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Ray Tracing!?!


Opinionated Ham Scarecrow
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On 29/11/2020 at 03:58, partious said:

I care substantially more about a solid 60fps than I do about 4k or ray tracing etc. If it's a tradeoff between 30fps and 60fps, I very much want the option to turn the shiny graphics settings down this gen in every game.

 

Maybe pc will be the place to go this gen for people like me because you have a guarantee that you can turn OFF certain features.

More a case that you don’t need to on pc.....

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2 hours ago, Wahwah* said:

Yes, someone said to me recently that the "1440p is enough" line that is quite frequently heard might be a result of the price in monitors jumping significantly beyond that price, so 1440p is a sort of sweet spot.


yeah, no coincidence that even work monitors can output 120hz and looks lovely at 1080/1440 but to get the 4k HDR you’d need to be set up on the Big Tele, which is the world of consoles now and that’s why PC evangelists tell you that frame rate is king.

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On 30/11/2020 at 11:39, mikeyl said:

PC militants always dismiss resolution because they are all playing on their tiny Excel monitors at their desks. So they go on and on about imperceptible to the human eye frame rates instead. 

 

People seem to think that frame rates are only about the ability to detect the difference between the amount of times a static image is updated on a screen to give you the impression of motion.

 

From a gameplay POV, that's entirely wrong!

 

Resolution comes in two forms, Spatial and Temporal. The normal resolution most people bang on about is the Spatial kind, your 1080p/1440p/4K/8K/16K, etc.

 

Increasing Temporal resolution (framerate) has the major benefit of lowered response latency, making the type of games favoured by PC gamers these days play better, but much like spatial resolution increases, the law of diminishing returns sets in. 120Hz/fps is going to feel more responsive to play than 60Hz/fps which is a big step up from 30Hz/fps, especially when using a low input latency device like a mouse for aiming, instead of relying on typical console aim assist, which without would make most online shooters much less fun to control for the average console player.

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  • 1 month later...

Since playing Spider-man on the ps5 I’ve been thinking about how lacklustre ray tracing is. Mainly because we’ve been spoiled by the smoke and mirrors effects of the past. Seeing accurate reflections doesn’t really stand out as for the past few years we’ve had reflections and whilst no where near as accurate it’s meant to me at least that ray traced reflections don’t stand out all that much. Unless your Digital Foundry I guess or pause for screen shots.

 

Looking at Spider-Man in particular turning off the reflections and buildings and floors still give off rough reflections. Sure I can’t see cars moving or people and the reflections are not very well aligned but moving through the city or climbing a building and I really don’t notice that loss without thinking about it. Many games already do screen space reflections anyways which on floors and water at least look pretty much like ray traced reflections on first glance.

 

Then there are shadows and lighting and whilst it is better, without seeing a comparison I wouldn’t notice any difference. Same way with higher quality shadows, it’s such a subtle change that I almost wonder if it’s worth the effort. We’ve certainly reached the point where graphics are being tweaked to be precise quality rather than good enough.

 

Saying all this though I did have one impressive moment in Spider-Man where me and an enemy fell off a building and we was facing a glass wall where you could see our reflections in it. But at the same time that could have easily been faked I feel just like how mirrors in old games were.

 

To me raytracing feels like the upgrade to 4k. Nice but hardly noticeable unless you’re looking for it, unlike HDR which really stands out to me.

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12 minutes ago, Ketchup said:

Since playing Spider-man on the ps5 I’ve been thinking about how lacklustre ray tracing is. Mainly because we’ve been spoiled by the smoke and mirrors effects of the past. Seeing accurate reflections doesn’t really stand out as for the past few years we’ve had reflections and whilst no where near as accurate it’s meant to me at least that ray traced reflections don’t stand out all that much. Unless your Digital Foundry I guess or pause for screen shots.

 

Looking at Spider-Man in particular turning off the reflections and buildings and floors still give off rough reflections. Sure I can’t see cars moving or people and the reflections are not very well aligned but moving through the city or climbing a building and I really don’t notice that loss without thinking about it. Many games already do screen space reflections anyways which on floors and water at least look pretty much like ray traced reflections on first glance.

 

Then there are shadows and lighting and whilst it is better, without seeing a comparison I wouldn’t notice any difference. Same way with higher quality shadows, it’s such a subtle change that I almost wonder if it’s worth the effort. We’ve certainly reached the point where graphics are being tweaked to be precise quality rather than good enough.

 

Saying all this though I did have one impressive moment in Spider-Man where me and an enemy fell off a building and we was facing a glass wall where you could see our reflections in it. But at the same time that could have easily been faked I feel just like how mirrors in old games were.

 

To me raytracing feels like the upgrade to 4k. Nice but hardly noticeable unless you’re looking for it, unlike HDR which really stands out to me.


