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Opinion Analysis Ray Tracing is a Waste

Bernd Lauert

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Apr 15, 2018
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I just played my first ever raytraced game... on the Nintendo Switch, ironically. And it was glorious. Those reflections are *chef's kiss*.
 

mancs

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Quake 2 disagrees.
another example , and tbh , it adds so much more , to the scenery , feel , mood , if IMPLEMENTED correctly,. a night at the museum game , imagine it , shiny floors , moody lights , shadows , no rtx , just relying on sound mostly, for the ambience, jump scares excluded.

don't come with raytracing is a waste , less you have a rig that can't run a game with rtx on, fair enuff....
 

Mister Wolf

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mancs

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Marbles at night,would convince a blind man, implementation of that in games will blow minds
 

Black_Stride

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Raytraced lighting and reflections and whatever are nice, and more realistic, but they just don't make my jaw drop over a well done baked in global illumination solution.
Like give me the latter at higher resolutions, framerates, and other effects and I'm totally happy to not have real time raytracing.

Would I obsess over a puddle or a shiny surface on which a reflection or light bounce doesn't appear as accurate as it could if it was fully ray traced, like I'm Alex Battaglia or something? I could. People are making a living doing that now. But I wouldn't, cause the game would look awesome and run buttery smooth, and I'd probably want to spend more time playing it than pausing it to find things I wasn't even going to notice before Nvidia paid people to start caring in the first place. Humbug I say, to raytracing :p

Only if you really like static environments and scenes.

Any scene that is dynamic with alot of dynamic objects would need good GI.
If you still enjoy baked lighting with all the dynamic objects not being shaded correctly, thats fine its your opinion......but us living in a world where we want graphics to get better a good dynamic GI solution is godly, whether thats RT GI or some Voxel based solution I dont really care.

As long as its dynamic GI that works well that is all I need in my life.
 

Amiga

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Metro is still the best use of raytracing in my opinion. Not counting Minecraft or Quake.

That's the thing. RT seems to be a high precision tool that needs very talented experts. like DICE or the Metro developers. how many games per-year will that be. like VR I think it being introduced ahead of it's time. It needs 1) more devs to train for it. 2)better hardware. maybe we will get one or 2 console games that manage to achieve technical magic, but I don't expect it to be a thing before PS5Pro/XSX1X.
 

Rat Rage

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Am I the only one who completely doesn't give a fuck about Ray Tracing? I also think it's just a small difference overall that is not worth it.
 
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Omeggos

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Jan 12, 2018
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A flat cartoony game continues to look flat. Shocker.

that’s hardly a comparison. Some of the best implementation of ray tracing I’ve seen has been from games like Minecraft, metro exodus, watch dogs legions, quake II (rtx) and control
 
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namekuseijin

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new rumble ✔
fast loading ✔
60 fps ✔
split-screen ✔
80s raytracing ✔

yup, this is the most retro-ard nextgen jump ever. Capcom should forget RE and just bring back Ghouls'n'Ghosts in glorious raytraced button-mashing
 
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KuraiShidosha

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How ANYONE can be satisfied with shitty screenspace reflections when you have the option for beautiful and flawless ray traced reflections, is beyond me. That is straight up magical and I have been waiting 20 years for this day. Cubemaps were great when they came out but it's time to put them to bed, and SSR should never have existed at all.
 
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Nhranaghacon

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People say Physics but what they really, really mean - a real true next gen feature - is Simulated rendering - that cover's collisions/physics and AI in actuality. But allows for a far more sophisticated/completely on the fly implementation. We all want more lifelike AI capable of holding conversation's and immersing the player. We all want 'physics' but most people don't realize that most physics you see in games are prebaked animation sets.

Having the capability to render simulation's in real time, be it physic's or AI - these are true next gen features no dev has touched on and normal consumer's will never be able to appreciate - something gamer's will only get to appreciate in full... if they youtube it.

Until then, nearly just about all physics seen in games - have been animated with an overhead modifier that allows for a very limited implementation of physics data - nothing compared to what simulated rendering would offer in games.

With that said, Simulations - not physics, but simulation rendering - is still a feature that renders at a few frames per second at best with the setting's cranked up.

We may be there in a another generation, no more than 2 with modest/mixed solutions.

