Raytracing, raytracing, raytracing. It’s safe to say, that word (phrase?) is a solid contender for the word of the year, at least when it comes to gaming. Ever since Nvidia released it’s RTX Turing cards, there’s been a lot of chatter about the new graphics technology. Even Sony are getting in on the action with the Playstation 5, as Mark Cerny confirmed the next gen console is going to have some sort of raytracing capability.
Sadly, the amount of games that actually support raytracing is rather minimal, even Rise of the Tomb Raider (one Nvidia’s flagship RTX games) only just got raytracing support. But we have seen a slew of mods which have added raytracing to games, even golden oldies such as Quake 2.
The Witcher 3 is arguably one of the best looking games of recent years, and it’s stunning graphics hold up very well despite the fact that it released in 2015. But how would it look with raytraced graphics? Well, we can now see for ourselves how amazing that looks, thanks to Marty McFly’s RT Shader, developed by Pascal Gilcher.
Speaking on the development of this mod, the developer had this to say, “What I’m doing is ray tracing in screen space, tracing rays against the depth buffer (a data buffer that contains the information how far an object is away, as opposed to the color buffer which tells you what color the object has and what you usually see in any game). When compared to DXR, it has several limitations: anything behind another object does not contribute, anything outside the screen does not contribute, backfaces do not contribute. The benefits of this shader is that it can run on every game and GPU and it’s a step up from regular SSAO. I hope this serves as a sneak peek at what DXR ray tracing can do and why everyone in VFX can’t wait to get real ray tracing for their games.”