Not just RTX, even the Vega 56 can do ray tracing at 1080p 30 fps

Crytek goes into detail about their new Total Illumination ray tracing technology. (Source: CryEngine)
Crytek goes into detail about their new Total Illumination ray tracing technology. (Source: CryEngine)
Crytek explained about the process that went into making of ray tracing effects in the Neon Noir demo and said that most modern GPUs have enough computational power for implementing ray tracing (to various degrees). The demo showed an AMD Vega 56 being able to easily render ray tracing effects at 1080p 30 fps with the possibility of higher framerates with reduced reflection resolutions.

At GDC 2019 in March, Crytek, the makers of the famous CryEngine and Crysis series of games, showed off a hardware and API agnostic ray tracing demo dubbed 'Neon Noir'. Back then, Crytek said that Neon Noir can run on "most mainstream, contemporary AMD and NVIDIA GPUs". Now, Crytek has revealed in a blog interview some of the work that has gone into Neon Noir and the ability of GPUs like the Vega 56 to do ray tracing at a comfortable frame rate.

The engineers go in detail about their in-house global illumination technology called Total Illumination (TI). TI has been a part of CryEngine since 2015 and while it did support certain reflective surfaces, it wasn't suitable for others. In Neon Noir, Crytek used an upgraded version of TI that offers real-time ray tracing on all suitable surfaces. This new TI version is currently being showcased in the Neon Noir demo but is expected to be part of CryEngine by end of this year.

Crytek feels that the current crop of mainstream GPUs have the required computational power to run TI. The engineers say that an AMD Vega 56 should be able to comfortably run real-time ray tracing on CryEngine at 1080p 30 fps. Scaling down the resolution of the reflections should be able to bump the overall performance to 40 fps at 1440p.

That being said, RTX is not without its benefits. The developers feel that RTX can allow the reflections to run at 4K while adding even more dynamic elements to scene. It might not allow for new features as such but does offer enough headroom for increased performance. Crytek is in the process of enhancing CryEngine to make the best use of Vulkan, DirectX 12, and the enhanced horsepower in RTX GPUs to further improve ray tracing effects.

You can read more about the whole development process and how they envisioned the details in each scene in the source link below. With even NVIDIA Pascal GPUs now supporting basic DXR effects, how far other game engines would implement such an analogous feature remains to be seen.


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Vaidyanathan Subramaniam, 2019-05- 9 (Update: 2019-05- 9)
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam
I am a cell and molecular biologist and computers have been an integral part of my life ever since I laid my hands on my first PC which was based on an Intel Celeron 266 MHz processor, 16 MB RAM and a modest 2 GB hard disk. Since then, I’ve seen my passion for technology evolve with the times. From traditional floppy based storage and running DOS commands for every other task, to the connected cloud and shared social experiences we take for granted today, I consider myself fortunate to have witnessed a sea change in the technology landscape. I honestly feel that the best is yet to come, when things like AI and cloud computing mature further. When I am not out finding the next big cure for cancer, I read and write about a lot of technology related stuff or go about ripping and re-assembling PCs and laptops.