Duke Nukem Forever brings back the king of action in the highly anticipated game set to pummel players with unprecedented interactivity, variety, realism, and Duke's specal whoop-ass brand of humor. The first in-house Duke Nukem game by 3D Realms since Duke Nukem 3D. Powered by the Unreal Engine 1 Technology, Duke Nukem Forever 2001 delivers an intense First Person Shooter experience, with stunningly detailed characters in expansive interactive maps. Motion captured animation and realistic area-sensitive damaged take realism to scary new heights, and make picking off those aliens bastards all the more fun.
We’ve come a pretty long way in the last year. We’ve been able to deal with a lot of hurdles as we move closer to our goal: completing DNF2001. We’ve seen great improvements to the game’s stability and performance as we updated both the codebase and the renderer. We created a whole slew of new assets, as well as restored the 1999 Asset CD. We got multiplayer working properly this year, pulling a great deal of talent from all of our departments to make new assets, fix up levels, and provide general improvements and overhauls where needed.. While we’re still cooking Episode 1 of the campaign, we managed to release and work on a lot of cool stuff this year.
After the First Slice release at the end of 2022 we took a nice long two week break. Some of us still couldn’t help ourselves though, and pretty soon we had seen the beginnings of the changes that would set the course for the next year. Major improvements to the DirectX9 and OpenGL renderer were made, along with a fix to the timing system of the engine which brought with it night and day differences in performance. Additionally, the beginnings of the multiplayer Update started to take shape. Although it was originally planned to be a two month venture, it ended up being the direction we chose for most of 2023.
Another boon fell into the community's lap: the 1999 Asset CD leak. It contained reference textures, old meshes that were referenced in our code, and even a different version of 3D Realms’ mesh editor, Cannibal. We pulled as much as we could from this — throughout the year our 3D Art Lead, Daniel worked on importing these assets. The CD also contained what is currently likely the oldest DNF related map that we know of, Kslab3. It’s so old it was still in the Unreal Map format as opposed to the newer DNF format 3DR created during development. We would go on to re-release it as a little standalone map and it would become the first of three in what we would dub the “Screenshot Series"
The beginning of the year we would also see the first proper release of the Screenshot Series with our recreation of the Area 51 chainsaw screenshot that had been teased so long ago:
What initially felt like a leisurely February release snowballed into a larger, all encompassing first update. From January to April we worked hard at rebuilding and fixing most of the multiplayer systems, building a completely new player select menu, and expanding the roster to include over 20 brand new Duke skins to go along with Duke’s new mode. We reworked all of the maps from the leak, setting a standard for the future. The team also added nine maps to the game, including two brand new maps, one of which won our Nuclear Winter Mapping contest!
Multiplayer wasn’t the only thing that came with Duke-It-Out, though. The game also saw performance improvements, restored knockdown animations and code, new UI customization, fixes to scaling and fixed color options, as well as a fix for the prop death bug. We found and restored the Freezer’s ammo canister and implemented a new M16 and Freezer world model. Some early imports from the Asset CD were also added along with fresh models from the Mighty Foot team and a Bombshell tease!
This past year also saw the release of our public git repository where people could access and contribute to our evolving source code. Access to our git had been requested by the community and we were happy to finally make it a reality.
As alluded to in our Duke-It-Out article, our plan was to go back to working on single player. The beginnings of the Merged Penthouse have taken form, combining Penthouse A all the way to Study into one map, similar to the test maps from the original leak.. Early development was promising, however we had decided that before we really got to work on the rest of Episode 1, a complete rework of Chapter 1 was in order, so that we could build upon everything we had learned over the last year. New efforts began all around: the groundwork for Bombshell’s buddy AI came to be, long standing bugs like the Concrete Blood gibs were fixed, tons of new models and restored models were added. New quality of life and AI enhancements came in the summer. However, the community had found some issues in the multiplayer build. This necessitated us pivoting away from the single player component for a time.
We were also asked to be a part of the E7 showcase for Shacknews! This was a great experience where we got to show off a little of what we’ve been working on and chat with some really nice and excited hosts.
And then shorty there after we were also on the Gamesline Podcast to talk more about Duke!
Working on a very old, unfinished engine comes with its share of issues and problems, some of which were already fixed by the community or official devs long ago. We spent months getting in touch with other developers, outsourcing to the broader Duke community, and doing tons and tons of research to get these issues patched up. Throughout this we made sure to sneak in some new features. DukeEd saw numerous enhancements, including the ability to import PNGs into the editor, new context menu features, tips of the day, as well as stability and performance improvements. The pause menu was also properly implemented.
This update included a lot more than we had intended. It was originally just going to patch multiplayer issues — however, we felt that we had worked on so much cool stuff in the meantime that we had to include all of it, too. So, in addition to all of the previously mentioned things, the game would see fixes to the location based damage dealt by the sniper rifle and M16, along with fixes to the sniper rifle’s recharge state. Snatchers would see new mechanics, like being able to take over living and dead hosts, fly, and become an all around bigger threat. The EDF209 enemy would see a working rocket variant and a less accurate default minigun.
The UI saw a substantial overhaul, getting more customization in the form of crosshair color, glowing intractable objects, accessibility options like the ability to disable the strafe roll, and a ton of proper authoring and fixes to mesh UVs. To cap it off, every single Chapter 1 map saw bug fixes and improvements. We also released the second of the Screenshot Series;
After the release of the second patch we all took another nice short break to re-energize after almost nine months of working on multiplayer and patching security holes. We remain hard at work, however, continuing to work on the levels of Episode 1, balancing the ballistic weapons in Duke’s arsenal, playing with the idea of new guns and ammo types, more UI enhancements like custom crosshairs and an identifying color for enemies and friendlies.
We also continue to pull in new assets made by the team and restore old ones. We even got animations imported into the global skeleton for the first time, opening up doors to all sorts of new things.
The Atomic Weiner and Moonbase images are concept images made with the actual textures and meshes for DNF however are not rendered in-engine
Additionally, we’ve been hard at work enhancing the AI in the game to try to make it more adaptable, by working the combat logic into weapons instead of the enemies. Now, we can have even more NPCs join the mayhem! Check out the live stream below to see it in action!
Needless to say, we are still working very hard to deliver a quality game to the community. We’re going to keep you posted as we make progress, but as always, if you are looking for more information, want sneak peeks, or just have questions or suggestions, our Discord is always the place to get the most up to date info on the comings and goings;
If you’d like to see what we achieved thus far in action, we covered almost everything in this article and then some in our latest dev stream on YouTube. Our dev streams are a great way to keep up to date on what we are working on, although much like these updates, they happen rather infrequently.
We would like to thank everyone for their support over the past almost two years. We enjoy interacting and chatting and doing our best to deliver something we’re proud of and the community will be happy with. Thank you too everyone who supported us during the Moddb Mod of the in Year contest! We were not eligible to place this year but your support still got us recognized! We're looking forward to another busy year! Always Bet on Duke!
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