More Research Required Before Ray Tracing Practical for Games


3DFX changed the gaming landscape forever when it brought 3D graphics to the masses, and in a similar fashion, ray tracing technology looks to be the next big revolution on the horizon. The promise of photo realistic scenery has provoked both developers and gamers, but is real-time ray tracing in games anywhere close to being a reality?

In an interview with Tom's Hardware, Intel's Daniel Pohl talked about the API Intel is using to showcase ray tracing demos and what he thinks needs to happen before the technology will be ready for commercial development.

"Creating higher image quality even faster. That requires smart anti-aliasing algorithms, a level of detail mechanism without switching artifacts, particle systems that also work in reflections, a fast soft shadowing algorithm, adoption to upcoming hardware architectures. We have some topics to keep us busy," said Pohl.

In the case of ray tracing, it's a matter of the hardware needing to catch up with the software. Pohl and his team of ray tracing researchers have been "targeting future architectures that consists out of tens, hundreds, and even thousands of cores," noting an almost linear scaling of frame rates with the number of processor cores.

Intel isn't the only one looking to push ray tracing technology into the mainstream, with Nvidia putting on demonstrations of its own. Here's hoping the race to the finish line ends up resembling more of a sprint than a marathon.

Image Credit: Gillis Tran

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