Graphic cards or GPUs have been reaching new heights during the last decade or so. Experts believed that it would take some time before we could get the graphical fidelity we have right now. However, because millions of dollars are being invested in gaming, we have advanced into a new tier of GPU visual fidelity. This new tier of gaming graphics is led by none other than the all-famous ray tracing technology.
The idea of ray tracing has been played around by both developers and GPU manufacturers for quite some time. Interestingly enough, the idea behind this marvelous graphical achievement started back in 1969 and was used in the movie industry. However, it’s only relatively recently when it made a jump into the gaming industry, that it changed the way we perceive games forever.
What is Ray Tracing?
Ray tracing in gaming was introduced around 2017, but it was only shown around 2019 in a few games part of the Electronic Entertainment Expo. Nevertheless, it was truly a marvel to behold, as sunlight starts to become realistically depicted by smoke and ash in warzones while also penetrating the tiniest crevices in caves.
This particular graphical tech helps simulate light and shadow effects in video games as if they were in real life. It uses a particular algorithm to calculate each beam of light in a particular video game. It works for both sunlight and moonlight, as well as artificially-made lighting in games. This affects many things in games.
First, shadows are depicted more realistically. We’re talking about shadows in motion, which can disappear from time to time depending on the player’s position, time of day, and how much shade is around each game asset. Second, lights can now bounce off surfaces, including ashes and smokes, which was impossible to do without ray tracing. Lastly, players can feel even more immersed as new environments come to life before their very eyes.
Many developers and GPU manufacturers struggled with this for many years. Still, with improvements in gaming technology, it seems that they have reached a new point in graphical fidelity, and it has revolutionized the industry overnight.
Implications in the Gaming Industry
Everyone is demanding ray tracing into their games, considering that it should be part of every graphics setting of video games in the future. However, this isn’t going to be the case.
Although the big hitters in the industry can afford ray tracing techs such as EA and Bethesda, thousands more can’t integrate such tech into their games. It can be due to budget problems (ray tracing tech is expensive) or art direction. In addition, some games can be ruined by realistic graphics, such as League of Legends. So even though ray tracing looks impressive, it’s not going to be for every developer in the industry.
Why Should You Care
Ray tracing is not something you should care about unless you’re into the finer details of gaming. Casual gamers haven’t even heard of such tech, nor will they even notice it when they’re gaming. However, there are a couple of things you should consider regarding ray tracing.
First is the performance. Because it’s a particularly new tech, ray tracing can be quite demanding. For the best ray tracing experience, you’re going to need a custom-made gaming PC that excels in lighting textures. Many cheap GPU models can do lighting, but only modern and advanced GPUs can do ray tracing efficiently.
So if you’ve noticed that your game is stuttering a bit or if your computer is heating up, then you should consider looking into your GPU. If your GPU is outdated, turn off ray tracing in the settings, and you should experience minor stuttering and other performance problems.
As stated earlier, casual gamers shouldn’t see a vast difference in graphical fidelity when ray tracing is turned on. However, there are some differences.
For example, if ray tracing is off, shadows are more static. When it’s on, shadows are more dynamic, following the light coming from every game asset. Fogs, smoke, and ash also look more realistic, with light being absorbed by these assets.
In other words, ray tracing can immerse you better into the gaming world you are playing because it’ll look a lot more realistic.
Video Games of the Future
Video games are reaching new points they hadn’t reached before. With ray-tracing technology, we can make games look a lot more realistic. As a result, some are joking that video games will look even more real than real life.