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Gollum is an example of how good (or perhaps ugly, yet photorealistic) ray-tracing can look.  (Source: New Line Cinema)

Farcry at high top settings. Note the trees and plants show no reflection, and the reflections are lower resolution than the land.  (Source: Crytek)

Ray-traced Quake 4. Note the full resolution reflections, which include all objects, including the gun and trees.  (Source: Intel and id software)

Low resolution, artifacted shadows from Call of Juarez.  (Source: Ubisoft)

Sharp, full resolution shadows in Daniel's Quake 3 engine.  (Source: Intel and id software)
While ID and Epic develop their new engines, Intel is working on something that may blow both of them away.

Take a look at the screen shots of the ray-tracing engine by Intel's Daniel Pohl and you won't have to squint to see improvements.  This young gun from Intel is looking to shake up the entire game engine industry with his innovative work.

Designing game engines is a cut-throat business.  Companies regularly fold after investing massive amounts of money and time to develop a proprietary engine.

Part of the problem is market saturation.  You have three giants who release an engine ever couple of years--Epic, id Software, and Valve.  Then you have major developers who make engines to license, such as Emergent Game Technologies who make the Gamebryo engine, used in the popular Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.

The real problem though, is that all the new engines utilize most of the same technologies and techniques as the last generation.  There is creativity, but not true innovation.  Rather, it is a slow and expensive process of iterations, each a bit better than the last.

Daniel Pohl does not believe in this style of development.  In college he broke with tradition and redesigned Quake 3's engine to work with ray-tracing, as opposed to rasterization which nearly all traditional engines used.  He was hired out of college by Intel and is currently creating some quite possibly ground breaking work for them.

Ray-tracing is used to render most CGI movies, for example the orcs and various monsters in "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy.  It provides realistic lighting, shadows, and reflection, among other benefits.  However, this technique, like radiosity-based rendering, has taken a back seat to rasterization rendering, due to its high computational costs.

However, early potential was shown when OpenRT, a graphics API similar to OpenGL, was released in 2005.

Now Daniel Pohl has shown that with modern quad-core gaming machines, high performance ray-traced graphics is achievable at acceptable frame rates.  Pohl has been showcasing his new work for Intel at various technology shows across the country this year. 

His new work brings ray-tracing up to the modern era, with a redesigned Quake 4 engine, which use ray-tracing.

The engine yields breathtaking results.  First, raytracing allows for a dramatic increase in polygon count, without significant extra overhead.  This is due to the fact that the engine is based on a set number of rays, and the number of polygons simply affects their course, but does not add extra rays.  Thus a higher level of detail can be obtained at little cost.  In his example, he takes a 2 polygon wall from the rasterized Quake 3 engine and makes it into a 5,000 polygon wall, which process nearly as fast.

A second benefit from ray casting is realistic shadows.  Shadows in today's highest profile games are an ugly business.  They often are lower resolution, have artifacts, look distorted and have various other problems which all stem from the fact that shadows are not naturally processed in rasterization rendering and have to be synthetically added.  Ray-tracing inherently calculates shadows at little cost and displays lighting-realistic shadows at full resolution.

A final key graphical aspect where ray tracing dominates is in reflection and refraction effects.  Most games today limit reflections to the occasional mirror or water surface.  You will seldom see your face reflecting off computer monitors or "fancy" effects such as that.  Further, refraction/reflection effects such as water are typically poorly done.  Some games do not even include water reflections, while others, such as FarCry make an admirable effort, but end up only rendering partial reflections at low resolution, even at the highest settings.  Ray-tracing offers far superior, full resolution, full image reflections at little cost.

Two other aspects that seem to make ray-tracing poised to take over are scaling and ease of programming.  Ray-tracing is based mainly on repeated calculations to a finite set of rays, so it is easily divisible into separate tasks, unlike rasterization.  The result is that frame rates increase approximately linearly with frame count, so a screen that is rendered at 4 fps in a single core machine, would run at about 16 fps on a quad-core machine.  Rasterization engines fare far poorer in this aspect.  The ray-tracing engine also allows effects to be programmed far easier.  Reflections and refractions are inherently calculated, and the only real work to be done is designating the polygonal object's light reflection and refraction indexes.  This is in contrast with rasterization engines, which must design complex algorithms to simulate individual lighting effects.

