Duke Nukem 3D
These are multi-resolution DOS games.
Screen resolutions range from 320x200 (basic VGA display) up to 1600x1200 (VESA) resolution, with 640x480 mode being the most common.
There are some problems that you can come across with these games when trying to play it on a modern system, especially for the NT-based operating systems which do not have DOS.
UPDATE for Duke3D
Since this post was made, 3D Realms has released the source code to Duke3D. This, essentially, was the code used to make all of the BUILD games you see listed. With the release of the code, Source Ports become a real possibility, which would "fix" virtually every problem with these games. Be aware, however, that only Duke3D's source was released. For other titles to be ported, either the people responsible for them would need to release their game-specific code, or really clever programmers would have to modify the Duke3D code to "fill in" for whatever is missing. For now, only Duke 3D has a reliable Windows port.
There are actually a number of ports, so far the most useable I have seen is JonoF's Duke Nukem 3D Port. It is only for Duke3D v1.5, so make sure your game is patched up to v1.5. If not, use 3DRealms patch to fix that. You will need your CD for the patch to work.
So if you have Duke3D 1.5 (="Duke3D Atomic"+1.5 patch or "Duke3D"+"Plutonium PAK"+1.5 patch), you can grab JonoF's port here. Drop the files inside your Duke3D directory, run the new SETUP.EXE, configure to your personal tastes, then have fun. Be aware that it is still an early release and there may be "bugs".
For people with the "plain" (1.3) version of Duke3D...
...you can try one of the other ports, like the Rancid port. Be aware, however, that the source code that was released was for v1.5 and that makes ports compatible with v1.3 more difficult. Also, there are still some serious bugs in these ports. Can't give any advice on them as they are in a constant state of change. You can experiment with them or stick with DOS version and try the suggestions below.
For all the Non-Duke3D fans, all you can do for the moment is follow the suggestions below and hope that someone will create a port for your specific game in the future.
Common Problem #1: For Windows 9x/ME
You were entering a sewer pipe (Duke3D), a pool of water (Shadow Warrior), or picked up a "Reflective Shots" sphere (BLOOD) and the game crashed.
When most of these games were being programmed, DOS was still "king" for games, but Win9x was starting to become more popular. So even though they were made for DOS, most will behave themselves within Windows.
However their code was written with ISA SoundCards in mind. The reverb effect works fine on ISA, but has compatibility problems with PCI SoundCards. Some PCI soundcards seem more well-behaved than others.
For Duke3D and "Shadow Warrior" (the primary offenders), Ken Silverman has created patches that remove the "reverb" audio effect to prevent crashing.
Common Problem #2: Windows NT/2000 only
No digital audio.
Windows NT uses the virtual DOS machine (VDM). Due to a limitation in the Intel architecture when running a process in protected mode at a privilege level above zero, the popf instruction that would normally restore the interrupt state does not cause a trap and hence the virtual interrupt state in the VDM gets out of step with what the program expects and further virtual interrupts such as timer, mouse or sound card are not delivered to the program.
When using Windows NT or 2000, digital audio in BUILD games will not work.
Use CLI2NOP to "process" the game. Please note that this is a hack, and will reduce the game's stability (more likely to crash).
Still, it's better than no digital audio at all.
Remember that you will still need to use an audio emulation tool (as in Common Problem #3) to get digital audio.
For more info, please read the FAQ for CLI2NOP
Common Problem #3: XP only
Terrible audio quality
XP has a form of SoundBlaster emulation that is built into the XP operating system. It is roughly the equivalent of the SoundBlaster v2.0 8-Bit ISA (Mono) soundcard. It works, but its performance/audio quality varies.
Use SoundFX 2000, a sound emulation tool for Windows NT/2000
Commercial 8Bit/16Bit SoundBlaster emulation tool
Use VDMSound, a sound emulation tool for Windows NT/2000/XP
Freeware 8Bit/16Bit SoundBlaster emulation tool
This is the more common tool. Highly recommended.
NOTE: To use VDMSound at it's fullest, this is the recommended install procedure:
Install Vlad's VDMSound program.
VDMSound v2.04 at http://www.ece.mcgill.ca/~vromas/vd...load/index.html
After installation is completed, copy the files from the 2.04 Update zipfile at http://vdmsound.sourceforge.net/files/ on top of the original files (wherever you installed them, the default for this is
Then download and install the GUI Launcher VDMSLaunchPad.v18.104.22.168, also at : http://vdmsound.sourceforge.net/files/
Common Problem #4: For Windows NT/2000/XP Only
Game starts up with a blank screen or a "locked-up" screen image.
Possible VESA incompatibility with your video card. VESA is not supported as well on NT-based operating systems.
(GeForce3 is known to have this problem)
Create a batch file to start the game with easy to remember name like GO.BAT
Use NOLFB.COM or similar tool to force use of an alternate video mode.
Edit to match your VESA tool's name, the game name and the pathway for both.
NOTE: NOLFB must be resident in memory for it to work. Use of the batch script assures this. You cannot simply double-click NOLFB, then click the game. That will not work.
NOTE #2: Your command prompt should be in full-screen mode before you start NOLFB to make sure the VESA mode starts up properly. Hit Alt+Enter to switch if you are in windowed mode.
If using a VDMSound Shortcut, choose the "Enable basic VESA support" option from its "Properties".
Common Problem #5: For Windows XP Only
Game locks up at the first sound of digital audio (usually immediately after the game starts).
There is a fixPOPF bug if you are
1) running XP
2) you installed "Update 1" on top of VDMSound v2.04
3) you installed the GUI and
4) if you used the GUI (or the GUI's VLP shortcut) to launch a BUILD game (or certain other games)
BUILD games and a few others have a bug when used with latest updated VDMSound+GUI.
Try using the right-click "Run with VDMS" shortcut that does not have the musical note on the game's executable (or batch file) and also for the game's SETUP program.
Note that the "Run with VDMS" shortcut that does not have the musical note activates the default "command line" version of VDMSound, which means that it will ignore these settings placed in the VDMSound shortcut and use the default VDMSound settings instead.
These will be for a SoundBlaster 16 with an IRQ of 7, Address 220, an 8-bit DMA of 1, then a 16-Bit DMA of 5 and uses the General MIDI configuration.
It is possible to use a "Brute Force" workaround that allows you to still use the GUI with BUILD games, although it will usually incur an additional performance hit.
On your game's .VLP shortcut (created by the GUI the first time it's run), get it's properties, click "Advanced", go to the "Troubleshooting" tab, "check" the "Custom Configuration" box and paste the following into the open text area:
fixPOPF = 1