Nvidia Working To Make Ray Tracing Lighting Easier For Everyone

Nvidia is planning to help everyone out with ray tracing – even including its competitors. Nvidia is releasing its RTX Global Illumination SDK v1.0 (RTXGI) which will be available to developers. This is essentially a ray tracing toolkit which will be equipped with the tools to deliver scalable lighting solutions within games for any DXR-enabled GPU.

This will allow game developers to integrate RTX features that will allow them to scale illuminations within games to drastically improve the lighting effects. This should help those who can’t afford to, or would rather not splash out on a monster GPU – something that is usually needed to enable ray tracing.

How Does It All Work?

The RTXGI SDK will let developers gain access to optimized memory layouts, compute shaders, hooks for engine and gameplay events and support for multiple coordinate systems. 

Developers will be able to trace and shade rays from active light sources in games which will mean there’s no need to spend countless hours working on lighting during the development stage. This seems to be a bit of a win-win for developers and gamers who get to enjoy better graphics during their gameplay sessions.

Tony Tamasi, SVP of content and technology at Nvidia said: “The fundamental advantage here is that it’s a scalable SDK that allows low-end hardware that may not have ray tracing capabilities to produce global illumination.”

He went on to describe how this technology would work and how game developers would be able to make use of it: “It works off of very traditional flows the game developers are very familiar with, which is light probes. Think of it as baked lighting. But then it allows you to trace rays from those light probes so you get more accurate lighting, more real-time updates, and you don’t get some of the artefacting that you normally get through those light probes, such as light leaking.”

Who Can Use RTXGI?

RTXGI will be able to run on any GPU which is DXR-enabled. This means that any graphics card which is capable of running Microsoft’s DirectX Ray Tracing API will be able to make use of it. 

Interestingly, AMD is currently working on a line of DXR-compatible graphics cards which will use RDNA 2 graphics architecture. This would suggest that AMD, Nvidia’s main competitor, will also have access to this new technology and be able to offer scalable global illumination through their products too.

With the fast development of ray tracing technology, it looks like it will no longer be exclusive to Microsoft’s DXR API or Nvidia’s RTX 20-series. 

AMD has been working with ray tracing for a while and will be implementing it alongside RDNA 2 architecture-based graphics cards which will make an appearance in both PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X coming later this year.