At GDC 2018, Microsoft unveiled DXR, or Direct X 12 Raytracing, an SDK enabling real-time raytracing, followed closely by NVIDIA announcing hardware support. This year at GDC 2019, those technologies have come of age, with major raytracing support coming from 3 major game engine manufacturers. Additionally NVIDIA have announced some potentially game changing news as well. Let’s break down the announcements and demonstrations one by one.
CryTek started the raytracing announcements off with their amazing real time demo Neon Noir. Even more impressive, it was done using an AMD card without real-time raytracing support! Unfortunately, the demo was never released to the public.
Unity showed an impressive demo Reality vs Illusion which intercuts real world footage and real time raytraced BWM footage that is nearly impossible to discern the difference. Unity’s technology is sadly several months from being available in a future HDRP release.
Unreal is the closest with their real time raytracing implementation, in fact it’s available now in Unreal Engine 4.22. They also had a presentation in the form of the short movie Troll.
NVIDIA also had a real time raytracing demonstration in the form of Project Sol, Part 3. Their announcement may have been the most significant however, as they announced that DXR driver support will be shipping in April to older generation NVIDIA GPUs, such as the 1060/1070 and 1080 cards.