Image: id Software

Quake II RTX has received a new update that includes at least a handful of reasons for gamers to revisit the ray-traced version of id Software’s classic 1997 FPS.

As detailed in the patch notes shared by Steam, Quake II RTX’s 1.6.0 update not only fixes various issues but introduces numerous improvements, including contributions by GitHub user @res2k. Some of those exciting enhancements include support for HDR monitors and tonemapping, as well as the option of enabling red team’s upscaling solution for greater performance, AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution.

The highlights, as shared by NVIDIA’s Alexey Panteleev:

  • AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution
  • Automatic generation of emissive textures for custom maps
  • Full-screen blend effects
  • Gradient fog volumes
  • HDR monitor support
  • Improved laser beams
  • Improved performance when using high-detail static models
  • Improved, more physically correct material shading model
  • New settings for nearest filtering on world and UI textures
  • New, more flexible material definition system
  • Reduced engine start-up and map load times
  • Support for IQM models with skeletal animation
  • Support for QBSP and BSPX map files with optional smooth normals

“Quake II RTX builds on the work of Christoph Schied and the team at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, who added ray tracing to Quake II to create Q2VKPT (in turn building upon the Q2PRO code base),” the about section of the game on Steam reads.

“NVIDIA has introduced new path-traced visual effects, has improved texturing, and has made dozens of other changes and improvements, resulting in an experience that rivals games created today, and pushes your RTX hardware to the limit.”

Quake II RTX is available to play on Windows and Linux machines. The game is available as a free download, but Quake fans who want to play more than just the first three levels of the game will need a full copy of the original.

Source: Steam

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17 Comments

  1. You know,

    I’m not sure I consider Quake II one of the greats.

    It was good at the time, but kind of a boring gibfest game.

    If this is cheap enough, I might pick it up for shits and giggles and play it.

    Not sure if any of the raytracing effects are worthwhile on an AMD GPU though. That said, on something this old, there might be plenty of horsepower left over to brute force it.

    [B]Edit:[/B]

    Oh, it’s free. I’ll play around with it for free…

    [B]Edit2:[/B]

    So, you need to either own the original Quake2, or you can install it based on the Quake2 shareware demo, so essentially this is a mod.

    I have no idea where my old Quake2 disk is from the 90’s is. Heck, I can’t even remember if I bought the thing or if I pirated it back then. I was hugely into piracy when I was younger and justified it using – in retrospect – stupid rationalizations.

    I decided to buy the original Quake 2, available on Steam for $4.99

    I am fine through ID Software a bone for the good memories.

    [B]Edit3:[/B]

    Lol. 23fps on a highly overclocked 6900xt with RT on at 4k.

    Reminds me of old school gaming on my Pentium 120 Mhz without a 3D card :p

    Let’s see if some creative resolutions (3840×1646 ultrawide) and FSR can help make this more playable :p

    [B]Edit4:[/B]

    3840×1646 brings us to ~34fps

    Adding FSR on top of that is confusing in the settings. There is a menu option to turn FSR on, but then no options for scaling, until you go to another game menu where you can select scaling percentages. I’m not sure if these are some other scaling method, or if they are FSR. I set the scaling to 70% as that’s what I remember being “Ultra Quality” (I might be off, I’m just doing this from memory)

    This got me up to 62fps, more than I had expected. Usually FSR ultra only gives you 20-30%.

    There is a slight loss in sharpness, but it isn’t too bad. it is completely playable.

    Damn. I had forgotten how ultra fast movement was in these old Quake games. In real life not even Ben Johnson could keep this up.

    Performance is a little bit disappointing given my hardware, but lets not forget that this is essentially an Nvidia tech demo, so expectations are that it would not necessarily run well on the competitions hardware.

    I might play through it for old times sake if I get bored.

  2. I hate these. Adding ray tracing effects to a 20+ year old game is like polishing a turd. It’s still obviously a 20 year old game. I have never understood the drive to make changes to a title that’s a couple of decades old.

    Also, AMD hardware just doesn’t do ray tracing as well as NVIDIA’s does. The RX 6000 series is literally AMD’s first go at ray tracing hardware. NVIDIA’s on its second generation of cards that support it. It doubled its ray tracing speed from the previous generation at that. That being said, the implementations of ray tracing in Quake I and Quake II are pretty heavy handed and come with a massive FPS hit and they still look like games from the 1990’s.

