Game developer CD PROJEKT RED unveiled a technology preview today at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco for Cyberpunk 2077 with path tracking to be held on April 11.

Path tracing, also known as full ray tracing, accurately simulates light throughout the scene. It is used by visual effects artists to create film and television graphics that are indistinguishable from reality. But before coming to GeForce RTX graphics processors with RT cores and AI-based acceleration NVIDIA DLSStracking the path of video games in real time was impossible because they are extremely GPU intensive.

“Not only does it give players better visuals, but it promises to revolutionize the entire game creation process,” said Pawel Kozlowski, senior technology development engineer at NVIDIA.

This technology preview, Cyberpunk 2077Ray Tracing: Overload Mode is a sneak peek into the future of full ray tracing. Thanks to full ray tracing, almost all light sources now cast physically correct soft shadows. Natural color lighting is also reflected multiple times Cyberpunk 2077world, creating more realistic indirect lighting and occlusion.

Cyberpunk 2077, which previously used ray tracing, becomes the latest modern blockbuster to use real-time path tracing. Shortly after tracing the path for Minecraft, portal and Quake IIthis underscores the wave of adoption in the movement.

As with ray tracing, many more are expected to follow. And the impact on video games is just the beginning, as real-time path tracking holds promise for many areas of design.

Decades of Uncorked research

Developed for decades in real time path tracing it’s a really big leap in game graphics.

Although long used in computer graphics for film, path tracing there took place in offline rendering farms, often requiring hours to render a single frame.

In games that require high frame rates, rendering should take about 0.016 seconds.

Since the 1970s, video games have relied on rasterization techniques (see below). More recently, in 2018, NVIDIA introduced RTX GPUs to support ray tracing. Path tracing is the last frontier for the most physically accurate lighting and shadows.

Path tracing has been one of the main lighting algorithms used in offline rendering farms and computer graphics in movies for many years. It wasn’t until the GeForce RTX 40 series and DLSS 3 became available that it became possible to bring path tracing to real-time graphics.

Cyberpunk 2077 also uses shader execution reordering available for use on NVIDIA’s Ada Lovelace architecture, which optimizes GPU workloads for more efficient path-tracing lighting.

Accelerated by DLSS 3

DLSS 3 complements revolutionary advances in path tracing and uses state-of-the-art artificial intelligence built on GPU-accelerated deep learning, a form of neural network, as a powerful gaming performance multiplier. DLSS allows games to render 1/8 of a pixel, then uses artificial intelligence and GeForce RTX tensor cores to reconstruct the rest, dramatically increasing frame rates while delivering sharp, high-quality images that rival native resolution.

Running on Ada Lovelace advances — launched from Graphics processors of the GeForce RTX 40 series — DLSS 3 increases the frame rate while maintaining image quality and response speed in games.

Powerful tools are already available

For game developers NVIDIA today on GDC announced the availability RTX+ Path Tracing SDK 1.0. The technology package includes DLSS 3, Shader Execution Reordering (SER), RTX Direct Illumination (RTXDI) and NVIDIA Real-Time Denoisers (NRD).

Learn more about full RTX path trace.

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