Max Payne RTX Remix Path Tracing Mod On 4080 Drops FPS From 1400 To 65 But Looks Stunning

max payne original
The original Max Payne is now more than 20 years old, designed for the era of the PlayStation 2 and first-gen Xbox. Some fans of the title refuse to let it die and have released a new mod to bring Max Payne into the modern era. You can now run Max Payne with full path ray tracing, but be warned, it's going to be murder on your GPU.

Max Payne, which is no stranger to re-releases, is a third-person shooter with your classic hard-boiled rogue detective storyline. The game has strong noir elements, with shootouts in dark warehouses and chases through shadowy corridors. The visuals were impressive for the time, but this is exactly the kind of environment that would benefit from more realistic ray traced lighting. Using the open beta for NVIDIA's RTX Remix, a team of volunteer modders has given it that.

While this DirectX 8 game was challenging to run in 2001, it's a breeze for today's hardware—there's even a 2012 version designed to work on smartphones. The modders report that stock Max Payne runs at around 1,400 fps with a GeForce RTX 4080. However, flipping on the ray tracing mod drops it to around 65 fps. That's a whopping 95% reduction in performance.

Ray tracing is computationally expensive, which is why it has only come into use in games over the past few years. Ray tracing simulates the physical properties of light to create more accurate illumination pixel by pixel. Full path ray tracing is on another level, casting multiple rays for each pixel and following them as they reflect around a scene. This is enough to bring even a powerful GPU to its proverbial knees.

The modders show that the RTX 4080 usually pulls around 180W in Max Payne, but turning on path tracing boosts it to 300W. It's similar to the NVIDIA-based Portal RTX release, which used full path tracing to update lighting in the classic puzzle game. That game barely ran on anything less than an RTX 40 series graphics card.

You can see a demo of Max Payne's revamped lighting in the video above. Even though the textures and animations are two decades old (Max still looks eternally constipated), updating the lighting makes the game look much less than 20 years old. You can download the mod from ModDB right now, but you'll also need a copy of the game and an NVIDIA GPU. It's free, but it's still a work in progress, and it'll probably take some tinkering to get everything working.