Quake II Remaster Looks Great When Coupled with RTX Renderer


Following the rumors from early August (and the South Korean board rating from late June), Bethesda announced and released the Quake II remaster at QuakeCon 2023.

The game is meant to be the ultimate version of Quake II thanks to a plethora of improvements, such as improved lighting, shadows, and models, improved audio, enhanced artificial intelligence (bots have improved navigation, decision making, and more), crossplay, the support for saving during coop play, all-new accessibility options, not to mention new content such as the previous Nintendo 64 exclusive Quake II 64 and a brand new Call of the Machine episode developed by MachineGames and available for both single player and coop play.

All of these features have been well received by the community, especially since the update was made available for free to previous owners of the game on the Microsoft Store, Steam, and Good Old Games (GOG). However, when it comes to lighting and shadows, the Quake II remaster obviously still can’t hold a candle to Quake II RTX, the fully raytraced version of the game released in June 2019 by NVIDIA’s Lightspeed Studios. The project was built on the work of Christoph Schied, who added ray tracing to Quake II to create Q2VKPT. NVIDIA improved on that by adding new path-traced visual effects, better texturing, and more.

Over time, Quake II RTX continued to receive updates that improved its visuals and performance, eventually getting features like AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution and support for High Dynamic Range (HDR) displays. Luckily, Reddit user mStewart207 is trying to get the best of both worlds by making the Quake II remaster compatible with the RTX renderer. As you can see in the gallery below, the work-in-progress screenshots are very promising.

In the Reddit thread, the author explained his development process:

I have been editing the source code to Q2RTX to make it work with these new maps. I had to remove limits on BSP and light list sizes and other things. The original Quake 2 RTX had hard limits on lights per cluster that it would sample from that needed to be increased. When I first got the Machine Games hub level to load up it was super dark because most of the lights were missing because of that limit. The remaster’s map files just basically work in the Q2RTX engine. I had to do a lot of mixing and matching of old resources vs new resources and adding material overrides. The underwater light extinction wasn’t working on the Machine Games maps. For whatever reason, from the new Machine Games BSP files, the existing code can’t tell if you are underwater the normal way. So I had to do this hacky thing where I got the state from the server code and sent it to the client. I just need to fix up some new functionality they use in the MachineGames maps.

In another comment, the modder said he’s just waiting to fix a couple of issues before uploading the code to his GitHub page, making it available publically. We’ll let you know once it’s out there, of course.

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