Is ray tracing a pointless gimmick or the next milestone in graphical advancement?

Ray tracing good

  • Yeah

    Votes: 215 68.0%
  • Nope

    Votes: 101 32.0%

  • Total voters
    316
I don't know if it's a "gimmick", as it certainly has its place .

Unfortunately, for me, it doesn't offer enough to justify the performance cost.

If, or when, that changes, it'll be worth it.

Even then, I don't think it's quite the game changer it's made out to be - it's more an extra level of polish, in my opinion, than anything else.
 
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Bo_Hazem

Gold Dealer
Ray Tracing a gimmick? It's the most advanced tech since going 3D. Taking out the backed lighting for realistic lighting is the next step to free-up devs from that time-consuming process. And it looks miles better when you go full raytracing (path tracing) that even a turd of a game like Minecraft can look barely ok-ish.
 

Drizzlehell

Member
I've only used it on Cyberpunk, dlss 2 was impressive for me, really upped the fps at no image cost as for the RT itself yeah it looks better, a lot! it's not a gimmick imo, but games need to support it more, Phys X came and went and 3d etc, they never adopted them enough.
Physics are still a major part of most 3D games. It's just that they've been integrated to be a more organic part of the game's world instead of being this stupid gimmick like they were in the early days, with Half-Life 2 brick puzzles or Force Unleashed that felt more like tech demo for physics destruction than a game.

My point about physics is that they should be utilized more heavily to achieve more realism and immersion when interacting with the game's world. It's just my personal pet peeve when you have these giant multi-million dollar video games with god-tier graphics, but then you walk into a bush and your character is clipping through the leaves or level geometry. Or I try shooting a vase or a toilet bowl, and they turn out to be completely indestructible. Or when I'm playing a VR game and like half the props that I come across are nailed to the floors and shelves, with no way to move them around or grab them.

These are the kind of things that more advanced and easier to implement physics could help resolve.
 

Warnen

Can he swing from a thread? Take a look overhead / Hey, there, there goes the Spider-Man
Different but dunno if it’s better. Rather have much higher fps really.
 

Hugare

Member
See Metro Exodus or Dying Light 2 with RT ON and OFF. I dare anyone to say its a gimmick after seeing some screenshots.

People who think RT only works with reflections are dense. There's so much more to RT than just some puddles.

I would take 1080p graphical options in console games if that means RT GI working on the fame. But having 1080p for RT Shadows or Reflections is a waste.
 
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Robb

Gold Member
Not sure if it’s either, just seems like natural progression. To me it seems like a feature that we won’t even discuss in the future because it’ll just be the standard.
 

Fredrik

Gold Member
There is much more to ray-tracing than reflections, once we have full scene RT global illumination, light, shadows, reflections etc it’ll look sweeeet. But you’ll need a beastly GPU to handle it at decent framerates.
 

Laptop1991

Member
Physics are still a major part of most 3D games. It's just that they've been integrated to be a more organic part of the game's world instead of being this stupid gimmick like they were in the early days, with Half-Life 2 brick puzzles or Force Unleashed that felt more like tech demo for physics destruction than a game.

My point about physics is that they should be utilized more heavily to achieve more realism and immersion when interacting with the game's world. It's just my personal pet peeve when you have these giant multi-million dollar video games with god-tier graphics, but then you walk into a bush and your character is clipping through the leaves or level geometry. Or I try shooting a vase or a toilet bowl, and they turn out to be completely indestructible. Or when I'm playing a VR game and like half the props that I come across are nailed to the floors and shelves, with no way to move them around or grab them.

These are the kind of things that more advanced and easier to implement physics could help resolve.
Yeah, agreed, well Mafia 2 was 12 years ago, and no game has really got near that level yet, most just used havok, these tech's need to be used a lot more or they are just gimmicks.
 

Drizzlehell

Member
It is not a gimmick, but people don't understand what it does and how it works.

It is another step in the very right direction and will lay the groundworks for graphical progress for decades to come.

However I agree that the current hardware (mostly consoles and lower end GPUs. the 4090 is fine) on 4K TVs with the implementation we have isn't really fully feasible to make RayTracing shine the way it could and it certainly won't be enough to even come close to match what PC GPUs are and will be capable of in the years to come.

Everybody is screaming for things like destructible environments and in general asking for things to be more interactive and fewer static objects. RayTracing is kinda like that in a visual way. It is rendering things outside of your screen and makes you see things that you otherwise wouldn't. Like a reflection of an enemy behind a corner firing his gun being reflected in the shiny car door on the other end of the corner you are looking at. You previously couldn't really do that.

