Ray tracing, a next-generation lighting technology that creates hyper-realistic visuals, has been the hot topic in gaming graphics for a while. The most interesting aspect is that real-time ray tracing doesn’t require spiffy new gaming engines or setups — you can apply it to super-basic 3D titles like Minecraft or even the original Doom. As part of its RTX 4000 series announcement, Nvidia showed off an updated version of Valve’s classic Portal, a first-person puzzler, with a ray tracing lighting mod and DLSS 3 applied.
Nvidia isn’t the first to apply ray tracing to Portal, but its new version of the game consistently applies the lighting technology to the entire game. This enhances the original title’s bleak atmosphere and the super-clean testing facility and its dark, foreboding underbelly. Lighting from the portals themselves, the rare gun-packing turrets, and floating energy balls really show off the enhanced engine and tweaked textures. The update was created with Nvidia’s new modding tool system, RTX Remix.
Portal came out way back in 2007 as part of Valve’s Orange Box package, becoming an instant classic and a staple of gaming culture thanks to its novel first-person physics puzzles, menacing and hilarious narration, and an incredible vocal performance from GladOS actor Ellen McLain. Valve released a sequel in 2011, but has since done little with the series aside from some promotional tie-ins.
Nvidia’s ray tracing upgrade to the original Portal will be available in November after the new Lovelace-based GeForce RTX 4090 and 4080 desktop graphics cards. It will be a free DLC download for those who already own the game on Steam. It’s not known whether the ray-tracing graphics will be available on older graphics cards or AMD-based hardware.
Michael is a former graphic designer who's been building and tweaking desktop computers for longer than he cares to admit. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.