Wednesday, September 5th 2018

DICE to Dial Back Ray-tracing Eye-candy in Battlefield V to Favor Performance

EA-DICE, in an interview with Tom's Hardware, put out some juicy under-the-hood details about the PC release of "Battlefield V." The most prominent of these would be that the commercial release of the game will slightly dial back on the ray-tracing eye-candy we saw at NVIDIA's GeForce RTX launch event demo. DICE is rather conservative about its implementation of ray-tracing, and seems to assure players that the lack of it won't make a tangible difference to the game's production design, and will certainly not affect gameplay (eg: you won't be at a competitive disadvantage just because a squeaky clean car in the middle of a warzone won't reflect an enemy sniper's glint accurately).

"What I think that we will do is take a pass on the levels and see if there is something that sticks out," said Christian Holmquist, technical director at DICE. "Because the materials are not tweaked for ray tracing, but sometimes they may show off something that's too strong or something that was not directly intended. But otherwise we won't change the levels-they'll be as they are. And then we might need to change some parameters in the ray tracing engine itself to maybe tone something down a little bit," he added. Throughout the game's levels and maps, DICE identified objects and elements that could hit framerates hard when ray-tracing is enabled, and "dialed-down" ray-tracing for those assets. For example, a wall located in some level (probably a glass mosaic wall), hit performance too hard, and the developers had to tone down its level of detail.
At this time, only GeForce RTX series users have access to the ray-tracing features in Battlefield V, and can turn them off to improve performance. There are no DXR fallbacks for people with other graphics cards (GeForce GTX or Radeon). "…we only talk with DXR. Because we have been running only NVIDIA hardware, we know that we have optimized for that hardware. We're also using certain features in the compiler with intrinsics, so there is a dependency. That can be resolved as we get hardware from another potential manufacturer. But as we tune for a specific piece of hardware, dependencies do start to go in, and we'd need another piece of hardware in order to re-tune." DICE appears to be open to AMD sending hardware with its own DXR feature-set implementation, so it could add it to Battlefield V at a later stage. The RTX features themselves will only make it via a day-zero patch when the game releases in October, and won't feature in tomorrow's open-beta. There's also no support for NVIDIA SLI. The interview also reveals that Battlefield V has been optimized for processors with up to 6 cores and 12 threads. Source: Tom's Hardware
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62 Comments on DICE to Dial Back Ray-tracing Eye-candy in Battlefield V to Favor Performance

#1
dj-electric
Good decision. The over-reflectiveness of some of the items we've seen just looked idiotic.
Posted on Reply
#2
the54thvoid
Dialling down the RT to optimise performance at 1080p(?)

A perfectly reasonable thing to do. But it highlights the price of the initial cards. It's a lot of cash for minimal return on effects.
Posted on Reply
#3
RejZoR
I wonder how we had all the actual realtime reflections before this overhyped ray tracing...
Posted on Reply
#4
londiste
Eurogamer's Digital Foundry had a story/interview where they said pretty much the same:
https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-2018-inside-battlefield-5s-stunning-rtx-ray-tracing-tech

The demo and videos that were shown are quite unoptimized, dialing it back does not necessarily affect visuals too much while bringing considerably better performance.

dj-electric said:
Good decision. The over-reflectiveness of some of the items we've seen just looked idiotic.
That is an artistic rather than technical question. They obviously can and will play around with how reflective materials are but considering it was an RT tech showcase, everything being reflective is pretty much expected :)

RejZoR said:
I wonder how we had all the actual realtime reflections before this overhyped ray tracing...
There have been a bunch of interviews with game devs who explain how (and why they actually like raytrracing approach). Cubemaps, some objects specially added to reflections, screen space reflections, art department working thing around problems etc.
Posted on Reply
#5
the54thvoid
londiste said:
Eurogamer's Digital Foundry had a story/interview where they said pretty much the same:
https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-2018-inside-battlefield-5s-stunning-rtx-ray-tracing-tech

The demo and videos that were shown are quite unoptimized, dialing it back does not necessarily affect visuals too much while bringing considerably better performance.

