RTX Remix: Forget the GeForce RTX 4000, the real Nvidia innovation is here

RTX Remix: Forget the GeForce RTX 4000, the real Nvidia innovation is here

Nvidia presented its RTX Remix technology at the same time as the GeForce RTX 4000. A very promising tool that deserves attention, of course, in ray tracing.

Portal_with_RTX_002_RTXON-Resized

Nvidia introduced its new GeForce RTX 4000 graphics cards this week with a lot of noise, and they don’t come cheap. But, for several years, Nvidia has mobilized a lot of effort behind software projects that implement its technical innovations. We often focus on its graphics cards, but it’s these software innovations that deserve our attention.

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This is the case of RTX Remix, a technology presented by Nvidia during its conference. We had the opportunity to speak with the engineers behind this promising idea. What if gamers could easily create remasters of popular video games for free?

How does it work ?

With RTX Remix, Nvidia offers to help you easily remaster a game by improving its textures and adding ray tracing.

RTX Remix Nvidia instructions

To do this, Remix will actually offer to play the game you want to remaster on your PC, intercept calls to the graphics card (draw calls) and so “movie“what she sees. For this to work, the game must be running in DirectX8 or 9. So we’re talking about games developed in the 90s or early 2000s. This allows Nvidia to override the source code and engine used by the game, thus capturing the geometry of the scene, the textures used, the light and the placement of the cameras.

In the idea we are not so far from Google Street View that photographs the streets, or from photogrammetry that converts a set of photos into 3D environments.

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With all this data, Nvidia can offer a complete scene in USD ( Description of the universal scene ), an open 3D format. From there, modding players can use whatever tool they choose (3DS Max, Blender, Maya, Unreal Engine) or Nvidia’s to modernize the game.

Nvidia RTX Remix 1
RTX Remix did not understand that it is a lamp: the texture is dull

To modernize environments and allow ray tracing to work at its best, Nvidia offers an AI-powered process. In fact, for old games, the walls and textures of a room were very simple, with just an image attached to an elemental shape. For ray tracing, the engine needs to know the surface material to determine the rate of light reflection.

Nvidia RTX Remix 2
With the right materials, the light is there.

AI Super Resolution, Nvidia’s name for this feature, allows you to pass the textures of a game in 4K. AI Physically based materials then it can scan the environment and understand the nature of each material automatically.

As always with AI, Nvidia told us there could be hiccups. A human will have to go back to check the work done, but the time saved will still be very significant.

We haven’t mentioned it, but modders should also be able to easily add Nvidia Reflex and DLSS support to the game.

A universal mod: what about AMD and Intel?

Once the modding team has completed the job, Nvidia offers to export an executable (.exe) to add to the game folder. It integrates a 64-bit Vulkan rendering engine and replaces the game’s origin. The good news is that any GPU that can handle VulkanRT should be able to benefit from these modifications in principle. This includes AMD Radeon and future Intel Arc graphics cards. On the other hand, using the Nvidia RTX Remix tool to develop the mod requires an Nvidia RTX graphics card.

Ray tracing is essential to the creation of the mod and the operation of Nvidia Reflex, but it should be possible to turn it off when gaming, so one could benefit from the 4K remaster without necessarily using ray tracing.

A remastering machine for studios?

With RTX Remix, Nvidia is primarily targeting the modding community. The same one that offers hundreds of mods for Skyrim, Morrowind, Half-life and many other games. This also gave rise to cult titles like Counter-Strike (a mod for Half-Life), DotA (a mod for Warcraft 3) or PUBG (a mod for Arma 3).

However, we can raise the question of the use of RTX Remix by game creators, and the relationship of RTX Remix with the intellectual property of publishers and developers. If a game doesn’t allow mods, can a person really reuse developer textures and 3D models through Nvidia’s tool?

For the firm’s engineers, the work was done upstream to take the temperature of the partners. If a developer objects to the use of RTX Remix, Nvidia will go to great lengths to limit the use of their tool. To Nvidia’s credit, modders didn’t wait for RTX Remix to tweak copyrighted games.

As for the use by studios, this does not seem to be on the agenda of Nvidia, which wants to make RTX Remix a free tool and put it in the hands of gamers. However, the RTX Remix team hopes that some developers are interested and would like to open this dialog. Beyond the remaster tool, it is in particular the rendering engine that developers might be interested in. Without touching the source code, sometimes lost by the studios when it comes to old games, Nvidia is able to modernize the execution of a game: Vulkan instead of DirectX 9, going to 64 bits and adding the ray tracing notably.

A promising technology

As long as it hasn’t been adopted by modders, it’s hard to get a definitive idea about RTX Remix. At the moment, we are in the promise stage. Nvidia still presented Portal RTX developed with RTX Remix.

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We asked the engineers about the release of this mod for Portal scheduled for November. This project would have required the efforts of twenty developers indefinitely. So we have the size of a large modding team, but not an unrealistic size. The work team mod. black table for Half-Life it started with 13 people.

It also remains to be seen how the developers will react to the possibility of seeing free remasters made by fans. As with GeForce Now, which allows you to avoid paying for your games, isn’t Nvidia putting them in front of gamers and depriving them of a source of revenue or negotiating with publishers?

The project is not open source, it is also necessary to determine what is the durability of a mod made with RTX Remix. If Nvidia ends up dropping support for this technology in several years, what will happen to the various modifications and theexecution time(the engine embedded in the executable) proposed.

However, on paper, RTX Remix could change the experience of gamers in the future in a much more profound way than just launching the GeForce RTX 4000. Modding still has a bright future.


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