Everybody should want this, because it is so much more than just a random reflection most casuals couldn't tell apart from screen space reflections. It makes games come alive. I tried it on and off in many games including Control and Metro Exodus and while the games look great no matter what the difference between RT on and off is night and day for me. When I turn it off the game looks bland and soulless.

It is the real deal and they will continue down that path. Anyone who has watched any of Nvidia's shows the last few years will know this.
Yeah, but the point I was trying to make when I brought up God of War is that modern games already look good enough and I would personally be more impressed with more realistic destruction physics and interactive environments. Not to mention that a game that looks like God of War is way more pleasing to look at when running at 4k in 60 FPS and you don't need ray tracing to make it better.
 
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Sanepar

Member
Ray tracing is a graphics game changer, but it is in its very infant stages as far as being utilized in games to its full capability and that is still limited even with the 4090.
It will be the day is ray tracing global ilumination. But will take years.
 

RoadHazard

Gold Member
Full ray tracing is the future of real-time rendering, no doubt. But not even the best PC GPUs can do that yet. They can do a lot more than the consoles can though, where you usually get just one RT effect (reflections OR shadows OR GI). So in it current state it's kinda gimmicky (GI is probably the implementation that makes the biggest visual difference, but it's also the most expensive one to implement). But in general, no, it's absolutely no gimmick, it's gonna forever change how real-time graphics are rendered.
 

64bitmodels

Reverse groomer.
here's a comparison between RT graphics and 3d graphics back in the 90s
in the 90s when the PS1 and N64 came out, 3d immediately became the standard for video games and every game used them. No 'the technology isn't there yet' or 'give it a couple more years' bs, it came out, and it was immediately in use.
in the 10s when Raytracing became popular with the pascal nvidia cards, hardly any games use them
If it weren't a gimmick, how come it's taking 4 years for it to actually get anywhere? who's to say it won't take even longer for it to finally become 'standard', if at all? every 2023-2024 game we've seen isn't even using it at all, let alone to the point where it's actually noticeable and makes a major difference visually (besides reflection)

It's a joke, and basically unnecessary considering how far videogame lighting has come.
 
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Mephisto40

Member
I think part of the problem is that it actual makes the job of level designers, directors and artists harder, since they have to think about building things in a way they havnt had to think about previously
 

Skifi28

Member
I think there are many misconceptions about RT. It's not really about making things look better, but more accurate so you are very likely to not even notice in a game where everything is in motion. All these years developers have become very proficient at using techniques "faking" realistic-looking shadows/reflections/lighting to the point replacing them with RT is not very apparent until you do a side to side comparison while also thinking about the accuracy of the scene. Even RT global illumination would add little to most modern games since they already use a pre-calculated version with great results or even blend between different pre-baked conditions to simulate time of day. It truly makes you wonder whether the drop in performance is justified when you can have very convincing results without it.

Where RT truly shines is in cutting down development time as all these "fake" effects used today require a ton of effort and manpower to make versus one solutions that includes everything. Unfortuantely, in its current iteration where developers just throw RT reflections or shadows here and there it really does seem pointless other than technically preparing the teams for a future where most GPUs can do full path tracing. It's going to take a few years still.
 
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NahaNago

Member
Not sure if it’s either, just seems like natural progression. To me it seems like a feature that we won’t even discuss in the future because it’ll just be the standard.
This is how I see it as well. 1080p was last gen, ray tracing was this gen, and now I wonder what new standard will Sony and Microsoft be pushing next gen. I hope they go in different directions next gen to spice things up.
 

nightmare-slain

Gold Member
yeah it's good if it's fully raytraced. it's too expensive though so that's why most games with it don't look too impressive. There's still a lot of baked in stuff so you're not seeing much of a difference but that's all we can really do with the hardware at the moment. As technology improves we can push raytracing harder. Most of the games that are fully raytraced are older games.

raytracing is the future for sure but it'll take time before we get there.

i think its pointless for console , a 499 dollar console just not meant for RT feature imo.
Should be PC exclusive.
i don't think it should be exclusive. i think it's good that consoles have raytracing because it means it's being adopted and supported which is what we need but yeah they aren't powerful enough to run a lot of it.

raytracing on consoles should be there as an option or part of a visual mode. if all the game do is raytraced reflections/shadows then fine that's cool. maybe next gen consoles will be able to do more :)
 
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Tiamat2san

Member
Right now , not as important as the card manufacturers want us to believe.
Maybe in 10 years when the tech has matured .
Yes it looks cool, but art direction remains more important to my eyes.
 

