The majority of the feedback was positive, which was great. The more critical responses were helpful as well because we have time to make adjustments.

Is the Duke Nukem character that we see in the demo, the actual game character?

   Tramell - Much of the credit goes to the programmers. That is 100% in-game, in-engine footage. That model IS the current Duke Nukem in-game model. This is not to say that we won’t be making adjustments to the model as we refine and polish the game. Everything in the teaser was taken straight from the engine via Fraps. Of course we added the logos and white flashes in editing to complete the total package.

Were you the one primarily responsible for the look of Duke Nukem? For example the large muscles and veins?

   Tramell - Dukes’ look was established long before I came on board. You can see that in the action figures, box cover art, t-shirts etc. We took all those images and created a next-gen version of Duke complete with the red “wife-beater”, shoulder straps, jeans and “alien ass kickin’ boots. I gave direction on this version of Duke along with the input of GeorgeB, Scott Miller and the artist that created the high poly and low poly models. I had a hand in it but I couldn’t honestly say that I was “primarily” responsible for Dukes look. This was certainly a team effort.

Where do your main priorities right now in development? Are you focusing on anything in particular? (finishing characters/environments etc…)

Tramell - Well, we’re doing a lot of polishing of set pieces, environments, and characters.

What has been the greatest challenge you’ve had to face on this project while you’ve been the art director?

   Tramell - The greatest challenge is and always will be trying to live up to the expectations of the fans, press, and colleagues. The fans absolutely LOVE Duke. The fans don’t want us to mess up. We don’t want to let down the fans either. So there is pressure coming from all sides.

2007 was a huge year for the gaming industry. The overall quality of the games and the frequency at which they were coming out was something we have not seen in a very long time. What are your thoughts on the big year and what were some of your favorite titles?

   Tramell - I think it’s good for our business. The gaming industry is expanding beyond every ones expectations at this point. We now see older people playing games, thanks to the Wii. Games aren’t just for kids anymore; they are a legitimate form of entertainment now. Games like World of Warcraft, Second Life, Wii Sports, Rockband, Guitar Hero, and Halo3 are breaking sales records and expanding the player base. This is just the beginning. I think we’re going to see gaming become the number one form of entertainment some time in the near future.

   07’ was a really busy year for me but I did get a chance to play a couple of games. I’m half way through Crysis right now. It’s shaping up to be a pretty good game so far. Half-life2 ep2 /TF2/Portal were nicely done. Right before my Xb360 red ringed on me I was playing Need for Speed Most Wanted, the best in the NFS series if you ask me. I know that’s an old game but I got it for my son and I couldn’t put it down ;) Of course I can’t forget Wii Sports Bowling. I know everyone with a Wii loves that game.

How have those games impacted Duke Nukem: Forever and/or the quality bar you have been reaching for?

   Tramell - We are always keeping track of what the rest of the industry is doing. As artists, we want to try to create the best visuals possible. The guys on the art team look to other artists in the industry, other in-game art, myself and each other to gauge where the quality bar is. We want to be one of the games that other artists in the industry look to for inspiration. Every day the artists are reminded of the level of quality that is expected of them via the “inspiration machine”. The inspiration machine is a computer that is set up in the artist area that ONLY displays images of renders and in-game art from games that have defined quality (in that screenshot). It’s just a friendly reminder of what the rest of the world is creating with today’s tech. No one should develop in a black box.

Do you feel pressure knowing that you are working on such a highly anticipated and iconic title?

   Tramell - Yes, there is a massive amount of pressure that goes along with the name. “It is what it is”, Right Blaw-Dog? “It’s the nature of the beast”…Scanny, can I get a slow clap ;-) (My guys from SOE know what I’m talking about) But what can you do? We are trying to create something that the majority of people will enjoy. We hope the fans appreciate our efforts as much as we appreciate their support.

What is the primary setting (time and location) that the game will be taking place in?

Tramell - Near future, Las Vegas.

When can we expect to get some game play footage released?

Tramell - Soon, as they say “Stay Tuned”

What do you plan to do when the game ships?

   Tramell - I know people may be expecting something wild, exotic, or even comical but nothing is going to change for me. I’m going to wake up the next day, go to work and work on the next project, what ever that may be. Same shit different day.

Is there anything you’d like to say to the fans in closing?

Tramell - Thanks for being there and showing your support. We really appreciate it.

On behalf of Down in Front we wish you the best of luck on your project and thank you again for taking the time to talk with us.

Tramell - You're welcome
May 6, 2009: Charlie Wiederhold recants the Chair Story:
This is a post I made on the SomethingAwful.com forums late in 2007 when prodded for more detailed information on why Duke Nukem Forever was taking so long. In the context of the original posting it was intended to be an obvious story where the reader would be drawn in, but by the end realize it was a fanciful tale.

When taken out of context of the intended post it can definitely be seen to be something else. I re-posted it on the day it was confirmed 3DR was stopping development on DNF, but I (naively) didn’t anticipate the response.
May 10, 2009: Cubeblue (the brother of a developer) answers questions about Bryan Brewer's DNF demo reel on Shacknews :
Cubeblue: I can confirm that there was far more completed than what this video implies.

The guy obviously stripped away details in some of the video to highlight the motion and animations.

I've played a good bit of the game, my bro worked there. That scene with the big alien in the football field? That's the first level, it's Duke playing an arcade version of Duke 3D inside his huge Duke mansion. This was last summer and I saw four different levels and environments that were fully playable (some just needed some polish).

They basically started making the game again from scratch (as they've done a few times) about a year and a half ago.

They had a hard cut-off date for development (11/2009) and a ship date (4/2010). They were stupid close to actually finishing this thing.

Was it going to be worth 12 years wait? Of course not. But it looked like a solid offering from a studio that had spent 2.5 years working on a title.

Chilln: If you arent full of shit... I find it hard to believe they could have been 6 months away from completing most of the game, and then just curtail into this massive crash.

Cubeblue: So did they, apparently.

The story I got from my brother was long and drawn out, but my understanding is that basically they were running low on capital and fully expected to get an injection from the publisher. Because of an old fight with the publisher (3DR apparently audited them on Max Payne earnings and found they were holding back, so the relationship was already hurt after that) there was some personal aspect to why they chose not to invest.

Plus, I'm sure the general outlook of the economy didn't help and then, to be fair, what credibility did 3DR have left after promising for years? As the other fellow said, even if it looked like they were so close, how could anyone be sure someone wouldn't make a dumb move and decide start over again or whatever.

I don't know all of the details, but I know the 3DR folks were just as shocked that they came this close only to have the rug pulled out. I heard they even shopped this to Valve, id, and other studios begging out of respect for the IP for loans to keep this thing going just long enough to tie it up. But of course everyone else has their money tied up into their own current projects. The money for this sort of thing has been drying up and people aren't willing to toss it to someone with such a poor track record, even if they see the game is nearly done. It's just too risky.

Cell9song: the fact that Valve, Epic and ID turned them down should indicate to you that things really weren't as close as your "brother" implies. The game could've been the biggest hunk of shit and still made money by the strength of the IP alone.

Personally I think there's a huge part of the story we simply aren't hearing at the moment. The fact that George has been silent just adds fuel to that.

Cubeblue: ... or they didn't have the free capital sitting around to just hand over to someone else, a competitor nonetheless. I don't know the full story, I'm regurgitating what my brother told me and I assume he heard this from George, but who knows what's missing. I'm sure there are parts of the story we aren't hearing, but I doubt we'll ever hear it all.

Cubeblue: About the stadium bit, there's a good reason for that. In the game, that's the first level and you're Duke playing Duke 3D on an arcade.

It's quite ingenious actually. So you start the game playing with this moderate level of tech and play for a few minutes and it's cool, then you zoom out of the arcade screen entirely and you're Duke and everything looks a little shinier and nicer, now you're in the actual game world and it's even more impressive. It's a really cool effect.

What I saw, and again, this was nearly a year ago, was a LOT of stuff that refers to or directly mimics D3D. There were, for example, levels you played through then you'd get shrunk and play them through going backwards except now you're small and everything is different from that perspective. I heard rumor of a level where Duke gets shrunk and hops in an RC car and drives around for a while, jumping off pool tables and whatnot.

I think they were clearly trying to give the player those recognizable moments, with a few twists here and there. The story, as best I could tell from the few levels I played through, was essentially Duke vs. Aliens again, but it certainly started out differently and went in a few different directions.

The reason you start off playing the Duke 3D "arcade", I gathered, was because there's some slowness after that where you're Duke and you're walking around in your huge Duke mansion (you literally have a Duke throne in one part of this huge building). I don't know how the story progresses from there, but that's how I understood it started off. I think the idea (then, it may have changed) was that Duke has everything at this point, he's a rich super hero in his mega-building in Vegas, and he's beginning to get bored with things when suddenly, and conveniently, a huge alien ship crashes.

Lots could have changed since that time, but from what I've seen of my bro's renders and movies from the game more recently, mostly it all looks like the same stuff I saw a year ago just a little more polished.

If this is a publicity stunt and 3DR really hasn't gone under, then they've got the employees convinced it's real too. My bro has submitted resumes and setup a portfolio site. He's making calls. He clearly believes he's out of work right now. So while I'd love for it to be a huge stunt, I think it's a little late for that.

I don't want to say too much more than what I believe is already out on the net in different pieces. Maybe it doesn't matter at this point, but George could easily figure out who I am and who my brother is and I don't want to bring anything down on his head or hurt that relationship.

My understanding from my bro and stories I've heard is that George is genuinely a great guy who tried to do everything he could to prevent this from happening. Maybe he was part of the problem at one point by being too much of a perfectionist, I don't know, but I get the feeling his love of Duke and this IP was always well intentioned.

My guess is that someone will ultimately get the IP and do something with it. So while 3DR seems dead, I doubt this is the last we've heard of Duke. I just hope someone terrible doesn't buy it and farm it out to some generic studio that doesn't care for the project.
June 13, 2009: Tramell Isaac answers questions about what happened when 3DRealms fired the development team:
The Wild Ride part 1
Too many people have asked me.."What Happened?". My response is, I'm not really sure it matters at this point. People have been contacting me to get the dirt on 3dr etc. etc. I'm not about to dish dirt, because, there is no dirt to dish.

My part of the story began like this..(abbreviated version for those ADD'rs) George and I were introduced by a colleague of ours, Cliff. Cliff wanted to invite me into this group and said that I should contact George about it. So, I did. This was around mid 2002, I believe. George and I would chat from time to time on ICQ. We would talk Duke, the industry, games, etc. Typical things you would think game industry guys would talk about. We had a number of things in common as far as work related items were concerned. We continued to stay in touch over the years, talking about DNF every once in a while, nothing too heavy just kinda touching bases. Then around summer 2006, I was in the Dallas area speaking at a convention and George invited me out to dinner. Keep in mind, I had never met George in person before, so this was a bit, shall I say, "different" for me. I'm just now remembering all of this as I'm typing. It was George, my son Donald (11) and myself. I can't remember what we ate.
Anyway... we ate, shot the shit, and rolled out, back to 3DR.

I saw the game that evening....I was very impressed. The game looked good, it played well, but most importantly, it felt like a Duke game. From the time Allen Blum fired it up, until the end of the demo, it was Duke Nukem 100%. After that demo I was like...sign me up..........TO BE CONTINUED>>>>>

The Wild Ride Part II
.... so not too soon after that meeting, maybe, 2-3 months, I signed on as the Art Director for 3D Realms. That was around August 2006. Of course, all of my friends wondered if I was crazy and Why would I go to 3dr? The funny thing is, I knew what I was signing up for. This was not a situation were I was told one thing only to find out everything was **cked up (not sure why I blanked out "jacked' but what ever). George made it perfectly clear in our discussions prior to me joining that this would not be a walk in the park. You got to respect the man for that. I came to find, that's JUST how George was, in your face, no B-jive, this is how it is, this is how I am, take it for what it is. As we used to say at Obsidian...."it is what it is". The funny thing is, 3dr didn't have anything more wrong than most other companies. ??? What's that you say??? 3dr was no different than any other developer??? Yep, I said it, their (our) problems were no more insurmountable than the next studio. Details? naw, not really important, again.. this is just a brief history of my time at 3Dr, not some tell all book. I'll just say that the problems were easy to solve, mainly because I've solved or seen them solved before at other companies.

Shortly after my arrival...just timing mostly, some people decided they had enough, so they quit. I really wish I would have had the chance to work more with them and to learn from them but I totally understand why they decided to jet. I don't really know their complete story so I'm not going to make up or assume the true reason(s) behind their departure. I will tell you this.. I talked to some of the guys after we all departed 3dr and they were genuinely upset about the outcome. They still cared for the product and the company as if they were still working on DNF. ...

Ok, got a little side tracked....soo, looks like I had some spots to fill now,....done. Everyone was in place on the art team. People were learning, growing, geling ..becoming a team. Of course if took us a little bit of time but we all came together. We were getting lots of things done. The game was looking much better than it did when I got there. That was completely due to hard work on all fronts, design, programming and art.

Fast Forward to ...around Christmas 2007 ... someone had the bright idea to make a teaser trailer for DNF. I honestly don't remember who came up with the idea...Jay or Jeron,... one of those guys. The kicker was, it had to be done on our own time. George wanted us to be focused on getting the game done (between the hours of 9am-7pm) ;-) What I do in my spare time is none of his business ...lol. We never planned to release it, it was only supposed to be a surprise for George at the Christmas party. We all busted our butts for that trailer. I think it was well worth it. Everyone that could, pitched in. I'm very proud of not just the outcome but the effort and love that went into that project. It was a small victory for the team. It demonstrated what it takes to create something from scratch to finish in a short amount of time. This small project gave the team a boost of confidence that would set the tone for the coming new year.

Needless to say, George was visibly moved by the gesture........TBC....

The Wild Ride Part III
Ok, so..."its been a long time, I shouldn't have left you..." Sorry about the gap, but its been a really busy couple of months.

Where was I... oh yeah. The video was a hit. No one was sure if George would even put the video out. When he decided to go ahead and drop it, all we could do was sit and wait to see what would happen. I thought it would make a nice headline but didn't think it would blow up like it did. We dropped it on Shacknews first and the demand for the video brought their servers to its knees. Not too shabby for a game that everyone joked about right? I'm not really sure how long the servers were down but I do know that day we proved a point. Love him or hate him, Duke was still in demand. People wanted to see the game, they wanted to see what many years of dev time looked like. Over all I think the feedback was 90% positive. 2+ million viewers on youtube can't all be wrong, right? This doesn't take into account the various other outlets that had the video linked to their sites.

I'd have to say, the next couple of months the crew was riding high. We used that positive feedback to push us even harder. We also used the negative feedback to make some changes to the models and textures. We even made some serious changes to some of the characters during this time. I know what you are thinking...of course you did... THATS why it was taking so long. Not at all, by this time we were turning around finish in-game models in about 3 weeks. Additionally, this didn't have any impact on design or programming progress. Production wise, we were on a good track, but we still needed more organization to get the whole team running at the same speed and in the same direction. What did we do.....we got a producer. Enter...."The Hook" (Brian Hook)..... TBC....

Wild Ride Part FOE
Ok, holiday travel...uh yeah, sitting in the terminal listening to some kid kcufing lose his mind. Really, parents... are you truly powerless to stop this kind of nonsense? I have a 15 yo and he was never like that.

ANY WAYYY... Looks like I have some time to blow, so it looks like as good of time as any to finish off this story, or at least this part of it. Ok, so the project was going well, better than it had been. The guys were starting to get up a head of steam, things were coming together, but we were still missing that "screw driver" to tighten it all up. I did what I could on the art side of things. I would raised a stink when things didn't make sense in the grand scheme of things, much to Georges' and the designers dismay. Those guys had their hands full and were making serious headway, but I needed what I needed for my guys to move forward. I'm selfish that way. So as you can see, we had a little problem getting everyone synced up.

ENTER BRIAN HOOK (insert wu-tang sound effects). Ok for those that don't know Brian Hook, he had a reputation for being somewhat of a d-bag. I say that with the utmost respect because I love the guy. But that was then and this was now...BHook is not a d-bag. We couldn't have gotten as far as we did without him and 'that's my word son'. Bottom line, he has a strong personality, he's a get it done (right), no BS kind of dude. He was the perfect guy for the job. Brian knew what was broken and exactly how to fix it. Insert screw-driver and turn clockwise....DONE! Brian helped us shave the b-jive and focus on what needed to get done.

Months passed, problem after problem got solved. The team was hitting on all cylinders at this point. Everyone knew what DNF was and how it was going to turn out. f-ing cool ass itsh. No doubt. The team leads, Brian, Pollard, Chris, Rick and Myself were all on the same page kicking out some serious content, design and tech in an insanely small amount of time. Along with Georges/Dukes' off the wall, no holds barred style of situational humor, DNF had the makings of something many people hoped and prayed for (sans the haters)...nothing short of "bad-ass"™. ---how you like that JB.

Wild Ride--- The Final Days
I have to say, this has been very therapeutic to say the least but it's time to bring this to a close. The last 6 months leading up to D-day where nothing less than awesome. I think everyone on the team had gotten to a point that any and everything that we created was dead on. We had created "the perfect storm". We had a team that knew the product/ip inside and out, we were nailing our goals and then some on a weekly basis, we had a plan for not only completion but for success, and we had a team with the talent, will, and drive to take this mutha-kcufr across the finish line. What more could you ask for?

The guys on the DNF team, a team 1/3 the size of the average game dev team, were pulling out all the stops. I can honestly say that everyone was in the zone at this point. Cat's would go home on the weekend and fix issues/improvements in their "spare time" and then come in on Monday and say things like, 'that animation issue you were asking about....I fixed it...yep' or, 'you know that feature we talk about maybe we'd get it in .... got it in on Sunday. I was like, damn man.. thanks a lot. These random acts of super-bad-ass-ness were like fuel for the fire. Guys would see/hear about others on the team doing stuff like that and it would inspire them to do something like that as well. I remember one of the programmers, in his spare time, got the code running on a (non-PC) platform. This team was seriously operating on another level.

So, as you can see... the light at the end of the tunnel was brighter than ever. We knew our time frame of completion was short but no one really knew how short it truly was. To say that I was shocked by the news,.. naw... I had a feeling something wasn't right in the last couple of weeks but only in hind sight can you connect the dots. Even if I had figured it out... what could I do about it, not a gosh darn thing. Lol, I said gosh darn, anyway....We all gathered for the announcement that internal development would cease on DNF. That's pretty much it. As crappy as it was 3Dr were still class acts about it. They let guys work on their portfolios after they had officially shut down. They help tons of people find jobs. They invited big name companies to come in and 'head hunt' from the 3dr employees. 3dr did everything they could to minimize the impact the loss of a job would bring. I've never seen that kind of thoughfulness in my dealings in the industry. Steve, George, and Scott are class acts, genuinely gracious individuals. I don't think any of that was told in the "wired" article. That's why it had to be told here. segway..

Okay, so I read the "Wired" article "Learn to Let Go..." I have to admit it was very well written and the guy did some serious research considering he didn't get much help for any 3dr people. I have to applaud Clive for that. AND for the fact he can recognize great talent when he 'sees it'

"Many of those he hired were high-powered creatives, like Tramell Isaac, a 12-year veteran of the industry" (never knew I was "high-powered until then, good lookin' out...oh yeah, that's 15 year vet, but anyway who's counting.

Clive, I'm sure you meant nothing by it but I do have to take offense to this line in the article..."On the last day, they gathered for a group photo. They were video game programmers, artists, level builders, artificial-intelligence experts. Their team was — finally — giving up, declaring defeat, and disbanding. So they headed down to the lobby of their building in Garland, Texas, to smile for the camera. They arranged themselves on top of their logo: a 10-foot-wide nuclear-radiation sign, inlaid in the marble floor.-----let me preface this next section by saying I'm not upset by this at all, it is just not accurate or indicative of the people that I worked with.

Why do I take offense to it?... because NO ONE gave up. Not a single person on that team wanted it to end, let alone end the way it did. As a matter of fact I know for sure that many people made sure that they wrapped up what they were working on and checked their data in before leaving that very day. Not because they were told to but because they cared about the project. They respected DNF enough to leave it with pride.

No one declared defeat, if it would have been possible, many if not all of the guys on the team would have worked on the game for free in order to finish it. To say that we gave up is like packing up the finish line and saying the runners still on the course were quitters because they didn't get there before the staging area was broken down. The guys on the DNF team were/are soldiers. We fought a battle that no one said could be won. Every time we put something out it was 50/50 love/hate..."get it done already"etc.. People had talked so much crap about the game and the company that it easy to recruit only those that cared to get the game done, lol, because they were the only ones that would touch it...ha..myself included. Everyone on the DNF team had to be very talented and thick skinned. We knew what we were getting into, so don't shed a tear for my Argentina. Bottom line, we came, we saw, and we conquered and as far as I'm concerned, we completed DNF.

Much love goes out to ALL the DNF fans and respect for EVERYONE on the last DNF team. I would gladly go to war with you guys again.

The End ........ ?
July 5, 2009: Channel_F (former 3DRealms employee) answers questions about the 2001 trailer on Somethingawful:
The 2001 trailer was 100% scripted cinematic, and not actual gameplay. They built specific demo maps just to record video from to make a trailer. Everything you see in that trailer was phony.

The typical work flow there went something like this:
Designer would be assigned a task (build a new map, rebuild an old map, polish a bit of a map, etc.). Designer would work on said task for two, three weeks, a month, all the while lower management would be looking over it and making sure it was going in a "good general direction." Designer would move on to another task. A month or two later upper management would finally look at the work and say, "It's all wrong, do it again." Rinse, repeat.

Entire maps would be done from the ground up, almost to beta quality, and then thrown out simply because no one would make decisions early on in the process. (Read up on Valve's 'orange box' method of design -- that's how you make games).

Another example of WTF is the fact that there was one part of one map that was being worked on before I started working there. Nineteen months later and the same designer was still working on the same part of that same map... I'm not blaming the designer, it wasn't his fault.

I think the biggest problem that the company had in general is being self-funded. When you're a developer working directly with a publisher and you have milestones to meet it's a whole different ballgame. If you don't meet those milestones, you don't get any money. That right there will keep your project on schedule. If, however, you're funding it yourself, you don't really have anyone to answer to except yourself and you can quickly lose sight of just how much money is going out the door.
April 6, 2011: first official DNF podcast - "Duke Who?":

April 6, 2011

ELIZABETH: Welcome to the first episode of the Duke Nukem Forever podcast series. I'm Elizabeth Tobey, and recently I spent several days down in Texas with members of the Gearbox and Triptych team, picking their brains about all things DNF. Today, we begin broadly, asking the question "Duke Who?" To many (I might even say most) of you, this question might be obvious - we're talking about Duke Nukem. But to some, the name "Duke Nukem" might be a new one - and it's time to give you a lesson on why that name is one you should never forget, and why Duke Nukem is awesome.

Today, I talk with Allen Blum, David Riegel, Eric Von Rothkirch and Kristen Haglund from Triptych as well as Chris Faylor from Gearbox.

ELIZABETH: So we’re kicking off this podcast series by talking about who is Duke Nukem? Some of the people listening to this are probably die-hard Duke fans who know him inside and out and some of them are probably brand new to him. So can you take us through a quick history lesson of who Duke Nukem is?

ALLEN: Duke started back in 1990 with Duke 1. Duke was….

DAVID: Duke was a bad ass.

ALLEN: Yeah Duke was a bad ass.

DAVID: I suppose in the early days, my perspective was that Duke was kind of the ultimate action hero without a whole lot of personality because of the limitations of the side scroller engine and what was going on at the time. And then Duke really came into his own in Duke 3D, when he started having a voice and a character--when technology made it possible for him to start interacting with the world; to put it the detail to create comedy and satire and the other things that make up the Duke game that people remember.

ELIZABETH: So moving on from Duke Nukem the man, let’s talk about Duke Nukem Forever and again, I’m going to guess that most people listening here know what Duke Nukem Forever is so for the very few who may not….I know the story is super involved and it’s not going to be something we can do in the span of this podcast, but what’s the overview of where Duke Nukem Forever fits into the history of the franchise and the world.

ALLEN: Well in Duke 3D, Duke saved the world, killed the aliens and all of that and since then, he’s basically been on vacation; exploring the world, doing his things, climbing Mt. Everest, going around the world, going into space…

KRISTEN: Winning the poker tournament.

