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

Gambit2483

Member
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.
Reflections that most gamers, in practice, see for mere seconds (if not fractions of seconds)
 

bender

What time is it?
Not a gimmick. It's important. It will make development easier in the future. The problem is that it is very expensive from a hardware resource perspective so we might be a few generations before most hardware is able to utilize it comfortably.
 
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.

But the 2060 came out in 2019, consoles in 2020, Id say the next gen of consoles will probably come out 4 or five years from now and be a generation or two above a 4090 right? So while they couldn’t maybe do that scene with full pathtracing they could at least do like rtx gi and stuff fairly easily
 
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01011001

Gold Member
Reflections that most gamers, in practice, see for mere seconds (if not fractions of seconds)

the same is true for everything

why not remove the shadow your character casts? are you actively looking at that shadow? nope... so why bother?
let's remove sunrays and lens flairs as well, they aren't important and most people don't even actively notice if they're gone.
or remove ambient occlusion completely, it's not like you are staring at corners of objects all day are you?


there's literally not a single graphics feature in modern games that looks worse than Screen Space Reflections, the sooner we get rid of that shit the better. and it wouldn't even be that much of an issue if developers too more care to implement other ways to display good looking reflections... remember when it was common to have really good looking Planar Reflections?
I remember...


but sadly, nowadays every dev just checks that SSR box in Unreal Engine 4 or :sick: Unity... and that's that... no effort to actually make a cohesive looking final image, no effort to not have distracting SSR artifacts all over the screen... nah, just give that water mesh SSR, slap some SSR on that puddle on the ground, and as a fallback let's use the most generic looking reflection map ever, done!
 
PS5 is an RTX 2060. Consoles are always a few gens behind in GPU grunt compared to PC.
What complete nonsense. PS5 and Series X have rasterised performance on par with a 2080 sometimes a 2080 TI. Straight from the lips of Mr PC of DF, Alex Battaglia.

For RT yes they're far behind Nvidia cards that have massive amounts of their silicon dedicated to RT and cost 3x what the consoles do...
 
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Arsic

Member
Like less than a handful of games have implemented it well that it isn’t going to tank even the best cards to dog shit FPS.

It’s not worth it until like Nvidia 6000 series.
 
the same is true for everything

why not remove the shadow your character casts? are you actively looking at that shadow? nope... so why bother?
let's remove sunrays and lens flairs as well, they aren't important and most people don't even actively notice if they're gone.
or remove ambient occlusion completely, it's not like you are staring at corners of objects all day are you?


there's literally not a single graphics feature in modern games that looks worse than Screen Space Reflections, the sooner we get rid of that shit the better. and it wouldn't even be that much of an issue if developers too more care to implement other ways to display good looking reflections... remember when it was common to have really good looking Planar Reflections?
I remember...


but sadly, nowadays every dev just checks that SSR box in Unreal Engine 4 or :sick: Unity... and that's that... no effort to actually make a cohesive looking final image, no effort to not have distracting SSR artifacts all over the screen... nah, just give that water mesh SSR, slap some SSR on that puddle on the ground, and as a fallback let's use the most generic looking reflection map ever, done!
The difference is the average gamer doesn't stand around looking into reflections then move the camera up and down to try and break the screen space effect of SSR. SSR combined with cube maps like in TLOU II is 100% fine for reflection quality and is many times less computationally expensive.

I'm not saying RT is worthless, far from it. I'm saying it's far better used on the consoles limited RT hardware on RTGI like in Metro Exodus which also runs at 60fps. RT reflections can come next gen :p
 

Silver Wattle

Gold Member
Currently a gimmick, but in 1-2 more GPU generations it will become incredible and after that it will be heavily in every game and it will be harder to play games without it as they will look so bad in comparison.
 

01011001

Gold Member
The difference is the average gamer doesn't stand around looking into reflections then move the camera up and down to try and break the screen space effect of SSR. SSR combined with cube maps like in TLOU II is 100% fine for reflection quality and is many times less computationally expensive.

I'm not saying RT is worthless, far from it. I'm saying it's far better used on the consoles limited RT hardware on RTGI like in Metro Exodus which also runs at 60fps. RT reflections can come next gen :p

most games don't have presentable SSR tho.
and the worst is if big bodies of water just get SSR slapped onto them.

look at Altissia in Final Fantasy XV for example, that water in that city is a fucking graphics glitch... you can't honestly call that an intended look, they just slapped SSR on the water and didn't bother making it look decent, and sadly this is happening in 90% of games

like, look at this crap! especially the water around/behind sail boats get completely mangled by the SSR here


people are shitting on DLSS3 because part of Spider-Man's foot is not 100% perfect in 1 of 120 frames rendered per second... yet somehow having artifacts ALL OVER THE DAMN SCREEN is totally fine!

