Nuking a Lobby Floor
Those who know me know I worked for Apogee/3D Realms for over 16 years (from 1992-2009). I was fiercely loyal for any number of reasons, one of which is the way the owners treated me during my time there. I worked at two different offices during my time there. The first one from 1992-2002, and then the second from Nov 2002 to May 2009. I liked both of the places I worked at, but insofar as the actual OFFICES go, the best thing about either of them was the lobby floor in the second building. At first I didn’t think much was going to come of it. However, after a few trips to the new place to see how construction was going, I found myself seriously impressed with what I saw coming together. It was a giant Nuke logo on the lobby floor right inside the door. It was bloody beautiful. It was also meticously planned out. It was a tile floor with the Duke Nukem “nuke” logo laid out in small tile squares.
Here’s a few pictures of it being put down.
Here’s a picture of the final product, which the total costs of construction were over $10,000 – I asked for this article, but the guy who handled that couldn’t remember the exact price, but did say it was over $10,000.
The giant Duke Nukem logo on the floor was something that was always a discussion point. From UPS drivers, to business people, to vendors, even to personal friends. Everyone was impressed by the lobby – that logo was really impressive. It was a central point where folks would congregate, and even play hackeysack on it! Everyone loved it.
Flash forward to May 6, 2009. Around the circle is where we held the meeting led by George Broussard & Brian Hook telling us that 3DR was closing down. It sucked. Single worst moment of my entire professional life – I still don’t like that event, never will. But the circle was there, and on May 8th, the last day that 3DR existed as a dev studio, we took a fairly famous picture of the entire company (minus one guy who was out of the country at the time). You’ve all seen the known picture many times before, I’ll post this alternate take. :)
Once the reality of that set in, and we started prepping the company for shutdown, I started wondering what the heck would happen to the floor. Since the company would eventually vacate the offices, the floor was unlikely to survive through the next tenant, whoever that might be. I inquired about it, and was told that the floor couldn’t be picked up. If you look at the third picture at the top of the page, you can see all the coordinates and tile work that was done to put it together. Getting it together and looking smooth on the floor took a lot, and it was always intended to just “be there”. Removing it off the floor would be impossible without damaging it so severely, you might as well just leave it there, and build a brand new one. I mean seriously – look at picture #3. You can see how many small pieces there were. All the glue to keep them together was extensive, pulling them apart would break the majority of the tiles. You’d be destroying it yourself if you tried. So it was left there.
One great memory I have of the logo floor is my daughter who was born after we moved in running around on it. She loved – I MEAN LOVED to run around the nuke logo. Whenever she came to pick up daddy from work, or visit or whatever, she’d run around the circle quite a few times. By the time the office was shutting down, she mostly had grown out of that (as she had just turned 4), but I convinced her to do it again, and I videoed it because I knew I’d want to enjoy that memory later once the pain of the closing passed. Here’s that video from May 9, 2009:
After I was moved out of the 3D Realms offices, I didn’t come back, mostly due to the fact that the separation was very painful. It took me awhile to come to grips with that, it took Gearbox and the release of DNF I think – I wrote about that here. Doesn’t mean I LIKE it, mind you. I did come back from time to time as my friends Bryan & Steve were still hanging on there, and for whatever reason I needed to see ’em it was just easier to go there. The last time I can recall doing that was November 7, 2010, when I had to pick up something, and we took a couple of pictures, ones I called “Last Call”. One of them is here:
That was pretty much it. What was left of 3D Realms finally vacated the building in early 2011 somewhere. Was the last time I saw the nuke floor except for the odd time I’d drive by the offices, and go in the parking lot for old times sake. You see, these offices were only about 7 miles from my house, and there were a few businesses near here that I made use of, so I would have a legitimate reason to go over this way. It wasn’t just me completely wallowing in the past so to speak. I’d peek in from time to time, there wasn’t anything to see, but the nuke logo was still on the floor.
As I would drive by the office due to the fact it was on a main street, I saw a for sale sign a month or so after the guys finally left the building for good. Was sad. I took a picture of that at the time, but can’t locate it now. It was around here that I stopped bothering to come by. I hadn’t worked there in awhile, my remaining friends were located in new offices (no I will not say where that was), and a for sale sign was the final straw. It was gone. Stayed that way for a bit (the sign), and then eventually the sign went away, and it sat that way with no sign and no residents for QUITE some time.
In early March 2012 I happened to drive by (think I was taking my daughter bowling), and I noticed that there was construction activity at the offices. It made me wonder who the heck owned the building now given Apogee Software, Ltd (aka/dba 3D Realms) had nothing to do with it anymore. So I poked around in the public tax records of the area, and discovered that it was indeed sold on May 26, 2011 – to Goodwill Industries of Dallas. They were making changes to the building, adding on – but I bloody have no idea why, I don’t know anyone from Goodwill.
I wanted to get out and look at the floor, but as you can see, there was active construction, and while these two pictures don’t show it, there were construction workers there. I’m sure they wouldn’t like me poking around, so I just drove off. I did end up back there a few weeks later, on April 13th when nobody was around, so I got out of my car and looked in the door. Saw this:
The logo was gone. The floor was a plain, boring floor again. Not that I expected for a minute that Goodwill would keep the Duke Nukem logo on the floor. That would have been silly, unless someone in the office was a big Duke Nukem fan. Still, actually SEEING it gone brought a bit of a lip quiver to this photographer. The site was vacant at the time, so I did look around in the materials on the ground, and even in the dumpster. Had I any idea there might have been something in there, I was prepared to go dumpster diving to retrieve a piece of the floor. No luck. Couldn’t see anything. Drove off again. It’s probably lying in a dump somewhere buried amongst other trash and whatnot.
