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Post by KostaAndreadis @ 05:06pm 14/02/19 | 3 Comments
Ahead of a feature delving deeper into the NVIDIA RTX-powered ray-tracing featured in Metro Exodus, we though we'd share an example that shows a pretty major 'RTX On' and 'RTX Off' difference. With Metro's implementation of the groundbreaking tech used for global illumination we found an off-the-beaten-path outdoor location that showcases just how well ray-tracing, err, shines a light on the future of gaming.

In non-technical terms, how it works in Metro is that light rays from a global source - aka the sun - is used to light an environment. In the 'RTX On' part of the clip below as light rays come in through the windowed openings they bounce around to light up the location in the sort of shadowy way that looks incredibly realistic. Like a complex CGI clip. In the 'RTX Off' part of the clip, the scene looks flatter, brighter, and like a game.

A pretty drastic example no doubt, but it's an effect that adds to the immersion. Which is perfect for a game like Metro Exodus. It's worth pointing out though that this is but one moment in a large game. Here's an RTX On image of an outdoor location.

And here's the same location with RTX Off.

Here the effect is more subtle because ray-traced or not the lighting in Metro Exodus is fantastic. As an inverse example the ray-traced scene is brighter because light bouncing off the snow adds more depth and light to objects. In the end, subtle or not, the effect really becomes apparent the longer you play - where the entire image begins to feel more natural, and again, like that of a CGI film. The immersion is sustained as you move from indoor to outdoor environments in a way we've never seen before.

Without a doubt, a glimpse at the future.

metro exodusnvidiartx4kcomparison

Latest Comments
Posted 07:16pm 14/2/19

rtx or not, why is it just WAY brighter than the other one. Games have been able to have dark rooms for decades that don't look like that.

Seems like some nvidia bulls*** imo.
Posted 10:49pm 14/2/19
The example is drastic as described. The reason is how ray tracing works, the darker moodier realistic first part is based on the outside light bouncing and lighting the interior. For context this is the ruins of a small ship in a bright and dusty desert. So with ray-tracing off the interior is lit using traditional methods adding light. It's not a main area so it's not meant to be dark. Creating dark or light room is a developer choice. For what is not a small object in a large open area, ray tracing gives is a realistic dark interior based on the exterior light source.

I added the second two images as a reference to show a ray-traced scene outdoors that is brighter. The effect seen in this example though translates to other interior areas where there aren't visible light sources - lamps, fires, etc. Traditional lighting gives off a basic illumination across just about every-object without looking realistic. It's one of the reasons ray-tracing is seen as the be all end all of real-time rendering. RTX is the first step there, and Metro's implementation is mostly subtle but when you experience the entire game this way it's revelatory.

last edited by KostaAndreadis at 22:49:02 14/Feb/19
Posted 04:22pm 15/2/19
Nice demonstration! Was just having this conversation with a friend the other day, that global illumination seems to be a much better use of raytracing than the fancy reflections Battlefield used it for, but I guess fancy reflections are much easier to stick in a demo and wow people with, like its instant and obvious eye candy. Global illumination is a subtler effect, and harder to kind of quantify and point out to people, but I think overall has a *much* bigger impact on the game
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