The other true next gen feature is a Path Tracing engine somehow capable of delivering 500-1000 render passes immediately for interactive games - something we also probably wont see for another 2 generations. A PathTracing engine will allow/lead way to all visual implementations seen in CGI - and is what render farm's use to render movieframes (1 frame at a time) over the course of what used to take weeks - now in most cases hour's to days.

Ray Tracing is also very important but it will only increase modestly as time moves forward and is not an end all solution - whereas path tracing is. The above recommendation's - Simulated Rendering, Path Traced Rendering, AI Simulation Rendering - should be the most sought after next gen console features by gamers - gamers would do well to investigate theirself/petition their fave hardware manufacturers to push for realtime implementation. Until then, when you hear game A. is capable of doing these amazing things - understand their is still a level of baking/pre canned set up that simulated rendering/path traced rendering would completely alleviate. Meaning all physic and solely visual tech demo's we see on next gen hardware - only modest in what they actually deliver and completely, completely pale in comparison to simulated render's you can find on youtube.
 

Moochi

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RT at this point is more of a buzzword and a way for developers to reduce production time/employee hours on pre-baking lighting. I bet it's going to be great for indie developers in the long run, but as a consumer I remain uninterested.
 

scalman

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Feb 6, 2019
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Everytime nvidia come to some new tech new games will suport it and then later it will drop that. Like how many nvidia effects division supports for soft shadows , hbao versions that none of that wd legion has anymore, only rt effects.
 

ruvikx

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Jan 12, 2018
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I want more interactivity with the environments (i.e. fewer static objects & more stuff to move, blow up etc.), which also includes way more destructible environments as well in shooters i.e. no more spamming grenades in a COD corridor shooter whilst the 3d environment remains totally static, or some scripted elements collapse the same way again & again. For example If I'm being chased by a monster in a RE game, I want to able to improvise some tactics inside a mansion & use the environment to my advantage i.e. move any furniture, block doors (not just with a wardrobe in one or two directions), throw objects, blow a hole in the floor to escape & I want it to remain as I left it without the game's map resetting itself to its default state (i.e. such as in GTA games where lampposts magically rebuild themselves).

I want better AI (yep, it's been stagnant for over ten years). I want larger open world games with way more buildings to enter & NPC's which aren't just zombies roaming around the map aimlessly (seriously, try following an NPC in GTA... just for laughs). I want better animations, more detailed character models, better physics, better controls & stable framerates.

But somewhere down the line some rich guys decided pushing 4K to sell TV's & using ray traced reflections to put lipstick on a pig was a way better option than doing any of the really hard stuff I listed above. So here we are, enjoy.
 

Redefine07

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Ofc it is just look at Demon Souls we don't need RT yet , fuck it focus on 60fps most RT implementation looks off as fuck SSR is much better , TLOU2 had good one just work on that and focus on performance , game physics , animation and AI the AI in most games is dumb like wtf we got the same AI from PS1 games....and companion AI is fuckin terrible Gears 5 was so fuckin idiot.
 
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Physics > ray tracing any day of the week.
More detailed worlds and effects > 4k any day of the week.

Raytracing only makes sense when the lightning in a game is borked to start with. A good game with good baked lightning won't show much of a difference.
 
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sinnergy

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Only people who don’t understand what it means for games to have ray tracing would say this ... which is understandable. For immersion and building believable worlds / story telling it’s a great start to propel the medium forward again.
 

Lethal01

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Some people here even said that Demons Souls has RT...

Pretty sure it not confirmed that Demons Soul's has raytracing.

There was an interview just this week where one of the developers talked about how integral it is to the game.
 
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Keihart

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Yes, it is most of the time if the production time and budget allows for more creative and less resource intensive ways...at least for now and i would dare say this whole generation. At some point it's gonna be cheap enough to make it worth the resource budget tho.

If used sparsely tho, even now can do some cool things in a cheaper way than other techniques, for example somewhat accurate reflections. The old way to do reflections like in Hitman it's way more resource intensive than some clever use of RT like in Spiderman on PS5.

Edit:
Absolutely with you for the bolded part but isn't advanced physics even more heavy than rtx?? Like isn't this stuff still light years from being integrated in games with realistic graphics?!