ALLEN: So Duke’s hanging out in this casino enjoying life in Vegas and the aliens return all peaceful and friendly—but they’re not. Duke soon finds that out and off you go.

CHRIS: I like that one of the first things the aliens do is not to antagonize Duke, it’s to line up at one of his many establishments.

KRISTEN: Well I mean even the aliens may not like Duke, but Duke’s a great chef.

DAVID: One of the things about Duke’s character that’s kind of fascinating is that people remember the comedy from Duke 3D but internally I think at 3D Realms and after, we always pushed Duke as being kind of a serious character and I know that kind of sounds strange if you played the earlier games. But we always pictured Duke as being kind of a serious guy in a world that’s gone completely nuts when the aliens invade. So in many ways in Duke Nukem Forever, even in the early days, we always had this vision that Duke was this guy who saved the world and we wanted to construct a world around him that was believable. So if you knew this guy who actually killed a bunch of aliens and saved the world, what would his life be like? Well he would be a billionaire playboy who owns his own casino and who is good at everything he does and is the most recognizable man in the world. So that creates the background for how we place him in Duke Nukem Forever and even though he’s kind of cool and confident and doesn’t say very much, like the world around him is kind of this crazy establishment.

KRISTEN: Well I don’t want people to get the impression that he’s serious and he’s cool so that he downplays his contribution---Duke is all ego and Duke is fully aware of how awesome he is and the world recognizes his awesomeness so you don’t have this stereo-typical humble hero. You’ve got this guys that says, "Well yes, I am awesome and thank you for building busts in my honor and worshipping me".

CHRIS: We’re talking a lot about the world that Duke Nukem inhabits. There are some side characters to this; some characters that interact with him that totally define it. The Holsom Twins are somebody that is a pair that many will be familiar with from PAX. We’ve also got the president and some other characters. Can you speak about those?

ALLEN: Yeah well since Duke is probably the most powerful man in the world, at least from a celebrity standpoint he’s going to do what celebrities do and date lots of hot, young girls. So this kind of fits into that fantasy where the Holsom Twins are twin sisters who are pop superstar divas and they worship Duke and the ground that he walks on. In the first scene, you’re introduced to them as his "girlfriends"…

KRISTEN: Babe of the moment….

ALLEN: Yeah, babe of the moment that accompany him through the first part of the game so they have kind of an important role in the story so that the aliens who want to disrupt Duke; if they can’t get to him, then they’ll go after the girls.

KRISTEN: Or women in general because he’s big on saving the babes. And then the president has more of a political view on how the aliens should be dealt with and the aliens come bearing gifts and promises of peace. And of course the president does what all good politicians do, which is….politics….

CHRIS: Oh I thought you were going to say screw up.

KRISTEN: I was trying to be politically correct. The president kind of shapes the course of how Duke is forced to deal with certain things and how certain events unfold and then while most of the EDF is questionable…

ALLEN: For those who aren’t familiar with the trailers and so forth of the game, the EDF are the Earth Defense Force which is the Federal police force that was established after Duke 3D in order to protect the world from aliens. So they’re an important soldier class in the game that you see a whole lot of.

KRISTEN: And there is one in particular that is an old buddy of Duke’s. He and Duke get along; you can see why they get along: they go far back. That’s one of my favorite characters.

ALLEN: Yeah, Capt. Dylan.

KRISTEN: I love Dylan.

DAVID: The thing I always think about Dylan….we were talking about what kind of language the characters use and which could swear and which couldn’t and I think it was you Al that said couldn’t we focus that on one character? So one character would represent all the foul mouthed attitude….

KRISTEN: Yeah that was the idea because we had a lot of profanity peppered through the script and it was Al’s idea to have one character to have every third word was something profane or just vulgar and yeah, I would say Dylan is definitely….

ALLEN: Well that’s the thing when you’re trying to incorporate comedy into an action script, whether you’re talking about film or television or games is that you have to know when you’re going too far. And I think that with the very early drafts of the script that we had some of the team thought we were going a little bit too far that it was a little bit too silly. We wanted to re-establish some of the serious characters in the beginning of the game, then we needed to have an exaggeration and we needed to focus the comedy in particular points. So we had this one character, Duke’s friend who has a history with Duke according to the fiction of the game that you meet about two hours in and we just decided to focus all the profanity and exaggeration on him. It’s pretty hilarious for people playing the game for the first time.

KRISTEN: Like all things in Duke, he’s a man who deals with things seriously but it’s hard to take him seriously and Dylan highlights that you can’t take this too seriously and I think it’s just hilarious.

CHRIS: I like to think that Dylan’s just actually the result of Duke Nukem; like Duke got this fame and fortune for doing all these over the top things and Dylan saw it and was so influenced at a young age and said, "I’m going to join the army; I’m going to do all this" and he ends up meeting Duke and they hit it off because in a weird sense, Dylan is Duke.

KRISTEN: Yeah, I agree but like Dylan is the guy that misunderstood what Duke was going for.

ELIZABETH: Just missed the mark.

KRISTEN: Yeah, just missed the mark and took it too far. But he’s funny anyway.

ELIZABETH: So by now, I think everyone can understand how storied and how infamous this game is and this franchise, so what do you want people to think or feel when they’re playing the game? What were you guys aiming to achieve with Duke Nukem Forever? Simple question.

ALLEN: Well we hoped it would cure all world poverty and lead to world peace.

KRISTEN: A greater understanding between men and women about the real nature of men….

CHRIS: Yeah but leave disease for the next game, right?

ELIZABETH: You got to have a sequel for something, right?

ALLEN: Well Duke 3D everything was sprite based and flat; you could do a lot of stuff: we had strippers and everything but just all flat. You’d play it as Duke, it was 3D but it really wasn’t and now that things are actually played in 3D you really get a feeling of being Duke, in the world, interacting with things doing stuff. You got cool strippers who do things and enjoy it.

DAVID: Actual jiggling boobs…

ALLEN: And things…

KRISTEN: Yeah with all the technology. What did they do? They sent people to the moon with less than a calculator these days and we’ve taken all that technology and we’ve made boobs jiggle.

CHRIS: How many Apollo 13’s do you think it would take just to make one boob jiggle?

KRISTEN: I don’t know, but the boob jiggling is really damn good.

CHRIS: I think that one of the things that a lot of people have missed out on or forgotten about the series is the focus on interactivity. I’ve heard people describe it that it’s almost like an adventure game with shooting, instead of a shooter as they’re traditionally defined. What do you have to say about that?

ALLEN: I think that in terms of how to make Duke unique, over the years, I think we focused on two areas. The first, I think is obviously the character and the personality and the second element is of course the game play and one of the things that stand out in Duke is the interactivity. So whenever we’re creating levels, it’s not just about the combat and driving the story forward, it’s also about populating the world with all these things that you can do with it and mess around with. And some of them have a direct influence on combat; like things you can pick up and you can throw at enemies and kill them. Other things are kind of indirect; like ways you can manipulate the world for fun or we have a system where Duke can build his ego by doing things in the world that are like manly and cool: like lifting weights and playing pinball and things like that. Then we have quest objects in the world and humor objects and just mini games in general where you can go kill time if you want.

DAVID: I think that differentiates some of the elements that have survived over time too. We used to have more general, generic interactable objects and over time it was like "well is picking up a pencil, really Duke?" I mean being able to throw it around and do stuff. Or is it more of a cool thing to lift weights and do that stuff. Just as two examples, that kind of thing.

CHRIS: I think what’s really cool is like David, you’re talking about doing general things; you can do things that affect the story. When you go and you encounter these situations, you don’t actually know what’s what. It’s hard for a player to say, "Oh this is just going to do something cool to the room it’s not going to…I mean most people, there’s a point in the game where you just have to microwave popcorn. Let’s just say it out: you have to microwave popcorn. So when the mechanics are introduced in an earlier mission, and it’s completely optional, I don’t think anybody’s going to be like, "Oh yeah, I better learn how to do this now."

KRISTEN: Well I think one of the things that makes Duke so enjoyable from a player, I’ve never been…I have somewhat of a technology background…but never in video games and I’m strictly familiar with Duke from a player perspective; is that one thing I like and have always liked about Duke is that all those things in the world feel like Easter eggs. So it feels like you’re getting this cool thing you’re not really supposed to have, and yet you’re supposed to have it and I think that’s what makes it different from the perspective of "Oh I have this and clearly I need this and it’s being presented to me for a purpose". You don’t know: is it just some random thing I can do or do I actually need to learn this? And from a player point of view and not enjoying linear game play where you’re lead around by the nose, I get to enjoy it. I really get to enjoy it without thinking why I should be enjoying it or why I should pay attention.

ELIZABETH: Now I know that we could go super in depth talk forever about what makes Duke Duke, but I think we’ll leave that for the subsequent podcasts. But before we go, could you give an overview of the teams and the studios that have made Duke and are bringing him back to life now.

KRISTEN: In history or currently?

ELIZABETH: In history. Just so everyone knows who to thank for making this possible.

DAVID: Well Duke Nukem originated at 3D Realms of course. Allen Blum, George Broussard and Scott Miller and a lot of the early guys back in the day are really responsible for the core concept and the character and bringing the game to life in many ways. 3D Realms ceased development in 2009 and at that point Triptych games was formed by some ex-3D Realms employees and a few other people and we resumed development. We’re still working on the game and doing content, a couple of multi-player maps and optimization on some things to help out on consoles. There’s Piranha Games that’s joined the party to help bring the game to consoles and doing a tremendous amount of engineering work in that respect and is also responsible for multi-player with code and game play. Then Gearbox Software are the care takers of the franchise now and they’re managing everything from a high level and have lent a tremendous amount of support on the engineering side, helping get the game out of the door; but also QA and marketing.

And then all of us are working with 2K Games who is publishing and doing all the great things that are peripheral to the game: marketing, funding and getting the game ready for retail.

CHRIS: I think the neat thing about Duke Nukem is that not only has it gone through multiple developers, but through multiple publishers as well. It was originally a GT Interactive game way back when. There was also a time when it was being produced under Gathering of Developers, GOD Games which was later acquired by Take-Two Interactive and was instrumental in the formation of 2K Games as a publishing label. I look at my 2K Games representative question mark there… [laughs]

There was even a time when Duke Nukem Forever was slated to make its debut as a digital download title for Tritan, was it?

ALLEN: Yeah there was Tritan briefly. I think Prey came out on that but yeah that was something 3D Realms was trying before it ran out of steam.

ELIZABETH: The game is timeless.

ELIZABETH: We’re here. It’s going to ship.

KRISTEN: When you think about it, we have a friend who had a child in ’97 or ’98 and he is now an eighth grader and he wants to be a game developer. And I look at Jared and I’m like, "I remember when your mother and I were roommates in college".

CHRIS: Somebody pointed out at lunch to have you work on doing a credit site having you look for all the people. One of the articles pointed out if you were born when Duke Nukem Forever was announced, you are now in high school. And it’s like….wow.

KRISTEN: Yeah, really trippy. Makes us feel a little old.

ALLEN: Better be worth the wait.

KRISTEN: Well yeah. A whole new generation is now ready for Duke.

CHRIS: I like the idea of Duke showing the world what humor is, what good game play is and what it’s all about; then disappearing like stepping away for a little bit and seeing how things evolved and that coming back and saying "Nope you did it wrong."

KRISTEN: You see this? No don’t do this.

CHRIS: Like "Hey guys, that’s cool. Like what you did there is really cool. Just want to be sure you remember where we came from." It’s really a blast that it’s a throw back and it feels modern.

KRISTEN: I don’t think that it’s a throw back. I think that if anything, it’s good game play and that something that’s quality and just plain good stands the test of time.

CHRIS: I guess when I say throwback I just mean a lot of the just game play stuff has been iterated out.

KRISTEN: Yeah, it’s kind of gone the way of the dodo bird.

ALLEN: So that makes just some great opportunities for satire and we’ve got those sprinkled throughout the game. In the very beginning there’s a key card joke where you think that you’re supposed to find a key card for a door, but you actually don’t. Now I don’t want to give that one away. But there’s plenty of other instances where you’re fighting along some of the soldiers and they yell out, "Get behind that chest high wall". That’s a little specific; that sounds familiar with current game design.

CHRIS: There’s a lot more than you think. It’s just like the environments and everything else. There’s so many details packed into it. I’m still finding things in levels I’ve played multiple times; discovering new Easter eggs. Thank you so much everyone for taking the time we really appreciate it.

DAVID: I’d like to say to fans that I’m actually now working on the demo so I will get back to that and try to finish it for you guys.

ELIZABETH: This concludes the first episode of the Duke Nukem Forever podcast series. We'll be back next time to give you a history lesson about DNF. Thanks for listening.
April 12, 2011: second official DNF podcast - "The History of Duke Nukem Forever":

April 12, 2011

ELIZABETH: Welcome to the second episode of the Duke Nukem Forever podcast series. I’m Elizabeth Tobey, and today I’m back with some of the team from both Triptych and Gearbox to talk about the very long and storied history of this game. First, let me let the guys and gals introduce themselves to you, and then we’ll begin our roundtable discussion.

ALLEN: My name is Allen Blum. I work at Triptych doing level design and everything.

DAVID: I’m David Riegel, president of Triptych.

KRISTEN: I’m Kristen Haglund, a managing partner.

JOE: Joe Siegler, community manager for Duke Nukem for Gearbox Software.

CHRIS: Chris Faylor, Gearbox Software community manager.

ELIZABETH: So during our intro podcast, we talked very briefly about who Duke Nukem is and his history; but today we want to give more history to the companies, the franchise and Duke Nukem Forever itself. Can you shed some light on how Duke Nukem Forever started as a concept and how it progressed and morphed over the years into what it is today?

ALLEN: As a concept, we started after Duke 3D and Duke 3D did really well; we did the expansion pack for that and everyone liked that so we decided to do a sequel, of course. So in ’97 Todd Replogle and I started with the Quake engine and concepting stuff out and getting things working; seeing what the tech could do, things like that. Then with George Broussard we kind of set out the overall plot of the game; figured out it should be in Vegas; what Duke should do, what type of places you should go to, stuff like that and just went from there. Over the years, just reiterated on that; figured out all of the details, what specific places Duke would want to go to, things he would do and stuff like that.

ELIZABETH: Definitive answer.

KRISTEN: Well Al was there.

JOE: Al was there from day one with the first Duke game, so there’s not a lot to add to that.

ALLEN: It just goes from there, so…

KRISTEN: We would just recite what Al told us.

JOE: So Al’s just talking for all four of us, huh?

KRISTEN: I would think that’s true.

ELIZABETH: So there were initial designs and initial desires, technology, time and goals and personnel changed a lot over the years. Can you say whether your vision and desires from back then are very, very different from what they are today? How did that change and morph?

ALLEN: Well luckily as consoles came out and computers got faster and there was better and better tech, we were actually able to improve a lot of things. Like initially in the Quake powered stuff we had a jeep you could drive, but it was more like a person walking through space. Now we have a huge monster truck and you can destroy things. It’s far more immersive than what it could have been, way back then. So yeah luckily with the tech advancing we could do a lot better….

JOE: It has a benefit to the dev time, you can do some much better things. Had the game come out when it was supposed to originally, it wouldn’t have been anything like it is now.

ALLEN: Well it would have been Duke 8 or something…

JOE: Well, no I didn’t mean that. What you were saying about the truck, that vehicle you were talking about in the beginning that had about—what 2 polys or something like that?

ALLEN: Yeah, it was a basic jeep and it had a flat, so you could find a tire and put it on. Drive it and stuff like that. Things have progressed.

DAVID: I think the main things that have stayed the same are Duke as a character and the general plot and outline of the game. The game design has advanced so much over the past 10 years; you know, a lot of updates were made and we tried to keep the same level of intensity and action, while trying to do things the correct way, the modern way.

ELIZABETH: Gearbox isn’t the first studio to work on this. I think that might be new to some of our listeners. Can you talk about all the studios working on this, far beyond just the one name that you sometimes see reading a headline? Talk about who’s actually making the game and who’s made it throughout all of the years?

DAVID: You want to talk about the inception, since it was the studio of Allen Blum right at the…

KRISTEN: According to Wikipedia….

JOE: Have you been editing Wikipedia?

ALLEN: Is that what it says in there?

KRISTEN: It was a while back.

DAVID: It was referring to Duke 1.

KRISTEN: That’s what I was referring to also. Wiki is very interesting, at times.

ALLEN: Yeah, well if you want to go back that far. Duke 1: Todd Replogle and I went to school together. We grew up in Santa Cruz together and as I was going to school at UCSC studying computer science, he was making the side scroller stuff and then he started working on a side scroller that eventually became Duke Nukem 1 and we worked together on that: so that’s company one, I guess. Then company two would be on Duke 2 with him and I working on it out of our apartments here in Texas. I had to move out here, which was interesting. And then Duke 3, Todd and I started on the first floor of the, at that time Apogee building and we had our own office and our company actually had a name: Core Software.

JOE: What did you call it?

ALLEN: Core Software, I think.

JOE: No actually that was Steve’s stuff, wasn’t it?

ALLEN: No well there was a Scenario Software that…

JOE: Scenario Software, that’s the word I was trying to think of.

ALLEN: Then we were going to be Core Software for Duke 3D. But we worked on that for a while and eventually moved upstairs; got more people on it and so it became Apogee then they started 3D Realms.

JOE: It was just you and Todd and Steve Tietze when you were Scenario?

ALLEN: Steve Tietze and Dirk Jones and then James Storey came on and him and I worked downstairs, through the nights…

JOE: Yeah, but you spent most of your time looking at pictures of….who on the wall?

ALLEN: Winona Rider?

JOE: Well, you’d sleep on the floor.

ALLEN: James slept on the floor.

CHRIS: How did that become 3D Realms? How did the Duke games become associated with 3D Realms?

ALLEN: Well we were always, I guess technically, a contract; working on the game and everything. And so as we progressed, we just needed more people. So we moved upstairs, we got more space and more people and through 3D Realms we got more people. There were only 6 of us or something like that.

JOE: On the Duke 3D team? By the time it was finished, it was probably a little more than that but for the bulk of it, yeah. It wasn’t like projects today where you have like 6,000 people doing….

ALLEN: Yeah. It was very bare bones. But we saw that Todd and I were not enough people to make the whole game so it was brought upstairs and at the time it was Apogee.

JOE: Yeah, Scott had that thing in 1995 or 1994 where he was like…the name Apogee…we had about 20-30 games at that time…and he was saying the name Apogee had become diluted and you didn’t know what you were going to get. And the idea behind the name 3D Realms was to focus and the idea was when you were getting a 3D Realms you knew what kind of game you were getting and that was a marketing…Duke 3D was the second game under the 3D Realms’ label but certainly the most popular.

ALLEN: What was the first game?

JOE: Terminal Velocity.

CHRIS: Wow. That takes me back.

JOE: Terminal Velocity was the first 3D Realms’ game in 1995.

CHRIS: I remember that very well. Very, very well.

JOE: Yeah, but the name changed from Apogee to 3D Realms was a marketing thing that Scott came up with.

ALLEN: Yeah, so it separated all the side scrollers and all of that from the 3D.

DAVID: 3D Realms developed Duke Nukem Forever for many years. This is very much a 3D Realms game in many respects; they engineered the character and the concept and it went into development for so long by so many talented people. Triptych Games was formed in 2009 mostly by some people who were once at 3D Realms and a couple of new people. And we resumed development on the project in July of 2009 and are currently working on the product. Our responsibilities now are basically managing single player content, optimizing content for consoles and we had a small hand in some multi-player map creation. We are joined by Piranha Games who is doing the majority of the console work for the engineering side of things for 360 and PlayStation 3, an enormously difficult task.
They’re also responsible for multi-player on the code side and most of the multi-player maps and we are all sitting under Gearbox Software who is managing things from the top. They have a lot of their own people on it, especially from the engineering side. They’re doing QA and kind of overseeing the project, as a whole. And then we’re all working in conjunction with 2K Games who is doing a lot of things peripheral to development, including funding, marketing and publishing, retail distribution: all the great things a publisher does.

ELIZABETH: Before we get into the boring details of the day to day, as many studios as there have been, there have almost been as many versions, engines and iterations of this game. Can we talk a little bit about the history of the life of the game in terms of different versions, different engines?

JOE: The earliest one was just Todd, the first ever incarnation was Todd Replogle just messing around with Quake 1 code, because at the time id Software didn’t have Quake 2 code ready for licensees to use, so Todd was just messing with that until they finally delivered the Quake 2 code.

ALLEN: Yeah we had the Quake 1 stuff at the beginning of ’97 so we got everything working from there just trying to see what it could do and all that. Then we finally got to Quake 2 stuff, you know, colored lights, radiosity. Radiosity was nice.

JOE: But it was cool because even then you’re just so, “Look at what we can do with lights!”

ALLEN: Yeah. Well Duke 3D was all sector based so any lighting you saw and shadows were built by hand. So being able to place lights and get shadows automatically was awesome. But after that Quake ran really good and we got a lot of stuff, but when Unreal came out we were able to do things more like we were able to do in Duke 3D where a wall would actually block everything drawn behind it. Quake didn’t quite do that right for us, so we decided to switch over to Unreal and that worked out pretty good. Kind of…

JOE: Yeah, modified and tweaked and added.

ALLEN: Yeah, it was a simple content switch over to the engine. Wouldn’t take too long…

JOE: Just a 6-month delay that we said it would cost us.

KRISTEN: Only 6 months?

JOE: That’s what we projected at the time, only 6 months.

ELIZABETH: Was that really the first projection? Only 6 months?

JOE: That the engine switch was only going to cost 6 months.

KRISTEN: It was no big deal. It was straight-forward.

ALLEN: And now we’re here at 2001, is it?

JOE: 2011.

ALLEN: Are you sure? That doesn’t add up right. From there we had Unreal and as things progressed with the project, wanting to keep up with tech and stuff like that, we started to do more things with it; like updating the mesh rendering, update the lighting, you know, various aspects.

DAVID: I think one of the interesting things about 3D Realms that people don’t realize is that 3D Realms always had a very small number of developers working on the games; a small number of very talented guys. As time progressed, it became evident that it was too small so they started adding more and more people. I came on in 2004 and at that time, the technology was just beginning to change over from that first and second generation of Unreal into kind of the modern era of the technology of the game. So right around 2005-2006 the technology underwent most of its modern rewrites which is soft shadows, the complex material system, Meqon physics with rag doll and all that--just all the things that eventually evolved, many of which are still around today. Because that was around when 360 and PlayStation 3 came out and the technology was much more advanced than it ever had been in the past.
As far as the actual game is concerned, I think that things just evolved over the years kind of iteratively so the game from 2006 was basically the same game from 2003 with just a few changes; a few level changes. Al you might be able to speak to that a bit better.

ALLEN: From what years?

DAVID: I don’t know from year to year. I mean there was never a point where the game was completely destroyed and rebuilt, except when Quake changed over to Unreal. There were always small changes and then when technology changed there were particular sections of the game that were jettisoned and rebuilt.

ALLEN: Yeah, there was a lot of stuff you could do things a certain way in Unreal that as we changed the lighting and various aspects, you wouldn’t be able to do the same exact things in the same way. We had a whole subway system at the end of Vegas and things like that, I could probably still make work but it’s not in the game anymore.

JOE: You had a subway system in Duke 3D too.

ALLEN: Yeah, true so we had that again. Actually I made a subway, well a raised subway in the Quake stuff. Yeah so we had all that. That’s when we first had the physics stuff where you had vehicles and you could chase down the subway in a vehicle and climb on board which was fun. It took a lot of time to get it actually working. But as tech progressed and the things we wanted to do in the game changed, some of those levels went away and we focused on the individual spots.

JOE: Yeah, but you’re also the guy that kept repeating Hollywood Holocaust every time we’d change anything.

CHRIS: Well you have to have a corner stone.

ALLEN: You have to keep something the same, at least.

DAVID: I think one of the most interesting things we can talk about is the state of the game right at the end of 3D Realms and how it’s changed over the last couple of years; like the modern version of the game. Because that was something that people really wanted to know back in 2009, was how close the game really was to being done. When 3D Realms shut its doors in May, I would say the game was maybe about 75-80% compared to what it is today, but it was interesting because it was a kind of an uneven 80%. There were entire AI systems that were done, probably about 90-95% of the weapons were done in terms of effects and game play and entire sections of the game that are still around now---a lot of the game is still around now; but it was missing some major things, like there was no…

KRISTEN: Narrative?

DAVID: There was no narrative script; there was no dialog; nothing written for any character.