  3. [QUOTE=”LeRoy_Blanchard, post: 47489, member: 137″]
    I hope someone does this for Unreal Tournament. Please. If anyone is listening.
    [/QUOTE]
    Why? It would literally suffer from the same problems we see with it implemented in Quake I and II. It’s still going to look ancient.

  4. [QUOTE=”Dan_D, post: 47490, member: 6″]
    Why? It would literally suffer from the same problems we see with it implemented in Quake I and II. It’s still going to look ancient.
    [/QUOTE]

    I don’t care that it doesn’t look like a brand new, off the shelf from 2022 game with the best graphics in the world. I spent 1000s upon 1000s of hours playing that game when I was younger. I go back and play the game every so often and enjoy is just the way it is now. It would be cool to have it updated with some cool lighting effects.

    This isn’t about making the game look like the latest Battlefield: Black Ops 76. Its making an old game look a little better, but still look OG.

  5. [QUOTE=”Brian_B, post: 47506, member: 96″]
    Nostalgia
    [/QUOTE]

    That was the same reason I gave Quake II RTX a go.

    Nostalgia was not quite enough to overcome how damn boring the games of that era were.

    It’s too easy, even on “Nightmare” difficulty, and the gameplay is a real snoozefest by modern standards.

    It couldn’t retain my interest long enough to even finish the first level.

    I never played any of the Unreal Tournaments, so I can’t speak to if the same applies to them in retrospect.

    By the time I discovered Counter-Strike, I was completely and totally addicted to that for years. Never even looked at any other multiplayer games of that era.

  6. [QUOTE=”LeRoy_Blanchard, post: 47492, member: 137″]
    I go back and play the game every so often and enjoy is just the way it is now.
    [/QUOTE]
    UT1, UT2K4, and UT3 I keep installed on every single PC I build for myself (since those games were new), and I play them all several times a year. Not cuz of nostalgia, but cuz these games are fun as f*ck to play.

  7. [QUOTE=”Dan_D, post: 47488, member: 6″]
    I hate these. Adding ray tracing effects to a 20+ year old game is like polishing a turd. It’s still obviously a 20 year old game. I have never understood the drive to make changes to a title that’s a couple of decades old.

    Also, AMD hardware just doesn’t do ray tracing as well as NVIDIA’s does. The RX 6000 series is literally AMD’s first go at ray tracing hardware. NVIDIA’s on its second generation of cards that support it. It doubled its ray tracing speed from the previous generation at that. That being said, the implementations of ray tracing in Quake I and Quake II are pretty heavy handed and come with a massive FPS hit and they still look like games from the 1990’s.
    [/QUOTE]

    From a coders perspective, you can play and tweak the DXR implementation in game, without other parts of the engine becomes a major bottleneck, unlike if you used a newer game engine.
    If you look at the patchnotes it contains a lot of good info…the “tricks&lessons” learned here will spill over to other titles…consider it “work-in-progress-concept-thingy”.

    And AMD does indeeed suffer from no BHV hardware acceleration in DXR.

  8. The entire point of this is the fact that it’s entirely Ray Traced, the whole thing, it’s a “true” Ray Traced game, from the ground up, not a hybrid game like all other Ray Traced games based on rasterization, this uses a pure Ray Tracing engine instead of Rasterization based on Global Illumination, [B]THAT’s what makes it unique[/B]. It’s a thought experiment, it’s about realizing a full Ray Traced engine versus standard Rasterization. Which is the ultimate goal. Think of it more like a tech demo if you want. It’s about the potential for fully ray-traced game engines. The importance of this for moving the game industry forward cannot be missed. It shows that we are far, far off from this in modern games. But on the other hand, it also shows how far we’ve come now that we can even do such a thing in real-time. EVERYTHING is being Ray Traced in the demo here, lights, shadows, global illumination, everything. It’s the most complete Ray Traced game ever since the entire thing is Ray Traced/Path Traced.

