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Microsoft launches DirectX Raytracing to streamline real-time rendering

March 19, 2018 | By Alissa McAloon

Through DirectX Raytracing, Microsoft has introduced four new concepts to the DirectX 12 API that aim to give developers entirely new rendering options and bridge the gap between commonly used rasterization techniques.

An in-depth breakdown of DirectX Raytracing can be found on Microsoft’s developer blog and is well worth a read if you’re looking to familiarize yourself with what the souped-up API has to offer developers.

As the post explains, raytracing is not a new rendering method by any means but has not been a practical option for real-time rendering for game devs in the past because of its computationally demanding nature. The DirectX Raytracing API aims to change that. The utility creates a sort of fusion of rasterized and raytraced elements that allow game developers to improve things like shadow, ambient occlusion, and reflections in games. 

Remedy Games is one of the select studios that have already been able to spend some hands-on time with Directx Raytracing, something the team has since detailed in its own blog post. The studio’s lead graphics programmer Tatu Aalto shared the results of the team’s early experiments in at GDC today, but the slides and a brief video of the tech in action have since been shared online by the studio as well. 

Developers looking to toy around with the API themselves can download the experimental build along with a handful of code samples from DirectX. 

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