Who knew seeing Duke’s reflection in a bog mirror would affect gaming in 2020 so much ;) 

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1 hour ago, Ketchup said:

Since playing Spider-man on the ps5 I’ve been thinking about how lacklustre ray tracing is. Mainly because we’ve been spoiled by the smoke and mirrors effects of the past. Seeing accurate reflections doesn’t really stand out as for the past few years we’ve had reflections and whilst no where near as accurate it’s meant to me at least that ray traced reflections don’t stand out all that much. Unless your Digital Foundry I guess or pause for screen shots.

 

Looking at Spider-Man in particular turning off the reflections and buildings and floors still give off rough reflections. Sure I can’t see cars moving or people and the reflections are not very well aligned but moving through the city or climbing a building and I really don’t notice that loss without thinking about it. Many games already do screen space reflections anyways which on floors and water at least look pretty much like ray traced reflections on first glance.

 

Then there are shadows and lighting and whilst it is better, without seeing a comparison I wouldn’t notice any difference. Same way with higher quality shadows, it’s such a subtle change that I almost wonder if it’s worth the effort. We’ve certainly reached the point where graphics are being tweaked to be precise quality rather than good enough.

 

Saying all this though I did have one impressive moment in Spider-Man where me and an enemy fell off a building and we was facing a glass wall where you could see our reflections in it. But at the same time that could have easily been faked I feel just like how mirrors in old games were.

 

To me raytracing feels like the upgrade to 4k. Nice but hardly noticeable unless you’re looking for it, unlike HDR which really stands out to me.

 

The issue is that console raytracing (even next gen console raytracing) isn't actually proper raytracing - it is extremely low rent compared to raytracing on the PC.

 

The consoles just don't have the dedicated raytracing compute power to do raytracing justice. 

 

Watchdogs for example - the raytracing on consoles is below even the 'low' raytracing setting on PCs, you have to edit an ini file to get PCs showing raytracing as bad as that.

 

Proper raytracing on consoles will be reserved for the PS5 Pro / Series X Pro.

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As someone who gets to enjoy 'proper' raytracing (i.e. courtesy of a 2080 Ti), I still sort of see Ketchup's point - in that the quality of emulated reflections and lighting is high enough that properly ray-traced alternatives don't necessarily feel like a complete sea change. I personally think that games like Control and Cyberpunk look incredible with full raytracing, but at the same time have to acknowledge that the non-raytraced versions look very good too; as much as I will happily sacrifice some performance (and/or even resolution, courtesy of DLSS) to pump raytracing up, I can understand why not everyone would consider it worthwhile, as the differences are frequently subtle, particularly in any scenes/situations where simpler techniques are particularly effective.

 

As a lazy snapshot from youtube demonstrates:

818331622_CyberpunkRTXOnOff1.thumb.png.866b56ebce9e5691de3950065c5538a3.png

This is one of the many situations the differences are noticeable, but if you were to play the game solely in one mode or the other I don't think you'd particularly miss/notice the benefit.

 

But then there are also areas like this - situations which play particularly to raytracing's strengths/against workaround approaches to lighting/reflection/refraction/transparency - basically any situation involving a lot of glass - where the trade-offs become much more stark:

1690291094_CyperpunkRTXOff2.thumb.png.e3013378fd1c5a07f883d9d20197e133.png

643910332_CyperpunkRTXOn2.thumb.png.eaeadd971fa0298f7dab5e0fb9009327.png

 

For me, I love that we're at a point where ray-tracing is becoming more common/workable, but I also appreciate that it's a bit like HDR - it's a 'nice to have', which improves everything subtly. And, also like HDR, needs to be properly implemented: we frustratingly have the current issue that a lot of its uses are far too unsubtle, as is customary when graphical techniques are coming into vogue; see e.g. the massively over-the-top reflections of Watch Dogs in every implementation. It'll be a while yet before the majority of ray-traced games move away from bizarrely reflective wet/metallic surfaces, I fear!

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Good points, and there's rarely enough pragmatism in the RT discussion. Like, the best showcase for it is (in my humble opinion) Control, where there's a fairly static and potentially boring environment of an office space, but having glass, tile and diffuse lighting (ie as in the famous demo, where a red chair casts both a shadow and reddish-pink tinge). Making the mundane beautiful is a genuinely good goal. 

 

It's early days though. It needs to be available as an option as part of a basic dev toolkit so it's not overused. Like cel shading was, or fucking bloom was for years. 

 

In the meantime, here's a good demo - years old, still intended to drive your PC to the brink of death - of how different textures can refract light with RT to make some lovely effects. This is all in software and therefore incredibly compute expensive. 

 

 

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One of the issues with raytracing in the likes of Cyberpunk - perhaps even bad glass example above - is that the true beauty/reason isn’t clear in a static screenshot.

 

walk down that glass corridor, and you’ll see what the point is and how the cheaper tricks aren’t all that.

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Cyberpunk in particular really opened my eyes to ray tracing, way more than Control ever did. Now I notice when games don't have it. Take Doom Eternal. It's a really good looking game, and its use of HDR in particular is top of the class, but there's no ray tracing. Coming straight from Cyberpunk, Doom Eternal looks ... unnatural, almost synthetic.

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