NVIDIA Reveals Ray Tracing: Overdrive & RTXDI, Coming Soon to Cyberpunk 2077

As part of its many offerings from the GeForce Beyond special presentation, NVIDIA has also announced something called Ray Tracing: Overdrive mode, which will soon be coming to Cyberpunk 2077 via a free update. This new mode also includes RTX Direct Illumination, which NVIDIA has been experimenting with for over two years. RTXDI can bring millions of direct lights to the game scene, although of course its implementation can vary depending on the needs of the developer.

Here’s how Ray Tracing works: Cyberpunk 2077’s Overdrive Mode in a nutshell, per NVIDIA.

  • NVIDIA RTX Direct Illumination (RTXDI) technology provides every neon sign, street lamp, car headlight, LED billboard, and precise ray-tracing lighting and shades, showers, walls, pedestrians, and pedestrians with accurate color lighting;
  • Now the ray-traced indirect reflections and illumination bounce multiple times, compared to the single bounce of the previous solution. The result is more accurate, realistic and immersive lighting, reflections and self-reflections;
  • Ray-tracing reflections are now rendered with full accuracy, further improving their quality;
  • Enhanced, material-based lighting eliminates the need for any other occlusion techniques.

Jacob Knabeck, Technical Director at CD PROJEKT RED said:

Here at CD PROJEKT RED, we’re very proud of being a technology innovator, and DLSS 3 gives us useful performance gains to address adding higher levels of ray tracing to deliver a visually rich experience for our players.

Needless to say, Ray Tracing: Overdrive will be more taxing than regular ray tracing technologies on current GeForce RTX hardware. Fortunately, the upcoming Ada Lovelace GeForce RTX 4000 series GPUs will offer NVIDIA DLSS 3 and a host of hardware and software improvements specifically targeting advanced ray tracing workloads, such as:

  • Shader Execution Reordering (SER), which rearranges and parallels execution of ray-tracing threads without compromising image quality.
  • Transparency minimaps – Accelerate ray tracing workloads by encoding surface opacity directly onto the geometry, which greatly reduces costly opacity evaluation during ray traversal and allows the construction of high-quality acceleration structures. This technique is particularly useful when applied to objects that are irregular in shape or transparent, such as foliage and fences. On GeForce RTX 40 series graphics cards, the Opacity Micromap format can be directly decoded by ray tracing devices, which further improves performance.
  • NVIDIA Real Time Denoisers (NRD) – A noise reduction library for temporal and spatiotemporal ray tracing that helps reduce noise per-pixel low-ray signals with real-time performance. Compared with previous generation decoders, NRD technology improves quality and ensures that computationally intensive ray tracing output is noise-free, without performance tradeoffs.

There was no mention of any other games using Ray Tracing: Overdrive Mode at the moment, but NVIDIA has talked about two more ray tracing games coming soon. The first is A Plague Tale: Requiem, which will support ray tracing effects and DLSS 3 when it launches next month.

The second game to be highlighted today is NetEase’s Martial Arts MMO, Justice MMO, which has often been at the forefront of ray tracing technology. Now, Chinese developers have implemented track tracing with the launch of the new Fuyun Court site.

Justice now supports ReSTIR GI, RTX DI, NRD, DLSS 3, and NVIDIA Reflex. Dinggen Zhan, Senior Programmer Justice and Senior Expert at NetEase stated:

The two technologies that have made the most visual difference in Justice are ray tracing and DLSS, and we’re now pushing graphics accuracy to new levels with trajectory tracing. DLSS 3 gives us performance increases we’ve never seen before. It can also relieve CPU bottlenecks for GeForce RTX 40-series gamers — and that’s crazy.

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