  9. [QUOTE=”Brent_Justice, post: 47523, member: 3″]
    The entire point of this is the fact that it’s entirely Ray Traced, the whole thing, it’s a “true” Ray Traced game, from the ground up, not a hybrid game like all other Ray Traced games based on rasterization, this uses a pure Ray Tracing engine instead of Rasterization based on Global Illumination, [B]THAT’s what makes it unique[/B]. It’s a thought experiment, it’s about realizing a full Ray Traced engine versus standard Rasterization. Which is the ultimate goal. Think of it more like a tech demo if you want. It’s about the potential for fully ray-traced game engines. The importance of this for moving the game industry forward cannot be missed. It shows that we are far, far off from this in modern games. But on the other hand, it also shows how far we’ve come now that we can even do such a thing in real-time. EVERYTHING is being Ray Traced in the demo here, lights, shadows, global illumination, everything. It’s the most complete Ray Traced game ever since the entire thing is Ray Traced/Path Traced.
    [/QUOTE]
    It looks like lipstick on a pig. It’s still got the model and environmental detail of a game from the 1990’s.

  10. [QUOTE=”Brent_Justice, post: 47523, member: 3″]
    The entire point of this is the fact that it’s entirely Ray Traced, the whole thing, it’s a “true” Ray Traced game, from the ground up, not a hybrid game like all other Ray Traced games based on rasterization, this uses a pure Ray Tracing engine instead of Rasterization based on Global Illumination, [B]THAT’s what makes it unique[/B]. It’s a thought experiment, it’s about realizing a full Ray Traced engine versus standard Rasterization. Which is the ultimate goal. Think of it more like a tech demo if you want. It’s about the potential for fully ray-traced game engines. The importance of this for moving the game industry forward cannot be missed. It shows that we are far, far off from this in modern games. But on the other hand, it also shows how far we’ve come now that we can even do such a thing in real-time. EVERYTHING is being Ray Traced in the demo here, lights, shadows, global illumination, everything. It’s the most complete Ray Traced game ever since the entire thing is Ray Traced/Path Traced.
    [/QUOTE]

    [QUOTE=”Dan_D, post: 47526, member: 6″]
    It looks like lipstick on a pig. It’s still got the model and environmental detail of a game from the 1990’s.
    [/QUOTE]

    I think Nvidia has thus inadvertently proven the opposite of what they were trying to prove.

    It may be all ray tracing, but does it look better than the original? Not really.

    Based on this, the industry might as well skip raytracing all together and continue just using rasterization.

    HUGE performance hit, imperceptible visual quality difference. There are much better ways to spend that vast amount of GPU computational power.

    Nvidia keeps doubling and tripling down on RT as the future of 3D graphics, but in all honesty, I think they have yet to show that it really is worth it. Thus far it feels like a gimmick of marginal value.

    If you ask me, the REAL showstopper of the RTX series of GPU’s is not RT, but DLSS. (If it were only supported in more titles)

  11. [QUOTE=”Zarathustra, post: 47530, member: 203″]
    Based on this, the industry might as well skip raytracing all together and continue just using rasterization.

    HUGE performance hit, imperceptible visual quality difference. There are much better ways to spend that vast amount of GPU computational power.

    Nvidia keeps doubling and tripling down on RT as the future of 3D graphics, but in all honesty, I think they have yet to show that it really is worth it. Thus far it feels like a gimmick of marginal value.
    [/QUOTE]
    I could not agree more. RT effects in most titles (Godfall, Cyberpunk, etc) amount to more-reflective-mudpuddles, and I don’t play games to jump in mudpuddles. I haven’t seen an RT implementation yet that has made me thing “Wow, I need that”

    In the case of Quake 2 – yeah, it looks better. But it’s also a 25-year old game, there are a million different ways you could have made it look better that don’t require a top-tier GPU. And most of those would have made the game look a lot better, not just “oh, better lighting”.

    DLSS is nice, when it’s available. It would be even better if it were universally supported – which is the direction FSR is going. I still have a natural reaction against anything that requires vendor lock-in.

  12. [QUOTE=”Zarathustra, post: 47530, member: 203″]
    I think Nvidia has thus inadvertently proven the opposite of what they were trying to prove.

    It may be all ray tracing, but does it look better than the original? Not really.

    Based on this, the industry might as well skip raytracing all together and continue just using rasterization.

