Will Doom Eternal support NVIDIA RTX ray tracing?

Id Software's highly anticipated shooter sequel Doom Eternal will be out later this year. Will it support NVIDIA's RTX ray tracing technology?


If you were tasked with assembling a short list of the most anticipated game releases of 2019, it is a pretty safe bet that Doom Eternal will make an appearance. Following its wildly successful predecessor from 2016, Doom Eternal aims to up the ante for fast-paced shooter action. The franchise, as well as developer id Software, has been synonymous with pushing the limits of graphics technology for more than twenty five years. Following the debut of NVIDIA’s Turing-based RTX graphics cards last year, ray tracing and RTX effects have become popular in big-budget PC games. Will Doom Eternal make use of this technology?

Doom Eternal NVIDIA RTX
Doom Eternal could receive a significant visual upgrade from NVIDIA RTX reflection effects.

Will Doom Eternal support NVIDIA RTX ray tracing?

The next installment in the Doom franchise will be launching on consoles, Nintendo Switch, Google Stadia, and PC on November 22, 2019. The PC version of the game will not be supporting NVIDIA’s RTX features at launch, but the development team has announced that implementing ray tracing effects and support for NVIDIA’s hardware is a priority and will be addressed after the game’s release. 

There are a couple of reasons that the PC version of Doom Eternal will be launching without NVIDIA RTX feature support, the most important of which is the development team’s commitment to ensuring a smooth launch of the game across various platforms on November 22. Other technical hurdles are also holding back integration with NVIDIA’s RTX technology.

NVIDIA RTX effects Doom Eternal
NVIDIA RTX illumination effects from Doom Eternal's various weapons will make the game even more immersive.

Why Doom Eternal will lack RTX support at launch

Doom Eternal has been making the rounds of video game industry shows for a while now, most recently wowing audiences at E3 2019. id Software provided all the details about the game to the public during the show, but no mention of ray tracing or RTX support was announced during the show proper. During a late night interview session with Giant Bomb, id’s Marty Stratton let the cat out of the bag that Doom Eternal and its game engine would support NVIDIA’s RTX technology. He and the other staff did not commit to promising launch day support, though.

In an interview earlier his month with Video Games Chronicle, Stratton elaborated on the studios plans to bring ray tracing to Doom Eternal:

Another issue preventing Doom Eternal from launching with NVIDIA RTX support is technical in nature. Doom Eternal is expected to make extensive use of the Vulkan graphics API. This API first debuted in Doom 2016 shortly after launch and was the first time it had been made available in a major game. Google’s Stadia games are expected to run via the Vulkan API, making Doom Eternal a natural candidate to be a showpiece for the streaming service.

NVIDIA’s RTX acceleration is directly tied into Microsoft’s DirectX Raytracing API (DXR), which is a part of the DirectX 12 API. Because NVIDIA’s hardware directly interfaces with DXR to accelerate ray traced effects, only games running on DirectX 12 can make use of the technology. As Vulkan is a competitor to DirectX 12, id Software must find a way to have Doom Eternal and its game engine leverage the RTX hardware without using DXR. 

When Doom Eternal receives an eventual update to include ray-traced effects, it will likely be achieved via Vulkan and be available to both NVIDIA and AMD GPU users. With id Software and NVIDIA being partners in the past and present, I would expect the ray tracing implementation to be stellar. Bethesda’s Wolfenstein: Youngblood will launch with RTX support this year, so both teams have already been hard at work on integrating ray-traced effects into id Tech engines.

Contributing Tech Editor

Chris Jarrard likes playing games, crankin' tunes, and looking for fights on obscure online message boards. He understands that breakfast food is the only true food. Don't @ him.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    July 19, 2019 3:45 PM

    Chris Jarrard posted a new article, Will Doom Eternal support NVIDIA RTX ray tracing?

    • reply
      July 20, 2019 2:31 AM

      I know it’s is going to 0WN. Hard.

      • reply
        July 20, 2019 5:07 AM

        Itwill0wn yer buttocks, focus.

        • reply
          July 20, 2019 6:13 AM

          I’m excited to jump around destroyed skyscrapers while I rip and tear. Did you see that screenshot where the dudes were disintegrating at the wrong end of the barrel of a plasma rifle? I’m gonna go PS4, and then probably buy a copy for switch so I can play in my office. I want to play on PC but I don’t have one but I don’t care.

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