Nod to Source 2 ray tracing support found in Artifact's game files of all places

A screenshot from Valve's card game, Artifact
(Image credit: Valve)

A recent update to the digital card game Artifact has some fans hoping that RTX and ray tracing support will be coming to Valve's Source 2 engine, which is most notably used for Dota 2 and Half-Life: Alyx.

A tweet from SteamDB creator Pavel Djundik has turned up two references to RTX in an unlikely capacity: within Valve's not-so-popular card game. While far from concrete proof of ray tracing support, it's seen as a possible nod that something is going on behind the scenes for Artifact, and even the Source 2 engine as a whole.

Two strings have been added to the game's files: RTX and Raytracing shader.

It's not yet clear what these strings mean for Artifact and Source, whether anything at all. But even this alone has been enough to get some hoping for a Half-Life: Alyx ray tracing update, being the most recent game to launch on the Source 2 engine. Though that particular VR/RTX combo would surely make even a high-end PC weak at the knees. 

Others have a newfound glimmer of hope for eventual Source 2 ports for popular Valve games, even if there's still relatively little evidence of such a move as of today.

CS:GO is the often cited Source 2 port in the making, but for every rumour citing possible engine upgrades there are two more claiming the project has been cancelled.

Whatever the case, an RTX upgrade is hardly the overhaul that Artifact would likely need to find a new popularity on Steam, so it's possible that the references allude to further machinations at Valve regarding the 'holy grail' of rendering tech. Although it's also not unlike reference to a star-crossed feature to be provisionally added to game files and pulled without much real use.

Jacob Ridley
Senior Hardware Editor

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, and would go on to run the team as hardware editor. Since then he's joined PC Gamer's top staff as senior hardware editor, where he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industries and testing the newest PC components.