 
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01011001 01011001

SSR alone isn't great. It needs to be combined with another technique like box-projected cube maps to stand up to RT reflections. Of course this only works for fixed time of day more linear games. RT reflections are great I just personally think that the limited RT performance in PS5 and Series X should be used on GI or AO instead.
 

Sakura

Member
Personally I feel like while ray tracing definitely makes things look better, they've kind of run out of ways to improve the visual quality otherwise, which is why there is such a heavy focus on RT. Otherwise what do you really push as being the next big leap? It's kind of diminishing returns in other areas.
Also, I think it is important in that it can make things easier for devs, because you no longer need to bake convincing lighting everywhere.
 

01011001

Gold Member
01011001 01011001

SSR alone isn't great. It needs to be combined with another technique like box-projected cube maps to stand up to RT reflections. Of course this only works for fixed time of day more linear games. RT reflections are great I just personally think that the limited RT performance in PS5 and Series X should be used on GI or AO instead.

the reason why I HIGHLY disagree with that opinion is that AO and GI already look decent in modern games... GI especially is becoming really damn good without RT.
Crytek's SVOGI which can run even on hardware like the Switch is already a perfectly fine GI solution, similar ones exist in other engines as well.

AO isn't as great, often also using a screen space implementation, but it's not nearly as distracting and immediately identifiably wrong as Screen Space Reflections are.

that's why IMO RT Reflections should be by far the highest priority for developers as we do not currently have a solution for reflections that comes even close to looking natural to the eye, unless we plaster render to texture reflections everywhere, which don't really work on curved surfaces and are at high quantities just as demanding as raytraced reflections.

if you play A Plague Tale Requiem and you're honestly telling me that the lighting in that game looks noticeably off then you're lying... sure if you had a side by side with 100% physically accurate lighting added through high quality raytracing you would see a difference, but that's it... you would see a difference! you wouldn't see obvious errors and temporally unstable parts of the image without RT, all you would see in comparison is that the ceiling in the building you are in was a bit too dark without RT, but with that light bounce it's now slightly illuminated.

meanwhile imagine adding RT reflections to that scene in Final Fantasy above...
would you honestly say that that part of the game would have a more stable image with RT GI but still using Screen Space Reflections?
or would you say that adding RT Reflections and leaving the lighting as is would make the game look more stable and less obviously wrong?

so in short, IMO RT reflections are WAY more important because bad SSR reflections are everywhere and way more obvious than having a part of a building be slightly too dark, or a wall not getting the green hue of the grass next to it through a bounce light. those things only become obvious in direct comparisons.
 
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ArtHands

Thinks buying more servers can fix a bad patch
Just because consoles can’t handle ray tracing well doesn’t mean it is a gimmick.
 

kikkis

Member
the reason why I HIGHLY disagree with that opinion is that AO and GI already look decent in modern games... GI especially is becoming really damn good without RT.
Crytek's SVOGI which can run even on hardware like the Switch is already a perfectly fine GI solution, similar ones exist in other engines as well.

AO isn't as great, often also using a screen space implementation, but it's not nearly as distracting and immediately identifiably wrong as Screen Space Reflections are.

that's why IMO RT Reflections should be by far the highest priority for developers as we do not currently have a solution for reflections that comes even close to looking natural to the eye, unless we plaster render to texture reflections everywhere, which don't really work on curved surfaces and are at high quantities just as demanding as raytraced reflections.

if you play A Plague Tale Requiem and you're honestly telling me that the lighting in that game looks noticeably off then you're lying... sure if you had a side by side with 100% physically accurate lighting added through high quality raytracing you would see a difference, but that's it... you would see a difference! you wouldn't see obvious errors and temporally unstable parts of the image without RT, all you would see in comparison is that the ceiling in the building you are in was a bit too dark without RT, but with that light bounce it's now slightly illuminated.

meanwhile imagine adding RT reflections to that scene in Final Fantasy above...
would you honestly say that that part of the game would have a more stable image with RT GI but still using Screen Space Reflections?
or would you say that adding RT Reflections and leaving the lighting as is would make the game look more stable and less obviously wrong?

so in short, IMO RT reflections are WAY more important because bad SSR reflections are everywhere and way more obvious than having a part of a building be slightly too dark, or a wall not getting the green hue of the grass next to it through a bounce light. those things only become obvious in direct comparisons.
I mostly agree, but I don't think human eye is too picky on reflections on curved surfaces and they usually aren't even glossy. For flat glossy surfaces why not just flip the matrix around and render that, sure it's not physically accurate but it's often close enough, and usually only needed for ground only with good technical art direction.
 