The best proof of the engine's potential is simply by looking at the screenshots attached.  Unlike most new engines where you have to squint to see the differences of various effects, the upgrade provided by the ray-tracing engine is, in most cases, glaringly obvious.  Daniel Pohl and his team at Intel are hard at working revolutionizing the computer gaming industry.  If his engine succeeds, it has the potential to shatter a 10+ year tradition of rendering monotony by ditching the old--rasterization--for the new--ray-tracing.



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I don't get it
By wien on 10/4/2007 12:27:14 PM , Rating: 5
Anyone thinking ray tracing is the way of the future really needs to read this thread over at Beyond3D: http://forum.beyond3d.com/showthread.php?t=43721 and in particular post #21 by AndyTX.

Ray tracing is basically the brute force solution you use when you can't find other more efficient ways of rendering your pixels. It's similar to hacking a password by trying every possible combination of characters until you find the right one. Yes it's quite simple and dead easy to code, but it's hardly fast nor elegant and there are usually faster ways of doing it while still solving the problem. I can see why Intel would like to push the brute force method though... sells hardware.




RE: I don't get it
By JasonMick (blog) on 10/4/2007 12:41:41 PM , Rating: 2
I disagree. While there may be more efficient ways, often the best way is to simulate how the effects occur in nature, which the idea behind ray-tracing.

Rasterization algorithms could theoretically be as well done as ray-traced ones for shadows and reflections, but it would take years and years of programming, and a lot of human effort. The current generation of gamings is certainly far from matching the results shown by Pohl's engine. I will believe these super rasterization methods when I see them with my own two eyes.

Sometimes the manpower cost of writing more efficient algorithms is too heavy to outweigh the computing cost associate with more direct but less efficient algorithms. Its definitely a trade off.

You have to understand we brute force a lot of things in science and technology. For example we could use supercomputers to try and simulate how a flu virus attacks the human body, but most of our medical understanding comes from how things operate in the real world, though this might not be the "most efficient" approach. We may not have as full an understanding, and it may (in-theory) be slower to physically diagnose and analyze illness than on the computer, but thats how it is still done today.


RE: I don't get it
By wien on 10/4/2007 1:09:48 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
The current generation of gamings is certainly far from matching the results shown by Pohl's engine
Really? I don't agree at all. :)

There are only two things I personally feel ray tracing does significantly better than current rasterization techniques, and that is reflection and refraction. I just don't see these two as reason enough to switch completely to ray tracing and all the baggage that brings. The reliance on (close to) static scenes for reasonable performance is the big one for me, and will severely limit it's usefulness in games where a lot of stuff is flying about and changing every frame.

If you look at shadows, straight ray traced shadows look horrible compared to a good shadow mapping implementation (see any Pixar movie for reference). Shadows aren't sharp and pixel perfect, they're soft and fuzzy. Doom3's stencil shadows look exactly like ray traced shadows would, and they're a far cry from the quality of shadows in upcoming games like Crysis.

The best solution is probably a hybrid where you use rasterization for most rendering, and fall back to ray tracing when doing reflections and refractions (which, quite frankly, isn't all that often despite game makers' insistence on making everything bright and shiny! ;)). This seems to work well for Pixar, and I see no reason why that won't translate to real time graphics as well.


RE: I don't get it
By wien on 10/4/2007 1:16:38 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
far cry from the quality of shadows in upcoming games like Crysis .
No pun intended by the way. :P


RE: I don't get it
By Setsunayaki on 10/7/2007 7:42:58 AM , Rating: 2
The problem with raytracing and rasterization is algorithm efficiency...When I tested Raytracing, I was looking at Asymptotic time, and though its like brute force and its very demanding....Ive seen them run at O(n)^2 and O(n)^3 time....

what this means, that is one plans a hybrid.....we have to think about what is really important to us in competetive gameplay...Our framerate and fill rate. Working on a Hybrid system would mean that our framerate will equal the generation of the lesser quality work...minus the framerate and performance hit of the highest quality.

I find it hard to believe that in all the pages of text I have read about Raytracing, that no one has truly tried to really test for upper bound and lower bound asymptotic time....

Just by looking at the framerate alone in tests....the performance hits were extremely high.

No, let me ask you all a question...

Since some of your speak of efficiency and that is good thought on approaching this topic....Does anyone know what the best and worse case scenarios are for Asymptotic time of the raytracing algorythms?

