'Quake II RTX' update delivers more realistic ray-traced visuals

Jon Fingas
Associate Editor
NVIDIA/id Software

NVIDIA is still committed to sprucing up Quake II RTX's graphics after the novelty has worn off. The GPU maker has released a 1.2 update that adds significant realism to the ray tracing effects -- insofar as you can have realism in a sci-fi game, anyway. Water is now considerably more realistic, with "god rays" that are visible even in reflections and refractions. Many textures have been updated to look sharper or just plain better. Glass is also considerably more realistic, including more "god rays," tinted glass and an experimental option that calculates the reflection and refraction inside thicker glass.

The upgrade expands just where you'll see ray tracing kick in, too. It's now visible on security monitors, and you can even see hall-of-mirrors recursive reflections on certain surfaces.

Performance might also improve depending on your system. You now have the choice of dynamic resolution scaling that will try to maintain 60 frames per second by lowering the resolution when necessary. You can boost speed by limiting the number of reflection and refraction bounces, or by turning off temporal anti-aliasing.

The 1.2 update will install automatically if you have Quake II installed through Steam, but you can download it separately if you're using a stand-alone copy. The Quake II RTX three-map demo remains free -- you only need to buy something if you want to finish the fight with the Strogg and don't already have a copy of the game hanging around.