Nvidia makes modding ray tracing into classic games easier with RTX Remix, starting with...

Daniel Sims

Posts: 670   +27
Staff
Something to look forward to: Recent mods and official re-releases show that the latest ray tracing techniques can fundamentally change the look of decades-old PC games. Nvidia's upcoming RTX Remix promises to help modders bring the technology to many more classics, beginning with a remastered version of Portal this fall.

On Tuesday, Nvidia unveiled RTX Remix, a platform to help modders add ray tracing features to DirectX 8 and DirectX 9 games. The feature will also allow users to improve the textures of older games and add Nvidia Reflex and DLSS 3 (or DLSS 2.0 for users of Ampere and Turing GPUs).

An RTX Remix mod will replace a game's original API with a 64-bit Vulkan renderer. Modders can export their RTX Remix mods into files that drop into a game's directory alongside the executable, and they shouldn't conflict with those from Nexus Mods or other sites.

In DX8 or DX9 games that support fixed function graphics pipelines, RTX Remix uses a custom D3D9 runtime to intercept draw calls and reinterpret game assets to convert them into the Universal Scene Description (USD) framework. The converted assets are compatible with many standard game development apps like Adobe Substance 3D Painter, Autodesk Maya, 3ds Max, Blender, SideFX Houdini, and Unreal Engine, making them easier for modders to edit.

Properly supporting ray tracing requires a game's materials and textures to carry certain qualities that titles from the DX8 era generally lack. Remix allows users to add features like physically-based rendering materials, normal maps, and increased geometric detail, so they react to light more realistically. Modders can also use RTX Remix's AI features to increase texture resolutions by 4x.

Nvidia's platform also lets modders add new lighting to old games or use a game's original lights to add ray-traced shadows, ambient occlusion, reflections, and global illumination. Additionally, RTX Remix includes three new lighting features Nvidia unveiled this week.

The first, RTX Direct Illumination (RTXDI), can add millions of tiny dynamic lights for things like fireballs, LEDs, or billboards to a scene without significantly impacting performance. Another new feature — Reservoir Spatio Temporal Importance Resampling Global Illumination (ReSTIRGI) — uses multiple bounces to calculate per-pixel correct indirect lighting. Finally, Nvidia's Real Time Denoisers (NRD) should reduce noise in ray-traced lighting with better performance than earlier denoisers.

To demonstrate RTX Remix, Valve revealed Portal RTX — a ray-traced remaster of its 2007 puzzle game. Portal RTX adds rebuilt textures, high-polygon character models, DLSS, and Nvidia Reflex. Its ray tracing features include RTXDI, ReSTIRGI, NRD, Volumetric ray-traced lighting, and ray-traced emissive particles.

Portal RTX releases in November as a free upgrade to those owning the original title. Nvidia also demonstrated RTX Remix's effects on The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and Mount & Blade.

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Dimitriid

Posts: 2,249   +4,363
Surprised nobody has mentioned this but wouldn't this make lifting assets for the purpose of using them without permission kind of create big time copyright problems for most companies, includying some key Nvidia partners actually?

More over while the use here seems legit enough with an example of a game that's so old that should be public domain now anyways, what happens if I lift assets from the latest Call of Duty, run them through the Nvidia AI routine so it's not as easy to detect by algorithms and just repackage them as a pretty convincing Call of Duty clone with a bunch of gacha mechanics and timers on mobile for a quick buck?

Normally such effort for the likelihood of being very quickly taken down is not worth it but since Nvidia made it easier to just do it almost without coding and manual asset manipulation, why wouldn't somebody try this?

In fact there's even more implications if you remember how CDPR got in trouble because people were using the actual likeness of Keanu Reeves for custom sex scenes they moddedd into the game, now I can basically grab *any* character likeness easily and import them into tools to make said adult games so now actors would probably need to think if they want their likeness in a game where it's been made just extra easy to allow this kind of thing to happen almost inevitably.
 

dangh

Posts: 786   +1,331
Would be nice, if that would be an open technology - it is not, and it is just another way for nVidia trying to create walled garden and push towards a monopoly.
thanks but no, thanks.
 

Lounds

Posts: 1,212   +1,122
Indeed. I want to see HL2 piped through this now.
Though I'm pretty intrigued with DLSS 3 as well.
I was thinking the same thing about HL2 especially now I'm replaying it in VR. DLSS 3.0 looks promising but it's annoying it's locked from Ampere cards. I don't think I'll be buying again for a few years after my 3060ti purchase last year.

Tbf I think AMD is gonna slap Nvidia in the economies of scale with chiplets, I'm likely to go back to AMD after seeing their roadmap and how they're implementing their CPU manufacturing plans into GPUs.

The majority won't be paying these over priced cards which apparently have less margin compared to Ampere for Nvidia,
 

envirovore

Posts: 533   +982
TechSpot Elite
I was thinking the same thing about HL2 especially now I'm replaying it in VR. DLSS 3.0 looks promising but it's annoying it's locked from Ampere cards. I don't think I'll be buying again for a few years after my 3060ti purchase last year.

Tbf I think AMD is gonna slap Nvidia in the economies of scale with chiplets, I'm likely to go back to AMD after seeing their roadmap and how they're implementing their CPU manufacturing plans into GPUs.

The majority won't be paying these over priced cards which apparently have less margin compared to Ampere for Nvidia,

I'm quite interested in seeing what AMD bring this year as well.
Probably wouldn't be until sometime next year I'd be even starting to consider a new GPU should I feel I want one, so will have plenty of time to see how reviews go for both and each providers options as a whole age a bit, and how pricing plays out.