Half-Life 1 Got A Glorious Ray-Traced Makeover, Check Out The Trailer And Play Now

black mesa inbound
It seems like every game is getting the ray-tracing treatment these days. We are not complaining because, so far, these improvements have made games that may not have aged well otherwise look gorgeous. One of the first was for Quake II, which breathed new life into the genre-defining arena shooter. Now, fans of award-winning and great games in need of a graphical upgrade are in luck because the original Half-Life has finally gotten its own ray-tracing overhaul.

The project is made possible by ray-tracing mod wizard Sultim Tsyrendashiev, who goes by sultim_t, as well as dedicated contributors to his projects. He is also responsible for giving us ray-traced DOOM. Ever since he announced Half-Life ray-traced a year ago, we have been eagerly awaiting its release. We were given another little preview in October of last year to whet our appetites.

Those trailers are beautiful, but the big news is that the mod is available now. Yes, the latest trailer is for the release and looks better than ever!

Half-Life 1: Ray Traced Release Trailer

The lightning from vortigaunts (0:50) is incredibly cool and the muzzle flash of some firearms and the light from the gauss gun that follow is downright sublime. Special attention has been focused on reflections too. We get to see an excellent mirror effect not only in the mirrors of Black Mesa but the reflections of equipped weapons like the laser trip mine.

If you want to pick up this mod, the installation is pretty easy. First, you'll need a Steam version of Half-Life 1, the original version, not Half-Life: Source. Next, you'll need to grab both of the non-source-code files on this github page, which includes more instructions for things like DLSS, then extract them to the local files for Half-Life. Then you just run the unique new executable, and voila! You have Half-life 1 Ray Traced!

half life rt vortigaunt
Half-Life 1: Ray-Traced Vortigaunt

There are some known issues, as the download page points out, which are either limitations of the engine or the fact that some AMD cards with ray tracing still don't fully work as expected. For the most part, people will be happy with the results.

We're hoping for a ray traced update from these folks for the Source engine. Imagine if Black Mesa: Source had this lighting, or even just Half-Life 2 itself—we've already seen what it can do for Portal.