Quake II RTX was one of the early showcases for Nvidia’s line of RTX graphics cards, showing off the ray-traced lighting and shadow effects the company’s new hardware could handle. Now, thanks to updates to the Vulkan API, those effects are available on any graphics hardware with the required power.
Quake II RTX version 1.4.0 is out today, and among the improvements the patch makes to the classic FPS game is support for platform-agnostic Vulkan extensions for ray-traced lighting. Effectively, what that means is that if your PC is running an AMD graphics card, as of today you can play Quake II RTX with all the new-fangled lighting effects enabled. Good news, right?
This is just the beginning, though – now that the open Vulkan API supports ray-tracing, that lighting technology can be used on any platform, whereas in the past, the only option was Microsoft’s DirectX 12, limiting it to Xbox and Windows PCs. The updated version of the Vulkan Software Development Kit includes all the tools developers need to implement ray-tracing in their games on just about any platform, which means it should start showing up in more games before long.
For now, as Nvidia’s press release says, “any GPU with support for Vulkan Ray Tracing can experience Quake II RTX in all its path-traced glory.” And that’s great news: some of the best graphics cards on the market are made by manufacturers other than Nvidia.
You can download the free ‘shareware’ version of Quake II RTX for free from Steam, Github, or Nvidia. And if you’re in the mood for something free, we have a whole list of the best free PC games to pick from – and plenty of those will work just fine even if you own an older graphics card.