Duke Nukem 2 v1.4 Beta has been discovered

Discuss classic and favorite computer or console games here.
Post Reply
User avatar
Roobar
Vorticon Elite
Posts: 3290
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 16:12
Contact:

Duke Nukem 2 v1.4 Beta has been discovered

Post by Roobar »

Duke Nukem 2 v1.4 Beta has been discovered:

https://dukenukemcentral.com/archive/?d ... %2FVer1.4b

Image

If you wanna try it, there is a password prompt probably for security reasons for the beta testers at that time. It's "superman"

If this is genuine release, there are plenty of differences between it and the final version, like the joystick pick-up item and possibly differences in the levels themselves. Some game assets work differently, like the laser turret can only be destroyed by rocked launcher, while other weapons can't destroy it. Also spiders can be removed very easily. Teleporter has a different sound. And other.

Here's a video:

https://youtu.be/4TzH5c5INuM?si=ZFao6P5ks8vZu55U
User avatar
Frenkel
Vortininja
Posts: 34
Joined: Sat Jan 01, 2022 11:25

Re: Duke Nukem 2 v1.4 Beta has been discovered

Post by Frenkel »

Awesome. Somehow this version was already known 10 years ago: Duke Nukem 2 : Disposable Hero

Cheats:

N+U+K full health and items

G+O+D+Enter God mode

When the God mode message is shown, press:
W warp to level
R restart level
F choose a weapon
K change skill level
User avatar
K1n9_Duk3
Vorticon Elite
Posts: 794
Joined: Mon Aug 25, 2008 9:30
Location: Germany
Contact:

Re: Duke Nukem 2 v1.4 Beta has been discovered

Post by K1n9_Duk3 »

This pirated beta copy is interesting. Thank you for posting about it here.

At first I was a bit skeptic, since the reconstructed source code would make it relatively easy to create a "fake" beta version. But after checking the files, I've come to the conclusion that this must have been a real beta copy, not just something someone created from early slideshow screenshots and images from other beta versions posted in the duk4.net forums. The files that convinced me were INTRO8.MNI and INTRO9.MNI. These contain the voice recording for the "I'm back!" at the end of the intro. It's clearly not the same take as in the final version, it's a different recording, but the voice is obviously the same as in the final version Duke Nukem 2 (Joe Siegler). I doubt that AI could fake the voice so convincingly.

The vast majority of the level files are slightly different than what's in the final release as well. And the levels don't appear to have been edited with my level editor (are there even any other level editors for Duke 2 out there?).

Also, it's good to know that the edits I made to the ending screen for episode 3 some ages ago were mostly correct. The ending screens for episodes 2, 3 and 4 in this beta contain only the artwork and not the text. Something must have gone wrong when they added the text to END3-1.MNI.
Hail to the K1n9, baby!
http://k1n9duk3.shikadi.net
User avatar
Roobar
Vorticon Elite
Posts: 3290
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 16:12
Contact:

Re: Duke Nukem 2 v1.4 Beta has been discovered

Post by Roobar »

Great!! Now only if we can also find the earliest Hocus Pocus beta... Is Hocus Pocus 01/15 Beta that it or is that the one we already have?

There's this collection where Duke 2 beta was found: https://archive.org/download/ibm-wgam-wbiz-collection This is a fairly recent upload, but it's too big (500 GB). If anyone is curios to explore, there seems to be other game betas. It looks like an incredible amount of software and games from the 80's and 90s. But beware: there might be some actually fake betas as well.
K1n9_Duk3 wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 11:26 (are there even any other level editors for Duke 2 out there?).
There is this one by... you guessed it. lethal-guitar. He was using it for the Evercade's remaster. Yours seems to be vastly more superior, but this one excels at one thing: the native windows UI, allowing for better viewing experience in higher resolutions! The sprites/tilesets selection bars displays bigger images. I needed that, so I could actually see what tiles/sprite are in order to make my level editing experience easier. But working with two editors turned out made my work even harder, the editor is also buggy and harder to use, so eventually I had to abandon it. You can check it out for research purposes:

https://github.com/lethal-guitar/Duke2Edit
K1n9_Duk3 wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 11:26 These contain the voice recording for the "I'm back!" at the end of the intro. It's clearly not the same take as in the final version, it's a different recording, but the voice is obviously the same as in the final version Duke Nukem 2 (Joe Siegler).
Joe Siegler's response:

Image
User avatar
K1n9_Duk3
Vorticon Elite
Posts: 794
Joined: Mon Aug 25, 2008 9:30
Location: Germany
Contact:

Re: Duke Nukem 2 v1.4 Beta has been discovered

Post by K1n9_Duk3 »

About the Cheats:
Upon closer inspection, it seems that, after enabling God Mode via G+O+D+Enter, you were supposed to access the other debug cheats that Frenkel mentioned by pressing the key in combination with F12 instead of toggling God Mode and pressing the key while the god mode message is shown.

