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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.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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44 comments
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Liam Dawe 24 February 2020 at 9:03 am UTC
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.
TemplarGR 24 February 2020 at 9:06 am UTC
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.

Yes. Because the GTX1600 is a gutted architecture for compute purposes....
sub 24 February 2020 at 9:54 am UTC
Ehvis
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 February 2020 at 2:16 pm UTC
suba rather crappy game (Terminal Velocity?) that came with the card.
I had a lot of fun with that game and a flight stick.
sub 24 February 2020 at 4:37 pm UTC
tuubi
suba rather crappy game (Terminal Velocity?) that came with the card.
I had a lot of fun with that game and a flight stick.

Sorry, I take it back. ;)
Purple Library Guy 25 February 2020 at 6:08 am UTC
This has been a really interesting conversation to read, although I have to admit I don't know enough to have a good handle on who might be right about what.
Patola 27 February 2020 at 5:23 am UTC
This video explains why real time raytracing is indeed a game changer. If on the one hand it is computationally expensive, on the other hand it substitutes a lot of other 3D "smoke and mirrors" techniques used in games, so you get them (improved) for free from the raytracing. And it effectively leaps over the uncanny valley of weird shadows and illumination tricks in games, making it feel real. It will not go away.


Last edited by Patola on 27 February 2020 at 5:23 am UTC
TemplarGR 27 February 2020 at 8:31 am UTC
PatolaThis video explains why real time ray tracing is indeed a game changer. If on the one hand it is computationally expensive, on the other hand it substitutes a lot of other 3D "smoke and mirrors" techniques used in games, so you get them (improved) for free from the ray tracing. And it effectively leaps over the uncanny valley of weird shadows and illumination tricks in games, making it feel real. It will not go away.

The thing with ray tracing is that it is essentially software rendering. If you make a wholly ray traced game, it will not use the normal graphical pipeline at all. Problem is, current gpus are designed for rasterization, so they waste a lot of silicon. So the plan is to initially include ray-tracing only for a few effects in rasterized game, until it gains traction. In 6-7-8 years, once ray-tracing has been established, gpus of the future will probably ditch the raster-specific hardware almost completely and just provide emulation for legacy games.
elmapul 21 March 2020 at 7:26 am UTC
TemplarGR
elmapul
Shmerl
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.

wtf?
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.



I always love it when clueless people call others clueless.... It is funny.

No, Nvidia performed no such "miracle". Nvidia just caught up with AMD's hardware architecture after many years. Nvidia's gpus for the better part of this decade were lagging behind in technology. They lacked async compute (VERY important and if games actually utilized it we would be seeing superior games), they lacked enough shading power and relied on geometry and brute force, they overtesselated everything just to win in benchmarks etc.

RTX is just some CUDA shaders that perform raytracing effects. That is why Nvidia after some months enabled the 1000 series to have RTX too.... It was just software. And guess what, architecturally VEGA and NAVI from AMD could run RTX just as efficiently, if Nvidia allowed their shaders to be translated to AMD hardware legally.... Oops, i guess now they did.

4K is not a "gimmick". Alongside HDR, they can enhance graphical fidelity considerably. They do cost a lot of resources. But if i had the choice between 4K/HDR and RTX on 1080p, i would pick 4K, every single time. Why? Because most effects RTX performs can be done with traditional techniques and be quite good looking, while 4K and HDR color literally upgrade the detail level of the whole screen. so yeah, RTX is a gimmick.

first off, i dont know about the hardware details, nvidia may lag behind in this front, but from an software point of view, ray tracing in real time is impressive (even more if they did in on their hardware that is as bad as you described)
it dont matter if it was an hardware inovation, or software inovation, its impressive in any case!

saying "It was just software" ,"Its just a shader", donot explain how they could make such a shader, if it was so easy, people would have figured it out before.

"if Nvidia allowed their shaders to be translated to AMD hardware legally.... Oops, i guess now they did."
the fact that nvidia hold the patent for that proves that they did it first.
why didnt amd did it before? or any game developer? because it isnt easy to do.


and second, 4k is not an guarantee of quality.
if i want to make an 4k game, i can just make an game with atari graphics and it will run on an ps3, an ps2, maybe even an n64 (if you ignore that those platforms dont have the proper output capabilities)

the issue with 4k is that you are giving up on something else to increase the resolution.
nowadays, you can run old games in high resolution on some emulators, pick an n64 game in 4k vs an movie in full HD, what have better graphics?
until games looks as good as movies (with fur and etc) i dont see the reason to increase the resolution, fullHD is good enough, 4k is bullshit, i rather have the double the poly count than double the resolution. (quadruple if you count x and y)


"Because most effects RTX performs can be done with traditional techniques and be quite good looking,"
that is why ray tracing is such a revolution, because now developers dont have to use those techiniques (those gimicks), they can just focus on making the game.
instead of baking the lights then making the objects inmovable so you cant break the illusion that the shadows are real, you just simulate light.
baking shadows is a gimmick.

in the current gen games, its hard to show the true advantage, because games were designed with that limitation into account, but now developers can get rid of then.

this video explain the issue better than i can:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyfTPG-dwOE
Purple Library Guy 21 March 2020 at 8:16 am UTC
elmapulthis video explain the issue better than i can:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyfTPG-dwOE
Good ol' Shamus. I like him. I stopped following his stuff because he's a bit outside my core interests and the conversations on his blog could seriously suck time. But he's a good guy and has some sound ideas.
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