KRISTEN: No story. No animations for it.

DAVID: Most of the characters didn’t exist. NPC behavior didn’t really exist, like no head tracking or eye tracking, no lip syncing, none of that. No music, no ending: there was a planned ending but it wasn’t really there. So like most of the game was there and was fun, we really had a significant challenge taking over in 2009 trying to get those core systems in and so we had a very specific strategy to get those in during the course of the next 7 months. When we took over the game, we had a very small skeleton crew and we really focused on the PC single-player version, trying to get that done. When Gearbox Software became involved, and later Piranha Games, we could really focus on bringing the game to consoles and presenting it the way it should be presented. So even though all the core elements were there, we could really focus on improving the game and improving the presentation and getting multi-player in and getting all the things that should have been there that we couldn’t do with a small team. So that’s where the game has evolved since then. We’ve also added some really spectacular scenes over the past few months; like a lot of people are really familiar with the PAX demo now and like the white board scene, like the football stadium battle, all that has been improved so much since then.

ELIZABETH: Final question before we wrap up this episode. DNF has a life of its own, not just for your guys, but for the media, for the fans, for pretty much everyone who has ever heard of Duke. How do you think release day is going to change people’s perceptions and what do you think, hope, feel they’ll be feeling when they play the game?

KRISTEN: I think what’s going to surprise people; I don’t think it will actually change people’s perceptions of Duke. I think it will remind people of why they liked it so much, because we didn’t go and try and reinvent the wheel; we didn’t try and build a better mouse trap. Duke is Duke and he is fabulous the way he is. I think it will satisfy nostalgia and I think that it’s that feeling when you go home and it’s still the same but it’s a little different. It’s ok and it’s great. I think there’s going to be that feeling that there’s just some things that are just right and the team knows that and it’s great and this is still the Duke I know and love; only he’s bigger and better and he’s relevant to me today, but I can still enjoy him like I enjoyed him in the past. So I think that’s going to be what a lot of people are going to respond to; that it’s not different, yet it is.

JOE: I did that when I was up here about a month ago and played a build to the game. It was the first time I had sat and played the game for fun, without a testing group or somebody watching me, since the 3D Realms days and I was, “You know, this is still fun.”

KRISTEN: Yeah, it’s just something you sit back and enjoy and if you didn’t know Duke before, it doesn’t matter; you’re still going to have the same Duke experience that we all enjoyed and for people like us, it’s a new and fresh Duke and for other people it’s the old Duke. So I think it will serve both, do you agree?

JOE: Yeah. Well you’ve seen Scanners, right?


JOE: If their heads don’t explode playing the game then….

ELIZABETH: Thanks guys for joining us. This concludes the second episode of the Duke Nukem Forever podcast series. I want to thank you for joining us. We’ll be back soon with our third episode, talking about guns, grenades, and more.
April 20, 2011: third official DNF podcast - "Guns, Grenades and Other Things that go Boom":

April 20, 2011

ELIZABETH TOBEY: Welcome to the third episode of the Duke Nukem Forever podcast series. I’m Elizabeth Tobey, and today I sit down with artists, level designers, and the QA lead on DNF. What are we talking about? Duke’s arsenal and all things exploding. First, let’s get into the introductions, and then talk about some guns.

CHRIS D: Chris DeSimone, CG Artist at Triptych Games.

ANDREW: Andrew Baker, Level Designer at Triptych Games.

BRAD: Brad Jacobs, Level Designer at Triptych Games.

NICK: Nick Wilson, Effects Artist at Gearbox Software.

JAMES: James Lopez, QA Lead for Gearbox Software.

ELIZABETH: Today we’re going to talk about all the weapons that you can encounter in Duke and there are many of them, so we probably won’t get to them all. But I want to give you some insight into some of the cool things you can do and play with in Duke Nukem Forever; so how about we just talk about some of the basic weapons that Duke has access to. What’s in his arsenal?

JAMES: The first two weapons that we revealed at PAX were Duke’s pistol and the Devastator which are mainstays ; they’re staples of the Duke experience. Those come back; they’re still just as strong in single player and highly useful in multi-player: they can be devastating. Nothing in multi-player is useless. You can use anything to master anyone else.

ELIZABETH: How about alien weapons? Does Duke get to play with any alien technology?

BRAD: There are some alien weapons in the game.

ANDREW: Yeah, as part of working your way through the hordes of aliens coming down on you, you encounter all kinds of enemies who have integrated weaponry as part of their biology or armor and you can take advantage of a couple; two or three different kinds of those.

ELIZABETH: Can you give an example or two?

ANDREW: My favorite one is the Enforcer Gun. That’s my favorite. You can fire off a triple shot of homing energy missiles at any moment and it’s got a great look, great animation and sound effects. It’s just cool.

BRAD: Yeah if you want to see how funny and awesome the rag doll is in the game, use that gun.


JAMES: Yeah. It’s also the sound of your doom coming right at you in multiplayer and you’re like, “Oh no.”

BRAD: And it’s funny but at 3D Realms it was one of the later additions to the game weapon-wise before closing and you know as a Duke 3D fan, my favorite really strong weapon, when you go into explosives, is probably the Devastator. But for me, the Enforcer Gun—I gotta say---has taken its place. I like it more than the Devastator. It’s so much fun to use.

ANDREW: It’s got a limited range but if you use it right it’s a “fire and forget” kind of weapon, which I think is kind of like putting a trip mine on somebody. You get your chance, you take your shot and then you can bug out and let your missiles do your work and go on to the next goal or another battle with a player or whatever. And the player can survive or outrun those homing missiles as well in different ways; find a way to take cover, to cause them to explode prematurely, drink a beer and toughen himself up to stand the explosions. There’s all these different options.

ELIZABETH: So in the game weapons are weapons, but you’ve got to have them sound and feel and look the way they should so you get that right feel and joy out of firing them. How do you do that? I think you’ve talked about this which is why I’m staring at you.

NICK: Yeah, I know. A lot of the stuff I did was tuning up the older particle effects we had for some of the weapons that we had in DNF. I looked at most of them, I think by this point. Freeze Ray was a big one. Allen [Blum] changed a lot and was like “Oh, could we do a beam instead of the Duke 3D bouncing ice projectiles?” which actually you have both in the game, so that’s really cool. But it’s like yeah, we’d really like to do a beam but Rob [Faison] had hooked up this kind of watery Ghostbusters looking thing and we’re like hey let’s get some bloom on this and get it to glow and I think people were pretty happy with that one. The Enforcer again, was one that I already thought looked awesome, but then the task came in they’re like let’s tune this up and I was like OK I’ll add some tiny blue balls that are glowing and stuff like that and that’s about it for that. And that is an excellent weapon. When was the last time you played a game where you had a homing rocket launcher that fired in a burst?

ELIZABETH: It’s true.

CHRIS D: As far as the sound is concerned, Eric [Von Rothkirch] is the one who made all the sounds for the weapons. It took him a while to get some of the really subtle ones like for the Ripper. You don’t think that would be hard to make, but he was trying to get some really good bass in it without overpowering it.

BRAD: Yeah, he was really dedicated to getting the sounds just right and went through several iterations, I think for pretty much every single weapon.

JAMES: Each weapon sounds unique. It’s like whenever you hear one being shot, you know what’s being shot. It’s like, “Oh that’s the AT Laser” or “Oh that’s the Ripper. That’s the shotgun.”

BRAD: Yeah, they’re all very unique.

JAMES: Right. It’s not like hearing a bullet being fired and you go, “Oh that could be anything”. No you know what’s coming after you.

CHRIS F: I think something that’s really interesting is not only does each gun have its own unique sound, it has its own unique look and I know there’s a lot of different inspirations for the weapons. Some of them are from real life. Chris, do you have any stories about that?

CHRIS D: Duke’s pistol actually was modeled after George Broussard’s real 1911 handgun and that’s when they decided to change the pistol from a Desert Eagle to what it is now. I was working at 3D Realms when he brought in the gun and gave it to an artist named Mark Skelton and Mark’s job was basically to model that gun and make it look like it actually would fire like a real pistol.

JAMES: So George actually had a gold-plated…

CHRIS D: It’s not exactly like that gun, but it’s very similar. There’s an actual ivory handle, but I don’t remember if it was gold plated or not.

ANDREW: Maybe chrome. I think so.

CHRIS F: Was that the only weapon George brought into the office?

CHRIS D: No I heard that he also brought in a shotgun. I was not there that time, but he did bring in a shotgun when they actually modeled the shotgun for the game.

JAMES: Not a lot of places you can work at where you can just bring guns in very matter of fact and say, “OK prop.”

ANDREW: We had a Christmas party somebody gave away swords.

JAMES: That’s so 3D Realms.

ANDREW: Yeah, one of our white elephant gifts was a set of swords.

JAMES: Nice.

CHRIS F: I think during the Gearbox Christmas party this year we had a ninja kit with sword and throwing knives and…

ANDREW: Well you’ve got some ex-3D Realms guys here they might be bringing over their ways….

ELIZABETH: Their traditions….

JAMES: Your marauder starter kit.

ELIZABETH: So Duke just doesn’t use guns all the time. He also punches, uses fists, and uses executions. Can you talk about those tools as weapons and specifically with executions: what they are, what he does, what he might say?

BRAD: Well in Duke 3D, when you shot at a guy, especially the Assault Troopers, they would go down and then hold their throat as if they were choking and then die. It’s similar in this game, except that when they go down, they’re very vulnerable for a period of time and then you can press “use” on them, triggering an execute attack. There’s more than one execute attack. Duke has his barbarian yells and sounds for each attack and really exaggerated sound effects for kicking a guy’s head off and things like that, that bring back influences from Duke 3D like the Mighty Foot for example.

ANDREW: We’ve got a couple of enemy types that basically run up and engage the player in kind of a grappling battle and to see who can win that and that’s another thing Duke ends those successfully with another kind of execution.

JAMES: And there’s a---not for the grappling one---but for the ones where you wear down their health and then execute them; you want to do this because it will replenish your ego, which is your life force in the game.

ANDREW: Yeah, so if you’re deep in a serious fight, you can run out in the open and take that chance and be right back to square one again. And also take out an enemy at the same time in a fun and cool way.

CHRIS D: It’s also very satisfying to use your fists after taking some steroids.


JAMES: And that’s something funny. In a lot of games, if you were down to your side arm, you would feel vulnerable. Fists come just as natural to Duke as any other weapons. If it comes right down to his fists you’re like, “Alright. Well I’ve got plenty of ammo for these”. There’s never a point where you’re really unable to destroy your enemies, which is awesome.

ELIZABETH: This is a pretty general last question to ask you guys, so please feel free to answer as you see fit. How does combat happen? What kind of areas and battles and variety are people going to experience and see throughout the arc of the game?

NICK: Something that occurred to me today was it’s very different from Call of Duty where you turn a corner and you see several enemies under cover and you’re like, “Well if I lob a grenade, then they’ll come out of cover and then I can mow them down with one of 18 different machine guns.” Duke’s arsenal is like “Yeah, I got a machine gun.” But then he also has his Rail Gun - Sniper Rifle - and a bunch of these other alien weapons that are completely unlike anything you’d play in any other first person shooter. So the setting that you usually find yourself in is completely different from another game too. You go out and say, “OK there’s several cars on the Vegas Strip, there’s aliens flying and teleporting everywhere and then there’s also pigs that are running up on you and trying to gore you with their tusks.” And you develop your favorites amongst your arsenal and go “OK well if the Pig Cops run at me I definitely just want the Ripper so I have a constant stream of ammo flying in their face.” Whereas with the Assault Troopers flying around, you probably want something that’s quicker; you want to get as close to them as you can, do a shotgun blast and bring them so they’re not teleporting the whole time and constantly annoying you.

CHRIS F: I think that something that stands out for me is the way that each weapon is introduced to begin with. I mean, each weapon is introduced in a way that you know the particular pros, cons, strengths and weaknesses of it so you can take full advantage of it. And what really, really stands out is the beginning of the game. A lot of games start you out with a very weak weapon. The first weapon you get is sort of a training stage. With Duke Nukem Forever, your first weapon is the most powerful weapon in the game. And when you finally get past that and you get the pistol, the pistol isn’t some little throw away thing. It is quite literally a show stopper for the aliens and between that and your fists, I mean, Duke can do almost anything.

BRAD: That’s the thing about the pistol. The pistol is one of those weapons where it’s all about accuracy and head shots. So if you can nail a guy in the head a couple of times with the pistol, I mean, he’s going down.

JAMES: Yeah, even whenever you’re shrunk, if you get good with head shots, you can drop larger foes; with some difficulty but not insurmountable odds.

CHRIS F: I guess I’m going to have one last follow up rabbit hole question since we’re talking about head shots. There’s one weapon in the game that has a great effect when you have head shots. Where did that idea come from, what were some of the other ideas being tossed around there?

ELIZABETH: And what is the weapon for all those dying to know now?

CHRIS D: That was the Rail Gun. That was a late addition because in old Duke 3D he didn’t have a sniper---it’s basically a sniper rifle. We called it the Rail Gun because originally we kind of wanted it to hold the person you’re firing at kind of pinned up against the wall; and then they would either explode or you’d shoot them with another weapon. And I think that naturally it just progressed to actual body parts flying off and of course the head, enlarging and exploding.

BRAD: Yeah, well I’m not sure, but at least in my mind this is where it came from at least fictionally is in Duke 3D they had the expander technology. And in the game the EDF have grow pads so it makes sense that they would make a weapon with expanding capabilities. So if you shoot a Pig Cop with a Rail Gun, it’s going to expand his head and blow up.

ANDREW: If you want to, it’s kind of an energy weapon in that it fires an incredibly fast beam that’s really powerful and does a lot of damage with one hit. Some enemies you just hit them with one shot of the Rail Gun and they turn into bloody chunks; which is great. I always made up the fake side story behind it that yes, they have the expander technology and the way the projectile is imparted force to travel is through that expander technology somehow. It’s like the ammo comes in little Tic-tac sized boxes and then expanded and shot out of the barrel. And the expansion of the Pig Cop when you shoot one the right way that causes his head to expand is kind of a side effect of the technology in a cool way.

JAMES: Yeah, you know once you shoot a Pig Cop with the Rail Gun and you see his head expand and explode, you’ll always go for the head shot. I mean, making them explode is very gratifying, but once you get that kind of action, you just want it over and over again.

CHRIS F: I think I was talking to David [Riegel] about this the other day, and he was telling me at one point like Chris said, they wanted to have it pin up against the wall. And they were like, “Well, it wasn’t really as satisfying; didn’t pull it off as well as we’d hoped. So we’d try to make it gib the guys and like, that was OK. So then we tried to dismember, like a limb or two and that was fun. But then we were like, let’s make it explode their heads and that was awesome. So we looked back at what we’d done and were like, ‘Why don’t we just combine all those?’ So now it gibs, it blows off their heads, and it blows off individual limbs.”

ELIZABETH: Mix and match.

CHRIS F: Mix and match, especially the PAX demo that we showed at PAX Prime in September. You could do a shocking amount of damage to those Pig Cops, even post mortem.

ELIZABETH: While we haven’t talked about all the weapons, and definitely didn’t touch on everything you can do with even the pieces we did discuss, I think the guys did an excellent job bringing to light the awesome that is Duke’s arsenal and all the toys you’ll soon be able to get your hands. Thanks for listening, and we’ll be back next episode to talk about the game’s atmosphere.
April 27, 2011: fourth official DNF podcast - "Atmosphere in Duke Nukem Forever":

April 27, 2011

ELIZABETH: Welcome to the fourth episode of the Duke Nukem Forever podcast series. I’m Elizabeth Tobey, and today I’m with some of the guys from Triptych to talk about what goes in to making the atmosphere in DNF. Through art, level design, and an array of different audio tricks, these guys bring their version of Vegas to life.

ERIC: My name is Eric Von Rothkirch and I’m Audio Director at Triptych Games.

BRAD: My name is Brad Jacobs and I’m a Level Designer here at Triptych Games.

ANDREW: My name is Andrew Baker and I’m a Level Designer here at Triptych Games.

CHRIS D: My name is Chris DeSimone and I’m a CG artist at Triptych Games.

ELIZABETH: For today’s podcast we’re talking about atmosphere and location and everything that goes in to making the world of DNF believable. So let’s start with the broad and obvious. Where does Duke Nukem Forever take place and why did you choose to put it there?

CHRIS F: The answer here is Vegas, by the way.

CHRIS D: The game Duke Nukem takes place in a variety of locations but mainly Vegas is the backdrop for the game and that’s something that was decided a long time ago, before my time; back when they first started in ’97.

ELIZABETH: More than just the where of the game, could you talk about when it takes place and sort of the liberties that you took with that “when”?

ERIC: It’s always been kind of a “near future” not really a specific time, but near future.

BRAD: I think it’s more specifically 12 years since the last game; so it’s kind of an alternate universe thing.

ANDREW: Absolutely. It takes place after Duke 3D. It is sort of a sequel. So you imagine the world of Duke 3D which is kind of an alternate United States---imagine what’s happened in 10-15 years, since then.

BRAD: Yeah.

ELIZABETH: So on a more granular level, can you talk more about some of the locations and places that you’ll see in Duke Nukem Forever and why did you decide to build out those spaces? Now I’m not just going individual levels or maps, but also indoor versus outdoor and how that really translates to the mood and also to the game play.

CHRIS D: Well, like I said before there are several different locations and mainly one of them is Vegas and of course if you’re in Vegas, you want to see a casino. And of course, in our game, Duke owns a casino so you’ll get to see what kind of a casino Duke would actually own. As well you’ll also get to see the outside and there was actually a little bit of fighting going on between what to show as far as the exterior of Vegas: should it be at night or should it be during the day? And we felt it actually looked better during the day because we could get better results from the way it looked ‘cause at night you just don’t see as much. And I know that people want to see Vegas at night, but we kind of went the other route with that. And then we also have a lot of terrain maps as well as the Hoover Dam, which of course you know is near Vegas. There’s also, I don’t know if I can say it-- there’s also kind of like an alien environment which the gamer will eventually see. I’m not going to reveal too much.

ANDREW: I know one thing I wanted to add real quick was as well as Duke’s casino, you get to see other Duke themed businesses and projects throughout the game—and I don’t want to give anything away but you go to a couple of other places that Duke may or may not be involved with his franchises and projects which were pretty interesting and cool.

CHRIS F: What I thought was interesting is that those aren’t just---well obviously the brands and franchises are made up---but the locations and even most of Vegas in the game is based on real world Vegas and then just flipped, like “what if Duke really owned Vegas?” Because he saved the world and became such a phenomenon that he could do anything he wanted.

ANDREW: I remember a funny thing was that George [Broussard] goes to Vegas or went to Vegas a lot and he brought back a whole bunch of photos from the strip that helped a lot of people. Basically he cruised the streets in his Lamborghini and took photos for a while so it gave us a good basis for a lot of locations and backdrops.

CHRIS D: Yeah that was back in ’97 or ’98 but none of us were there. Al [Blum] was. Yeah and he actually took a lot of the guys who were working at 3D Realms to Vegas and they actually stayed at a bunch of the different casinos and took reference pictures.

ELIZABETH: Yeah I’ve seen pictures of people at the Hoover Dam too.

BRAD: Speaking about Vegas streets, going back to what you were saying about daytime, a lot of games do Vegas at night and us doing Vegas during the daytime not only made it fresher, but it shows off the war a lot better, during the daytime. It’s sort of like the morning after the worst Vegas party there could possibly be; it kind of has that vibe to it and I always thought that was really fitting to Duke.

ANDREW: The alien ship showed up and turned everybody into Pig Cops.

BRAD: Yeah, that kind of thing. It’s a bad thing, yeah.

ELIZABETH: People often focus on the look of the world, in general, and you know the concept art of the big vistas; but what makes the gaming world to me are the little details, the brands that you were talking about ---the sounds, either ambient or the noises you’re actually hearing during combat. How did you guys make that realistic yet fantastical? What did you aim for and what did you focus on when making every little detail that brought the world to life?

CHRIS D: I would say that it wasn’t exactly entirely planned. I mean there were parts where like with Vegas, you kind of knew what we wanted to do and in some instances they would kind of give---I’ll just give a for instance---like a task for you to do; like another casino.

ANDREW: Yep. We approached it from both directions. We had designers that would work kind of grey box basic designs up and then artists would try and bring those to life. But we also had artist do kind of 3D concept art for us and just build the places and then we’d look at it and say, “OK well you can cut this here so I can separate these here to make this modular” and then make levels from that and they both worked.

CHRIS F: And then that 3D concept art the artists made, that wasn’t just some guy that came off the street; that was someone who actually had a background in architecture.

ANDREW: Right, one of them, Andrew Kerschner.

BRAD: Speaking to the humor and the art, like I think a lot of the humor in the game; there’s so many hidden pieces of art to find that have little jokes on them, little labels to read. There’s just jokes everywhere. I think that process really worked to the game’s favor because you had all these artists that said, “Oh I really get to put jokes in everything?” So they would just sneak in jokes whenever they could and we would just be play testing our maps and find a new piece of art and find a new joke. It was just adding value to the game, all the time.

ERIC: Speaking to some of the character and the details, what you were talking about; the mixture between real world and more over the top stuff, audio-wise, that’s always been kind of a struggle and a fun challenge. Like say you have a desert environment. Out in the desert it’s arid and windy and things like that. You don’t want it to be too realistic; you want it to be comical with little elements, like the tumble weed blowing in the background and things like that: the classics.

ANDREW: Yeah, like cliché it up, which is a good thing.

ERIC: Yeah. You almost can’t go too original with the iconic stuff. You have to bring in elements that people recognize, so we tried to do that as much as possible throughout the levels, when designing the environments.

BRAD: That’s really helped the flavor in general, I’d say.

ELIZABETH: How about casting the characters and the voices, the sounds that you hear? There’s a lot beyond just Duke’s voice that you hear that adds to the mood of the game.

ERIC: There’s a lot of dialogue in the game. You mean the NPC’s? The NPC’s we cast a lot of them at Triptych and as it turns out some of the voices were the same voices that are in Borderlands, but we didn’t know that. We did not know that; didn’t plan that.

That was just a funny coincidence, and when Randy came and looked at the game the first time, he actually recognized some of the voices and said, “Oh, I know that voice.” That was pretty funny. We went with people who could or who were willing to go over the top and were comfortable going over the top. Some people turned us down saying “This is just too goofy” and that’s fine. So we ended up finding a lot of people who had more of a silly side and wanted to do more silly stuff in their acting. That ended up working out really well for the actors that we chose.

ELIZABETH: Going a little bit into the history of the game and the long dev cycle, how did the levels change over time---either as tech change or the direction of the game changed? Is there anything that stayed pretty consistent or do you have an example of anything wildly different?

BRAD: A lot of the overall game locations and concepts stayed the same. Like the overall idea that we want this type of environment, with these types of things in it stayed the same, more or less. But yeah, like how levels were built. Several different approaches were tried.

ERIC: The general progression was the same too---not to give too much away. You started out in Duke’s casino then went out into the environment and explored those. That has all remained consistent.

ANDREW: Yeah, it’s been pretty consistent for about 5-6 years. There haven’t been any huge tech changes since then. One of my first jobs in 2005 was to take levels that were built kind of in the 2000 era with a very brush oriented mentality and convert them into more static meshes and patch mesh art. That’s what I did for the first few months I was at the office, to literally take stuff that already existed and modernize it for a while. A lot of that was cut, though. That’s one thing too; the game’s gone through multiple cuts and moments where production would literally look at the game as a whole and then start over from the perspective of what’s going to have us wind up with the best game and plan out new cuts. We would pull levels apart and put them back together; more than once. And I think that’s helped the pacing and the feel of the game immensely.

CHRIS D: Yeah, the game was definitely huge in scope. There were a lot of levels and we kind of had to just pick certain ones that we really wanted in the game and say “OK, the rest we shouldn’t do because it would take forever to make it.”

BRAD: Or really just compromise the quality of the rest of the game and this game is about customization anyways. So in order to achieve the level of customization we have in our game, you have to at some point, become very focused on those locations only. Like speaking, the game is a more linear first person shooter. It’s not like an open world type game so it’s going to be more focused.

ELIZABETH: When you talk about customization, what do you mean?

