Quake II RTX launches with ray tracing, revamped textures, and more

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

What you need to know

  • Quake II RTX is now available.
  • The overhaul brings ray tracing, realistic lighting, revamped textures, and much more to the id classic.
  • The first three levels are available for free, and those who already own the game can apply the changes with an installer from NVIDIA.

Quake II probably isn't the first game you think of when pondering NVIDIA's RTX ray tracing tech, but it's getting an RTX overhaul today. After announcing it last week, NVIDIA's Lightspeed Studios has released Quake II RTX on Steam, providing the first three levels for free.

The revamp brings a ton of visual improvements to id's classic, providing an interesting look at what ray tracing can do for even older games. Here's a recap of what's new in Quake II RTX, from NVIDIA (opens in new tab):

  • 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

To get all of the improvements, NVIDIA has laid out some specific minimum requirements, however. Here's a look at what you'll need:

  • OS: Windows 7 64-bit or Ubuntu 16.04 LTS 64-bit
  • Processor: Intel Core i3-3220, or AMD equivalent
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060, or higher
  • Storage: 2GB available space

The first three levels will remain available for free on Steam. If you already own the full game, however, you can apply the revamps to your game with an installer available from NVIDIA (opens in new tab), unlocking the overhaul for the full game.

See at Steam

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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

2 Comments
  • I thought that RayTracing was "enabled" for more than the RTX cards in software....Quake 2 being an older games seems to be one which would thus have extra cycles from our modern CPU/GPUs to be able to work in software and still hit acceptable frame rates. Is it looked to RTX cards as a "benefit" or is software Ray Tracing that punishing, even on modern machines that they can not play a 22 year old game while rendering it.
  • I also thought that ray tracing was somehow activated on older cards like the GTX 1080's after a driver update. I'm pretty sure I remember NVIDIA showing that from a driver update.