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Free QUAKE II RTX Next Week

Not content with their Wolfenstein: Youngblood RTX bundle, NVIDIA also announces that on June 6th they will release Quake II RTX as a free download. This brings the 20+ year-old shooter into the modern age with ray-tracing support. Word is: "Quake II RTX includes the first three single-player levels of the beloved PC gaming classic. Gamers that already own Quake II can experience the whole game in its entirety, including multiplayer deathmatch and cooperative multiplayer modes, all fully path traced." This trailer offers details on remastering the game, while the official announce trailer offers a look at all the new graphical effects in action. Here's more on what path tracing and Vulkan are adding to this rerelease:

The visually stunning new look of the classic game is achieved by a ray-tracing technique known as path tracing, which traces light rays (paths) through the scene in a way that unifies all lighting effects into a single ray-traced algorithm. This elegant form of rendering is used in computer graphics in films but has previously been too expensive for games.

The lighting effects in Quake II RTX are so advanced they require hardware support for ray tracing, such as the specialized RT Cores found in the Turing™ architecture and NVIDIA GeForce RTX™ GPUs, to run in real time. The minimum specification for running Quake II RTX in real time is a GeForce RTX 2060 GPU.

New levels of realism seen in Quake II RTX include real-time, high-dynamic range time of day lighting, with accurate sun light and indirect illumination. Physically based materials are rendered accurately. For example, water and glass refract light accurately, emissive surfaces get dramatic soft lighting effects, surfaces deliver accurate reflections and light sources illuminate surrounding objects. Weapon model details and textures have also been increased, and an improved denoiser has been added to increase image quality.

Quake II RTX uses NVIDIA VKRay™, an extension that allows any developer using the Vulkan API to add ray-traced effects to their games. Building on Q2VKPT, a version of the game created by Christoph Schied using the open-sourced Quake II game engine, Quake II RTX is a pure ray-traced game that runs on a Vulkan renderer with support for Linux.

“Quake II RTX demonstrates that the Vulkan API with real-time ray tracing can be used to create stunning gaming experiences using some of the most advanced rendering techniques available to game developers,” said Neil Trevett, president of the Khronos Group and vice president of developer ecosystems at NVIDIA. “And, having Quake II RTX available as a free download makes it accessible to both Windows and Linux gamers everywhere.”

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