It’s almost a year to the day since a Mario 64 PC port magically appeared online, and since then it has received a 4K texture pack, 60fps support and a bunch of other gameplay additions like permadeath and new moves. But now the bloody maniacs have put ray tracing in the game.
If you’ve got a ray tracing capable GPU, you can now enjoy full path tracing support in the 25 year old 3D platformer. The mod is called sm64rt, and it comes courtesy of DarioSamo. “You can try it out for yourself, but keep in mind this is in a very early state and you'll likely encounter plenty of visual and performance problems,” the modder writes. On Twitter, Dario adds that “I don’t consider this project finished at all, I’d just like to see if more people are interested in contributing.”
According to Digital Foundry, DarioSamo had to manually add light sources in order to get the dynamic lighting to work—the original game didn’t have them, unsurprisingly. So that means the sun is now a “real” light source, as are the usual interior light sources like torches. In addition to that most obvious of ray tracing features, you’ll also notice real shadows and reflections.
If you’re after an immaculate playthrough of Mario 64 with ray tracing, you’re probably better off waiting—if you’re interested in the tech, it’s definitely worth checking out.