KEN BUILD SOURCE CODE GUIDE v9-27-2017  Release 7  RTCM Corvin


Game:   Ken Build   a.k.a.   BUILD source code
File: - 1,095,085 bytes
Released:  6/20/2000     Release 2(6-21)     Release3(9-21)
Ken Silverman's official web site:
Web site: Ken Silverman's Build Engine Source Code Page
Related: JonoF's JFBUILD source page
Information: Ken Silverman's Official Build Engine Page
For Further Information: "What is the Build Engine?" (FAQ written by Ken Silverman (started 11/17/1998))


Build Engine & Tools - Copyright 1993-1997 Ken Silverman

Original distribution & license info can be found from the above address.

Ken Silverman is the creator of the BUILD engine and tools in its original code.
This is NOT the Duke Game source. This is Ken Silverman's Release - no 3DRealms material.
This is a production test game and its build tools - all with source code.

  • Ken Silverman, Developed the BUILD Engine and Tools. This is his release of his source codes.
  • The code does not contain any 3DR material.
  • Ken continued work on his source code even after BUILD was released on registered CD's.
  • "Build was written in Watcom C and assembly (both inline and in separate modules). Programmed in C, and then converted routines to assembly.
    The original code is not documented well, and it wouldn't be considered elegant by any means. The C code for the Build engine has about 8000 lines (note Ken's code is very compressed; no comments, multiple statements per line, etc.).

  • The Build editor code is another 8000 lines. There are also 5000 lines of assembly in Build. (It took about a minute or 2 with full optimizations to compile on Ken's P133 at the time.)

  • 3D accelerators/3Dfx I (Ken) thought was a lot nicer, but that it wouldn't do much for my engine. The main reason 3Dfx doesn't help FPS is that Build draws walls with vertical spans and ceilings/floors with horizontal spans. 3D accelerators like to draw triangles. Build did all the front to back clipping with a vertical span buffer (which was really great for software), but that meant that polygons had to be drawn one line at a time (or four at a time with some special optimizations).

  • Build didn't use BSP trees. This allowed things to be easily modified by a programmer. For example, as long as walls didn't intersect, the game programmer (Todd, Frank, Nick) could simply say wall.x = -17; and the wall would move without any pre-calculations."

  • The Official BUILD for Windows was started, but never completed, project was cancelled.

What 3DR and others had to work with
  • GAME.C
  • NAMES.H.
  • A.OBJ
  • These company's did not have the actual complete source.

BUILD Games made directly from Ken's Build Engine Code's
  • Ken-Build (the code)
  • Lame Duke Beta
  • Duke Nukem 3D
  • Shadow Warrior (developed in parallel with Duke3d)
  • Blood (contains only the Apogee sound engine)
  • TekWar
  • Witchaven
  • Fate
  • PowerSlave
  • Legend of Seven Paladins 3D

BUILD Games Modified Directly from 3DR's Duke3D v1.4/v1.5 Game Engine
  • PaintBrawl
  • NAM
  • Enhanced Duke (a.k.a. EDuke)
  • Redneck Rampage (Highly changed 3DR code).



  • You can take Ken's code and enhance it, adding anything you want.
  • You can duplicate some of 3DR's coding / hacks to restore some of the lost functions in the map editor.
  • You can port the Build editor and tools to Win32, Linux and other OS.
  • You can make your own Build Game using your own Build Tools.
  • You can make special 'drivers' for communication.
  • You can make Ports to DirectX, OpenGL, Glide and other rendering formats.
  • You can modify the code to be used with virtually any BUILD Game.




  • Since some material modifications to the tools on the registered CD's were done by 3DR and other companies. You may find that not all functions are present. For example some Sector effectors and Tags.
  • Also, you won't be able to recompile the test game code and expect duke to be the outcome, since no 3DR martial is added. This is released by Ken Silverman.
  • There is no CON parsing code, since this was part of Todd Replogle / 3DR's code and not Ken Silverman's.
  • You can add editor/game true room over room support. However Duke3d's game engine doesn't support it. Some BUILD / Mapedit versions already contain this effect to some degree.
  • Basically you can add anything you want provided the games engine can handle it.



Running the Included Test Game:

  • To run the game you need the DOS extender DOS4GW.EXE file,  v1.97 or higher.




  • Ken's Game and Build Engines with KenTools { } - Ken Silverman Release 6/20/2000 - The BUILD Tool source codes are included aswell, BUILD map editor and EDITART. All of which Duke3D and other BUILD Games use. Ken continued work on his codes; These sources have been updated for this release.

Directory of C:\kenbuild\ 75 KB
5/17/1996 6:49:36 PM
A map by Andy Cotter with a network of warp zones and all weapons 13 KB
9/23/1995 4:44:06 PM
Ken's first test map in the sector engine (with revisions of course)
buildlic.txt 4 KB
6/21/2000 3:59:28 PM
Build source code license terms 18 KB
6/11/1996 2:25:16 AM
Objective: Try to kill off all of the "evil Al's"
game.exe 406 KB
6/20/2000 7:56:02 PM
The Ken Build Test Game 10 KB
9/24/1995 9:30:12 PM
Map-added slopes (This effect requires a Math Co-Processor) 318 KB
5/20/1996 2:05:02 PM
A lot of small maps combined into one huge one
(Mentioned in Build.txt and Build2.txt) 50 KB
11/2/1995 9:47:00 AM
test map - with examples of lots of moving objects like doors
readme.txt 6 KB
6/19/2000 2:35:32 PM
The Ken Build Test Game Help File
setup.dat 1 KB
6/7/2000 3:47:08 PM
Setup config file
setup.exe 10 KB
1/5/2000 2:08:56 AM
Test Game Setup 308 KB
6/20/2000 8:20:40 PM
Source code for the BUILD editor and source code for the Test Game
stuff.dat 822 KB
1/26/2000 5:52:18 PM
The .GRP File (rename the extention to .grp if required by one of the many .grp tools.) 58 KB
6/20/2000 8:20:44 PM
Source Code for The BUILD Tools, Map Editor , EDITART etc...



The following files are available at Ken S. web site and in the RTCM Download section.

  • Ken's BUILD C { } - Ken Silverman Release 08/20/2003 - no 3DRealms material. A.ASM (of the Build source code distribution,,) ported to C, originally done by Ken Silverman in June of 1996. Its been updated for this release.
  • GRP, .ART File Formats  - Can be found in the archive.
  • MAP File Formats and SRC - Can be found in the archive as well as on your CD under Build Docs provided by 3DRealms.
  • Other File Formats and Specs - Can be found, They cover .voc , .art , .grp , .pcx , .map , .pallete.dat , tables.dat, etc...
  • Slabspri Source and Specs { }. This is a voxel editor used with Shadow Warrior and Blood. He has also released the specs on his voxel file format that he uses with his new viewer/editor, SLAB6.

  • See the Duke3D Source Code RTCM Document for released codes from 3DRealms and other game source code info.