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Build Engine

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Sorry if it is blasphemous or something like that to reference the Build Engine in Doomworld, but here goes.


I am always interested in playing old shooters from the 90s (Doom is by far my favourite game ever) and I've seen and played many amazing games. Until one day, I found about Build Engine Games like Duke Nukem 3D, Shadow Warrior and Blood. They seemed to have good overall presentation and very positive reviews, so I said let's download. So I installed Shadow Warrior (free on Steam) and Duke Nukem Atomic Edition (pirate's life for me here). I have to say that I couldn't pass the first level in Shadow Warrior and in Duke Nukem 3D I just managed to beat the first two to three levels. Overall the controls seemed very hard to get used to. But I didn't quit. I also downloaded the 25th anniversary of Duke and I got past the first episode and some maps on the second one as I found it easier than before to use the controls. So, could you guys tell me what do you think about these controls (playing with mouse and keyboard with vertical aiming, unlike Doom where I only aim horizontally) and the games overall.

To close off I think that these games had a nice sense of humour and it sucks I can't play them (it was a pain in the ass to make the controls right for me, whereas in ZDoom it's piece of cake).

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ShotgunDemolition said:

Sorry if it is blasphemous or something like that to reference the Build Engine in Doomworld

Not at all, in fact I'm more disappointed that the build games don't have the engine support that doom has.

Honestly though, the only thing that really bothers me about them is the general sound quality (not music) is pretty bad imo.

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The controls in Build games are awkward unless you toggle mouse aiming, which is usually a button like I or U, and can be configured in the setup executable. I remember using the Page Up and Page Down buttons for aiming in the late 90s and that just sucks. Once you've toggled mouse aiming on, it controls like Zdoom. The only thing I don't like is that, because they don't use true 3D rendering (excluding the source ports and true 3D mode for the 20th anniversary of Duke 3D), there are some areas where aiming is just a pain in the ass no matter what. Supposedly the Build engine handles verticality poorly compared to Doom.

As far as mapping goes, I hear it can be a little peculiar, especially since you apparently use subtractive rather than additive techniques for building levels. However, Build has the advantage of a shit ton more options that vanilla Doom ever did, and in some ways it even rivals Zdoom since, for instance, you can have moving sectors in a Build game while in Doom you have to create polyobjects which takes quite a bit more work and is less flexible overall.

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Quast said:

Honestly though, the only thing that really bothers me about them is the general sound quality (not music) is pretty bad imo.


Yeah, the sounds are maybe there just to meet expectations of the consumers.

GoatLord said:

The controls in Build games are awkward unless you toggle mouse aiming, which is usually a button like I or U, and can be configured in the setup executable. I remember using the Page Up and Page Down buttons for aiming in the late 90s and that just sucks. Once you've toggled mouse aiming on, it controls like Zdoom. The only thing I don't like is that, because they don't use true 3D rendering (excluding the source ports and true 3D mode for the 20th anniversary of Duke 3D), there are some areas where aiming is just a pain in the ass no matter what. Supposedly the Build engine handles verticality poorly compared to Doom.

As far as mapping goes, I hear it can be a little peculiar, especially since you apparently use subtractive rather than additive techniques for building levels. However, Build has the advantage of a shit ton more options that vanilla Doom ever did, and in some ways it even rivals Zdoom since, for instance, you can have moving sectors in a Build game while in Doom you have to create polyobjects which takes quite a bit more work and is less flexible overall.


I agree that the environments in Duke are more realistic, due to technical limitations of the Doom Engine and can be more interactive (for an example light switches, toilets, broken walls e.t.c.).
As for the controls, maybe my problem was in the mouse look, because the default renderer makes me wanna puke for its ugliness and in the remake I enabled true 3D mode (too bad I couldn't use dynamic lighting, as it slowed my acer aspire down, even though it has a first gen quad core i5 2.53 GHz)

wheresthebeef said:

There's also a brand new Build engine game coming out from some long time Duke3D mappers/modders and it looks absolutely ace.



Sounds good, I will be waiting for the outcome and I wish everything goes as planned for the developers in the project.

