This randomizer mod reshuffles classic shooters like Duke 3D, Blood, and Shadow Warrior

Duke Nukem with arm outstretched, pistol in hand, aiming at the screen
(Image credit: 3DRealms)

Modder Die4Ever has brought a selection of classic PC FPSes to the chaos realm with a new project, the Build Engine Randomizer. The mod lets players remix the enemy and item placements for games on Ken Silverman's legendary Build Engine⁠—most famous for Duke Nukem 3D, it also served as a middleware platform for developers like Monolith and Lobotomy.

Die4Ever's Build Randomizer works on Duke 3D, Shadow Warrior, Blood, Powerslave, and Voidpoint's 2019 Build FPS, Ion Fury. The mod creates new seeds of the game with reshuffled item and enemy placements, with added parameters for how difficult and how out there the new configurations might be, with Die4Ever warning that "putting every setting to maximum will make the game nearly impossible."

In addition to the contents of individual levels, the mod lets you randomize the level orders in Duke Nukem 3D and Ion Fury specifically, further adding to the potential surprise and challenge. Installing and running the mod is fairly straightforward, with per-game instructions provided on Die4Ever's GitHub page. The modder recommends using source ports like EDuke32 and NBlood to run the randomizer, and I was able to pretty quickly launch into a randomized seed of the latter despite never dabbling in Build mods before.

I think there's a lot of promise inherent to bringing this treatment to classic games, the sort of shooters where your average fan knows every item and enemy from start to finish already. Die4Ever's made a bit of a modding career out of this sort of refreshening of classic games: we've previously covered Die4Ever's expansive Deus Ex Randomizer, and the modder has similar projects targeting Roller Coaster Tycoon and Starcraft 2.

Associate Editor

Ted has been thinking about PC games and bothering anyone who would listen with his thoughts on them ever since he booted up his sister's copy of Neverwinter Nights on the family computer. He is obsessed with all things CRPG and CRPG-adjacent, but has also covered esports, modding, and rare game collecting. When he's not playing or writing about games, you can find Ted lifting weights on his back porch.