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NVIDIA talk up bringing DirectX Ray Tracing to Vulkan

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With Ray Tracing becoming ever more popular, NVIDIA have written up a technical post on bringing DirectX Ray Tracing to Vulkan to encourage more developers to do it.

The blog post, titled "Bringing HLSL Ray Tracing to Vulkan" mentions that porting content requires both the API calls (so DirectX to Vulkan) and the Shaders (HLSL to SPIR-V). Something that's not so difficult now, with the SPIR-V backend to Microsoft's open source DirectXCompiler (DXC).

Since last year, NVIDIA added ray tracing support to DXC's SPIR-V back-end too using their SPV_NV_ray_tracing extension and there's already titles shipping with it like Quake II RTX and Wolfenstein: Youngblood. While this is all NVIDIA-only for now, The Khronos Group is having discussions to get a cross-vendor version of the Vulkan ray tracing extension implemented and NVIDIA expect the work already done can be used with it which does sound good.

NVIDIA go on to give an example and sum it all up with this:

The NVIDIA VKRay extension, with the DXC compiler and SPIR-V backend, provides the same level of ray tracing functionality in Vulkan through HLSL as is currently available in DXR. You can now develop ray-tracing applications using DXR or NVIDIA VKRay with minimized shader re-writing to deploy to either the DirectX or Vulkan APIs.

See the full post here.

Eventually, with efforts like this and when Vulkan has proper cross-vendor ray tracing bits all wired up, it would give developers an easier job to get Vulkan ports looking as good as they can with DirectX. This makes the future of the Vulkan API sound ever-more exciting.

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tuubi 23 Feb
1xokHow is raytracing actually implemented in the Linux version of Quake2 or is it switched off there? Can anyone comment on this?

I cannot try it, I only have a GTX 970.
Here's some reading for you:
Shmerl 23 Feb
ElectroDDLast example, g-sync... They went as far as manipulating the branding from monitor manufacturer when they lost the battle against AMD.

I'd say they failed overall. Example:

Quote* NVIDIA® G-SYNC® Compatible
* Adaptive-Sync (FreeSync™)

Adaptive sync is mentioned.
appetrosyan 23 Feb
Liam Dawe
appetrosyanDon't quite get what they gain from this. Still, this means that we could (in theory) have RTX accelerated Quake 2 on Linux.
We already do. That's the point. Quake II RTX is out and supports Linux.

Thanks! I hand idea. I would like to say that I'd give it a try, but I have an old rx 480.
appetrosyan 23 Feb
mirvThere's actually quite a lot of a video card that isn't used at any given time, so while adding some dedicated raytracing pathways may reduce area dedicated to other features, I don't think the impact is of the magnitude that you might be thinking.

If general GPU compute units can handle ray tracing - then fine, but apparently they aren't good enough for it (yet).

Indeed, and different vendor approaches to their compute units will definitely be worth keeping an eye on.

I'm of the opinion myself that despite nvidia pushing their own rtx extensions, eventually it will all collapse back into generic compute units in the end - maybe some differences to current designs to make them more efficient for raytracing type work, but compute units nonetheless.
That will make raytracing just be another software package, like Radeon Rays.

Another possibility is that the tensor cores become the new CUDA cores.
elmapul 24 Feb
EikeIt's just a matter of time.

That said, I avoided buying a GTX 2000, because at the moment, it feels more like an expensive gimmick.

It is a gimmick. More of a marketing tool than a really useful feature. To achieve good quality real time ray tracing, you need really powerful hardware. And one that can be fit in a single GPU gives at best some minor enhancement to the lighting, and as I said above, it naturally comes at the cost of everything else.

Ray tracing is the holygrail of computer graphics.
maybe Rtx, their dedicated cores, may be gimick, but Ray tracing?
that is simply the reason why the computer graphics industry had to use countless other gimmicks, because they didnt had real time ray trace, what nvidia did was an miracle that was later followed by others, sure, its not as good as rendering the entire frame, the same way that eevee (on blender) is not as good as cycles, but its close enough.

rendering in 16ms what usually take hours in a much better machine is not an small deal, sure its not as good as, but its impressive nonetheless.

one thing that i hate in gamers in general is how clueless they are, i dont give a fuck about 4k, raytracing is an serious technology, 4k is just a gimmick, but when they realizes that they would have to give up on 4k to play with raytracing, what they did? trash talked the technology, and that is the reason why it didnt sell as it should.
sure, there are other factors too, like games that arent really optimized for it, but seem the reception that this technology had, just disgusts me.
Shmerl 24 Feb
Ray tracing is the holygrail of computer graphics.
maybe Rtx, their dedicated cores, may be gimick, but Ray tracing?

We aren't talking about ray tracing, we are talking about Nvidia's implementation. See my post above. What they did it not a miracle, it's a gimmick. Once someone will make serious real time ray tracing on commodity hardware, you can call it a miracle. Nvidia did nothing of the sort.

Last edited by Shmerl on 24 February 2020 at 5:13 am UTC
mo0n_sniper 24 Feb
RTX on GTX1000 series cards doesn't run anywhere as fast as on RTX2000 cards. I have ran QuakeII on my GTX1600 and it had 3FPS.
Liam Dawe 24 Feb
mo0n_sniperRTX on GTX1000 series cards doesn't run anywhere as fast as on RTX2000 cards. I have ran QuakeII on my GTX1600 and it had 3FPS.
That's because GTX1xxx cards don't have RT cores.
sub 24 Feb
ShmerlIt is a gimmick.

No, it's a solution the the rendering problems that rasterisers can't solve. It's just the first generation of hardware that attempts to use it in real time graphics. It's as much a gimmick as 3D rendering was with the first 3Dfx card.

I remember a friend bringing over his Diamond Monster 3D at a LAN party not too long after
when it was released. To many of us the concept of a 3D accelerator was completely fresh.

We played Quake a lot and you know it was quite demanding at that time.
And you typically played it at VGA 320x240 using the software rasterizer.
Switching to 640x400 or higher looked awesome but was extremely slow to
the point where the FPS would better be given in SPF.

So this guy had the card since a day before and only played a demo and a
rather crappy game (Terminal Velocity?) that came with the card.

Another friend had a computer magazine with a CD.
Quite common at the time because internet access was still not
that common, rather expensive and terribly slow.
So these CDs not only provided demos but patches and drivers.
He pointed out that it features a GLQuake patch for that 3Dfx card.
So we gave it a try.

I'm not exaggerating when I claim this was the biggest WOW effect I,
and probably the others too, ever faced so far with computer gaming.

Even VR and other stuff didn't came close to what you experience seeing
this for the very first time.

Not only Quake ran smooth as butter on 640x480, it was bi-linear filtered
and provided some extra lightning effects.

It felt like such a clear unsteady jump in technology that I've never
experienced again in the same way since then.

Comparing this to the crappy attempt of RT is just not right. :)

The first 3Dfx card delivered. And how it did!

Last edited by sub on 24 February 2020 at 9:58 am UTC
tuubi 24 Feb
suba rather crappy game (Terminal Velocity?) that came with the card.
I had a lot of fun with that game and a flight stick. :(
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