BRAD: I mean there’s so many different surprises. So many of the games these days are set in a war. Our game is set in a war, but it’s an adventure in a war and that’s not very common anymore: adventure and first person shooters have kind of fallen by the wayside. There’s probably no better universe to have an adventure in than Duke’s universe and that allowed us to do a lot of things to surprise the player. I don’t want to give anything away but I mean almost every level has something that’s going to surprise you. There’s something funny, there’s something exciting, there’s something…there’s little to know just grinding through another combat sequence in our game. It’s very much like, “Oh here’s a twist here, here’s something new that happens here, here’s a funny scripted sequence, there’s something here.”

CHRIS D: That’s what I like about it. You know, you’re not being forced through the level. You can stop and look around and like you’re saying, you can interact with things. You’re not just getting from A to B and that’s it. I mean it is a little linear, but there’s little side shoots, little areas you can explore.

BRAD: Yeah and that ties in, like you said, to the interactive side of the game. Again, I can’t give anything away, but there are so many cool, interactive things in the game and no one really does that kind of thing anymore. We have a full blown, working pinball machine in game and it works exactly like a real pinball machine. It’s not a quick and dirty mini-game. It’s a full working pinball machine. It keeps your high score, it does everything.

ANDREW: Yeah and it’s not simulated. It uses the same physics as the rest of the game. That was really hard to actually get to work and there were moments when we were like, “Why don’t we just simulate this? We can’t really do it.” But we persevered and I think that’s how a lot of the elements in the game feel: united, together because they’re all from the same thing.

I was going to go really quickly to the technical side of customization. We’ve got a few things a few technologies in the level making process that are kind of unusual, I think for game development now; in that there are a lot of tools for the level designers to customize areas with blending textures from surface to surface. We have patch mesh tools which are very much like rudimentary modeling tools in the editor. They’re kind of like the, if people will remember, patches and patch meshes from id Software’s Quake, things like Quake 3 and things like that but five years on. What would it be like? What would those tools be like? And both the artists and level designers use that together. But I think that’s why the environments feel like they do is it’s not just a series of sets of static meshes and art that you’ve seen reused and repositioned. We tried to keep things unique. If not completely unique, at least one or two things you would note as being as new like “Oh I haven’t seen this yet” as you go through the game.

ELIZABETH: Thanks for listening to this episode of the Duke Nukem Forever podcast series. We’ll be back next time to explore aliens in DNF.
May 12, 2011: fifth official DNF podcast - "The Aliens":

May 12, 2011

ELIZABETH: Welcome to the fifth episode of the Duke Nukem Forever podcast. I’m Elizabeth Tobey, and today I’m back with Chris DeSimone and Benjamin Wagley from Triptych Games as well as Chris Faylor from Gearbox Software and we’re talking about aliens – everything from Pigcops to the Alien Queen and beyond.

CHRIS D: Chris DeSimone, CG artist at Triptych Games.

BENJAMIN: Benjamin Wagley, I’m an animator for Triptych Games.

ELIZABETH: So in this episode of our podcast, we’re going to be talking about the aliens in Duke Nukem Forever which is quite a staple of the game. Let’s just start in general, who are the aliens? What’s their deal? Didn’t Duke already do this once before? Why are they back?

CHRIS D: There are all different kinds of aliens. Of course we have the classic Pigcop which is an EDF soldier who’s been transformed into this brutish pig-like creature. One thing we kind of did differently in Duke Nukem Forever with the Pigcop is that he actually will run on all fours which gives more of an animalistic character to him; not as human as you saw in the old Duke 3D. And we’ve got the old Assault Troopers which are of course from Duke 3D, but they have a bit more of a different look and feel to them: not as cartoony as the old Duke 3D game. A lot more realism has gone into the way they look and act. And then of course we have some really stellar boss alien creatures like Assault Commander, the Battlelord and the Cycloid Emperor.

CHRIS F: It’s been over a decade since we last saw the aliens, both the real world and in Duke’s world a lot has changed during those years and they reappear. Of course they come back. Duke thinks they want revenge, there’s some people out there that think they’re back to make their peace. Given the premise of the game, I think you can guess which way it falls. So they’re back, they want revenge and they’re getting their revenge by taking our women.

ELIZABETH: So the aliens, in many ways, look very reminiscent of the aliens in Duke 3D. Obviously there are some significant changes, but were the aliens always going to have that more direct evolution or was there a time when there was going to be drastically different aliens?

CHRIS D: I’m going to say and I’m just guessing here, that George [Broussard] definitely wanted that classic feel to them; but a little bit …more, maybe in how they act, in terms of the animations, maybe certain weapons upgraded. Because, you know, you obviously don’t want exactly the same thing because who wants to play the exact same game?


CHRIS D: I think it was kind of just a normal kind of evolution in terms of what character was going to do what, what kind of weapon they would have and I think as those elements started to take shape in the actual design of the game, we started to find out like what we were going to do with each enemy and how they were going to act and how they were going to combat Duke.

ELIZABETH: Obviously you are representatives of a very large team, a large history and many years of design, but how did you – that’s the royal you - come up with the designs for some of the aliens? I’ll name a couple that I have questions about but feel free to skip over them and talk about which ever ones strike your fancy. Like the Alien Queen or the Pregnator or the Pigcops, how did their design timeline go?

CHRIS D: Yeah it is kind of hard to comment on these when some of the design choices that were made I wasn’t around, but I do remember the Pigcops. They actually went through a couple of different phases and I know there were a lot of concepts made of them. They eventually picked the concepts made by Feng Zhu which definitely made the Pigcop a lot bulkier, and I would say kind of meaner looking and less like Porky Pig. Once they actually decided on a concept, there were actually, I want to say, 3 iterations of actual meshes that were made. Actually went through 3 different character artists.

BENJAMIN: Elaborating some on what De said, you can definitely tell the difference in Pigcops that were in Duke 3D versus the Pigcops you see Duke Nukem Forever. Not only just because the technology was a lot different but because overall the Pig Cops in Duke 3D are definitely more animalistic, they’re definitely scarier, more menacing characters than what you saw in Duke 3D. Now you had mentioned the Pregnator. I wasn’t there when it was designed, but I view it as you know when you watch Aliens and you see the face huggers or you see the face huggers in Half Life. There’s only really speculation on how the face hugger implant the alien seed. With the Pregnator, you’ll figure it out. The way the character design was, there’s not a whole lot left to the imagination on how they work with the big hairy nut sack on the back of them. And I’m not going to say how you’ll figure it out ‘cause I don’t want to give it away, but it will be memorable when you figure out how. It will definitely be a surprise.

CHRIS D: Yeah, I think we kind of went the opposite direction with the Pregnators in contrast to the Alien face hugger which is more like female genitalia. The Pregnators are more male genitalia.

BENJAMIN: Yeah, but even then the character itself, it is comical because it does have a big hairy nut sack on the back of it; but at the same time the character overall is still kind of menacing with really sharp claws that it walks on and a hard carapace on the back. It’s like an overall theme for the alien characters. They’re trying to be menacing but not scared to have a comical element to them.

ELIZABETH: Are there any real distinguishing features or actions or weapons of any of the aliens either overall or particular models, classes in general?

CHRIS F: I want to chime in and say, Octabrain.

ELIZABETH: Oh right, good one.

CHRIS F: The first time you see one you say, “Oh look a floating enemy I’m going to throw a pipe bomb at it.” And you watch that pipe bomb come right back at you. So there’s definitely some surprise there. And the other thing I love about the Octabrain is in Duke 3D, the Octabrain was the most terrifying enemy in the world. It would scream and rush at you and you knew that you were dead. This time you’ve got a little bit more of a fighting chance, but they’re still really big jerks.

CHRIS D: They are and to this day, I hate fighting more than one at a time because they’re brutal.

CHRIS F: That scream. I’m hearing it in my head right now. It chills me to the bone.

CHRIS D: Yeah, every time I wind up flying and there’s more than one attacking, I’m constantly running backwards.

CHRIS F: Yes. That’s one of the….not to say the hardest section of the game---but one of the ones I had to try over and over again to try and figure out was a section with multiple Octabrains at the same time.

BENJAMIN: And they add a really good element to the game, because in some cases you’re fighting the boss and you also have the Octabrains. And when they show up, you can’t also fight the boss the same way, just because of the reason you gave. If you have a projectile to kill the boss, they show up, the Octabrains will spit it right back at you, so you can’t focus on the boss with one weapon while they’re there. They add an interesting twist where you have to switch strategy when they’re there.

CHRIS F: Well I think it’s really interesting that there actually is a strategy and it does depend on each enemy. You can go in guns a-blazing and pray for the best and usually it’ll work out; it might not be the most efficient, you might not survive the first few time, but you can get through it …just maybe, guns a-blazing. But each enemy has a weapon or technique that works really well against it. Okay, to be fair, the first fight against the Cycloid Emperor is hold down the trigger button and blast him as much as you can. But everything after that is not just fire---there’s a puzzle element to it almost.

BENJAMIN: Right. I don’t think there’s any boss that you can fight in the game, including the first one where you can just stay in one position and just…

ELIZABETH: For sure.

BENJAMIN: Now with the first boss, you’re right—you have one weapon and you pretty much hold down the trigger and look for more ammo but even if you stay in the same position, you’re going to get knocked down. And you’re right that different boss fights you have different strategies. You can’t use the same weapons, one, because not all the weapons are available and two, different boss fights have different weapons that are better for them.

CHRIS D: We purposely made the opening sequence relatively easy because we don’t want you to die.

ELIZABETH: So for our final question before we wrap this one up, do guys have any favorite aliens, or weapons or perhaps ways to deal with an alien?

CHRIS D: My favorite has always been the Cycloid Emperor. The character artist that actually made him is Randy Forsyth and he did a phenomenal job on that character. I want an action figure of that guy; I really think he looks cool.

BENJAMIN: As far as the weapons go, I would probably say the Enforcer Gun is my favorite. It wraps kind of; you know you have your RPG in there but it’s also….like with the RPG you have to hold the reticule over the character for it to become heat seeking. But with the Enforcer Gun it’s pretty much fire and forget. As far as character goes, the best boss would probably be tied between the Alien Queen and the Cycloid Emperor. The Battlelord was cool and he was really cool to animate…but the Cycloid was…well it was probably a tie too as to which one was more visually appealing. Like the Alien Queen, they actually made a decision to make her bigger to look more menacing. They had to change the map around to accommodate that but it was definitely a lot bigger. But she’s got 3 boobies and how can you go wrong there?

CHRIS F: I think one last question about the Alien Queen, Chris you talked about this and it’s a wonderful appropriate topic. How large is the Alien Queen, relative to Duke? I mean is there any specific part of her body equivalent to one Duke?

CHRIS D: I would say that her nipple is almost as big as one Duke. That’s how giant those boobs are. We really wanted them to stand out.

CHRIS F: And I think that went people play, they will definitely see that they do. Without giving anything away, they are actually tied to game play. They are not just window dressing, so to speak.

ELIZABETH: And with that, I think that wraps up this podcast. Thank you guys so much for being here.

ELIZABETH: And so ends the fifth episode of the Duke Nukem Forever podcast series. Stay tuned for our next episode where we’ll talk about multiplayer.
May 20, 2011: sixth official DNF podcast - "Multiplayer in DNF":

May 20, 2011

ELIZABETH: Welcome to the sixth episode of the Duke Nukem Forever podcast series. I’m Elizabeth Tobey, and today I’m back in Plano with some of the guys from Triptych and Gearbox to talk about multiplayer – from weapons to modes to maps. Before we get started, let’s let the team introduce themselves, and then we’ll get to the meat of this podcast.

JAMES: James Lopez; QA Lead

NICK: Nick Wilson; Central FX at Gearbox

BRAD: Brad Jacobs; Level Designer at Triptych Games

ANDREW: Andrew Baker; Level Designer at Triptych Games

ELIZABETH: So today we’re talking about multiplayer in Duke Nukem Forever which I know is going to be a huge topic for the fans; everybody loves multiplayer. Can you talk about how multiplayer came about in Duke Nukem Forever?

ANDREW: Well the multiplayer had always existed. It was always planned, even when we were incredibly single player focused and working entirely only on the single player game back in the 3D Realms days, multiplayer was always functional, it always existed. But it wasn’t until this last year or so that a lot of it became finalized. And we started off with bringing back that basic multiplayer functionality up to speed a little bit. Triptych’s lead programmer, Rob [Faison], went in and did some quick clean-up for it and we started putting together some test maps. I remember Brad made the first couple of test maps.

BRAD: Yeah.

ANDREW: And we just started playing those and even with all the incredible glitches, complete craziness and sometimes non-functional things that would happen when you’re dealing with a very, very beta thing—we were having a blast.

BRAD: Yeah, it was fun right off the bat.

ANDREW: So we were really excited when we got Piranha [Games] to finish it and bring it to completion.

JAMES: Yeah that’s something that when Gearbox got involved and we were looking at all the design documents and the idea of what is this game supposed to be; when we got to the multiplayer portion of it everything was about attitude and faithfulness to the brand. Does this “feel” Duke? Does this feel like this is unique to Duke? It was never about matching what anybody else was doing; it was always about “does this fit with the single player?” “Does this fit with the idea of what a Duke multiplayer should be?” I’ve been on the project for about a year, and we’ve been looking at multiplayer on a daily basis and it’s still fun to pick up the control. And that’s something that’s really unique, because there are people that work on so many different games where they don’t like what they’re working on, because it burns you out looking at it every day. But we still have a lot of fun. We’re always just teasing each other, like “Aw in your face” or “No, you can’t get me if you’re shrunk, can you?” So it’s still a lot of fun and all very Duke appropriate.

ELIZABETH: We’ll talk a little bit before we get into game play, modes and maps about the people making multiplayer. Who are the studios, who are the minds, who are the brains and what are they doing?

BRAD: Well after we got our rough multiplayer stuff going, Piranha came along and was hired by Gearbox to do the multiplayer portion of the game and they really grabbed that by the horns and took it in a really good direction. I think one of the most satisfying things for me was working on single player and we would take breaks to play multiplayer and see how it was progressing. We designed a couple of maps, the layouts for a few maps and to play that and see “Oh I’m unlocking something, I’m getting experience, I’m getting these in” to find ourselves addicted to our own game, even though we didn’t design that from the ground up. That whole system was Piranha, so that was very assuring to us.

ANDREW: Yeah, I remember it was great to play it as new elements of the game came in and became functional in multiplayer, that was really exciting. We tried to help them with environments. We worked on a couple of maps to bolster their maps, their group of maps and then handed them off to them when they got to a certain point where we couldn’t continue anymore; we had to go back to single player. And they’ve done a great job. They took all those maps and made them their own. I think people are really going to like it. It uses a ton of elements from the single player game I think in a way that people are going to find interesting; weapons and other abilities Duke has.

JAMES: I play a lot of multiplayer games and I always get kind of annoyed when I go to a map I never saw in the single player campaign. I’m like, “I feel no attachment to this. Why do I care about this map,” aside from “Oh this is a sniper map or this is a good grenading map.” You know, everything that you’re in for multiplayer is something that in some form or fashion was in the campaign. So it always has this familiarity to it; it feels like you should be there.

NICK: You’re probably looking for missing features too. There’s always something in the single player that’s not in the multiplayer experience, but that’s not the case in Duke. You have all the same weapons, all the same items, etc.

JAMES: Yeah, that’s a good point.

ELIZABETH: Before we jump ahead to weapons which I know they’re going to be dying to start dissecting, let’s talk about the modes of multiplayer. What are they? What can you do?

JAMES: There are four modes. There’s “Duke Match”, which is a free for all; there is “Team Duke Match”, which is team deathmatch; there is “Hail to the King”, which is a king of the hill mode so there will be a ring that you have to control and you want as many of your people there to defend it because the multiplayer is very brutal. The multiplayer forces you to be active. You can’t just hide in the corner. If you’re hiding in the corner, you’re not contributing. You have to be involved. The other mode is “Capture the Babe” which is a very refreshing take on “Capture the Flag”. You go to the enemies spawn point and you grab their babe and you have to take the babe back to your place and you score a point. She will put her hand in front of your face and you can’t see where you’re going; you can’t see anything. And it’s really good, because during this time you can still defend yourself but it’s with a little small but powerful Derringer which is great. Because even as people are chasing you, they might think they have you and then you one shot them and they’re gone. But you’re very vulnerable during this time because one: you have this giant target on you; and two: you can still be shrunk as you’re carrying this babe and you don’t want that to happen, because she will crush you. So it’s really awesome. It’s very funny and is probably our favorite mode in the testing department.

BRAD: In my opinion why that’s one of the funniest modes too because there’s a lot of opportunity for dialogue. There’s a lot of dialogue in the multiplayer and there’s a lot of multiplayer specific dialogue. So there’s a lot of humor that you’re going to miss out on in the game if you never play multiplayer.

JAMES: You know that’s a great point actually. I haven’t really thought much about but a lot of multiplayer games don’t have dialogue. It’s just on your headset, if you use that at all. But there’s a lot of engagement in multiplayer.

ELIZABETH: So about weapons. What are the weapons and is there anything in multiplayer that’s unique to multiplayer?

JAMES: There is actually one item that’s unique to multiplayer and that’s the jetpack. The jetpack is something that’s not in the single player game. It is an item that you pick up that when you follow the button prompt you can fly around. But it’s not something that you automatically fly up, it’s more the direction you choose to go. So if you activate the jetpack but don’t tell it where to go, you’re wasting fuel while essentially standing in place or hovering, that’s what it would be. So that’s something unique. But all of the other weapons you’ll find also in the single player game like the 1911 which is a strong side arm pistol.

CHRIS: And based off something that was actually a real weapon.

JAMES: Yeah.

CHRIS: Both that there was a real weapon, there was actually a 1911 pistol, and the one in the game is actually based on one that George Broussard bought and brought into the office.

BRAD: Same with the shotgun. At 3D Realms, the shotgun from Duke 3D is a real shotgun.

JAMES: So George just has this pistol gripped shotgun he brought in?

BRAD: Actually I think it was in the animator’s office for a while.

ANDREW: Yeah, yeah.

BRAD: That was one of the coolest things for me, going to 3D Realms for the first time: seeing that.

ANDREW: One of the coolest things, exactly, was coming into the studio for the first time and seeing their prop department. That’s how a lot of the art for games was created before Photoshop was a sophisticated as it was and digital photography was as sophisticated as it was. If you needed to model a pair of boots for Duke and do the art for it, you went out and bought motorcycle boots. There actually are Duke Nukem’s boots in George Broussard’s possession: the ones that they were based on for all the first games and even Duke 3D.

BRAD: I will say this. It was very obvious early on in our multiplayer testing, that Shrink Ray play is awesome and we started trying to capitalize that within the design of our own maps. One of the maps I worked on, a construction [yard], there’s a lot of tables and there’s holes in the wall with the studs still intact in the walls. So if you’re shrunk, you could slip through there. So you’d be in a room, having a battle with someone and they’ll shrink you and they’ll run over to step on you and you’ll give them the slip by slipping through a mouse-sized hole in the wall and going around and then they try to go around and you can cut back through the other way. So it really turns in to this cat and mouse game, because when shrunk, you’re on a timer until you get enlarged again. And if you get enlarged, while you’re shrunk in a space you can’t fit in, you’re dead. So if you shrink someone and they run under a table and you’re shooting at them and you’re large, trying to nail them with your pistol and they’re dodging you all around, they know they have to get out from under that table pretty quickly or they’re going to die. It really changes the gameplay for that amount of time. It really twists everything on its head.

ANDREW: An additional thing is when you’re shrunk, it scales your gravity and weight as well so you can make your escape sometimes by leaping what people would think is to your death, but you settle slowly to the ground the way an ant would fall out of a skyscraper.

JAMES: Those are great points because the shrunk gameplay is really unique and it’s fraught with peril. You have to be really aware of your surroundings, because you’re not going to make your stand out in the open, shrunk. That’s ridiculous. Everyone will—especially in Duke Match, a free-for-all, if you’re shrunk, everyone forgets what they’re doing to come over and stomp on you.

BRAD: Just to do it, yeah.

JAMES: So yeah, you have to know where you are because there are tables everywhere and there’s some outdoor maps where there are rocks. If that rock’s jutting out at all, you might die underneath it when you grow up. So you have to be very careful and very aware of your surroundings while also remaining on the move. It goes back to the thing I was saying earlier: the multiplayer forces you to be involved. You can’t just stand still. If you stand still, someone’s going to destroy you.

NICK: The shrink ray, even in Duke 3D, that was the same reaction everybody had. There was this distinct “worrroooh” sound when someone shrunk and everybody stops to go chase this dude down and step on him. And like everyone’s laughing maniacally about it and really there’s one point to be gained, but that’s the testament to how fun the multiplayer is in Duke games.

CHRIS: Something that stands out to me when I play, when the shrink ray’s in effect, is that it almost feels dishonorable to use a pistol, or a shotgun or a rocket launcher and it’s really weird because a kill is a kill, right?

JAMES: Right.

CHRIS: You get that point regardless and there’s nothing in game that says, “Oh you’re a jerk” or “What a cheap death” or like “Come on grow a pair”. No, it’s just there’s something in your mind, or at least in my mind—maybe I’m broken — but there’s something in my mind that when I see somebody shrunk ,I’m like “Nope, gotta step on them. Gotta step on them.”

JAMES: Gotta step on them.

BRAD: Gotta step on them.

ANDREW: Yep. It sounds like the same thing that happens to me with the Freeze Ray, if I can mention that. When you freeze somebody, you can switch to another weapon and give a shotgun blast and just shatter them. Or you can get up close and personal and kick their head off and shatter them.

JAMES: Or you can plant a trip mine on them.

BRAD: Yeah, that’s the ultimate.

ANDREW: So there’s almost this subconscious desire to kill with a little bit of style.

BRAD: Yeah. I think planting a trip mine….the first time I planted a trip mine on somebody’s face while they were frozen that might be one of the most memorable moments I’ve had playing multiplayer. Because they can see….half of their screen is filled up with this trip mine on their face and they know they’re just waiting to die.

CHRIS: I love the trip mine so very much because it’s such a call back to the older days when I would just go home and play demos of games on MSN Game Space. But like proximity mines and remote mines and all that are such a wonderful staple of like chaotic, evil multiplayer and being a jerk. It’s so much fun to just throw it on a launch pad or throw it somewhere you know someone is going to walk but place it just right so that they don’t see it or avoid it or they’re going to land there.

ANDREW: What I love, instead of doing the typical thing you might do if you’re in one of the more enclosed spaces; a lot of the maps have interior/exterior spaces with back hallways and some basements and things you can go into. And whenever you go into those back hallways, you’re always aware, “Oh, I could possibly encounter an enemy at any moment” so a lot of times, you want to have your close up and personal weapons when you’re in those small spaces, like the shotgun. I completely gave up on the shotgun in small spaces. I keep my hand over the key I have bound for the trip mine. And that is probably the best thing is running through a base, having a quick encounter with someone when they pop out of a doorway and you’re like “eh, eh, eh” and then bam! They’re just covered in trip mines and you run away. It’s great and you just hear the damage behind you.

JAMES: Definitely don’t want to give away too many things, because--- not out of confidentiality, but I want people to figure this out on their own. There are some very devious things you can do with a trip mine. Chris mentioned one of them and we didn’t actually think of that immediately. It took us a little while. We’ve got this guy on the test team named* Tim Lohrenz, who is this really nice, soft spoken guy; but he is a menace in multiplayer and he just found every spot where you cannot see around the corner and he’d plant a trip mine there. Every jump, he’d figure exactly where you’d land and plant a trip mine. You don’t want to put it on the jump pad, because someone might see it there. You want to put it on the destination, so they think they got away from you scot-free and then they realize they’re plummeting to their death and it’s their fault.

CHRIS: And you can’t do anything at that point. Like all you can say is, “Oh shit there’s a trip mine there.”

BRAD: Yeah.

CHRIS: You can’t be, “Oh yeah, I’m going to steer clear of it” unless you’re fortunate enough to…

ELIZABETH: It’s just like, goodbye.

BRAD: Well not to give another strategy away, but trip mines are easily disposed of with pipe bombs. So it’s not like it’s an over-powered broken thing. I mean if you’re careful, you’re not going to get killed by a trip mine.

ANDREW: If you’ve committed to a jump pad jump and you’re incoming on a bunch of trip mines and you can get your RPG out in time, you can clear your way. And that adds more depth to the game.

JAMES: The pipe bombs are another very great thing. Someone may think they have this unassailable position and you just lob that thing up there and go 3, 2, click.

ANDREW: Yeah, we’re pretty happy with the way they bounce.