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Please learn to edit your posts rather than doing 3 separate posts! I'd also avoid publicly announcing that you pirate games, it's not cool.

That said, I've played through Shadow Warrior and I have to say the game, and specifically, the engine, impressed me. It felt like a comfortable midpoint between the quake engine and the doom engine to me, and the gameplay achieved within the engine was also very enjoyable.

I'm not a fan of the cheesy shit Duke Nukem says to give the games a legitimate try, but I'm sure they're good in their own right.

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Controversially, I play Build games mostly without mouselook. (I usually bind it to my third mouse button to use on the run)
Mouselook in Build games is somewhat buggy without external tools like bmouse.exe or source ports and isn't really required anyway.
Unfortunately, there are no source ports of Blood as of now. It's arguably the best game out of the bunch, so you better get used to it.

PS: Illegally downloading games is bad and you should feel bad.

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I love all the major Build engine games. I think Blood has to be my favorite out of all of them, though most people would probably pick Duke Nukem 3D.

Ever since I started playing them when I was young, I wanted to make maps for them. However, I always thought that the map-editor that came with Build engine games was absolutely cumbersome because of how un-intuitive it was. Using the space-bar to draw sectors to me seemed like a really strange design-choice; why spread out the controls of an editor like that? There was also the fact that the editor does not like it when you alt-tab out of it, so whenever you want to map for anything Build-related you have to be 100% committed to it or just do a lot of pre-planning or something.

Later of course I got into Doom editing, and when I started using a little unknown program called Doom Builder, it solved all of those gripes I had with editing Build. I did read that Doom Builder got a lot of inspiration from Build's editor, but Doom Builder just did it so much better IMO and made a sector-editor that's simply a breeze to use.

Besides that, there are also a couple of key differences between id Tech 1 and Build. The biggest difference being that the Build engine does not use BSP, but instead handles all the level data on the fly (which is why it can do all those cool looking moving sector tricks). Another result of this, is that sectors can overlap as long as they're not in view of the player. Remember the theater-room in Hollywood Holocaust (Duke 3D)? When looking at the opposite side of the room, you can see that the projector-room is overlapping with the hallway underneath. As long as they're not overlapping in sight, the engine is okay with it. You couldn't do that in Doom or any id Tech 1 related port / engine, because everything is static.

I personally love little quirks like that, and both id Tech 1 and Build are interesting pieces of software to look into.

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Dragonfly said:

I'd also avoid publicly announcing that you pirate games, it's not cool.

That depends on which region you're settled in. For example, this country I'm in has tons of shops selling warez (and at cheap prices too).

Anyways, I never really tried to play Build games seriously, but it mainly because of the mouse controls. Freelook is very strange to have in the software renderer. What little of Blood I had played, i could tell it would be great, if it weren't for the strange controls.
Although i did play through the first episode of Duke Nukem 3D on this Android app made by Machine Games, I think. It was fun to play, controls were easy to hang on to. Why it felt weird with the PC version of Duke Nukem 3D, idk. Maybe the keyboard+mouse+software render and freelook doesnt mix well for me. In fact, playing with freelook in the software renderer with D-Touch is a lot more fun to play than on a PC.
/opinion about software renderer and freelook, probably

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So do you guys play Duke3D maps from a Foot Start? Seems to me that's how the devs intended the game to be played and carrying over weapons creates an unbalanced experience.

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GoatLord said:

As far as mapping goes, I hear it can be a little peculiar, especially since you apparently use subtractive rather than additive techniques for building levels. However, Build has the advantage of a shit ton more options that vanilla Doom ever did, and in some ways it even rivals Zdoom since, for instance, you can have moving sectors in a Build game while in Doom you have to create polyobjects which takes quite a bit more work and is less flexible overall.


