Epic’s Unreal Development Kit is being used to build a non-commercial next-gen rebirth of 3D Realms’ 1996 hit title, Duke Nukem 3D.
And what began as a solo project – kick-started by a dedicated fan of the series – is now swelling into a full-fledged undertaking with over 300 developers asking to take part.
The project has been given Gearbox’s blessing as a non-commercial entity, giving hobbyist Frederick Schreiber the licence to use Duke’s character and foes in the 3D update.
“The final game will include both a three-episode singleplayer campaign, and a Multiplayer component, and will be released free to everyone,” Schreiber said on the Gearbox forums.
“I have gotten more than 300 e-mail applications for the team, and picked out those with the best skills, suitable for this project,” he added.
The game, given the working title Duke Nukem Next Gen, is being built with a similar standard of tech as Gearbox’s recently unveiled Duke Nukem Forever project.
Schreiber will be using the Unreal Development Kit for the project; Epic Games’ high-end engine that’s free to use in a non-commercial capacity.
The UDK itself, downloaded at no charge from the company’s website, has proved to be remarkably popular with the PC indie and mod scene. The engine was downloaded over 50,000 times in its first week of release.
“To create a game in the [Unreal Development Kit] is a huge and fun process," Schreiber said. "Game development is very different today than it was back in the Duke 3D days. We have all the tools to basically create what we want."
Schreiber is still looking for qualified individuals for the Duke Nukem Next Gen project, and told Ars Technica that some industry professionals are hoping to help with the game, such is its interest within the industry.
In what may have been a tongue-in-cheek reference to the Black Mesa project – another fan-made next-gen update, in this instance of Half-Life – Schreiber said the game will be released “when it’s done". (The Black Mesa team took the same line for their long-delayed, as-yet unreleased game).
"Planning is everything. I can honestly say that I haven’t done any mapping in the last two weeks," Schreiber said.
"Getting everything together, team members, project management systems, forums, SVN, webhosting, filesharing, To-Do lists, the game design document, applications, etcetera, is extremely time consuming.”