Ray-traced Quake 2 looks stunning

Audio player loading…

When it released in January, Q2VKPT offered a real-time ray traced version of Quake 2, demonstrating how a broad range of associated techniques could improve a 22-year-old game. Created by Christoph Schied, it used an RTX technique known as Path Tracing in order to create more lifelike lighting effects, and the results are impressive (there's a video at the bottom of the page).

Nvidia has been paying close attention, announcing today a collaboration with Schied (himself a former Nvidia intern) on Quake 2 RTX—a "purely ray-traced game". In other words, it rips out all traditional effects and replaces them with ray-traced lighting, reflections, shadows and VFX. 

According to Nvidia, that means "real-time, controllable time of day lighting, with accurate sunlight and indirect illumination; refraction on water and glass; emissive, reflective and transparent surfaces; normal and roughness maps for added surface detail; particle and laser effects for weapons; procedural environment maps featuring mountains, sky and clouds, which are updated when the time of day is changed; a flare gun for illuminating dark corners where enemies lurk; an improved denoiser; SLI support (hands-up if you rolled with Voodoo 2 SLI back in the day); Quake 2 XP high-detail weapons, models and textures; optional NVIDIA Flow (opens in new tab) fire, smoke and particle effects, and much more!"

The full run-down, including before-and-after shots, is on the Nvidia site, and a video will follow eventually. More than likely after the associated GDC 2019 panel on March 21. In the meantime, here's the original Q2VKPT in action:

Shaun Prescott is the Australian editor of PC Gamer. With over ten years experience covering the games industry, his work has appeared on GamesRadar+, TechRadar, The Guardian, PLAY Magazine, the Sydney Morning Herald, and more. Specific interests include indie games, obscure Metroidvanias, speedrunning, experimental games and FPSs. He thinks Lulu by Metallica and Lou Reed is an all-time classic that will receive its due critical reappraisal one day.