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PC gaming has come a long way, from DOOM around 1990, to 30 years later DOOM3 BFG SuperSolider in 2020. Both hardware and software advanced. 

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The Pinnacle of PC gaming First Person Shooter

Jan. 2020

In my personal view.

PC gaming has come a long way, from DOOM around 1990, to 30 years later DOOM3 BFG SuperSolider in 2020. Both hardware and software advanced.

Hardware wise, I am still gaming with Acer Aspire M5800 desktop, with 2.66GHz Intel Core2 Quad CPU, max 8GB memory, purchased around year 2009. That is a decade ago and the PC is still going strong. It is amazing how PC was built robustly. Of course I have upgraded hard drive to SSD, and using Nvidia GTX 1060 as the GPU. The graphics card has to be compact form factor, otherwise it will not fit in the motherboard chassis. I think one of the characteristic to separate my gaming rig from many others people is that I mostly rely on triple monitor setup to achieve super ultrawide resolution 3840x1080 (32:9) or 3204x1080 (27:9) whenever it is possible. For years if a game does not support super ultrawide resolution, I would not play it. Note that my triple monitor setup has the side monitors in portrait mode, the center one is in landscape mode. That saves some desk space, and side monitors faced inward a little to simulate a 1000R curved monitor. My individual monitor is 24" so the 32:9 window size is equivalent to a 44" curved monitor. It occupies peripheral vision and give a very immersive experience.

With hardware in place (the whole setup does not cost much in 2020 money now), there are a lot of software needed to keep PC gaming reach the amazing state right now. This is also the beauty of PC gaming over console that is a closed system. First thing, OS is Windows 7 64-bit, the first true mature Windows OS great for gaming, and enabler for stable triple monitor gaming. I did not bother to upgrade to Windows 10 as it would require to reinstall all the programs. For the orientation I set up my triple monitor, I need carefully adjust the relative height of each monitor in Windows Display so that it is aligned across monitors.

Super ultrawide resolution game engine support are mostly available after around year 2009, while horizontally expanding aspect ratio (ideal) or vertically zooming (not nice). The first thing the game has to play in windowed mode, not full screen mode. Thanks to NVidia, Nvidia control panel allows to customize arbitrary resolution such as 3840x1080 or 3240x1080, faking Windows to have those resolution so that game can detect it. Some game engine allows to play in arbitrary resolution directly. The milage varies and many software tools were needed in the old days. As time goes by, it narrows down to a free software called "Windowed Boderless Gaming" that get rid of the game Window top bar so that the game window looks eye pleasing similar to full screen. The tool also configure the window starting position so that the game window sits in the middle of triple monitor.

Very few game graphics looks best in my taste. That is why I apply Reshade post processing to almost every game. If you have not heard about Reshade, please search for it. The most used effect by me are Sharpen and FakeHDR, sometimes Curve too. This improve game color and image quality greatly almost at no cost. For super ultrawide resolution, I also use PerspectiveCorrection to reduce fisheye effect.

I also immediately look for Mods that can enhance gameplay. This is the reason I have DOOM3BFG SuperSoldier mod. Unfortunately not many games support mods, as they focus on console market.DOOM3 is an exception because even the source code is available.

For good games that do not support Mods well, there are some generic hack available, such as game trainers, cheat codes. Game trainers only apply for single player campaign, recommend not use in the first time of play. Modern games are quite complex with a lot of good content. The normal gameplay will not let you experience all the contents that is a waste. For example, normally you do not have time to get all the upgrades, costume etc, and may be frustrated by certain level. Trainer allows you to overcome that. Most trainer also supports a Slow Motion mode, allows game becomes easier (by increasing reflex time) and experience game content more.

A lot of times game trainer does not help much. Another great tool Cheat Engine comes to play. You can configure almost any game to play Slow Motion with your own slow factor. A great benefit coming from it is also frame rate is increased. For example, for recent games my PC is showing its age. To maintain a good graphics quality, it can only achieve about 30 FPS. With Cheat Engine, I can slow the game to half speed, while increase frame rate to 60 FPS. This feature is the secret sauce that my aging PC can still play recent games.

With my graphics card is not quite powerful (GTX 1060 3GB right now) and CPU is old, I often use the GPU/memory monitor software "MSI Afterburner" to tweak game graphics. The goal is to check between CPU and GPU which one is bottleneck, make GPU close to 100% and leave some room for VRAM. This will utilize graphics card efficiently to avoid costly upgrade.

The good memory playing game normally comes from the screenshots it saves. A photo mode is highly desired from a good game, where player can pause game and move camera freely to take screenshot. Unfortunately few games support it natively. Great tool from Nvidia called Ansel enables more games, but still not many. It is a gem when it does work. There is also a few additional tools made by modders for certain games to support Photo Mode. Ansel can also take super resolution shot and VR 360 shot.

In summary, DOOM3BFG SuperSoldier mod supports most of the cool features I mentioned, you can also check out its complete feature list. I consider it is the pinnacle of PC gaming even considering the recent game DOOM 2016 and coming DOOM Eternal as comparison. Again, it is my personal view only.

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