A free fan-made remake of the seminal Duke Nukem: 3D has been given the go-ahead by its original developers and current copyright holders, and a multiplayer demo is timetabled for "sooner than you think," according to the homage's lead designer.

Making the announcement on the official Duke Nukem Forever forum, Schreiber unveiled his project, provisionally titled Duke Nukem: Next-Gen, remaking the 1996 classic using the modern tech behind games such as Gears of War, Mass Effect, and BioShock.

After mocking up a test level and sending pictures to the two co-founders of 3D Realms, who made Duke Nukem: 3D, Gearbox Software, who are now developing Duke Nukem Forever, then got on board to ask their publisher Take Two Interactive to OK the remake.

The team is looking for help not just in testing the PC game, but also in making it, with a call for talented artists, coders, and animators sent out.

Regular updates and releases of incomplete builds should ensure that they avoid the 12-year development curse that kept Duke Nukem Forever away from the public for so long - and, indeed, the delays that seem to have befallen Black Mesa, a similarly ambitious remake of the monumental Half-Life.

Catch up on Duke Nukem: Next-Gen news on Gearbox's official forums, and see in-game test footage on Youtube. The original Duke Nukem: 3D, patched for Windows XP, Vista and 7, is still available from Good Old Games.