The only engine I know of that uses subtractive geometry is Unreal. Build uses sectors and lots of things to add more specials than just the lines and two tags (upper and lower) could manage. It feels a lot like mapping for pre-UDMF ZDoom. Many of those movement effects are more complex to build than polyobjs. For example, check out how sliding doors are made. Nasty stuff. I borrowed a trick from a map where I inverted the shape of the sectors where the doors meet so they looked more normal. However, I recall the doors breaking if I let the vertices join in the middle, so I had to leave a 1-unit gap between the doors. Ugh.

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Huh, I dunno where I got my info from then. So doing complex stuff in Build is a little trickier than UMDF or Zdoom?

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GoatLord said:

So doing complex stuff in Build is a little trickier than UMDF or Zdoom?

A lot trickier than in UDMF.

UDMF was largely designed to avoid having to go through the unintuitive hacks that are needed to do anything in the old binary formats. You want a sector to have colored light?

  • UDMF: change the "light color" property of the sector
  • Binary formats: there's no "light color" property in the sector, so you have to place a "sector effector" thing with the "hard skill only" flag set so that will put it in "sector color" mode (there's a text file somewhere with which flag corresponds to which mode), then you need to move it to the start vertex of one of the sector's one-sided linedefs (if the sector only has two-sided lines, refer to Annex C for a different approach, which only involves writing three simple scripts of no more than 50 lines each) and you'll change the upper texture to the light color you want, using the light color-texture name conversion table that's in another text document somewhere.

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Dragonfly said:

Please learn to edit your posts rather than doing 3 separate posts! I'd also avoid publicly announcing that you pirate games, it's not cool.

That said, I've played through Shadow Warrior and I have to say the game, and specifically, the engine, impressed me. It felt like a comfortable midpoint between the quake engine and the doom engine to me, and the gameplay achieved within the engine was also very enjoyable.

I'm not a fan of the cheesy shit Duke Nukem says to give the games a legitimate try, but I'm sure they're good in their own right.


First I have to say that I am quite nooby and eventually I'll find out how to multiquote.
Second, it was very stupid of me to say <<that>> loud and I know it's bad I don't support the developers. I usually pay for my games and use pirating as a means of testing how the game runs and if I like it or not, because games are becoming very expensive and they sometimes feel like an investment (in this case the atomic edition, which I first downloaded was the only version of the game with the expansions and it was taken down from sites). And surely I don't want to pay for something that I don't enjoy. So if I don't like a game, I delete it without having it finished. And there is another problem here.
My situation doesn't defer a lot from what Voros described. Basically in my country, we have capital controls (don't know exactly how they work) and paypal doesn't work anymore or you need to do the workaround where the bank holds a percentage of the money you put in your card and it's not worth it (I buy my games with paypal from steam and directly from the stores). To sum up, what I have pirated, I promised myself to pay after I find a job this summer and just kept the save files as a reminder.
Still thanks for pointing out where I was wrong. It's a great community here and it helps in many aspects to get better (gives motivation :)
Third, the game's humour seems to be heavily based on satire (Duke: Hollywood Action movies, Blood: Horror and Shadow Warrior: don't know) and there are tons of references, which is pretty cool for a game (at least in my opinion).

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I also played the first two episodes of DN3D Anniversary Edition. At first I was impressed by the new look but as I played on, I realised that the gameplay cannot compare to Doom. I don't like the movement, it is more floaty. Doom's movement is smoother and more sliding. Hard to describe. You feel slower and you can't do the epic Doom dodging ninja stuff.

Second thing I didn't like was the weapons. Some of them are basically useless (in SP at least). Either useless or redundant. And it's hard to keep track of the ammo you have for each of them, I ended up just using the shotgun as much as possible or just switching to whichever weapon had ammo, regardless of the enemy. I didn't even learn all of them, which key chose which weapon, how they were called, how their ammo is named and how the gun/ammo sprites look. Convoluted shit, unlike Doom's classic gun selection and very few ammo choices. Add to that the inventory system ... totally unneeded IMO and just takes the focus away from the action. Underwater breathing, jetpacks and other stuff that is there just to be there. Holoduke? Why?

The maps sometimes looked impressive and the scripting really added some life to them, unlike Doom's straightforward formula of dropping you in a map and just limiting your access with keys and switches, till you "solve" it. But the physics are VERY wonky, I hated the way jumping works and the Jetpack item just seems to give a middle finger to the map layout lol.

