Today's Hard|Forum Post
Today's Hard|Forum Post

Friday August 04, 2017

Quake 2 With Realtime GPU Pathtracing

Edd Biddulph, computer graphics programmer has released a video showing his from-scratch GPU-based pathtracer created specifically for Quake 2. Despite running on a Titan Xp there is some noise, which is inevitable on today's hardware. By Biddulph's estimates, it will be another 15-20 years before GPU hardware is powerful enough to do real time path or ray tracing.

I'll be honest, before seeing this and doing a little digging, I didn't know much about raytracing and pathtracing. Having learned a bit more this is quite incredible, and despite the YouTube compression, you can really see the impressive lighting effects coming from this 20 year old game. You can find the source code for this GPU pathtracer on GitHub

This is a from-scratch GPU-based pathtracer created specifically for Quake 2. It has several optimisations which are only viable due to the typical characteristics of Quake 2 such as support for parallogram-shaped lightsources, BSP ray traversal, and special handling of sky 'surfaces' (portals). It doesn't officially have a name, but you can call it Raylgun.

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