Remember that the longer the time, before completion of each set, the lower the framerate and longer the rendering time required......I remember a year ago one of the timings I obtained was O(n)^3...and we dropped testing when we saw portions of O(n)^4 algorithms....But today we have dual processing quad core machines, where each core can be overclocked to 4ghz....so how would that look like in running those algorithms...

If any of you overclock like I do and have that machine above...This is the reason why we overclockers are needed in computer science....to see if we can make algorithms like this work and catch a glimpse of tomorrow's performance today! ^_^ So now you have a reason to Overclock that is well justified....^_^


RE: I don't get it
By tedrodai on 10/10/2007 2:22:06 PM , Rating: 2
I'm all for overclocking--for fun and a passtime, or getting more for your money, etc., but let's face it:

A few hundred MHz is not going to solve the problem of an O(n)^3 algorithm or worse. From a brute-force standpoint, exponentially increasing the number of processors, as they're beginning to do, may help; but we're sure as heck not able to exponentially increase the speed of today's PC processors through overclocking.


RE: I don't get it
By wien on 10/4/2007 1:25:44 PM , Rating: 2
And just for the record, I can certainly see the attraction of ray tracing wrt. simplicity of implementation. It's extremely intuitive, and you save a lot of gruntwork you have to do with rasterization.

What a lot of people seem to forget though, is that ray tracing brings in a whole set of new problems that you have to develop ways to work around, and I'm just not convinced those problems are simpler or more easily solved that the ones we face in rasterization.


RE: I don't get it
By peldor on 10/4/2007 2:30:24 PM , Rating: 3
Consider your last link where Pohl estimates 1 billion rays/s for a 'game quality' level of performance, and then consider the 8-core system they were demoing only managed 83 million rays/s. That's roughly 25 Core2Quads running full out for a low-res, 30 fps game. Sure lots of polygons, wow lots of great reflections. Push it to 20" widescreen and 60 fps, now you're looking at nearly 500 cores necessary. And though ray-tracing scales very well on multi-core, it's not perfect and never will be. When you get up to 128 cores your performance is more like 100x.

If we get ray-tracing in games it's not going to be on anything but a many-core processor. Maybe Larabee but more likely a GPU. Intel's talk of ray-tracing is just smoke and mirrors (coincidently, two things ray-tracing is good at simulating!) as far as their main CPU lineup.


RE: I don't get it
By scrapsma54 on 10/5/2007 2:08:53 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Consider your last link where Pohl estimates 1 billion rays/s for a 'game quality' level of performance, and then consider the 8-core system they were demoing only managed 83 million rays/s. That's roughly 25 Core2Quads running full out for a low-res, 30 fps game. Sure lots of polygons, wow lots of great reflections. Push it to 20" widescreen and 60 fps, now you're looking at nearly 500 cores necessary. And though ray-tracing scales very well on multi-core, it's not perfect and never will be. When you get up to 128 cores your performance is more like 100x.

80 core anyone


RE: I don't get it
By eman7613 on 10/5/2007 9:40:58 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I disagree. While there may be more efficient ways, often the best way is to simulate how the effects occur in nature, which the idea behind ray-tracing.


If we were to go by this logic, intel should drop Ray-tracing and jump into Monte-Carlo path tracing! Would be the exact same thing as what they are curently doing.

The point of the current 3D graphics is to skip as many steps as posible to generate an accurate result. If the shadows are not strong enough for you, you can simply turn of the samples. Ray tracing has this exact same problem, Thats why they have options to change the AA, AF, Soft/hardShadows, etcetera.

Raytracing's forte is CGI movies solely because it is more accurate, and can have much higher poly counts as the artical says (but you still have to have the space in your ram to fit it!).


RE: I don't get it
By scrapsma54 on 10/5/2007 9:55:16 AM , Rating: 1
Upgrading a cpu in not as conusmer friendly as upgrading a gpu. Nor is it even acceptable. Sure raytracing may seem awesome, but how much memory does it consume? DX has come a long way to achieve what it has today. Prey comes nowhere near the graphical quality enabled in DX9. It is certainly fast and allows
so many filtering methods to be used with very little hit in performance, but now the time of high polygon models has been replaced by the need for Normal mapping, parallax, and ambient. Far cry is a 3 year old machine hog, now its tamed by the dual core computer or shader model 3 computer. Unreal Engine 3, Cry engine 2, and Source engine are prime examples of how far Rasterization has progressed. In fact Unreal engine 3 isn't even cpu heavy.


