Twenty two years ago an obscure game developer called id Software released a first-person shooter that would have a huge impact on the future of PC gaming, computer graphics and the industry as a whole, that game was Doom.
At the time I was 10, and while I can’t exactly recall if my first encounter with the game came right then or a few years later, it certainly left a mark as it did to millions.
One thing I do know is that there is a significant divide between the 1993 sci-fi horror game and id Software’s 2016 reboot. As a young kid I couldn’t imagine playing this latest version of Doom, which is probably why it has been rated M for mature players over the age of 17. Even with that in mind, this game should not be played by the squeamish. It’s what you might call a bit… gory.
Then of course, this is what die-hard fans of the franchise are after, violence is part of the Doom DNA. The action seems to be centered around fast-paced action and some newly introduced finishing moves, dubbed “Glory Kills” which are scripted animations. Basically you touch up the demons with your various range of projectile weapons and rather than spend more ammunition finishing them you can move in for the glory kill where you stomp on their head, naturally causing it to explode. Alternatively, you might rip off an arm, the action is random so it’s a lucky dip of bloody violence.
Helping to make the gore all the more real and enjoyable for the twisted folks that enjoy that kind of thing is the id Tech 6 game engine, designed specifically for the Doom reboot. The engine supports OpenGL, while Vulkan API support will be patched in at a later date.
For those of you out of the loop, Vulkan is the successor to OpenGL, offering an open-source alternative to Microsoft’s DirectX API. Vulkan is cross-platform, meaning it isn’t limited to Windows and other Microsoft platforms, and will be supported by Google’s Android and Valve’s Steam OS.
Coming up soon… Doom running on Vulkan (watch below)
Gamers got their first taste of Doom a month ago when a portion of the multiplayer mode entered a brief open beta. The beta provided access to Team Deathmatch and Warpath game modes on the Heatwave and Infernal maps. Many came away disappointed with the lack of tweakable game and graphics options along with the 60fps frame cap. Gamers weren’t enthused after the brief look at the gameplay aspect either.
Historically, id’s beta tests have served as a broader test for games’ multiplayer capabilities, graphics optimization, and scaling. Thankfully, the beta was just that and now that the game is officially out we are pleased to find a good number of tweakable options including an unlocked frame rate. And although there are no full reviews of the game just yet — Bethesda didn’t give away any advance copies to the press — 48 hours after release Steam’s user reviews can give a pretty good indication that the game delivers: 92% positive scores out of 6,500+ reviews so far.
So then Doom isn’t a crappy PC port, phew!
In fact, this is a gift to the PC Master Race. The 4K visuals are amazing, excellent high resolution textures cover every surface, the lighting and shadows are on point and this all comes together to make those glory kill animations look insane. The question that remains now is, what kind of hardware do you require to enjoy those glory kills in all of their gory glory?
Doom doesn’t feature a benchmark tool and there aren’t any good pre-scripted sections of the game to test either. After playing for a few hours I decided to go back near the start of the game and benchmark the first main room that you enter full of Arch-Vile demons. Upon entering the room, we move left and then complete a number of laps before the 60 second test completes.
For testing the ‘Ultra’ preset was used with the exception of “Decal Filtering” which was set to Anisotropic 16x from 8x. The game has been tested at 1080p, 1440p and 4K using the latest AMD and Nvidia drivers. This means the AMD Crimson Edition 16.5.2 and GeForce Game Ready 365.19 drivers were used.
Again, the benchmark pass was kept simple: we recorded 60 seconds of gameplay from the first level, we took the same path each time and we simply ran past any enemies.
Test System Specs
- Intel Core i7-6700K (4.00GHz)
- 4GBx2 Kingston Predator DDR4-2400
- Asrock Z170 Extreme7+ (Intel Z170)
- Silverstone Strider 700w PSU
- Crucial MX200 1TB
- Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
- Nvidia GeForce 365.19 WHQL
- AMD Crimson Edition 16.5.2 Hotfix
- Radeon R9 Fury X (4096MB)
- Radeon R9 Fury (4096MB)
- Radeon R9 Nano (4096MB)
- Radeon R9 390X (8192MB)
- Radeon R9 390 (8192MB)
- Radeon R9 380X (4096MB)
- Radeon R9 380 (2048MB)
- Radeon R9 290X (4096MB)
- Radeon R9 290 (4096MB)
- Radeon R9 285 (2048MB)
- Radeon R9 280X (3072MB)
- Radeon R9 280 (3072MB)
- Radeon R9 270X (2048MB)
- Radeon R9 270 (2048MB)
- Radeon HD 7970 GHz (3072MB)
- Radeon HD 7970 (3072MB)
- Radeon HD 7950 Boost (3072MB)
- Radeon HD 7950 (3072MB)
- Radeon HD 7870 (2048MB)
- GeForce GTX Titan X (12288MB)
- GeForce GTX Titan (6144MB)
- GeForce GTX 980 Ti (6144MB)
- GeForce GTX 980 (4096MB)
- GeForce GTX 970 (4096MB)
- GeForce GTX 960 (2048MB)
- GeForce GTX 950 (2048MB)
- GeForce GTX 780 Ti (3072MB)
- GeForce GTX 780 (3072MB)
- GeForce GTX 770 (2048MB)
- GeForce GTX 760 (2048MB)
- GeForce GTX 750 Ti (2048MB)
- GeForce GTX 680 (2048MB)
- GeForce GTX 660 Ti (2048MB)
Those gaming at 1080p who are hoping to use the ‘Ultra’ quality settings are in luck, as Doom is surprisingly easy going. For smooth gameplay I found a minimum of 40fps was required and this means the old Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition will work well. Likewise, the modern low-end to mid-range GeForce GTX 960 and Radeon R9 380 performed very well, and the 960 started to push 60fps. For a minimum of 60fps+ gamers will require a Radeon R9 290/390 or GeForce GTX 780 Ti/Titan.
Turning the resolution up to 2560×1440 sees most of the mainstream-range graphics cards fall below our self-imposed 40fps minimum. While models such as the GeForce GTX 960 do provide a playable experience, the 970 is worlds better at this resolution. It is clear for now that Nvidia has an advantage in this title as the 970 can be seen crushing the 390 and even the 390X, while the 980 Ti enjoyed a strong lead over the Fury X.
Not to be surprised, 4K performance is only possible on top tier cards such as the Titan X, 980 Ti and Fury X. Obviously the Titan X provided the best performance, though the difference between it and the 980 Ti was negligible. Still, with a minimum of 40fps and averages of around 50fps, serious gamers will ultimately want something a bit faster and since SLI doesn’t work, the upcoming GTX 1080 might be the perfect solution.
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Steven Walton is a writer at TechSpot. TechSpot is a computer technology publication serving PC enthusiasts, gamers and IT pros since 1998.