Quake 2 with ray tracing looks stunning

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 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:

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