Quake 1: Ray Traced: Mod modernizes light in the classic

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“RTX On” now also applies to the first real 3D shooter. Quake is more than 26 years old, but thanks to a mod, it now calculates light rays using raytracing. There's a catch: the computer you need to play the game suddenly has to be brand new again.

The mod “Quake: Ray Traced” is already the third coup by the modder sultim_t, who had previously given Serious Sam and Doom 1 realistic light calculations and is also working on a ray tracing mod for Half-Life. Quake: Ray Traced is based on another modification that complements the Vulkan API in Quake and, like the modder's other works, can be obtained via GitHub. There you will also find installation instructions.

Raytracing can then either be used for all lighting effects or limited to the geometry. The first option illuminates areas better and more realistically, creates dynamic shadows and lights from every possible source, and lets you see through portals. However, this changes the look of the shooter significantly. This is where the second variant comes into play, which is very similar to the original.

Great effects cost a lot of performance

Digital Foundry describes the effect of the completely raytraced version as “transformative” and the mod as a “phenomenal upgrade”. Minor errors, such as reflections from the muzzle flash that persisted for too long, would not be significant.

Both ray tracing modes cost similar amounts of performance according to the site's tests, which is attributed to the fact that you can switch between them with the press of a button. A lot of power is actually required. Gains can only be made by reducing the resolution and using DLSS or FSR. Thanks to DLSS in quality mode, a GeForce RTX 2060 can also achieve frame rates of 60 FPS in 1,920 × 1,080 pixels and still have room for improvement. For the same frame rates in UHD, however, you need a GeForce RTX 3080 in the computer.