Experiments with DirectX Raytracing in Northlight

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Ray tracing involves actually following the path a ray of light takes to determine how it is affected by the materials and objects it interacts with, which is far from a trivial task. He added that RTX will be "a "turn it up to 11" kind of feature" initially, with developers "layering in some ray tracing effects on top of rasterization-based techniques".

Of course, the key difference between a video game and a film is that video game rendering occurs in real-time whereas movies are pre-rendered.

Among the game engines that now support the DXR API are Unreal Engine 4, Unity, Frostbite and Northlight.

NVIDIA's working on some new tech, and it's something game developers have a reason to be excited about. "Starting with the green team, Nvidia has today announced Nvidia RTX, a ray-tracing technology said to bring "real-time, cinematic-quality rendering to content creators and game developers" and which is the product of 10 years" work in graphics algorithms and GPU architectures.

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"Integrating NVIDIA RTX technology into our Northlight engine was a relatively straightforward exercise".

"Remedy has accomplished something very exciting in a short amount of time using NVIDIA RTX on Microsoft's DXR". 'GPUs are only now becoming powerful enough to deliver real-time ray tracing for gaming applications, and will usher in a new era of next-generation visuals'. Epic Games has also shared a screenshot from Unreal Engine 4 using the DXR API. "We were surprised just how quickly we were able to prototype new lighting, reflection and ambient occlusion techniques, with significantly better visual fidelity than traditional rasterization techniques".

Nvidia didn't announce a new gaming graphics card at GDC, but it did give gamers a glimpse of the future with a new ray-tracing technology that runs on Microsoft's new DirectX Raytracing (DXR) API.

An in-depth breakdown of DirectX Raytracing can be found on Microsoft's developer blog and is well worth a read if you're looking to familiarize yourself with what the souped-up API has to offer developers. The utility creates a sort of fusion of rasterized and raytraced elements that allow game developers to improve things like shadow, ambient occlusion, and reflections in games.