Monday, June 10th, 2019 Posted by Jim Thacker

Get Quake II with real-time ray tracing and PBR materials

Originally posted on 20 March 2019. Scroll down for news of the public release.

Of all of the real-time ray tracing tech demos being released at GTC 2019 and GDC 2019 this week, one of the strangest involves a 21-year-old game.

During its keynote at its GPU Technology Conference, Nvidia showed off Quake II RTX: a total conversion of id Software’s 1997 shooter, updated to run with pure ray tracing in a Vulkan renderer.

Updated Quake II for full path tracing
id made the Quake II engine open-source in 2001, enabling fans to update the original game for modern graphic technologies over the years.

One such fan was former Nvidia intern Christoph Schied, who released Q2KVPT, a version of Quake II updated to use real-time path tracing.

The overhaul replaced the original game’s baked lighting with fully dynamic global illumination, ray traced shadows, glossy reflections and one bounce of indirect lighting.

Q2KVPT can “come close to” 60fps at 1440p resolution when running on GeForce RTX 2080 Ti: the highest-spec current gaming card to feature Nvidia’s RTX ray tracing architecture.

Now also supports time-of-day lighting, PBR materials and particles
Nvidia has now extended Schied’s work, adding time-of-day lighting, refraction, reflective and transparent surfaces, and improved render denoising.

Quake II RTX also overhauls the game’s models and textures – the update introduces full PBR materials – and adds particle effects for weapons, plus optional fire effects using Nvidia’s Flow middleware.

The game runs in a Vulkan renderer using Nvidia’s VK_NV_ray_tracing (VKRay) extension.

You can judge for yourself what difference ray tracing makes in the before-and-after comparisons via the link below – and test it for yourself when Quake II RTX is released later this year.

Updated 10 June: Quake II RTX is now available for download. It isn’t the full original game, sadly, but the downloadable demo lets you play through the first three levels with updated graphics.

System requirements and availability
The Quake II RTX demo is available for Windows 7 and Ubuntu 16.04.6 Linux. You will need a GPU that supports the VK_NV_ray_tracing extension – that is, a Nvidia Turing card – to use the real-time ray tracing.

Read more about Quake II RTX on Nvidia’s blog

Download the Quake II RTX demo from Nvidia’s website