Half-Life 2 is getting an Nvidia RTX Remix path tracing revamp

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Looks like Half-life 2 Remastered could soon be a thing, as a modder is using Nvidia RTX Remix to add path tracing to Valve’s classic FPS game. Yes, we’re well aware that you’d rather play Half-Life 3, but the glow-up knocks years off of the 90s shooter’s actual age, and it’ll give your modern-day graphics card a challenge.

The idea of remastering games is nothing new, but Nvidia RTX Remix makes revamping classics like Half-life 2 less of a chore. Better still, the GPU giant recently announced that its GeForce toolkit is now open source, meaning a whole bunch of DirectX 8 and 9 games could receive the same treatment. While already Portal RTX argues the case for AI-enhanced visuals, the next project in the pipeline might completely sell the concept to classic PC game fans.

Created by modder Igor Zdrowowicz, HL2RTX actually uses Portal RTX code to inject path tracing into Valve’s other best FPS game contender. Criticising the original’s visuals feels a little mean, but side-by-side comparison shots hammer home what path-traced lighting can do for a game from 1998. I’d go as far as to say that details like the mirrored floor make Half-Life 2 look like a much newer game, but it’s still the sci-fi sequel we all know and love under the hood.

Image source: Igor Zdrowowicz

Last month, we had a chat with CD Projekt Red about Cyberpunk 2077 path tracing, and the developer reckons it could become a new PC gaming standard. Unlike ray tracing, the technique creates beams at a light source to illustrate more accurate illumination in both games and animated movies.

The catch? Well, it’ll make your GPU sweat more than any other rendering option out there, but using it in older games like Half-Life 2 softens the performance blow while facilitating mainstream access. We’d still recommend checking out the best graphics card options if you’re planning on messing with path tracing, and it’s worth remembering RTX Remix is specifically compatible with GeForce graphics cards.

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We’re still waiting for an HL2RTX release date, but we’ll jump into Gordon Freeman’s orange boots once it’s available to download. Until then, we’d suggest taking a gander at this new Half-Life 2 spinoff mod, as it adds a chunk to the FPS campaign.

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