The latest news from the Game Developers Conference (GDC), the annual professional conference for video game developers and related industries, will be held on March 20, and according to the latest news, NVIDIA and CDPR will be demonstrating the latest ray tracing technology at the conference on March 22.
NVIDIA is currently looking to promote path tracking technology through RTX 40 graphics cards. This technology will be called RT: Overdrive in Cyberpunk 2077.
According to the introduction, ray tracing and path tracing are two popular methods used in computer graphics to simulate the behavior of light in virtual environments. Ray tracing is a deterministic process that involves tracking the path of light and its interactions. This technique requires significant processing power and has the advantage of producing high-quality images with accurate reflections, refractions and shadows.
In contrast, path tracing is a stochastic computational process that involves sampling the path of light as it travels through the scene. This technique is less computationally expensive than ray tracing, but it generates image noise and requires several iterations to converge to high-quality results. Path tracing is typically used in applications that require physically accurate simulations of light, such as architectural visualization and product design.
▲ Path tracking (left) vs. ray tracing (right)
However, path tracking is not yet widely used in games, and while it sounds like the light tracing effect is more natural, the hardware requirements also seem to be higher. NVIDIA’s previous Portal RTX used path tracking, with 1080p 30 fps requiring RTX 3060 and above and DLSS 2 to achieve.
At GDC, CDPR and NVIDIA will be demonstrating a new game setting called RT: Overdrive. This mode will be used to enable path tracking in Cyberpunk 2077, which will also be the first modern 3A game to support this technology.
" CDPR's Cyberpunk 2077 is technically one of the most challenging games on the market, thanks to its massive world scale and visual diversity. Its neon-lit environments and expansive nighttime cityscapes have pushed the limits of current real-time graphics, and RT: Overdrive mode aims to take it to the next level by introducing RTX path tracking into the mix. We are all very familiar with the limitations of current real-time direct and indirect lighting algorithms. Things like unshadowed projected light with non-physical ranges, low-resolution indirect light multiplied by screen-space ambient light masking or screen-space reflections are still widely used. While providing satisfactory performance on low-end hardware, they limit the highest image quality and reduce the flexibility of content creators. RTX path tracing aims to minimize the limitations on content creators by providing perfectly soft shadows and indirect light from all lights (whether analyzing localized light, self-luminous surfaces, skylights) in a fully dynamic environment."