Doom 4 is back in the limelight already id software is making sure everyone knows that ID Tech 6 will be capable of providing PS4 and Xbox One 1080p 60FPS performance.
In a related report by The Inquisitr, early versions of Doom 4 apparently weren’t up to snuff, with the story being lame and management wasn’t sure where to go with the project. Some even joked it could be called Call Of Doom due to the way it was overly scripted.
At the time, the only thing that Bethesda conceded was that “an earlier version of Doom 4 did not exhibit the quality and excitement that Id and Bethesda intend to deliver and that Doom fans worldwide expect.” But now that the Doom 4 beta is around the corner, the company’s vice-president of marketing Peter Hines discussed how a Doom reboot will hopefully live up to the expectations set by the recent Wolfenstein reboot:
“Let’s be honest, [Wolfenstein] was a bit of a tarnished brand. And we knew that. The last couple of games were either ‘ok’ or ‘not great’. It wasn’t a franchise where people were desperate for the next one. Wolfenstein isn’t Uncharted. We knew this would take some explaining. But developer Machine Games has now untarnished the IP. We view [Doom 4] similarly to Wolfenstein. Because it’s been so long since the last Doom game. We are going in as if we need to prove ourselves all over again. We have no free passes. Nobody will assume this is going to be awesome. We are going to have to prove that this is something that’s going to be fun and different that you need to pay attention to. That has to be our default position, we can’t be: ‘It’s Doom, of course you’re going to play it’. But that just makes us work harder.”
So far the Doom 4 presentation at Quakecon today seems to be living up to promises. When executive producer Marty Stratton introduced the Doom 4 demo he said the game will simply be called Doom because “it’s an origin game, reimagining everything about the originals,” which includes “new combat mechanics and features to evolve the FPS experience.”
That doesn’t mean it’s completely removed from the original. The demo still started with a research facility on Mars, health doesn’t recharge like many FPS games have done since Halo, and old favorites like the double-barreled shotgun and chainsaw have returned (you can also carry all the weapons at the same time). The biggest differences seemed to be a focus on melee attacks, bloody context-sensitive dismemberments, and a few movement maneuvers like the double jump and jetpacks.
In my opinion, the biggest surprise was ID Tech 6 (or ID Tech 666 as they jokingly called it) running on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One at 1080p 60FPS. Both Rage and Wolfenstein used ID Tech 5 and before John Carmack left id Software it seemed like ID Tech 6 was intended to be a very big departure from the previous game engine and would literally require a new type of GPU. So what makes the number change?
We do know that at one point Carmack said ID Tech 5 would not work well with open world games:
“The megatexture direction [in id Tech 5] has some big wins, but it’s also fairly restrictive on certain types of games. [And] it would be a completely unacceptable engine to do [Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls V:] Skyrim in, where you’ve got the whole world, walking across these huge areas.”
But Quakecon’s Doom 4 demo seemed to focus on caves and indoor areas, not open worlds. Years ago, Carmack was also looking into the possibility of using raytracing via sparse voxel octrees (if you want the technical details click here and here). Ray tracing can produce fluids, transparency, shiny surfaces, reflections, fully dynamic indirect lighting, depth of field, and other effects without requiring as much work from video game developers, so some people see it as the “holy grail” of graphics. Another similar approach is called path tracing, which reduces the GPU workload by using an average result of a reduced number of rays at the cost of inducing noise into the final result:
Unfortunately, I highly doubt ID Tech 6 will be introducing anything that exotic. The above demo was produced using a Nvidia Titan, which produces 4.7 TeraFLOPS while the PS4 GPU has a theoretical max of 1.83 TeraFLOPS. The path tracing demo was also run at 720p 30FPS, never mind the promise of ID Tech 6 running at 1080p 60FPS on the consoles. (This is the point where the PC master race crowd starts decrying how slow the PS4 and Xbox One really are in comparison to what could have been.)
So in reality we really do not have a clue what ID Tech 6 means to Doom 4 and Bethseda isn’t sharing details. We just know what graphics effects should be impossible, although perhaps the wizards at id software will surprise us. What would you like to see in the reboot?