RE: I don't get it
By Moishe on 10/5/2007 11:38:29 AM , Rating: 2
The cool thing is not that it's brute force... but that raytracing has inherent benefits. The great thing about brute force is that it's often the most inefficient method, BUT if you can do it fast, you get the most accurate results.

If they can produce high quality raytraced images in real time... well rasterization will simply have to go away or innovate something completely new. photo-realism requires raytracing because raytracing is a simulation of how real light works.

The two things that make this possible are: more power (more cores, more GPU power), and greater effiency in the raytrace method.


RE: I don't get it
By wien on 10/6/2007 10:46:20 AM , Rating: 2
Yes it probably is more accurate, but at what cost? And for what gain?

Rasterization today (with shaders becoming ubiquitous) is just as much a simulation as ray tracing is wrt the actual surface calculations. No it doesn't trace photons through all the scene geometry and calculate shadows, reflection, refractions "for free" that way, but the workarounds currently in use in modern games will usually create something that looks 99% as good (better if you look at shadowmapped vs. ray traced shadows).

I just don't buy into the "simulation for simulation's sake" thing. If hacking it looks just as good in 99% of cases and performs significantly better, why not hack it? :)

Minor nitpick: Ray tracing doesn't really simulate real light as much as trace light contribution backwards from the eye to the light sources. If you really want to simulate light, you need to trace the light from the source, through all bounces, and accumulate whatever light hits the eye. If you add a photon mapping step for instance you're much closer to a simulation than just plain ray tracing, but that can in theory be added to a rasterization algorith too so it's not specific to ray tracing.


RE: I don't get it
By dnd728 on 10/6/2007 5:15:12 PM , Rating: 2
I guess sticking a couple of video cards in a PC is also brute force...


RE: I don't get it
By Proteusza on 10/9/2007 5:14:31 AM , Rating: 2
Are you saying using a "brute force" simulation of how things are in real life is worse than code hacks, approximations and brute force (if you know anything about 3d graphics, you will know that all of these are abundant).


Finally, but...
By DingieM on 10/4/07, Rating: 0
RE: Finally, but...
By crystal clear on 10/4/2007 11:44:31 AM , Rating: 2
The article discusses-"Designing game engines<"/i>

Does AMD or Nvidia develop game engines ?

If yes ! gives some details please.

quote:
I see this only as a marketing stunt for Intel, trapping people to believe that "only" Intel could do it.


Every company promotes its product incl new ones on the way.
Nothing new.

People have come to believe (from experience) that

Only Intel delivers on time

I am neither a fanboy nor very much interested in Intel/AMD
wars.

Just facts & realities.


RE: Finally, but...
By Chris Peredun on 10/4/2007 1:52:05 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Besides above, how many rays has to be traced with action-heavy scene's where a lot of bullets are flying around, lots of debree of houses flying around?

The beauty of ray-tracing is that it scales based on the number of rays cast, not the number of polygons in the scene. You'd probably see about the same efficiency rendering a scene with 100 or 100,000 polygons (less the overhead needed to make those objects "exist" in the scene.)

quote:
What about physics calculations? What about collision detections? What about...and so on and so on...

I fail to see how those would be directly affected by the choice of renderer.


RE: Finally, but...
By noirsoft on 10/4/2007 3:38:44 PM , Rating: 2
quote:

The beauty of ray-tracing is that it scales based on the number of rays cast, not the number of polygons in the scene.


This is one of the common misconceptions about ray tracing. Since each ray must be intersected to find out which objects in the scene it collides with, and the exact collision point if it does, the scene complexity definitely affects performance. Many polygons = many collisions to check against (or deeper / more complex collision culling graphs to maintain)

It may not scale in the same roughly linear fashion as with rasterization, but it will still affect performance significantly.

The myth comes from the fact that Ray Tracing works best with procedural objects (i.e. spheres) which are easy in ray tracing to get pixel-accurate results, but would require thousands of polygons to reproduce in triangles. If your objects are already polygon-based, ray tracing quickly bogs down ad the number of polys increases, since you must intersect each ray against (at worst) each polygon.


RE: Finally, but...
By Chris Peredun on 10/4/2007 3:44:13 PM , Rating: 2
Mea culpa, but isn't the scaling for number of rays worse than the scaling for polygon count? It doesn't make scene complexity moot, but it does make it less significant in comparison.


