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The Nuking of Duke Nukem 325

Rick Bentley writes with more on the story behind the meltdown of Duke Nukem Forever, the game that will now live on only as a cautionary tale: "Although the shutdown was previously reported on Slashdot, this new Wired article goes in-depth behind the scenes to paint a picture of a mushroom cloud-sized implosion. Developers spending a decade in a career holding pattern for below market salary with 'profit sharing' incentives, no real project deadlines, a motion capture room apparently used to capture the motion of strippers (the new game was to take place in a strip club, owned by Duke, that gets attacked by aliens), and countless crestfallen fans. *Sniff*, I would have played that game."
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The Nuking of Duke Nukem

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  • by MaraDNS ( 1629201 ) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @10:28AM (#30523336) Homepage Journal
    You know, Duke Nukem Forever is probably the most well-known vaporware software project out there, but it certainly isn't the only one.

    Free/open-source software has a lot of these. As an open-source developer myself, I can understand why. One issue is that a lot of open-source projects are started by young naive people who do not realize how much time and effort it really takes to make a software program. Probably over half of the projects on Sourceforge fall under this category. One example is MooDNS [], a DNS server that stopped development around the time the developer realized what a pain in the butt DNS compression is.

    Another way open-source projects get abandoned is when other software that does the same thing comes along. For example, the GNU Hurd [] never became production-ready because Linux came along and was good enough that the perceived need for Hurd development went away.

    Other projects that stop development are projects where the developers stop going to school and get real jobs, and no longer have time to devote to an open-source project. One example of this is the Y Window System []

    For all of the advantages of Free software, one issue is that, without, by and large, the developers being paid money, there is not nearly as much motivation to get something finished, so a lot of projects become vaporware.

    Closer to home, I've told myself for years I would have a thread-free version of a recursive resolver for my own MaraDNS. I finally started writing the code in late 2007. Around the end of 2007, I had a working basic non-recursive cache. The project was put on hold in 2008 while I got out of the Slashdot-posting basement and looked for a girlfriend. I finally got one around the end of 2008, and was able to spend 2009 adding a lot of features to the code, making a lot of releases of the code.

    Well, around September of 2009, I got burnt out. Too much work for too little (almost no) pay. I stopped doing major development on the recursive code at that point, but have a really nice non-recursive cache with most of the foundation needed to make it a recursive cache. I do want to get back in to the project; but it's a lot of work and having a few thank you emails doesn't feel like enough compensation at times, especially when the other half of the emails are people asking me to implement their favorite pet feature for fun and for free, or asking for free email support. I finally put a plug on that nonsense by making it extremely clear that I only answer private email for people willing to pay me. Here are some of my rants I blogged about []. I do get the occasional "you made this nice DNS server, we would like to hire you" email, but haven't gotten a job from that yet.

    I do want to finish up the recursive code, and put closure on my DNS server project, but I just haven't gotten myself in the "develop free software" mindset again.

    Maybe it's time to stop goofing around on Slashdot and finish up the code. :)

  • by jollyreaper ( 513215 ) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @10:36AM (#30523430)

    He's been keeping this stunt up for months. And now I could really go for a pizza.

  • Re:Had To Laugh (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @10:39AM (#30523460)

    It will go on forever.

  • by Dun Malg ( 230075 ) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @10:43AM (#30523486) Homepage
    Yeesh. Sounds like my job, only without the profit sharing OR the strippers.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @10:49AM (#30523568)

    read the article

    "By August 2006, at least seven people had left — nearly half the team... "

  • eDuke32 (Score:5, Informative)

    by Orion Blastar ( 457579 ) <orionblastar&gmail,com> on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @11:06AM (#30523750) Homepage Journal

    eDuke32 [] is an open sourced Duke Nukem 3D project. It needs the Duke Nukem 3D game data files to work, and if you lost your Duke CD they can sell you a copy for $5.99. It works with Windows, Linux, and Mac OSX, but only the Windows version is compiled, you have to compile the Linux and Mac OSX versions; although they claim to have a link to precompiled Mac OSX files.

    It is not Duke Nukem Forever but it has some advanced features and a link to Dukeworld to get fan made content creation and new maps and levels to keep you playing Duke Nukem almost forever. It can support resolutions the original couldn't and fixes a lot of game killing bugs the DOS version suffered from.

  • by dtolman ( 688781 ) <> on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @11:19AM (#30523900) Homepage

    Thats ironic - you're mocking him without realizing that you just made his point... There are NO games out there that have replicated the variety in DN3D - let alone improved on that. They've chosen to look pretty instead of introducing new concepts. And DN3D came out 15 years ago!

    Can you do this in any other game - Setup a decoy in an elevator. Plant a pipe bomb. Go to a security terminal. Watch until your opponent triggers the elevator and opens it - set off pipe bomb remotely as they shoot at nothing.