I think they got side-tracked by all the features of the Build engine and crammed everything in.

Also, mouse aiming too often exposes the sprites as simple billboards, which assassinates immersion.

Also, the atmosphere is 90s action movie, which I don't like. I prefer Doom's horror/hellish/alien/cthulian easthetics.

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Agentbromsnor said:

I love all the major Build engine games. I think Blood has to be my favorite out of all of them, though most people would probably pick Duke Nukem 3D.

Ever since I started playing them when I was young, I wanted to make maps for them. However, I always thought that the map-editor that came with Build engine games was absolutely cumbersome because of how un-intuitive it was. Using the space-bar to draw sectors to me seemed like a really strange design-choice; why spread out the controls of an editor like that? There was also the fact that the editor does not like it when you alt-tab out of it, so whenever you want to map for anything Build-related you have to be 100% committed to it or just do a lot of pre-planning or something.

Later of course I got into Doom editing, and when I started using a little unknown program called Doom Builder, it solved all of those gripes I had with editing Build. I did read that Doom Builder got a lot of inspiration from Build's editor, but Doom Builder just did it so much better IMO and made a sector-editor that's simply a breeze to use.

Besides that, there are also a couple of key differences between id Tech 1 and Build. The biggest difference being that the Build engine does not use BSP, but instead handles all the level data on the fly (which is why it can do all those cool looking moving sector tricks). Another result of this, is that sectors can overlap as long as they're not in view of the player. Remember the theater-room in Hollywood Holocaust (Duke 3D)? When looking at the opposite side of the room, you can see that the projector-room is overlapping with the hallway underneath. As long as they're not overlapping in sight, the engine is okay with it. You couldn't do that in Doom or any id Tech 1 related port / engine, because everything is static.

I personally love little quirks like that, and both id Tech 1 and Build are interesting pieces of software to look into.


I too played a bit with Doom Builder (2) and it was amazing how easy it was to use it. As for the engines I've heard about the bridge problem in Doom, but not that much and I know it can be harder to make a believable location there. In episode 4, I think, it had a city (duke 3d anniversary), which was pretty. realistic.

VGA said:

I also played the first two episodes of DN3D Anniversary Edition. At first I was impressed by the new look but as I played on, I realised that the gameplay cannot compare to Doom. I don't like the movement, it is more floaty. Doom's movement is smoother and more sliding. Hard to describe. You feel slower and you can't do the epic Doom dodging ninja stuff.

Second thing I didn't like was the weapons. Some of them are basically useless (in SP at least). Either useless or redundant. And it's hard to keep track of the ammo you have for each of them, I ended up just using the shotgun as much as possible or just switching to whichever weapon had ammo, regardless of the enemy. I didn't even learn all of them, which key chose which weapon, how they were called, how their ammo is named and how the gun/ammo sprites look. Convoluted shit, unlike Doom's classic gun selection and very few ammo choices. Add to that the inventory system ... totally unneeded IMO and just takes the focus away from the action. Underwater breathing, jetpacks and other stuff that is there just to be there. Holoduke? Why?

The maps sometimes looked impressive and the scripting really added some life to them, unlike Doom's straightforward formula of dropping you in a map and just limiting your access with keys and switches, till you "solve" it. But the physics are VERY wonky, I hated the way jumping works and the Jetpack item just seems to give a middle finger to the map layout lol.

I think they got side-tracked by all the features of the Build engine and crammed everything in.

Also, mouse aiming too often exposes the sprites as simple billboards, which assassinates immersion.

Also, the atmosphere is 90s action movie, which I don't like. I prefer Doom's horror/hellish/alien/cthulian easthetics.


