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Cringe Apparently RARE once said N64 supported real-time ray tracing. Yes, you read that right.

Raploz

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Check this ECTS (European Computer Trade Show) 1998 presentation. The entire video is pretty interesting, but go to 8:07 and see for yourself:



They say "Real-time Ray Tracing" and then go on to show all kinds of reflections and lightning effects. It's almost like seeing the marketing of current new gen games but back in 1998.

Who needs an RTX 3090 when you've got a Nintendo 64, right guys?
 

Raploz

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Check this ECTS (European Computer Trade Show) 1998 presentation. The entire video is pretty interesting, but go to 8:07 and see for yourself:



They say "Real-time Ray Tracing" and then go on to show all kinds of reflections and lightning effects. It's almost like seeing the marketing of current new gen games but back in 1998.

Who needs an RTX 3090 when you've got a Nintendo 64, right guys?

Not only that but what the heck is "Acoustic Shadowing" supposed to be? Maybe they were time travellers and that's some advanced feature we'll see in the future :s
 
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JordanN

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Was that really N64 footage, or was it the devkits?

The N64 hardware was full of bottlenecks, it would have made more sense if it was running on the SGI Onyx instead.

 
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Calverz

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Damn the end of that video gave me goosebumps.....i pray the initiative are making perfect dark
 

Raploz

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Was that really N64 footage, or was it the devkits?

The N64 hardware was full of bottlenecks, it would have made more sense if it was running on the SGI Onyx instead.


Probably, as the game was still in development, but even then claiming real-time ray tracing in 1998 is something I don't see happening, even with the most powerful workstation.
 

JordanN

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Probably, as the game was still in development, but even then claiming real-time ray tracing in 1998 is something I don't see happening, even with the most powerful workstation.
The way ray tracing works is that it scales by resolution rather than polygon count, so I don't think it would have been THAT impossible.

For a tech demo like the one shown in the video where everything is scripted, it could have been ray traced. But actually porting it to the N64 and having it run at 30fps with more complex animations, environment details and physics, then it would have to be scrapped.
 
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JordanN

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We all know how N64 games actually look though.
It had a powerful CPU held back by a 4kb texture cache and high latency RAM.

Ironically, it wouldn't have been ray tracing that was a problem. Actual N64 games had more blurry textures compared to what the tech demo video showed.
 
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Raploz

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The way ray tracing works is that it scales by resolution rather than polygon count, so I don't think it would have been THAT impossible.

For a tech demo like the one shown in the video where everything is scripted, it could have been ray traced. But actually porting it to the N64 and having it run at 30fps with more complex animations, environment details and physics, then it would have to be scrapped.

So you're saying there's a possibility? 😳


Well, anyway, most of the effects shown in the video don't look ray traced, they seem to be using mirrored geometry for the floors and environment maps for the other objects. The only suspicious thing is the gun at 8:32. That seems to be reflecting the things in front of it. It could also be the low resolution of the video fooling me.
 

JordanN

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So you're saying there's a possibility? 😳


Well, anyway, most of the effects shown in the video don't look ray traced, they seem to be using mirrored geometry for the floors and environment maps for the other objects. The only suspicious thing is the gun at 8:32. That seems to be reflecting the things in front of it. It could also be the low resolution of the video fooling me.
In a tech demo environment where everything is scripted, yes. In an actual shipped title running on retail hardware? Nope.

See the 3DS. The hardware was capable of doing PS3/360 effects. But making an entire game with those graphics was a different story.

Compare the Metal Gear Solid Tech Demo with the actual PS2 port.

Tech Demo:


Actual Gameplay:
 
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JordanN

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Because it did!

At 160p
At 34 seconds per frame.
You know, they could have technically recorded the footage and speed it up to make it look playable.

I recall that's what Naughty Dog did with the first Uncharted games.

The cutscenes ran at 5fps using two PS3's, but they took the footage and sped it up to 30fps. When they ported the games to the PS4, the actual console powerful enough to render them in real time without using the cheat.
 
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jigglet

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If you look purely at the marketing, it doesn't seem that implausible. PS3 could create a Matrix like world - can you just imagine how much processing power that would take? PS2 I remember was supposedly able to render every individual strand on a person's head. So is it that much of a stretch to say the N64 could do ray tracing, if it was just one generation prior to PS2?
 

LarknThe4th

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It had a powerful CPU held back by a 4kb texture cache and high latency RAM.

Ironically, it wouldn't have been ray tracing that was a problem. Actual N64 games had more blurry textures compared to what the tech demo video showed.
As a bit of a tangent but I saw somewhere that N64 games automatically had that blurry effect to smooth out edges, is that just fud or was it a legitimate baked in feature in the hardware?
 

