Six (!) years of Duke3D.
My first encounter with Duke3D was during my friend's birthday. I was about 11 years old and still in elementary school (sixth grade). It was in the end of 1996. I hadn't got PC yet but I got it soon. I decided that my first game will be Duke3D. So Christmas went and about two days before New Year's eve I bought Duke3D. My friend came to my place and we played Duke. I completed the first level but couldn't find the red key in second level. In New Year's eve I was in Death Row. I went out and exploded some rockets and came in to play Duke a couple times. The level was very hard (it took me lots of time to realize the hidden cave behind the babe poster) and I thought the music for Death Row was very good and it still is the best in Duke. When I started playing second episode I also started playing third episode with cheats but later after episode 2 I completed episode 3 without cheats. I had some problems with the last boss because I used RPG. I remembered that my friend told me to use Devastator and move forward and backward. By doing this I managed to beat Emperor in about 10 seconds.
I was seeing my cousin and he had this 'Nuke It' CD with extra levels. I wanted something like it for myself too. So when the school started in 1997 (junior high-school) I bought this 'Action Ware' CD with over 1000 Duke levels. I had some major problems when I tried to play these levels. My dad called to the shop (from which we bought the CD) and they said that we only should copy these levels to Duke directory. The problem was 'how to copy?'. It sounds crazy today but back then I didn't know how to copy single files or move them to another folder. Well with the help of these experts from the shop I managed to play Duke3D user-made levels. I really enjoyed it. I marked every level that I played on the paper so I'd remember which levels I had already played. I became interested in building my own levels soon. Build guide that came with Duke was too hard english for me during that time so I learned nothing.
In the end of 1997 I read from local gaming magazine 'Pelit' about a Duke3D level editing guide (which was written in Finnish). I immediately wanted it. My dad called there to order it but every copy was sold out already. So the Christmas came and I opened a present and I saw the Duke3D Build guide there:) So my dad had just tricked me:) On the next day I started building with the help of that guide. I learned quickly. I started new level about every two weeks. It didn't came in to my mind that I could release these levels. I showed my levels to my friend (Mikko Mäkelä who's levels can be found from 'Maps' section) who also had Duke and he wanted to build levels too. So he learned it as well so we both were level makers. In summer 1998 I actually found out the meaning of Internet. I immediately found The Great DUKEWORLD. I started downloading levels very often. I also found out what was so called 'TC'.
In spring 1999 I found this TC which is called 'Last Reaction & Water Bases'. It was awesome. The author's name was George W. Bernard. I was very eager to see his 'Chimera TC' and during those times I started working on with my own TC. I also did the first part for MSSP serie 'MSSP1' (inspired by Quake-level professional Iikka Keränen). I wanted to make a homepage so I borrowed html guide from library. After a week or two of training I uploaded my first Duke site to URL: http://personal.inet.fi/viihde/geminiduke3d/ (seems to be still online but the design isn't the same that it was in the first place). I released my own levels there and some other favorites too. During those times I found other great Duke sites too like Dukebert's site, Duke INC (DNF Inc - didn't liked it much back then), Bug Team (the first really important Duke3D usermap site back then - I found it with the help of the creator of LR & WB TC) and Bob Master's level site. So thing developed and my site got bigger and bigger.
I started working on my first TC in spring 1999. It was inspired by LR & WB TC. Back then it was called 'Alien War'. in the end of summer 1999 I made a site for the TC and I got it hosted by Dukeworld. It's name was then 'Millennium'. In the end of 1999 I became eager in 'Quake3Arena'. Millennium TC was moving slowly so I changed this single-player TC into multiplayer TC because making dukematch maps takes less time and I really wanted to do something similar to Quake3. In spring 2000 it was released with name 'Duke Tournament' and it had one single-player episode and one dukematch episode. I was happy that I actually completed the TC. George W. Bernard from LR & WB TC helped me a lot during the development of my TC. In that time MSDN was doing well and it got hosted by Dukeland (which later became Planetduke).
My first level which was actually good quality was released in the end of summer 1999 (MSSP3). MSSP4 was already a lot better (first alley sector inspired by George W. Bernard's Chimera TC's screenshot). In the end of 1999 Bob Averill released his first usermaps 'Half-Life Frenzy' and 'Bobsp1'. They were revolutionary levels. I wanted to make something similar so MSSP5 (may 2000 - during 'The Stand' fever) had some details like Bobsp had. MSSP6 was bigger step forward. It was Half-Life inspired. It was released in 23th of December 2000. 2000 was also the year when I started high-school (age 15). MSSP7 was my final touch and it was released in spring 2001 after three weeks of building. It wasn't as good as MSSP6 but I didn't even wanted it to be.
Many Duke sites have died. The most important was Dukeworld. With the death of Dukeworld we also lost lots of 'under construction ' TCs (death of Dukeworld was a good reason for TC authors to abandon their TCs - you lazy fucks). DMC died only to raise again as Nukeleated but only to die again (Nukeleated was the Daikatana of websites - or well it was a good site but it died after about two months of being online and it never got really popular - mostly because it delayed so much and community was already small during the time it got online). Dukebert's site had gone ages ago and Bug Team started posting updates very rarely. DNFInc died a long time ago and got offline couple months ago. I was the only one left with a good Duke3D level review site. But luckily then Kevin Cools (Kef Nukem) came with his 'WSYC' site. Kef is busy with his school life and is trying to finish his Borg Nukem TC so we'll see soon what happens to WSYC. Another site - still quite young - Alejandro Glavic's site is currently posting some good stuff.
During 2000/2001 people started talking about the death of Duke3D community. For a moment it looked like it. Sites died but
levels didn't. MSDN reviewed new high quality levels every week and MSDN had 100 visits a day. In 2002 Alejandro Glavic took the top place of level makers.
He released many high quality levels in a very short time.
Big names like Maarten Pinxten and Bob Averill didn't published levels anymore. Still Bobsp3 was luckily released in the beginning of 2002. In the end of 1999 we played Pascal Rouaud's first level 'Roch' (which I first time downloaded from Dukebert's site - I reviewed it when I received it from Pascal). Pascal's Roch serie must be the most popular. His city maps are very much liked. The serie hasn't ended yet - at least we all hope so.
Dani J Swanson must be the biggest name in 'DM Maps' section. I have released many of his great dukematch levels but I have always wanted to see the first sp level from Dani.
So where are we right now? MSDN has been online for three years. And that three years has been very active time. There are many Duke sites which has been online over three years but they post updates and stuff like once every month or something like that. If there are no levels to review then I just post some news or talk something stupid. Or sometimes I might even review a TC or talk about some other game. I haven't had any problems with other Duke fans (except with that one damn good level which I removed;). Well someones might not like when I can't post every single level that I get. It's not possible for me to post every level that I get. I would have to sacrifice lots of time if I'd do this. Besides try to understand that some levels are total crap:(
The end is near. Now I have to say it after all these years. The release of DNF gets even closer and Duke3D gets older.
And still no Duke3D source code... I'm slowly moving to other games. Not any specific game but perhaps I'll do a review site with
reviews for all possibly action games such as Doom3, Quake4, DNF, MOHAA, Unreal2 (it looks so good). But Duke3D still has about 500 fans (300 active?). Well the end is not that soon.
I mean there are still some TCs that I want to see and review and some levels that still needs to get released.
But once the end gets really close I'll let you know. I'll have you some special things then and other countdown stuff maybe.
Right now I'd like to say thank you to each and everyone in Duke3D community (or who used to be in it).
Mikko Sandt 20th of April 2002.