• Register

BUILD engine is the game engine behind Duke Nukem 3D, Shadow Warrior, Blood, and many other titles of the 90s. It was one of the most popular engines to be licensed third-party until the Unreal Engine.

Post news RSS Tool time

Designing a tool suite for the game and general Duke3d modding.

Posted by on

Recently I repaired my windows 7 laptop which had a cracked screen. Then I decided to finally move onto it for development now that it had a proper screen. Previously OCD has been developed on an Windows XP netbook, which was pretty good for benchmarking. But now its time to move on to modern systems, got to make sure the game can run on all systems.

Unfortunately I found that the 64bit system doesn't support some of the old Duke3d tools i was using to rebuild the ART files. EditArt, an old 90's tool for creating the ART files used by Duke3d to store textures no longer will work, and running it in DosBox is not an option when using it for production of hundreds of images. The option left is using DukeRes a general purpose GRP and ART editing program. However its a little buggy, PCX files come in reversed so that has to be taken in to account, and there was an issue with certain palette orders not allow transparencies, so I had to hexedit hack it to recognize the transparency color that is also one of the highlight colors.

Well, since I've made a few tools in the past, I felt the best way to move forward is to create a tool suite. Editart's source code is not only available, its only one C file worth of code. So I plan on re-writing the most important parts, the ability to make a functioning ART file, leave out the paint program, and also add other tools.

So the end goal is to make an easy to use toolkit for making and creating new Duke3d/Build engine content. Allowing you to create your own ART files, convert images into voxel models and create new default palettes for the engine. One issue I'm having with working with Build is that the tools are old and don't run well on modern systems. Eduke32 on the other had is pretty well made and alive, so the map making is fine in their hands. Thats not something I want to tackle. But ART and GRP file creation is something that could be handy to have.

This means that some future releases of OCD will feature Mapster maping and a multi-purpose toolkit.

The palette maker code still needs a little work, as it doesn't account for the trans tables. Also the sprite-to voxel program currently just makes unoptimized VOX files, while Duke3d/Build requires KVX files with 3d mipmaps.

There also may be a way to extend the resolution limits in the original Editart that I've encountered. It may mean that it might create files that will only be compatible with Eduke32 instead of build, but I won't find out until the first file is made.

The toolkit will be in the downloads as a stand alone that can be used on any Build engine project.

Current tools available to be included into the toolkit.


Post a comment
Sign in or join with:

Only registered members can share their thoughts. So come on! Join the community today (totally free - or sign in with your social account on the right) and join in the conversation.

Follow Profile
Ken Silverman
Send Message
Release date
Engine watch
Mod SDK & Community
Built a game for Build and want to support mods? Try mod.io, a cross-platform mod SDK created by Indie DB which makes it easy to get a mod community up and running in-game. Currently seeking games to integrate and promote
Post news
Related Games
Orbital Contract Defense
Orbital Contract Defense First Person Shooter
Related Engines
Build Proprietary
EDuke32 GPL
Related Groups
Ken Silverman
Ken Silverman Developer & Publisher