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posted by martyb on Tuesday March 20 2018, @11:05AM   Printer-friendly
from the Another-Programming-Interface dept.

At GDC, Microsoft announced a new feature for DirectX 12: DirectX Raytracing (DXR). The new API offers hardware-accelerated raytracing to DirectX applications, ushering in a new era of games with more realistic lighting, shadows, and materials. One day, this technology could enable the kinds of photorealistic imagery that we've become accustomed to in Hollywood blockbusters.

[...] Because of the performance demands, Microsoft expects that DXR will be used, at least for the time being, to fill in some of the things that raytracing does very well and that rasterization doesn't: things like reflections and shadows. DXR should make these things look more realistic. We might also see simple, stylized games using raytracing exclusively.

The company says that it has been working on DXR for close to a year, and Nvidia in particular has plenty to say about the matter. Nvidia has its own raytracing engine designed for its Volta architecture (though currently, the only video card shipping with Volta is the Titan V, so the application of this is likely limited). When run on a Volta system, DXR applications will automatically use that engine.

In conjunction with Microsoft’s new DirectX Raytracing (DXR) API announcement, today NVIDIA is unveiling their RTX technology, providing ray tracing acceleration for Volta and later GPUs. Intended to enable real-time ray tracing for games and other applications, RTX is essentially NVIDIA's DXR backend implementation. For this NVIDIA is utilizing a mix of software and hardware – including new microarchitectural features – though the company is not disclosing further details.

Original Submission

Related Stories

Epic Games (Developer of the Unreal Engine) Shows Off "Siren" Demo 45 comments

Epic Games' Tim Sweeney on creating believable digital humans

Epic Games stunned everyone a couple of years ago with the realistic digital human character Senua, from the video game Hellblade. And today, the maker of the Unreal Engine game tools showed another astounding demo, dubbed Siren, with even more realistic graphics.

CEO Tim Sweeney said technologies for creating digital humans — from partners such as Cubic Motion and 3Lateral — are racing ahead to the point where we won't be able to tell the real from the artificial in video games and other real-time content.

[...] [Kim Libreri:] The other big thing for us, you may have seen the Microsoft announcements about their new raytracing capabilities in DirectX, DXR. We've partnered with Nvidia, who have the new RTX raytracing system, and we thought about how to show the world what a game could look like in the future once raytracing is added to the core capabilities of a PC, or maybe even a console one day. We teamed up with Nvidia and our friends at LucasFilm, the ILM X-Lab, to make a short film that demonstrates the core capabilities of raytracing in Unreal Engine. It's an experimental piece, but it shows the kind of features we'll add to the engine over the next year or so.

We've added support for what we call textured area lights, which is the same way we would light movies. You can see multiple reflections. You can see on the character, when she's carrying her gun, the reflection of the back of the gun in her chest plate. It's running on an Nvidia DGX-1, which is a four-GPU graphics computer they make. But as you know, hardware gets better every year. Hopefully one day there's a machine that can do this for gamers as well as high-end professionals. It's beginning to blur the line between what a movie looks like and what a game can look like. We think there's an exciting time ahead.

One thing we've been interested in over the years is digital humans. Two years ago we showed Senua, the Hellblade character. To this day, that's pretty much state of the art. But we wanted to see if we could get closer to crossing the uncanny valley. She was great, but you could see that the facial animation wasn't quite there. The details in the skin and the hair—it was still a fair way from crossing the uncanny valley.

Video is available on YouTube: Siren, alone (42s) and Siren Behind The Scenes (52s), and Creating Believable Characters in Unreal Engine (56m31s).

Related: Microsoft Announces Directx 12 Raytracing API

Original Submission

Nvidia Announces RTX 2080 Ti, 2080, and 2070 GPUs, Claims 25x Increase in Ray-Tracing Performance 23 comments

NVIDIA Announces the GeForce RTX 20 Series: RTX 2080 Ti & 2080 on Sept. 20th, RTX 2070 in October

NVIDIA's Gamescom 2018 keynote just wrapped up, and as many have been expecting since it was announced last month, NVIDIA is getting ready to launch their next generation of GeForce hardware. Announced at the event and going on sale starting September 20th is NVIDIA's GeForce RTX 20 series, which is succeeding the current Pascal-powered GeForce GTX 10 series. Based on NVIDIA's new Turing GPU architecture and built on TSMC's 12nm "FFN" process, NVIDIA has lofty goals, looking to drive an entire paradigm shift in how games are rendered and how PC video cards are evaluated. CEO Jensen Huang has called Turing NVIDIA's most important GPU architecture since 2006's Tesla GPU architecture (G80 GPU), and from a features standpoint it's clear that he's not overstating matters.

