Why it matters: Ray tracing seems to be the big thing in gaming right now, though you do need one of Nvidia’s RTX cards to experience the full effect. But World of Tanks creator Wargaming is demoing ray tracing in its popular multiplayer title, and it works with any graphics cards, including those from AMD, that support DirectX 11.
In the World of Tanks enCore RT Demo, owners of non-RTX cards can check out the game’s ray tracing - with caveats. Rather than offering the full range of effects found in DircetX 12 games with DXR, the ray tracing here is limited to improving shadow quality.
This software-based implementation of ray tracing improves the shadows cast from the game’s working tanks, as adding them to anything else would have negatively impacted performance. It works by tracing a straight line between points on an object and the light source, which in this case is the sun, and displaying shadows if it detects any interruptions.
The ray tracing in WoT uses Intel’s open-source Embree library (part of Intel One API), a collection of performance-optimized ray tracing kernels that enables a range of effects. Limiting this to only shadows means the demo's FPS rate won’t take a hammering, but Wargaming has plans to improve things eventually.
“Recreating incredibly soft and natural shadows is just the beginning of the Ray Tracing Era in gaming graphics. Thanks to this technology, we can recreate realistic reflections, ambient occlusion, and global illumination in real time. But this is something for the more distant future,” writes the company.
In related news, Nvidia earlier this week announced that it was bringing ray tracing to more remastered PC classics, as it did with Quake II.