Metro Exodus Real-Time Ray Tracing Tech Demo
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Metro Exodus Real-Time Ray Tracing Tech Demo
26 March, 2018

GDC 2018 had a lot of interesting announcements, but NVIDIA and Microsoft did probably one of the most interesting ones, revealing RTX technology. In case you’ve missed it, here’s a little description of this tech from the official NVIDIA source.

NVIDIA RTX consists of a highly scalable ray tracing technology running on NVIDIA Volta architecture GPUs. 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.

Long considered the definitive solution for realistic and lifelike lighting, reflections and shadows, ray tracing offers a level of realism far beyond what is possible using traditional rendering techniques. Real-time ray tracing replaces a majority of the techniques used today in standard rendering with realistic optical calculations that replicate the way light behaves in the real world, delivering a more lifelike image.

NVIDIA showed a number of very cool demos of this new tech. UE4 reflections with stormtroopers is probably of one of the most popular ones. But you probably asked yourself: “Does it even run in real games today?”. Apparently yes, and the guys from 4A Games are actually using RTX technology to include real-time ray traced Global Illumination into their upcoming game Metro Exodus.

The developers wanted to explore the practical application of this tech in their proprietary 4A Engine. In the provided video demonstration they show RTX implemented and running in Metro Exodus. They have utilized true raytracing to render both Ambient Occlusion and Indirect Lighting in full realtime, in a practical in-game scenario. 

Dynamic lighting has always been a priority for the Metro series. We intentionally avoided pre-baked data and were relying on real-time methods to build our visuals to support more flexible, dynamic gameplay. Global Illumination is highly important for the proper “grounding” of objects and readability of shapes, which in turn create improved ease of navigation and enhanced visual impact for the player.

Previously, we had utilized a mix of several custom-made systems to satisfy our hungry demand for dynamic content of varying scale. Now we are able to replace it with one single system that covers all our needs and outputs the quality of offline renderers.

4A Games’ Chief Technical Officer, Oleksandr Shyshkovtsov.

So, we guess the answer is ‘yes’ it works in games, but you still need a hell of a rig to run it.

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