Microsoft has just released the Windows 10 October 2018 update (codenamed Redstone 5) and it brings a ton of new features including ray-tracing support, dark mode, improvements to Mixed Reality and much more. Let’s have a look.
Ray Tracing Support
The biggest key feature the new Windows 10 update brings, especially if you own the RTX 20 Series GPUs, is support for Ray Tracing. This update brings public support for DirectX Raytracing (DXR) and all of this means that games & apps on Windows 10 will now finally support Ray Tracing.
Microsoft says that DirectX Raytracing (DXR) brings these four new concepts to the DirectX 12 API –
- The acceleration structure is an object that represents a full 3D environment in a format optimal for traversal by the GPU. Represented as a two-level hierarchy, the structure affords both optimized ray traversal by the GPU, as well as efficient modification by the application for dynamic objects.
- A new command list method, DispatchRays, which is the starting point for tracing rays into the scene. This is how the game actually submits DXR workloads to the GPU.
- A set of new HLSL shader types including ray-generation, closest-hit, any-hit, and miss shaders. These specify what the DXR workload actually does computationally. When DispatchRays is called, the ray-generation shader runs. Using the new TraceRayintrinsic function in HLSL, the ray generation shader causes rays to be traced into the scene. Depending on where the ray goes in the scene, one of several hit or miss shaders may be invoked at the point of intersection. This allows a game to assign each object its own set of shaders and textures, resulting in a unique material.
- The raytracing pipeline state, a companion in spirit to today’s Graphics and Compute pipeline state objects, encapsulates the raytracing shaders and other state relevant to raytracing workloads.
We still don’t have any major apps & games that support Ray Tracing
While it’s great that the new Windows 10 updates brings wide-scale Ray Tracing support, we still do not have any apps & games that actually do use Ray Tracing. Ray Tracing is much better in every single way compared to what developers used before (except in terms of performance), but we’ll have to wait some more to see it in action.
Battlefield V will be launching next month on 20th November 2018 and is expected to bring full ray-tracing support. Shadow of Tomb Raider’s ray-tracing patch is due since quite a while too and it’s expected to release this month. Those are the two major games that will first showcase Ray Tracing in its true glory.
Here’s a list of all the other games NVIDIA announced at their event that will support Ray Tracing Tech and/or NVIDIA’s DLSS Technology –
While it’s great to see that we’re another step closer to the new Ray Tracing technology, we’ll still have to wait for another month or so to really see what the RTX 20 series GPUs can do. The new Windows 10 update brings some other new features which you can see here, but Ray Tracing is the biggest feature we’ve got.
What do you think about this update? Have you bought the RTX 20 Series GPUs or planning to upgrade? Let’s discuss in the comments.