Join us at TNW Conference 2021 for insights into the future of tech →

Your sardonic source for consumer tech stories

This article was published on May 28, 2019


Nvidia adds ray-tracing support to Quake 2 with free upgrade

Quake 2 was about as cerebral as a Dolph Lundgren film, but we loved it anyway.

Nvidia adds ray-tracing support to Quake 2 with free upgrade
Matthew Hughes
Story by

Matthew Hughes

Former TNW Reporter

Matthew Hughes is a journalist from Liverpool, England. His interests include security, startups, food, and storytelling. Follow him on Twi Matthew Hughes is a journalist from Liverpool, England. His interests include security, startups, food, and storytelling. Follow him on Twitter.

Now this brings me back. Remember Quake 2? This iconic first-person shooter was released towards the tail-end of the 1990’s, and boasted fast-paced and ultra-violent gameplay.

As you’d expect from any ID Software title released during that era, the plot was fairly simple: you’re stranded on an alien planet, and as the sole survivor of an invasion force, you’ve got to murder anything that moves. Quake 2 was about as cerebral as a Dolph Lundgren film, but we loved it anyway.

Feeling nostalgic yet? Well, I’ve got some good news for you: graphics card titan Nvidia has built a demo remake of Quake 2, designed to show off the company’s RTX ray-tracing technology. This, unsurprisingly, is called Quake 2 RTX. If you want to see what that looks like, check out the teaser video below.

By pairing modern ray-tracing technology with an overhaul of the Quake 2’s models and textures, Nvidia has managed to transform the game into something that looks modern. In particular, water effects and lighting feel dynamic and natural. While some things have been left untouched (the death sequences, for example, which see enemies explode into a bundle of meat), the rest of the game has been radically altered.

Purists won’t appreciate that the game’s gloomy, muddy aesthetic has been replaced for one that’s brighter and more organic. Personally though, I’m not too bothered. I recognize that its original look was largely because of the limitations of graphics technology during the late 1990’s.

If you already have a copy of Quake 2, you can upgrade it for free with Nvidia’s — I don’t know what I should call it. Patch? Remake? Remaster? This overhauls both the game‘s campaign and multiplayer experiences.

Failing that, you can download a demo containing the first three levels. Both of those will be available next week, starting from June 6, 2019, at this link.

It’s worth noting that to make the most out of Quake 2 RTX, you’ll need a decently souped-up machine. Nvidia recommends players have an GeForce RTX 2060 or higher. One of those will set you back between $349 and $410 on Amazon. We’ve listed a few options below. 

And if you really can’t wait, there’s also a fan-made Quake 2 mod containing ray tracing technology. Q2VKPT (snappy name, right?) was released earlier this year, and is available to download now from Github.

Unlike Quake 2 RTX, this clings more closely to the game’s original moody aesthetic, while looking like something that came out this century.

*ahem, cough* 

Anyway, Nvidia, if you feel like remastering Half Life and Deus Ex, I wouldn’t say no… Just saying. Maybe Soldier of Fortune, too.

Did you know we have a newsletter all about consumer tech? It’s called Plugged In – and you can subscribe to it right here.

Also tagged with