JAMES: Oh yeah, yeah. That’s one of the great points is they have great bouncing to them.

ELIZABETH: Yeah, can you talk, before we wrap up, about the customization options? Because it’s not just a bunch of clones with different shirt colors running around.

ANDREW: No, no, no. We have eyewear. We have headgear.

BRAD: Eyewear, hats, all sorts of stuff you can unlock. There are a lot of unlockables. I don’t know if we can get into the My Dig stuff. That’s a whole other realm of unlockables specific to multiplayer, which doesn’t even have anything to do with the customization of Duke. But yeah, there are different shirt colors, there’s different kinds of shirts you can wear; lots of ways to make your own Duke.

JAMES: Yeah, and not all of them make you look cool. Some of the accessories you can put on make you look goofy, which to me that’s my favorite thing. Whenever one of these guys is on a frenzy, just killing everything around him and he’s got on some jerkwad tank top or some goofy hat. Like everyone knows who that guy is and they all want to take him down, but they just can’t. They really start to hate that Duke.

BRAD: Yeah, that guy with the double rainbow shirt…

ELIZABETH: I know that we could probably talk endlessly about multiplayer, but I think that you’ve given everyone a good overview. Thanks guys.

BRAD: Thanks Piranha!

JAMES: Yes, thanks Piranha!

ELIZABETH: If you guys are anything like me, you could probably listen to these guys talk about multiplayer for a lot longer than this podcast has lasted – but we had to let the team get back to doing what they do best: making the game awesome. But don’t worry – when the game comes out, these guys will be online and I’m sure you’ll be able to get in a match or two with them.
May 20, 2011: seventh and final official DNF podcast - The Home Stretch:

May 20, 2011

ELIZABETH: Welcome to the seventh episode of the Duke Nukem Forever podcast series. I’m Elizabeth Tobey, and today I’m talking with Randy, David, Allen, Kristen, and Chris again. We’re discussing what I like to call the “home stretch” – not too long from now, you’ll all be playing Duke Nukem Forever, and these guys are the ones who brought it back to life.

RANDY: I’m Randy Pitchford, President of Gearbox Software.

DAVID: This is David Riegel, I’m President of Triptych.

ALLEN: This is Allen Blum, I work at Triptych as a Level Designer.

KRISTEN: I’m Kristen Haglund and I’m Triptych’s Managing Partner.

ELIZABETH: This game has been in development for over a decade. Can you talk a little bit about the early days; bring us back to that world when Duke Nukem Forever was just fledgling in your minds? And then go and talk about the development cycle through to today.

ALLEN: Well really the whole thought was just to get Duke into a location that Duke would go to, so of course: Vegas. Everything from that point on revolved around Vegas; what would happen, where would Duke go, what areas would be cool to play in? You’d want to go to a strip club, a casino and eventually you’d go to to Hoover Dam, stuff like that.

RANDY: I remember back when we were working together, like when we shipped the Atomic edition? I don’t even remember there being a debate. It was just like of course there’s going to be a sequel and we just kept doing stuff. And Al was tinkering with the build engine and there were some things that were going on that Ken Silverman did to the engine to allow voxels; to add voxels to the engine and some things some guys had done to allow us to fake 3D with room over room and stuff. And everybody just kept doing stuff. Like Allen started building maps in a kind of upgraded Build engine, I remember Brian just started making weapons and crap with voxels. And then I remember one day George just showed up and “Oh I licensed Quake” and we were like, alright, and handed us the disk.

ALLEN: It’s hard to even remember back that far; but yeah like the voxel thing and room over room stuff.

RANDY: Yeah, there was some cool stuff you were doing.

ALLEN: Yeah, with Build it was actually programs and stuff. The room over room stuff they eventually used for Shadow Warrior, which was was interesting.

RANDY: Right, it was really cool. It allowed us to fake 3D back when everything was just 2½D. But it’s like weird, in my memory we’re all just sitting around making stuff, and yeah of course there’s another Duke game. I remember though…remember when Keith joined the company and he had that 2D side scroller with the 4; Duke 4Ever? And we like, “Yeah that title is really clever.”

ALLEN: Yeah, George liked the 4. I thought it was cheesy…so cheesy.

ELIZABETH: So let’s skip in time to 2001 when that famous trailer happened. Can you talk about created that trailer and what the time period for the game really like? What shape was the game in?

ALLEN: Back then the game was in really good shape. We had a lot of maps, there was a lot of game you could play through. It was definitely a highlight of everything we had at that point. Work still needed to be done past that, obviously. So everything in that trailer; there’s a lot of good stuff. Mostly a lot of concepts. There was that one scene when you’re driving down the street and that big army ant or whatever was chasing you. We had just recently got that in at the time so we had a horrible animation of him kind of patting his head ant-style that was kind of weird. But as far as the state of the game, we had a lot of content but most of the stuff needed a lot of polish.

CHRIS: That was and correct me if I’m wrong, but that was one of the only times that Bombshell actually appeared.

RANDY: No the 2001 trailer didn’t have Bombshell. I think that was the earlier one with the Quake engine. She like ran up a ramp into the back of a dropship. But that animation, she was like this…

ALLEN: Yeah, she had arms straight out.

ELIZABETH: For all of you listening, that was an amazing stiff-arm animation by Randy.

ELIZABETH: So skipping forward in time, when 3DR closed, what was the state then, with the game?

KRISTEN: David talked about it a little earlier, relevant to Duke and bringing Duke back to life, there was no narrative, there was no story; there was nothing. There was no ending. There was sort of this planned general idea of how the game was supposed to end; we had a bunch of levels that looked great, but there was nothing to move you between them. So in terms of bringing Duke back to life, one of the major components was we have to have a story, we have to have dialogue, we have to get all of this in and then we have to do all the animation and mo-cap to support that, get the head tracking, get the eye tracking and actually tell the story. We’ve got all the guts and all the pieces but we don’t have anything to make it compelling beyond, “Ooh, I just blew it up and that’s cool; but why did I blow it up?” So we got started on that right away. We started July 9th, that was our first day and I think we flew Valeta (Wensloff) in I think July 13th and that was like instantly we were like: we gotta do that. Because there’s everything that goes along with that, the lip syncing, the mocap and everything has to go with it and so that’s gotta get done.

DAVID: We took over the game July 9th officially and at that point it was really about coming up with a schedule to complete the game in a very short amount of time--in terms of content. We didn’t have the staff at that time to do console ports or multiplayer but the goal that Triptych originally had when we took the game was to finish the content for single-player. And so we had we had a very strict schedule to get the narrative done, get the voice acting recorded, get the NPC behavior done, just a whole list of things we needed to really tie the game together at that point. Because the game was really fun and had all the basic game play and we wanted to make sure that all the ground work from 3D Realms was intact and it’s still intact today. Most of the game is really the 3D Realms version of the game, but we had those very specific challenges to get it done and to tie everything together.

So as Kristen kind of alluded to, one of the fun facts about the game is that the narrative is actually written primarily by two women. Valeta Wensloff and Kristen herself and by myself and some of the rest of the team members too. So that’s really kind of a fun fact.

KRISTEN: Yeah, Valeta and I had never met before. She was someone David knew from a previous project and she came down and helped us out. A lot of the heavy lifting on the writing was done by her and she’s fabulous. Then, David and I, she flew back and we did a lot of the tweaking of the dialogue and what not and then once that was in place, we did two playthroughs as I remember, in our living room with like 10 people in our living room and our flat screen. Randy has seen our fabulous demo room.

We did two play throughs and everybody just threw out these ideas for these one liners and there were some pretty epic one liners that were born from that mad---we gotta have some funny stuff here what with NPCs and what not. I don’t think it was the tradition writing process with a bunch of people sitting around the….I wonder how people will react to know that this Duke was written by two Duke fans who are also, well, there was of course David, but primarily by two Duke fans who were women. I don’t think anyone has picked up on the changes in Duke. He’s as bad as ever in the demos.

DAVID: We had a lot of great lines that are traditional Duke lines that come from George, Scott and Al that …

KRISTEN: Didn’t you maintain a list of them? Like there was a list, a collection of them.

DAVID: Yeah there were the old lines and then we had a lot of great lines from Al and from the guys on the team and a lot of small revisions that have happened in the past few months. Like here at Gearbox some of the stuff that’s come out of PAX and the lines that have kind of come to the forefront that have been driven by trailers and marketing and all these other things, when we present the game to the public, so the writing at this point I think is very polished and I think that everybody is really happy with it.

CHRIS: Randy can you talk about what it was like, from your perspective, to be sitting in that room in David’s house with everyone else, watching the playthrough?

RANDY: It was just as Kristen described, there was amazing stuff but like the spare pieces. It was always cool, but there was like this level and that level and I got the sense, when I finally visited these guys at their house, that they had actually done it: they wired it all up and they connected it together.

And it’s such a great experience and the whole world…anyone who plays this game and loves it owes you guys a lot; and should feel that gratitude for that commitment because I know how hard it is. I remember when we started Gearbox and a very similar kind of thing---there were just 8 or 10 of us. My wife was pregnant. She wrote, my wife wrote the story to Opposing Force and wrote all that…

KRISTEN: Oh awesome.

RANDY: I mean she was pregnant with our first kid and she’d sleep on the floor in my office and take naps in the middle of the day and we’d work until midnight. Because it’s just such an inspiring thing and so much great stuff comes from it, when you’re that deep and that in it. You don’t even think about anything else but making sure you can pull it off.

KRISTEN: Yeah well nobody told us we couldn’t do it …except everyone around us!

DAVID: The whole world.

KRISTEN: The whole world.

DAVID: The whole world thought we were nuts and I don’t take it personally because even my Mom and my Dad didn’t believe we could do it.

KRISTEN: Yeah, his parents would call us and say, “What are you doing? You need to buy real estate” and our friends thought we were crazy. Our house was covered in tape; we had desks everywhere and had to rewire stuff so we could like distribute all of the computers.

DAVID: It was crazy, but it was a fun time. Al and one of our other guys, Ben I think would get there sometime between 8-9 in the morning and then we’d have a couple guys like our contractors who would work their day jobs and not leave until 11-11:30 at night for those 6 or 7 months it was nuts.

KRISTEN: And our cats got used to them and would wait for them at the door. They would get stressed and play with the cat on the floor with the feather thing. It was definitely crazy.

DAVID: But it was great. We had a really good feeling at the end, when everything was coming together. We didn’t have a real distribution plan. We talked to Scott and George a little bit and had some crazy ideas about how to get the game out there. We were grateful at the end that we could work with Gearbox and the game could really be presented to the public the way that it deserves to be presented.

KRISTEN: Because we had some crazy ideas about boxing it up old-school style and selling it like that. I mean, we’re talking really…and everyone was like, “All right!”

RANDY: Duke Nukem Forever: Bootleg Edition.

KRISTEN: Yeah! And the thing about it was that was amazing was we were coming up with these crazy ideas and we did our own trailer because we didn’t know at that point…

DAVID: We didn’t know the extent of Gearbox’s involvement…

KRISTEN: We didn’t know any of this was coming so there was a trailer that we did that was pretty awesome, I think….

DAVID: It’s in the Extras on the game, so people will get to see that.

KRISTEN: I think the thing that was amazing was we were coming up with these crazy ideas because a lot of angles were closing as to how we were going to get this thing to market. And whatever ideas we were coming up with the entire team was like, “All right. Let’s do that!”

RANDY: Whatever it takes!

KRISTEN: One of the crazier ideas was we were going to put a web cam in the 3DR offices showing the Triptych team like boxing up the game and sending it out. Like pay $5 and the Triptych team member of your choice will sign the box. We figured Mica and Al---Mica being our cat---would be the most popular. But we just had….and nobody flinched, which was really I think a testament at how amazing the Triptych team is.

ALLEN: Well what’s interesting is history repeats itself, because that’s basically how Duke 3D was. It was a garage band, just doing it, getting it all going, putting it together and when it was all done we were packing boxes.

KRISTEN: Yeah, well I think that’s where the idea came from was that you told us that’s how you did it. We were like, “We could do that.”

ALLEN: Yeah, direct sales back then. It eventually made it into the stores and all that but a lot of the direct sales were there in the office, packing…

RANDY: Just picture Allen, and like Doug and Dirk, like Richard and those guys, Todd and like they’re done with the final build and they’re taking manuals and disks and folding the cardboard and putting them in. Just imagine that; picture that.

KRISTEN: I want to tell you I was grateful when you came along because I was like “I’m going to starting having to call UPS to set up deliveries”. So thank you. Thank you for coming along, because our plan was not a very good plan.

RANDY: Well fortunately, when you have a world class partner helping you — publishing partner, that really knows how to market and distribute the game worldwide, it changes everything. And now your work, what you created can reach millions of people. And that’s really exciting.

KRISTEN: I think it’s a much, much better alternative than us and the ….

RANDY: Logistics is actually a limiting factor.

KRISTEN: It is. We actually did the math on it and we were, “Oh this is not going to be…”

RANDY: Just think how many boxes you can pack…

KRISTEN: Yes we were like, “All right, we’ll pack this many boxes in an hour and I’ll have the UPS guys coming in every 6….and this is not going to work.

ELIZABETH: So I guess that brings us to the last question and chapter which is how Duke Nukem Forever came to the home of Gearbox, how many people do you think overall worked on the game and how many are working on it now?

KRISTEN: I don’t know how long the credits list is right now.

RANDY: Right now there’s probably close to right around 100 people that are doing things between the Triptych guys, the Piranha team and all the…we’ve rallied a lot of support from within our technology groups at Gearbox to help land the game. So there’s probably about 100 people involved right now. Overall it would be difficult to hazard a guess; but there’s several credits in the game: Triptych’s credits, Piranha’s credits, and Gearbox’s credits. George and Joe and Scott those guys got together and tried to do the best to create the definitive 3D Realms credits and we have those in the game. We’ve also created a web page which invites people we may not know about. The game’s been in the hands of several publishers and there’s some guys who probably put a lot of effort into thinking about how to market Duke Nukem Forever when it was at, for example, GT Interactive. We’re trying to find out who those people are.

When you think about a game like Duke, and especially for anybody who’s been a part of 3D Realms, you don’t get involved in that thinking like you’re just going ride; kind of jump in and ride something. You get involved because you love it, you want to be a part of it and you want to contribute. And Duke is larger than life so you want to add to that in some way. So for most of people who’ve ever been involved, especially at the development side, most of the people didn’t get to the end zone. It’s just, I think Allen is probably the only one who was there from day one to the closing day. He’s the only one.

ELIZABETH: You win the prize.

ALLEN: I did thethe math and when it finally ships in a month or so, I will have worked 2 years long than anyone else on the project.

CHRIS: Oh wow. That’s incredible.

RANDY: And like who are the second place people? Probably guys like Keith and Stephen Cole and those guys?

ALLEN: Yeah, they were around for a long time, probably 8 years. George had been around…

RANDY: George, of course, to 2009.

ALLEN: Yeah, so I got 2 years over him.

KRISTEN: We’re going to have to throw you a party.

RANDY: Well if you count the time you’ve been like talking on forums, you’ve probably got him beat by a long shot. There’s a lot of George in the game and obviously we wouldn’t have it without him either. George deserves, I mean no one can take anything away from his commitment to this property and to Duke. I’m really thankful that he trusted us. I know it was really hard. I mean there was a time where, you look at the decisions they made, they’d rather burn their own house down than let something bad happen to it. So the fact that George and Scott trusted me and Brian Martel and trusted Gearbox with the brand means a lot to me and it’s my commitment to be worthy of that trust.

CHRIS: How did that come about? How did Duke go from 3D Realms and Triptych to Gearbox?

RANDY: The deal that Triptych and 3D Realms did was one that 3D Realms sort of engaged Triptych to finish the game and there was an incentive there, for Triptych to do that. The deal that 3D Realms and Gearbox did was an acquisition of the property; the game and the brand. That took a while, I mean, that deal we talked about that and negotiated that deal for about 6 months. Finally closed it right at the end of 2009 and then we were able to take these next steps. One of the most odd parts about that from my point of view was that I kind of went into it at the beginning…some of the feelings I had were that story ending, the way like it felt like it was going to end in May of 2009, it was a terrible ending. That’s not a story we should….Duke Nukem was the first commercial game I ever was involved in. So I feel that character is part of my legacy. Part of why I’m a game maker was because I trusted George and Scott and I just wanted to work with Al and those other guys and learn from those guys. And I feel that Duke is part of my legacy too so I didn’t want to…on a personal level, I didn’t want the story to end that way.

So when I parsed the brand and the situation with Duke, it felt like there was a business case to be made; that it was a rational business decision as well. When you think about where it is today, it seems like a much more sane business decision but you can imagine back in that second half of 2009---there’s a lot of people who would look at that and think that that was a terrible business decision. And fortunately, I disagreed and so did Christoph, who once I had completed the acquisition and I went to him and told him what I had accomplished there---Christoph is the President of 2K Games, he was excited. Because what it meant that finally this game that we had all been waiting for, finally this thing that’s supposed to happen, there was a path so it could happen. He got behind it instantly as well. His commitment, belief and faith is the reason why we get to have this as well.

CHRIS: So last question: Why do you think it survived all these years? How did it survive all these years?

RANDY: It survived because of people like George and Allen and even David and Kristen. Everybody that’s ever gotten involved and believes in it and thinks it’s special and rare and important. And it is. There’s no other entertainment like it. It’s a very weird, interesting, rare, unique mix of things both from the interactive space and storytelling space so it deserves to exist. That’s what I think.

KRISTEN: I think it’s because Duke is both a satire and a stereotype, and yet he is extremely compelling because I think there is a little bit of Duke that lives in everyone. Everybody kind of sort of wants to do what Duke does and wants to be. I’ve said it before, that I think Duke is a very guilty pleasure that we all sort of enjoy indulging just a little bit and I think that it’s because it’s so simple and it just says, hey that’s what it is and you like it and we know it and we’re just going to let you have it. I think that’s why Duke survives and will continue to survive.

RANDY: What do you think Al?

ALLEN: For me personally? After Duke 3D and everybody enjoyed that and everything, the fans just want a sequel. And for me personally, I just want to finish it and give people what they were waiting for. They’ve been waiting for it for too long. When you think of the movies you’ve seen and you’re like, “Oh I can’t wait for the sequel of that” and things happen and it never comes out and it’s just disappointing.

For me personally, working on it from the beginning, I think people deserve that and it’s probably not the right thing for me to do; to devote so much time and energy to it, but I think in the end, it’s worth it.

RANDY: Your commitment to your customers is unparalleled, literally.

ELIZABETH: So Duke is alive today because of you guys. How does that feel?

RANDY: Pretty good. My hope is that the fans love it and my hope is that everyone who ever put any bit of sweat into it feels gratified by the fact that there’s a happy ending to the story.

ELIZABETH: Thanks guys. This concludes the second-to-last episode of this podcast series, at least until the game releases. Thanks for listening.
June 8, 2011 breakdown of the 2001 trailer by Charlie Wiederhold:
Since DNF is actually in people's hands now... and will be in many more by this time next week, I thought it would be fun to give a more detailed breakdown of what was what in the 2001 video. There has been a lot of confusion on this... and honestly people who worked with me at 3DR might disagree with my memories and that's fine. It's been long enough nobody should care and be upset... and if they are... they need some perspective. :-)

This is intended just for fun and curiosity! I'm going to start with the first actual DNF scene (the vegas view) and just go shot by shot from this video. To clarify some terms I will use.
- Playable = You could experience this yourself as a player just like you saw.
- Scripted = Think of a Half Life talking sequence or CoD scripted sequence. Meaning it was "real", but control/interaction would have been limited.
- Realish = It was all real, but we made special camera angles for trailer interest.
- Fudged = It was in game, but was either polished for the trailer, or simply an idea prototype. This is actually a big range because some prototypes were fully playable, but hadn't been incorporated into a level yet.
- Fake = It was done purely for the trailer and probably wouldn't have been in the game.

Vegas View = Realish
Sandworm = Scripted / Fake
Jetskis dropping = Playable
Boat & Building = Playable
Gunship & Window = Realish / Prototype
Octabrain & Tunnel = Scripted / Fake
Cars & Street = Playable / Prototype
Rocket = Scripted
EZVend = Playable
Tunnels = Fudged / Prototype
PMN8EZ Car = Playable / Prototype
Sniping Vasquez = Playable
Incoming plane = Scripted
EDF with shield = Playable
Pinball = Playable
More PMN8EZ = Playable / Prototype
Lightning Strike = Playable
Hoover Dam = Playable
Donkey Ride = Fudged / Prototype (I know I know... sorry!)
Flashlight Man = Playable / Scripted
Waitress and Guy holding door (all cuts) = Scripted / Fakeishfudged
Random EDF = Fake
General Graves = Scripted / Maybe Fake
Mothership = Realish
Graves again = Scripted / Maybe Fake
Save world all by yourself? = Scripted
Motorcycle = Playable
Shooting planes = Playable
Pipebomb = Playable / Fake setup
Tripmine = Playable
Ahhhhh!!!!! = Playable
Kicking door = Playable
Paint splats = Playable
Riot Shield and Turret = Playable
Shrinkage = Playable
EDF209 = Realish
Face Roach = Playable
Dragon = Realish
Minecart = Playable
Keypad = Playable
Squishing = Playable
Lady Killer = Scripted
Blue Man = Realish
Edge of Destruction = Playable
"I live... again!" = Playable
Canons Ahoy = Playable
Bad LOD Jetskis = Playable
Satisfying Chomp = Scripted / Fake
Gus = Soooo very fake.

Hope the old timers have fun with this... I'm off to wait for my BoS edition to arrive on Tuesday and my Steam pre-load to finish.

/salue to everyone that I've become friends with through the years... of all the things related to Duke that have mattered most to me it's you guys and the source code community life that has continued. I wish everyone the best... thank you again. :-)

Most of all... have fun!

(Note: I've made a couple of updates after watching the video a couple more times... and also remember that this was still a work in progress so it still wasn't "Put it in a Box")
January 3, 2012 interview with Joe Wampole:
Q1) When did you work at 3D Realms and what were your duties?

I worked at 3D Realms from 2002-2006 and was the sole character artist for the majority of my employment there. Duties included some concept, building, texturing, skinning, and a bit of outsource management for most of the characters in the game at that that time.

Q2) What led to you becoming employed at 3D Realms?

In 2000, I was working at Terminal Reality and we had just finished a project. The company was scrambling to get another contract with a publisher and things were looking a little bleak so I submitted my portfolio and resume to 3D Realms as I had been an enormous Duke Nukem fan and 3DR was somewhat local.
They weren't looking to hire at that time, but luckily TRI secured a deal with Majesco to produce a game we'd been pitching about a half-vampire named BloodRayne. So for the next 18 months I worked as Lead Designer on BloodRayne.
After BloodRayne shipped, George Broussard contacted me and asked if I was still interested in working at 3DR. Being the huge Duke fan I was, I went for an interview and to check out the game. I found out the 2001 trailer was obsolete as they were almost completely rebooting with new tech to achieve results similar to recently released Doom 3. I was excited about working on DNF and getting the chance to work with cutting edge tech for the art so I jumped on board.

Q3) Throughout the time you worked at 3D Realms what kind of major changes occured in regards to Duke Nukem Forever?

Whew...this is a doozy of a question.
In my almost 14 years as a developer at a number of different companies and projects, DNF was at times the coolest project to work on and at other times, the most disorganized and frustrating.
Nearly every month or so included fairly major changes. For design, there was no real comprehensive design document and it seemed like whatever the new cool thing in movies or games was, drastic changes were mandated for DNF. Whole levels would be restarted or completely thrown out.
For art, tech was also changing on a constant basis so we'd have a huge campaign to increase polycount and/or texture sizes for a while only to follow that with a campaign to decrease...and repeat. There was a lack of foresight, planning, production, and leadership making it impossible to make significant progress.
Yet, periodically we'd get awesome new features that immensely enhanced what we could do with art - or cool new gameplay features like being able to write an autograph in a book in real time.

Q4) Have you played the final version of Duke Nukem Forever and if so did you enjoy it and were there any assets that you'd worked on that had remained in-game?

Heh, I know this won't go over well, but I actually haven't played the final game. With limited time on my hands and after reading the harsh reviews it's honestly hard to be motivated to play. I highly doubt there are any assets I made still in the game considering the 5 years of development that continued after my departure. But, I am absolutely looking forward to what Gearbox can do with the franchise!

