Quake II is getting a ray tracing demo and it will be free to download from 6 June

NVIDIA and Bethesda have worked together to bring Quake II with an RTX makeover

While Computex 2019 is underway, NVIDIA said that it had been working for a long time with Bethesda to give Quake II an RTX overhaul. Already showcased earlier at NVIDIA’s GPU Technology Conference (GTC) this year, both the companies have collaborated to turn the demo into an actual playable game for everyone. It comes out on 6 June at 6.30 pm as a free download.

Quake II RTX. Image: NVIDIA.

Quake II RTX. Image: NVIDIA.

Quake II RTX highlights

Since Quake II RTX is using path tracing, NVIDIA says that the game has high ray tracing workloads that will require RT Cores. Apparently, Quake II RTX has been implemented with the highest workloads of any ray-traced game until now. While most of the RTX supported games don’t implement the complete set of ray tracing features and explore only shadows or reflections, Quake II RTX includes much more. The game features global illumination, dynamic time of daylight, water refraction and reflections, etc.

Here’s the full list of all the updates coming with the game:

  • Improved Global Illumination rendering, with three selectable quality, presets, including two-bounce GI
  • Multiplayer support
  • Time of day options that radically change the appearance of some levels
  • New weapon models & textures
  • New dynamic environments (Stroggos surface, and space)
  • Better physically based atmospheric scattering, including settings for Stroggos sky
  • Real-time reflectivity of the player and weapon model on water and glass surfaces, and player model shadows, for owners of the complete game (the original Shareware release does not include player models)
  • Improved ray tracing denoising technology
  • All 3,000+ original game textures have been updated with a mix of Q2XP mod-pack textures and our own enhancements
  • Updated effects with new sprites and particle animations
  • Dynamic lighting for items such as blinking lights, signs, switches, elevators and moving objects
  • Caustics approximation to improve water lighting effects
  • High-quality screenshot mode that makes your screenshots look even better
  • Support for the old OpenGL renderer, enabling you to switch between RTX ON and RTX OFF
  • Cylindrical projection mode for a wide-angle field of view on widescreen displays
Quake II RTX. Image: NVIDIA.

Quake II RTX. Image: NVIDIA.

Quake II RTX minimum requirements

Although Quake II RTX is going to be a free download, users who want to try it out will need to own the original Quake II game. The NVIDIA blog post about the announcement mentions that a downloadable installer will be available from its website at launch. On running the installer, it will ask for the location of the installed game and once it’s directed to the installed path, it will replace the original game’s assets with the appropriate RTX files.

NVIDIA recommends the following minimum system specifications:

  • Processor: Intel Core i3-3220, or AMD equivalent
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060, or higher
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Storage: 2 GB available space
  • OS: Windows 7 64-bit or Ubuntu 16.04 LTS
Quake II RTX. Image: NVIDIA.

Quake II RTX. Image: NVIDIA.

Quake II has been a popular classic and although RTX support sounds cool, the original game that came out in 1997 was iconic for its time and remains a fun game to play even today. It’s been probably a decade since I played the game and this would be the best time to revisit it with all the updated textures and obviously, all the RTX sorcery.

When the demo was showcased for the first time at GTC 2019, I was impressed by how appealing Quake II looked with global illumination and upgraded textures. Now that the game is official, I’m looking forward to trying it out.

The update has the first three levels but it doesn’t include the expansion packs. However, the good news is that NVIDIA is going to post the source code of Quake II RTX on its Github page soon. This means that the community will be free to use the files to bring some more RTX goodness out of Quake II. Considering how well-loved the game is among fans, I’m pretty sure we’re definitely getting more of Quake II RTX in the future.

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