Microsoft, NVIDIA, and AMD have all made announcements of ray tracing recently, and bringing real-time techniques and technologies to games, so it is probably not too surprising Futuremark, the developers of 3DMark have also been working on the technology. Today the company has released a demo to show off DirectX Raytracing (DXR) as it works to eventually release a new 3DMark benchmark test that will use it.
Ray tracing is not a new method, but is quite demanding, which is why its use has been very limited for decades and almost vacant for any real-time applications, such as video games. As computer hardware has become more powerful though, and more advanced algorithms have been developed, it appears the industry at large believes the time to bring ray tracing to modern graphics has come. What Futuremark specifically describes though is not a move to completely using ray tracing, but combining it with the long used and very fast rasterization for creating scenes. The ray tracing is used to enhance various light effects, such as shadows and reflections, which you can see in the video below. If you follow the source link you will also see GIFs that go between having DXR on and off, to better illustrate the difference ray tracing can make.
Futuremark says it hopes to have the new benchmark test out by the end of the year, but it also states the DXR tech demo is able to run in real-time on current GPU hardware. It was also relatively easy to implement into the company's DirectX 12 game engine, as it is built on existing methods, which is something you can learn more about at Microsoft's DirectX Developer Blog. Futuremark also states that it should be “relatively straightforward” to implement in modern game engines. The tech demo does not use NVIDIA RTX or AMD’s ray tracing solution and only exists as a tech demo, so you should not expect it to be part of a future 3DMark test.
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