Real Time Ray Tracing is a fantastic piece of technology. When a game is designed for it, the results are stunning - even if nicely baked-in reflections are good enough for me.
But somehow, creators insist on adding it to 20, 30-year-old games where it does not belong. The latest example is Half-Life. Paul, a colleague from the office, shared a few screenshots.
Let’s start with something great - the glow of radioactive fluid looks cool and matches the atmosphere while not diverging too much from the original.
But other places look much worse—first, some moodless outdoors.
And Xen looks just horrible.
Lighting in old older games doesn’t make sense, as it never mattered. The object which seem to make light and what makes the actual light are two separate things. What RTX does is completely ignore the art direction (the real lighting of the scene) and make the lights shine. This changes the scene completely, often for the worse. It seems like no one played this before the release.
Look at a different example. Double Fine released a remaster of Grim Fandango. They added dynamic shadows (no RTX, though, as the remake precedes the technology), but they focused on maintaining the mood.
Half-Life RTX is a fan patch, and it shows. You can’t just throw new tech on old thing and expect it to work. You need to remake the game!
Some scenes are breathtaking though!