Nvidia is finally releasing the ray-tracing-everywhere-all-at-once RTX Remix creator toolkit

Half-Life 2: RTX Remix
(Image credit: Nvidia | Valve)

We originally reported on Nvidia's RTX Remix modding platform back in September 2022 and, at last, Nvidia says the full creator toolkit is being released on January 22 in open beta form. This raises the prospect of a whole slew of legacy games being updated with ray-traced visuals, AI enhanced textures, and more.

In April last year, Nvidia released the RTX Remix runtime element of the platform which can capture a game scene in real time and replaces assets at playback while injecting RTX technology, such as path tracing, DLSS 3 and Reflex. It was a sort of quick and dirty way of getting a feel for what RTX Remix can do for an old game.

As part of its CES announcements around its new RTX 40-series Super GPUs, Nvidia has put a January 22 launch date on the full toolkit, too, which will give game modders much greater control to assign new assets and lights within a remastered scene, and also use AI tools to rebuild the look of any asset in the game.

Prior to this full open source release of the toolkit, Nvidia has been working with a few select game modders to update some classic titles. Most notable, arguably, is the hotly anticipated Half Life 2: RTX Remix, which is currently under development by four mods teams operating under the sobriquet Orbifold Studios. We've already had Portal RTX, of course, which was also built using RTX Remix.

Without first hand experience of coding games and using mod tools, it's hard to say exactly how easy it will be to use the toolkit and indeed what the results will look like. But the toolkit supposedly lets modders import game assets into the RTX Remix app at the touch of the button and then converts the assets into commonly used USD (Universal Scene Description). This, in turn, allows those assets to be easily modified or replaced using apps like Unreal Engine, Blender, or Nvidia's own Omniverse apps. 

The best bit is that once completed, these RTX Remix mods can easily be exported and shared with other players online. And DLSS 3 support is automatically built in to any mod created using the Remix tool, too. Nice.

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Whatever, the prospect of Half Life 2 updated with ray-traced visuals, plus AI-enhanced and upscaled textures is more than a little exciting. Moreover, the toolkit means that we don't have to rely on the original developers to give their older games a makeover, which in Valve's case would typically either mean a wait measuring in millennia or, more likely, forever.

The legacy titles the PCG team would most like to see with lashings of RTX visual goodies?  How about the OG versions of Deus EX and Bioshock, plus F.E.A.R., Arkham Asylum, Amnesia: the Dark Descent and Far Cry 3. Shout out below your pick for an older game you'd like to see fully prettified with proper lighting and pin-sharp textures.

Of course, perhaps the ultimate update would be OG Crysis. But can it run Crysis RTX Remix? You heard it here first, folks.

PC Gamer's CES 2024 coverage is being published in association with Asus Republic of Gamers.

Jeremy Laird
Hardware writer

Jeremy has been writing about technology and PCs since the 90nm Netburst era (Google it!) and enjoys nothing more than a serious dissertation on the finer points of monitor input lag and overshoot followed by a forensic examination of advanced lithography. Or maybe he just likes machines that go “ping!” He also has a thing for tennis and cars.