What’s All This Ray Tracing Talk?

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  • What’s All This Ray Tracing Talk?

Ray Tracing isn’t entirely new, it’s been around for nearly 2 years in the PC Gaming realm but hasn’t yet made the jump to console, mainly due to a complete lack of hardware support. That’s all going to change shortly with the Series X.

So, what’s it all about, basically lighting, but super complex realistic lighting, shadows and reflection. Doesn’t sound all that important really, but it is. Lighting is one of those elements in gaming that makes all the difference, much like good physics, and Ray Tracing will make noticeable leaps in the console gaming experience. Unfortunately, we haven’t actually seen it yet, at least not natively in the wild.

Earlier this year Microsoft unveiled a whole host of Series X information and along with it a look at how the DirectX Ray Tracing will make the next generation of games that much prettier. Of those individuals lucky enough to experience the technology on the Series X first hand it was said that the benefits were immediately obvious.

The lucky man in the video above got to experience the Series X first-hand, skip to 2:40 to see the difference Ray Tracing makes in Minecraft and also general performance of the Series X with an informative breakdown.

The implementation of hardware accelerated Ray Tracing is quite a big leap forward for graphics performance and aesthetic. The rendering technique creates a more realistic scene based on the light sources and how those sources interact with the objects in the scene, the difference is a lot greater than you would think.

Personally, I like to think of light as a line, it hits an object and reflects, refracts or is absorbed to some varying degree by the object. Ray Tracing attempts to emulate this in the virtual world, and quite well from the looks of it, that lava light reflection in Minecraft was surprising but the distance limitations are unknown, obviously in the real world light travels pretty far and I doubt the virtual world will emulate that to quite the same degree.

The demonstrations by Nvidia are enough to make me jealous of PC gamers, the extent to which this will be possible on the Series X is not entirely clear especially given the current price tag for a top of the range Nvidia RTX card compared to the rumoured Series X price.

The technology itself began development 40 years ago and thanks to a few scientists it now exists today and within the next 6 months we will hopefully experience it on the Series X.

Further Reading :

https://docs.unrealengine.com/en-US/Engine/Rendering/RayTracing/index.html

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