Half-Life 2, the influential 2004 first-person shooter (FPS) game from Valve, is being remastered with ray tracing technology thanks to a newly formed mod team at Orbifold Studios, PC hardware firm Nvidia announced Tuesday. 

The team behind the Half-Life 2 RTX remake are recreating game assets and environments using Valve’s Hammer editor technology, as well as NVIDIA’s RTX Remix modding platform. The community modding team will use game development tools like ray tracing, DLSS 3.5, Reflex, and RTX IO technologies, to name a few, to overhaul the game’s graphics and create a more detailed and cinematic gaming experience. 

Orbifold Studios is a combination of four of Half-Life 2’s “top mod teams,” according to the announcement, so its developers are already intimately familiar with the game. Valve is not working on the unofficial remake, and players will have to already own the original Half-Life 2 game in order to be able to experience the upcoming remastered version.

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The original Half-Life was released back in 1998. Half-Life was Valve’s first game—in the following years, the game and tech studio went on to release other iconic titles like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), Dota 2, Left 4 Dead, Portal, and Team Fortress 2. Valve is also the company behind the popular Steam marketplace.

This isn’t the first time NVIDIA has announced remakes of iconic Valve titles that leverage its tech. Back in December, a remake of Valve’s 2007 dystopian, first-person sci-fi game Portal was launched, bringing ray tracing and NVIDIA Reflex to the classic puzzle game.

Ray tracing is a key technical advancement that has become more prominent in the gaming space in recent years due to ever-improving hardware, allowing for more realistic, cinematic lighting effects in video games and 3D environments.

With ray tracing, light is able to “bounce” and reflect more intensely, mimicking real light. Shadows, reflections, and ambient atmospheric effects get special treatment, bringing a new level of realism to AAA games—at least for players that have powerful-enough hardware to take advantage of the feature.

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Half-Life 2 RTX is still in development, and its release date has not yet been announced. In fact, the project is open to bringing on interested game developers and artists and is accepting applications through its official website.

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