Well, I feel kinda the same. I often run out of ammo and didn't like the pistol (nice semi-auto but no kick). Also, I can see that the game is indeed great but bad programming removes some off its charm for me (the features of the engine felt like a tech demo, but are still impressive to this day). And as for movies I like horror, aliens, sci-fi, action and more so the Build Engine games appeal to me from that aspect. But nothing is like beating Doom and hearing the ending music, while all 10 of your fingers make the clack sound you get when you apply pressure on them. And the whole concept of <<outnumbered but not outgunned>>, while annihilating Hell's forces and listening to 8 bit heavy metal is madness :D.

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I like Blood, Shadow Warrior, Duke3D. Probably tried all of the others at least a little too. I remember the aiming felt inaccurate. The only inventory item I really ever used in any of them was the portable medikits, and scuba gear (since it auto activated underwater). Jetpack I used only to get some secrets, but otherwise I kind of forgot it was there.

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Swine & Roses said:

Controversially, I play Build games mostly without mouselook. (I usually bind it to my third mouse button to use on the run)
Mouselook in Build games is somewhat buggy without external tools like bmouse.exe or source ports and isn't really required anyway.
Unfortunately, there are no source ports of Blood as of now. It's arguably the best game out of the bunch, so you better get used to it.

PS: Illegally downloading games is bad and you should feel bad.


Interesting. Never played shooters keyboard only. Might try that one day

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VGA said:

But the physics are VERY wonky


You should watch Duke Dead Quick which is a speedrunning compilation where the aim isn't to complete the level but to be killed by physics glitches (not by monsters or explosives) as soon as possible. Often just running towards a wall at the right angle is enough.



Though a number of them consist in getting squished by a closing door, which arguably is not a bug.

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Jimi said:

I like Blood, Shadow Warrior, Duke3D. Probably tried all of the others at least a little too. I remember the aiming felt inaccurate. The only inventory item I really ever used in any of them was the portable medikits, and scuba gear (since it auto activated underwater). Jetpack I used only to get some secrets, but otherwise I kind of forgot it was there.


Yeah, again I notice that everybody points out the mouse aim (yay, I'm not the only one) and I seriously don't own Blood yet to try it out. Still I can play ZBlood which is an accurate remake of Blood in the Doom Engine. Finally I only used in Duke 3d health, scuba and jetpack (also I kept freakin pressing the button for steroids).

So, good night guys, see you soon!!!

Gez said:

You should watch Duke Dead Quick which is a speedrunning compilation where the aim isn't to complete the level but to be killed by physics glitches (not by monsters or explosives) as soon as possible. Often just running towards a wall at the right angle is enough.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKAFWfXy5vU

Though a number of them consist in getting squished by a closing door, which arguably is not a bug.



I never understood speedrunning, but I can't say it doesn't have skill involved. In fact I admire speedrunners in that regard and the way they seemto find quicker routes through things not working right. This on the other hand, is a wtf challenge. Never seen anything like it before.

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Build is very unstable. Noclipping in vanilla Duke crashes the game and doors can kill you, especially in Blood. I also recall the lasers in Duke (the ones built into the map, not the weapon) sometimes malfunctioning. This is where the instability occurs.

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Whatever happened to that Bombshell prequel which was said to be utilizing the build engine?

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Avoozl said:

Whatever happened to that Bombshell prequel which was said to be utilizing the build engine?

The Duke 4 forum is the place for that.

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It's still being worked on and turned into a full game instead of an extra for people who bought the isometric Bombshell game.

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ShotgunDemolition said:

Interesting. Never played shooters keyboard only. Might try that one day

That's the only way I played until I got Quake. I still play Descent with just the keyboard.

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Voros said:

That depends on which region you're settled in. For example, this country I'm in has tons of shops selling warez (and at cheap prices too).


It wasn't a statement regarding the legality of it. I said pirating isn't cool.

It's not cool because the people behind the game, the people who poured hours and hours into the design & development of the game aren't going to get a penny thanks to you getting it for free / cheap.

Sure, with old games that are on the verge of abandonware the original devs may not be getting any cash regardless, but that doesn't mean you should still get it for free.

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Dragonfly said:

It wasn't a statement regarding the legality of it. I said pirating isn't cool.

