the valve classic portal recently re-released on Steam with some very fancy new visuals, including ray tracing and DLSS support. That was great news for portal fans, but it’s also great news for fans of all sorts of old PC games.
Before I continue, I will explain the technology we are talking about. RTX is the name given to a set of technologies used by graphics card company Nvidia that uses “ray tracing and AI technologies” to, quite simply, make PC games look amazing. Here’s a trailer for Gateway with RTXthe re-release of the game made with this technology, showing the improvements made to a game that most of us remember as looking very 2007:
Now, the thing with RTX is that while in this case (and with Earthquake Y Minecraft) developers had to put it into the game, Nvidia is also releasing a version of the technology with modders in mind. It’s called RTX Remix:
With RTX Remix, the game runs in the background and we replace the old rendering systems and APIs with RTX Remix’s 64-bit Vulkan renderer. This allows ray tracing to be added to classic games and everything updates in real time as lights and objects move. The light can be projected from behind the player, or from another room, and in Gateway with RTX, light even travels through portals. Glass refracts light, surfaces reflect detail based on its brightness, reflections can be projected onto the scene from behind the player, objects can self-reflect, and indirect light off-screen illuminates and affects what you see.
Compared to Earthquake II RTX Y Minecraft with RTX, the path-tracing ray tracing introduced by the RTX Remix is even more advanced, bouncing light four times instead of once, improving the quality, immersion, and simulation of real-world light. In addition, we have also introduced several new ray tracing techniques that further improve quality while delivering higher performance.
Nvidia says that RTX Remix is ”a modding platform” that will allow “modders of all skill levels to bring ray tracing and NVIDIA technologies to classic games.”” Since it won’t be out until 2023, I was hoping that we would still be months away from seeing what benefits it could bring to older games, but no!
Modders as Lord Vulcan I’ve found that you can add RTX juice to some classic titles, right now, and in most cases it’s done simply… by dropping a few files from one folder to another on your hard drive, and enabling some developer stuff in the console. That is all. And it is working in games like SWAT 4 and the original max payne.
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Although the results are not perfect, at least compared to months of professional work done on games like MinecraftThey still look fantastic! Here it is max paynefor instance, courtesy of Alex Coulter:
that lighting. Those shadows. This is magic.
Here are some pictures of SWAT 4 taken by Eiermann Televisionwhich was released in 2005, and it definitely didn’t look like this at the time:
And here’s Half-Life 1, along with a little explanation on how it was made:
None of those examples are perfect, but it’s amazing that they work so well given how fast they were to implement. This is going to be so cool when the actual RTX Remix launches in 2023, but until then it’ll be great to see what other classic titles this botched solution is compatible with.
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