Skip to main content

The original Portal is getting a free ray-tracing update in November

The original Portal is getting a free ray-tracing update in November


Plus, Nvidia is launching RTX Remix, a tool that can use AI to enhance graphics in older games

Share this story

If you buy something from a Verge link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

At Nvidia’s September event, where it announced the new RTX 4080 and 4090 graphics cards, it also showed off an upcoming mod for the original Portal on PC that injects gorgeous, ray-traced visuals into the game. It’ll be available for free to all current owners of the game on Steam sometime in November.

Whether you’ve played the game numerous times (raises hand) or you’re about to get it for the first time (I envy you), it’ll look even better if you have an Nvidia RTX-series graphics card in your laptop or desktop. This launch follows Nvidia’s past visual treatments that spruced up classic games, including Quake II and Minecraft. Check out Nvidia’s blog post for the full details.

Nvidia also announced a modding tool called RTX Remix, which lets artists and developers remaster older games with AI and the latest Nvidia graphics technologies. The company showed a demo of RTX Remix used to enrich the graphics of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. It’s just an example of one of many older games that can also take advantage of DLSS 3, the latest version of its AI-assisted graphics upscaling tech for RTX 40-series GPUs, and Reflex, which minimizes input latency. Nvidia bills RTX Remix as the solution for remastering games that were built in DirectX 8 and DirectX 9 that have fixed function graphics pipelines.

It quickly gets pretty deep in terms of technical details, but it’s really cool. Nvidia has plenty of picture comparison sliders to show the benefits of RTX Remix. Nvidia breaks down the process:

RTX Remix is able to capture the textures, geometry, lighting, and cameras thanks to an innovative, custom D3D9 Runtime called the RTX Remix Runtime. Classic games like Morrowind use the D3D9 runtime to send draw calls (rendering instructions) to the GPU. RTX Remix Runtime intercepts those draw calls, interprets them into distinct assets, and reassembles those assets into an identical scene. From there, RTX Remix converts the assets and scene into the widely adopted Universal Scene Description (USD) open 3D framework, which is the foundation of the NVIDIA Omniverse platform for building and operating custom 3D pipelines.