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

UnNamed

18+ Member
Ray Tracing is not only lighting, not only shadows, not only reflections, not only scattering, and so on,

In ita "final form", RTX is simply unmatchable. It's not RTX fault if devs are lazy.
 
Ray-traced shadows looks super impressive! For example Elden Ring - a game with tons of little details will benefit greatly from RT shadows.
Meh about reflections, but it depends on content. Pointless in Elden Ring, again.
 

jaysius

Member
They can’t make it standard bc it’s so gpu intensive. That’s like saying ultra wide is a gimmick bc it’s not standard or AA is a gimmick or shadow detail or texture detail. Hell everything in PC gaming isn’t standard. Even in consoles now things aren’t standard. Is FOV a gimmick?
Here We Go Reaction GIF by MOODMAN
 

Knightime_X

Member
RTX is anything but a gimmick.
Right now, hardware is just too weak to truly do anything wonderful without heavy impact to performance.
All of those visuals you displayed had lighting and shadows done entirely by hand, taking significantly longer to develop than using true rtx.

But I think in the future, there will be solutions to ray \ path tracing that will deliver similar effects while retaining quality and performance.
 
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It looks great but I don’t play games to stare at still images or do 400% Digital Foundry zooms and once I’m actually playing it’s much harder to notice.

Obviously I’d prefer it to be there but not at the sacrifice of resolution or frame rate.
 

Denton

Member
Why do you think God of War looks so good, OP?
It uses offline raytraced baked lighting.

Raytracing simply brings that level of quality into realtime, so you can have photorealistic lighting while also having dynamic time of day, weather, all kinds of light sources, accurate reflections, shadows, occlusion, et cetera.

Raytracing is the future overall, it's just that not all games actually need to have dynamic lighting and so games can look raytraced without being realtime raytraced, through baking. Uncharted 4, AC Unity, et cetera.

If you have a game with dynamic world where time actually moves in realtime, that's full of various light sources, raytracing can bring a new level of realism to the scene.

Look at how gamey this Cyberpunk shot looks, where is the light from the neon? Why is there so much nonsensical light in the building across the street?



And now a shot with RTGI:



So much better.
 

benno

Member
Look at how gamey this Cyberpunk shot looks, where is the light from the neon? Why is there so much nonsensical light in the building across the street?
weird images.
The top image has some form of indirect ambient lighting going on in the furthest building and it lacks that same lighting in the close tunnel, and then the bottom one is the opposite. Like it's had all ambient light removed from the further building , which looks unnatural given it's such a sunny day. It should be a mixture of the two images to be honest.

It should look more like this.
 
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sachos

Member
Baked lighting can even be superior to raytracing

Realistic =/= better
In movies they don't use real lighting. they depend on expensive studios, equipment, professionals and production to alter lighting.
That video shows how RT lighting is superior though. Look at 7:22 for example, the self shadow on the robot and cat, or the plants. Everything is more grounded and parts that are not getting hit by direct light are not glowing.
 

sachos

Member
Imagine telling computer graphics researchers the thing they've been studying and chasing for decades is just a gimmick. No OP, RT is not just a gimmick, the reason GoW and most AAA games look so good is because they can bake (offline RT) a lot of the lighting effects to save performance, but the downfall of that technique is that a lot of the scenary has to be static, otherwise it would break the illusion. A fully RT game would allow for a fully dynamic world to mantain those impressive graphics, and look even better.
 
Baked lighting can even be superior to raytracing

Realistic =/= better
In movies they don't use real lighting. they depend on expensive studios, equipment, professionals and production to alter lighting.

This is your "proof"? Video showing a game that was designed with baked lighting in mind and never actually optimized for ray tracing (+ you have to "hack it" to even activated it).

 

Scotracer

Neo Member
Pre baked lighting looks adequate until you compare with ray tracing. I have a 3070. I want RT whenever I can have it.
 
It if a trick question—it’s unfortunately a marketing gimmick that gives RT a bad name on consoles, but is a critical element in the future of graphical fidelity with 4090s and above.
 