    And its not just what the original poster listed - don't forget about:
    -unique sounds for walking on every surface (you could tell where your opponent was just by listening carefully)
    -3D multilevel environments (even if "technically" bridges)
    -Working Mirrors
    -Jet Pack
    -Semi-destructible environments
    -Freeze Ray (expansion)
    -Portals (expansion)
    -Shrink Ray (expansion)
    -Microwave gun (expansion)

    I'm probably forgetting more stuff here - its been 10 years since I played last.

  • by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @11:23AM (#30523950)

    You know, a lot of people like to put them down, but I've seen some strippers in clubs do some pretty impressive things. You go in and strippers basically fall into 4 categories:

    1. The drug addict working to feed the habit
    2. The single mother feeding the kids
    3. The girl working for tuition
    4. The professional/career stripper

    Types 1 is annoying but must be tolerated. Types 2 & 3 are a crap shoot - sometimes they're attractive, sometimes not. Type 4 though often put on a hell of a show. The professional girls often times can do some crazy stuff on a pole. To see a girl climb to the top of a 12-14 foot pole wearing lingerie and do a controlled slide down the thing upside down and be naked by the time she gets to the bottom (while doing all this to the actual beat of the music) takes some skill ;).

  • by uncleroot ( 735321 ) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @12:00PM (#30524408)
    The part of the story that needs to be talked about a bit more is the under-recognized talent that worked on Duke 3D and made it so much fun. 3D Realms got lucky once because of a brilliant young programmer named Ken Silverman [] who wrote the engine while he was still in high school, and the talents of their design team, people like Levelord [] and others. The management of the company took credit for the success of Duke 3D. But once the talent left, management lived for years off the residual income from the various Duke ports and publisher advances while showing their utter lack of competence by being unable to ship a single product. While we mourn Duke and scorn Broussard and Miller let's remember the fine work of the team. Good work, guys!
  • by Blakey Rat ( 99501 ) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @02:24PM (#30526282)

    Well, two points:

    1) The work environment, when they were hemorrhaging money, was probably really, really fun. Free food, free drinks, office full of toys.

    2) Despite that, the team *did* start defecting after a few years.

  • by greyline ( 1052440 ) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @05:17PM (#30529176)
    Because there is an IP fight between them and the publisher.
  • by PyroMosh ( 287149 ) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @05:47PM (#30529568) Homepage

    What you say is sprinkled with grains of truth, but many of your conclusions are just wrong.

    I have two perspectives on this to tell. One, as someone who worked in the adult industry for a few years, and two as someone who dated a stripper,

    First, the stripper I dated fell into the "working mom busting her ass to support herself and her kid" category. So yes, they exist. I'd say they all exist, and the fact that many of the girls lie about being paying their way through school doesn't mean there aren't plenty of those girls. Dating a stripper kind of gave me an insight into the clubs. I don't like them, and dating my ex probably has a lot to do with that.

    Secondly, I think you're confused about "feature dancers" and what the other poster was talking about. The other poster was (from what I understand) talking about the girls that get really into it, or have been in the business so long that they are like athletes on the pole. These girls are impressive. They often get people in the door, and get people ordering drinks. They are *NOT* the same as feature dancers.

    Feature dancers usually are celebrities, usually porn stars, or occasionally some tabloid figure. Girls who's name you can put on a marque or trade magazine, and get people in the door, collect a cover, and get drinks out of guys all night long. Particularly at a mega-club. These girls usually aren't even pro strippers, but they can make a lot more money than pro strippers, because they have a contract with the club or promoter.

    The business model on a typical night for a typical club is this (many of you know this, but you'd be surprised how many people have no idea...):

    1. The club "hires" girls, but in most places, they just work for tips.
    2. The girls all have to work a rotation taking turns on stage. Usually there's more than one girl on stage at a time, but it's still a rotation, and usually only one is "center stage" at a time. There are of course variations on this theme, such as "multi girl sex show" theme nights or other gimmicks. Regardless of the details of the system, none of the girls want to be on stage, because being on stage means you're not making money.
    3. When not on stage, the girls work the crowd, and try to sell lap dances, or private dances. This is where they make their money.
    4. Most clubs keep about half of the per dance fee for private dances (this can vary as well, of course). So that $20 for a 3 minute dance, the girl keeps $10 of. She gets to keep all of her actual tips though.
    5. At the end of the night, the girls have to tip out. Usually this means that the club looks at it's receipts, and figures out what it thinks the girls each brought in on average that night in tips. This figure may be high, low, or correct, it doesn't matter. Then, from that number, the girls have to tip the bartender, bouncers, and DJ. Sometimes others as well, (makeup artists, "house mom", etc.) depending on the club. Tip outs can be a flat rate, or a percentage depending on the club. Usually tipping out is "optional" but you're basically not going to make any money if you don't.
    6. No, you're right. Most of these girls are NOT making $2500 a night. And the ones that do are going to take home like a quarter of what actually goes into the garter each night. The rest goes to the club, or their co-workers.

      That said, there's not a lot of legal jobs where a 21 year old without a degree can easily pocket $200 - $300 per day (or more).

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