A project to recreate former UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s office in a video game engine has quickly turned into a much bigger piece of work.
Twitter user Dan Douglas originally set out to just recreate Hancock’s office, where footage leaked of him breaking covid restrictions during an affair, resulting in him resigning as Health Secretary.
He told NME: “The idea came from seeing the Daily Mail publish an absurdly detailed floorplan of Matt Hancock’s office at The Department of Health following The Sun printing CCTV camera footage of his affair”.
The build originally used Build Engine, the creator for levels in Duke Nukem 3D from 3D Realms, where Douglas set himself the task of using the game’s‘ Build Engine to recreate the office, as he used to make Duke Nukem 3D levels for fun as a teenager.
His development tool then changed to Mapster32 when he couldn’t get the ability to insert custom textures working. He said “the principles are the same as when I was creating maps in 1996. I’m still very much learning as I’m going – I have no development experience”.
BACK IN BUSINESS pic.twitter.com/wureGiZXh0
— Dan Douglas (@dandouglas) July 2, 2021
Douglas then decided to go “all-in on this” by adding a CCTV room alongside outside areas, even hoping to have a “Boris Johnson on a zipwire easter egg”.
Eventually the project included a Sainsbury’s Local, Big Ben, a Pret A Manger, and even a pack of Quorn sausage rolls, despite their existence breaking with continuity. Douglas now wants to add animations so he can get “a TV showing like Piers Morgan storming off the GMB set”.
Douglas has been taking requests for what to add to his recreation of London, with Greggs making the list. He even shared a picture of the recreated Foxtons, an estate agents, which has graffiti that reads “Tory Scum”.
The project quickly developed for Douglas as well, being more about creating “a slice of generic central London overrun by chain stores”.
“When I realised how easy it was to insert custom art I started adding a few memes and in-jokes. The whole project is just to amuse myself to be honest, I’m not sure yet if I’ll actually finish it” he added.
haven't had a chance to flesh out the inside yet but the vibe is there pic.twitter.com/bQlxn2oHaF
— Dan Douglas (@dandouglas) July 5, 2021
Douglas isn’t the only person using classic FPS titles for social commentary, and he’s very aware of the similarities his work has to others.
“One thing I’m very wary of is unintentionally plagiarising (Twitter user) letshugbro‘s upcoming DOOM 2 mod Thatcher’s Techbase, which has been in development for a while now” he said, “both feature references to the Tories in a 90s FPS engine, but I think that’s where the similarities end.”
“My project is just a daft curio I’ll very possibly abandon, whereas Thatcher’s Techbase is a fully-featured episode that looks extremely promising.”