In a recent blog post on the Cryengine website, Crytek has confirmed some additional details of their real-time ray tracing demo known as Neon Noir. The Neon Noir demo was unveiled back in March and allowed real-time ray tracing to be rendered on most mainstream, contemporary AMD and NVIDIA GPUs.
AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 Achieves 30 FPS on 1080p Resolution in Crytek's Neon Noir Real-Time Ray Tracing Demo, 1440p 40+ FPS At Half Resolution Effect on AMD Vega 56 and GTX 1080
According to Crytek, the creators of CryEngine, the Neon Noir demo can run on any modern GPU from AMD and NVIDIA. This was proved in an early demonstration where a Radeon RX Vega 56 graphics card from AMD was used to run real-time ray tracing effects. Back when we saw the first demo, there wasn't any word of how modern GPUs would perform but today, Crytek has shared more information about the real-time ray tracing implementation in CryEngine.
Crytek mentions that their implementation of real-time ray tracing in the Neon Noir demo is both API and hardware agnostic. With an AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 graphics card, they managed to hit a stable 30 FPS on 1080p resolution. Crytek further reveals that reducing the resolution of raytraced reflections can deliver even better performance, allowing for 40 FPS on 1440p resolution (real-time ray tracing at half-resolution mode).
One of the key factors which help us to run efficiently on non-RTX hardware is the ability to flexibly and dynamically switch from expensive mesh tracing to low-cost voxel tracing, without any loss in quality. Furthermore, whenever possible we still use all the established techniques like environment probes or SSAO. These two factors help to minimize how much true mesh ray tracing we need and means we can achieve good performance on mainstream GPUs. Another factor that helps us is that our SVOGI system has benefitted from five years of development.
CRYENGINE NEON Noir Raytracing Demonstration on AMD Radeon RX Vega 56:
This is pretty decent performance considering real-time ray tracing a seriously taxing graphical feature and we have already seen how it crushes down even the fastest of the NVIDIA RTX series graphics cards in the few games that offer it. However, there's more to the story.
Crytek Clarifies Dedicated Hardware 'RTX' and Modern APIs Can Boost Real-Time Ray Tracing Performance Immensely, Up To 4K Full Resolution Ray Tracing With NVIDIA RTX Series
The CryEngine creators further elaborate that while their technique allows efficient operation of real-time ray tracing on non-RTX hardware, there are huge performance benefits that can be achieved from dedicated hardware and modern APIs.
It is clearly stated by Crytek that RTX graphics cards such as NVIDIA GeForce RTX 20 series which are Microsoft DXR compliant can allow the same effects to run at higher resolution with better framerates. Crytek believes that with proper optimization for RTX hardware, they can achieve full-screen ray tracing effects at 4K as opposed to half-screen ray-tracing on GTX 1080 or a Radeon RX Vega 56.
NVIDIA opened Ray Tracing support on their GeForce GTX cards through a driver earlier last month which allowed users to run titles with ray tracing effects on non-RTX hardware. This allowed users to not only compare their performance to RTX hardware but showed the benefits that dedicated hardware such as the RTX lineup can bring to the PC gaming market.
However, RTX will allow the effects to run at a higher resolution. At the moment on GTX 1080, we usually compute reflections and refractions at half-screen resolution. RTX will probably allow full-screen 4k resolution. It will also help us to have more dynamic elements in the scene, whereas currently, we have some limitations. Broadly speaking, RTX will not allow new features in CRYENGINE, but it will enable better performance and more details.
At the moment we don’t benefit from any additional performance that modern APIs like Vulkan or DX12 or dedicated hardware like the latest generation of graphics cards could give us. But of course, we will optimize the feature to achieve an uplift performance from these APIs and graphics cards.
There is also a lot of benefits to gain from modern APIs such as DirectX 12 and Vulkan which allow low-level access on modern PC hardware. Ray Tracing is still in an infant stage and what we have so far received can be considered an Alpha stage of the full release which will be coming later on as more powerful RTX hardware arrives and more APIs and optimizations come in place. At the same time, these optimizations would also lead to better performance on existing hardware or that which doesn't have dedicated ray tracing hardware onboard so both AMD Radeon RX and NVIDIA GeForce GTX cards would continue receiving performance upgrades.
NVIDIA and game developers have already tuned RTX performance and quality in several of the RTX launch titles than what we got on the game's release. That shows that more work is needed but if mass adoption of real-time ray tracing kicks in (which seems to be the case as upcoming console generations are expected to feature ray tracing support) we can see even better performance on desktop PCs.