A New Ray-Tracing Mod Comes To The Original Half-Life!

I’ll break out Half-Life and its sequels every few years and give them a run-through. Even though today’s standards may date the textures and character models, the gameplay still holds up thanks to Valve’s excellent craftsmanship. Sometimes, it’s nice to put a new polish on an old classic. That’s just what we have here today with a new ray-tracing mod.

GitHub user sultim-t uploaded the Half-Life 1: Ray Traced mod yesterday. Thanks to Ars Technica for clueing us into this new add-on. The downloadable mod drastically improves the lighting throughout the game while retaining Half-Life’s iconic look and feel. Putting modern renderers on low-res textures may sound odd, but it works really well, just like it did with Quake II.

Installation is simple, and the ray-tracing renderers can be swapped in-game by pressing X. Keep in mind that there are known issues:

  • AMD GPUs might have some incompatibility issues
  • Part of the objects are culled by a server before sending packets to a client (and in HL1, even in singleplayer, a local server is created). So some objects might not have proper shadows / be reflected in mirrors / etc, until a server actually sends them
  • Classic renderer doesn’t support dynamic lightmaps (consequently, a flashlight)
  • Classic renderer doesn’t support sky visibility polygons, so some unintended objects might be observed in a skybox
  • Classic renderer’s decals don’t have lightmap lighting
  • Custom maps should work, but the lighting might be overly dark and unplayable; performance on them may be worse
  • Hazard Course is not supported yet

You will need relatively new PC hardware to get ray-tracing to run smoothly. I’d suggest a 3060 Ti and up, but a standard 3060 GPU will also work.

Some of this modder’s other ray-tracing efforts include the original DOOM and Quake. They make one hell of a difference.

[Source: sultim_t] [Source: GitHub] [Source: Ars Technica]


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Mike Phalin
Mike Phalinhttp://syxxsense.com
Longtime problematic entertainment journalist. The former workhorse for Dread Central, ScienceFiction.com, and Fanbolt.

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