Navigate InfoSuite
Hosted At
Link to CGS
The Basics

The Basics

Welcome to the Basics. This section is for those of you who have never made a map for Duke Nukem 3D before. Keep in mind that I've been using this program for years, and a lot of the keypresses have become instinctive to me. I'll do my best, but I may accidentally forget to mention some keys here and there. Notify me if it feels like something's missing. You may want to print these pages for reference while doing this activity.


Well, if you're reading this, it must mean you're interested in learning how to build levels (henceforth referred to as "maps") for Duke Nukem 3D. When you first approach this task, it may seem overwhelming. But, over time you will realize that this is mostly a matter of absorbing a list of keypresses and their respective functions. The remainder of the work relies on your creativity and dedication.

I first learned how to build maps through two methods: FAQs and experimenting. The FAQs were purely text, and with many effects it was hard to understand what the author was trying to explain (sliding doors come to mind). I remember the prehistoric method of drawing out an example using a mess of symbols. What great fun that was to pull apart. Anyway, a long while afterward I (excitedly) discovered some tutorials with images, only to realize they were missing loads of effects, which left me disappointed. It seemed as though nobody was interested in making a comprehensive guide to the program. Finally, after a couple of years, I started to document mapping information myself using HTML. This guide served as my own personal quick reference. It's grown enormous since then, and I'm still expanding and perfecting it.

The original DOS incarnation of the game has been dead for quite some time. Currently, EDuke32 is the most utilised form of the original game (and for good reason). Installing EDuke32 is as simple as dropping your DUKE3D.GRP file into a directory, then extracting the contents of the latest version of EDuke32 into the same directory. There's really no need to elaborate on that.

The original map editor that came with the game was entitled "Build", and it was run in a DOS environment. Build has long been superseded by Mapster32, the map editor accompanying EDuke32. However, to this day I continue to use images taken in Build's style. I stick to this format both for nostalgia's sake, and because Mapster32's interface is under constant revision. There are some major differences between Build and Mapster32, one of the most important of which newcomers ought to be aware is the colour notation. Many of the colours originally used in Build have been changed within Mapster32, and will probably continue to change. These various inconsistencies account for any differences you may notice between the screenshots in my guide, and the editor you are running.

Every form of the Duke3D map editor outputs maps with the extension [.MAP]. It is best practice to limit your map names to eight letters. This is somewhat enforced, because maps with longer file names are abbreviated, and figuring out which file is which gets pretty tedious. In a roundabout way, this is actually a plus; One of the more satisfying prospects of a map is coming up with a cool eight-letter name that succinctly encapsulates the theme. Anyway, this prelude is starting to get too long and wordy, so it's time to get going with these tutorials. Remember to test out all of the mentioned keys as you read through them. You'll gain a much clearer understanding of what the keys actually do if you put them to action, rather than just trying to memorize them.

Mapster32 will prompt you to choose a rendering mode before you start. To avoid issues, you should be using the 8-bit classic renderer during these tutorials (not the 16/32-bit fancy stuff), and the 2D/3D video modes should both be set to the same resolution.

There are 3 primary types of objects in a map: Sectors, Walls, and Sprites. Each of them will be explained throughout the following sections.

Sectors & Walls





Return to top