Nvidia has announced its all-new RTX 4000 (commonly referred to as RTX 40) series, but while the expensive-as-heck cards seem to be leading much of the coverage, their coolest feature, Nvidia RTX Remix, is getting a bit buried.
Sure, spending more than $1,000 on a GPU is a bit nonsensical and not really value for money if all you really want is performance equivalent to the modern range of consoles (the Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5), but among Nvidia’s announcements, the Remix feature really stood out to me as the coolest.
“Enter Nvidia RTX Remix, a free modding platform built on Nvidia Omniverse that enables modders to quickly create and share #RTXON mods for classic games, each with enhanced materials, full ray tracing, Nvidia DLSS 3 and Nvidia Reflex,” the press release for Nvidia Remix reads.
“In a compatible game, press the hotkey and the surrounding scene is captured, as you can see here in a test scene from Bethesda Softworks’ The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, one of Nexus Mods’ most-modded games. Suddenly, one of the hardest challenges in modding is easily solved.”
That is, by far, one of the coolest gaming innovations I think I’ve ever seen, being able to upscale and remaster the graphics of a game on-the-fly.
Of course, you’re right to be sceptical of just how much better this scene looks. New objects have been added in or changed drastically, and it’s difficult to pin much of it on rendering applications and not modders themselves using RTX Remix’s cooperative workflow tools.
But with the tool being built as a modding platform focused on creating and sharing mods, we do know that enhanced materials, ray tracing and DLSS support are part of the mix. Here’s a technical explanation from the announcement post:
“RTX Remix is able to capture the textures, geometry, lighting, and cameras thanks to an innovative, custom D3D9 Runtime called the RTX Remix Runtime. Classic games like Morrowind use the D3D9 runtime to send draw calls (rendering instructions) to the GPU. RTX Remix Runtime intercepts those draw calls, interprets them into distinct assets, and reassembles those assets into an identical scene. From there, RTX Remix converts the assets and scene into the widely adopted Universal Scene Description (USD) open 3D framework, which is the foundation of the Nvidia Omniverse platform for building and operating custom 3D pipelines.”
Capable of capturing the textures, geometry, lighting and cameras, RTX remix upscale games in real-time by tapping into those effects and using AI to, essentially, re-render the game, but much of it would still rely on the work of modders adjusting scenes and assets.
Kotaku Australia’s Ruby Innes already went into detail on how freakin’ cool Portal’s RTX-enabled DLC looks, but it’s also an example of RTX Remix, as the DLC was created using the new Nvidia tool.
This announcement comes with a nod in support of modding, which is why Nvidia says it has created this tool. The post opens with appreciation for Nexus Mods, one of the biggest modding websites in the world, followed by a love for the existence of modding: player-made mods extend the life of a game, like they’ve done with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (although Bethesda has had no trouble doing that itself). But, of course, it takes lots of time, energy and effort to create mods.
“For an example of the effort required to get a classic game upgraded with ray tracing, our Quake II RTX mod took a team of Nvidia engineers, artists and QA experts months to develop, with the benefit of source code and others’ mods and tools. Repeating this process time and again for the many classic games that people love simply isn’t possible, so we’ve taken a different approach,” the post continues.
I can’t wait for the launch of RTX Remix. A vague “soon” is teased for the release of RTX Remix, which will make it “easy to remaster supported DirectX 8 and DirectX9 games with fixed function graphics pipelines”.
“Nvidia RTX Remix will launch soon, making it easy to remaster supported DirectX 8 and DirectX 9 games with fixed function graphics pipelines,” the graphics processing giant said.
I can’t wait. You can sign up for updates on the Nvidia website, but availability hasn’t been confirmed yet.