Nvidia RTX technology is now working in some classic PC games
Classic valve Portal was recently re-released on Steam with some very fancy new visuals, including ray tracing and DLSS support. That’s great news for Portal fans, but it’s also great news for fans of all kinds of old PC games.
Before we go any further, I will explain the technology we are talking about. RTX is the name given to a set of technologies used by the graphics card company Nvidia that uses “ray tracing and AI technology” to make PC games look amazing. Here is the trailer for Portal with RTXthe re-release of the game was done using this technology, showing the improvements made to a game that most of us remember looking a lot like 2007:
Now the problem with RTX is that in this case (and with earthquake and Minecraft) it must be included in the game by the developers, Nvidia is also releasing a version of the technology for modders. It’s called RTX Remix:
With RTX Remix, the game runs in the background, and we replace the legacy system and rendering API with the RTX Remix 64-bit Vulkan renderer. This allows ray tracing to be added to classic games, and all real-time updates as lights and objects move. Light can be projected from behind the player or from another room and in Portal with RTX, the light even passes through the portal. Glass refracts light, detailed reflective surfaces based on their luster, reflections can be projected onto the scene from behind the player, objects can reflect themselves, and indirect light from The outside of the screen shines and affects what you see.
Compare to Quake II RTX and Minecraft with RTX, the path-tracing feature introduced by RTX Remix is even more advanced, reflecting light four times instead of once, improving quality, immersion, and real-world lighting simulation. In addition, we have also introduced several new ray tracing techniques that further improve quality while providing higher performance.
Nvidia says that RTX Remix is ”a modding platform” that will allow “modifiers of all levels the ability to bring ray tracing and NVIDIA technology to classic games.” Since it won’t be out until 2023, I thought we were still months away from seeing the benefits it could bring to older games, but no!
Modders like LordVulcan discovered that you can add RTX juice to some classic titles now, and in most cases it’s done just by… dropping some files from one folder to the other. another folder on your hard drive and enable some developer stuff in the control panel. That’s it. And it works on games like SWAT 4 and the original Max Payne.
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While the results are not perfect, at least compared to the professional work done for months on games like Minecraft, they still look great! This is Max PayneFor example, courtesy of Alex Coulter:
That light. Those shadows. This is magic.
Here are some shots of SWAT 4 taken by EiermannTelevisionwas released in 2005 and certainly didn’t look like this at the time:
And here’s Half-Life 1, along with a little explanation of how it’s done:
None of those examples are perfect, but it’s amazing how well they work given how quickly they are deployed. This will be great when the actual RTX Remix is released in 2023, but until then it will be great to see what other classic titles this quick workaround is compatible with!