HL3.exe

Member
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.
True and based. I really like RT as a concept and I'm well aware of the pros it'll bring to development time when it comes to lighting in particular. But as a player I'm pretty much done walking around these beautiful high fidelity environments that can only be interacted with on a context sensitive bases, or have physics simulation that are only used for meaningless small props and particles instead of gameplay. (With a small number of exceptions like Rockstar's euphoria implementation)

I wish tech progression would focus more on things like proc gen animations, world persistency or other world simulation game-logic leaps that would actually help make gameworlds feel more reactive, immersive and unpredictable. Instead of having incredible visual fidelity, but still feeling those tried and true mechanics and systems that haven't really meaningfully progressed since the PS360 days.
 

spons

Gold Member
Ray tracing looks different, but I don't see how it's actually better. Games that support it look fine, with or without it turned on.
 

OZ9000

Member
I must play games in a wrong way because in action packed games i never stay still to check enemy reflections in puddles and metal walls.

If that happen to you constantly, then wow, i'm impressed.
So true.

I tried someone to convince me Doom Eternal's RT mode was revolutionary. Frankly, it adds nothing but shiny reflections.

Whilst you're dodging and blasting 10-15 demons on nightmare, it adds ZERO to the visuals.

I think pathtracing/full RT lighting and shadows is awesome tech. However, in it's current implementation, it's not worth turning on for the performance hit.
 
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Crayon

Member
I like all the effects but this is really not the time. When the samem game has tradition light and shadows with a ton of work put into them, rt is a hard sell. RT should come into it's own when games start requireing it so developmment time can be saved. That's the real benefit of rt and it's way down they line. RN, only reflections are consistantly a slam-dunk over regular techniques. GI and Shadows are nice, definitely better, but more often than not take side-by side scrutiny.

Most people straight up can't afford it. If you can only afford a 3060, you can run most any game in a satisfactory way until you turn on ray tracing. And no, dlss does not factor in here, because you can turn that on rt or no. With or without dlss, you have to buy a gpu like 3 tiers up to get rt to whatever performance level satified you without rt.

It's the future, but it's also a gimmimck because that future isn't here yet and you are giving up vast chunks of performance for marginally better effects.
 

Godot25

Member
Currently it's a gimmick.
No consoles on the market can go full blown raytracing because RDNA 2 is just shit at processing RT. So until next-gen RT will be limited. Yes, PC can do RT but no studio in their right mind would focus on that when they know they can't run it on consoles.

Until we get godly reconstruction technique like DLSS3 on consoles, there will be no focus on RT. And that minimal focus will be overshadowed by non-RT 60FPS modes.
 

hinch7

Member
Better and more realisitc lighting is next logical step. Sadly RT is way too taxing for todays hardware. Even with the latest top of the line GPU's; like Nvidia's RTX 4090, most games/machines will still struggle to maintain decent framerates without some sort of trickery (DLSS 3).

Maybe in another generation or two, we may get decent enough performance for Raytracing in most major titles. For now its kinda throwing away a lot of performance for some casted rays or light, shadows and reflections.
 
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benno

Member
Most people straight up can't afford it. If you can only afford a 3060, you can run most any game in a satisfactory way until you turn on ray tracing.

You've been running simplified ray tracing in games for years probably without even knowing it. For eg. The Division 1 has ray traced shadows. Skyrim ENB mods have 1 bounce indirect lighting. etc
 
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Crayon

Member
You've been running simplified ray tracing in games for years probably without even knowing it. For eg. The Division 1 has ray traced shadows. Skyrim ENB mods have 1 bounce indirect lighting. etc

I realize that but I'm not sure I see your point. It seems clear we are talking about post-rtx hardware accelerated ray traching effects that are quite heavy.
 

SF Kosmo

The Trigglypuff
Ray Tracing is not only lighting, not only shadows, not only reflections, not only scattering, and so on,

In ita "final form", RTX is simply unmatchable. It's not RTX fault if devs are lazy.
In theory, and eventually, but that is not the reality of RT in games right now for the most part, especially on console. We have a ways to go before the tech is there for fully path traced games.
 

