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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.

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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