Duke Nukem

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Duke Nukem
Duke Nukem cover
Apogee Software
Release dates
DOS July 1, 1991[1]
Windows (DOSBox) December 6, 2012[2]
macOS (OS X) (DOSBox) July 2, 2013[3]
Linux (DOSBox) May 21, 2015[4]
Duke Nukem guide on StrategyWiki
Duke Nukem on MobyGames
Duke Nukem on Wikipedia
Duke Nukem
Duke Nukem 1991
Duke Nukem II 1993
Duke Nukem 3D 1996
Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project 2002
Duke Nukem Forever 2011
Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition 2013
Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary World Tour 2016

Key points

Version 2.0 is named Duke Nukum due to trademark concerns; this was resolved for the sequels.[5]

General information

Official 3D Realms forum for game series
GOG.com Community Discussions for game series
GOG.com Support Page
Steam Community Discussions


Source DRM Notes Keys OS
Sold separately or on the Duke Nukem 3D disc. Use DOSBox.
ZOOM Platform
macOS (OS X)
GOG.com (unavailable)
macOS (OS X)
Steam (unavailable)
Icon overlay.png
macOS (OS X)
A shareware version is available (contains Episode 1).

Essential improvements[edit]

Level editor[edit]

A Level Editor is available. According to the documentation, it also make a good cheating tool for familiarizing yourself with levels before entering them (just don't push the wrong button). Run using DOSBox.


Duke Nukem 1: The Returning[edit]

Duke Nukem 1: The Returning is a fan-made episode containing 10 levels.
A single fan-made level can be found here.

Run in DOSBox (retail)[edit]

Duke Nukem runs in DOSBox at default settings. Ensure cycles= is still at its default setting of cycles=auto.[6]

Episode Launcher[edit]

Duke Nukem had each episode as its own executable, making it annoying to configure if you have the retail version. Luckily you can save the following as a .bat file and run it in DOSBox to get around this annoyance.
Supports the Map Editor and the custom episode "The Returning", though requires it to be placed in the return folder (DOS 8.3 compatible naming scheme). Also requires only one (not both) versions of the add-on to be installed.
Episode Launcher
@echo off
@echo off
echo                          	══════════
echo                          	Duke Nukem  
echo                          	══════════
echo      ┌───────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────┐
echo      │ [1] Episode 1: Shrapnel City                                  │
echo      │ [2] Episode 2: Mission: Moonbase                              │
echo      │ [3] Episode 3: Trapped in the Future                          │
echo      │ [4] Episode 4: The Returning (custom)                         │
echo.     ├───────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────┤
echo      │ [5] Map Editor                                                │
echo      │ [I] Hints/Help                                                │
echo      │ [Q] Quit!                                                     │
echo      ─────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────
choice/c:12345iq/n Choose Number:
if errorlevel 7 goto exit
if errorlevel 6 goto help
if errorlevel 5 goto edit
if errorlevel 4 goto epi4
if errorlevel 3 goto epi3
if errorlevel 2 goto epi2
if errorlevel 1 goto epi1
if errorlevel 0 goto exit

goto start
goto start
goto start
cd return
cd ..
goto start
goto start
goto start

Source ports[edit]

A reverse engineered source port is available.


Game data[edit]

Configuration file(s) location[edit]

System Location
DOS <path-to-game>\KEYS.DN*
Windows <path-to-game> (mounted in DOSBox)[Note 1]
macOS (OS X) <path-to-game> (mounted in DOSBox)[Note 1]
Linux <path-to-game> (mounted in DOSBox)[Note 1]
Steam Play (Linux) <Steam-folder>/steamapps/compatdata/240160/pfx/[Note 2]
All files have a number (1-3) corresponding to the episode.
It's unknown whether this game follows the XDG Base Directory Specification on Linux. Please fill in this information.

Save game data location[edit]

System Location
DOS <path-to-game>\SAVED*.DN*
Windows <path-to-game> (mounted in DOSBox)[Note 1]
macOS (OS X) <path-to-game> (mounted in DOSBox)[Note 1]
Linux <path-to-game> (mounted in DOSBox)[Note 1]
Steam Play (Linux) <Steam-folder>/steamapps/compatdata/240160/pfx/[Note 2]
Saves are SAVED*.DN* with a number for the save number and the episode number.
High scores are stored in <path-to-game>\HIGHS.DN*

Save game cloud syncing[edit]

System Native Notes
GOG Galaxy
Steam Cloud


General settings.
General settings.

Graphics feature State Notes
Widescreen resolution
320x200 only.
4K Ultra HD
Field of view (FOV)
Set in Graphic Mode Setup (GOG.com) or toggle with Alt+ Enter.
Borderless fullscreen windowed
Anisotropic filtering (AF)
Anti-aliasing (AA)
Vertical sync (Vsync)
For DOSBox use an unofficial build (see the glossary page for other workarounds).
60 FPS and 120+ FPS
Game runs at 16 FPS.[7]


Keyboard and mouse State Notes
Mouse acceleration
Mouse sensitivity
Mouse input in menus
No mouse support.
Mouse Y-axis inversion
Controller support
Full controller support
Menus are keyboard-only.
Controller remapping
For DOSBox use the DOSBox Mapper (see the glossary page for other workarounds).
Controller sensitivity
Controller Y-axis inversion
Additional information
Button prompts
Prompts only mention keyboard controls even when using a controller.
Controller hotplugging
Haptic feedback
Simultaneous controller+KB/M


Audio feature State Notes
Separate volume controls
On/off only (toggle with S).
Surround sound
Uses only PC Speaker for audio (mono channel).
Everything is text-based.
Closed captions
Mute on focus lost
Can be enabled through DOSBox's priority settings (use the pause emulation option).


Language UI Audio Sub Notes

Other information[edit]


Technical specs Supported Notes
DOS video modes EGA Uses VGA only for menus
Executable 32-bit 64-bit Notes
macOS (OS X)

System requirements[edit]

Operating system (OS) XP
Processor (CPU) 1.8 GHz
System memory (RAM) 512 MB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 7 MB
These are the system requirements for the Steam version.
macOS (OS X)
Operating system (OS) 10.6.8
Processor (CPU) Intel Core Duo 2 GHz+
System memory (RAM) 1 MB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 7 MB
Video card (GPU) 64 MB of VRAM
These are the system requirements for the Steam version.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 File/folder structure within the installation folder reflects the path(s) listed for DOS game data. For the GOG.com release, file changes in DOSBox are redirected to <path-to-game>/cloud_saves/ even if GOG Galaxy is not used (this folder contains all redirected files, so some files in the cloud_saves folder might be temporary files or other files that do not contain saves or settings).
  2. 2.0 2.1 File/folder structure within this directory reflects the path(s) listed for Windows and/or Steam game data (use Wine regedit to access Windows registry paths). Games with Steam Cloud support may store data in ~/.steam/steam/userdata/<user-id>/240160/ in addition to or instead of this directory. The app ID (240160) may differ in some cases. Treat backslashes as forward slashes. See the glossary page for details.