Duke Nukem Forever: Engine
Duke Nukem Forever (DNF) will be using a heavily modified version of the Unreal Engine by Epic Megagames for the most realistic game ever. First planned to use the Quake 2 engine, 3D Realms decided to go with the Unreal engine as a business decision for what they wanted DNF to become.
Many modifications will be added to the engine. First of all, 3D Realms has introduced a new "Skeletal System" for animation. This means that models for the game can be created more easily and much quicker with cleaner more extensive animation's. This also means that more than one animation can be performed by one model at one time, i.e. Jumping and firing at the same time. Characters heads will also be able to track you as you move around them.
3D Realms have licensed Sven Technology's MRG technology for LOD to keep polygon counts at a good balance and to keep frame rate high... George Broussard said , "It saved us months of reinventing the wheel and creating our own LOD system. The benefits come from dealing with less polygons that you have too. And the perceived poly drops in the meshes is negligible. I think everyone agrees that frame rate is more important than keeping a model at full poly count when it's 1 inch tall on the screen."
DNF will be able to display in-game AVI's as "textures", i.e. Movie Screens. When asked on the 3D Realms BB about this topic George Broussard replied: "Heh, we've had that in for months ."
DNF has now moved to use the Unreal Tournament engine which will improve net play, graphics, interface, and stability of the final game. Although it has taken 3-4 week to change over the code from Unreal to UT the final gain in time will be about 5-6 months.
Fog and various other weather effect have been introduced to DNF. It is known the fog in Unreal was pretty but slow, this has been changed. Charlie Weiderhold has this to say on the subject. "There is fog (not just Unreal's beautiful but slow volumetric fog, but also the blazingly fast hardware fog that most games have now). We tend to use it in a more realistic manner though, so it doesn't show through as much in the shots. It adds a huge sense of atmosphere, like there actually is air in the world... and that's what it is there for. It's pretty thick in the club, but that's what happens when everyone is smoking. :)
As for other weather type effects, lots planned... dunno what will make the final cut into the game."
So far know one really knows what kind of powerhouse machine it will take to run DNF, but in an interview in November 1999 George Broussard said: "You can get your specs from Unreal Tournament. But we expect a realistic system (one that would make it fun) to be: 128 megs, Voodoo 3/TNT 2, and P400 or so. It would certainly play on less, but performance would start to become an issue." To get a better idea of the system spec that could be needed as a minimum to get the game off the ground we can look at Unreal's minimum specs:
CPU: 233 MHz Pentium
RAM: 32 MB minimum, 64 MB SDRAM recommended
Distribution Media Drive: CD-ROM drive
Video System: PCI Local Bus Video Card
Audio System: Windows 95/98 compatible sound card
Operating System: Windows 95/98/NT/2000
Network and Internet Setup: 28.8 kbps or higher modem using TCP/IP
Now finally to the issue of a 3D Accelerator. Will one be needed? We haven't really had an official word yet, but as far as we know, YES you will need a good card along the lines of a Voodoo3/TNT2.
Next: Duke Forever's weapons