Ray-Tracing to Revolutionize Gaming Graphics?

This image was lost some time after publication.
This image was lost some time after publication.

The quality of gaming graphics is about to take a quantum leap, especially if 26-year-old Daniel Pohl has anything to do with it. He's already knocked the gaming world's socks off with Quake 3 RT, an experimental version of that first-person shooter using ray-tracing, a technique that computes the paths of light rays, adding extraordinary realism to images.

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Now he's taken ray-tracing to the next level using Quake 4. Up until now, the problem with incorporating ray-tracing into real-time gaming has been that typical processors were not fast enough to process all of this data. Pohl says parallel processing on the latest multicore processors along with advanced graphics chips will further accelerate these graphics, bringing us closer to the day when real-time ray-traced games are commonplace. More pics and an ass-kicking movie download:

This image was lost some time after publication, but you can still view it here.
This image was lost some time after publication, but you can still view it here.
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This image was lost some time after publication, but you can still view it here.
This image was lost some time after publication, but you can still view it here.


You might want to check out this movie, too. Amazing stuff!

If these pictures are any indication, we're stoked. Couldn't the mighty Playstation 3 or Xbox 360 handle this kind of number-crunching?

Ray Tracing and Gaming - Quake 4: Ray Traced Project [PC Perspective, via The Inquirer]

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DISCUSSION

I used to spend considerable time creating ray tracing models on the Commodore Amiga. A ray trace animation could take days to create on the old 68000 7MHz Amiga 1000. To think that ray tracing would be done in 'real time' on your average (well, within reason) PC is an amazing step forward in computer animation.

Then again, if Commodore had not gone out of business, we probably would have had this in computer gaming a few years ago.