• Battlefield V is Now the First Game to Support Ray Tracing

    With today's update to the game, Battlefield V is now the first game out there to support DirectX's real-time ray tracing (DXR). If you own an Nvidia 20xx card, you may want to check it out for yourself. Or maybe don't, because the performance hit is, to put it mildly, massive.

    So, what is ray tracing? Essentially, an algorithm traces the path of light from many different viewpoints and simulates the way it interacts with 3D objects in the scene. As the ray moves through the scene it accumulates color and light information along the way from all objects it encounters. These interactions are then combined to produce the final color of a pixel, that will be displayed on screen.

    Tracing from smooth surfaces like windows, cars, tanks, lamp posts, tiles, puddles and weapons accurately reflect elements of the environment around them. Standard rasterization technology does not fully capture these effects – but ray tracing does.

    Among other things, ray tracing will make sure that the light sources on a Battlefield V map, be it sun beams or V-1 Rocket explosions, result in a more realistic and authentic effect on the world around you. If you want to learn more about ray tracing, head to NVIDIA’s article here.

    Ray tracing is an incredible technology and, up until now, has not been something that you could realistically do in real time in a game. Hell, doing it in real-time on a computer outside of a game is still incredibly demanding. This is new territory for video games and the hardware. Meaning that even though real-time is now possible, the performance hit is still huge. This is early days for it. The hardware and technology will continue to evolve to the point where real-time ray tracing is not only possible but possible with much greater framerates, far less of a performance hit, and with far greater fidelity than it is at present.

    With that said, let's see just how much of a performance hit RTX 20xx users will experience today. First up, we have a benchmark conducted by Hardwareluxx.

    1080p | 1440p | 2160p

    Next up is Techpowerup. If you look, their results seem to mirror those found by Hardwareluxx.

    1080p | 1440p | 2160p

    If you need more confirmation about the performance hit, you can always check out Guru3D, or this PC Games Hardware video.

    It is certainly possible that updates can be made at both the driver level for the GPUs and to the games themselves that will improve performance over time. It will also be interesting to see how the performance impact is on other games. As it is, it's a great technology but unless you need to be an early adopter of every new tech out there, I would suggest waiting for the technology to mature for another generation or two... or three.
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