There have been a bunch of interviews with game devs who explain how (and why they actually like raytrracing approach). Cubemaps, some objects specially added to reflections, screen space reflections, art department working thing around problems etc.
Yeah, they weren't true real-time. A bit like pre-rendered destruction in buildings.
Posted on Reply
#6
R0H1T
I hear there's this thing called "irony" I wonder if Nvidia have ever heard of it, BF V dialing back on raytracing just a couple of weeks before RTX launch :slap:
Posted on Reply
#8
londiste
R0H1T said:
I hear there's this thing called "irony" I wonder if Nvidia have ever heard of it, BF V dialing back on raytracing just a couple of weeks before RTX launch :slap:
That's an interesting perspective.
What DICE has said in interviews:
  • RT reflections are running at full res (compared to old reflections being half-res)
  • They have custom filtering for RT, not using Nvidia's DLSS (and Tensor cores)
  • BFV RT demo runs at 60 fps on 1080p, 40-50fps on 1440p, sub-30fps on 4K (and DICE was surprised it worked on 4K at all)
  • DICE developed RT stuff on Titan V-s, got Turings less that 2 weeks before show
  • They were/are considering configuring RT resolution separately from rendering resolution and upscaling the results.
  • There are several optimization thoughts already: Geometry does not affect RT performance, instances do (and they hope to gain 30% performance from there), they also intend to get RT to the earlier point in rendering pipeline (currently starts after G-buffer).
The whole thing is rather unoptimized. They are dialong back the reflections, optimizing performance and making it usable as a whole on resolutions suitable for high-end cards, not dropping RT.
Posted on Reply
#9
RejZoR
londiste said:
Eurogamer's Digital Foundry had a story/interview where they said pretty much the same:
https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-2018-inside-battlefield-5s-stunning-rtx-ray-tracing-tech

The demo and videos that were shown are quite unoptimized, dialing it back does not necessarily affect visuals too much while bringing considerably better performance.

That is an artistic rather than technical question. They obviously can and will play around with how reflective materials are but considering it was an RT tech showcase, everything being reflective is pretty much expected :)

There have been a bunch of interviews with game devs who explain how (and why they actually like raytrracing approach). Cubemaps, some objects specially added to reflections, screen space reflections, art department working thing around problems etc.
Of course they like the raytracing approach. Because they are lazy bastards and just blasting rays at things and recording their bounce is literally the most brute force approach one can think of. ANd no, itz's not art design and workarounds. I call BS on all that which is yet another NVIDIA's attempt to make everything we had for years gone from the history because now thy have RTX. Just like they erased alt he physics when they pushed PhysX.

Here's CryEngine from 2014 doing actual realistic real-time reflections:
<div class="youtube-embed" data-id="aTPQmPfMA2A"><img src="https://i.ytimg.com/vi/aTPQmPfMA2A/hqdefault.jpg" /><div class="youtube-play"></div><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTPQmPfMA2A" target="_blank" class="youtube-title"></a></div>

There is nothing pre-computed or fixed for doing this. Engine simply has to do it in real-time because you can actually see individual items from the world inside the reflections. FOUR YEARS AGO (at least video was made then, which means it can be even older). Four years in gaming industry is like eternity. So, there's that... Sure ray tracing looks more precise, but do we really need that kind of precision NOW when they clearly can't deliver good enough performance? Frankly, no.

Another one...
<div class="youtube-embed" data-id="N6QmDspWgaI"><img src="https://i.ytimg.com/vi/N6QmDspWgaI/hqdefault.jpg" /><div class="youtube-play"></div><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6QmDspWgaI" target="_blank" class="youtube-title"></a></div>

...from 5 years ago.

Skyrim engine from 4 years ago (with some mods I'm assuming)...
<div class="youtube-embed" data-id="MeyTkjDtf0E"><img src="https://i.ytimg.com/vi/MeyTkjDtf0E/hqdefault.jpg" /><div class="youtube-play"></div><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeyTkjDtf0E" target="_blank" class="youtube-title"></a></div>

Perspective and distance correct reflections.
Posted on Reply
#10
londiste
Btw, something from Tom's Hardware article:
Holmquist clarifies, “…we only talk with DXR.

Continues to say they do optimize for Nvidia hardware but that's simply because they are the only ones there. That should address some concerns about RT technology being proprietary.

