The panic button helped bring many different titles to the Switch, but the studio summarized what they said was the most difficult port of the team to date. It was certainly not an easy task, but Doom Eternal is finally coming to Switch next month.
Panic Button Senior Producer Cody Nicewarner and Lead Engineer Travis Archer recently chatted with Nintendo Everything about the Switch version of Doom Eternal. As part of that, I was able to learn more about the challenges involved during development. Nicewarner and Archer also commented on the Switch version’s frame rate / resolution, DLC plans, and more.
It’s great that the game is almost here, as many fans are wondering about the status of the Switch version of Doom Eternal. Can you tell us why the port took longer than expected? Was it just a matter of providing the best possible experience?
When we embarked on the project, DOOM Eternal knew that it would be a large business that required every ounce of experience we had. We have clearly used the idTech engine to introduce games such as DOOM (2016), Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus, Wolfenstein: Youngblood to Nintendo Switch. But DOOM Eternal is at a completely different level. Both Marty Stratton and Hugo Martin said DOOM Eternal was one of the most ambitious projects in id Software’s history, but couldn’t agree any further. It took a little extra time to faithfully reproduce that ambition for the Nintendo Switch player. I’m sure it’s worth the wait!
Were there any factors that influenced Switch development, such as the initial delay in the game from November to March last year and the coronavirus?
Other than the size and ambition of the game, there were no unique factors influencing development.
However, like many other companies, they face the challenges of working from home. We have responded early and have maintained employee health and safety as our primary concern. The transition forced us to deal with an unfamiliar work environment, but with the collaboration and support of id Software and Bethesda, we were able to quickly adapt and achieve the goal of deploying DOOM Eternal on the Nintendo Switch. It’s done. We are very excited about it and look forward to its launch!
Panic Button already had a lot of experience in the series, thanks to the Switch version of Doom (2016), but I think Doom Eternal was a very different beast to tackle. What challenges did you face when you packed this huge game to run on your system?
id Tech 7 is really the next generation engine. It takes advantage of other console and PC hardware and driver optimizations that are not always converted to switches. It is also generally very well optimized, which presents specific challenges when porting to switches. Our team has experience across many console generations, and usually when porting titles, find and leverage memory or performance optimizations that the original developer missed or didn’t have time to implement. To do, it depends on that experience. With Doom Eternal, id Software left no problems and had to dig deeper to achieve the desired performance.
Did the team remove anything from the work of Doom (2016) that proved to be useful for porting Doom Eternal?
Indeed, the experience with idTech and Switch has made great strides for us. idTech 7 is a big step forward for the engine, but much of what we learned when porting the idTech 6 title to Doom Eternal. The established relationship with id Software has also proved to be invaluable. Throughout development, their staff supported our efforts and helped us cross the finish line with incredible collaboration.
What can players expect from the final frame rate and resolution of the Switch?
The experience is comparable to that of Doom (2016), Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus, and Wolfenstein: Youngblood.
Are you planning to support the Switch version on all DLC?
Our goal is to bring The Ancient Gods DLC to Nintendo Switch.
Panic Button has been working on various switch games over the last few years. Do you think Doom Eternal was the most difficult port to achieve, or did you have another project that you found to be the most difficult to offer?
Doom Eternal is a technically demanding title. Our starting point, already implementing all the tricks we brought in from previous titles, was comparable to how Doom (2016) was performed without optimization. Yes, I think it was the most difficult title to bring to Switch.
How has the emergency button work on the switch improved over the years after completing a number of transplants? Did just getting used to the hardware make development a little easier?
Experience is definitely helpful. Panic Button has multiple teams working on the Switch project, and there is a lot of knowledge transfer between those teams. Also, as we grew as an organization, mentorship was important to the success of our work and the growth of our individual employees.
The Panic Button is renowned as one of the reliable studios for Switchport. What can fans expect from the company’s offer on Nintendo’s console?
I plan to continue working with my friends at Nintendo and other first parties and can’t wait to share more.