[...] So what does Turing bring to the table? The marquee feature across the board is hybrid rendering, which combines ray tracing with traditional rasterization to exploit the strengths of both technologies. This announcement is essentially a continuation of NVIDIA's RTX announcement from earlier this year, so if you thought that announcement was a little sparse, well then here is the rest of the story.

The big change here is that NVIDIA is going to be including even more ray tracing hardware with Turing in order to offer faster and more efficient hardware ray tracing acceleration. New to the Turing architecture is what NVIDIA is calling an RT core, the underpinnings of which we aren't fully informed on at this time, but serve as dedicated ray tracing processors. These processor blocks accelerate both ray-triangle intersection checks and bounding volume hierarchy (BVH) manipulation, the latter being a very popular data structure for storing objects for ray tracing.

NVIDIA is stating that the fastest GeForce RTX part can cast 10 Billion (Giga) rays per second, which compared to the unaccelerated Pascal is a 25x improvement in ray tracing performance.

Nvidia has confirmed that the machine learning capabilities (tensor cores) of the GPU will used to smooth out problems with ray-tracing. Real-time AI denoising (4m17s) will be used to reduce the amount of samples per pixel needed to achieve photorealism.

Previously: Microsoft Announces Directx 12 Raytracing API
Nvidia Announces Turing Architecture With Focus on Ray-Tracing and Lower-Precision Operations

Related: Real-time Ray-tracing at GDC 2014

Original Submission

Crytek Demos Real-Time Raytracing for AMD and Non-RTX Nvidia GPUs 5 comments

Crytek Demos Noir, a CRYENGINE Based Real-Time Raytracing Demo on AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 – Can Run on Most Mainstream, Contemporary AMD and NVIDIA GPUs

Crytek has showcased a new real-time raytracing demo which is said to run on most mainstream, contemporary GPUs from NVIDIA and AMD. The minds behind one of the most visually impressive FPS franchise, Crysis, have their new "Noir" demo out which was run on an AMD Radeon RX Vega graphics card which shows that raytracing is possible even without an NVIDIA RTX graphics card.

[...] Crytek states that the experimental ray tracing feature based on CRYENGINE's Total Illumination used to create the demo is both API and hardware agnostic, enabling ray tracing to run on most mainstream, contemporary AMD and NVIDIA GPUs. However, the future integration of this new CRYENGINE technology will be optimized to benefit from performance enhancements delivered by the latest generation of graphics cards and supported APIs like Vulkan and DX12.

Related: Real-time Ray-tracing at GDC 2014
Microsoft Announces Directx 12 Raytracing API
Nvidia Announces Turing Architecture With Focus on Ray-Tracing and Lower-Precision Operations
Nvidia Announces RTX 2080 Ti, 2080, and 2070 GPUs, Claims 25x Increase in Ray-Tracing Performance
Q2VKPT: An Open Source Game Demo with Real-Time Path Tracing
AMD and Nvidia's Latest GPUs Are Expensive and Unappealing
Nvidia Ditches the Ray-Tracing Cores with Lower-Priced GTX 1660 Ti

Original Submission

Nvidia Enables Support for DirectX Raytracing on Non-RTX GPUs, Results Lackluster 11 comments

NVIDIA Releases DirectX Raytracing Driver for GTX Cards; Posts Trio of DXR Demos

Last month at GDC 2019, NVIDIA revealed that they would finally be enabling public support for DirectX Raytracing on non-RTX cards. Long baked into the DXR specification itself – which is designed [to] encourage ray tracing hardware development while also allowing it to be implemented via traditional compute shaders – the addition of DXR support in cards without hardware support for it is a small but important step in the deployment of the API and its underlying technology. At the time of their announcement, NVIDIA announced that this driver would be released in April, and now this morning, NVIDIA is releasing the new driver.

As we covered in last month's initial announcement of the driver, this has been something of a long time coming for NVIDIA. The initial development of DXR and the first DXR demos (including the Star Wars Reflections demo) were all handled on cards without hardware RT acceleration; in particular NVIDIA Volta-based video cards. Microsoft used their own fallback layer for a time, but for the public release it was going to be up to GPU manufacturers to provide support, including their own fallback layer. So we have been expecting the release of this driver in some form for quite some time.

Of course, the elephant in the room in enabling DXR on cards without RT hardware is what it will do for performance – or perhaps the lack thereof.

Also at Wccftech.

See also: NVIDIA shows how much ray-tracing sucks on older GPUs

[For] stuff that really adds realism, like advanced shadows, global illumination and ambient occlusion, the RTX 2080 Ti outperforms the 1080 Ti by up to a factor of six.