01011001

Gold Member
raytracing will eventually replace raster graphics, it is the inevitable and undeniable future of graphics rendering.

the RTX4090 is already capable to run Cyberpunk 2077 in the new RT Overdrive mode that'll release soon and replace all lighting and reflections with extremely high quality raytraced effects, one step away from running fully pathtraced.

so expect the high end cards of the RTX50 series to be the first gpu generation that will reliably be able to run modern AAA games fully pathtraced at playable framerates
 
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ChoosableOne

ChoosableAll
I think Hdr more important than ray tracing. I usually turn it off. It looks cool on Cyberpunk though. Maybe newer games use it more effectively.
 

Beechos

Member
With the way it is now and how limited it is especially on consoles yes!

During ps6/xbox series 2 when it will be a normal thing and the systems have more than enough power to fully utilize it, it will be amazing.
 
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There was a time when it was too expensive to use SSDs on Consoles. And currently it is still too expensive to run Ray Tracing in games.

But there is a difference between "can't afford it" and "bad/gimmick".

We can't afford RT yet, that is all there is to it. Calling it a gimmick is quite metaphorically sour grapes. Something you say to have yourself to feel better about not having it.
This x100.
 

HTK

Member
At the moment Ray Tracking is too expensive on the hardware and also devs aren't as good at implementing it in. I do think it's the right path once the hardware and devs have matured utilizing ray tracing. I do prefer ray tracing "ON", though it subtle in some games I do find it appealing to my eyes more.
 

Mithos

Member
The day turning RT on do not drop the framerate more then maybe 5-10fps that's when its no longer a gimmick.
Gimme a 3070-3080 level GPU with RTX 8090 level RT cores.
 

ToTTenTranz

Member
IMO raytracing in current PC hardware seems to be good enough for lower-resolution reflections (with screen-space hybrid mode), shadows and ambient occlusion.
In most games these seem to translate into a ~35-40% performance hit on RDNA2 GPUs and 20-25% hit on Nvidia Ampere GPUs. And it seems to just make sense because devs don't need to e.g. make huge shadow maps nor get into gameplay heaps to avoid reflections they couldn't do otherwise.

It's when they go into full-resolution reflections and 100% path-traced global illumination like they do in Cyberpunk's Ultra and Psycho modes that things turn into silly levels of diminishing visual returns.
>99% of the GPUs in gamers' hands simply lack the performance to do that and the difference is hardly noticeable.


The next milestone in graphical advancement is IMO Unreal Engine 5's asset streaming technology, allowing for "infinite" geometry in real-time. There's really nothing coming close to that and it runs on 9th gen consoles just fine.
People need to know that software hasn't caught up to the PS5's and XSX hardware capabilities yet. I'll bet that Matrix demo could run at twice the framerate in both consoles after they spend enough time and energy optimizing the code for that hardware. The Unreal Engine 5 only came out of beta a handful of months ago.
 

FBeeEye

Member
This gen it's a gimmick because the consoles are too weak to really use it. Devs are adding it to their cross gen games and labeling them as current gen only.
 
It’s not a gimmick, it’s just not at the point, especially on consoles, to where it is that useful. Maybe next generation
 
raytracing will eventually replace raster graphics, it is the inevitable and undeniable future of graphics rendering.

the RTX4090 is already capable to run Cyberpunk 2077 in the new RT Overdrive mode that'll release soon and replace all lighting and reflections with extremely high quality raytraced effects, one step away from running fully pathtraced.

so expect the high end cards of the RTX50 series to be the first gpu generation that will reliably be able to run modern AAA games fully pathtraced at playable framerates

I seriously doubt RTX50 series will be able to render games that look like this at acceptable framerates.
This is a static scene too. Throw in object physics and things become way more complicated and taxing for the best hardware.

 
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ReBurn

Gold Member
It's new for gaming so people are excited to see it. Once it's prolific nobody will care about it any more.
 

StreetsofBeige

Gold Member
No different than Nvidia plugging hair effects. Nice to have, but not at the cost of good performance. For me, I'll take a good looking zero-RT game at 60 fps, then an RT enabled game struggling to hit 30 fps. But some gamers feel different and prefer best visuals at any cost to res and frames.
 