Q5) Scott Miller has said that between 2001 and 2007 alot of work happened but without direction, during your time at 3D Realms what was your experience with this?

This is related to the amount of changes the project went through mentioned above. Beyond that, the team was arguably too small for a triple A title and without the right management and direction it felt more like we were a mod community than a professional developer. Don't mistake that to mean that the team didn't work hard. We were passionate about the project and we definitely had some awesome features and moments of genius but without a cohesive unification it didn't gel together.

Q6) The final version of Duke Nukem Forever was met with harsh criticism, what are your thought on this having personally worked on the game?

Duke Nukem is more than just a game - to many people, including myself, he is a character to love - in the way people have favorite super heroes or action stars. But just like the multitude of terribly written comic books and comic book inspired movies, the name and image of a favorite character alone can't carry the media. Seeing what was happening in the development first hand was disheartening. And, unfortunately, I don't think anyone can argue that the game shouldn't have turned out better with more than 10 years of development behind it. Still, some fans have told me they had a good time playing the game experiencing it for what it is, flaws and all. That's great and it's good the hard work is appreciated.

Q7) What were your feelings when 3D Realms released their staff in 2009?

I felt terrible for the team. Some of those guys had been on the project for years and had to deal with so many issues during the development of the project, only to end up jobless with little to nothing to show for it.
In addition, some of the team went on to form Triptych Games and worked for about a year, if I'm not mistaken, with their own money to finish Duke Nukem Forever. Yet, in all the media news about Take Two suing 3DR, Gearbox buying the rights and finishing DNF, etc., it seemed like the work that the guys at Triptych did was somewhat overlooked.
In any case, I'm glad the game finally shipped and the IP is now in the hands of a company that can do something with it. I have high hopes for Duke returning to his highly entertaining glory.

Q8) Were you a fan of Duke Nukem 3D and, if so, what is your favourite map?

Absolutely...as mentioned before a couple times, I was an enormous Duke 3D fan. Long ago, I had my pc themed with Duke Nukem sound bytes and made my own Unreal Tournament skin for the red team that was - you guessed it - Duke Nukem. My favorite maps were the ones based in more common, "recognizeable" locations - theater, Dukeburger, sex shop, strip club, etc.

Q9) What's your favourite Duke Nukem oneliner?

Ahh...Duke's one-liners...
Related tangent: there are plenty of games with a silent protagonist. The thinking behind that is the player is the main character, so in the game, the main character doesn't speak. The problem with that is I, as a person, can and do speak. So those games feel detached, unrealistic, and audibly empty when my character doesn't make a peep when all the crazy stuff happens around me. Also, it actually makes me feel like I'm a servant to the other characters in the game when all I can do is follow orders and directions. I feel I have no will of my own. To me that's less immersive than playing a character with personality.
That said, Duke's one-liners are one of the most appealing things about Duke Nukem - he's the ultimate B-movie action star and it's hugely satisfying as the character takes pretty much what I'm thinking and says it with over-the-top gusto. I become him (or he becomes me) while playing the game.
My favorite one-liner is "I'm gonna put this smack dab on your ass". It's simultaneously cheesy, hilarious, and bad ass. And to this day, I'll still say, out loud, in raspy Duke voice, "Where is it?" when looking for things at my house or on the hard drive or network on my pc.

Q10) During your time at 3D Realms you must've worked on many awesome looking beasts, care to show us some?

Well, they seemed awesome at the time :-) But video game characters usually don't age well as technology advances so quickly. Seriously, they're 5-8 years old now! Anyway, I hope the fans find the renders interesting from a historical standpoint at least.
Thanks for the interview!
April 12, 2012 interview with Allen Blum and David Riegel:
Chris Faylor: The Doctor Who Cloned Me starts off in Area 51, a location that the Duke Nukem Forever team had discussed at various points but one that wasn't fully realized until now. Can you shed some light on that?

David Riegel: There was never a definitive script at 3D Realms, although there was always a plan. The plan was for Duke to start in Vegas, then go to the Hoover Dam, and then to end up in Area 51. The game was constantly being worked on, and there were always some levels that were close to done and always some levels that had atrophied. When Triptych took over Duke Nukem Forever, we talked a lot about how to take the most fun parts of the game and to put them into a full story with a full plot and how to put everything together. Looking at the levels that were most important, we felt that the Duke story was really about Vegas and the Hoover Dam.

Allen Blum: We wanted to focus on the Duke aspects and flair. All that Area 51 stuff, it wasn't very far along.

Chris Faylor: And now, Area 51’s finally come to life in The Doctor Who Cloned Me.

David Riegel: There were solid gameplay ideas for Area 51, so when we started thinking about a DLC campaign, we felt it would be really cool to bring them back. For example, there was an old version of the containment chamber where you go through and you get scanned by lasers and then have to dodge hostile cutting lasers on the way back. So we actually went back to the concept art from 2006, and we re-built the flow almost exactly. You move through the level in kind of a semi-circle. You go through the space and you get scanned by lasers, and then you go and have this timing gameplay on the way back.

The original concept was very similar, but the space itself and the art assets are all-new. It looks similar because we're going off the same concept art and because we're using the same kind of gameplay, but it was re-done. 100% of the art assets had to be re-done. The clone canisters are an example of something that previously existed but were re-done. They might have the same proportions and the same general look, but they had to be rebuilt. Part of the reasons for this were aesthetic, and part of the reasons were technical.

Chris Faylor: But, it's obviously not all inspired by old ideas. The new campaign kicks off with a reference to 2010's Call of Duty: Black Ops...

David Riegel: Sections of Area 51 were inspired by some of the previous ideas, but the Military Base, the Burning Bush, the Moon, and everything else were custom-built from the ground-up.

Allen Blum: Of the time it takes to make a map, 10% of it is probably just laying it out and so that was down. So you have the layout and you know how it's going to work and everything, and then it takes forever to go up through and re-art and re-touch everything and make it look right and run right.

Chris Faylor: When you started the design of this DLC, did you incorporate any of the feedback you received from the main campaign?

David Riegel: I think we took specific pieces of feedback. We wanted to keep the same core game mechanics but we really wanted to emphasize the things that people seemed to enjoy. For example, they seemed to enjoy combat in large, open combat arenas. So even though the flow of levels is linear, our combat spaces are a little bit more open. We give players a lot of guns right away so they have a lot of variety, and we introduce our two new weapons early.

Story-wise, we were very careful to save the comedy until people had a chance to get into the DLC. We tried to keep Duke a little more serious, a little more gritty. A lot of the humor takes place around him. We brought back Dylan and Dylan's a great source of humor. Dylan does definitely contrast with Duke. In terms of platforming, there's a lot less of it this time . We tried to keep the emphasis on combat and big set pieces.

Chris Faylor: I think the parodies, the references, were a bit more obvious here. This started and ended development in 2011. They had to be a lot easier than something that...

Allen Blum: …started in 1997? Yeah.

Chris Faylor: Was that a weight off your shoulders?

Allen Blum: It seems that with a short time period of working on something it just comes together easier and more focused and it all makes more sense. It's more cohesive.

Chris Faylor: How did this process compare to the creation of the Duke 3D Plutonium Pak?

Allen Blum: It's exactly the same. Duke 3D came out and it was a hit and everything and we instantly started working on the add-on pack and it was exactly the same thing. We just kept on working and just made it all and put it all together.

Chris Faylor: How much of The Doctor Who Cloned Me DLC was affected by what you learned making the core DNF campaign?

David Riegel: We've been working with the engine for a long time. Most of our lessons from Duke Nukem Forever were technical, so when we built content we could do it right the first time. That allowed us to create a really significant amount of content in a short period of time. The DLC is about four hours plus four multiplayer maps, and we were able to build everything in five months.

Chris Faylor: Speaking of those multiplayer maps, what was the process behind their creation?

David Riegel: That was a mix. We did one full map here, which was Rooftops. Piranha did one full map, which was Breston Plants. Then the other two we shared. We did the rough-outs here and then Piranha did the final collision, gameplay, and polish for those two.

Chris Faylor: Dylan stood out to people this time around, much more so than in the main campaign, and felt much more like a sidekick. Was that what you were going for?

Allen Blum: Yup.

David Riegel: The technology for friendly AIs fighting alongside Duke came very late in the development cycle of Duke Nukem Forever, and only a couple of levels used it. When we approached the DLC, we definitely wanted more of it. We thought it would be really funny to bring Dylan back and have him fight alongside you.

Chris Faylor: At one point, Duke acquires comes across a new vehicle. Why is it a pink car?

Allen Blum: Why not?

Chris Faylor: It's such a wonderful contrast to the blood and grime and guts of that level. A shiny pink plastic car.

Allen Blum: With Holsom Twins one-liners.

David Riegel: That was actually something that almost didn't make it in. I think that the reason we put it there was precisely because of the contrast. We felt that Area 51 was getting very heavy and that level in particular was very bloody. We needed something to provide a little contrast and a little humor. And so we pushed very hard to make sure that made it in.

Allen Blum: We had a Barbie car, way back in I don't know how long ago, as a drivable vehicle and at some point, it became the RC Car. So going back to the Barbie car is kind of an old idea.

David Riegel: Yeah, that was another concept from 3D Realms where we re-built the asset, then added the dialog and the Holsom Twins theme. I thought that was pretty cool.

Allen Blum: Yeah, back at 3DR we had generic Barbie car. That was it.

Chris Faylor: The Doctor Who Cloned Me is about Dr. Proton cloning Duke. With such a heavy emphasis on cloning, is Dr. Proton really dead?

Allen Blum: Well, he died in the original Duke Nukem. So. And he's in Duke Nukem Forever now. So…

Chris Faylor: Can anyone explain the fire safety film?

David Riegel: That was from Andrew. Andrew made the porno movie for the Strip Club in the main game, and we knew that we wanted to make a similar kind of video for humor purposes for the DLC. We basically just locked him in a room for two weeks and said, "Hey, you're good at this." And he wasn't sure whether to take that as a compliment or an insult. [laughter] But we basically just gave him a couple weeks and had him go.

Allen Blum: It was Andrew Baker that did that. It's pretty funny.

Chris Faylor: David, some members of our forums were curious as to how your mod background affected the way you approached this project?

David Riegel: I think in order to get any ambitious mod done, you have to be really persistent and really stubborn. I think that's the biggest lesson we had with DNF. It was sheer stubbornness that allowed us to complete it and get it out the door. [laughter] Whenever you're working on a smaller team like we have here at Triptych, you have to trust all your developers. You have to allow people to make decisions, and you have to work really hard and just trust that everybody else is doing the same. We have a really good atmosphere for that here.

Allen Blum: We've got ten guys and we're all trying to finish what we do, so you're all doing something exactly to finish it. Nobody's coming in, having their coffee and then going home. Everybody's coming in to work to try and finish t. That makes a big difference.

David Riegel: I think people from mod backgrounds are generally very passionate and very creative people and really have a mindset to get things done. I think that's been the case with a lot of the guys here.

Chris Faylor: Anything else you’d like to say?

David Riegel: With respect to The Doctor Who Cloned Me and 3D Realms, I think it benefits us to say that the guys at 3D Realms were immensely talented and the reason that we brought back a lot of ideas was because we thought they were really fun. The artists and designers at 3D Realms were very, very creative folks. We didn't want to take anything away and claim that every idea was ours. We had a lot of input from Gearbox and a lot of old ideas from the 3DR guys to draw upon. It feels like we always end up with the strongest end product whenever we collaborate.

Chris Faylor: Now that Duke Nukem Forever is finally on store shelves and the The Doctor Who Cloned Me DLC is complete, what’s next for Triptych?

David Riegel: We're very excited to take the lessons we learned on DNF and apply them to something new. I feel like we have a great team synergy, and we're getting stronger all the time. I don't want to talk too much about what's next just yet, but it's going to be awesome.
March 26, 2013: JohnQPublic (former 3DRealms employee) talks about working conditions during the development of DNF:
Hi everyone I should have posted this long time ago when there was still interest about the game. The fact how the game ended is also a bit of my fault. This is something for me just to feel a bit better.

 Most of the game faults came because no one openly spoke about what they think. We had serious problem issuing our concerns. There was very little feedback from both us and management. There were no board meetings like you could imagine, just George running from computer to computer to check our progress. Sometimes I knew I screwed up and George would just say he doesn't like it but that I should continue anyway instead of just whoop my ass. He had very hard time addressing what is wrong and what should be done instead. He always tried to be polite - and sometimes You just can't. There was this tense unpleasant atmosphere in the company covered by the mask of kindness. I believe it was also our fault. If your boss is this dove-like daddy figure instead of some power hungry jerk you know what I mean. Whenever there was a problem almost no one had the balls to talk to George. He was so deeply invested in this game personally that no one wanted to hurt him. This self censorship lead to a double standard that even when we were dissatisfied with the direction of the project anyone who got vocal about it was called a traitor - the quitters were cowards and so on. I wanted several times to come to his office and leave the project but when I saw how enthusiastic he is about some new stuff we made I didn't had the heart to do it. We were so personally attached to him that the growing problems were swooped under the rug until someone would finally trip over the pile.

 This pile was simply money. We were working for the minimal average in the industry. We could get more after the game was released having percentage of the sales. The obvious fault of the system is that the longer the game takes the longer Your true paycheck is suspended. People were working for the same money for few years straight. With no signs of completing the game people quit - very valuable and key people. Another problem was that with very small team we had to work at least 80h a week (which is a standard now but then it was a little different) otherwise nothing could be done on any reasonable pace. Because we were working on a percentage from sales everyone was pretty reluctant to see new faces on the team as people feared they percentage would be negotiated if too many people would come. So we lacked manpower and at the same time - no one wanted for the team to grow. Project was taking too long and some people started having issues with their families, some people got kids and just couldn't afford working a basically two full-time jobs for less than quarter what they could get in other companies with their talent - regardless of the potential benefits and atmosphere at work. What I think the worst was that we felt exploited and exploiting. George exploited us with his fragility over money and we exploited his kindness over control. Everything slowly started to rot and fall apart. Everyone was seemingly doing their things but nothing of value was produced. George focused on small things but didn't had the big picture (or didn't want to see it) and we were frustrated over lack of clear goals.

 Then George and Scott came and told us that consoles are the key citing Prey sales. I knew that game will ported onto consoles but for me that was one of the worst thing that could happen to the project. I had to delete all the pickups which took months of work to put in some sensible manner and ego mechanic which was another several months of work and replaced with regeneration. We threw the editor out from the release as no one would ever use it on the consoles. But this was no the worst part of it. The engine we were working with was almost impossible to get good performance on multi-core ps3. We had to rewrite some of the game code and cut some content we hadn’t finished yet in order to get it on time. We couldn't fit the game into X360 disc so we had to cut. There was not enough memory on the consoles to handle open levels we had in mind so we had to either streamline the level or cut completely. Suddenly almost half of the initially designed game was trashed and the other half had to be changed. Memory budget we had was limited to 1/4 - we either had to scale down levels, cut them into parts, corridor them or just replace textures with something less demanding. Surely You could build an awesome looking game on consoles with limited memory but You had to do it from start and using some dirty tricks - which our engine nor our game just wasn't fit for. I was all for the engine switch at that time - we could start the game with a new engine because we had to rewrite a lot of content anyway and without this hampering zombie we made from unreal engine. I believe at that time the only thing that stopped this was money. Licensing another engine was a costly issue so George had to make tough decision - game was going nowhere and he either had to sped up existing things or restart and meddle with another 3 years on the project.

 He choose to finally finish the game - for the first time we had a project manager, a plan and clear direction. Team had to grow in order to finish the game on time so new people came in. From the start we the "old guard" were at least unfriendly towards the new ones. The new guys just basically thought that they will finish the game in just one year. They had to be fully paid because in no way they agreed to work on a percentage - they knew that they are needed and exploited this without mercy when negotiating their contract. Enough to say - we were in the company for years working our ass overtime and never had a raise. They came from the ass and from start got twice as we had. Some of the people working from the start this time called quits. New guys (now I think its funny) were outside our little cult - when something was wrong they didn't hesitate to call our manager or even George, "it can't be done", "this is stupid", "you are wrong", "I won't do it" was the stuff he never heard from us in years and now it was his breakfast, lunch and dinner. George was pretty miserable at that time - it seemed he lost control and heart for his project. He wasn't even there - I think he couldn't deal with constant criticism and in the end started hating his game. But the results were coming, game was going forward and finally it could see the release. But the company for me died. I was also expecting a child - and some new more profitable business opportunities came. I noticed that I didn't want to work here anymore. I didn't had time to quit. I was fired.

 It was okay when 20 people worked 80 hours a week. But when 40 people started working 40 hours a week for the same wage as before developing costs quadrupled. George and Scott quickly ran out of money - they took some loans and asked publisher for support. They had a knife on their throats and either had to get the money or the new guys would leave 24h when they didn't get their pay. They made the deal with the devil. For this amount of loan they effectively seized control over its release. At that time George and Scott wouldn't know they would give up. If he did he would never do it. Probably just one day he summed things up and decided he is fed up. The costs of finishing it up were too big just for two people to handle and even with loans they would never sell as much as they wanted. I remember we were almost still a year from finishing the project - and no one had enough money for another year on full-time working team. It is now easy to judge them but they invested their own money - something that nowadays would sound ridiculous at least even on the average budget for projects like this. He is a married man and has more important things to do than spending money on making video games. I understand him fully - after I got fired I finally could spend some time with my wife and kids. Until then I didn't even knew how much I lost from life.

 I don't know much what happened to the game after my departure. I knew the game was bought up by another company and scheduled for a release. I had my share of doubts if I really wanted to know how the game will be. Of course I bought it with the DLCs on steam sale and played it. My thoughts about the game? Seriously? It was a horrid experience. I could seriously see that almost nothing was done since I left. Nothing new was added, maybe few things were tweaked and finished plus all bad decisions made at that point were still there. The limitations went even further - blood decals were missing, texture quality went down and to cover this up a nice smudge of post processing and depth of field. Some of the levels went into DLC, some multiplayer maps should be in singleplayer and so on. The game wasn't good at least for me - nor did I remember it any better when working on it sadly. My worst fears that for all those years I was working on a project that in the end won't be that good were realized. It was a little heartbreaking to see the end result this below average after so much time spent on it. I had this feeling of guilt that I should did something during the development I should voiced my concerns when there was still time. It is too late now.

 Was working on the game fun - yes it was. Was it worth it - no it wasn't. Nothing is worth so many years spent making a basically a elaborate toy for someone's amusement that is taking the toll from Your personal life. I regret it didn't come to me any sooner - the joy of female companionship, the smile of a child, look of a beautiful blue summer sky, walk in the park. All those simple things I missed when thinking only about work. Right now I am far away from the business and hope to keep it this way. I hope that people who are so obsessed with video games both making and playing them in general could just leave them for a moment and think. You are not winning anything and basically just wasting your time achieving nothing instead of doing some meaningful things in the real world. It is a pity I understood this so late in my life. Cheers and have a happy weekend!
April 24, 2013: Andrew Baker talks about his work experience on DNF:
Recommend a good therapist because this is just years of serious self-doubt and regret coming to a massive head at the worst possible time. I feel betrayed and stupid for having believed the people who said 'DNF is good, keep working on it' (bosses, bosses of bosses, coworkers, etc) when I knew it wasn't. I feel dumb for having somehow thought loyalty to my employers and straight up endurance counted for something when I should have been more self-centered and fucked off and done anything else, should have looked out for my own interests, a long time ago. For believing it when someone said 'if you don't work with us, we can't do it', letting that stroke my ego, and then working for free for close to a year to help cobble DNF together, just to get screwed over and then 'rescued'. For voicing concem after concern with the development for months and months and just getting shrugs or 'you're oveneacting, it's not that bad'. For trusting that our new benefactors wouldn't screw us over, would really help to make it better. For believing the people who said we'd still make money even if it didn't sell well, so the shit pay for long hours right now isn't that bad. For eventually actually believing it wasn't that bad, that hey it could actually do well, all these people can't be wrong! but then it came out and the public reaction was fucking honible I started to think I might actually be an insane person, might be delusional, and that's scary.
So much shit like that.

I feel punished for being myself, and I dont know where I would or could fit in any more.

I haven't talked to anyone in months, I've not been able to really concentrate for months. I thought I had friends here in town but it turned out I didn't, I had coworkers. When I got let go from the last job, it was like I stopped existing. My job was my life but somehow I never really realized it. Now I barely leave my apartment, I sleep four or five hours a night at most. I feel so supremely fucked up all the time and just try and keep trying to learn new stuff and was able to work on random projects for a long time as a kind of therapy, but the fact that I've been working towards a half-dozen goals at once and none of them have come to fruition or have totally dead-ended when I reached my limit(s), is really getting me down. This chance for a job came along and I was suddenly so excited again, but then as the days went on, and bits of reality crept back in, and I started thinking about and really visualizing this situation and if I could even keep my shit together to get through the 'getting the job'process and then moved across the goddamn country again, then going through working with all new people and not freaking out or turning them off and then it 'oh hell what if I go there and just get fired after a few weeks when they realize how shit I am? I'll just be another place I dont know with no one around me I know and I dont know if I can handle that' thoughts crept in, and I shot back down even farther than I have been before, and I'm worried I'm going mental and this is the end of the upward curve of my life and it's all down hill from here. So, no big deal, really.

Even if I do good work and am a good person, I can't see it not just being all for shit. I have burned myself out, worked my balls off, for what feels like less than nothing. I feel like my skills are so rooted in such transient technologies and I've been worked into a comer; a niche too small to really be a career anymore. So, what I think is the reality of the game industry for most people, basically. I feel like I made some horrible decisions a long time ago, and I'm stuck with the results of them, and I cant stand it. But I dont know what to do. I feel like I'm too old to do something new but I might be too old to do this any more.
June 17, 2013: Andrew Baker talks about the evolution and involution of the health system in DNF:
well for a short while it was no regen, but no healthpacks (it wasn't actually health, but 'ego' even way back) but a various ways to regain it in the world. killing dudes gave various amounts depending on different criteria, solving puzzles, drinking/eating food items, destroying stuff in the world, all 'fed your ego' etc..

it just never really got balanced properly that way, you know, stuff like multi-kills/kills in a certain time period awarding bonuses, shrink-stomp kills/special stuff like that awarding near full ego regen (one thing that got implemented and survived to ship, was execution kills refilling the whole ego bar), headshot/locational damage awards, then there was the whole 'is combat hard enough to merit the system?' issue. Adding more enemies just added more opportunities for ego awards, it sort of became a matter of there being no perception of danger. Even trying to space out stuff and boosting enemy HP/damage, you seemed to always come out on top most of the time, unless you were terrible at FPS gaming, then it was a brick wall at times. Of course there was no quicksave or even a checkpoint save system then, you just restarted the whole level which was annoying. With proper checkpoint saves (not added until pretty late in development, after the 2 weapon/regen health Haloifacation) it would have been totally workable... with some system-designer TLC, and level and combat design guidelines, IMO.

As it shipped, checkpoints didn't save health states or the state of world items... so even with a non-regen system, you'd be back at 100% and have all the food and destructbles to blow up/smash again. Eh that'd be cheesy, as well though. There were even floaty number notifications of ego gains, which would have just added to a 'game-ified' DNF... which would have been more fun than the 'wannabe Half-Life 2' way most of it wound up. How to deal with situational environment damage, too.. but my first thought there is just throw piles of food items and handy destructibles in the world. If you really need to occasionally hand out near-infinite health in places, add vending machines. it's all level-setup stuff, no brainer-ey.

LOL one thing that was never going to ship that existed for a while, was corpse-gibbing awarded ego. Pretty macabre at the end of a battle, you go beat pigcop corpses into mushy chinks to get your hp back, or you throw a pipebomb into a pile of bodies for a big boost; ESRB really doesn't like corpse abuse, its tolerated at best, but as an encouraged gameplay element I don't think it would fly...

TLDR the whole thing needed an overall design effort it never got (maybe there was an assumption there wasn't time or manpower for it). It evolved and mutated and wasn't given the attention it needed, became unpopular and annoying... then it was gone for 'well let's just do what other games already did'.
December 2014: Frederik Schreiber talks about the various builds of DNF:
Wieder: As far as I know it was almost entirely Alan on his own experimenting, and yes, it would have been for what eventually led to DNF. I don't know if it would have ever wound up on an archive disk and only a slim chance it survived in a dark corner of his hard drives up until the end.