To cite some specific examples, Port Royal will run on the RTX 2080 Ti at 53.3 fps at 2,560 x 1,440 with advanced reflections and shadows, along with DLSS anti-aliasing, turned on. The GTX 1080, on the other hand, will run at just 9.2 fps with those features enabled and won't give you any DLSS at all. That effectively makes the feature useless on those cards for that game. With basic reflections on Battlefield V, on the other hand, you'll see 30 fps on the 1080 Ti compared to 68.3 on the 2080 Ti.


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 4, Informative) by canopic jug on Tuesday March 20 2018, @11:32AM (2 children)

    by canopic jug (3949) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 20 2018, @11:32AM (#655330) Journal

    That is just M$ spam, put out by an M$ booster/representative inside Ars Technica. M$ goes to any lengths to avoid using OpenGL or Vulkan since they are platform independent. They also put in a lot of effort to overshadow either in the media. So the press release is most likely a belated response to the recent announcements about Vulkan improvements, which were even covered here:
    Khronos Group Releases Vulkan 1.0 Graphics Specification []
    AMD Finally Pushing Out Open-Source Vulkan Driver []

    Money is not free speech. Elections should not be auctions.
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by mth on Tuesday March 20 2018, @03:45PM

      by mth (2848) on Tuesday March 20 2018, @03:45PM (#655428) Homepage

      Both DX12 and Vulkan were inspired by AMD's Mantle API. I much prefer Vulkan because it is cross-platform, but I don't think it's fair to say that DirectX is behind the times.

      As far as I know, there is no specific support for ray tracing in any of those APIs. People have done ray tracing with existing graphics APIs, so I don't know how much of a difference a dedicated API makes: does it actually make things easier or faster, or is it just marketing?

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by TheRaven on Tuesday March 20 2018, @04:54PM

      by TheRaven (270) on Tuesday March 20 2018, @04:54PM (#655479) Journal

      DXR and Vulkan are very different. Vulkan is a low-level API that basically lets you manage data and run programs on the GPU. You use it to build very high-performance rendering pipelines tailored to a particular use. DXR is a high-level ray-tracing API. You can implement DXR on top of Vulkan, but you don't want to make everyone who wants to write games implement it on top of Vulkan. A bunch of the big-name game engines (e.g. Unity) are providing DXR back ends, so you can describe your scene graph using their APIs and have it ray traced with DXR.

      I expect Khronos will define a standard similar to DXR (OpenRT never went anywhere, in spite of some promising demos), but it will be layered on top of Vulkan, not a direct competitor.

      sudo mod me up
  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by chromas on Tuesday March 20 2018, @02:58PM (3 children)

    by chromas (34) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 20 2018, @02:58PM (#655406) Journal

    Man, I can't wait to have shiny glass buttons and chrome scrollbars with real-time raytraced reflections!

    I hope MS brings back Aero. When I'm not gaming or waiting for the Windows Fall Creator update to fail so it can start the download/install process over, Windows 10 is fugly and also mostly white for some reason. Check your privilege, Microsoft! (I run Linux but Windows has moar games and also Linux leaves the desktop in vram so there's less available for gaming.)

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Snospar on Tuesday March 20 2018, @03:18PM

      by Snospar (5366) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 20 2018, @03:18PM (#655408)

      The only time I use Windows is when I'm gaming and I'm completely pissed off with the endless loop of fail that is the "Windows Fall Creator Update"! It's getting hard for me to game on the Windows platform because almost all resources are now devoted to Windows Update attempting to do its crap continually. And yes, I have already disabled the Windows Update service, and tried half a dozen "guaranteed to fix this" steps. Pure bullshit from Microsoft as usual.

      Huge thanks to all the Soylent volunteers without whom this community (and this post) would not be possible.
    • (Score: 2) by forkazoo on Tuesday March 20 2018, @09:02PM

      by forkazoo (2561) on Tuesday March 20 2018, @09:02PM (#655616)

      You know if they bring back Aero, they'll have to do it with a Compositing Window Manager that uses just as much framebuffer memory as a fancy WM on Linux, right?

      Anyhow, just use twm if you want the maximum available VRAM available. I promise it doesn't do any fancy compositing on the GPU. You can even add your favorite games to the .twimrc menu if you can find some 30 year old documentation of the syntax. :)

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by vux984 on Tuesday March 20 2018, @10:51PM

      by vux984 (5045) on Tuesday March 20 2018, @10:51PM (#655687)

      "Windows 10 is fugly and also mostly white for some reason."

      Right click on the desktop, "Personalize", select "colors" on the left. Scroll down on the right; a few options up from the bottom it says "Choose your default app mode" (o) light ( ) dark.
      Switch it to 'dark'. Now you'll be able to say: "Windows 10 is fugly and also mostly black for some reason"

      Enjoy. :p