Cyberpunk 2077 uses real-time ray tracing for ambient occlusion and diffused illumination

Earlier this week, we informed you about Cyberpunk 2077 supporting real-time ray tracing effects. And even though NVIDIA did not reveal any additional details, PCGamesN has reported that CD Projekt RED currently uses RTX for ambient occlusion and diffused illumination.

As PCGamesN noted, the ray-traced ambient occlusion solution adds a “little complementary depth to the scene.” Obviously the ray-traced ambient occlusion is better than SSAO, however it remains to be seen whether the difference between HBAO+ and ray-traced AO is that big visually.

On the other hand, diffused illumination is said to be the feature that most gamers will notice when they enable the RTX effects. It is said that this effect accurately portrays the way light reflects from one object and illuminates others around it.

For example, pay close attention to the reflected lights on the floor in the header image. These reflections are calculated via ray tracing and are the highlight (at least for now) for Cyberpunk 2077.

What’s really disappointing here is that these ray tracing effects offer a light improvement to the overall image, at least in the E3 2019 demo that was showcased using them.

As PCGamesN reported:

“But overall the implementation has been a light touch, at least so far in the game’s development. CD Projekt Red has been selective over where and when ray tracing is used, carefully crafting the demo environment to limit its scope.”

Cyberpunk 2077 releases in April 2020 so it will be interesting to see whether CD Projekt RED will decide to go bananas and take advantage of ray tracing (instead of simply using it to add an extra layer of polish).