Modder Bringing Ray Tracing to Original Half-Life

Valve’s maiden release Half-Life has gone down as one of the most influential FPS titles of its generation, and now someone is improving it visually.

When Valve first launched Half-Life back in 1998, no one really knew just how much of an impact it would have on the shooter genre at the time. It’s generally considered one of the most innovative FPS games of all time, as well as one of the most influential PC releases of the 1990s. While it’s already been given a highly-praised reboot using a modern engine, Black Mesa, the original is still a classic, and one fan wants to give the sci-fi shooter a bit of a polish.


In a video uploaded to YouTube a few days ago, a user by the name of sultim_t is working on a mod for Half-Life that adds ray tracing to the game to give it that more up-to-date graphical sheen. The minute-long clip shows segments from their current build, as well as a couple of screen wipes which show the original and how it compares to the ray tracing version. In its current state, the difference is quite obvious, with more realistic lighting effects, shadows, and water reflections. The mod is not currently available to download, however.

This is also not the modder’s first ray tracing rodeo, so to speak. According to a report from DSO Gaming, sultim_T has also done graphical improvements to the classic FPS Serious Sam: The First Encounter. Evidently, it seems that retro games are their forte, and so far this Half-Life mod seems to be coming along nicely. Sadly, there doesn’t appear to be any news about when it will actually be released.

For those who don’t know, ray tracing is a way to render graphics in-game. The end result is to make what’s on-screen appear more realistic, relying on an algorithm which tracks light sources and then bounces that around the game world according to where the player is stood. It’s become something of an industry standard over the years, often reserved for AAA releases, but it also gets implemented in older games.

Even Minecraft had a ray tracing update just over a year ago. For this modder to include it in such a beloved classic shows that it’s a piece of software tech that is useful in breathing new life into older games, but it also shows just how well revered the original Half-Life is after almost two and half decades.

Half-Life was released in 1998 for PC, with ports to PS2, OS X and Linux.

Source: DSO Gaming

Source: Gamerant

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