During PAX AUS, MEF TECH had the opportunity to catch up with Brian Burke and his team from NVIDIA. We were treated to a tech demo showcasing NVIDIA’s RTX technology, and I can assure you one thing, it will revolutionize video games as we know it.
For those unfamiliar with NVIDIA’s RTX technology, it’s essentially NVIDIA’s new graphics rendering platform that allows for real-time ray tracing. Ray tracing creates a graphical image based on a virtual light source that can realistically replicate how the lighting source would interact with virtual objects along an image plane, eliminating the use of rasterization rendering. This type of technology has been the standard in computer animated films since the original Cars movie back in 2006, unfortunately integrating this rendering technique into video games has been difficult due to limitations of gaming hardware.
Video games require rendering in real-time, as video games feature ever-changing dynamic environments. Movies on the other hand can be rendered over time to produce a final product, eliminating the extensive hardware requirements for rendering in real-time. This has been the challenge for developers, but with NVIDIA’s RTX technology, the game is about to change.
We’ve now seen the integration of ray tracing technology into software engines such as Unreal Engine, Unity, id Tech, Frostbite, 4A Games, Northlight and more. But it’s not just the AAA developers that are now on-board, Stay in the Light is an indie game developed by one person and his use of that ray tracing is incredible. Considering rasterization has long been the industry standard, developers will now be able to utilise NVIDIA’s RTX technology to bring ray tracing to the masses and produce some mind blowing results moving forward.
NVIDIA has previously showcased its RTX capabilities with a number of titles such as Control and Metro Exodus. During the tech demo, we were able to get our hands on a build of Minecraft that allowed us to instantly toggle RTX on and off, and the results were staggering; Cubes have never looked so good! No longer was the lighting static and boring, ray tracing enabled true lighting effects that completely changed the appearance of the game and the feel of the environment.
The team at NVIDIA were also nice enough to let us get our hands on an upcoming patch for Wolfenstein: Youngblood that enables RTX for the game. This patch enables RTX, and again, the results were obvious and very impressive. It is hard to comprehend the impact of ray tracing until you experience it for yourself.
We’ve all seen the RTX reveal trailer for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, which showcases RTX’s realistic lighting effects and shadows. Unfortunately, NVIDIA didn’t have a build for us to play. However, Brian explained that as NVIDIA are the official partners for COD:MW, it will feature full RTX support that includes real-time ray traced shadows, adaptive shading and full Ansel integration. This will allow you to pause Modern Warfare at any moment, adjust the camera position to capture the perfect screenshot, then edit and seamlessly upload it to social media.
One of the biggest challenges for game developers is immersion, being able to take someone on a journey and have them get lost in the virtual world that has been created. For a long time story and music were some of the biggest influences on a games immersion, but not anymore. NVIDIA’s RTX technology has the potential to change the look and feel of virtual worlds so dramatically that it may change gaming as we know it. Through all of this we need to remember that ray tracing is new in the gaming world, it will develop and grow as it matures. The future of gaming is looking very bright and as long as NVIDIA are involved, this is only the beginning.