The fact that the other cheats can be activated during the god mode message appears to be just a side effect of the quirky implementation.

One thing to keep in mind is that you should press and hold the letter key FIRST, and then press F12. Pressing F12 on its own will just cause the game to fade out, redraw the game screeen and fade back in (to erase whatever the debug cheats might have drawn to the screen). The cheat keys won't be processed during the fade, so you'll just have to wait longer if you press the keys in the wrong order.

N+U+K - full health, destroy all radar dishes, get all inventory items (keys, keycard, cloaking device) for current level
Note that the NUK cheat can only be used once per level in this beta version. It also doesn't give you any weapons.

G+O+D+Enter - toggle god mode

While god mode is on, these cheats are available:

R+F12 - restart level
F+F12 - select weapon
W+F12 - warp to a level
K+F12 - change skill setting (and restart level)

God mode also disables the pause window. Due to the rather buggy nature of the "wait for a key press" code used by the pause code, the game immediately unpauses as soon as you release the P key. So the pause will only last as long as you keep the P key held down in God Mode. This feature might have been useful during development.

And this one is technically not a cheat, but pressing F11 prints the amount of unused memory at the top of the screen. You don't need to enable god mode for this, pressing F11 will always work.

Another side-effect of enabling God Mode is that the game will record a new demo instead of playing back the existing demo when you exit to the demo loop while God Mode is still active from the last game you played. God mode will be turned off automatically when the demo recording is triggered. You can either wait a couple of seconds seconds in the main menu or just press the 8 key (the key above the letters, not the one on the number block) to exit to the demo loop. While recording the demo, pressing the space bar will take you to the next level. The demo levels are hard-coded to L1.MNI, L3.MNI, L5.MNI and L7.MNI (the demo is basically episode 5, consisting only of 4 levels), same as in the final release.

Speaking of the demo, this is actually where another small difference between the beta and the final version can be found: The beta displays a level number during demo playback and recording. The level number is somewhat misleading, since it shows the level number for the demo episode (levels 1, 2, 3, 4) and not the number the level would actually be playable as in episode 1 (levels 1, 3, 5, 7). Perhaps that's why the final release version doesn't display a level number for the demos.

The intro voice samples:
I mentioned the file names of the sound effects because you can extract the contents of NUKEM2.CMP with "K1n9_Duk3's Enormous Tool" and then import the sound files in the "VOC Converter" menu and save it as a WAV file. If you do this for both the beta files and the ones from the final release, you have two pairs of wave files that you can play back to back. If you open the files in an editor (like Audacity) or just compare the visualization shown in the VOC Converter, you can see that the files are clearly not identical and must have come from different recording takes.

The sounds in the final release are louder and parts of them got clipped to the maximum values. The beta sounds are also clipped to the maximum here and there, but not nearly as much as the other ones. I assume that something like this would be difficult to fix after the sound has been digitized, but I'm not a recording engineer, so I could be wrong about this.

Uploading a side-by-side (or back-to-back) comparison of the sounds might by helpful for Joe, so he doesn't need to download the game and run it (in DOSBox) to hear what it sounds like. I don't think I ever heard Todd Replogle's voice (except for the death scream in Duke Nukem 2), but I'm pretty sure the "I'm back" lines in the Beta and the final version all come from the same person, which should be Joe Siegler.

The "DISPOSABLE HERO(ES)" sub-title:
I haven't been able to find any reference to that title in the game itself. I've only seen it in the FILE_ID.DIZ and EXCRETE.NFO files, which were obviously put together by the people who pirated the game (their name/logo is found in both files).

The sub-title could be something that the pirates came up with. It's only found in the files they wrote and they used a slightly different name in each file.

On the other hand, it would be funny if the developers told each of their beta testers a unique (fake) sub-title for the game, so that they'd know whose copy got pirated. But that's silly. Hiding an encryped name somewhere in the game or using other means to identify the "owner" of the beta copy would be far more reliable.
Hail to the K1n9, baby!
http://k1n9duk3.shikadi.net
Post Reply