I think that ray tracing is an interesting feature that could help to make games look better while reducing the workload for visual artists, but I think it's being pushed way too hard by hardware producers as this next big thing, while the actual tech is simply not there yet to support it efficiently. I would much rather see this processing power used for things that can look actually impressive, like more advanced physics or high-resolution, high-framerate performance.
it's really the next big thing in graphics
It's the next real big thing
RT is the only way in CG to have realistic dynamic lighting
It's the holy grail of scene lighting in computer graphics
it's essentially the holy grail of graphics technology
It's the most advanced tech since going 3D
Full ray tracing is the future of real-time rendering

No.
Ray-tracing is the oldest, the most straight-forward and the most "stupid" technology in computer graphics.

There are a lot of much more modern and better looking methods, that don't take years to render:
- Path tracing
- Metropolis light transport
- Photon mapping
- GIBS
Etc. etc.

The problem is that you probably drank NV coll-aid too eagerly. NV called their implementation of dynamic pipeline - RTX, for marketing reasons.
It should have been called DRX: "dynamic rendering pipeline" or something similar. But NV always thinks that their fans are stupid... (see 4080 12GB)

The idea of RTX is to remove "rasterization" as the only "fixed function" step that's left in the pipeline.
Essentially we had "vertex shaders", "pixel shaders" and instead of "rasterization shaders" we got RTX.
Which is a pretty convoluted and simplistic implementation of what it should have been.

It's akin to launch of GeForce 2 GTS in the day where "Transform & Lighting" was introduced.
A precursor to the real shader implementation that worked as intended (in Geforce FX 5XXX).
You should expect at least 3 generations here too.

See Metro Exodus or Dying Light 2 with RT ON and OFF.

These are the games with one of the worst art directions I've ever seen.
No wonder they look "good" with RTX. It's only because they look atrocious without it...
 

Pagusas

Elden Member
Its game changing, but also at first subtle. Once you get use to seeing it though, going back to games that don't use it is eye opening at how bad they can appear. Same thing with PBR from last gen, you can instantly tell when a game was using PBR vs not, and at first it was sublte, but after you get use to seeing it, being without it is super obvious.
 

LiquidMetal14

hide your water-based mammals
RT is far from a gimmick. It's been used in offline rendering forever. It's needed to make the movies you see look the way they look and to be putting that sentence in perspective ought to let you know how expensive it is to implement (performance wise).

If anything, it's just one more thing to continue to build on and show that we aren't quite as close to the diminishing returns yet. Bigger, more dense environmental assets loading near instantly are just a couple things we are heading towards. It's a great time for all this tech/software advancement.
 

hlm666

Member
It's nice but there are so many more important things to work on.

Phyics and destruction should be number one. All these huge, nice looking open worlds are completely static.
The only way to get that without sacrificing graphics visuals/quality with all the baked in shit is with RT. So don't expect much progress here until we are over the RT teething phase. There's a reason you saw all those physics effects in the rtx racer thing.
 
My understanding is that it's greatest benefit is going to be how much it speeds up development time. It'll also look amazing at time as well, of course.

I just think it's being pushed too early onto hardware that isn't really well equipped to handle it. Ray tracing should've been one of the big things to look forward to with the Xbox Series 2 / PS6, not this generation. It's a waste of resources on the consoles we have today.
 
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RoadHazard

Gold Member
No.
Ray-tracing is the oldest, the most straight-forward and the most "stupid" technology in computer graphics.

There are a lot of much more modern and better looking methods, that don't take years to render:
- Path tracing
- Metropolis light transport
- Photon mapping
- GIBS
Etc. etc.

The problem is that you probably drank NV coll-aid too eagerly. NV called their implementation of dynamic pipeline - RTX, for marketing reasons.
It should have been called DRX: "dynamic rendering pipeline" or something similar. But NV always thinks that their fans are stupid... (see 4080 12GB)

The idea of RTX is to remove "rasterization" as the only "fixed function" step that's left in the pipeline.
Essentially we had "vertex shaders", "pixel shaders" and instead of "rasterization shaders" we got RTX.
Which is a pretty convoluted and simplistic implementation of what it should have been.

It's akin to launch of GeForce 2 GTS in the day where "Transform & Lighting" was introduced.
A precursor to the real shader implementation that worked as intended (in Geforce FX 5XXX).
You should expect at least 3 generations here too.



These are the games with one of the worst art directions I've ever seen.
No wonder they look "good" with RTX. It's only because they look atrocious without it...

Who is talking about RTX? Not me, I'm talking about ray tracing in general. That's not an Nvidia marketing term.

Path tracing is done via ray tracing, they are not separate concepts. It's all about simulating the paths of rays of light, but at different levels of complexity.
 
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