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The Whole Dam Story

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Posted 06-11-2009 at 06:11 AM by Kalki
Updated 06-11-2009 at 06:22 AM by Kalki

(Warning: this post may contain spoilers of a speculative nature pertaining to Duke Nukem Forever. This is a fan-oriented view, with unsupported, personal views and should not be construed to have any bearing on the actual game.)


Ten years. Come November, that's how long I'll have been on these boards. With the fate of Duke Nukem Forever currently unknown, I thought I'd share something about my time here in my first ever blog post.

3D Realms released a set of 10 DNF screenshots from the Unreal build of the game in November 1999. Like many, I had spent several months lurking on these boards. It was these 10 awesome new images that compelled me to register and express my enthusiasm in a friendly, fun community that I came to appreciate greatly over the years.

And it has always been interesting to discuss DNF, even when there was little to talk about. Arguments and speculations about features and ideas generated interest in the game. For me, it began with those screenshots. They may appear dated today but were amazing for their time. The Ghost Town was appropriately spooky, the Casino was richly textured and the Shotgun, Chainsaw & Vultures were nicely skinned. But my favorite shot above all was the Hoover Dam screenshot. I could not help but love the facial texturing on the EDF trooper.

An 11th (Dam Guide) screenshot was released in December. After that things got a little quieter. We saw an official trailer in 2001 and a very long wait followed by thumbnail shots & a teaser in 2007. And prior to the leaked media earlier this year, we had another pair of official screenshots with the 2008 re-release of Duke Nukem 3D on the XBLA, which gave us another look at the Hoover Dam.


Now this screenshot really interested me. The Hoover Dam level had apparently impressed Jace Hall too. I liked the lighting & details on the octabrain. Duke's handgun was cool too. From glimpses we got in the Teaser and the Jace Hall Show, the Worm creature seemed to be running all through the level, perhaps even feeding off electricity from its surroundings. How do you beat something that big? Short-circuit it?


Anyone who has checked out the Meqon physics demos would know that it was possible to knock down a stack of boxes in real-time. And flowing water simulations were possible as demonstrated by Ageia, who took over Meqon at some point after DNF began using it. Some of the later leaked screenshots from other Nevada levels like the desert or mines indicated a flooding scenario.

Which brings me back to the Dam screenshots. The one with the octabrain reminded me of an idea that was repeatedly suggested over the years since the shot in '99. And I thought I saw a glimpse of that here, even made a goofy post about it.


You see the flaws in this picture drew my attention. The building behind the octabrain had noticeable SEAMS in it. My first impression was one of shoddy level design. But what if it was intentional? What if the building itself were an elaborately constructed set piece for destruction? What would happen if Duke could release the Dam's waters as was suggested for that awesome scenario folks here always talked about?

It was the potential of the game that made me follow DNF for all these years. The chance that it might actually be capable of the scenarios we imagined. We may never know now. But had the floodgates opened, had things worked out and we'd been able to play this game, perhaps all the doubts and scepticism, bitterness and angst, built up over so many years like a dark edifice of stacked blocks, might have finally been washed away.
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Comments

  1. Old Comment
    Rider's Avatar
    Good read man!
    Posted 06-17-2009 at 06:14 AM by Rider Rider is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Betelgeuse's Avatar
    awesome blog, it makes me sad, because DNF really is a potential gold mine, a lot of us have waited a long time, and it's a shame things have turned out the way they have, but i (and i am sure many others) will continue to wait as usual, in the hopes to eventually see something in the next few years perhaps.

    long live the Duke!
    Posted 06-17-2009 at 09:22 PM by Betelgeuse Betelgeuse is offline
  3. Old Comment
    Micki!'s Avatar
    Was a nice read
    Posted 06-29-2009 at 05:32 AM by Micki! Micki! is offline
  4. Old Comment
    joey007's Avatar
    Good Job
    Posted 07-01-2009 at 12:06 PM by joey007 joey007 is offline
 

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