Tuesday, July 23, 2013

My Doom 3 can do a Last of Us !

Yes ! My Doom 3 can !

Okay, so what is the most striking thing that The Last of Us does well in terms of graphics ? Well, there are actually a lot, but two things stand out prominently:

  1. The character models and their animation which Doom 3 can never match being a much older game
  2. The superbly fantastic lighting in the game, including realtime global illumination cast by the Flashlight ! and that is what we are talking about here!
The realtime GI being cast by the flashlight is a first for any game to make it to the final retail version. Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl had a realtime GI system but it was never optimised enough to work in the game. I tried it out once by enabling it via console commands, but that was about it. Guerrilla Games also had a realtime solution working for their superb game Killzone 2, but it was also never optimised enough to work in any of their games, including Killzone 3. Crysis 2 implemented it for the Sunlight but it finally worked only on the PC version. The console versions were again left in the lurch.

 But Naughty Dog finally cracked the nut with The Last of Us. You must have noticed that when you walk around in its many corridors with your flashlight turned ON, then the light from the flashlight bounces off from the walls, objects, floor or ceiling to nearby walls and objects. The colour from various objects also bounces off and falls all around. That is the effect I love and want in all games and guess what : it turns out my old and gold, good old Doom 3 can do it too :

Check out the bounced light on the wall on the left !
Check out this (super dark) screenshot from Doom 3 running on my PC and you can see realtime GI in all its glory !

So, how did it happen? Well, the game doesn't have it natively but if you install Sikkmod, a graphics mod, for Doom3, then you can enable SSIL in the game. SSIL stands for Screen Space Indirect Lighting. It is a way of calculating GI only in screen space and so is not perfect but still it gets the job done if you tune its settings well. Let me show you some more screens with some SSIL goodness :

Aren't those Suweet !!! :)

The game with Sikkmod and Wulfen Texture pack can rival the newer games in terms of graphics and atmosphere, it looks so damn good ! The art direction really stand the test of time and with the newer effects like HDR, SSAO,SSIL, Bloom,Soft Shadows, DOF and Colour grading the game just looks Fantabulous !

Here are a few shots showing specifically the SSIL turned ON and OFF, showing you the subtle effect:

Here is SSIL OFF:

And here it is turned ON, Notice the indirect light on the ceiling:

Ok, here's another with SSIL OFF:
And here's the same place with SSIL ON:
Notice the areas close to the ground ! See it !

Doom 3's Sikkmod trumps The Last of Us in a way since it calculates GI for all lights where as The Last of Us calculates GI only for the flashlight, that too only in a few levels. But SSIL isn't really true GI, its just a Screen space approximation which gives wild varying results depending on the view. So, yes, it isn't better in any way.......... but hey ! at least out Doom 3 , an age old game, now does look superb and better than many current game :) !

I will update the article with a video link soon, showing Doom 3 in all its glistening glory, but that will take time. So , stay glued and stay tuned and in the meanwhile, go give your old copy of Doom3 a spin with the new mods ! Trust me, this old gem is still more fun than many newer games !

PS: Sikkmod and Wulfen Texture pack can be easily found on Desura. 


KickrAzz said...

Thx for clarifying SSIL for me ! I was Googling for it when I didn't immediately noticed the difference in Sikkmod, but now I do !!

Anonymous said...

Nice! Good job!
SSIL it's a SSDO?