Doom 64 is perhaps one of my favorite parts of the series. With its reworked graphics, atmospheric music, solid frame rate, and eerie environments, it’s an N64 game that still holds up well today, 23 years after its first release. For those without retro Nintendo hardware, however, this is part of Doom history that many don’t have access to – a situation that has improved for all current-gen platforms with the recent one. release of Doom 64 developed by Nightdive Studios has changed.
We can’t think of a developer better suited for this task. Nightdive specializes in restoring classic games to today’s hardware and has done a great job in the form of Turok: Dinosaur Hunter and Its Forsaken Sequel and others. Main engine developer Sam Villarreal is also responsible for Doom 64 EX and Doom 64 Absolution – two previous attempts to bring the classic original to the PC, but this official port goes one step further and attempts to replicate the game with pinpoint accuracy. .
Doom 64 EX was an attempt to implement the additional features and custom resources of the N64 into a version of the game playable on modern PCs. In the new game, Doom 64 has been redesigned more thoroughly, then recoded in Nightdive’s own KEX engine (more specifically, it’s a frame – it doesn’t have a renderer) and supports resolutions higher and 60 frames per second. This process resulted in near perfect accuracy and for the first time the in-game demos played out exactly as they should – one factor is that the object movement and collision detection of Doom 64 were modeled correctly for the first time.
But what makes porting Doom 64 a useful task? The original was created through a partnership between id Software and Midway – and yes, John Carmack himself was partially involved in the project. Although the code is primarily based on the original Jaguar version of Carmack, Doom 64 is the first game in the series to offer hardware-accelerated 3D graphics that enable a number of techniques that enhance the game beyond the engine. original rendering. All graphics were created from scratch for this release, including the new 3D render models that were used as the basis for the sprites, which themselves had a higher resolution than the original PC.
Increased color depth is immediately visible when dealing with Doom 64. Walls now have smoother gradients where the top and bottom of a wall can use different hues, resulting in dramatic effects. The sprites, textures and the skybox are more nuanced than in the original game, using more colors. Even the rendering of water in the game has been significantly redesigned from previous Doom titles and looks a lot better.
Other details include adding fog to certain levels and using the N64’s native texture filtering to smooth surfaces – a significant feature at the time. Nintendo’s implementation of texture filtering uses three samples instead of the four that are normally used in the PC – and Nightdive’s solution was simple: emulate the Nintendo approach with shaders, which is an example of the engagement of the developer towards one provide the most accurate port possible.
The performance was also impressive. Due to Doom 64’s careful use of Nintendo 64 hardware, frame rates were primarily 30 fps. This is how users have experienced the smoothest performance during that time, coupled with all of these awesome graphics improvements. For the current generation console ports, Nightdive naturally brings all systems up to 60 frames per second, and everything runs at native resolution. On the original PS4 and Xbox One, gaming is rendered at 1080p, as is the docked Switch version (720p onscreen in handheld mode). In the meantime, the upgraded consoles deliver a native 3840 × 2160 edition. Of course, Ultrawide configurations and unlimited frame rates are supported on the PC.
There’s an interesting outlier here: the Xbox One S. During development, Nightdive found that the Xbox One GPU was only 20% full. The Xbox One S has an HDMI 2.0 compatible display controller, so users can enjoy native 1440p rendering in 4K output mode. We believe it’s the only title that works on Xbox One S and delivers over 1080p resolution. If you switch the S output mode to 1080p, you get a supersampling effect – something that caused artifacts in the interface on the standard Xbox. Nightdive has therefore decided to offer this function only on the S.
In all versions the control can be reassigned and the field of view adjusted. Another advantage of Xbox consoles is that there is keyboard and mouse support built in, so users get some of the PC experience on their consoles. We thought about using all the specific features of the console: the PS4 trackpad can be used to navigate in the automatic map, the touch screen of the Switch producing the same effect in mobile mode. HD Rumble is also supported on the Switch, and here we learn that the technology is primarily accessible through some form of audio playback. The same audio files are filtered differently and made available for Rumble on PS4 and Xbox.
The Nightdive Studios port of Doom 64 was available as a pre-order bonus for Doom Eternal and was also available as a standalone game on all systems. Typically it costs 4.99 euros and at this price we highly recommend it. Aside from the tech upgrades it had back then, you’ll get different fate content – back then the levels were all new and this new port also included a brand new episode. You’ll also see an improved version of the game – 3D acceleration, more colors, better sprites, and tips and improvements that weren’t seen in the original ID games (eg, bridges that could be crossed). Add to that the care and attention that Nightdive has put into the port. The following fixes or revised code are not necessary to fix bugs or improve performance – the studio did it all right away.
What if you’re an Xbox One S user playing on a 4K screen? Well, this is the only game we know of that actually goes beyond 1080p rendering – it’s not just the icing on the cake for this particular version, but also an example of the general attention to detail in this port. extremely impressive.
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