RejZoR said:
Of course they like the raytracing approach. Because they are lazy bastards and just blasting rays at things and recording their bounce is literally the most brute force approach one can think of. ANd no, itz's not art design and workarounds. I call BS on all that which is yet another NVIDIA's attempt to make everything we had for years gone from the history because now thy have RTX. Just like they erased alt he physics when they pushed PhysX.
Lazy is a subjective term. When the "lazy" approach is viable and looks more accurate with less work from several teams, why would you not want to use that?

RejZoR said:
Here's CryEngine from 2014 doing actual realistic real-time reflections:
<div class="youtube-embed" data-id="aTPQmPfMA2A"><img src="https://i.ytimg.com/vi/aTPQmPfMA2A/hqdefault.jpg" /><div class="youtube-play"></div><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTPQmPfMA2A" target="_blank" class="youtube-title"></a></div>

There is nothing pre-computed or fixed for doing this. Engine simply has to do it in real-time because you can actually see individual items from the world inside the reflections. FOUR YEARS AGO (at least video was made then, which means it can be even older). Four years in gaming industry is like eternity. So, there's that... Sure ray tracing looks more precise, but do we really need that kind of precision NOW when they clearly can't deliver good enough performance? Frankly, no.
What do you mean by actual realistic real-time reflections?
Most of your videos are clearly doing cubemaps and screen-space reflections and probably not much more. Resolution and some distortions are pretty telling.
Now try to add dynamic objects (and a bunch of them) plus some particle effects and see how these fare?
Posted on Reply
#11
Xzibit
londiste said:
That's an interesting perspective.
What DICE has said in interviews:
  • RT reflections are running at full res (compared to old reflections being half-res)
  • They have custom filtering for RT, not using Nvidia's DLSS (and Tensor cores)
  • BFV RT demo runs at 60 fps on 1080p, 40-50fps on 1440p, sub-30fps on 4K (and DICE was surprised it worked on 4K at all)
  • DICE developed RT stuff on Titan V-s, got Turings less that 2 weeks before show
  • They were/are considering configuring RT resolution separately from rendering resolution and upscaling the results.
  • There are several optimization thoughts already: Geometry does not affect RT performance, instances do (and they hope to gain 30% performance from there), they also intend to get RT to the earlier point in rendering pipeline (currently starts after G-buffer).
The whole thing is rather unoptimized. They are dialong back the reflections, optimizing performance and making it usable as a whole on resolutions suitable for high-end cards, not dropping RT.
Em...

Eurogamer.Net
The demo stations were locked to the 1080p resolution of the attached high refresh rate display, but the internal scaler allowed us to simulate 1440p and 4K resolutions.
Posted on Reply
#12
londiste
Battlefields have had rendering resolution separate from display resolution for a while now. The setting is called something like render or resolution scale.
Renders at a lower/higher resolution and then scaled to display resolution.
Posted on Reply
#13
RejZoR
@londiste
Lol, you can't cubemap entire world. Cubemaps are when you slam a prerendered "reflection" of the world on a reflective surface. Usually you see those on windows reflections or marble floor where room reflection roughly looks like the room itself. Here, all the rocks, grass, wooden railing is reflecting where it should be reflecting. It's not a rough approximation to give a sensation it's a real reflection, it is a real reflection on the surface. Brushing at its accuracy, come on dude, the video is from 2014. And game for sure wasn't made in 2014. Complaining over precision in a game from 4+ years ago, of course it's not as accurate as it could be today on 3x faster graphic cards.
Posted on Reply
#14
notb
It's a pity that the whole discussion shifted towards highly reflective flat surfaces like mirrors, water and so on. These things can be done pretty well with simplified methods and hence we're seeing reactions like that of @RejZoR...

RejZoR said:
Of course they like the raytracing approach. Because they are lazy bastards and just blasting rays at things and recording their bounce is literally the most brute force approach one can think of. ANd no, itz's not art design and workarounds. I call BS on all that which is yet another NVIDIA's attempt to make everything we had for years gone from the history because now thy have RTX.
You still don't get this, do you?
Ray-tracing is fundamental rendering technology. It's how renders are being made. It wasn't invented by Nvidia to sell you RTX.

