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Post by KostaAndreadis @ 12:07am 07/11/20 | 0 Comments
Ray-tracing has been slowly evolving and turning heads in the PC space for a while now -- since NVIDIA introduced the first range of GeForce RTX cards back in 2018. But even back then there was the assumption that whatever Sony or Microsoft had planned for PlayStation and Xbox, that it might just adopt the cutting edge visual effect.

Ray-tracing, at its core is the process of using light (measured in rays) bounding around to accurately render or calculate things like shadows, lighting, and even reflections. It's a costly measure -- hence its absence from the PS4 and Xbox One -- but when implemented it brings a sense of realism to scenes that developers would otherwise have to fake.

One of the most immediately noticeable forms of ray-tracing, the use of real-time reflections is present in PlayStation 5 launch-title Spider-Man: Miles Morales. Which adds realistic reflections on quite a few surfaces, including all the windows Miles swings by or walks past -- with ray-tracing you can even see a Spidey reflection as you get close.

To demonstrate the effect -- which is presented as part of the game's visual mode the runs in 4K at 30fps with advanced lighting and other effects far superior to the PS4 original -- this short sequence shows a highly reflective cinematic exterior followed by an interior shot with a reflective floor.

For comparison you can see the same room in Spider-Man: Miles Morales' performance mode -- which targets a smooth 60fps but turns off high-end effects like ray-tracing -- and see the difference beteen screens-space reflections, cube maps, and other techniques developers have been using for years to present reflections in games.

Ray-tracing isn't the only next-gen bit of visual detail to be found in Miles Morales as the more powerful PS5 hardware also leads to greater draw-distances, crisper textures, improved lighting, and even better depth of field effects to make it all look even more cinematic.

Spider-Man: Miles Morales is a PlayStation 5 launch title -- stay tuned for our full review.

spider-manmiles moralesplaystation 5ray-tracing4k

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