NVIDIA and developer 4A Games have released a video showing over 6 minutes of gameplay footage from Metro Exodus, a story-driven first person shooter (FPS) that will be one of the first titles to support real-time ray tracing. The video is narrated by Benjamin Archard, a rendering programmer at 4A Games. In it, he explains some of the intricacies of real-time ray tracing, and specifically global illumination.
As anyone who has been following the GeForce RTX launch already knows, NVIDIA's new generation of Turing cards are built to bring real-time ray tracing to consumers. The GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, 2080, and 2070 all feature dedicated RT and Tensor cores, and used in conjunction with Microsoft's DirectX Raytracing (DXR) API, realistic lighting effects are finally attainable in gameplay.
That's what the new gameplay video aims to demonstrate. There are several spots in the video where NVIDIA's RTX switch is turned on and off to show what difference real-time ray tracing makes.
"By introducing real-time Ray Traced Global Illumination (RTGI), 4A can have natural lighting from the sun and moon realistically illuminate a scene, and have it genuinely affect the scene as the time of day changes. Before now, this was impossible—GPUs lacked the necessary hardware and performance to calculate real-time ray tracing, and no one had crafted technology and techniques to accelerate the process to such a degree that it could be used in graphically-complex games," NVIDIA explained in a previous blog post.
Real-time Ray Traced Ambient Occlusion (RTAO) is also on display. RTAO enables developers to calculate and display AO's contact shadowing based on the geometry of the scene. This is a different approach than traditional rasterization rendering, which uses rough approximations to generate shadows surrounding an object, rather than being based on an object's specific size, shape, and material construction.
It's a nifty demonstration, for sure. The video also provides a glimpse of what kind of visuals are in store for GeForce RTX graphics card owners. Whether or not the new cards are worth the introductory asking prices is another topic. To help you answer that, be sure to check out our full review of the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti and 2080, which went live this morning.