Jesus how people can even think that having rtx is more impressive\important than this stuff, i have a semi every time i watch this video.
Isn't that using some form of neural networks and deep learning? if so, than the same RT type cores could be used as hardware acceleration for that, right? Turing RT cores are made for AI
 
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Lethal01

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What I’ve noticed is that the people super into raytracing are more excited about what it means for the future when we have the ability to fully raytrace an entire scene. But right now I agree, we just aren’t at the point where what we can do with it is beneficial enough for the trade offs.

I think it's absolutely gorgeous already. I just always have to mention the future because people think it's a "gimmick" that's going to go away when the fact is that within 5 years people won't be able to say a game looks next gen without it.
 

Balducci30

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I think it's absolutely gorgeous already. I just always have to mention the future because people think it's a "gimmick" that's going to go away when the fact is that within 5 years people won't be able to say a game looks next gen without it.
That’s fine - but a lot of people (myself included) think the power could be better used for things other than raytracing. Is it awesome? Sure. But it’s still not at the point where it is game changing enough to make a difference to most - that will come when we can do full pathtracing.
 

ruvikx

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Nah, he's right.

But he isn't? Because 3D was a prerequisite for video games taking a forward step, whereas ray tracing absolutely is not. At least not yet anyway. That can & should come much further down the road. A better analogy would be someone in 2006 saying the ps3's power should be used to simply render ps2 era games at a higher res, whilst not pushing other elements (physics namely, but also AI, animation, textures & poly count). It would have been a total waste of power. See the point? i.e. blowing the ps5/Series X hardware power on ray traced reflections is totally redundant in terms of making the meat & bones of games better. When it's combined with an equally pointless push for 4k (so that ugly ass low poly NPC's & character models can be viewed with more pixels... because why not?), I say this industry is being pulled in the wrong direction.
 
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HarryKS

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But he isn't? Because 3D was a prerequisite for video games taking a forward step, whereas ray tracing absolutely is not. At least not yet anyway. That can & should come much further down the road. A better analogy would be someone in 2006 saying the ps3's power should be used to simply render ps2 era games at a higher res, whilst not pushing other elements (physics namely, but also AI, animation, textures & poly count). It would have been a total waste of power. See the point? i.e. blowing the ps5/Series X hardware power on ray traced reflections is totally redundant in terms of making the meat & bones of games better. When it's combined with an equally pointless push for 4k (so that ugly ass low poly NPC's & character models can be viewed with more pixels... because why not?), I say this industry is being pulled in the wrong direction.
4k is more interesting and palatable than ray tracing.
 

Stuart360

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I dont think its a waste, its actually a good thing and will help devs long term, but its a waste in the sense than XSX, PS5, and obviously XSS are simply not powerful enough to do it justice.
I keep saying this but RT should of been kept for any potential mid gen refreshes, it would of actually been a good hook for Pro consoles, because any pro consoles certainly wont be powerful enough to run XSX/PS5 games at 8k, so what would the point be for mid gen refreshes?. RT would of been a solid reason.
 

ruvikx

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4k is more interesting and palatable than ray tracing.

4k is a magic one-size-fits-all fix for jaggies. It's like antialiasing on steroids. That's why it's immediately noticeable. Whether it's a good thing or whether it's just an example of how the tools aren't exactly efficient is another matter. I've seen games at 1080p with really good image quality (stuff like Uncharted 4 on the base ps4 for example) whilst other stuff at 1080p is jaggy as hell.

I still believe high poly character models & more detailed environments at 1080p will look far better than a 4k version of current gen games. Photorealism (if the genre demands it) has many layers & the "realism" of the stuff within the game counts more than the realism of the image quality IMO. Like watching Aliens on VHS still looks way more real than seeing Alien Isolation in 4K.
 

Lethal01

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But he isn't? Because 3D was a prerequisite for video games taking a forward step, whereas ray tracing absolutely is not.

It's the biggest step forward in visuals in like 10 years even though it's just getting started so nah, his analogy is perfect.
 
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rofif

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4k is a magic one-size-fits-all fix for jaggies. It's like antialiasing on steroids. That's why it's immediately noticeable. Whether it's a good thing or whether it's just an example of how the tools aren't exactly efficient is another matter. I've seen games at 1080p with really good image quality (stuff like Uncharted 4 on the base ps4 for example) whilst other stuff at 1080p is jaggy as hell.

