Don’t Miss a Free NVIDIA “Portal” Graphics Update
When Valve released Portal in 2007, it was a revelation. Critics and gamers have praised the first-person puzzle shooter for its inventive gameplay, the deadpan wit of GLaDOS (an artificial intelligence that counters you throughout the mission), and a unique approach to storytelling. But 2007 was a long time ago, and while the gameplay certainly holds up 15 years later, the visuals… not so much. That’s why it’s such good news that the game is getting a graphical overhaul – and if you’ve bought Portal in the past, you can upgrade the game for free.
Portal with RTX is a reimagining of the original 2022 Portal graphics. It uses the NVIDIA RTX Remix tool based on similar Quake II and Minecraft updates. NVIDIA RTX Remix updates Portal with ray tracing, a compute-intensive graphics technology in which the game fires beams of light into a 3D environment and measures how those beams bounce off objects towards light sources. Ray tracing creates detailed environments with dynamic lighting and works great, at least on modern hardware.
Unlike the original graphics, in the RTX version, light will bounce off and interact with every surface in the game. All of the original flat surfaces have been replaced with more floors, walls and ceilings with more realistic textures, including grooves and bulges to help guide light to give the graphics added depth and realism. You will even see the light naturally pass through the named portals and reflect back into the environment. With volumetric ray tracing, light interacts more naturally with fog.
But it’s not just ray tracing that makes Portal with RTX such an upgrade. NVIDIA has also rebuilt textures and models from scratch. Everything from Portals to the Companion Cube to your Portal Cannon looks utterly modern. You can see how striking the difference is by looking at the charts on the official announcement page . The difference is really big and it seems like a 15 year old game could have come out this year along with games like God of War Ragnarok and Elden Ring .
One of the modern appeals of the classic Portal is that it will run on just about anything. You don’t need an expensive gaming PC to play this inventive, game-changing puzzle platformer. However, Portal with RTX is nowhere near as forgiving. In fact, it’s quite demanding: to play the game at 1080p 30fps, NVIAIA’s minimum recommendation, the company suggests that your system have an RTX 3060 with DLSS 2. To push it up to 60fps, NVIDIA recommends an RTX 3080 with DLSS 2 Playing at 4K 60 FPS, NVIDIA lists an RTX 4080 with DLSS 3 along with 16GB of VRAM and 32GB of RAM. Phew.
However, these are their recommendations. The update is still free for anyone who purchased Portal on PC, so you can also try it on your specific installation. NVIDIA is officially rolling out the update via Steam on Thursday, December 8th, so you won’t have to wait long. All these years later, Portal is still alive .