News AMD Engineer Brings Path Tracing To Return to Castle Wolfenstein

Ah, this game brings good memories of quality FPS experiences. I can't say the images look breath taking as the texture quality hasn't aged well, but the lighting change is good enough. I'm not too savvy on the nitty gritty detail of how it differs to "proper" ray tracing, but it doesn't look bad. Maybe a full fledged demo would work best, alongside a play through?

Regards.
 

Co BIY

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Some readers may ask what path tracing is and how it is different from ray tracing; for this, there are some excellent publications. In short, ray patching is a subset of ray tracing methods, albeit with considerably lower requirements for computing resources.
A link to the excellent publications would be excellent.

"ray patching" = path tracing ?
 

Stefan_53

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It is not an oversimplified explanation, it is a flat out wrong explanation.

Ray tracing is a fundamental technique to determine visibility of primitives. By itself, it does not generate images.
One can apply ray tracing techniques to create images or parts of them: for example, rendering reflections with ray tracing is an application of it. So is rendering AO using ray tracing. Or path tracing, it is a method for simulation indirect light using ray tracing. It is neither a sub nor a superset of ray tracing.
 
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Am I missing something or do all the new screenshots look way worse?
It's possible they may look off given that artists will have to work around the limitations of the rendering system they're using. Like for instance, Gensis games when going over a digital output look worse in some cases because artists relied on composite artifacting and dithering to produce transparency effects or nice color gradients.

Although I will say in this case, whoever chose the coloring for the lights did a pretty bad job of trying to preserve the original look. Especially when some of those torches don't appear to be casting lights at all.
 

slurmsmckenzie

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Maybe it is just my monitor / settings but when I look at images 3 & 4 it seems that the original has better textures and the new one looks a bit washed out. I haven't played the original so maybe I'm not fit to comment but aside from the nice lighting through the windows in image 5 and overall better shadows (excluding the torch lighting as @hotaru.hino said) I didn't see much improvement in the new shots (in my personal opinion).
 
It is not an oversimplified explanation, it is a flat out wrong explanation.

Ray tracing is a fundamental technique to determine visibility of primitives. By itself, it does not generate images.
One can apply ray tracing techniques to create images or parts of them: for example, rendering reflections with ray tracing is an application of it. So is rendering AO using ray tracing. Or path tracing, it is a method for simulation indirect light using ray tracing. It is neither a sub nor a superset of ray tracing.
There are many many effects to ray tracing. The current focus are ambients (subtle light tinting due to surface reflections of light). Reflections (like in rain puddles or windows, or mirrored balls) is still incredibly computationally expensive as if it's a perfect surface (mirror), rough point approximation won't cut it here. This is where cubic maps come into play and it's a similar technique similar to how the latest unreal engine creates interiors for offices in a huge city for the Matrix demo. There are other RT techniques like caustics that can be simulated with shaders. For example water surface reflections that grow more opaque at certain critical angles. Focal depth blurring based on Z Buffer and Gaussian blurs. And volumetric "fog" based on z-buffer comparisons.

TRUE RT though it still EXTREMELY computationally expensive, (especially for reflections.) Imagine trying to render an infinity mirror and how many rays have to be shot out. Basically it's infinity, but as that is not possible, you have to set a max ray trace bounce. As these exponentially grow with each depth, even with bounding boxes, you have to figure out simulated short cuts which is basically what we are doing today.
 

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