Nvidia RTX Remix open beta brings remaster mod tools to the masses

Nvidia RTX Remix
(Image credit: Nvidia)

Nvidia RTX Remix is now in open beta (via TechRadar), so modders can bring full ray tracing, DLSS, and Reflex features to older titles. RTX Remix also comes with modern physically-based rendering assets and generative AI texture tools. Essentially allowing the mod community to create their own remasters of existing games.

RTX Remix is built on the Nvidia Omniverse platform, designed to remaster DirectX 8 and 9 titles. The toolkit is made of two major components: a runtime to capture game scenes alongside an application to create lights and add remastered assets.

While the open beta for RTX Remix has just launched, Nvidia and a select set of modders have been using the tools to create the Portal with RTX remaster and Portal: Prelude RTX. Nvidia also created some remaster mods for The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and Mount & Blade in order to show off the technology for the original announcement in 2022. Most recently, Orbifold Studios has started working with the mod community to develop Half-Life 2 RTX: An RTX Remix Project.

How does it work?

Nvidia RTX Remix

(Image credit: Nvidia)

RTX Remix is a mod platform that simplifies the process of creating a graphic update mod for an older game. It is designed for use by experienced modders, but Remix does make it simple enough that you don't need to be a software developer in order to use it.

RTX Remix runtime scans the game as its being played while the asset toolkit allows for offline asset editing. The runtime has two different components, the Remix Bridge and Renderer. The Bridge sits alongside the original game file and allows the original graphics engine to operate in 64-bit, and then sends that information along to the Remix Renderer. The Renderer is a graphics engine that allows for modders to implement updated assets as well as ray tracing and DLSS features.

When replaying the game after adding the Remix Mod files, the runtime Bridge and Renderer work together to swap out assets and change the game in real time.

Nvidia has specifically targeted Direct X 8 and 9 games, so Remix won't work well with newer titles running DX 10 or newer. It is a fixed function pipeline, so offlabel use isn't recommended. 

In order to work with Remix you'll need to download Nvidia Omniverse first, log in with your Nvidia account, and then install Remix from the Omniverse Exchange.

Is it worth it?

Nvidia RTX Remix

(Image credit: Nvidia)

Graphic overhaul mods are some of the most popular on Nexus Mods. Gamers love to relive classic games, but as technology advances those games start showing their age. Some become almost unrecongizable as modern tech helps illustrate exactly where the original dev team had to cut corners to make the game work in the first place, so an update to the graphics can help smooth those edges back out again.

However, Morrowind in particular is an interesting example for Nvidia as the Elder Scrolls mod community has been porting that game into newer Elder Scrolls engines since the launch of Oblivion. Both for updated graphics but also to overhaul the game's laughably terrible combat system. You can go play Skywind – a full recreation of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind built on the Skyrim Special Edition engine – right now if you like.

But RTX Remix isn't a full engine update. It remaps the game, adjusts asset textures, and adds Nvidia's technological advancements. But ultimately the games rebuilt in Remix are still using their original physics engine with the Remix Renderer allowing for an update to the graphics engine. However, Remix won't be fixing Morrowind's janky combat the way the Skywind project does. So there are some limitations with the technology.

Despite those limitations, however, RTX Remix can be used for some incredible community projects. Nvidia showcased the Half-Life 2 RTX project at CES, which showcased the graphic overhaul work done on the game as well as the ability to drop in custom assets and customize the game to your own vision.

Like with any graphic update mod, there is always the risk of losing some of the original magic of the game in the process of making everything look shinier. But plenty of classic games do deserve the chance to get a snazzy new facelift and this isn't a problem unique to RTX Remix. As with any modding tool, the power is in the hands of the users.

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Madeline Ricchiuto
Staff Writer

A former lab gremlin for Tom's Guide, Laptop Mag, Tom's Hardware, and Tech Radar; Madeline has escaped the labs to join Laptop Mag as a Staff Writer. With over a decade of experience writing about tech and gaming, she may actually know a thing or two. Sometimes. When she isn't writing about the latest laptops and AI software, Madeline likes to throw herself into the ocean as a PADI scuba diving instructor and underwater photography enthusiast.