With every generation of graphics cards, we creep closer to photorealistic graphics that are indistinguishable from real life. We aren’t there just yet, but some modern game engines and technology are bound to make you do a double take.
Earlier today, Square Enix’s Luminous Productions released a tech demo titled Back Stage. The video demonstrates the capabilities of the latest breakthrough in video game graphics, ray tracing, combined with the studio’s proprietary Luminous Engine.
For those of you who never heard of ray tracing, it is a rendering technique that simulates how light interacts with objects. Usually, light in video games illuminates models, reflects off highly reflective surfaces, and little else. Ray tracing, meanwhile, mimics light reflection, refraction, dispersion, and other optical effects.
The tech demo, which is available on the Nvidia GeForce Youtube page, looks like a pre-rendered cutscene. However, according to the video’s description, Back Stage was rendered in real time with a single GeForce RTX 2080 Ti. Granted, the 2080 Ti is the most powerful Nvidia graphics card on the market (for now), but the performance and beauty is undeniable.
Since ray tracing is relatively new technology, few games utilize it. However, the PC version of Remedy contains a ray tracing option that dials the graphics up to eleven, and Minecraft of all titles is slated to receive ray tracing support in the near future.
While games that currently employ ray tracing technology don’t look as beautiful as Back Stage, the tech demo is a taste of things to come, and not just for PC gaming. Ray tracing is currently limited to PC graphics cards, but the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Project Scarlett will support the technology. In other words, audiences could soon play games with as much graphical fidelity as Back Stage regardless of platform (minus the Nintendo Switch, but that’s not a knock against the console).
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