Light & Shadow: Duke Nukem 3D custom map

Light & Shadow: My best Duke Nukem 3D custom map

In 1998, I constructed my third single player user map „Light & Shadow“ for the famous first-person shooter Duke Nukem 3D. I named it this way because of the many dropping shadows in the level, which was very hard to do with the so-called „BUILD“-editor for the game.

56k-Modem and a Pentium CPU

It took my whole 6 weeks school vacation and a lot of testing. I uploaded it with my 56k-Modem to my long-gone website and never imagined that anybody would actually play it or in best-case having fun playing it until the end. Until today, when I suddenly found a review of my map on the internet…

The „Light & Shadow“ review by is dated to the year 2007 and published, while the map was released by me to the public in late 1999. And to my huge surprise, the author of the review rated my map with a rocking score of 90%! I know that today the game itself isn’t really visually stunning anymore. In fact, it looks like crappy compared to current computer games. But back in 1996 after the original Duke Nukem 3D game was released, it was the coolest things you could see on your Pentium 75. But nonetheless the puzzles and the pacing in the level is not perfect but still fun to play.

Light & Shadow - Duke Nukem Map
Light & Shadow: The bar with moving disco light

Level Design and Usability

The main idea of the level is to destroy a whole city by collecting key cards. These key cards are obtained by solving easy puzzles with switches and hidden passages. It is also interesting to see today how much change in the level after I learned too much about usability and making films. To me, making websites and movies which are enjoyable to the audience and the users is surprisingly similar to the task of building a level for a game.

Because I am so happy that actually someone played my level and obviously liked it, I made a trailer for my level. But you can of course play also play it for yourself if you don’t fear the blast from the past:

  1. Get a copy of Duke Nukem 3D Atomic Edition 1.4
  2. Download and install DOSBox, a x86 emulator with DOS
  3. Optional: Or install the High Resolution Pack with Windows-Support
  4. Download the Light and Shadow-Map (
  5. copy the map into your Duke Nukem 3D Folder
  6. Start a „New Game“ and select „User Map“
  7. enjoy!

Official Reviews

Direct Downloads

Via Steam Workshop

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