Running Doom at 4K (3840×2160)

DoomsdayOver the years, there have been many source ports of ID Software’s games.  Most all of their legacy products are all open source, which is amazing for the gaming community, especially those that like to re-play their old games with better graphics on modern hardware.  Doom is no exception, and has some of the best support due to the legacy it has made for the ID software games.  Now with displays that have resolutions far beyond what was available back when Doom was first made available, we can now use these source ports to bring our favorite games from back in the day more up to date.  I purchased a pair of Samsung U28D590D 4K displays a few months ago and with an increased pixel density, older games look much better and very few require anti-aliasing to get rid of the jagged edges that we are used to on lower resolution displays.  Though, you do need a lot more horsepower to push all those pixels.  I have a pair of nVidia GTX 780ti cards in SLi to push more modern games at better frame rates but even with all the added updates that Doomsday provides, I am sure not that much video processing power is needed to get Doom looking good.  More modern day games would play better with G-Sync, these Samsung displays don’t support that feature like the newly announced Acer XB280HK 28-in 4K display.

I have used many source ports of Doom before, but have not had the pleasure of using the Doomsday engine until a couple of days ago when I went through the process of setting up Doom for 4K.  Previously, I had used ZDoom and it’s other spinoff updates, but compared to Doomsday it seems to be showing it’s age for the now over twenty year old title.  Doomsday on the other hand, has tons and tons of options for upscaling graphics, addon packs, lighting tweaks, texture filters and all very easy to set up and configure.

doom1-ultimate-003There are going to be a few things you will need in order to get Doom looking great on 4K, and a lot of it is going to be personal preference to what you like in a HD remake of an old classic.  For example, I am not a fan of the 3D models that can replace the original sprites of the enemies, guns and objects in the game.  There has been some work at upscaling the original sprites to HD versions, but it seems to be incomplete at this point.

doom1-ultimate-004First thing is first, go download Doomsday over at their homepage, and get the version for what OS you are running.  It’s excellent that they have versions for Windows, Mac, and Linux.  I have personally tried both the Windows and Mac version myself and they both work and setup the same way.  They will even walk you through selecting your WAD files (original packed games) to get them running on the Doomsday engine.

Next you will be wanting some addons to get everything looking pretty at 4K or high resolution.  The addon’s page has links to the torrent files for the packs you will need, but not direct downloads.  I would recommend the Classic Music, the High Quality Sound Pack,  High Resolution User Interface, as well as the High Resolution Textures.  Unfortunately, the link to the high-res textures was down from the official website, but it seems to be back up now. If you are having trouble with it, I have mirrored the download here: deng-dhtp-20140616.pk3  One thing I didn’t like was the 3D Models plugin.  To me, it felt like it didn’t even really look like Doom anymore.  But I am sure there are some people who will love this addon, so give it a try, you may love it.

DoomsdayAll you have to do to get these plugins working is to place them in your Doomsday\snowberry\addons folder and then click the checkbox next to them in the addons tab when you load up the engeine frontend.  There are some options under the settings tab, but there are a bunch more after you get it loaded up.  Just press the tilde key under your escape button to pull up the console, and click the gear on the right to change the settings you want.  First thing to do is to click on video, and resolution.  Choose the highest your monitor supports!  Another thing I thought took away some of the classic Doom look was if I turned on the advanced texture filter options.  They just looked a bit too blurry for me, so I kept them at 2X.  Play around with the settings are see what works for you.

Below are some of the screenshots of what I have configured at 4K.  The best thing that is going to work for you may be different than what I ended up liking.  The lighting effects look great turned up to max, and the re-mixed sound effects sound better than ever, but are just higher quality versions of the originals.  The click of reloading the shotgun sounds amazing in 5.1 even now in 2014 more than 20 years later.

doom1-ultimate-009 doom1-ultimate-000 doom1-ultimate-001 doom1-ultimate-002   doom1-ultimate-005 doom1-ultimate-006doom1-ultimate-007 doom1-ultimate-008

There are ton of source ports for the other ID games, and it looks like the Quake 2 ones have been losing life recently, and the websites for EGL and others seem to be down.  Even though KMQuake 2 has recently released an update to support 4K resolutions, I was getting strange sizing issues in the main menu and it wouldn’t align right on my screen.  Hopefully I will find a fix for that soon because Quake 2 is one of my all time favorites.  Let me know if you find any HD sprite packs, because I can’t seem to find any.  Happy fragging.

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