RTRT is very demanding from hardware, so other methods had to be created for gaming. Some are approximate (they give a result close to realistic in simple scenarios) and some are just fake.

Being able to do ray-tracing in real time was the ultimate target and really a big topic in the last 5 or so years. And we're finally getting close.
Here's CryEngine from 2014 doing actual realistic real-time reflections:
I'd say flashy... maybe attractive in a game. Far from realistic.
Go out sometimes. Check if cars really look like in the first video...
Posted on Reply
#15
RejZoR
And you entirely missed the point. I'm well aware what RT is and I appreciate it (I've been working with it for years actually on offline renders), but we just aren't ready for it. And pushing something we aren't ready for it by intentionally artificially dumbing down really good tech we already had for years is what NVIDIA is doing and will be doing and that's why I'm holding grudge against them. Because, surely if a game made them look this good half a decade ago, if we just bump up precision we can get amazing realistic looking reflections that would probably still run at least 2x faster than RT. But no, lets just skip all that because reasons and go with most hardcore raw method even though we realistically don't have the capabilities to do it at actually smooth, playable framerates.
Posted on Reply
#16
notb
RejZoR said:
And you entirely missed the point. I'm well aware what RT is and I appreciate it (I've been working with it for years actually on offline renders), but we just aren't ready for it.
Why aren't we ready? RTX cards work.
Because, surely if a game made them look this good half a decade ago, if we just bump up precision we can get amazing realistic looking reflections that would probably still run at least 2x faster than RT.
I've never seen a rendering method that even gets close to RT. You're still focused on mirrors, which are the easiest surfaces.
But no, lets just skip all that because reasons and go with most hardcore raw method even though we realistically don't have the capabilities to do it at actually smooth, playable framerates.
You're talking about RT like if there were many methods doing the same thing and RT is just a basic raw approach. This is not true.
RT is the correct approach. All methods you've mentioned earlier are heavy simplifications of the problem.

Also, 60fps is perfectly playable to majority of gamers. It's not our problem that you can't live without 144Hz.
Posted on Reply
#17
londiste
RejZoR said:
@londiste
Lol, you can't cubemap entire world. Cubemaps are when you slam a prerendered "reflection" of the world on a reflective surface. Usually you see those on windows reflections or marble floor where room reflection roughly looks like the room itself. Here, all the rocks, grass, wooden railing is reflecting where it should be reflecting. It's not a rough approximation to give a sensation it's a real reflection, it is a real reflection on the surface. Brushing at its accuracy, come on dude, the video is from 2014. And game for sure wasn't made in 2014. Complaining over precision in a game from 4+ years ago, of course it's not as accurate as it could be today on 3x faster graphic cards.
Prerendered does not necessarily mean baked in and static. They can be (and usually are) re-rendered when they need to reflect dynamic moving items. Especially so when rendering realistic reflections. The cost to re-render a cubemap is not trivial, even at lowered resolution. And you convienently ignore a lot of other things here.

RejZoR said:
And you entirely missed the point. I'm well aware what RT is and I appreciate it (I've been working with it for years actually on offline renders), but we just aren't ready for it. And pushing something we aren't ready for it by intentionally artificially dumbing down really good tech we already had for years is what NVIDIA is doing and will be doing and that's why I'm holding grudge against them. Because, surely if a game made them look this good half a decade ago, if we just bump up precision we can get amazing realistic looking reflections that would probably still run at least 2x faster than RT. But no, lets just skip all that because reasons and go with most hardcore raw method even though we realistically don't have the capabilities to do it at actually smooth, playable framerates.
What makes you say we are not ready for it? There has been a lot of research going into real-time raytracing and with the "dumbing down" - as you put it - this has become a viable thing. I am not quite sure what you expected. Full-on raytracing GPU and damned be any lesser solution?
Posted on Reply
#18
notb
londiste said:

What makes you say we are not ready for it? There has been a lot of research going into real-time raytracing and with the "dumbing down" - as you put it - this has become a viable thing. I am not quite sure what you expected. Full-on raytracing GPU and damned be any lesser solution?
That's easy. He wants 4K@144Hz. He's been pretty vocal about it. :-)
Posted on Reply
#19
Vayra86
notb said:
Why aren't we ready? RTX cards work.