My entire time is post genuine DNF development start and they have one or more of my drives. I don't know if it's an early one or the last one before my "departure" though, but I've been curious too what sort of things might be releasable from that time. There are some really interesting behind the scenes documentations of DNF development but I feel like they aren't supposed to tread those waters.

Frederik Schreiber: The First Build is the Sidescroller. The one afterwards is an old Quake 1 build, which is primarily using Quake 1 assets, and a few new Duke assets, before they switched to Quake 2. Purely for experimenting with BSP based leveldesign, and getting to know the Quake engine.
The switch from Quake 1 - 2 literally happened within months, so there isn't a lot of content in the Quake 1 builds.
Quake 2 also lasted briefly, and everything you see in the 1998 trailer is literally 90% of what was done. The announcement to switch to Unreal Engine, actually happened before E3 1998.
The first Unreal builds, also consisted primarily of Unreal 1 assets. In 99 they had early versions of a few levels, and weapons done, which resulted in the 99 screenshots. Afterwards development sped up, and in late 2002, the "DNF 2001" build was at it's best, before changing to a new dynamic lighting renderer, which focused on normal maps instead (Doom 3 style).
From then on, the game completely changed, and almost everything was scrapped in small segments. All levels turned out black, as a result of implementing a fully dynamic lighting engine (Just like Doom 3, and Deus Ex 2). Assets were added, replaced, and ultimately large parts of the game was completely scrapped and redone.
The 2002 - 2009 builds ultimately makes up the version of the game you guys know today.

Wieder: You definitely have the assets! /salute
Now get the videos from Gearbox!!! :P /hug
I lost my virginity in 2001, and wound up bedridden for 3 months due to a violent car crash the night after losing my virginity. The shift to Doom 3 style technology happened while I was bedridden and on pain killers.
I'd do it all over again... but the shift to new lighting was a firm nail in the coffin.

Frederik Schreiber: Videos? Why would we want videos? :)

Yes, the Doom 3 Style Switch was definitely the nail in the coffin.
A lot of great stuff in the prev. builds. My favourite part is probably the EDF "Tower" level, which starts with the highway, and the 747 crashing.
This is also where you experience the "Save the world all by yourself" scene, before reaching the top floor, cracking a code, and getting a hologram briefing of alien tech, before an aircraft crashes into the building.
Absolutely stunning and mind-blowing back in 2001.

KareBear: On this page you can see concepts of "Singularity Guns".Im assuming it was to be a BFG/Nuke type weapon if it ever made in into the game?

Frederik Schreiber: This weapon was never implemented in any version of the game. The weapons you see in the final version are pretty much every weapon you had in the prev. versions.
The only main difference was the Flamethrower, Laser Sniper Rifle (The weapon with a row of rings at the top), and the Machinegun (Only the last version of the game had the Ripper). Every weapon back in 2001 - 2002 had multiple firemodes, selectable in an RPG like HUD. For instance, Pipebomb's could be rotated into Sticky Grenades.
The Flamethrower could turn into a "Flamewall" mode, "Acid Spray" mode, etc.

PikaCommando: Woah man, Fred's post brought a lot of things to light. Wow! I'm very surprised and delighted to see this thread, honestly. Words can't express my happiness. Also forgive me for the load of questions I'm about to ask.

So in short, the dynamic lighting ruined the game. That means we would've gotten the version everyone wanted if that switch hadn't been made? Why and how did it force the massive scrappings and redos? Is that also the reason why Vegas is in daytime in final version?

Frederik Schreiber: I wouldn't say Dynamic Lighting Ruined the game. The required changes to everything surrounding it possibly did.
The issue is that in order to have a good looking game using Dynamig Lighting and Shadows, you need assets with Specular and Normal maps for it to compete (Especially back in 2003).
This required all assets to be remade from scratch, which was a huge undertaking.

PikaCommando: Is the singleplayer a continuous flow with chapters like Half-Life and final DNF or a level-by-level basis separated into episodes like Duke 3D? What about multiplayer?

Frederik Schreiber: The Singleplayer was continous like Half-Life. There was no obvious episodes, but the game was split into Zones, using "!Z1L1_1" as a format.
Each of the 6 Zones was basically episodes. Vegas, Highway, EDF Base, Desert/Ghost Towm, Hoover Dam, Area 51.

The game had you manually drive the bike through vegas (Free Roaming), all the way to the highway, and through the desert. Extremely cool.
Multiplayer was pretty much done, and very fun indeed! With 9 dedicated Multiplayer Levels, all finalized.

PikaCommando: Also isn't there a Laser Sniper Rifle in the final game too? What about the Mini Nuke? Why can't we know more about DNF in development, or even get the old builds? Hell I think you could earn a lot of money publishing a book detailing DNF's development.

Frederik Schreiber: The laser rifle in the final game is basically a Railgun. The rifle in the 2001-2002 version was actually a sniper rifle, with a few different features.

Don't forget that Gearbox owns Duke Nukem Forever.

PikaCommando: But most importantly, do you know anything about the plot, and what are the phases/changes it went through? Also why did it come to recycling Duke 3D's enemies for final?

Frederik Schreiber: The plot was roughly the same. The setting was way more "Serious". Almost to a survival horror / Half Life level, which really suited the game.
I don't know why the majority of the enemies were changed back to the original. My guess would be that it had been so long since Duke 3D, that re-using the classic enemies was a "Safer Bet".

Plan updates
February 26, 1998, Nick Shaffner: DNF scripting system for the Quake2 iteration:
Vhelp, this is my first .plan file, so bear with me here until I get the hang of it. I'll try to get in an update every week or so, but we're starting to get geared up for E3, so free-time is hard to come by.

I recently finished integrating the new scripting system ('DukeC') into the engine codebase, it took a bit longer than I expected (always seems to ;^) ), but definantly worth it.
At the moment, I'm working on replacing the Quake2 entity system with our new, improved entity system. The novel design and speed of the scripting system combined with the insane flexibility of the new entity system should make Duke4Ever one of the most user-extensible games ever released.
Additionally, if there are any cool features you'd like to see in DukeEd, let me know ASAP, I've already gotten tons of great ideas from the mappers/designers, but would would love more suggestions on how to make it as powerful/flexible/easy-to-use as possible.

Chris has been slaving away on Cannibal like a mad-man for the last week and a half, and it's really looking quite impressive, it handles nearly -everything- relating to models - and then some (Plus the interface looks kick-ass).

We've been playing way too much Worms 2 around here lately. For being a rather simplistic 2d turn based engine, it sure packs a huge amount of sadistic and silly violence...

BTW, here's the URL for a nifty little toy I wrote a while back called Cheat-O-Matic. I's freeware and lets you cheat on just about everything:

March 5, 1998, Nick Shaffner: more DNF scripting system:
Thanks to everyone who sent in suggestions for DukeEd, and keep 'em coming!

Things are pretty hectic around here lateley.

The new entity system is progressing nicely, the base system should be finished by Monday or Tuesday - after which I'll begin writing the core scripts and DukeEd script generation 'wizards'. For those of you who were asking: yes we will support and release source code for .DLL's in addition to the scripting system - though internally we will be using the scripting system as much as possible (since it's 90% of the speed of compiled .DLL's anyways).

Chris has been working feverishly on overhauling Cannibal's interface and part/animation sequencing features - there should be some screen-shots of it released fairly soon.

Well, earlier this week, several people (65+ I've heard) were using the 'Cheat 'O Matic' utility I wrote to do some serious cheating on Sierra's online game "The Realm". The cheaters in question were able to use Cheat 'O Matic to give themselves a huge amount of negative manna, and indirectly convert it into enormous sums of gold. Anyways apparently this had the effect of decimating the Realm's virtual economy, and Sierra had to shut it down on Tuesday to fix the problem.
I had actually warned Sierra about this potential problem shortly after the Realm's initial release (not wanting potentially malicious Cheat 'O Matic users to destroy an otherwise nifty multiplayer game), but the online GM ignored my warning and promptly banned me from the Realm. Well, at least I tried...
In any case, soon after Sierra had fixed the bug, I found that Geocities had canned the Cheat 'O Matic site, stating that they reserved the right to boot 'anyone for any reason' - hmmm..... Luckilly, George was kind enough to let me use the company web site as Cheat 'O Matic's new home, so look for it up there in a few days.

You can read more about the incident in the Realm's online newspaper here:
http://www.public.usit.net/nrspears/news.html (See the 3/3/98 and 3/2/98 entries)
April 16, 1998, Chris Hargrove: thoughts on making a new game on an existing engine:
Oh wow, it's been like a month since I updated this thing. Wow does time fly when you're having fun... although it also flies when you're in crunch time, which I think is more applicable in this case.

Been slamming away at stuff for E3. My whole experience with Cannibal has been interesting, to say the least. Between the time of my last update and now it's probably gone through some super-major changes, but it's over now. At least, almost over... I still have a couple more bits to drop in, but the guys already have the newest version as it stands and are starting to use it toward some production models. I asked George about putting up a couple screenshots, but I agreed when he said we should wait until we have a couple really kickass models using it polished so that when we put up shots they'll be more of just the tool itself; you'll get to see it in action ("bang for your buck" kinda thing). It's too bad the thing took a couple weeks longer than I wanted, but that's the way things are I guess. I think Fox needs to make a new special "When Code Attacks". :)

I'm now back into engine-side stuff to finalize support for these models so we can be done with the character system and I can move on to bigger and better things. Nick's been busy with some DukeEd DukeEd changes and fixups, as well as the game-logic side entity work. My hope is that when all this is said and done, we'll have the framework out of the way and can start in on actual game logic content. It's amazing what frustrations tearing apart an engine can cause, but that's the price of progress I guess.

I'll echo a sentiment given recently by several people at several different companies... these games take a LONG TIME. They are a hell of a lot of work, and much of a development team effectively sacrifices their lives during the time of working on a high-quality game, all for the enjoyment of you, the consumer. No decent game that wants a shelf life of more than a week gets done in less than a year these days. It just doesn't happen. I sometimes hear "but it's different for you, the engine's already done" (and I'm sure Ritual, Ion and others hear a lot of this as well). Guess what guys... that doesn't make any difference. The time we save not writing the engine is nearly matched up by the time it takes to learn and modify a framework that wasn't written with you in mind. Quake and Quake 2 were written to be Quake and Quake 2, they weren't written to be Duke or Sin or Daikatana or any of these... turning it into something it wasn't planned for is a major undertaking, so the unrealistic expectation that we should get these games done in a year or less just because we're licensing an engine is just that... unrealistic.

On another note, in my last update I mentioned I would have some materials available from my IGDN session a month ago. I apologize for the delay on those, as I said I've been in a bit of a crunch mode recently. Don't worry, I haven't forgotten about you... I'll cut out that code and send it up to the IGDN guys as soon as I get the chance, which will probably be Sunday sometime.
April 23, 1998, George Broussard: releasing a new screenhot:
Against better judgement, but bowing to immense team pressure here, I think we will release a new DNF screen shot on our web site sometime tomorrow. ;)

This is the first public shot since last November or so, and a lot has changed (like the move to 100% 16 bit source art). I think you'll like what you'll see. We are still keeping 99% of the game shrouded in secrecy though, so don't expect too much. Just a taste of what's to come.
May 1, 1998, Chris Hargrove: big rant against 3DFX:
Been a while since the last update. I'll let you all know what I've been doing sometime soon, but not right now. Instead, I will take this opportunity to rant.

I have just spent the past 3 hours debugging something in ref_gl that had no business not working. I kept thinking that this must be my mistake, that I'm missing something. After these several hours of incredible frustration, I got fed up, figuring I just didn't know what the hell I was doing.

Then in an unrelated test, we ran Duke on an nVidia card under their ICD. After that, I had a bad feeling in my gut, and asked Nick to run my test stuff that I'd been trying to get working the whole evening, under the nVidia.

It loaded, and ran like a charm. Did exactly what I'd been trying to do the whole night. In other words, I'd just spent 3 hours trying to find Yet Another Damn 3Dfx OpenGL Driver Bug. This wasn't just a "that feature's not supported" bug... that'd be forgivable. This, however, was not.

A note to 3Dfx:

I love your cards. The performance is phenomenal. But that won't matter at all if you don't get some people to FIX YOUR DRIVERS. If you need to hire more people, hire more people. If people need to put in overtime, then put in overtime. Your GL implementation has been on permanent beta since time began. Is there more than one person working on this over there? I'm sorry, but there's no excuse for this. The fact that it sits on top of Glide should make this a relatively simple process.

I'm not even talking about the GL features that Glide doesn't support. I'm just talking about the ones it does. With the exception of some simple matrix transforms, there's a whole lot of GL that can be directly dealt with by Glide, quickly and efficiently. Yet even THAT stuff is screwing up. It'd be one thing if I couldn't get the accumulation or stencil buffers to work easily. That'd be understandable, since you have to emulate that stuff. But is there any logical reason why I can't do something as simple as get a texture to reload?

We've had more than our share of these driver bugs come up, but we've been patient. Nick, however, is far more patient than I am. As far as I'm concerned, this has gone on long enough.

If you don't have the time or resources to make things work that's fine, but if that's the case then at least admit it to your supporting developers and your buying public. Either that, or make the driver code available to your developers so I can try and fix things myself, instead of wasting my time finding bugs that in the end I can do NOTHING about.

I have deadlines. When stuff like this keeps happening, I can't meet them. I've been loyal to the Voodoo cards for a long time now, but if it keeps preventing me from doing my job, then that loyalty is gone.
August 4, 1998, George Broussard: misplaced confidence about the Unreal engine:
We're about where we wanted to be after the switch. The mappers are all 100% up to speed now and can do anything and everything with the editor. There is nothing in Unreal that they don't know how to do, and they've done some new things that make people go 'Whoa!' when they walk by their desks. The guys are all working on "real" levels now.

Textures and models have been continuing as if the switch never happened. Actually we seem to be able to have higher res textures under Unreal and still run fine, so you can expect that. We also know a few tricks to speed up Unreal and/or the maps to make it run acceptably on a P200 64 megs. I think 90% of the bog people are reporting are map abuse or texture usage related. These are things that are easy to control.

The programmers have been busy as well. We added a significant low level piece of tech I will talk about later, as well as basic stuff like the USE key. We also enhanced the Unreal keyframe, moving object system A LOT and now we seem to have nearly unlimited freedom. It's great to walk up to a switch, USE it and see something happen. Something very complex at that. Also reworked the resource system so we don't have to recompile a 10 minute file every time we add a piece of art. Very hand for fast updating of data. In short, the foundation is there, and we're ready for the new and "fun" stuff. The programmers will be moving to AI, guns, and game play type things ASAP.

Keith is prototyping his "back of the truck" map we showed at E3. This is mainly to test out the new object system and get any last little things that would keep that type of map from working.

At this point, we are really in full production mode again on the game. We expect to have gun and guys walking around any day like we never switched engines.

The progress from here should be exponential, as we just drop in new data, and the programmers focus on gameplay more than tech additions.

Don't be surprised if we're silent for awhile. We plan to just keep working hard on the game and keep our mouths shut about what we are doing.
December 30, 1998, George Broussard: more misplaced confidence about the Unreal engine:
I'll try to clue you in a little:

Code: Been adding lot's and lot's of neato features so our mappers can do insane, and I mean insane amounts of interactivity. Also working on things like skeletal character system, level of detail, and preparing to do a major patch to Unreal's version 220+ code base (January).

Maps: the guys have been working steadily on majorly detailed level scripts, so that we know where you are and what you will be doing on a level per level basis. This is analogous to a blueprint for a house, or a script for a movie. They are about to start on "real" maps according to the scripts we've drawn up. Major design meetings and level reviews have been taking place as we continue to refine the game.

Art: Modelers have been building some characters and smaller decorative objects for the game. We are amassing a library of items that can pop into the game at any time and they know how to react to being shot or used. Texture guys are always jamming on textures for the levels, or skins for the characters.

Concept sketches: Been working on nailing final looks for Bombshell, and storyboarding some cinematic sequences. About to start doing sketches of level locations so the mappers have a good visual to build off of. Will continue with character sketches as we refine what will/will not be in the game.

That's a brief run down of what we've been doing. The major part of the last 2-3 months has been uplifting Unreal to do a lot of what we wanted DNF to do. We are now 95% happy with the interactivity we can do and are moving to more mundane things like Unreal patch upgrades, weapons coding and neat little interactive touches.

All in all, things are going great and we're about in our stride in full production on the game. We'll also probably be building a small motion capture studio in house and getting the equipment in here ASAP (as we've done the research and demoed a couple).

We've still got an immense amount of work to do, to bring the game up to playable "game" status, but all the separate parts are coming together and we're all really, really excited at what we see forming.

Thanks for the patience and support. DNF will rock you.
March 8, 1999, George Broussard: Unreal engine character system:
Well we finally almost have the motion capture room setup. The ceiling has been yanked (so we can jump up and not hit our heads) and the stage will be installed tomorrow. Then we just setup the equipment (We opted for the MotionStar Wireless system from Ascension), calibrate it and start capturing motions for the game. The 3 animators (Chris, Allen and David) are in Canada now getting training on the mo-cap cleanup software we're using (Kaydara FilmBox).

Chris Hargrove already has the full skeletal system in the game and it all works great. A character can be doing his animations and you can use the bones in the skeleton to override various animations like: Have enemies heads track Duke's position, shoot them in the shoulder and they can recoil, independent things like ponytails or tails, while doing another animations.

We've spent a good deal of time re-working Unreal's character system, and it's time for it to all start paying off. Once you have skeletal control and motion capture data, putting animations in the game becomes trivial (the cleanup is very minor with the right software), and capturing complex motions like strippers becomes easy

Add to this, a fully dynamic real-time LOD system for every mesh in the game, and you have a character system that we are very, very happy with.

Motion captured strippers, eh?
2007: thoughts by various developers after the last restart:
I just found out about this, the only image released publicly in 6 years. Very small, but oh well. This is in-game, and does look amazing full screen... I actually have the full screen one as my desktop.
(Duke minishot)
- Ben Eoff, January 26nd, 2007.

So today at work we had a 2 hour meeting in the theater room where 4 levels from the game were demoed to bring a lot of the new guys up to speed and to boost moral all over. For the first time since I realized how awesome this company is, not only from a general work ethic pov, but also the talent and vision. Just watching it be played it looked like the most fun game ever created, and it looked amazing(graphically) on top of that. However, the best thing about today what seeing what an impact my work has had on the game. The characters I've done are buy far the most abundantly used throughout the game, so every level had my guys running around trying to do damage. That was the best feeling I've ever had in my entire life, hands down (sorry babe). Anyway I just needed to share my excitement, I'm totally stoked now, and can't way to have others playing it.
- Ben Eoff, May 3rd, 2007.

It may be a small picture but it's all my hard work, and a lot of coaching from the powers that be. This is the pigcop.
(pigcop minishot)
- Ben Eoff, May 3rd, 2007.

I emailed this info to Dad, Linann, and cousins. Sorry for the repeat, Slambo.)

I think I neglected to mention that Judy and I are visiting Ben and Jennifer in Big D this weekend. Drove up yesterday and got to see the 3D Realms offices (and theatre and game room and free food room...). The hallway walls are filled with stories and awards about them and some posters from ads. If Ben doesn't work there he's pulled off a heck of a hoax.
He said his art work has improved considerably from when he started and they tell him he's doing better than they expected when hiring him. Dines with George Brousard etc. He showed me the villain character he's done. Really cool (if not troubling...). Lately he's doing environmental stuff; he said he spent seven work days perfecting a pool table. Part of his job is playing the game and giving feedback. I feel like I need to rescue my poor boy from his mistreatment.
He said it's eye opening how some non "famous" (in the gaming world) people are just as good as the celebrities but just haven't promoted their work.
Going to see Judy's aunt Mary in Grapevine shortly and will head back to home, or at least Beaumont tomorrow.
- unknown author, unknown date

Six months since I updated. Not much has changed - everything is still going well. Things at work continue to make me jazzed to get up in the morning. Our team is just top-notch. I've been enjoying working on the levels I've been assigned, and everybody is responding well to the work I'm doing. In addition, the other designers continue to pump out work that just blows my mind. I'm really looking forward to the day when we can start showing off what we've been doing.

All in all, 2007 has shaped up to be a much more enjoyable year than 2006 was.
- Scott Maclean, December 4th, 2007

Press releases
April 28, 1997: the Quake 2 iteration of Duke Nukem Forever is announced:

Garland, TX - April 28, 1997

3D Realms Licenses id Software's 'Quake II' Engine for `Duke Nukem Forever'

GARLAND, TX -- In an unprecedented convergence of industry titans, GT Interactive Software Corp. (NASDAQ: GTIS), 3D Realms, a division of Apogee, and id Software are teaming up on Duke Nukem Forever, the sequel to the best-selling PC game Duke Nukem 3D. Under the agreement, GT Interactive obtains all interactive publishing rights for personal computer and video game systems to 3D Realms' Duke Nukem Forever, which will utilize id Software's proprietary cutting-edge Quake II game engine. In addition, GT Interactive obtains merchandising rights for all derivative works, including films, home video and books for Duke Nukem Forever, as well as rights on a future title, tentatively called Duke Nukem 5.

"`Duke Nukem 3D' has become a premier interactive entertainment franchise and shows no signs of slowing as the title continues to sell-through at retail," said Ron Chaimowitz, president and chief executive officer of GT Interactive. "Obtaining the sequel rights allows us to expand the amazing growth and popularity of this dynamic property via integrated marketing campaigns and multi-platform versions." Duke Nukem 3D has captivated gaming enthusiasts by combining strong character development, gripping graphics and irreverent humor with an advanced 3D gaming engine. The resulting game play experience "raised the bar" for first-person action games prompting such leading industry publications as Boot and Wired magazines to respectively call Duke Nukem 3D the "absolutely best first-person action game of the year, bar none" and "the undisputed king."

"Teaming Duke Nukem, perhaps the most recognizable character in the PC industry, with the Quake II engine, the most advanced currently available 3D engine, is an amazing quadruple-win situation: for 3D Realms, id Software, GT Interactive, and especially players and fans of both Duke Nukem, Quake and high-action 3D gaming in general. What more can players ask for than combining the technology of Quake with the attitude and interactive gameplay of Duke Nukem!" said George Broussard, head of 3D Realms.
In a recent article on the success of Duke Nukem 3D, The Wall Street Journal wrote, "Action-game hero Duke Nukem gives players something they can't get elsewhere: a hero with attitude." The article also quoted industry publication GamePro who said, "This is the first game where personality has taken hold and become something unto itself." Duke Nukem Forever will further emphasize Duke Nukem as a strong action-game character who has already endeared himself to gamers worldwide.

Acclaimed for its technological 3D brilliance, id Software's Quake joined Duke Nukem 3D at the top of the charts. id's Quake II engine has enhanced capabilities over its predecessor, the end result of which will allow gamers to fully immerse themselves in a 3D environment like never before. "id Software has long been known as a innovator in 3D gaming and we are excited to be teaming with 3D Realms, a leader in their own right and Texas neighbor," said Todd Hollenshead, chief executive officer of id Software.

Offering multi-player competition via networks and the Internet, Duke Nukem 3D has consistently performed in the top 10 PC charts and later this year, GT Interactive is releasing the original Duke Nukem 3D for play on the Nintendo N64 and Sony PlayStation console systems. 3D Realms Entertainment, a division of the long-standing Apogee Software, Ltd., founded in 1987 and headquartered in Garland, TX, is 100 percent focused on creating highly innovative real-time 3D action games and nothing else. Apogee is the pioneer of multi-episode shareware marketing for games and has won numerous industry marketing and game awards. Previous hit releases include Raptor, Rise of the Triad, Wolfenstein 3D, Terminal Velocity and Death Rally. On the web, visit www.3drealms.com for more

id Software, founded in 1991, is a development company located in Mesquite, Texas. id's team of talented developers continue to make gaming history by creating and publishing one sensational game after another. Wolfenstein 3D, DOOM, DOOM II, Heretic, HEXEN and QUAKE have created a frenzied demand worldwide and have managed to consistently break shareware and retail sales records at home and broad. id Software, founded in 1991, is a development company located in Mesquite, Texas. id's team of talented developers continue to make gaming history by creating and publishing one sensational game after another. Wolfenstein 3D, DOOM, DOOM II, Heretic, HEXEN and QUAKE have created a frenzied demand worldwide and have managed to consistently break shareware and retail sales records at home and broad. Headquartered in NY, GT Interactive Software Corp. is a leading global publisher of entertainment and edutainment software under the GT Interactive, Humongous Entertainment and Cavedog Entertainment brands for personal computers as well as video game systems from Sony, Nintendo and Sega; and Macintosh software under the MacSoft brand. Among GT Interactive's best-sellers are Duke Nukem 3D and QUAKE. The company is also a leader in value-priced software. Located at http://www.gtinteractive.com on the World Wide Web, GT Interactive is publicly traded on the NASDAQ National Market System under the symbol GTIS.