01011001

Gold Member
I mostly agree, but I don't think human eye is too picky on reflections on curved surfaces and they usually aren't even glossy. For flat glossy surfaces why not just flip the matrix around and render that, sure it's not physically accurate but it's often close enough, and usually only needed for ground only with good technical art direction.

in a perfect world every developer would put as much work into their reflections as Dontnod did in Remember Me, where they really handplaced and hand adjusted almost all reflective surfaces to look highly convincing.
for an Xbox 360 title especially that game was far ahead of its time. Physically Based Rendering, tons of location accurate cubemaps for reflections, planar reflections on top of that for some dynamic objects.
they used multiple dynamically programmed cubemaps especially for parts of the levels where there are lights that can turn on and off on one side of a room, so the dark cubemap fades into the lit up one dynamically without the player noticing, BUT only on that side of the room of course, every detail was taken into consideration.

that game had better reflections than almost any modern game. and it needed to, it's a scifi game and there's lots of reflections in it, so they took care to make it look the part.
it was far from perfect but they truly used every trick in the book to make it work on an Xbox 360 and PS3

the fact is simply that Screen Space Reflections are easy... literally a click of a button in most modern engines and BAM your metallic wall now has reflections, barely any cost to the rendering and barely any Memory implications to keep in mind. and I feel like developers don't try to make it as good as possible anymore, be it because of dev team bloat (too many cooks ruining the stew etc.) or be it because deadlines and unmotivated developers.

but SSR... it's easy and fast, and that's why most dev teams just do that... they might add a really low quality cube map into the mix, maybe... maybe perspective corrected... maybe not...

that's the issue I feel, and I think it's harder to change the workflow of these developers than it is to just give them the option to use Raytracing, which once implemented into the engine is almost as easy to just turn on as Screen Space Reflections are... in UE4/5 which is the most common engine for medium to big studios it seems like nowadays it's super easy if your materials are in place.
 
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Imtjnotu

Member
i think RT reflections for now is just for demos and other boring shit....

full time GI like what lumen is trying to pull off is far more impressive to my eyes atleast. just give us Full RT shadows and full RT GI and call it a day
 
Still looks very last gen looking. The lighting is really flat. Art style is all it has going for it in my opinion. It doesn't look anything like a UE5 game or anything.
 

Codes 208

Member
Id say yes. Spiderman Miles Morales was the next gen leap i wanted that i got with ryse going into gen 8, or the lighting/model improvements gears had as a next gen title for the 360

Even after playing something like minecraft with RT, i just cant go back to without
 
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01011001 01011001

SSR alone isn't great. It needs to be combined with another technique like box-projected cube maps to stand up to RT reflections. Of course this only works for fixed time of day more linear games. RT reflections are great I just personally think that the limited RT performance in PS5 and Series X should be used on GI or AO instead.
RTGI is far more computationally expensive than reflections, it's not as simple as choosing one over the other.
 

Roni

Member
The game should run well first and foremost, but if you can afford it, RT makes a world of difference... Objects and characters actually feel like they belong in the same scene as the environment.
 
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01011001

Gold Member
RTGI is far more computationally expensive than reflections, it's not as simple as choosing one over the other.

especially completely mirror like reflections are surprisingly light on the GPU. even GTX10 series cards can handle the transparent reflections of Control with surprisingly good performance, because in Control the transparent reflections setting only ads reflections to completely mirror like surfaces (they don't even have to be transparent, that's just the settings name, but it also applies to whiteboards and other mirror-like surfaces)

so on a 1080ti for example you can get more than playable framerates at 1080p with that. on my old PC with a 1070 in it I was able to reach 35 to 50fps depending on scene with transparent reflections


Control + Transparent RT Reflections, running on a GTX1070 at 1440p:





again, this is a GTX1070 running at 1440p!!! doing raytraced reflections at upwards of 35fps
the CPU in that rig was a Ryzen 2600... so not even Zen 2 but a Zen+ CPU

no Raytracing acceleration AT ALL... all running on shaders

what this means btw. is that the One X with a bit of optimization might have been able to pull off RT reflections of the level you see above, as the One X's GPU was only a bit slower than a GTX1070, it was often seen as being in-between a 1060 and a 1070.
imagine if they pulled that off lol! imagine if they announced RT reflections like that on a last gen system
 
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april6e

Member
Lighting is the most important thing in making something look realistic besides resolution. Look a beginner artist's artwork who cannot shade shadows yet. Raytracing and VR are important to gaming's future. 4k OLED + Raytracing is the biggest notable jump in how current gen games look. And high end VR is such a massive game changer in getting sucked into a game's world.

