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Portal: Prelude’s fan-made prequel gets a fancy RTX remaster, and it costs nothing (except a powerful graphics card)

Good luck running this on a potato

The player aims the portal gun between a companion cube and portals in Portal: Prelude RTX
Image credit: Nicolas 'NykO18' Grevet, David 'Kralich' Driver-Gomm

After zhuzhing up Portal with a shiny RTX version last year, Nvidia is at it again. This time, it’s ray-traced the cube-shaped edges of Portal: Prelude, the fan-made mod that serves as a full-length prequel to Valve’s beloved puzzler. You can go and download Portal: Prelude RTX for free now, as long as you’ve got the hardware to run it.

Like Portal RTX, Portal: Prelude RTX was remastered using Nvidia’s RTX Remix tech, which up-rezzed the popular 2008 mod’s textures while adding support for ray-traced lighting and reflections.

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The RTX release additionally upscales the original mod to DLSS 3 - which aims to counteract the performance hit of tracing all those rays by rendering extra frames, presumably keeping things smooth as a Portal turret’s shiny exterior.

Also included in the list of acronyms is RTX IO, which aims to minimise texture load times by offloading CPU work to an RTX GPU, as Katharine handily explains here.

Turrets aim their lasers through a circular door in Portal: Prelude RTX
Image credit: Nicolas 'NykO18' Grevet, David 'Kralich' Driver-Gomm

If you’re not familiar with Portal: Prelude, the mod includes 19 new chambers in the style of the seminal puzzle game, and follows new character Abby in an origin story for both Aperture Science and GlaDOS. As far as mods go, it’s an impressive creation, featuring full voice acting and a campaign lasting around six hours or so.

Like the RTX overhaul for Portal, Portal: Prelude RTX will require you to have a graphics card able to handle all that ray-tracing goodness, with the mod’s specs listing a RTX 2060 as the baseline and recommending an RTX 3080 - lower than the original Portal’s 3060 minimum.

Even so, your mileage may vary if the mod’s “Mixed” reviews on Steam are anything to go by, with even those running at least the minimum spec running into some performance troubles - although it seems that more criticism is directed at the mod’s puzzle design than its framerate. Still, it won’t cost you a penny to give it a go, as long as you already own Portal.

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