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Quake 2 now has real-time path tracing with Vulkan

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If you have one of the more recent NVIDIA RTX graphics cards, here's an interesting project for you to try. Q2VKPT from developer Christoph Schied implements some really quite advanced techniques.

As the developer describes:

Q2VKPT is the first playable game that is entirely raytraced and efficiently simulates fully dynamic lighting in real-time, with the same modern techniques as used in the movie industry (see Disney's practical guide to path tracing). The recent release of GPUs with raytracing capabilities has opened up entirely new possibilities for the future of game graphics, yet making good use of raytracing is non-trivial. While some games have started to explore improvements in shadow and reflection rendering, Q2VKPT is the first project to implement an efficient unified solution for all types of light transport: direct, scattered, and reflected light (see media). This kind of unification has led to a dramatic increase in both flexibility and productivity in the movie industry. The chance to have the same development in games promises a similar increase in visual fidelity and realism for game graphics in the coming years.

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It requires the VK_NV_ray_tracing extension, looking over recent NVIDIA driver releases it looks like you would need at least 410.57 which added support for it.

See more on the official site with the source code on GitHub.

I will admit, this is all going a little bit over my head, but the idea of it sounds very interesting.

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12 comments
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ageres 18 January 2019 at 2:22 pm UTC
I couldn't compile this.
Anyway, does it work only on Nvidia RTX cards?
Ehvis 18 January 2019 at 2:44 pm UTC
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Cool, I was looking for something to try this with. Using the RTX features to calculate global illumination for the normal rasterizing renderers was one of the more impressive uses in the demos.
sr_ls_boy 18 January 2019 at 2:49 pm UTC
ageresI couldn't compile this.
Anyway, does it work only on Nvidia RTX cards?

That's what I hope for. I have a 8gb Polaris card. I know that
Battlefield 5 is out of the question, but I'm hoping the RADV
developers would rig something together.


Last edited by sr_ls_boy on 18 January 2019 at 2:50 pm UTC
callcifer 18 January 2019 at 3:00 pm UTC
ageresdoes it work only on Nvidia RTX cards?

Yes. It depends on an Nvidia-only Vulkan extension that has only been implemented (so far?) for the RTX series cards.
x_wing 18 January 2019 at 3:01 pm UTC
ageresI couldn't compile this.
Anyway, does it work only on Nvidia RTX cards?

I think so. Nvidia said that they were using specific hardware to speed up ray tracing.


Last edited by x_wing on 18 January 2019 at 3:01 pm UTC
Ehvis 18 January 2019 at 3:07 pm UTC
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x_wing
ageresI couldn't compile this.
Anyway, does it work only on Nvidia RTX cards?

I think so. Nvidia said that they were using specific hardware to speed up ray tracing.

It says in the article that it uses VK_NV_ray_tracing, which only works on RTX cards. Khronos is doing a generic one though, which could be implemented for other cards using compute shaders. Whether that will actually work or be fast enough remains to be seen though.
jarhead_h 18 January 2019 at 5:38 pm UTC
Just an FYI to NVIDIA, /\THIS/\ is how you sell RTX. Not a brand new game that already brings a lot of systems to their knees, but old games where you can breathe entirely new life into it without massive performance penalties like having to drop from 4K to 1080p when you turn RTX on. How many games out there have an SDK where this could be implemented? I know there are literally dozens of Unreal engine games like Deus Ex that have one. How about Half Life? And NVIDIA would not have had to coordinate with any current developers, they could just hire the team and do it and then get 1,000,000 Brownie Buttons when the community got to mess around with path traced Deus Ex.

Oh, and this also makes my point about SDKs - it should be illegal to ship a game without an SDK so that the community can keep the game running in perpetuity. It should also be mandatory that the source code be uploaded in it's entirety ten years from the latest patch or upon bankruptcy of the company. In fact I would apply this to all software, not just games.

ageresI couldn't compile this.
Anyway, does it work only on Nvidia RTX cards?

No, it very specifically only works on a NVIDIA 2080ti or 2080 because it uses the ray tracing core to do the path tracing. Apparently the math is almost identical.

And looking at this game, it strikes me that we really need to write a Vulkan renderer for Deus Ex because as it stands the latest currently available is for DirectX 10. I have been thinking about a career change, maybe I'll take up coding.

Python -> C/C++ -> Vulkan.


Last edited by jarhead_h on 18 January 2019 at 5:55 pm UTC
silmeth 19 January 2019 at 8:11 pm UTC
It supposedly uses the VK_NV_ray_tracing extension, and my GTX 1070 with the 415.27 driver claims to support it:


silmeth@silmeth-desktop:~% vulkaninfo | rg tracing
        VK_NV_ray_tracing                   : extension revision  2


So I’d guess it should run (or at least try to), with probably very shitty performance. The question is how well is the extension implemented in software for older cards without the new hardware to support it.


Last edited by silmeth on 19 January 2019 at 8:11 pm UTC
Ehvis 19 January 2019 at 11:09 pm UTC
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silmethSo I’d guess it should run (or at least try to), with probably very shitty performance. The question is how well is the extension implemented in software for older cards without the new hardware to support it.

I'm not so sure the Vulkan extension is implemented for non-RTX cards all. The extension may exist in the driver, but it may not do anything. Only one way to be sure. There is OptiX, which implements similar tech using CUDA. On this RTX mode is 1.5x to 2x faster than plain CUDA. Which suggest even older GPUs shouldn't be half bad at this.
logge 20 January 2019 at 6:05 am UTC
Doom ][ with 3d models raytraced would be actually so cool I would immediately buy an rtx2080


Last edited by logge on 20 January 2019 at 6:06 am UTC
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