AMD Graphics Engineer Develops Castle Wolfenstein Sweet Path Traced Remake


It’s been a few years since NVIDIA announced its first foray into creating a real-time ray tracing GPU. Since that initial announcement, game engines, software developers, and even physics researchers have presented us with stunning depictions of simulated light in relatively realistic output.

Of course, not to be outdone, AMD has its own ray tracing, which it calls path tracing. Functionally, the idea is the same. A light source will trace a path in all directions and cast a shadow where appropriate. We’ve seen RTX features pop up in games like Minecraft, Loss, Earthquake IIand half life. Thanks to AMD researcher Dihara Wijetunga, we’re looking at returning to another classic dipping its toes in the sweet enlightened goodness of path-tracing.

The game we’re referring to is almost old enough to be drunk in the United States since it was released in 2001—Return to Castle Wolfenstein. The game has a positive overall score of 88 on Metacritic today. It was also the basis for the mega popular free to play spin-off known as Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory.

Although Wijetunga appears to be using a modified DX12 version of the open source code known as iortcw, it calls Wolf PT the original return to Castle Wolfenstein was built on a modified id Tech 3 engine. This same engine was also the engine used for Earthquake 3so maybe we’ll see a path laid out Earthquake 3 in the future too. Although it’s speculation at the moment, it makes sense that at some point there could be Vulkan support. Also, it seems like a labor of love project by one person, it’s hard to say for sure if it sees the light of day. Still, it’s cool to see how lighting like this can change the mood of a game.

Screenshot showing the comparison between the drawn path and the original lighting

We also have to wonder, though, about Microsoft’s involvement in things like Minecraft RTX with NVIDIA, and its recent plans to acquire Activision-Blizzard, which owns the rights to Wolfenstein. Is it possible that at some point we’ll see Microsoft step in to improve and re-release these classics with upgrades like this in the future? We hope.


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