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Unreal Tournament and the original Unreal receive RTX path tracing mods

Forward-looking: Several classic PC games have received path tracing refreshes through RTX Remix and other mods, allowing fans to revisit them with a new feel and enhanced with more realistic lighting. Early Unreal Engine titles have remained largely untouched until now, but renderer modifications might offer a preview of what’s to come.

Unreal and Unreal Tournament are the latest classic games to become playable with advanced path-traced lighting through RTX Remix. Although the mod that enables the effect remains a work in progress, screenshots and videos from an early version show the two titles with dramatically altered aesthetics.

Applying RTX Remix to Unreal and Unreal Tournament required additional workarounds compared to some other games. Nvidia started the RTX Remix open beta in January, allowing modders to add path tracing to DirectX 8 and DirectX 9 titles that utilize fixed-function pipelines. The technology has been transformative for classics like Tomb Raider, Max Payne, and Portal.

Modder “mmdanggg2” achieved a similar effect in the Unreal games by modifying an earlier DirectX 9 renderer designed to facilitate playing Unreal Engine 1 titles like Unreal Tournament and the original Deus Ex on modern PCs.

Installing the mod requires OldUnreal Unreal Tournament version 469d and RTX Remix Runtime version 0.4 or later. First, extract the files from mmdanggg2’s GitHub page into the game directory, then open the config file “UnrealTournament.ini” and add the lines “GameRenderDevice=D3D9DrvRTX.D3D9RenderDevice” and “Render=D3D9DrvRTX.D3D9Render” underneath “[Engine.Engine].”

Loading maps into the UT engine allows users to play the original Unreal with the RTX Remix-enhanced DirectX 9 renderer. Further texture work is required to take full advantage of the new lighting effects, but a video clip shows how dramatically the mod alters Unreal’s famously atmospheric intro level.

Despite Unreal’s role in introducing the now-dominant Unreal Engine, it has never received an official re-release or remaster. Furthermore, the series isn’t currently available on any digital storefronts.

The CEO of Nightdive Studios, which specializes in classic FPS remasters like the recently re-released Star Wars: Dark Forces, expressed interest in porting Unreal, but Epic Games doesn’t seem eager about the idea thus far.

The original Deus Ex is another fan-favorite Unreal Engine 1 title that some RTX Remix users have started tinkering with. RTX Remix mods are also in development for Unreal Tournament 2004, Need for Speed: Underground, and other games. Nvidia is promoting a collaborative effort between modders to rebuild Half-Life 2 using the company’s modding tools, too.

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