"Half-Life 2 RTX: An RTX Remix Project" Is A Community-Made Remaster With NVDIA Support
29 Aug 2023
Half-Life, the first person shooter game that gave birth to Counter-Strike, the multiplayer shooter game that revolutionized the gaming world, is getting a remastered version of its second title from the community. The project, called Half-Life 2 RTX: An RTX Remix Project, is a collaboration between four of the top mod teams for Half-Life 2, who are now working as Orbifold Studios. The project has the approval of Valve and the support of NVIDIA and will feature Ray-Tracing and other advanced technologies.
NVIDIA RTX Remix is a complimentary platform for modding that enables modders to produce and distribute #RTXON mods for traditional games, improving their graphics and performance. The platform is based on NVIDIA Omniverse, a cloud-native collaboration platform for 3D workflows. NVIDIA highlighted the potential of RTX Remix with Portal with RTX, a stunning remake of Valve’s Portal with full ray tracing. They also supported the community remaster of Portal: Prelude, a fan-made prequel to Portal.
Now, they are working on Half-Life 2 RTX: An RTX Remix Project, which aims to bring one of the most acclaimed games of all time, Valve’s Half-Life 2, to a new level of realism and immersion. The project is still in early development, but NVIDIA has shared some screenshots and details of the progress so far.
The modders are using RTX Remix to rebuild the materials, textures, and geometry of Half-Life 2 with Physically Based Rendering (PBR) properties, adding more detail and realism to every asset. They are also leveraging NVIDIA technologies such as full ray tracing, DLSS 3, Reflex, and RTX IO to enhance the lighting, shadows, reflections, refractions, performance, responsiveness, and loading times of the game.
The result is a dramatic improvement in the visual quality and fidelity of Half-Life 2. For example, the textures in the game have been increased by 8X on average, and some assets like the suit have 20X more geometric detail than the original game. The suit now has realistic fabric patterns and metal-plastic interactions that reflect the light in a natural way.
The lighting and shadows in the game are also more realistic and dynamic, thanks to full ray tracing. Every light source casts accurate shadows and bounces light around the scene, creating realistic ambient occlusion and global illumination effects. For instance, in Kleiner’s Lab, the orange vats cast a warm glow on the surroundings, while the liquid inside refracts the world realistically.
The props in the game are also transformed by full ray tracing. For example, the magnifying glass on Kleiner’s desk used to have a low resolution reflection of the world with shaders in 2004. Now, it has a curved lens that bends light and reflects everything accurately. The creatures in the game also look better with remastered PBR materials and textures that interact naturally with ray tracing effects. For example, Lamarr the Headcrab looks more lifelike and detailed than ever before.
Half-Life 2 RTX: An RTX Remix Project is an ambitious community effort that aims to bring one of the best games ever made to a new generation of gamers. The project is looking for talented modders and artists who have experience with creating mods or 3D art to join them. If you are interested in participating in this project, you can apply via their website.