Quake II ray tracing support and free demo arriving next month

Legendary first-person shooter Quake II is getting the real-time ray tracing treatment next month, so owners of Nvidia 20 Series cards will have another game to play with RT turned on – even if that game is 22 years old.

Though it’s been hinted not-so-subtly in recent days, Nvidia senior vice president Jeff Fisher announced the upcoming launch at Computex 2019, alongside Nvidia Studio creative laptops.

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“Quake II is an iconic game,” Fisher said. “Quake II came out in the late nineties from id [Software], and… what we wanted to do, we were inspired by some work from independent [developers] online to take an older game and make it cinematically beautiful via ray tracing.

“We have a team inside Nvidia called Lightspeed Studios, whose function is to remaster existing games. Lightspeed Studios loved this opportunity.”

Quake II RTX is itself based on Q2VKPT, a modded version of the original game created by Christoph Schied using the open-sourced Quake II game engine.

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If you already own Quake II, you’ll be able to play the entirety of the game with ray tracing activated after downloading the remastered update. Simply download and run Quake II RTX and you’ll be prompted to point the game to the full copy of Quake II, which it will then copy over with the new data and assets.

Don’t have Quake II in your library? No problem, as a free demo will be available from 6 June to download from GeForce.com and will comprise the first three levels of the game.

As well as seeing light sources better illuminate environments, what will Quake II RTX look like?

“We started with the original assets, we added lighting, reflections, we added god rays, atmospheric effects, diffuse lighting, where one wall is being lit by the light that’s bouncing off another wall, properly light the cracks [in the walls]…” Fisher said.

Weapons have also been retextured and quite literally polished, so that metallic parts of barrels reflect muzzle flares. Watch the trailer below for yourself.

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Reflective surfaces like water and glass will reflect the player’s sprite in real-time – though Nvidia says if you’re copying game files over the original 1997 shareware, then this won’t work, as player models weren’t included.

In terms of minimum spec, Nvidia says you’ll need a system with an RTX 2060 in order to play Quake II RTX properly.

Schied, however, says you should be able to approach 60fps on a 1440p monitor with an RTX 2080 Ti and ray tracing turned on.

It is incredible that real-time ray tracing can breathe new life into an old classic like Quake II. For their next trick, we sincerely hope Lightspeed Studios get in touch with the person behind GoldenEye 25, or convince Todd Howard that he’s wrong about a Morrowind remaster, or, more plausibly, perhaps have a word with Sonic Ether about those wonderful-looking Minecraft shaders.

Will you be playing Quake II with ray tracing activated come next month? Let us know @TrustedReviews on Twitter

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