I still believe high poly character models & more detailed environments at 1080p will look far better than a 4k version of current gen games. Photorealism (if the genre demands it) has many layers & the "realism" of the stuff within the game counts more than the realism of the image quality IMO. Like watching Aliens on VHS still looks way more real than seeing Alien Isolation in 4K.
4k an aa magic?!
Not at all. Raw 4k looks like trash even on 27" monitor which I have. Games now have so much specular aliasing that it's always visible unless You do TAA or DLSS. not even smaa helps to hide it.
 

ZywyPL

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Everything is a waste until we get to the point where it's so cheap/fast to render it's not even funny. I remember when FullHD was a waste not so long ago, with one group of people saying that 1440x900 or 1650x1050 is "more than enough", and the other side saying "but once we get there there won't be any need for AA anymore!", well needless to say, both were wrong all along. 3D graphics were a waste to begin with as well once we switched from 2D, and look where we're at now, even many "2D" side-scrollers are 3D graphics. If the industry really listened to the nay-sayers, all the doubters, we would still be stuck with 8bit sprites since everything that pushes the industry forward is a gimmick/waste. As of today, the RT implementations are indeed kind of weak, we have (finally) accurate reflections and shadows, that's a decent start IMO, but once we get to real-time raytraced AO/GI and reach GCI-level of graphics, that's when we will stop hearing BS like this thread. Make no mistake tho - RT effects alone won't make up for washed-out textures, low polygon models, cringy animations, cartoony design etc., it all has to go along, you can't just slap RT/PT on a game just like that end expect marvelous results


4k is a magic one-size-fits-all fix for jaggies. It's like antialiasing on steroids.

Only on 1080p screens, where it get's downsampled with perfect 4:1 proportions. Native 4K rendering on a native 4K display still has aliasing and shimmering all over the place, that's just how displays work with their pixel-based nature, and there's no way around it, 8K, 16K, 64K, we will always need AA when it comes to raw rasterization rendering.
 
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llien

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As pointed out above - the reason Minecraft RTX looks impressive is that is one of only two games (quake 2 rtx being the other one) that uses path tracing.
The only reason Minecraft RTX and Quake RTX exist as (largely faux) "full path tracing" games, is that they have ridiculously trivial geometry, but even in Quake it is a long set of tricks to get there.



tricks included to render and turn noisy crap above into something palatable:

Rendering at 1/4th of resolution
Old school DX3 dither hack for transparency
the actual resolution of traced rays - each bright dot in region is a ray that has been traced in just 4-bit chroma and all the dark space is essentially guesswork/temporal patterns tiled and rotated based on the frequency of those ray hits


This also tells you why NV loves TAA so much.
 
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GaviotaGrande

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Looking at Fortnite RT off looks better most of time here..


Using 20-30% of the resources on RT is a waste for some games that should just go for more res or FPS. Handcrafted baked lighting is better in situations. even in film the lighting is touched up and unnatural before filming and even more during editing. IMOO the best utilization is in photo realistic games. Another issue is that RT is at times over-implemented, in some games every surface is like a polished mirror, real life is not like that.

I think RT is overhyped and utilization will be softened after the fad phase.
With this kind of attitude I truly hope you don't lead anything on this planet.
 

Bogey

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The only reason Minecraft RTX and Quake RTX exist as (largely faux) "full path tracing" games, is that they have ridiculously trivial geometry

Out of curiosity, do you actually know what step(s) in particular are affected by more complex geometry?
I would've assumed it's BHV lookups + the actual BVH updates for animated stuff, but kind of just guessing there
 

Tschumi

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I think.. you're looking at it too narrowly.. some games have limited RT and look great for it - Ratchet and Clank for one - frankly unless you're DF looking at everything in minute detail i don't think the gap between partial and full RT matters much at all.
 

llien

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Out of curiosity, do you actually know what step(s) in particular are affected by more complex geometry?
It is actually easy: more complex objects have lots of fine detail.
You need much more rays to render them, whereas with something like cube, you can cast a bunch and interpolate into a plain surface in-between.
 
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Bankai

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It's all about realism. RT simulates the way light bounces accurately. I agree, not every game need it, but it's the future for sure.

No longer calculating "estimations", but true properties of light reacting to materials = the way to go forward.

But.. proper use of screen-space reflections can go a long way and performance should be prioritized over RT on next-gen consoles, I think. it's all a balancing-act for sure.
 

Mista

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The time when RT doesn't punch the performance in the gut I'll consider

But for now it can piss off