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BlinksTale

Any options for affordable ray tracing?

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So as someone who has dealt with real time graphics instead of prerendered for his entire career, when I look at this..

 

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/ec/Glasses_800_edit.png

 

...I feel like it's still a distant dream. Everything I'm learning is about how mirrors are too hard and how Portal's whole system was simplified to work with multiple cameras/physics in the game. That just doesn't seem right to me. There must be some way, especially with all these new consoles rolling in, to handle bending light, right?

 

My ideal would be something like these:

 

http://tobifairley.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/crystal-glassware.jpg

http://devrajniwas.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/crystal_wine_glasses_tif.gif

http://www.homewetbar.com/images/prod/w-Crystal-Glass-Set-133769.jpg

 

Reflections and curved/bent light, that's really all I'm looking for. Now, that might be asking for a whole new Google/Facebook (or some equally absurd and impossible amount of work), but I really think there's a workaround I just haven't heard of yet.

 

If all I want is these two things, do I have any options? Maybe even ones with a camera that moves?

 

I'd love to have a world the player can navigate where light bends in these beautiful ways. Are there any options at all for that right now?

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Have you seen 

 

http://arauna2.nhtv.nl/

 

There are a few realtime raytracers out there. Some CPU based some GPU based demos from the chipmakers.. Intel was pushing it a few years back for their defunct Larabee chips..

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Hodgman: fantastic! What wonderful examples - I'm really keen on that Nvidia one.

 

ddn3: Windows only! I was unable to open the exe, but working with Unity sounds fantastic.

 

Seeing Arauna's list though: Do I need any special features to have the light curve in the glass? I have no experience with that, just a lot of curiosity.

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Hodgman: fantastic! What wonderful examples - I'm really keen on that Nvidia one.

 

ddn3: Windows only! I was unable to open the exe, but working with Unity sounds fantastic.

 

Seeing Arauna's list though: Do I need any special features to have the light curve in the glass? I have no experience with that, just a lot of curiosity.

 

Yep Arauna is a full path tracer which will reproduce the proper caustics of glass. That is the fun thing about raytracers, no tricks required to reproduce these complex light - object interactions and reflections. There was an older version of Arauna, see if its still out there. 

 

Good Luck!

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this brigade 3 demo is something, i never yet had seen some thing like this (heat in the city)

 

though there appears one wuestion there, this large noise -

(i understand it is because of randomization of sending performance limited amount of environment light rays) couldnt

it be averaged or something.. how much hardware yet needs to grow in speed 5x 10x 

 

is there maybe some chance that hardvare companies will turn to support raytracing in consumer electronics, imo this is good way to go, this is the future,

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Proper real time ray-tracing, which by the way is just an umbrella term for more specific techniques, like bidirectional path tracing, are still at least 15-20 years away from becoming generalized solutions fast enough to finally replace rasterization entirely, simply due to the lack of performance.  But I'm completely sure that we'll see hybrid solutions, with rasterization based engines using ray tracing for secondary effects this gen. At least on PC, it's basically a certain thing in my opinion, on next gen consoles I'm not so sure.

 

I think the first obvious thing we're going to have within the next couple of years are proper single bounce specular reflections for dynamic geometry & light sources, without having to rely on pre baked stuff with lots of artist fiddling involved like localized cube maps. We're already seeing techniques based on this. For example, the voxel-based cone tracing demo that made the rounds about a year or two ago is essentially a ray tracer, that marches through a voxel volume and the farther a ray travels, the lower resolution the mip-level that you sample your data from is, which kind of mimics the behavior of a "cone", hence cone tracing instead of ray tracing.

 

Actually I think I read a paper on something like this a couple of weeks ago, but I'm not sure if I'm dreaming that up right now.

 

Either way, one thing's clear: 30 years from now nobody will be using rasterization anymore and graphics programming will be simpler in many aspects for it.

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