I got started in the mod community creating levels and writing code for Rise of the Triad and Duke Nukem 3D, and thus became a huge fan of 3D Realms. So joining up with 3DR on DNF was a bit of a dream job.
While there I filled a lot of roles and touched a lot of different aspects of the project. I was originally hired as a level designer and focused on that full time for a couple of years. I was working on a Strip Club, Canyon, Ghost Town, and a Lake Mead boat riding mission. There is actually more to that list, but those are the only areas that were ever publicly discussed or shown.
These screenshots are from the 1999 PC Gamer cover story on DNF and are from the Strip Club and Ghost Town levels. No other screenshot releases happened from then until 2006 when I left.
At E3 2001 we put out a trailer that was met with significant praise and really got people excited about the project (inside and outside of 3D Realms). We were always excited, but seeing it show as well as it did let us know we were on to something pretty awesome.
Over time I shifted away from as much intense focus on levels and started helping out in other areas. I started out by creating particle effects and helping Brandon Reinhart with the interactive decorations (setting properties). Over time I wanted to do more with the decorations and Brandon gave me a few pointers with UnrealScript and I was off.
Once the dust had settled I was writing both UnrealScript and C/C++ code for the project… making editor fixes, extending game play, improving and optimizing systems, extending trigger functionality, expanding the particle system, etc etc. The only parts of the code I didn’t spend any significant amount of time in were the core rendering (just some straight forward particle system updates) and networking.
This was some of the most fun I’ve had in the industry because I was combining my two passions: Level Design/Design and Programming, help create some things that had yet to be experienced in games so far, and make many improvements to our version of UnrealEd.
The time spent programming and level design gave me a very wide view of the project and so around 2004 some changes happened at the company and I took on a sort of Producer role, working with George Broussard to help bring all the parts together. I was still doing some level design and programming, but my attention was split much more on helping lead and direct other aspects of the development.
I will always be happy I went to 3D Realms and the people I worked with. At the very least, I got to take on getting the Duke 3D and Shadow Warrior Source Code released for the players. Being such a big fan myself… it was a very satisfying thing to do.