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First Person Shooters (Games) Entertainment Games

Duke Nukem For Never 565

Posted by samzenpus
from the let-god-sort-'em-out dept.
PLSQL Guy writes "Duke Nukem Forever developer 3D Realms is shutting down, according to Shacknews. They cite 'a reliable source close to the company,' who said the developer is finished and employees have already been let go. It looks like all of the Duke Nukem Forever jokes are turning into reality; DNF might turn out to be the ultimate vaporware after all." 3D Realms' webmaster, Joe Siegler, confirmed the closing, saying that he didn't know about it even a day beforehand. Apogee and Deep Silver, who are working on a different set of Duke Nukem games (referred to as the Duke Nukem Trilogy) say they are not affected by the problems at 3D Realms.
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Duke Nukem For Never

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  • RIP DNF (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anenome (1250374) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @03:35AM (#27856517)

    There've been calls to open-source the game. Take-Two still owns the publishing rights on the title, and apparently never had an agreement to support development with funds--DNF was essentially privately funded.

    DNF is now the gold-standard for vapor-ware. How much money did they spend, I wonder, producing nothing?

  • About time (Score:5, Interesting)

    by something_wicked_thi (918168) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @03:36AM (#27856523)

    I've been kind of expecting/hoping for this for some time. Ever since the economy got so bad, I figured we might come to this. I'm actually amazed this didn't have before. You can't go that long with such incompetent management of a project and expect to be allowed to keep going, especially when you can't even be bothered to produce an actual time estimate for completion anymore except "When it's done".

  • Re:RIP DNF (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sopssa (1498795) <sopssa@email.com> on Thursday May 07, 2009 @03:54AM (#27856625) Journal

    If you read their site [3drealms.com] you'll see they seemed to do lots of fun stuff along the years.

    I think most of there where to have fun and do what they liked. If you read their job posting, you'll see they offer revenue from sales of their projects and honestly are a cool company to work at. And that probably was what caused their shutdown, with all the EA and others just going for profits and making developers and programmers a slave.

    Also see their company info page, theres lots of fun stuff. I wish I had worked there, they had a great mentality and fun in it.

  • by TiggertheMad (556308) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @04:01AM (#27856665) Homepage Journal
    ...I would kill to have an ex-employee give a tell all interview about what the hell was going on for the last ten years or so. If any game media people are out there, I will gladly click through thirty pages of crappy advertising to read this one.

    Rampant egos? Ineptness? Fraud? There has to be some juicy tidbits that will come put of the tale...
  • I propose... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by phillymjs (234426) <slashdot@[ ]ngo.org ['sta' in gap]> on Thursday May 07, 2009 @04:17AM (#27856767) Homepage Journal

    ...that Wired names their annual vaporware awards in honor of Duke.

    ~Philly

  • this is so sad! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AlgorithMan (937244) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @04:25AM (#27856809) Homepage
    I loved Duke Nukem 3D, I played it until 2003 or so (when the last DN3D league was closed). I still have it on my HDD and play against the sob-bot every now and then. I even helped working on the High-Resolution-Pack for some time and I wrote the win32 launcher for the sob-bot...

    I was patiently waiting for DNF since 1997 and I never lost hope that some day it would be done

    to me, this is as if a relative had died :-(
  • Re:RIP DNF (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sopssa (1498795) <sopssa@email.com> on Thursday May 07, 2009 @05:21AM (#27857115) Journal

    yes, and that is what i said :)

    industry has changed and 3D Realms used the old, nice ways to do things. The ways that are definitely nicer and better for invidual designers and programmers, and what makes the fun on it.

    However nowadays its really competitive, and thats why you see EA and other mass companies using the tactics you see.

    3D Realms wanted to respect their employees and have it a personal company, kudos for that for them. Its sad that it doesnt work in games industry anymore.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 07, 2009 @05:49AM (#27857249)
    I worked at a UK games company where the CEO smashed the crap out of a devs car with a baseball bat because it made the front of the office look messy.
  • Re:About time (Score:3, Interesting)

    by phoenix321 (734987) * on Thursday May 07, 2009 @06:01AM (#27857313)

    Much of the time is spent for story, graphics, sound and map design, which is the reason for 3-year cycles between episodes. The engine itself can be bought wholesale and gameplay mechanics don't take decades to finish.

    What Valve actually finishes in 3 years is still much more than what 3D Realms did in 15. If the result is an Episode or a Game doesn't matter, because most Duke Nukem players would be satisfied with either, as long as the damn company Gets Something Done Real Quick(tm).

    They didn't, because 3D Realms were underfunded, incompetent or overzealous, which Valve (or iD Software) were not. Some of the solo projects of iD artists were, which is why i.e. Daikatana and the others were not commercially successful. But at least they finished some day.

  • by Danathar (267989) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @06:35AM (#27857459) Journal

    Man...the miniseries is going to be great.

    The resulting article will be better than the Daikatana story.

