EDuke32 is an ongoing open source project and popular source port of Duke Nukem 3D. It was created by past and present employees of 3D Realms and Voidpoint, though it is not affiliated with either company.
EDuke32 offers a convenient way to play Duke Nukem 3D and its expansion packs on modern computers, with numerous features and enhancements not found in the base game. In addition, it is so widely used in the Duke Nukem modding community that it has become a requirement in order to play most mods and total conversions.
The program is free to download, but it requires a legally purchased copy of Duke Nukem 3D to run.
Key features of EDuke32 include the following:
- Native execution, without relying on emulation
- Fixes for numerous bugs from Duke Nukem 3D, thus promising better performance and fewer crashes
- Support for newer screen resolutions, including 1920 x 1080 and exotic resolutions like 3072 x 2304
- Vastly improved CON scripting language, which offers more sophisticated modding than most modern games
- Support for the High Resolution Pack (HRP), which adds high-resolution textures to surfaces in the game
- Reworked controls system, offering improved compatibility with the modern WASD and mouse play-style
- An improved in-game console with added features
- Mapster32: Software for creating and editing your own Duke Nukem levels
- In addition to the classic graphics renderer, two hardware-accelerated OpenGL alternatives
- Continued software updates, ongoing development of new features, and a support forum
- EDuke32 continues to receive frequent updates into the 2020s.
EDuke started in 1999 from Matthew "Matteus" Saettler's work on the 1999 game WWII GI. WWII GI was authorized by 3D Realms to build on the source code from Duke Nukem 3D. In the course of development, a vastly improved version of the CON scripting language, the language that allow users to create mods and total conversions of the base game, was developed.
The Duke Nukem modding community reacted to WWII GI by venting their frustration towards 3D Realms for failing to offer an equivalent CON scripting language for Duke Nukem 3D. In response, Saettler proposed releasing a patch for Duke Nukem 3D that would make the game compatible with the newest version of CON.
With the approval of 3D Realms, Saettler rebooted development of Duke Nukem 3D, which had previously terminated with the release of version 1.5. Instead of continuing at version 1.6, the new project would resume with version 2.0. The 2.0 version of Duke Nukem 3D was dubbed "Enhanced Duke" or "EDuke" to separate itself from the mainline releases by the game's original developers. Although the name "Enhanced Duke" still appears on Saettler's website, the project eventually converged on "EDuke" in all public communications.
The sole purpose of EDuke was to introduce compatibility with the newest version of CON for Duke Nukem 3D.
The project was finished and released on July 28th, 2000. It was officially published through 3D Realms as a downloadable patch for Duke Nukem 3D version 1.5. However, the patch was only compatible with the Atomic Edition and did not work with several newer compilations, such as the Kill-A-Ton collection. For this reason, EDuke was poorly received by some players, and the patch was never widely downloaded.
Although Saettler's team briefly continued to work on the game, newer versions of EDuke were never completed.
In 2003, the source code for Duke Nukem 3D was released to the public. In response, Saettler also released the source code for EDuke.
Development of EDuke32
In 2004, Richard "TerminX" Gobeille began work on a source port of Duke Nukem 3D using the published source code from EDuke, while incorporating code from another port known as JFDuke3D. JFDuke3D offered 32-bit compatibility on Windows, Mac, and Linux, and it replaced the classic 8-bit graphics renderer with the Polymost OpenGL renderer by Ken Silverman. All of these features were incorporated into Gobeille's source port. Given that the project involved porting EDuke to 32-bit operating systems, Gobeille's project came to be known as "EDuke32."
EDuke32 was first released in December of 2004, but it has received frequent updates into the 2020s and continues to undergo development. Over the years, it has acquired numerous features and upgrades, including 64-bit compatibility.
The EDuke32 project also aimed to develop an improved version of existing mapping tools that could be used on 32-bit operating systems. The new mapping software came to be known as Mapster32, which is still packaged with all downloads of EDuke32 today. Players have used Mapster32 to create hundreds of fan-made Duke Nukem levels that are free to download on the Internet. Since 2019, Mapster32 has also been been the primary mapping utility for Ion Fury.
- Official EDuke32 Website & Download Page (EDuke32.com)
- Everything EDuke32: Official EDuke32 Forums (Duke4.net)
- Guide to CON Scripting for Duke Nukem (EDuke32 Wiki)
- Guide to Level Editing in Mapster32 (EDuke32 Wiki)
- Online Database of Duke Nukem 3D Mods (ModDB.com)
- Duke Nukem Repository: EDuke32 Mods (Abandoned in 2010)