RE: Finally, but...
By noirsoft on 10/6/2007 3:44:03 AM , Rating: 2
In the "gloss the details under the table" Big-O analysis kind of way, rendering performance degrades linearly with scene complexity (number of objects), and ray tracing does so logarithmically, assuming a good ray/intersection hierarchy: otherwise it's linear as well.

The big performance loss for ray tracing is in the expensive cost of the intersection tests, plus the loss of locality because you cannot guarantee that two consecutive rays will hit the same object. You need to keep all possible colliders in accessible memory, which makes a good hardware-based caching scheme extremely difficult, if not impossible. The win, of course, is the ability to do accurate shadows, reflection and other such light transport features.

I think the ultimate result will be to still use rendering techniques for the diffuse parts of a scene, (which ray tracing does no better in terms of quality, and a lot worse in terms of performance) and a ray-tracing like approach for those parts where a light transport simulation yields better results.


RE: Finally, but...
By noirsoft on 10/7/2007 5:04:53 PM , Rating: 2
Addendum:

Of course, as stated in the above-mentioned article, rendering (with a good scene graph culling algorithm) can scale with log(n) over scene complexity as well.

With either algorithm you have to do "something" for each visible object: either rasterize it, or collide a series of rays with it. Ray tracing doesn't give you scene complexity for free.

Unless you want a scene full of pixel-accurate-silhouette spheres. Then ray-tracing is a big win. :)


RE: Finally, but...
By BMFPitt on 10/4/2007 5:25:07 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I fail to see how those would be directly affected by the choice of renderer.
Well if you're using the CPU for graphics processing, then you don't have as much of it for these things. Unless you're assuming that Phys-X or similar cards will really take off.


RE: Finally, but...
By Ringold on 10/4/2007 2:58:24 PM , Rating: 2
Still shallow?

You're right, it's a tech site. Not a technical journal.

Thanks Mick, actually one of the most interesting articles I've read at DT for a little while! Many things, by necessity, are news items that simply rehash old technology and old ways of doing things; the latest TV technology, or video card for example. This is a "game changer" of sorts. I've heard about it before but its good to hear follow-up stories proving a line of research isn't just a flash in the pan.

Seriously, I'm surprised we aren't more happy to hear of this progress anyway. Do we want to keep shelling out for discrete graphics cards? I for one welcome my ray-traced overlord.


RE: Finally, but...
By wien on 10/4/2007 3:38:44 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Do we want to keep shelling out for discrete graphics cards?
They're really not "graphics cards" anymore. GPUs have evolved into highly parallel stream processors that excel at computations general purpose CPUs don't handle very well. As such I don't see GPUs ever going away, but rather getting even more general. Eventually the line between them and CPUs is sufficiently blurred and they end up in the same package (Re: AMD Fusion).

The fact of the matter is that modern GPUs are actually better at ray tracing than CPUs are, and they will only become better in the future as they get even more programmable. GPUs aren't going anywhere, ray tracing or not.


RE: Finally, but...
By Ringold on 10/4/2007 5:20:09 PM , Rating: 2
Okay, so then, in the long run, our desires or visions end up the same. I agree! Either GPU's will end up right in the CPU, AMD Fusion style, or it seems Intel may end up with enough cores to do this ray tracing.

I'm just glad to see this different approach being researched; both ways ultimately ought to reduce the cost of a new, capable machine. As it is now, you suggest it's more than a graphics card but I paid a lot of bones for an 8800GTS that does nothing but display graphics. :P

It would fold proteins for F@H, and other apps could be made to go on it, but as yet, absolutely nothing for the mass market. Capable or not, all it's doing is dumping data out my DVI port.


RE: Finally, but...
By darkpaw on 10/4/2007 5:44:54 PM , Rating: 2
This is also the largest barrier of entry for pc gaming to become as mainstream as console gaming. Integrated graphics are so absolutely worthless for gaming, yet are found in nearly all systems. PC gaming could really be a huge market if they can eliminate the need for specialized graphics that most people don't have.

Hardcore gamers tend to forget about that, but the vast majority of PCs sold won't even play three year old games well.


Photo Caption Wrong?
By Fox5 on 10/4/2007 11:32:22 AM , Rating: 2
The photo caption says it's a ray traced quake 4, but the image definentely looks like Quake 3. Plus, the source code isn't out yet for quake 4.