  • Re:RIP DNF (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wisty (1335733) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @06:37AM (#27857473)

    So how's your opensourced vapourware Netscape browser going? I think it's called "Firefox" these days.

  • by Kynde (324134) <[kynde] [at] [iki.fi]> on Thursday May 07, 2009 @06:54AM (#27857569)

    >> "Did not finish" in racing parlance
    >
    > (Non-native English speakers might not be familiar with this particular acronym expansion.)

    It's internationally used atleast in sailing along with the DNS, DNC etc...

  • by johncandale (1430587) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @06:57AM (#27857581)
    I can't tell if this is satire or real: http://gamingisstupid.com/2009/05/06/the-chair-story-revival/ [gamingisstupid.com] "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 wouldnâ(TM)t make âoeforeverâ history. As you can tell from the name and what Iâ(TM)m about to describe, Scott and George apparently had this idea from the very start but werenâ(TM)t sure they were going to act on it, but there wasnâ(TM)t any harm in using a name that would play into it. So in order to make âoeForeverâ 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." "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."
  • Re:RIP DNF (Score:5, Interesting)

    by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @07:01AM (#27857601) Homepage

    If you read their site [3drealms.com] you'll see they seemed to do lots of fun stuff along the years.

    Of course they've been having fun. They've been playing around for over a decade.

    What'll be interesting is to find out how true this is.
    http://www.shacknews.com/laryn.x?story=58519 [shacknews.com]

    By: mourningstar Crosspost from SA:

    Channel_F, a previous employee of 3DR, posted some interesting info:

    In my best interest, I'm going to be somewhat candid for now. I will, however, elaborate a bit on some things:

    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.

  • I didn't have the Nintendos all the other kids my age had, but I honestly think I had more fun with the Apogee/3D Realms games I played so much.

    I grew up playing those games, like the Commander Keen series, Crystal Caves, Raptor: Call of the Shadows, Hocus Pocus, and Secret Agent... good times... (and that's not even counting Wolf 3D, Rise of the Triad, Terminal Velocity... a lot of great games). I was happy playing the shareware episodes over and over, so I wasn't a very good customer as a kid :)

    I did buy the full version of Secret Agent several years ago from their site, though, and had a lot of fun checking out the other episodes that I never played originally. Quite satisfied for the $10 or so I paid. I bought Crystal Caves a couple years later as well, and my brother got Raptor: Call of the Shadows which was always one of his favorites. My dad had all the Wolfenstein 3D episodes when they were originally out; I'm not sure he actually paid for them though.

    It would, indeed, be a shame if the only way to play these old games was by finding a torrent. The site isn't working for me right now either, but they do have all the shareware versions of their catalog titles available for download in addition to the full (paid) versions.

    Anyway... it's refreshing to stir up some nostalgia that's relevant to me; as I mentioned, usually people my age just talk about their Super Nintendos :)

  • Re:RIP DNF (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sockatume (732728) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @07:38AM (#27857771)
    I dunno, plenty of other developers manage to have fun and chase their own creativity, and manage to get more out of 15 years of labour than a couple of trailers that look like generic Half-Life mods.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 07, 2009 @07:55AM (#27857873)

    Linked somewhere else in the comments: http://gamingisstupid.com/2009/05/06/the-chair-story-revival/

    TL;DR: Working as intended.

  • by Sj0 (472011) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @09:16AM (#27858591) Homepage Journal

    I have another proposal.

    When 3d realms was in its heyday, game development was a much much much smaller endeavor than today. Interactivity consisted of playing a sound file when you cross a certain line.

    At the time, anyone could make a game with the BUILD engine, and there were lots of non-commerical full-length TCs of very good quality. Even a bunch of kids could put together something of fairly good quality. Today, game development is a much more involved process. Creating a single level is a massive achievement of art, programming, design.

    I bet the people at 3d Realms simply were overwhelmed by the challenge of managing a project of that size. The quirky rapid-fire development cycle and snap decision-making that's kept DNF from being released also resulted in some of the most incredible 3d games of the 3drealms era.

  • Re:RIP DNF (Score:3, Interesting)

    by skeeto (1138903) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @10:17AM (#27859483)
    You can actually boot up HURD with a live CD [superunprivileged.org]. It's not very usable as a real system, but it's definitely not vaporware.
  • Re:RIP DNF (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Auz (50055) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @10:40AM (#27859875) Homepage
    "Read up on Valve's 'orange box' method of design -- that's how you make games"

    I would do, but any search pulls up the Orange Box compilation they did... any further clues?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 07, 2009 @11:03AM (#27860299)

    It is ironic that Duke 3D was a hit with an outdated engine...

  • Re:RIP DNF (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Fred Or Alive (738779) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @12:13PM (#27861585)

    AFAIK Valve tend to prototype the gameplay side of things using basic graphics, notably orange (with a white outline) textures for walls and so forth, before moving onto the graphics side. It sounds like 3D Realms went strait to the "making good looking levels" before making sure they worked gameplay wise.

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