    HUGE performance hit, imperceptible visual quality difference. There are much better ways to spend that vast amount of GPU computational power.

    Nvidia keeps doubling and tripling down on RT as the future of 3D graphics, but in all honesty, I think they have yet to show that it really is worth it. Thus far it feels like a gimmick of marginal value.

    If you ask me, the REAL showstopper of the RTX series of GPU’s is not RT, but DLSS. (If it were only supported in more titles)
    [/QUOTE]
    I disagree with this. I can certainly tell the difference between these ray traced versions of Quake/Quake II and the original release versions. But ray traced lighting effects alone can’t overcome low polygon count objects, primitive textures, and the limited physics engines of older titles. Ray tracing is often held up as the holy grail for a visual leap forward, but it’s merely one aspect of the visual experience.

  13. [QUOTE=”Zarathustra, post: 47530, member: 203″]
    I think Nvidia has thus inadvertently proven the opposite of what they were trying to prove.
    [/QUOTE]
    Sort of?

    Quake II RTX shows that [I]full[/I] raytracing is still beyond our reach.

    However, Quake II RTX is really a tech demo for just that – full raytracing. That’s not at all the way raytracing is being used in current and upcoming titles.

    As you noted, with some tweaks, Q2RTX can be made playable, and it’s still pretty graphically challenged. That’s okay!

    Q2RTX isn’t supposed to be a modern remaster of Quake II. It’s meant to demonstrate full real-time RT in a ‘game engine’.
    [QUOTE=”Brian_B, post: 47533, member: 96″]
    I haven’t seen an RT implementation yet that has made me thing “Wow, I need that”
    [/QUOTE]
    This is going to be an ongoing challenge. We can’t do ‘full RT’ yet, and games like Cyberpunk 2077 already push modern systems to their limit – and while it’s an impressive looking game, it’s still pretty limited in total effect that can be obviously attributed to RT.

    We’re going to need another round of hardware or three before RT can be more fully implemented, and we’re still missing strong art design as well as tight integration with HDR, both in terms of dynamic range and in terms of color. Raytracing is as much about reflections and shadows as it is about smoothing color transitions!

  14. [QUOTE=”LazyGamer, post: 47542, member: 1367″]
    Sort of?

    Quake II RTX shows that [I]full[/I] raytracing is still beyond our reach.

    However, Quake II RTX is really a tech demo for just that – full raytracing. That’s not at all the way raytracing is being used in current and upcoming titles.

    As you noted, with some tweaks, Q2RTX can be made playable, and it’s still pretty graphically challenged. That’s okay!

    Q2RTX isn’t supposed to be a modern remaster of Quake II. It’s meant to demonstrate full real-time RT in a ‘game engine’.

    This is going to be an ongoing challenge. We can’t do ‘full RT’ yet, and games like Cyberpunk 2077 already push modern systems to their limit – and while it’s an impressive looking game, it’s still pretty limited in total effect that can be obviously attributed to RT.

    We’re going to need another round of hardware or three before RT can be more fully implemented, and we’re still missing strong art design as well as tight integration with HDR, both in terms of dynamic range and in terms of color. Raytracing is as much about reflections and shadows as it is about smoothing color transitions!
    [/QUOTE]
    Yeah, Cyberpunk 2077 already pushes systems past their limits. In my recent GPU review, I tested it on a couple of high end cards and 30FPS is all you can get out of it without DLSS at 4K. It was surprisingly slow even at 2560×1440 too.

  15. Again, the point is being missed. Yes it has 25 year old assets, but the point isn’t to make a game from 25 years ago look like Cyberpunk 2077. The point is to take an old game, that is very fast in performance, and prove that the technology of making a non-hybrid, non-rasterized game engine can work.

    It’s a thought experiment. It’s a tech demo but based on a real game. It’s to show what can be done with Ray Tracing today and to pave the way for the future. We will need GPUs that are much faster, to play a modern game that is fully Ray Traced and not based on a rasterized engine.

    If they had done this on a modern game, it would be multiple seconds per frame, rather than frames per second. That’s why an old game was chosen, one that was fast enough that doing this could show the potential of how a game engine can be programmed that is fully Ray Traced.

    The point isn’t to make Quake 2 look modern. It’s to show how Ray Tracing can be used for everything.

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