Nvidia RTX Remix utility to enter open beta - Half Life 2 RTX showcases its potential

Nvidia RTX Remix
(Image credit: Nvidia)

Nvidia is finally making its RTX Remix modding utility available to the wider community as the application is going into open beta on Jan. 22. As freely available software it will give many modders a chance to test Nvidia's latest graphics technologies and create their own ray-traced mods for ancient DirectX 8 and 9 games. 

Providing a stunning example, Nvidia showcased a new trailer for Half-Life 2 RTX, an RTX Remix project currently in development that promises to add remastered assets and full ray-traced lighting effects to Vavle's highly acclaimed video game.

(Image credit: Nvidia)

Since its announcement, RTX Remix has been kept behind closed doors and has only been accessible to specific modding groups for the creation of Nvidia-sponsored mods such as Portal RTX and Portal: Prelude RTX. But now, with the app going into open beta, Nvidia is finally confident enough in its utility to give it to the wider modding community. This will truly unveil how capable RTX Remix is - without any handholding by Nvidia.

RTX Remix is a highly advanced modding utility that enables modders to fully remaster DirectX 8 and 9 video games without a lot of development time or effort. The app features a plethora of tools enabling developers to easily import old assets (and textures) and remaster them into new ones with the help of AI. It also has special systems that can convert basic lighting systems in older titles into full ray-traced lighting. For lack of better words, it is the Unreal Engine 5 of modding tools.

For the open beta, Nvidia has updated Remix with several enhancements including non-culled off-camera lighting, Terrain Baking for texture blending, sub-surface light scattering on foliage, and parallax occlusion mapping — which makes two-dimensional textures look three-dimensional.

(Image credit: Nvidia)

Half Life 2 RTX Trailer

Nvidia also showed off a new trailer for Half-Life 2 RTX, another Nvidia-sponsored mod that is being developed by Orbifold Studios. Half-Life 2 RTX is Nvidia's most ambitious RTX mod so far. The game will feature full ray-traced light simulation, completely reworked in-game textures, and assets, as well as all of Nvidia's fancy features like DLSS 3.5 upscaling, frame generation, and ray reconstruction.

The trailer shows off the development studio's latest work on Half-life 2's spooky Ravenholm, which is a city in the game complete with zombies and a very spooky lighting atmosphere. Comparisons against the original game are made with the new RTX Remix version, which is enhanced with new in-game assets, textures, and ray-traced lighting effects. Unfortunately, pricing and availability have not been announced (still), but if it's like any of Nvidia's previous Portal RTX mods, you'll only need the base (Half-Life 2) game to play the mod when it launches.

Aaron Klotz
Freelance News Writer

Aaron Klotz is a freelance writer for Tom’s Hardware US, covering news topics related to computer hardware such as CPUs, and graphics cards.

  • Crazyy8
    Half Life 2 RTX and the (hopefully) upcoming Entropy Zero: 3 look to be the closest we will ever get to Half Life 3. Maybe someday someone will make Entropy Zero: 3 RTX.
  • Giroro
    95% of HL2 mods manage to completely ruin the look and feel of the game. Even when claiming to honor it. It's hard for an artist to get the right level of grunge, dirt, wear, and fade in order to nail HL2's dystopia. Or an easy example, in the RTX trailer, the updated assets completely changed how the branding on the paint can looks instead of trying to recreate a better version of the original. Why? These small things add up to a different feeling world fast.
    It's also apparently very easy for modders to break HL2 textures when trying to replace them with a higher res versions.

    So good luck Orbifold Studios, although I would be perfectly happy if Valve just update the game to use modern Source engine, higher res versions of the original textures, and some higher poly updatrs to the original models.
    To try accomplishing similar, A week or 2 ago I tried using an AI upscaled "4x" texture pack into the HL2: Update mod, but the textures broke shiny surfaces.