RespawnX

Member
The question is obsolete as ray tracing will establish itself as a rendering technique. That's like asking "are shaders a gimmick or advancement"? Once a gimmick, now standard. Same thing. Technology evolves.
 
No? Why not?

PS5 is an RTX 2060. Consoles are always a few gens behind in GPU grunt compared to PC.

Look at the below and tell me if you're going to get games rendered like this at 4k full ray traced with full object collision physics running on next gen (PS6) hardware. The more bounces of light, the more realistic the scene but the more computationally expensive.

Not even an RTX3090Ti would be able to run this and that's orders of magnitude more capable than a PS5 or even a next gen PS6.

 

Drizzlehell

Member
True and based. I really like RT as a concept and I'm well aware of the pros it'll bring to development time when it comes to lighting in particular. But as a player I'm pretty much done walking around these beautiful high fidelity environments that can only be interacted with on a context sensitive bases, or have physics simulation that are only used for meaningless small props and particles instead of gameplay. (With a small number of exceptions like Rockstar's euphoria implementation)

I wish tech progression would focus more on things like proc gen animations, world persistency or other world simulation game-logic leaps that would actually help make gameworlds feel more reactive, immersive and unpredictable. Instead of having incredible visual fidelity, but still feeling those tried and true mechanics and systems that haven't really meaningfully progressed since the PS360 days.


I don't think there's anything that kills my interest in a game quite as much as environments that feel more like movie set props and window dressing with no meaningful way to interact with them. That's why Half-Life Alyx is such an amazing VR title. The amount of stuff that you can do in that game is just so much fun. I'd take the ability to wear a street cone as a hat and drawing cocks on a windowpane over ray traced lighting any day of the week.
 
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Almost entirely pointless. Besides reflective surfaces such as puddles there is virtually no difference graphically unless you over-analyze it by zooming in on youtube videos. And definitely not worth putitng into games unless they are a seperate mode from performance mode.
 

Cyberpunkd

Gold Member
it is a gimmick, but not a pointless one.

even with a 4090, it is really not worth what it brings to a game at the cost that it does (purchase, heat, and electricity).

if you want it, great, but it is utterly unnecessary.
This. I recently saw CP2077 DF performance video for Series S where they put XSS and XSX side by side to point out how ray tracking makes the shadows a bit ‘softer’ on XSS.

I was like:

Rap Game GIF by TrueReal
 

rofif

Member
Serious talk about ray tracing and people come here to show of rtgi reshade.. fuck off with this crap.
It's not accounting for off screen light sources which are the most important with ray tracing.
generaly, the screen-space techniques are kinda cancer
 

Drizzlehell

Member
I remember this really cool part in Jedi Knight II where during a final level you were running around these trap rooms where the bad guy kept pranking you by appearing in mirrors behind you only for you to turn around and get whacked with a trap instead, or something like that.

I wouldn't mind RT being used to that effect, or maybe like in a horror game.
 

lukilladog

Member
It's a waste of resources, and it will remain as such for a long time. There is still so much screen information to improve the look of games as the Enb series guy has been demonstrating to Us for years now, and he still could do way more if he had access to source codes.
 
RT makes games look better in terms of lighting and reflections and in time technology will catch up to the new standard so that hardware at any level from consoles to top-end GPUs will be able to properly implement it.
 

Fbh

Member
I think in theory the tech is cool.
But I've yet to see an actual game (not some tech demo) where the trade off in performance actually seems worth it
 

Danjin44

The nicest person on this forum
When first play the game I might enjoy ray tracing or other graphical effect but as I play the game I stop paying attention to those, so for me those effects are not worth the trade off in performance.
 
We're still early on and it's not a mass adopted thing. I bet sooner or later devs will come up with some good shortuts to get a result super close to that.
Yep agreed.

Would be interesting to see what techniques are used to get similar results from the best developers of PS and Xbox.
 
God of War is stunning but it's very much constrained by the visual fidelity of 2013-2020. If you add in RTGI to God of War it would look a generation better.

I agree that RT for reflections is not needed at all when a combination of cubemaps and ssr is absolutely fine and much, much less computationally demanding.
 
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