NVIDIA and CDPR to present “RTX Path Tracing” in Cyberpunk 2077 at GDC

Published: Mar 10th 2023, 14:24 GMT   Comments

Cyberpunk 2077 getting a path tracing showcase, ready to make your GPUs sweat

At GDC, NVIDIA and CD Projekt are to present an emerging technology that will take graphics to a next level. 

In 2018, NVIDIA took the market by surprise by introducing first GPUs capable of accelerating real-time ray tracing in games. It took many months for first game developers to support this technology and even more time for graphics card power to catch up with performance.

The ray tracing technology is now supported by AMD and Intel, but NVIDIA already looking ahead to promote path tracing support with RTX 40 GPUs. This technology is to be available with the new Cyberpunk 2077 game settings called “RT: Overdrive”.

Ray tracing and path tracing are two popular methods used in computer graphics to simulate the behavior of light in a virtual environment. Ray tracing is a deterministic process that involves tracing the path of light rays and their interactions. This technique requires a lot of processing power. However, it produces high-quality images with accurate reflections, refractions, and shadows.

In contrast, path tracing is a randomly computed process that involves sampling paths of light as they move through a scene. This technique is less computationally expensive than ray tracing, but it can produce noisy images that require many iterations to converge to a high-quality result. Path tracing is commonly used in applications that require physically accurate simulations of light, such as architectural visualization and product design. It is however not commonly used in games yet.

Ray Tracing in Cyberpunk 2077, Source: NVIDIA

Thus far, NVIDIA has showcased path tracing in their graphics demos such as Quake 2 RTX or Portal RTX. However, even with the most powerful GPUs, framerates were very low, especially without any DLSS (upscaling) magic.

At GDC, CD Projekt and NVIDIA are to showcase a new game setting called ‘RT: Overdrive’. This mode is to enable path tracing in Cyberpunk 2077, which would be the first modern AAA game to support this technology.

‘Cyberpunk 2077’ RT: Overdrive – Bringing Path Tracing into the Night City (Presented by NVIDIA)

CD Projekt RED’s Cyberpunk 2077 is technically one of the most challenging games on the market thanks to its massive world scale and visual variety. Its neon-illuminated environments and vast Night City vistas are already pushing the envelope of what’s currently possible in real-time graphics. RT: Overdrive mode aims to take it to the next level by bringing RTX Path Tracing into the mix.

We all are well too familiar with the limitations of the current real-time direct and indirect lighting algorithms. Things like non-shadow casting lights with non-physically based range, low-resolution indirect light multiplied by screen-space ambient occlusion, or screen-space reflections are still widely used. While delivering satisfying performance on lower-end hardware, they limit maximum image quality and reduce content creator flexibility.

RTX Path Tracing aims to minimize constraints put on the content creators by delivering pixel-perfect soft shadows and indirect light contribution in fully dynamic environments from all the lights – be it an analytical local light, emissive surface, skylight, you name it.

Join our session to find out how the new unified lighting pipeline created by the core algorithms of RTX Path Tracing, can improve the game’s image fidelity while simplifying the direct and indirect lighting pipeline simultaneously.

Welcome to the Future!

The GDC session is now planned for March 22nd, and it will be available to registered attendees. This is not a public showcase for gamers, but rather a tech demo for developers that would like to understand how path tracing works in games.

Source: GDC via Wccftech, CapFrameX

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