RE: Photo Caption Wrong?
By Etsp on 10/4/2007 12:15:46 PM , Rating: 2
He probably messed it up, there is another photo below it that is captioned for Quake 3. Although he did mention in the article that the guy is working on a ray-traced version of quake 4


RE: Photo Caption Wrong?
By JasonMick (blog) on 10/4/2007 12:45:04 PM , Rating: 3
I make enough small mistakes here and there without being credited for ones which I didn't make.

Refer here:
http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid=334&type=expe...

It may not look like Quake 4 to you, but the creator of the engine, Daniel Pohl wrote this article and captioned the picture, which I borrowed which reads:

quote:
(“Quake 4: Ray traced”: The water reflects the environment and the player)


Follow the links associated with the article, before you make comments, if nothing else, Pohl's article is a good read so I would think you would be interested.


RE: Photo Caption Wrong?
By Chris Peredun on 10/4/2007 1:40:06 PM , Rating: 2
That sure looks like the Quake III rocket launcher though, and the textures seem a little low-res for Q4.

I'm tempted to say that the source article did it wrong, and as the messenger, Jason is being shot unfairly.


RE: Photo Caption Wrong?
By robg1701 on 10/4/2007 10:17:29 PM , Rating: 4
Being shot unfairly by his own team members too no less ;p

http://www.idfun.de/temp/q4rt/

^^


Couple of Points
By Hakuryu on 10/4/2007 2:24:03 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
The real problem though, is that all the new engines utilize most of the same technologies and techniques as the last generation. There is creativity, but not true innovation.


I beg to differ. Although the new Id Tech 5 engine does use some of the tech from it's last generation, namely mega textures, the way they are used in Id's upcoming game is revolutionary. In the just released Quake Wars, mega textures are used for terrain, and are basically huge textures that are compiled and allow for some great looking landscapes with information like traction and bullet hit effects built in. In Tech 5, this is used for models and other assets as well, allowing very detailed textures unlike current games - a face might be 256x256 today, but you can have one that is 2048x2048 in Tech 5 with no hit to performance.

Another big leap in Tech 5 is portability. You can compile one set of code that will output versions that will run on a PC, Mac, and even a 360. This is definately revolutionary - no more hiring 3rd party developers to create ports.

One last point that I am wondering about is effects. While Raytracing may work when building up the geometry of a level, how well will it work with multiple explosions, fog, projectiles and other effects that cannot be done by raytracing? These effects are not part of a map file that can be read, but are added to the game world as you play.




RE: Couple of Points
By Chris Peredun on 10/4/2007 3:04:02 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
One last point that I am wondering about is effects. While Raytracing may work when building up the geometry of a level, how well will it work with multiple explosions, fog, projectiles and other effects that cannot be done by raytracing? These effects are not part of a map file that can be read, but are added to the game world as you play.

IANA3DArtist, but it seems that fog/smoke/explosions and other volumetric effects render quite beautifully in ray-tracing using a similar approach to that used to rendering water. Find the point of impact, determine if the refraction ray hits an object before the opacity threshold of the fog/smoke/explosion, and return accordingly. And unlike water, you don't need to calculate the reflection ray - unless we're talking about a shower of water droplets in midair.

With regards to run-time changes (projectiles, terrain changes, moving objects) ray-tracing is a "graphics" engine, not a "game" engine. All it wants for input is a scene that needs to be rendered - it doesn't much care what had to be done to set it up beforehand.


RE: Couple of Points
By wien on 10/4/2007 3:29:56 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
All it wants for input is a scene that needs to be rendered - it doesn't much care what had to be done to set it up beforehand.
No, but setting up a acceleration structure suitable for ray tracing is significantly more demanding than setting one up for rasterization. You just can't maintain for instance a BSD structure of the entire scene and update it every frame to reflect model animations and movement.

Ray tracing may only be about drawing a scene, but how that scene is laid out is extremely important for getting good performance out of it.


RE: Couple of Points
By Chris Peredun on 10/4/2007 3:40:42 PM , Rating: 2
Well, like I said, I Am Not A 3D Artist. :)

Scene management would probably be dependant on the type of game desired - just as how a flight sim and FPS don't share the same engine now, neither would future games with ray-traced graphics.

All of this is rather moot at the moment given the horsepower needed to ray-trace at a decent framerate. Let's not put the cart before the horse. :)


RE: Couple of Points
By GaryJohnson on 10/7/2007 5:04:39 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
...a flight sim and FPS don't share the same engine now...


