The mod is a work-in-progress, but the footage is promising.
It’s alᴍᴏsᴛ a yᴇᴀʀ ᴛᴏ tʜᴇ ᴅᴀʏ sɪɴce a Mario 64 PC pᴏʀt magicᴀʟʟy ᴀᴘᴘᴇᴀʀed ᴏɴlɪɴe, ᴀɴd sɪɴce tʜᴇn ɪᴛ hᴀs ʀᴇᴄᴇɪᴠᴇd a 4K texture pack, 60fps sᴜᴘpᴏʀt ᴀɴd a bunch ᴏꜰ otʜᴇr ɢᴀᴍᴇpʟᴀʏ ᴀᴅᴅɪᴛiᴏɴs ʟɪᴋᴇ perᴍᴀᴅᴇᴀᴛh ᴀɴd ɴᴇᴡ ᴍᴏᴠᴇs. But ɴᴏw tʜᴇ ʙʟᴏᴏᴅy mᴀɴiacs ʜᴀᴠᴇ ᴘᴜᴛ ray tracɪɴg ɪɴ tʜᴇ ɢᴀᴍᴇ.
If you’ve got a ray tracing capable GPU, you can now enjoy full path tracing support in the 25 year old 3D platformer. The mod is called sm64rt, and it comes courtesy of DarioSamo. “You can try it out for yourself, but keep in mind this is in a very early state and you'll likely encounter plenty of visual and performance problems,” the modder writes. On Twitter, Dario adds that “I don’t consider this project finished at all, I’d just like to see if more people are interested in contributing.”
According to Digital Foundry, DarioSamo had to manually add light sources in order to get the dynamic lighting to work—the original game didn’t have them, unsurprisingly. So that means the sun is now a “real” light source, as are the usual interior light sources like torches. In addition to that most obvious of ray tracing features, you’ll also notice real shadows and reflections.
If you’re after an immaculate playthrough of Mario 64 with ray tracing, you’re probably better off waiting—if you’re interested in the tech, it’s definitely worth checking out.