NVIDIA is bringing ray tracing to older GeForce GTX GPUs

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"Real-time ray tracing support from other first-party AAA game engines includes DICE/EA's Frostbite Engine, Remedy Entertainment's Northlight Engine and engines from Crystal Dynamics, Kingsoft, Netease and others".

"Unreal Engine 4.22 is available in preview now, with final release details expected in Epic's GDC keynote on Wednesday".

The partnership between NVIDIA and Unity is interesting from several angles.

Nvidia admits that on these older Pascal GPUs, and on the new GTX16 series, raytraced effects will execute on shader cores.

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Using Metro Exodus as an example, Nvidia demonstrated how much slower Pascal GPUs are at ray tracing than Turing, even with the latter's RT cores disabled. NVIDIA mentions that the image quality will be based on the effect that is used - and how that is optimised - within a particular game.

To help developers in their work of preparing raytraced games, Nvidia has introduced GameWorks RTX. Nvidia said the tools are available to developers under the open source GameWorks license and that it will have plugins ready for Unreal Engine 4.22 and the 2019.03 Unity release. Now, there's some good news for owners of GTX cards: ray tracing support is coming to these older products, albeit in a basic form and with some caveats. It includes algorithms for ray traced area light shadows, glossy reflections, ambient occlusion and diffuse global illumination. Additionally, Dragonhound is Nexon's upcoming online action RPG monster battle game that will feature real-time raytraced reflections and shadows.

NVIDIA showed off something very close to my heart at GTC 2019 this year, with a real-time ray tracing powered version of Quake II demoed. The new game demo was released in January as Q2VKPT - where the PT suffix stands for Path Tracing, a compute-intensive ray tracing technique that unifies all lighting effects. This will be achieved by enabling support for DirectX Raytracing (DXR), a cross-vendor extension of the DirectX 12 API specifically developed for real-time ray tracing and which games like Battlefield V and Metro Exodus leverage, not forgetting the 3DMark Port Royal benchmark.

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