There are quite a few RTS/FPS hybrids out now, some of which (like the Battlefield series) have some Flight-Sim like experiences.

I expect we'll see more genre convergence in the future, particularly in games with an emphasis on combat and warfare.

I'm waiting for the Space-RTS/4X/FPS/Space-Sim hybrid where you can control great Capital Ships through an RTS like interface, little fighters in the space-sim, take part in boarding parties and explore planets, ships, and stations in FPS mode, all behind the context of capturing planets and conquering galaxies.

Whew, I think I ranted a bit there.


RE: Couple of Points
By chessmaster42 on 10/8/2007 11:43:36 PM , Rating: 2
Concur, a really great space epic would be great.


Nice
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 10/4/2007 10:40:00 AM , Rating: 1
If he succeeds and this really takes off he could be the next Carmack. Kudos.




RE: Nice
By Misty Dingos on 10/4/07, Rating: 0
RE: Nice
By DandDAddict on 10/5/2007 12:04:59 AM , Rating: 2
Id really lay the blame on the current dx10 games not looking any better on the game devs rather than the hardware or dx10 itself. However I do agree that the 8xxx and 2xxx series dont have the wow that the 6/7 and 19xx brought us.

This has a few good side by side pictures that show it and esspecialy the smoke blending is really nice.

http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/bioshock_direc...

Friend of mine is suck using a 8600gt and he can play bioshock at 1024x768 at max with dx10 and it looks wonderful and great, yet in FEAR which he's currently replaying even with almost everything on mostly high with the same resolution and softshadows it cant hold a candle to what Bioshock with DX10 looks like. I know FEARS abit dated but its a conviant example seeing as it supports softshadows and such and honestly stills looks damned good despite its age. Another good game to show DX10 and DX9 diffrences is World At War esspecialy the nuke explosions.


Nice to hear, but...
By redfirebird15 on 10/5/2007 5:31:45 PM , Rating: 3
I'm all for the improvement in graphics and rendering techniques, but I think developers are focusing too much on perfect shadows. Last time I checked, a shadow is not a perfect outline of a person or object. Like in the screenshots of Bioshock comparing DX9 to DX10, the DX9 shadow is "softer" in my opinion because the DX10 shadow is a perfect silhouette.
Also, in games like FEAR, you can be in a well lit room, but it will have pitch black corners and such. Maybe they did it for effect, but it doesn't look real.
Again, I applaud the innovation, but if you're going for realism, make it look real.




Link
By crystal clear on 10/4/2007 10:54:32 AM , Rating: 2
For those interested -

Ray Tracing Goes Mainstream



http://www.intel.com/technology/itj/2005/volume09i...




connect the dots
By Screwballl on 10/5/2007 12:33:02 PM , Rating: 2
Most of us that refuse to go to Vista for whatever reason will likely be left out in the dark... Intel is in bed with MS and MS is pushing DX10 so much that us real techs and gamers are left in the dark because we refuse to step into Windows ME version 2.
Vote me down but the fact is that there are more people that dislike Vista than like it, regardless of your personal opinion.




Larabee changes the game
By cheburashka on 10/9/2007 6:21:18 PM , Rating: 2
I bet Daniel Pohl is eager to get his hands on the first Larabee silicon.




ray-tracing
By The3D on 10/10/2007 6:36:22 AM , Rating: 2
quote:

This is one of the common misconceptions about ray tracing. Since each ray must be intersected to find out which objects in the scene it collides with, and the exact collision point if it does, the scene complexity definitely affects performance. Many polygons = many collisions to check against (or deeper / more complex collision culling graphs to maintain)

It may not scale in the same roughly linear fashion as with rasterization, but it will still affect performance significantly.

The myth comes from the fact that Ray Tracing works best with procedural objects (i.e. spheres) which are easy in ray tracing to get pixel-accurate results, but would require thousands of polygons to reproduce in triangles. If your objects are already polygon-based, ray tracing quickly bogs down ad the number of polys increases, since you must intersect each ray against (at worst) each polygon.


i agree at all, but i want to say that there are some space subdivision techniques like OCTree and BSP that could reduce intersections calculation time a lot. And i want highlight lighting techs: algorithms like radiosity (global illumination) are so easily usable with raytracing...




"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007

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