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Half-Life 2 RTX to remaster “perfect image” you have of the original

A new Half-Life 2 RTX interview with the team behind the overhaul details how they are tackling the Valve classic with modern lighting and textures.

Half-Life 2 RTX interview: a man in orange and black armor with short brown hair and glasses

A new Half-Life 2 RTX interview with the team behind the overhaul to the classic Valve FPS is here, as the developers dive into how they’re aiming to change up the iconic game while staying true to what makes it so special.

With Half-Life 2 RTX on the way soon, a group of dedicated modders are using the Nvidia tool to breathe new life into an all-time classic from Valve. Half-Life 2 still looks fabulous today, but it’s set to look even better.

The FPS game revamp comes off the back of Portal RTX, and some of the team at Orbifold Studios sat down with Lambda Generation on YouTube to talk about the project, so I’ve transcribed some of the most interesting bits below.

“We really want to remaster the experience,” co-lead developer Chris ‘Mddbulldogg’ Workman says. “We all have this perfect image of Half-Life 2 in our heads from the first time we played it. We want to remaster this so you’re feeling what you felt the first time you played Half-Life 2; fresh, new, exciting, pretty lights, awesome physics, the works.”

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“I’m really hoping we hit that nail on the head and show that to all the other people who might have otherwise passed up Half-Life 2 because it wasn’t the prettiest game around.”

Orbifold Studios expects that because the team has remastered textures alongside the RTX improvements, you’ll easily be able to plug most pre-existing mods into Half-Life 2 RTX when it launches. Mods with custom assets will be more difficult, but not an impossible task for any would-be developers out there. The aim is for the path tracing and updated lighting to be easily added to new assets, but it’ll still require some work.

When it comes to staying faithful to Half-Life 2 as a whole, co-lead developer David ‘Kralich’ Driver-Gomm looks to the team’s work on the Portal Prelude RTX conversion, “The first thing that RTX remix does is it interprets the lights that are already in the scene and then it converts them into path traced lights.”

Half-Life 2 RTX interview: a desk with an old computer and lamp on it

There are minimal adjustments after RTX is put in these games, because if the lighting was already solid in the first place, RTX just makes it look even nicer.

When it comes to obstacles though, Driver-Gomm outlines how the “old tech” can sometimes get in the way of mod work. “You often have to make a lot of sacrifices to make it happen, the implementation may not be optimized, and the result may not even look good.

“The biggest challenge is not really anything to do with RTX remix, it’s more like ‘if you’re going to remaster the whole game you need a whole bunch of modelers and a decent team to do it,’ but that’s really the same for any mod of this scale, or a similar scale, is a herculean effort – but it’s been done.”

“So I’m confident that teams with passion will grow and produce mods using the [RTX remix] tool.”

While you wait for Half-Life 2 RTX you might want to dive into some of the best old games currently available on PC, or the best gaming PCs you can build today if you think you need a major upgrade.