I've never seen a rendering method that even gets close to RT. You're still focused on mirrors, which are the easiest surfaces.

You're talking about RT like if there were many methods doing the same thing and RT is just a basic raw approach. This is not true.
RT is the correct approach. All methods you've mentioned earlier are heavy simplifications of the problem.

Also, 60fps is perfectly playable to majority of gamers. It's not our problem that you can't live without 144Hz.
Hi. Keep dreaming. This shit will fail and this article is a perfect example of it. The spin required to make this look profitable to anyone is horrible and it shows. We aren't ready for RT when it sets us back entire generations of graphics performance - just to keep enough space on-die free to put some ASICs to work.

Nvidia's done a good job on marketing for you it seems. TEN GIGA RAYS people!

Gullible fools...
Posted on Reply
#20
kabarsa
Ray tracing is basically a geometrical optics approximation. It's fairly straightforward solution that solves a lot of problems with reflective surfaces, transparent and reflective, soft shadows from area light, ambient occlusion etc. We have a lot of tricks now in forwards/deferred rendering paths, that make life a lot harder if you will try to achieve at least something similar to what ray tracing can do simple by design. The only problem is performance. It's really good that someone with a market share and resources pushing it. Look at OTOY and Brigade, and Imagination Technologies hardware they demonstrated with UE4 ray tracing few years ago. It is possible if you are willing to make a dedicated hardware. I hope that AMD and Intel will hop on that train soon and it'll end up in some next generation of consoles to speed up adoption.
Posted on Reply
#21
RejZoR
notb said:
That's easy. He wants 4K@144Hz. He's been pretty vocal about it. :)
You're literally making shit up. I never ever even promoted or defended 4K. i literally don't care whether it exists or not. What I do care is the second part about which I have indeed been very vocal about. What good is ultra sharp 4K image when it's all smudged as it moves around at 60Hz... I'd take 1080p at insane refresh rates any time.
Posted on Reply
#22
StrayKAT
RejZoR said:
You're literally making shit up. I never ever even promoted or defended 4K. i literally don't care whether it exists or not. What I do care is the second part about which I have indeed been very vocal about. What good is ultra sharp 4K image when it's all smudged as it moves around at 60Hz... I'd take 1080p at insane refresh rates any time.
lol.. I'm happy with 4K @ 60Hz. It isn't smudged. But I game on a TV for the most part. The only thing holding things back is on the software end/texture quality... then it'd be smudged.
Posted on Reply
#23
theoneandonlymrk
StrayKAT said:
lol.. I'm happy with 4K @ 60Hz. It isn't smudged. But I game on a TV for the most part. The only thing holding things back is on the software end/texture quality... then it'd be smudged.
Im with you but the last few post's make one thing clear ,we all want different things but no one, No one's asking for 1080@60 , Rtx = nope atm.
Posted on Reply
#24
notb
Vayra86 said:
Hi. Keep dreaming. This shit will fail and this article is a perfect example of it. The spin required to make this look profitable to anyone is horrible and it shows. We aren't ready for RT when it sets us back entire generations of graphics performance - just to keep enough space on-die free to put some ASICs to work.
Ray tracing won't fail - that's for sure. :-D

I don't know what will happen to the first gen RTX cards. I expected an icy welcome on gaming hardware forums/sites because of a strong bias towards performance figures (and AMD fans overrepresentation ;-)).
As for the whole market - it's way to early to say anything.

I'm glad to see that not all RTX critics are against the idea full-stop. Maybe you'll see the ray light some day. :-D
As for @RejZoR... well... he's specific. But who am I to judge, seriously. ;-)

It seems the preorder is a success. It's definitely going well in 2 largest stores in Poland.
Nvidia's done a good job on marketing for you it seems.
Actually I've been using ray tracing since before I've started to care what Nvidia is. And I've been into casual 3D rendering for a decade or so afterwards.
It's very unlikely that Nvidia had any impact on me being a (proud) ray-tracing fanboy. :-D
Posted on Reply
#25
fynxer
Is this article cut and paste or have they changed back BF V to October release again.
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