Tech

Modders discover Portal RTX files can make Half-Life 2 and some other games look amazing

WTF?! Modders spend the day with Nvidia’s RTX Remix tool and they haven’t even gotten their hands on it yet. Apparently, you can take the files that include the RTX in the recent Portal remake and put them in other games’ .exe folder to get a less than flawless visual upgrade without any extra changes. Copyright lawyers are rolling over in their graves and haven’t even died yet.

For the past three years, Nvidia Lightspeed Studios has been working on a tool called “RTX Remix”. The company first demonstrated this in September, adding impressive lighting effects to Bethesda’s 20-year-old The Elder Scrolls III game: Morrowind and Valve Portal since 2007. The results were amazing, but they were only video demonstrations.

On December 8, Nvidia released the RTX Portal DLC for PC with the blessing of Valve. The game has full ray tracing and DLSS 3 support. It also added other advanced effects, including ReSTIR (Reservoir Spatio Temporal Importance Resampling) and Direct Illumination.

This is an especially incredible achievement given its age and the little effort it took to basically remake the game with the RTX Remix. There is no excuse for portal owners not to try this visual update, given that it is free on cook for a couple. Well, the only valid excuse is that your specs don’t meet the requirements (Intel i7-6700 or AMD Ryzen 5 3600 and at least a GeForce RTX 3060).

Perhaps even more exciting is that after the release of Portal with RTX, modders on the Beyond3D forums were not long in coming. Calculate which made the game tick. DLC first adds several additional files, namely the RTX Remix build folder (.trex) and three driver files – d3d9.dll, dxvk_d3d9.dll and NvRemixBridge32.dll – into the portal .exe folder.

Because the RTX Remix is ​​still unpublished accessible, modders started adding Portal RTX files to other games without modification, and surprisingly, they worked in some. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the best results were seen in Valve’s Half-Life 2. However, SWAT 4 and Max Payne mostly worked, but with some bugs. The main requirement is that the game uses a “fixed-function graphics pipeline”.

“Seems [it] does not have a fixed-function graphics pipeline,” said Beyond3D user LordVulkan. answering to someone asking if the FEAR hack worked. “I’m afraid most games after 2004 will need Shader Model 2.0. Especially if they are cross-platform from scratch and games developed first for consoles and then for PC have no chance.”

However, images and video show that the Portal files have greatly upgraded the look and feel of these games, even with their lower resolution assets. As mentioned, they don’t work perfectly, but the examples show that once Nvidia releases the RTX Remix tool to the public, these games will be prime candidates for DIY remasters.

Of course, this leads us straight to the elephant in the room. Most developers aren’t like Valve, and remasters are big business these days. Property owners like Bethesda aren’t likely to be overly interested in having the public update their IP. It’s one thing for Nvidia to use Morrowind as tech demo and another when Johnny Modder puts the Morrowind remaster on GitHub.

Take-Two’s lawyers will likely be busy SWAT 4 modders SWAT once the RTX Remix goes public. However, the ease of modifications makes the battle quite difficult. After all, modders don’t have to publish the entire game, which could violate copyright law. They only need to release the RTX Remix files, after which users can simply paste them into the game’s .exe folder. How are studios dealing with this?

It will be interesting to see where it all goes. No wonder developers like Bethesda, Take-Two, and others are begging or even suing Nvidia over its tool. After all, what will Bethesda do if it can’t remake Skyrim for the 14th time?


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