Black Mesa will get shiny: Free Half-Life ray-trace mod provides delicate splendor

Ray-traced laser cutting through a Half-Life hallway (crowbar up)
Enlarge / The acquainted hallways of Black Mesa could be made new with some generative lighting.


Half-Life is a legendary recreation, a title that was forward of its time in its storytelling, mechanics, and expertise. Graphically, although, it might’t assist however look extraordinarily 1998. A brand new, free ray-tracing mod makes the PC unique much more compelling to revisit.

Sultim Tsyrendashiev, engaged on GitHub as sultim-t, has labored on graphics upgrades and ports of many video games and instruments, together with the Severe Engine and Quake. The Xash3D: Ray Traced venture, now prepared for public use with Half-Life 1, tweaks an alternate model of Half-Life‘s Supply engine so as to add a customized path-traced renderer. The tech that strikes functions from mounted to real-time path tracing is fascinating and guarantees much more ray-traced nostalgia kicks to return.

Launch trailer for sultim_t’s “Half-Life: Ray Traced” mod.

However what most of us are excited about is the way it works in Half-Life. It’s extremely fairly, and whereas the impact is usually delicate, it might steal the present in huge moments (sorry, tentacle big that should go). I performed by means of the primary stage and a bit into the second with the mod put in, and I visited a number of different ranges with map warp cheats (although I rapidly died in most since I could not get weapon cheats to work). The textures aren’t upgraded (until you accomplish that your self with different mods), however modern-day lighting could make a giant distinction in how among the recreation’s areas look.

My favourite a part of this mod is that you would be able to flip backwards and forwards between the basic graphics and the brand new ray-traced hotness with Alt+X. It is fairly useful if you happen to’re questioning why so many video games and graphics card makers are excited in regards to the potential of RTX on each new video games and remasters.


You may want a duplicate of Half-Life put in from Steam to make use of this mod. Set up consists of unzipping a number of folders and transferring their content material to the sport’s native recordsdata. In case you have an Nvidia card that may assist it, an non-compulsory DLSS setting may also help increase your body fee whereas enjoying with RTX on. The sport ran easily on an RTX 3070 at 4K, however I did not play many busy areas. Decreasing the decision definitely is not a foul concept, given that you just’re not precisely working with high-res supplies within the recreation.

If this mod makes you a ray-tracing convert or piques your curiosity in how different basic video games may look with a path-traced spit-shine, think about trying out the unique Doom, Minecraft RTX, or, again within the Valve-iverse, the free replace to Portal. For a extra totally upgraded Half-Life (which might be nice to mix with this type of ray tracing), the Black Mesa remake/remaster has you coated.

Itemizing picture by Valve

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