A community of modders is developing a ray-traced Half-Life 2 remake using Nvidia’s early access RTX Remix platform, and Nvidia is debuting its first trailer for Gamescom. Half-Life 2 RTX: An RTX Remix Project will not win any awards for good naming, but the beautified update to the PC’s iconic first-person shooter from 2004 may easily win the hearts of those of us with a soft spot for a little nostalgia and high-res headcrabs.
The project is the combined efforts of four Half-Life 2 mod teams, now formed as Orbifold Studios, using RTX Remix to rebuild the game using PBR (physically based rendering — not the cheap beer) properties and adding new geometric details. The remake uses RTX IO for fast and smooth asset loading, seen recently in Portal: Prelude RTX and the PC port of Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, and supports full ray tracing and DLSS 3. Although, if you’re hyped to once again smack up some combine soldiers with a crowbar in a lovely ray-traced remake, you should temper your excitement for a bit longer, as Nvidia doesn’t have a launch date for Half-Life 2 RTX just yet. In the meantime, feast your eyes on these lovely comparison images.
This isn’t the first time Half-Life is getting the ray-tracing treatment. Just earlier this year, a modder developed and released the original 1998 Half-Life with full path tracing (which you can download and enjoy right now). While that mod required quite the horsepower from the latest high-end RTX video cards to play, which is safe to assume may be the case with Half-Life 2 RTX, it still had an underlying ’90s vibe to its looks.
Half-Life 2 RTX, on the other hand, looks like the full remake treatment. It’s a fitting sequel to that original Half-Life ray-tracing mod, as its creator, Sultim Tsyrendashiev, is now a rendering engineer at Nvidia. A fully path-traced Half-Life must have made for quite the cover letter.