That brings us to today, May 15, 2012. I was driving by coming back from a trip to Sam’s Club, and noticed a bunch of construction workers there. I had a few minutes to kill, so I parked in the Aldi’s parking lot next door, and walked across, and asked the two guys working on the exterior door about the nuke floor logo. They both told me they weren’t sure, but did say that the construction supervisor was in the building, and I could ask him. So I entered 1661 Northwest Highway for the last time ever, I wager. I approached the construction supervisor, and identified myself as someone who used to work here when the last tenant was in the building. I basically asked him what happened to the floor. I explained briefly about us putting it down on the floor, and that we couldn’t get it off the floor without destroying it. He shook his head with what looked like a bad memory flashback, and told me it was taken up and tossed out awhile ago. He also added, “Yeah, that was a real bitch to get off the floor, too!”
Hahaha. Duke went down with a fight! Gotta love that.
I thanked him for his time, and took off. At this point, I cannot imagine any scenario where I’d want to go back there. I thought that this is the last time I’ll probably look for information on the old Nuke logo floor, I thought I should write about all of this. So here we are.
But I can’t leave the story on that sad note. I have something really cool to report on as well.
THE NUKE FLOOR LIVES!
Look at this:
How the heck is that possible if it was torn up and taken to a dump? Well, you can thank Duke Nukem fan John “MrBlackCat” Martin. He took it upon himself to reconstruct the floor for his game room, which itself was really impressive. Anyway, on a game forum we frequent, I had posted a thread there with an abbreviated version of some of this story, and apparently it touched John, he sent me this message privately:
I wanted to be sure you saw this particular post as it has a bit to do with you… as you were always the public face of 3D Realms forums, and therefore part of the games that inspired the theme of my game room. I read you posts and am glad you got your closure… still sad the way things went.
I have always wanted to do the nuke symbol in my game room but never had that last little push to priority until I read in the Old 3D Realms office thread. Sad, but inspiring. 3D Realms has influenced my game room greatly and this is my personal tribute and reminder of the Gaming Greatness that was Apogee/3D Realms.
John sent me a couple of construction completion photos, two of which appear above. I say I was blown away was an understatement. I know 3D Realms had it’s following even after the fall of the company, and even after the game came out and was well, “not well received”. This guy certainly was one of them. He told me this about the actual making of it..
“I worked on it probably 18 hours day… I cut the entire thing on a Dremel Jigsaw, one piece at a time. I just didn’t have another way to do it.”
Anyway, his room kicks ass on it’s own, and then he goes and adds his replica of our Nuke floor logo and it’s just stupid good. Check his room out with the floor installed:
John, if you sell your house and leave it for someone else to get, I’m gonna come over there and kick your ass, dude! I can’t stand to see the floor logo go a second time! hahaha. :)
John’s replication of the Nuke logo is quite cool, and is a real touching tribute to the fallen friend I used to have in my former employer. I also thank John for not talking about it publicly until I could get this article together. I always loved that logo on the floor of 3D Realms’ offices. I wish I was still there, and I could have my son run around the circle, but alas, that’s not possible.
Hope the old 3D Realms fans enjoyed this little recall. If you have anything to add, or any questions, make use of the comments below.
God bless you,
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
Update Sep 16, 2019.. I re-read this article today, and the comment I made about “entering 1661 Northwest Highway for the last time” turned out to be false. I went back in there on Sep 11, 2012, because my curiosity got the best of me. I had to see what they did with the place. As someone who worked there, it was indeed sad to see. I’m including three pictures here.
- The first is what is where my desk was – a rack of women’s clothing.
- The second is the front lobby where the Nuke logo was. It’s just plain floor now.
- The third is what you see looking into the store standing where the Nuke logo used to be.
Join the Conversation
WOW!!!!!! I’m so fucking jealous of that, I would kill to have that in my living room floor!!
I have got to look around my town and find someone who can design one!!
Dude, that is genuinely heartbreaking.
Nice article Joe. Thanks for taking the time to put it together. I miss the crap out of that place–as well as the people. Seeing the pictures makes it feel like it was all just yesterday. :(
Really touching article. Thanks for sharing these memories with us!
That room looks awesome.
That logo really tied the room together.
This is just great Joe. Thanks for sharing this awesome and a bit sad memory with all of us. The memory of Duke Nukem Forever and all the waiting (along with the great game it turned out to be) will live forever in my heart.
Wow, amazing article I almost cried when i saw the missing nuke logo. Also john I’m extremely jealous of your game room.
Loved Duke 3D – Many hours building levels and playing online!!…sad to see the company go, along with the great people behind it…The best to you.
Touching story. Good to see that the Nuke is being radiated on by several CRT screens, too!
Here is a picture of the front of the old 3DR Offices, complete with Goodwill signage:
That image is no longer there, but I embedded a Google Street view map of the place in my Sep 2019 update to this article.