Nvidia's latest tech will enable 'cinematic-quality' graphics

Futuremark shows DirectX Raytracing tech demo at GDC 2018

Nevertheless Nvidia promises that the tech will lead to a "giant leap in computer graphics".

Up to this point, developers have been relying on "rasterisation" techniques to render lighting and shadows for scenes. Architected to support ray tracing through a variety of interfaces, NVIDIA partnered closely with Microsoft to enable full RTX support for applications that use Microsoft's new DirectX® Raytracing (DXR) API. In the real world, everything that we see is essentially the result of light bouncing off of the objects in our vision. Nvidia's part in it is using DXR to create a new system of rendering tools called RTX, which will make it easier for developers to bring those lighting effects into their games without doing too much heavy lifting.

Nvidia said that the new RTX technology runs on "Volta architecture GPUs", and further explained that RTX can function on GPUs that support the new Microsoft DirectX Raytracing API, indicating that Volta GPUs are now the only ones in Nvidia's catalog that run DXR. "GPUs are only now becoming powerful enough to deliver real-time ray tracing for gaming applications, and will usher in a new era of next-generation visuals". Despite DirectX 12 being available for such a long time, there are still many software developers who are adopting the new graphics API to this day. The reason behind this is that raytracing's rendering techniques are way faster and more efficient than what path tracing has to offer.

DirectX Raytracing example 1

Industry leaders such as 4A Games, Epic, Remedy Entertainment and Unity are featuring NVIDIA RTX in their technology demonstrations at the Game Developers Conference this week. Alongside the announcement NVIDIA also announced "GameWorks Ray Tracing".

Some have taken this as a sign that Nvidia has not abandoned plans for Volta-based GeForce (gaming) graphics cards, and when asked what the Volta architecture utilizes for RTX that previous architectures don't have on a hardware level, the company declined to get into specifics at this time. "We were surprised just how quickly we were able to prototype new lighting, reflection and ambient occlusion techniques, with significantly better visual fidelity than traditional rasterization techniques". While Microsoft has announced DirectX Raytracing (DXR), Nvidia has taken things a step further and announced RTX, its own raytracing technology. "We are really excited about what we can achieve in the future with the Nvidia RTX technology".

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