In a thrilling announcement at QuakeCon 2023, Bethesda has unveiled and simultaneously released the highly anticipated Quake II remaster, which has set the gaming community ablaze with excitement. This remaster aims to redefine the classic title, offering a host of enhancements that cater to modern sensibilities, while also including a cherry on top in the form of compatibility with the RTX renderer.
The improvements in the Quake II remaster are nothing short of remarkable, covering a wide spectrum of elements that contribute to an enhanced gaming experience. Players can feast their eyes on upgraded lighting, shadows, and models, leading to an aesthetic transformation that breathes new life into the game’s environment. An audio overhaul ensures that every sound reverberates with unprecedented clarity and immersion. Moreover, the artificial intelligence behind the game’s bots has received a major upgrade, endowing them with improved navigation, decision-making capabilities, and other enhancements that raise the bar for in-game opponents.
Multiplayer enthusiasts will rejoice in the inclusion of crossplay functionality, facilitating seamless interactions between different platforms. The cooperative mode has also been refined, now allowing players to save their progress during coop play, a feature eagerly welcomed by those who enjoy tackling challenges together. Additionally, the developers have gone above and beyond by incorporating new accessibility options, making the game more inclusive to a diverse range of players.
However, the crowning glory of this remaster lies in the introduction of new content. Classic fans will be delighted to learn that the Nintendo 64 exclusive, Quake II 64, has been seamlessly integrated, offering a nostalgic trip down memory lane. Furthermore, a fresh episode titled “Call of the Machine,” developed by the esteemed MachineGames, awaits players in both single-player and coop modes, promising a riveting addition to the Quake II universe.
Community response to these enhancements has been overwhelmingly positive, particularly since the remaster is offered as a free upgrade to existing owners of the game on major platforms such as the Microsoft Store, Steam, and GOG. However, as remarkable as these improvements are, one aspect continues to capture the imagination of gamers worldwide: Quake II RTX, a version of the game that fully embraces ray tracing technology, delivering unparalleled visual fidelity.
Quake II RTX, originally conceived through the efforts of Christoph Schied with his Q2VKPT project, transformed the game into a ray tracing marvel in 2019. NVIDIA’s Lightspeed Studios took the reins, enhancing the ray tracing effects, texture quality, and various visual elements, turning Quake II RTX into a showcase for cutting-edge graphics technology. Subsequent updates brought features like AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution and support for High Dynamic Range displays, cementing Quake II RTX’s status as a graphical powerhouse.
Enter Reddit user mStewart207, a visionary modder who’s been hard at work merging the best of both worlds. By skillfully integrating the RTX renderer into the Quake II remaster, mStewart207 seeks to unite the enhanced gameplay and content of the remaster with the stunning visual fidelity of ray tracing. Early glimpses of this ambitious endeavor are nothing short of breathtaking, with work-in-progress screenshots hinting at a seamless fusion between the two experiences.
In the Reddit thread, the author explained his development process:
I have been editing the source code to Q2RTX to make it work with these new maps. I had to remove limits on BSP and light list sizes and other things. The original Quake 2 RTX had hard limits on lights per cluster that it would sample from that needed to be increased. When I first got the Machine Games hub level to load up it was super dark because most of the lights were missing because of that limit. The remaster’s map files just basically work in the Q2RTX engine. I had to do a lot of mixing and matching of old resources vs new resources and adding material overrides. The underwater light extinction wasn’t working on the Machine Games maps. For whatever reason, from the new Machine Games BSP files, the existing code can’t tell if you are underwater the normal way. So I had to do this hacky thing where I got the state from the server code and sent it to the client. I just need to fix up some new functionality they use in the MachineGames maps.
Anticipation is mounting as mStewart207 is meticulously ironing out the final kinks before making the code publicly available on his GitHub page. Gaming enthusiasts, prepare to witness the birth of a remarkable convergence that promises to redefine how we experience Quake II. Stay tuned for further updates, as this promising collaboration between innovation and nostalgia stands on the precipice of gaming history.