At GDC 2018, NVIDIA’s Morgan McGuire has shared the company’s short-term and long-term roadmaps for real-time raytracing in video games. Now while we’ve covered the hybrid model in the past, it appears that this is a long-term goal for NVIDIA and not something that most developers are doing right now.
In this co-existence model that some games will support in the coming months (according to McGuire) we’ll have GPU accelerated baking, dynamic probes, dynamic light maps, hard shadows, refraction transparency, mirror reflections and callable shaders.
Naturally, this is a great start but NVIDIA’s long-term roadmap is what most of us are really looking forward to, and that is the true hybrid models. This “Golden Era” will offer area light shadows, ambient occlusion, glossy reflections, rays for data structures, ray traced audio, perfect particle collisions, perfect AI visibility, adaptive supersampling, diffuse interreflection, complex transparency, foveated rendering, beam racing, stochastic motion blur and full path tracing.
Now while we’ve heard that Metro: Exodus will use ray-tracing for its ambient occlusion solution (and perhaps for its glossy reflections), it will most likely be a rayraster co-existence model and not a hybrid model. Unless 4A Games surprises everyone with a true hybrid model, support at least half of these techniques.
According to McGuire, developers should move away from the co-existence model as soon as possible and embrace the hybrid models. With the hybrid models, developers will take all the good stuff from rasterization and put it together with the good stuff from raytracing and end up with an engine that is simpler and faster and easier to understand, and with which artists can work four or five times faster than previous engines.
Those interested can find the complete presentation of NVIDIA’s GDC 2018 raytracing presentation here!