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My Quake 2 RTX Synopsis

BFG10K

Lifer
Aug 14, 2000
21,882
974
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I just completed Quake 2 RTX on hard difficulty. Using a 2070 I had to use 70% render scale and low GI to maintain locked 60FPS @ 1440p. Obviously the performance hit is colossal, and anyone just testing the starting level doesn't know what they're doing as later levels are more demanding.

Subjectively lighting & shadowing showed incremental improvement compared to the best rasterizers I’ve seen, but nowhere near "rasterization is totally obsolete and I can never go back". This is a full path-traced game so the usual "it's just a bit of ray tracing bolted onto rasterization" doesn't apply here. The upscaled anti-aliasing produces perfect image quality without any jaggies, though I did find rare cases where the denoising failed and produced black specks, usually dynamic lights from weapons combining with sunlight streaming through fans.

What I found annoying were the "double reflections". The best way to describe it is that the water surface reflects from above and below, at the same time. You can't judge the depth of shallow water from above anymore, and you can't tell how close you are to the surface from below, because in the latter you see your gun twice. The example screenshot shows a circular tunnel viewed underwater looking like a figure '8', not like a cylinder. With additional reflected texture lights in some scenes, the whole thing becomes extremely disorientating and doesn't look realistic at all.


The HD textures make a big difference on their own without ray tracing, and they were changed to work better with RTX, so it's definitely not a case of "oh, just flip a switch and it automatically works properly everywhere". Also some of the weapon models look awful.

This was an interesting exercise but I wouldn’t play this version again. There are other HD versions that look better overall as a total package (e.g. self-shadowing parallax, advanced decals and particle effects, etc) that run vastly faster. But truth be told, for this game I prefer retro graphics with a sensible source port giving more accurate rendering without major visual changes.

TLDR: slightly better lighting/shadowing than the best rasterizers, badly overdone reflections in water, all at a colossal performance hit.
 

Shmee

Memory and Storage, Graphics Cards
Super Moderator
Sep 13, 2008
5,278
958
126
Yeah a good sourceport like KMQuake 2 is the way to go. Also it will support the expansion packs.
 
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Stuka87

Diamond Member
Dec 10, 2010
5,479
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Not surprised on some of the graphical anomalies. They (nVidia) basically through it together as a tech demo, lots of people played the early level area to go "wow", and that was about it.
 

Gideon

Golden Member
Nov 27, 2007
1,430
2,879
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Not surprised on some of the graphical anomalies. They (nVidia) basically through it together as a tech demo, lots of people played the early level area to go "wow", and that was about it.
Yeah, IMO you need better art assets to really get anything good out of RT GI. Quake 2 is just Quake 2. Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition does better, but even there the problem is that the game ends up a bit to light IMO. Can't wait for new games that excluseivly use RT GI from ground up.
 

Stuka87

Diamond Member
Dec 10, 2010
5,479
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Yeah, IMO you need better art assets to really get anything good out of RT GI. Quake 2 is just Quake 2. Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition does better, but even there the problem is that the game ends up a bit to light IMO. Can't wait for new games that excluseivly use RT GI from ground up.
And then there are games like Minecraft that are unplayable because they are so dark you just literally cant see things without a billion torches, and then the frame rate drops to single digits.
 

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