Basic shooter Descent, launched in 1995, has gotten a facelift from some enterprising college students who’ve added a fats stack of technical upgrades to the open, shareware fork of the game. Most notable is that perennial glory: pathtraced international illumination. It is what the youngsters nowadays are calling “ray traced lighting.”

And it completely whips should you, like me, have half-remembered recollections of taking part in Descent on another person’s dad’s laptop within the mid-’90s in a dimly lit basement. On the time, the six levels of freedom shooter appeared revolutionary as you piloted your strike craft via the zero-G mining operations of the photo voltaic system, shooting blobby enemies that have been like… drones or one thing? That they had two glowing eyeballs typically which was bizarre. I assume these have been cameras.

The intensive work by college students on the Breda College of Utilized Sciences provides physically-based rendering, tender shadows, pathtraced international illumination, bloom, temporal anti-aliasing, movement blur, and different post-processing results to Descent. It is obtainable without cost on github as DXX Raytracer.

No extra are the drones blobby! No extra are they obscure! As with so many of those older video games, the brand new lighting offers a lot extra definition to the fashions’ spare polygons that it appears to be like merely revolutionary.  Descent was much more a game about cramped areas than different shooters of its time, and the emphasis on weapons like missiles and flares actually good points loads from the ray tracing—all these moving gentle sources in tight, intersecting polygonal corridors.

The mod contains debug menus for options as nicely, letting you tweak render settings, watch how your GPU makes use of its time, and fudge round with materials properties to make issues like, actually shiny.

For earlier entries on this sequence, see “This is basic Doom with ray tracing” and “This is Half-Life with ray tracing.” That second one actually labored on PC Gamer’s Robert Jones, who wanted a chilly bathe in a dimly lit room afterward. It is solely gonna get higher from right here, too: Nvidia did ray traced Portal, and modders are usually on a rampage with the tech. (To not point out the time Shaun wished to go reside inside ray traced Minecraft.)

You will get your entire playable model of DXX Raytracer without cost on Github.

The group at Breda College of Utilized Sciences was composed of Sam Boots, Justin  Kujawa, Lyubomir Kostadinov, Daniël Cornelisse, Stan Vogels, Wessel Frijters, Kylian Dekker, and Lily Haverlag.