For more information contact either:

Scott Miller: [email protected]

George Broussard: [email protected]
April 28, 1997: the reason for choosing the Quake 2 engine are explained:

Garland, TX - April 28, 1997

Here's why we didn't use our more advanced Prey engine to make Duke Nukem Forever...

Garland, TX -- The big announcement leaked Friday night, scooped by Jason Bates of PC Gamer Online, and immediately caused a shockwave through Internet gaming newsgroups and IRC channels for Duke Nukem and Quake. Today, GT Interactive made public this big news: Duke Nukem Forever, the next all-new game starring icy confident, attitude busting, Duke Nukem, will be created using id Software's leading-edge Quake technology and tools.

3D Realms, at the same time, is developing Prey, a next-generation 3D game using technology that skips over the technology seen in today's current and soon-to-come 3D games.

This leads to the question being asked most about the Duke meets Quake connection: Why is 3D Realms using the Quake technology rather than using their own Prey technology?

Head of 3D Realms, George Broussard, responds: "It's a very good question, but we have a very good answer. Our Prey technology is predicated on 3D hardware, such as the 3DFX card and the Rendition card. Prey will not work without the current best 3D cards on the market. When Prey is released late in 1998 only then do we believe there will be enough of an installed base to support sales of a high-end 3D hardware game."

"Obviously, we considered developing Duke Nukem Forever with the Prey engine," said Broussard, "but that would have put us in the position of releasing both Prey and Duke at nearly the same time, and we didn't want both games competing so close together and taking attention away from each other. Both games would have been hurt under that scenario."

Scott Miller, head of Apogee, adds, "We want to give Prey as much space as possible, so this meant getting Duke Forever done early in 1998, and to do this we need a ready-to-go, track proven engine. I called Todd Hollenshead, CEO of id Software, and got the ball rolling."

"We've actually been working on the game since January," said Miller, "prototyping new effects, adding game features, models, weapons, etc. We'll be showing Duke Forever in a back room at E3, at the GT Interactive booth, which will be the press' first glimpse of the game. Our goal is to release Duke Nukem Forever no later than mid-1998 and Prey late that year, making 1998 a big year for us."

Broussard continues, "Duke Nukem Forever will have all of the functionality of Quake and bring in the new Quake II functions, too, including support for 3D hardware, colored lights, Internet multiplayer capability (including a QuakeWorld similar setup) and other cool things too soon to mention. The Quake engine is a joy to work with and players have yet to see its full potential, which we plan to exploit. As Duke would say: 'This is gonna rock!'."

For more information contact

Scott Miller: [email protected]

George Broussard at [email protected]
April 30, 1997: George Broussard takes credit for Duke Nukem 3D and promises not to let fans down with Duke Nukem Forever:
Garland, TX - April 30, 1997

For the second year in a row, Duke Nukem 3D, by 3D Realms Entertainment, and published by GT Interactive, won the coveted Spotlight Award at the annual Computer Game Developers Convention (CGDC). Duke won in the "Best Action Game" category, beating an incredibly impressive list of contenders: Tomb Raider, Quake, Super Mario 64 and Tekken 2.

The CGDC, which ended yesterday, had over 5000 attendees, mostly comprised of game developers from around the world. The CGDC is the premier convention for developers, and the Spotlight Award winners are selected by developers (not the press), giving these awards special meaning since they represent the recognition of industry peers.

Paul Schuytema (shown with Prey T-Shirt on), project leader for 3D Realms' upcoming Prey, and Rick Raymo, producer at GT Interactive, collected the award at the podium, said a brief thanks, then were shuttled into a backroom where a horde of press asked questions about the big win.

Head of 3D Realms, George Broussard, said, "To win this two years straight, which I don't remember any other game doing, is both a stunning surprise and a real honor. Our friends in the developer community have continuously told us that Duke was a groundbreaking game and one of their favorites. This win is icing on the cake and perhaps the most important award for us to win, since it's from our fellow developers, whom we have high respect for."

Also announced at the CGDC were the Golden Fire Hydrant Awards, by Happy Puppy (www.happypuppy.com), the largest game site on the web. Duke Nukem 3D won eight awards of the 28 given, more than any other game. (For comparison, Quake won one award and Tomb Raider won one award). These awards are selected by game players who voted for their favorite games on the Happy Puppy web site.

Once again, Duke Nukem 3D won "Best Action Game," as well as these categories: "Best Audio Effects," "Best Original Character," "Best Use of Adult Theme," "Best Gratuitous Violence," "Funniest Line in a Game," "Best Use of Sarcasm" and "Best Cheats."

"What can I say," said Broussard. "Duke kicks butt. :)"

This news comes at the same time that 3D Realms announced that the next Duke game (Duke Nukem Forever) will be developed using id Software's leading-edge Quake technology, due for release in 1998. "Players can and should expect the same quality of gameplay, innovation, Duke's attitude and environment interaction as in Duke Nukem 3D," commented Broussard. "We will not let our fans down."
June 15, 1998: George Broussard reveals the switch to Unreal and expects the game not to be significantly delayed:
GARLAND, TX - 3D Realms Entertainment's highly anticipated Duke Nukem Forever, the follow-up to one of the all-time best-selling PC games, Duke Nukem 3D, will now be built around Epic MegaGames' highly praised Unreal technology.

George Broussard, project leader for Duke Nukem Forever had this to say, "The switch to the Unreal engine was simply a business decision, and it came down to what we wanted to do with Duke Nukem Forever and how best to achieve it. It's important to note that this decision has nothing to do with id software or our relationship with them, which still remains very strong."

"The game should not be significantly delayed", noted Broussard, "but it will take a little time to get up to speed with the new engine and learn how to exploit it. Fortunately, all of our game data will transfer very easily and we see being back to where we were at E3 within a month to 6 weeks."

People who have seen the Duke Nukem Forever E3 video, or back room demo voiced concerns that some of the items they saw would be lost. "Not at all" says Broussard. "If anything, the E3 demos showed what we could do with licensed technology and how we can extend it.  We intend to apply the same ideas and efforts into the Unreal engine and push it until it breaks. Fans can expect all the stuff they saw at E3 to make the crossover to the Unreal engine."

In response to fans, asking about Internet play and the high machine specifications of Unreal, Broussard had this to say. "We are very confident that the Epic team will fix any and all outstanding issues with Unreal multiplay over the Internet, and see it becoming one of the most popular games over the net. As for machine specifications, Duke Nukem Forever is a 1999 game and we think that timeframe matches very well with what we have planned for the game."

In anticipation of an obvious question, "Why not use the Prey engine?," George said, "It is of utmost importance to us to have Prey be the first game released using the Prey technology. By going with Unreal's tech to create Duke Nukem Forever, we'll be able to stay on schedule to get Duke done and released before Prey."

Mark Rein, Vice President of Epic MegaGames, said: "We are extremely excited that 3D Realms has chosen to use the Unreal engine for Duke Nukem Forever. Their proven track record with the Duke Nukem series combined with the Unreal engine is an amazing combination."

Duke Nukem Forever will be commercially published by GT Interactive Software (http://www.gtinteractive.com). For more information about 3D Realms, please visit http://www.3drealms.com. For more information about Epic MegaGames, please visit http://www.epicgames.com.
May 18, 2009: George Broussard talks about the firing of the entire DNF team and Take2's lawsuit:
3D Realms Release Pertaining to Recent Events Surrounding Duke Nukem Forever

Dallas, TX (May 18, 2009) - In light of recent press articles and statements by Take-Two (to the media and in a lawsuit), we want to set the record straight on some issues.

Despite rumors and statements to the contrary, 3D Realms (3DR) has not closed and is not closing. 3DR retains ownership of the Duke Nukem franchise. Due to lack of funding, however, we are saddened to confirm that we let the Duke Nukem Forever (DNF) development team go on May 6th, while we regroup as a company. While 3DR is a much smaller studio now, we will continue to operate as a company and continue to license and co-create games based upon the Duke Nukem franchise.

As some of you may know, Take-Two filed a lawsuit last week containing various accusations and claims against 3DR and the uncompleted DNF game. Take-Two never paid 3DR advances or any signing bonus or any other funds related to DNF, up until July 2008, at which time they paid $2.5m in connection with another agreement for an unannounced game. This is the sum total Take-Two has paid 3DR in connection with DNF. Take-Two claims that they paid $12m to GT Interactive/Infogrames to acquire the publishing rights for the DNF game. To be clear, 3DR was not a party to that transaction and did not receive any money from it. When the DNF game was originally signed with GT Interactive in 1998, GT paid 3DR a $400,000 signing bonus. Up until July 2008, this was the only publisher money we received for the DNF game. Meanwhile, 3DR put over $20m into the production of DNF.

Take-Two retains publishing rights for the DNF game, although 3DR retains certain rights to sell the game directly to the public. Late last year, 3DR began negotiations with Take-Two to provide funding to complete the DNF game. In the meantime, 3DR was hitting mutually-agreed milestones, despite not having a new agreement finalized. Take-Two was well aware that 3DR needed the funding to continue the DNF game development. Suddenly, after months of negotiations, Take-Two materially changed the parameters of the proposed funding agreement. 3DR informed Take-Two that it could not financially afford the changes Take-Two was suggesting and would be forced to release the team if an agreement was not reached. Take-Two made a last minute proposal to acquire the Duke Nukem franchise and the 3DR development team. Take-Two's proposal was unacceptable to 3DR for many reasons, including no upfront money, no guarantee minimum payment, and no guarantee to complete the DNF game. From 3DR's perspective, we viewed Take-Two as trying to acquire the Duke Nukem franchise in a "fire sale." Those negotiations fell through on May 4th, a deal never materialized, and the DNF team was sadly released a few days later.

Less than a week after the DNF team was released, Take-Two filed its lawsuit in New York, seeking immediate temporary injunctive relief. The court denied Take-Two's request for a temporary restraining order. While we cannot comment on the details of the ongoing lawsuit, we believe Take-Two's lawsuit is without merit and merely a bully tactic to obtain ownership of the Duke Nukem franchise. We will vigorously defend ourselves against this publisher.
May 24, 2011: Gearbox announces that Duke Nukem Forever has gone gold:
    2K Games and Gearbox Software Announce Duke Nukem Forever® Has “Gone Gold”

    Vaporware no more! Gaming’s most legendary hero makes his triumphant return this June

    New York, NY – May 24, 2011 – 2K Games and Gearbox Software are proud to announce that Duke Nukem Forever®, one of the most anticipated entertainment properties of all time, has “gone gold” and will be available at retailers on June 10, 2011 internationally and on June 14, 2011 in North America. The road to gold was paved over the course of 15 years and its legendary path climaxes on the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and Windows PC. Gamers who pre-order the title from select outlets will ensure that they are among the first to experience this legendary piece of gaming history when the demo* launches on June 3, 2011 for all platforms, exclusively for Duke Nukem First Access Club Members.

    "Duke Nukem Forever is the game that was once thought to be unshipppable, and yet here we are, on the precipice of history,” said Christoph Hartmann, president of 2K. “Today marks an amazing day in the annals of gaming lore, the day where the legend of Duke Nukem Forever is finally complete and it takes that final step towards becoming a reality.”

    Created over the span of 15 years, Duke Nukem Forever was first developed with the intense passion and commitment from an inspired group of dedicated designers, artists and programmers at 3D Realms under the direction of game industry icon, George Broussard.

    “Duke Nukem Forever and its journey to store shelves is legendary,” said George Broussard, creative director at 3D Realms. “It's an epic tale of four game development studios that banded together and did the unthinkable and shipped the unshippable. When you play this game you will be reminded of that epic journey at every turn and in every small detail of the game. The character, attitude, interactivity, gameplay and political incorrectness combine to make a Duke Nukem game a unique gaming experience. In the timeless words of Duke Nukem it's finally time to 'Come Get Some'. Come be a part of gaming history.”

    In 2009, after many believed that Duke Nukem Forever would never be completed, a small team of intrepid developers, known as Triptych Studios, resurrected the dream. Through their inspiring and steadfast commitment to the game and their exemplary talent and skill, they finally assembled the pieces to create an incredible, epic and cohesive gameplay experience. Under the production of Gearbox Software, Triptych Studios, Piranha Games and many other contributors joined together in a heroic effort to complete the long awaited game as a polished, full-featured triple-A title.

    "Always bet on Duke, I did," said Randy Pitchford, president of Gearbox Software. "I bet on all of the developers who have ever been a part of this legendary project and I bet that none of us want to live in a world without the Duke. I've played the final game and it is an incredible experience - a once-in-a-lifetime opus of interactive entertainment that reminds me once again why Duke Nukem is our King. The developers of Duke Nukem Forever at 3D Realms, Triptych, Piranha and finally at Gearbox deserve our thanks and respect for never giving up and have truly shown us that they have balls of steel!"

    Strictly for the biggest Duke Nukem fans, the First Access Club grants members exclusive access to the pre-release demo on June 3, 2011 so that they are amongst the first to experience gaming history in the making. There are multiple ways fans can join the exclusive First Access Club, by pre-ordering the game from select retailers or by purchasing the Borderlands Game of the Year Edition on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 system and Windows PC.

    True Duke Nukem die-hards will want to get their hands on the Duke Nukem Forever Balls of Steel Edition. This package is spilling over-the-brim with legendary content that is not to be missed by those who want the ultimate experience of this historic arrival. Premium items, such as a Duke Nukem Bust and an art book that chronicles the development of Duke Nukem Forever, flank a package that is overflowing with content. Check out www.dukenukemforever.com/preorder/ to see exactly how much stuff could be crammed into one box.

    Apologizing to no one, Duke Nukem Forever is the high-octane video game equivalent of a Hollywood summer blockbuster. Starring the legendary lady killer and alien slayer, Duke Nukem Forever brings gamers back to a blastastic time when games were filled with head-popping, bone-rattling action, brazenly crude humor, impossibly statuesque women dying for affection, and catchy one-liners meant to make you laugh out loud. Duke Nukem Forever is rated M for Mature by the ESRB. For more information on the game, including where to pre-order, please visit www.dukenukemforever.com.
July 26, 2011: 2K Games announces the multiplayer DLC "Hail to the Icons Parody Pack":
New Duke Nukem Forever Content Arriving this Fall - Come Play at 2K Headquarters August 4!

Duke Nukem Forever’s First Add-On Content Hail to the Icons Parody Pack, is headed to Xbox 360, PS3, and PC this Fall. The pack contains three new game modes, and four new multiplayer maps – each with new weapons– and, this pack will be FREE to all First Access Club members who registered their FAC membership prior to the launch of Duke Nukem Forever (subject to availability).

Want to know more? Here are some details about what the Parody Pack includes:

Three All-New Modes –

    Freeze Tag provides some of the most fun team gameplay in Duke Nukem Forever.  Players cooperate to freeze and shatter their opponents in succession for huge point streaks and combos.  See who can hold on to the babe the longest in Hot Potato and play free-for-all Duke style in Hail to the King.
    Call of Duke – Duke engages in modern combat in a war-torn city. Foes don’t stand a chance against the Duke when he spams the map with the N00b T00b.
    Sandbox – Players take the role of mini-Duke in a giant sandbox with two bases at either end made out of children’s toys. This map features Sticky Bombs.
    Inferno – Time machine engage! Duke does combat in a hellish landscape of lava and teleporters. Who turned on the 16-bit graphics, and more importantly, where did this DFG come from?
    2Forts1Bridge – Hats? Duke doesn’t need no stinking hats. Give him a minigun and he’ll beat off all comers.


Excited? Don’t want to wait to get your hands on these new modes and maps? You’re in luck. On Thursday, August 4th we’re going to be hosting Multiplayer Dukematches in our headquarters in Novato, California (about 30 minutes north of San Francisco). If you are over 17 and can make it to our office at either 4 PM or 6 PM, email [email protected] with the subject like "DNF Dukematch!" and include the following information:

- Full name
- Age
- Address
- Top 2 forums you post on (and your username!)
- What time you are available to play


I’ll be emailing our lucky VIPs early next week to let them know when their Dukematch is.

Hail to the King, baby!
December 13, 2011: Gearbox announces the final DLC "The Doctor Who Cloned Me":
Duke is Back in Action in The Doctor Who Cloned Me - Full Single- and Multi-player Expansion Pack for Duke Nukem Forever®

New York, NY – December 13, 2011– 2K Games and Gearbox Software announced today that The Doctor Who Cloned Me*, a brand new downloadable expansion pack for Duke Nukem Forever® that includes a wealth of single- and multi-player content,is now available for $9.99 via PlayStation® Network for the PlayStation® 3 computer entertainment system and for 800 Microsoft Points via Xbox LIVE® Marketplace for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and Windows PC.

The Doctor Who Cloned Me is bursting with hours of the over-the-top Duke goodness that fans love. Deep in the heart of Area 51, Dr. Proton has been hatching his maniacal plan. Fueled by new ego boosts, Duke is ready to take on evil clones, alien queens and anything else that comes his way in order to save the world and his babes! This full, new single-player campaign includes brand new weapons, all-new enemy types and bosses, more Achievements/Trophies and many more interactive items within the world.

Additionally, The Doctor Who Cloned Me adds four new multiplayer maps to the mix:
° Sky-High: The alien-infested corporate offices of Pooty, Inc. near the center of Las Vegas. This map includes three indoor floors taken over by the aliens and two rooftops, jump pads, stairwells, and building-to-building combat.
° Command: EDF command center with an imprisoned BattleLord at its core! A two-level map featuring winding stairs, straightaway corridors, and jump pads.
° Drop Zone: Rooftop of Duke’s Lady Killer Casino featuring indoor and outdoor combat and stairwells for platforming, an EDF dropship on landing pad, and a bottomless pit.
° Biohazard: Fight in the Breston Plant Nuclear Power facilities and compete across multiple floors in locker rooms, restrooms with showers, control rooms, and the nuclear waste storage room.

Duke Nukem Forever is now available for $29.99 on consoles and $19.99 on PC. Apologizing to no one, and starring the legendary lady killer and alien slayer, Duke Nukem Forever brings players to a blastastic time when games were filled with head-popping, bone-rattling action, brazenly crude humor, and catchy one-liners.

For more information on Duke Nukem Forever please visit www.dukenukemforever.com. Additional information on the The Doctor Who Cloned Me can be found at www.dukenukemforever.com/thedoctorwhoclonedme. Duke Nukem Forever is rated M for Mature by the ESRB.

*Standalone product required to operate

2K Games is a division of 2K, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO).

“PlayStation” is a registered trademark of Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc.

Microsoft, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE, and the Xbox logos are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies and are used under license from Microsoft.

All trademarks and copyrights contained herein are the property of their respective holders.

Take2 vs 3DRealms lawsuit

- Take2 lawsuit against 3DRealms, filed on May 12, 2009
PDF, 20 pages

- Order not to tamper with, or transfer, the existing source and object code of DNF, dated May 11, 2009
1 2 3 4 5 6

- Dismissal with prejudice of the lawsuit, dated May 14, 2010
1 2

3DRealms vs Gearbox lawsuit

- 3DRealms lawsuit against Gearbox, filed on June 7, 2013
PDF, 14 pages

Cheat codes

By default, all these codes will only work in the demo, due to the command console being disabled in the full game. To use them in the full game, use the console degrader.:

Type the following commands in the log window:

OPEN [Map Name] - Load a different map. If the game is stuck, this will usually get it unstuck.
STAT - Gives statistics about engine variables
MEMSTAT - Gives memory statistics
OBJ CLASSES - List classes loaded
OBJ LIST CLASS=<objectclass> - List all objects belonging to the class (if the class isn't specified, lists ALL objects)
OBJ DEPENDENCIES PACKAGE=<package> - Show dependencies of the package (e.g. Engine package)
FLUSH - Crashes game
SAVEGAME - Saves the game (does not work, no CPS file is created)
EXIT - Force close the game

SET commands

set <class> <property> <number/text/we> - changes settings of a class. Property can be e.g. "health". Example: "set pigcop_grunt health 1" makes all pigcop_grunt in current map health 1. These commands do not persist through map loads.
set engine.playerpawn binfiniteammo true - infinite ammo to all weapons (including weapons that overheat, like turrets, as well as HoloDuke, pipe bombs, trip mines, beer, and steroids)
set Engine.PlayerPawn bGodMode true - Infinite Health and Breath (can still die by crushing and falling out of bounds)
set dngame.playerpawn vehiclepov vpov_firstperson - Change vehicles to First Person View
set dngame.playerpawn bbehindview <true/false> - Change view from third-person to first-person
set dnGame.<Weapon to Change>Pickup InventoryType Class'dnGame.<Weapon You Want>' - Change all weapons from the first variable to be weapons of the second variable
e.g. set dnGame.DevastatorPickup InventoryType Class'dnGame.Nuke' - Change all Devastator pickups to Nuclear Missile Launchers

give dnGame.<Weapon You Want> a better way then changing the pickups. NOTICE! this command must be typed in console!

for example give dngame.nuke

Valid weapon (and item) names:

Jetpack (press J to activate)

Editing NPCs and players

editactor class=DukePlayer editactor tag=Casino_FallingElevator_Girl editactor class=stripper

If you want to find more NPC classes and tags, open editactor window for DukePlayer while looking at some NPC, the name will be under None section in one of the Look* fields.

Binding full console to O key

set input O ShowLog

Enabling SOS Console in-game

Once you have the Dev Log window open, type in the following command:

set input Tilde ShowControls | Type

Press the Tilde key in-game and you get access to the SOS console.

Other codes

set engine.playerpawn binstagib true - makes all weapons so powerful that they kill with one shot
set Engine.PlayerPawn bGhostMode true - Walk through walls and fly
set Engine.PlayerPawn DefaultFOV 120 - Change FOV

GOD - god mode
GHOST - noclip mode
FLY - fly mode (clipping)
WALK - walk mode (if ghosting or flying)
ALLAMMO - all weapons and items
PLAYERSONLY - freeze time or unfreeze it
SLOMO <0.1 - INF> - slow/fast motion time (1 = normal time)
BEHINDVIEW 1 - 3rd person view
BEHINDVIEW 0 - 1st person view
KILLALL <destroys all these in a map (like "killall pigcop_grunt" makes all pigcop_grunt vanish)
KILLPAWNS - destroys all pawns (monsters, babes...)
OPEN <map name> - opens a map
SUMMON <class> - )
map mapXX YY - opens map named mapXX on checkpoint YY (e.g. map map04b 06)

List of summons (for SUMMON cheat, incomplete):



Demo00=Duke Lives
Demo01=Damn! It's Late...
Demo04B=The Lady Killer
Demo05=Vegas in Ruin
Map00=Duke Lives
Map01=Damn! It's Late...
Map02=The Duke Cave
Map03=Mothership Battle
Map04=The Lady Killer
Map04B=The Lady Killer: Part 2
Map04C=The Lady Killer: Part 3
Map05=Vegas in Ruin
Map06=The Duke Dome
Map06B=The Duke Dome: Part 2
Map07=The Hive
Map07B=The Hive: Part 2
Map08=Queen Bitch
Map09=Duke Nukem's Titty City
Map10=Crash Course
Map11=The Duke Burger
Map11B=The Duke Burger: Part 2
Map11C=The Duke Burger: Part 3
Map12=The Mighty Foot
Map12B=The Mighty Foot: Part 2
Map13=Ghost Town
Map14=Highway Battle
Map14B=Highway Battle: Part 2
Map15=Dam Top
Map16=The Shrunk Machine
Map16B=The Shrunk Machine: Part 2
Map17=The Forkstop
Map17B=The Forkstop: Part 2
Map18=Generator Room
Map19B=Underground: Part 2
Map20=The Clarifier
Map20B=The Clarifier: Part 2
Map21=Blowin' the Dam
Map21B=Blowin' the Dam: Part 2
Map22=Final Battle
Map23=Press Conference
Map_MyDigs=My Digs
Map_Changeroom=Change Room





Duke Nukem Forever is a copyright © 2011 Gearbox Software.
Duke Nukem and all related characters and elements are trademarks of and © Gearbox Software.