The problem is, both of those "cost too much" for the average citizen. You need a really good PC for advanced VR experiences and even console VR is expensive. And full ray tracing requires a strong, expensive GPU + a good 4k tv to bring out. Too much has to be sacrificed FPS wise to make it work on console. There is no good solution either as none of that stuff is dropping in price anytime probably in the next decade.
 
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Kataploom

Member
Depends on whether you mean right now or next gen, because in the future it will be THE way to go if want better graphics, but right now it's just a stupid expensive gimmick for those easily impressed
 

sertopico

Member
Not a gimmick. It's the future of real time 3d rendering. BUT! We still do not have enough horsepower to go full RT, so for now and in the next years we will have to go for hybrid solutions.
 

kubricks

Member
Gimmick? No.
Milestone? Not really.
An advancement? Yes for certain.

It is an improvement for sure, but not necessary worth it all the time based on power of current average hardware.
 

Three

Member
the same is true for everything

why not remove the shadow your character casts? are you actively looking at that shadow? nope... so why bother?
let's remove sunrays and lens flairs as well, they aren't important and most people don't even actively notice if they're gone.
or remove ambient occlusion completely, it's not like you are staring at corners of objects all day are you?


there's literally not a single graphics feature in modern games that looks worse than Screen Space Reflections, the sooner we get rid of that shit the better. and it wouldn't even be that much of an issue if developers too more care to implement other ways to display good looking reflections... remember when it was common to have really good looking Planar Reflections?
I remember...


but sadly, nowadays every dev just checks that SSR box in Unreal Engine 4 or :sick: Unity... and that's that... no effort to actually make a cohesive looking final image, no effort to not have distracting SSR artifacts all over the screen... nah, just give that water mesh SSR, slap some SSR on that puddle on the ground, and as a fallback let's use the most generic looking reflection map ever, done!
SSR can look awesome (Driveclub and HZD for example) if you deal with the artifacts or know there is going to be very little of it. It can also look absolutely ridiculous if you don't (Ark: survival evolved).

On topic I think the main barrier to great graphics isn't hardware it's dev time and how much they are willing to put into something that most people might not notice or care about. That's how you get great looking games currently. If raytracing can take off it will make development far easier and you will get great looking results with far less effort.
 
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UnNamed

18+ Member
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.
IIRC fully path tracer is used in the marble game and the upcoming RC game from Nvidia. It should be available on Cyberpunk with the new Overdrive setting.
Of course, those games use a low frequency effect with many approximations, but the technique should be there.
 

benno

Member
The lighting in the far underpass/tunnel is not right being bright, you can see it everyday life when your driving around.
Are we going to play the photo exposure game where we now show each other various images of different exposure times which fit the game image? I bet you skipped multiple images which did match mine to choose yours.
 

THE DUCK

voted poster of the decade by bots
It does tend to make things look more real however the rest of the hardware isn't there to support it properly yet. Maybe in a few years.
 

GymWolf

Gold Member
I remember something similar with a really stupid name in the 2013 Tomb Raider game.

Back then it tanked performance pretty hard but hey, I bet that modern PCs can handle it pretty well. I doubt we'll get a PC that would be able to perform well with RT any time soon lol.
TressFx i think.
 

GymWolf

Gold Member
The difference is the average gamer doesn't stand around looking into reflections then move the camera up and down to try and break the screen space effect of SSR. SSR combined with cube maps like in TLOU II is 100% fine for reflection quality and is many times less computationally expensive.

I'm not saying RT is worthless, far from it. I'm saying it's far better used on the consoles limited RT hardware on RTGI like in Metro Exodus which also runs at 60fps. RT reflections can come next gen :p
 

nemiroff

Gold Member
if you play A Plague Tale Requiem and you're honestly telling me that the lighting in that game looks noticeably off then you're lying...

Yeah the lighting in Plague Tale Requiem is so good.. But ironically I heard DF say that the game is getting RT GI in an update soon, lol.
 
RT is not a gimmic, just the other way around and that's exactly why it require insane amount of hardware resources.

