id Tech 7 Engine Upgrades Discussed by DOOM Eternal Dev; Raytracing to Be Explored Post-Launch
DOOM Eternal is now less than two months away from its scheduled March 20th launch on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Google Stadia.
DOOM Eternal will feature the first iteration of the id Tech 7 engine and Digital Foundry managed to discuss the upgrades provided by id Tech 7 in a video interview with DOOM Eternal Executive Producer Marty Stratton, who pointed at the size of the playable areas, the improved physics/destructibility, and the full departure from the Megatextures system to achieve greater texture fidelity as the highlights.
The size of the world, the scope of the world, our levels are twice as big as they were in DOOM 2016. That was to really establish a sense of scale and epicness to DOOM Eternal. You know, one of the things that we established coming out of DOOM 2016 was that we really wanted to take players to places that they'd never seen before. DOOM 2016 was pretty much just Mars and Hell. And you know, in this game we do Hell on Earth, we do the Sentinel homeworld, something we alluded to in DOOM 2016 lore. We take you to an Arctic cultist base, we take you to kind of our version of Heaven, and obviously Hell. Each of those set pieces in these worlds had to be really really big. That was I would say that drove a lot of the technical work that that was done across the board. Of course, you know, things like physics and some better destructibility in the world that would reinforce your power. Our Destructible Demon system required quite a bit of technical effort from our team and updates to the animation system.
We really completed the departure from Megatextures, which allowed us to do more instance geometry, more instance texture tiling textures, which also allowed us to have higher fidelity texture. So for the first time, I would say we've really gotten away from that. I think in the last several games, you could criticize our texture fidelity to be a little blurry. And I think DOOM Eternal is the first one where we really are again at the top of the heap when it comes to texture fidelity.
Raytracing will not be available at the release of DOOM Eternal, though. At E3 2019, Marty Stratton proudly boasted that id Software could pull it off better than anybody, but he now has to concede the team had to focus on other priorities and will only explore it again post-launch.
However, he did tease some 'really cool' ideas brewing at id on how to use raytracing for more than just reflections, shadows or Global Illumination. He wouldn't say more right now, but we know raytracing can potentially be used to enhance audio, too.
So we actually haven't talked about that at all. And we, quite frankly, haven't spent a ton of time the team basically did some initial implementation and exploration of raytracing about a year ago, but at that same time, we had so much that we wanted to do on the game still. I mean, our tech team, they are the biggest fans of new tech so it was a little hard to pull everybody off of that because it was the shiny new toy. But when we're talking about getting DOOM Eternal out there and getting it out as close to on time as possible and at the highest polish and quality, we kind of had to pull back on that effort. So it is something that they're like literally just about ready to start looking at again and actually have some interesting ideas. I don't want to go too far down that path because who knows what exactly we do, but there's more that you can use the technology for than just, you know, the reflections, the shadows, and the real-time lighting. They have some really cool ideas that I think will not only just make it a better experience for players, but actually, you know some of what they're talking about will make it better and easier to create experiences for developers.
The DOOM Eternal Executive Producer then added the Nintendo Switch port (coming a bit later than the other versions) is doing very well thanks to Panic Button, which also took care (doing a great job) of porting the previous DOOM game. Overall, he believes DOOM Eternal will squeeze every ounce of computing power out of all consoles and 'scream at outlandish frame rates' on a high-end PC.
We'll see in less than six weeks if id Software can deliver on its lofty promises for DOOM Eternal.