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Ray tracing

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I guess you could say:

Ray Tracing: the name under which all ray-tracing related techniques fall

Ray Casting: the act of tracing a single ray (a line basically)

Ray tracing is the simplest graphic technique really. You just cast lines from the camera through the image plane and intersect that ray with objects in the world. You do that for each pixel in the output image.

Supposedly ray-tracing will eventually obsolete most other lighting/rendering techniques once hardware can do it in real time. The other cool thing about ray-tracing is you can make extreme quality images with no special graphics hardware.

There's a ton of tutorials out there:


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I should point out that raytracing isn't standard at all (or even remotely) for games. It's still more expensive than using accelerated graphics cards.

If you're making a "modern" game, you probably want to stick to using OpenGL or DirectX to get your graphics card to do the heavy lifting.

You'll still use raycasting for things like object picking and line-of-sight tests for your game. You just won't do it, typically, for graphics.


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