Standard lighting techniques used in modern games are a gimmick, but sometimes even fake lighting can look good enough and it will be much cheaper compared to RT.
 
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Light is the most important asset for visual art. From painting, photograpy, to film and games.....ray tracing its not a gimmick for sure. Today's mirror implemetation in last gen games is not what ray tracing is about
 

SF Kosmo

Banned
IIRC fully path tracer is used in the marble game and the upcoming RC game from Nvidia. It should be available on Cyberpunk with the new Overdrive setting.
Of course, those games use a low frequency effect with many approximations, but the technique should be there.
The Cyberpunk update does not use path tracing. Full path tracing works in a handful of games like Minecraft and Quake RTX and those Nvidia demos but it's way too demanding for AAA games right now and I don't expect it will be for another generation or two.

We will get there, definitely. And in the meantime there's a lot that can be done with hybrid models, but even these are compromised by the need to support non-RT implementations as an option.

Metro Exodus is one of the few games that did it right where the RT version is actually a totally separate download because they needed to totally redo the scene lighting and some of the art to fully take advantage of the more robust GI.
 

LordOfChaos

Member
Not a gimmick and definitely a next big paradigm, but it'll be "coming" for a long time, just reducing in performance impact over years while developers can take over more and more of the game with it with more performance given, but hybrid rendering with rasterization as the main focus with RT adding stuff will be the norm for many years rather than pure RT
 

Rush2112

Member
have people who said ray tracing is a gimmick actually played on a 4k oled screen while running cyberpunk, metro, etc. like have you actually seen that or youre playing on a 1080 p lcd from 2014?
 

b0bbyJ03

Member
I’ve never ever turned it on for anything other than just seeing what it looks like. Pointless to me but I do see the potential for the future. Lighting is everything and eventually we’ll get to a point where not having it will not be acceptable. I just don’t see that being any time soon. I’ve got a 3080 now, and if AMD can match the 4090 without matching RTX performance at a cheaper price I won’t give a fuck and it will be an easy decision.
 

Drizzlehell

Member
I’ve never ever turned it on for anything other than just seeing what it looks like. Pointless to me but I do see the potential for the future. Lighting is everything and eventually we’ll get to a point where not having it will not be acceptable. I just don’t see that being any time soon. I’ve got a 3080 now, and if AMD can match the 4090 without matching RTX performance at a cheaper price I won’t give a fuck and it will be an easy decision.
It does work pretty well in Spider-Man, though. It's the kind of game that can justify its presence because it always, ALWAYS bugged me in every single Spider-Man game that all those glass buildings aren't reflecting their actual surroundings or, more importantly, Spidey himself.
 

Drizzlehell

Member
have people who said ray tracing is a gimmick actually played on a 4k oled screen while running cyberpunk, metro, etc. like have you actually seen that or youre playing on a 1080 p lcd from 2014?
I'm playing it on a Soviet-era RUBIN-707 television set. What these TVs were most famous for is their tendency to spontaneously explode and set fire to your apartment. Playing games on it is some really nail-biting stuff because you can actually hear electric arcs jumping across the tube inside the box, making those loud snapping noises. If there's an action setpiece going on at the time when the TV explodes, it's like a real 4D experience in your own home!
 
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RTGI is far more computationally expensive than reflections, it's not as simple as choosing one over the other.
Obviously... yeah. When a game has a real time of day system it not only looks great but it also saves a ton of baking and rebaking of scenes by artists. Metro Exodus shows you can have a good level of visual fidelity, with great materials and good IQ at 60fps on PS5 and Series X. It's obviously a choice that has to be made early.
 
On topic of SSR reflections, interesting discussion on twitter today about it by leading industry graphics programmers:
Or you can have both like TLOU II and it looks phenomenal and very close to RT reflections although it obviously wouldn't work outside of games that use a fixed time of day and more importantly have the required frame budget.
 

Alexios

Cores, shaders and BIOS oh my!
I mean, both. Yes it's pretty much going to be the standard going forward. Yes it's pointless as it's purely a visual element and any game could be developed without it (we've had games where shadows, lights, reflections, etc., played a part in their gameplay and they made it work without RT).
 
Obviously... yeah. When a game has a real time of day system it not only looks great but it also saves a ton of baking and rebaking of scenes by artists. Metro Exodus shows you can have a good level of visual fidelity, with great materials and good IQ at 60fps on PS5 and Series X. It's obviously a choice that has to be made early.
Yeah absolutely but I'm wondering if these consoles are quite powerful enough to achieve that in an open world, hopefully they can.
 
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