Monday, March 18th, 2019 Posted by Jim Thacker

Watch Neon Noir, Crytek’s new real-time ray tracing demo

Crytek has released Neon Noir, a demo of the upcoming real-time ray tracing functionality in CryEngine.

The technology, which is hardware and API-agnostic, and which runs on current mid-range gaming GPUs, will go on show at GDC 2019 this week.

The first real-time ray tracing demo from GDC 2019
The announcement is expected to be one of several centred around real-time ray tracing at GDC.

Epic Games is already supporting ray tracing via RTX, Nvidia’s hardware implementation of the DirectX Raytracing (DXR) API, in Unreal Engine 4.22, which is currently in beta.

Other major developers are shortly expected to follow suit.

Accessible on existing mainstream AMD and Nvidia GPUs
Crytek’s demo is considerably less flashy than the first batch of real-time ray tracing demos from GDC last year, showing a largely static environent with an aerial drone flying around it.

However, it does showcase a range of ray traced reflections, including that of the drone in windows, moving mirrors and puddles on the street, and that of the environment on the drone itself.

Crytek’s news release doesn’t go into much detail about how the effects were achieved, although it notes that the demo doesn’t use traditional screen-space reflections.

However, its unique selling point is that the implementation of real-time ray tracing – based on CryEngine’s existing Total Illumination functionality – is hardware and API-agnostic.

The demo is shown running on an AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 GPU: a two-year-old card – and, with an MSRP of $399, considerably more affordable than the bleeding-edge hardware used in last year’s demos.

System requirements and availability
Crytek says that the functionality “will be added to CryEngine release roadmap in 2019” – although since the roadmap covers future builds, that isn’t a guarantee it will become publicly available this year.

The technology runs on “most mainstream, contemporary AMD and Nvidia GPUs”, and will be further optimised for “the latest generation of graphics cards and supported APIs like Vulkan and DX12”.

The current release of the CryEngine editor, CryEngine 5.5, is available for Windows 7+. It’s free to use, but Crytek charges a 5% royalty on earnings from commercial projects beyond the first $5,000/year.

Read more about the ‘Neon Noir’ CryEngine real-time ray tracing demo on Crytek’s website