Sweeney Says New AAA Projects Should Think of Ray Tracing, Doesn’t Rule It Out for Next-Gen Consoles

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May 4, 2018
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Ray tracing technology was the hottest buzzword during this year’s Game Developer’s Conference, with NVIDIA announcing its RTX technology for Volta GPUs and Microsoft revealing the DXR API integrated into DirectX 12. Later this year, Metro Exodus should be the first game to support the technology. However, it’s clearly going to be a while before this gets widespread support throughout the industry.

Even so, speaking to MCVUK magazine (issue 935, May 2018) Epic Co-Founder and programming legend Tim Sweeney said that studios starting new triple-A projects should definitely think about it.

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It turns out that at around 25 teraflops operations per second, ray tracing becomes the best way to produce realistic looking pixels.

The demo we showed in partnership with ILMxLab is the first step in that direction. Part of the scene is rendered and part is ray traced, all the shadows and reflections come from ray tracing, and like movies, game engines are going to adopt this.

You’re going to see more and more ray-traced elements in our scenes, and I think ten years from now you might find nothing but ray tracing in our engines. Everybody who’s starting a triple-A project, they all should be thinking about ray tracing.

When asked about the likelihood of seeing this technology supported by next-generation console hardware, he seemed fairly confident it could happen.

It’s not coming to your smartphone anytime soon. But GPUs move fast. You might find within two years that you have that amount of computing power in a single GPU. And suddenly it becomes possible at high-end.

In fact, Sweeney mentioning two years might not be a coincidence. That’s exactly when the new PlayStation and Xbox consoles are expected to land, at some point in 2020, and it’s far from inconceivable that Microsoft and Sony couldn’t future-proof their consoles by adding raytracing hardware support.

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