JordanN

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As a bit of a tangent but I saw somewhere that N64 games automatically had that blurry effect to smooth out edges, is that just fud or was it a legitimate baked in feature in the hardware?
Two things:

-Anti-aliasing
-Bilinear filtering.

The AA smoothed the overall image, and the bilinear filtering was for textures only. But because the N64 only had 4kb cache, it could only handle very low resolution textures. Thus running the post processing effects over these textures made them more blurry.

And they can be disabled, but only through hacking/emulation. I should note that N64 games actually look worse without the AA or texture filters.
Like see this hack that disables bilinear filtering for Ocarina of time.

 
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Clear

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Two things:

-Anti-aliasing
-Bilinear filtering.

The AA smoothed the overall image, and the bilinear filtering was for textures only. But because the N64 only had 4kb cache, it could only handle very low resolution textures. Thus running the post processing effects over these textures made them more blurry.

And they can be disabled, but only through hacking/emulation. I should note that N64 games actually look worse without the AA or texture filters.
Like see this hack that disables bilinear filtering for Ocarina of time.


Pretty sure N64 used trilinear filerering if memory serves.
 

Ar¢tos

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Was that really N64 footage, or was it the devkits?

The N64 hardware was full of bottlenecks, it would have made more sense if it was running on the SGI Onyx instead.

So much dust.... People are disgusting.
If you are going to take a picture of anything, clean it first!
(the floor is disgusting too...)
 
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TheContact

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ray tracing started in 1969 in the film industry. the hardware to do it in real time never caught up until recently but artists and developers have wanted to do RT in games for a while
 
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Vick

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Killzone 2 and The Last of Us also implemented it on PS3.

ray tracing started in 1969 in the film industry. the hardware to do it in real time never caught up until recently but artists and developers have wanted to do RT in games for a while
I believe we have interactive ray tracing since 1982.
 

JordanN

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Never worked on the machine myself (one of a very select few I never got my paws on), but pretty sure at the time the trilinear was the word.

Maybe this tweet sheds some light: link
Someone correct me if wrong, but I don't think that's actually the same as trilinear filtering.

Best way to tell: look at textures across a long distance. The detail should be preserved instead of being blurry.

 

Bogey

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Technically, if a game casts one single ray as part of the rendering process, it's doing Raytracing. Wohoo, oh hello, you glorious future!

The problem is that raytracing is a bit of a collective term, that encompasses a whole lot of different techniques that share a common principle ("casting some rays"), but have very different uses and VASTLY different performance impacts.

That way, I'm a bit afraid that the current marketing jabber about Raytracing is going to actually hurt its progress and interest. Because people see some stupid reflection, that sometimes needs 2 side-by-side screenshots to even spot any difference, and go "what, that's Raytracing? And I'm supposed to take a performance hit for that stuff? Get outta here".
When in reality, almost all current games just utilize the simplest, least performance intense partial applications of Raytracing, that only have a very modest impact on the overall looks of a game.
 
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Stuart360

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I remember Atari saying 'Crescent Galaxy' had ray tracing, specifically the asteroids, and certain other objects -


Probably bullshit knowing Atari.
 
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Tiamat2san

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But was it the same definition at the time?
I remember some old consoles claiming having « high definition » graphics.
 
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Tschumi

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In a tech demo environment where everything is scripted, yes. In an actual shipped title running on retail hardware? Nope.

See the 3DS. The hardware was capable of doing PS3/360 effects. But making an entire game with those graphics was a different story.

Compare the Metal Gear Solid Tech Demo with the actual PS2 port.

Tech Demo:


Actual Gameplay:
I'm so nostalgic for those months i spent gaping at mgs3 screens on the school computers~ same deal for world of Warcraft~
 

LordOfChaos

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Yeah, but not real-time ray tracing. I mean, unless you consider 0.2 fps real-time. Curiously, ray tracing on the Nintendo 64 has been done already:



Real time != full scene, it doesn't describe the number of rays at all.

It took us this long to get it somewhat useful, but I'm sure it could have done *some* rays in real time.
 
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Clear

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The Megadrive was doing 100% accurate reflections before anyone:


Sprite/Tile flipping on Megadrive was so nice. Insanely useful for compressing data too; you'd create an image in DPaint or whatever cut it into tiles and do a dup check by rotating every one in 90deg increments and just store as image+orientation bits. Amiga was so much work in comparison :D
 

namekuseijin

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fast load times, new rumble features, 60fps, split screen

I was so nextgen 30 years ago

PS5 and xsex are pathetic