The original 1993 Doom, the progenitor of nearly three decades of shooters, is still very much alive and kicking. The game has been ported to more or less every platform imaginable, but it’s more than just a meme. Thanks to the widely-available source code of the classic game, community mods like Brutal Doom have kept the original relevant long after it’s been surpassed by generations of new games. The latest twist on the beloved shooter is adding newfangled ray tracing lighting effects.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a juxtaposition of high-tech lighting over low-tech visuals. The famously blocky Minecraft has official Nvidia-branded RTX support, and Nvidia rebuilt Quake II to show off what full-blown path tracing can look like. But the Doom mod is available for free to every PC player. It’s also particularly dramatic in Doom’s sci-fi setting, a Martian colony infested with hoards of ravenous demons. Realistically rendered shadows and reflections from fireballs, plasma ammunition, and pools of lava show off precisely how much good lighting can do, even for Doom’s incredibly basic polygon environments and sprite enemies.
You can see those effects in action in the video from PCWorld’s YouTube channel below, along with an explainer of how to enable the mod and play Doom with the drool-worthy lighting yourself.
The PrBoom mod comes from programmer Sultim Tsyrendashiev, who’s also baked in support for Nvidia DLSS and other popular tweaks, like an always-available in-game flashlight. You’ll still need a fairly beefy PC to run the mod at its best, though DLSS can ease the strain. The original three episodes of Doom are fully playable, though you may need to dive into the settings file to get the best performance on your machine. The mod files and source code are available to download on Github now.
Michael is a former graphic designer who's been building and tweaking desktop computers for longer than he cares to admit. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.