DOOM‘s been in the news a bit today, what with an impending launch happening on Friday the freakin’ thirteenth. DOOM is also a monster of a game, with a high cost of entry for playing the game at very high detail settings, and it’ll be graphically demanding and innovative at the same time. For those of you purchasing DOOM on the PC, there’s one more thing you can look forward to as well – DOOM will get a patch to support the Vulkan API “very shortly after launch”. The first AAA game to support Vulkan will be here soon, and it’ll be the first of many more to come this year.
The promise of the Vulkan patch was made by id Software developers Marty Stratton and Robert Duffy in the NVIDIA Geforce Event after-show, where they appeared on stage to show off a live demo of DOOM running on the brand new NVIDIA Geforce GTX 1080 and with the Vulkan renderer. Drivers for Vulkan from AMD, NVIDIA and Intel only popped up three months ago, and having id Software get up on this project so quickly is just ridiculous. You have to wonder how much work is involved in porting it if id Software has a fully playable implementation now.
“NVIDIA’s actually had their developers in our office for the past week, and they’ll probably be there for another week after launch or so to work on the OpenGL stuff and the launch for Vulkan as well”, revealed Stratton early on in the demo. “We’ve been optimising for OpenGL for the launch mostly, but we really want to have Vulkan ready soon, and it’ll be ready really, really shortly after launch.”
“We really wanted to be the first AAA game to fully embrace Vulkan, and kind of show off its capabilities,” added Duffy. “And its capabilities on Pascal are stunning!”
Having Vulkan support also hints at a more important announcement to follow in the near future – a Linux port. id Software is well-known for embracing open standards and having their games run on Linux, but of late this hasn’t been the case – only DOOM 3 and DOOM 3: BFG Edition have had successful commercially-supported Linux ports. Most of the studio’s past Linux ports weren’t officially supported ports from id Software owing to conflicts with Zenimax management, and in many cases the binary executables for the games that ran natively on Linux were unofficial and unsupported. It was more a labour of love than anything concrete.
Honestly, the most surprising thing about this announcement was the fact that the Geforce GTX 1080 used in the demo was running the game above 120 frames per second most of the time, at 1080p with ultra detail settings. Most GTX 980 Ti cards struggled to see beyond 70fps in the open beta for the game at the same settings, so this is a massive performance jump over the OpenGL implementation. Will older cards benefit with a similarly high framerate? We won’t have to wait long to find out.
DOOM launches for the PC, Xbox One and Playstation 4 on 13 May 2016.