Exploring the Use of Ray Tracing for Future Games

Heiko Friedrich, Johannes Günther, Andreas Dietrich, Michael Scherbaum, Hans-Peter Seidel, and Philipp Slusallek
Proceedings of ACM SIGGRAPH Video Game Symposium,
Boston, USA, 2006
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Rasterization hardware and computer games have always been
tightly connected: The hardware implementation of rasterization
has made complex interactive 3D games possible while requirements
for future games drive the development of increasingly parallel
GPUs and CPUs. Interestingly, this development – together with
important algorithmic improvements – also enabled ray tracing to
achieve realtime performance recently.
In this paper we explore the opportunities offered by ray tracing
based game technology in the context of current and expected future
performance levels. In particular, we are interested in simulationbased
graphics that avoids pre-computations and thus enables the
interactive production of advanced visual effects and increased realism
necessary for future games. In this context we analyze the
advantages of ray tracing and demonstrate first results from several
ray tracing based game projects. We also discuss ray tracing API issues
and present recent developments that support interactions and
dynamic scene content. We end with an outlook on the different
options for hardware acceleration of ray tracing.