Cyberpunk 2077 takes ray tracing to another level

Cyberpunk 2077 

takes ray tracing to another level


Cyberpunk 2077 takes ray tracing to another level

CD Projekt RED yesterday published new real game scenes from Cyberpunk 2077, a game that is set to become a technical benchmark, thanks to its excellent technical bill and the integration of ray tracing applied to three key points: shadows, lighting, and reflections.

As our regular readers will know, all the games that have come onto the market using ray tracing have been limited to applying it to a specific element. For example, Shadow of the Tomb Raider uses ray-traced shadows, Battlefield V applies it to reflections, Metro Exodus applies to light, and Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2019 applies it to ambient occlusion and shadows.

Applying ray tracing to lighting, shadows, and reflections were, in theory, unfeasible due to the enormous consumption of resources that had to be assumed in order to move the workload that this represented. With this in mind, we can understand how interesting it is to discover that CD Projekt RED has been able to apply a "full" ray tracing in Cyberpunk 2077. Want to know more? Well read on, this is how the Polish studio integrated ray tracing into Cyberpunk 2077:


Ambient occlusion generated by ray tracing

Ambient occlusion generated by ray tracing

As many of our readers will know, ambient occlusion is a shading and rendering technique used to calculate how all points in a scene are exposed to ambient lighting. Those calculations allow for the rendering of new occlusion shades that bring realism to objects and naturally darken surfaces, objects, and other elements of the game.

Its function is mainly to improve immersion and realism. Well, in Cyberpunk 2077 the ambient occlusion with ray tracing allows you to use local lights to create a much more realistic result, generating shadows where there was nothing before and always from that realistic perspective. Obviously, this greatly improves the quality of the ambient occlusion effect.


Diffuse lighting generated by ray tracing

Diffuse lighting generated by ray tracing

It is a technique that allows capturing the luminosity of the sky and the lighting that is emitted from various surfaces, a practically impossible job if we are limited to traditional rendering systems.

By activating this option we will see how all the objects and the illuminated surfaces, including from the classic static light sources to the moving posters, will illuminate their surroundings in a natural and realistic way. Impressive, but this is not all, as the Sun and Moon will also realistically illuminate Night City.


Reflections generated by ray tracing

Reflections generated by ray tracing

The ray-traced reflections that we will see in Cyberpunk 2077 will be applied on all surfaces, which means that they will have a huge extension to achieve realistic reflections even with a high viewing distance.

Those realistic reflections will be present on opaque and transparent surfaces and objects, and will accurately simulate the way light is reflected off satin and metallic surfaces, tracing a single bounce of reflected rays against the scene.

Unlike traditional techniques, which only reflect the content of the screen, reflections generated by ray-tracing incorporate the entire scene around the character and can even represent objects out of camera view or that have moved away from the camera. same. In addition to this, ray tracing reflections have superior image fidelity and quality.


Ray Tracing Shadows

Ray Tracing Shadows

They are not the same as environmental occlusion, as we have been able to deduce from the description we have made in the first section.

Ray tracing creates pixel-perfect shadows and overcomes the traditional limitations of traditional shadow mapping. In Cyberpunk 2077 the directional shadows of the Sun and the light of the Moon are added to the game depending on the strength of the light, its diffusion through clouds, and other environmental factors, achieving a highly realistic effect.


Cyberpunk 2077 and the importance of DLSS 2.0

Cyberpunk 2077 and the importance of DLSS 2.0

The ray-tracing implementation that CD Projekt RED has made in Cyberpunk 2077 is simply stunning, but how have you been able to reach that level without compromising performance? I cannot give you all the keys since I have not been able to thoroughly test the game, but it is clear that one of the central pillars that have most helped to compensate for the loss of performance has been DLSS 2.0 technology.

Cyberpunk 2077 integrates this NVIDIA technology, which uses artificial intelligence to apply intelligent rescaling of the image, rendering the game at a much lower resolution and rescaling to the level we have selected. This reduces the actual amount of pixels on the screen and therefore relieves the GPU of a significant workload.

For example, when used in "performance" mode it only renders half of the pixels and rescales the image from that base to reach the target resolution, and without noticing a significant reduction in image quality.


Well, if we put this in perspective and add it to the information we have about the demo that CD Projekt RED showed, the conclusion is clear, Cyberpunk 2077 works in 1080p, maximum quality, and full ray tracing at a rate of 60 FPS on an RTX 2080 Ti. Yes, on the most powerful NVIDIA graphics card. It is clear that the cost of ray tracing is huge, but we must remember that when applying DLSS 2.0 the native resolution is not 1080p, but 720p smartly rescaled to 1080p.

What can I say, it scares me to think about how it will work on my RTX 2080 Super since seen, I will not be able to move it to the maximum with really good fluidity and 1440p resolution, even if I activate DLSS 2.0. In any case, when it's available, I'll share an analysis with you. I remind you, before finishing, that its launch is scheduled for November 19.


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