It's not cool because the people behind the game, the people who poured hours and hours into the design & development of the game aren't going to get a penny thanks to you getting it for free / cheap.

Sure, with old games that are on the verge of abandonware the original devs may not be getting any cash regardless, but that doesn't mean you should still get it for free.


I see what you mean. And the whole piracy vs emulation topic is really blurry from a point and after. For an example, I downloaded an Amiga emulator only to play Shadow of the Beast (the music there is phenomenal although the game is hard as balls) and the original game (floppies) can be found on Ebay for astronomical prices. Seen it a few times for 200 to 400 euros and I have to say that I have 200 euros in my wallet, just from the gathering for my upcoming pc build (i5 6600k, rx 480). You could just get roms from emuparadise or sites like myabandonware for 80s-90s games. Of course, I prefer original hardware where it's worth it (not overpriced).

In my opinion, piracy is happening when you download a game whose company is still running and keeps selling it as their product, even though there may not me a single one of the members, while the game was being made (id doesn't have many original members anymore but the Doom trilogy is still sold on steam and gog).

Emulation, on the other hand, is when the product is not available anymore and the only way to play it is through emulators or buying physical hardware (for an example I own an Atari 2600, because it's nice to collect for it and it is also time-proof).
Correct me if I'm wrong for the above.

As for piracy as a whole, surely it's not cool and in my country it's not by any means legal. However the games I can buy here are limited (new AAA titles that don't appeal to me that much) and the only solution if you want to play old games here is piracy (it stands there and waits for you to <<do it>>) or sites like Ebay (not accessible for my country). I once was so happy after finding a store in my area that wanted to get rid of big box PC games-PS1 games for 5 euros each. Of course, nobody feels great after pirating. I myself feel guilty when I do it and have a really long time since I last pirated games. Last must have been Duke 20th anniversary, which is already worth it for the new graphical options, not to mention the 5th episode. And the mouse aim was better I can say than other versions (that's why I managed to pass the first episode).

However, I seriously think that if developers made free benchmarks or demos of their games, instead of focusing on pointless DRMs that damage the consumer, piracy would lose a lot of people for good (that's the main reason I pirated for). Like with Doom 2016, where they had the first stage free for everyone (consoles included), I downloaded it and noticed that it didn't run at all (potato acer aspire), so if I had bought it I was screwed (I have to wait for the new pc now).

To sum up, this is my point of view on piracy vs emulation. It is a helpful thread here and it hit two themes at once, something that I wasn't expecting and evolved very well. I'm going to think twice before downloading that way again. And as I already said, correct me if you think of the problem otherwise. Posting can be very helpful and is appreciated (as long as it's not flaming or spam, which I haven't seen happen in the forums and hope not to see).

Have a nice day guys!!

yukib1t said:

That's the only way I played until I got Quake. I still play Descent with just the keyboard.


Must be a nice game. I have seen a little bit of gameplay with the "Material Defender" and it seems cool with the 3d environments and the robots.

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MrSkeltal said:

It's still being worked on and turned into a full game instead of an extra for people who bought the isometric Bombshell game.


Are you sure about that? There's been no news about it for a really long time. I personally wouldn't hold me breath for it.

Edit: I just looked at the Twitter account of the people working on it, and it seems that it's still in development.

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Gez said:

You should watch Duke Dead Quick which is a speedrunning compilation where the aim isn't to complete the level but to be killed by physics glitches (not by monsters or explosives) as soon as possible. Often just running towards a wall at the right angle is enough.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKAFWfXy5vU

Though a number of them consist in getting squished by a closing door, which arguably is not a bug.

I guess I can officially file the "die when bumping the wall" bug in Witchaven as a BUILD bug and not a Witchaven-specific one.

Edit: I do wonder, though, whenever I see Doomers rail on BUILD for being buggy, if it's really more glitchy than the Doom engine, or if it's a matter of player perception due to the nature of the bugs. I mean the Doom engine does plenty of screwed up things too. But Doom engine bugs are often beneficial/exploitable things like bump-grabs, wallrunning and whatever, as opposed to BUILD doing things that just randomly kill you.

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