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Nvidia debuts Portal: Prelude RTX, and you can play it for free

Nvidia has just opened up its bag of RTX 40-series goodies and unleashed all of them on Portal: Prelude RTX, a community remaster of one of the most popular Portal mods.

The game features full ray tracing, as well as support for DLSS 3. To top it off, it also utilizes Nvidia’s Reflex and RTX IO tech to improve performance. You can play it for free, but only if you already own the original version of Portal.

Screenshot of Portal: Prelude RTX.

Nvidia’s DLC for Portal, titled Portal RTX, has been on Steam for a while. Now, a remake of an unofficial mod will also become available at 12 p.m. PT on July 18. First released in 2008, it takes place before the main game. Nvidia teases that Portal: Prelude serves up an “extremely challenging” 10-hour campaign that comes with a lot of interesting stuff to sink your teeth into. Expect to see new gameplay mechanics, 19 previously unseen test chambers, and a fully fleshed-out story complete with voice acting.

Although it may have started as a successful mod, Portal: Prelude certainly sounds like a proper game. It was created by modders with the use of Nvidia’s RTX Remix creator toolkit, which is a modding platform that lets creators revamp classic games to take advantage of Nvidia’s RTX tools, including ray tracing and DLSS. The end result is a collaboration between Nvidia and the original creator of Portal Prelude, Nicolas Grevet (NykO18).

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The game is said to make the most of what Nvidia has to offer in this generation of GPUs. The ever-impressive DLSS 3 is here in full force, ramping up frame rates while Reflex cuts back on latency. Every frame has been upgraded in a group effort by a team of five modders, and it now features high-resolution imagery with realistic ray tracing and lighting, as well as enhanced models. It’s like Portal, but on steroids.

Nvidia teases huge performance boosts thanks to the use of its RTX product stack (DLSS 3, Reflex, RTX IO). The game is said to run up to 5x faster on average when played at 4K with max settings, which, Nvidia claims, translates to 80 frames per second (fps) or more. This only applies to the RTX 4080 and the RTX 4090, though. RTX IO itself improves texture loading speeds by 5x and also takes up 44% less space on your drive.

Screenshot of Portal: Prelude RTX.

In addition to the game itself, Nvidia is launching a new Game Ready Driver. It also adds some optimizations for other games, such as Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, and boosts the way RTX IO and Microsoft DirectStorage in Windows work in these two titles.

The game is up for grabs — if you already own Portal, you can download the new prequel on Steam. Nvidia hasn’t mentioned any availability for the game elsewhere, so this seems to be the only option.

Nvidia also teased that the 16GB version of RTX 4060 Ti is coming later this month, which seemingly confirms the theory that Nvidia itself is not making a Founders Edition of the card.

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Monica J. White
Monica is a UK-based freelance writer and self-proclaimed geek. A firm believer in the "PC building is just like expensive…
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