Quake II is getting RTX ray tracing on June 6 – and it looks awesome

Quake II RTX
Quake II RTX (Image credit: NVIDIA)

What you need to know

  • Quake II RTX launches June 6.
  • The overhaul bring NVIDIA's RTX ray tracing tech to the classic id shooter.
  • The result is a mix of classic first-person shooter gameplay dynamic lighting and materials that give the game a whole new feel.

When you think of NVIDIA's dynamic ray tracing technology, which brings realistic lighting and material effects to modern games, Quake II probably isn't the first game that pops into your head. But that's precisely the next game that's getting RTX support, with Quake II RTX set to launch on June 6.

It's an interesting test of just what ray tracing can do for a game, especially considering Quake II's age. The overhaul brings a whole slew of improvements to lighting, textures, and effects to the fore that, in total, make Quake II look more modern than ever. Here's a list of what's new in Quake II RTX, according to NVIDIA:

  • Improved Global Illumination rendering, with three selectable quality presets, including two-bounce GI
  • Multiplayer support
  • Time of day options that radically change the appearance of some levels
  • New weapon models & textures
  • New dynamic environments (Stroggos surface, and space)
  • Better physically based atmospheric scattering, including settings for Stroggos sky
  • Real-time reflectivity of the player and weapon model on water and glass surfaces, and player model shadows, for owners of the complete game (the original Shareware release does not include player models)
  • Improved ray tracing denoising technology
  • All 3,000+ original game textures have been updated with a mix of Q2XP mod-pack textures and our own enhancements
  • Updated effects with new sprites and particle animations
  • Dynamic lighting for items such as blinking lights, signs, switches, elevators and moving objects
  • Caustics approximation to improve water lighting effects
  • High-quality screenshot mode that makes your screenshots look even better
  • Support for the old OpenGL renderer, enabling you to switch between RTX ON and RTX OFF
  • Cylindrical projection mode for wide-angle field of view on widescreen displays

"We're massive fans of the original, and even-bigger fans of technology, so when presented with the opportunity to remaster a classic game with all that ray tracing can offer, we jumped at the chance," NVIDIA said in its blog post announcing the launch date. "Quake II RTX demonstrates the possibilities of ray tracing, and offers a glimpse at the future of gaming, with realistic real-time lighting, shadows and effects."

Players with NVIDIA RTX graphics cards will be able to check out the first three levels for free, NVIDIA says. The source code is also coming to GitHub, which will let others tinker with what NVIDIA has already done.

Quake II RTX will launch for Windows and Linux on June 6.

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Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl