Monday, January 14th 2019

NVIDIA RTX in Action at CES 2019 Trailer for Upcoming Atomic Heart

While adoption of NVIDIA's RTX ray tracing technology has been slow, the potential for the technology is undeniable. Games like Battlefield V have shown us how some increased optimization work can bring interesting, improved visuals at even the lowest setting of the technology. More games will eventually come out with NVIDIA's RTX technology - Metro: Exodus being one of the most hyped, high-profile one, but one other gem was presented when NVIDIA announced their RTX series: Atomic Heart.

At CES 2019, developer Mundfish outed another trailer that shows off the ray tracing capabilities embedded in this China Miéville-esque game. An FPS game with USSR inspirations, NVIDIA's RTX will be used for accurate reflections and deeper shadows, much like in Remedy's also upcoming Control. The game is still ways, ways off, though - Jensen Huang does say this is what "next-generation gaming will look like"; and it's expected that the developer will only release a closed beta for the game come 4Q 2019. That's a lot of time between it being showcased as an NVIDIA RTX title and its actual release. Still, take a look at the video below for some more renditions of NVIDIA's RTX tech and what ray tracing can bring to the table.

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22 Comments on NVIDIA RTX in Action at CES 2019 Trailer for Upcoming Atomic Heart

#1
Vayra86
'This is in real time'... a fixed perspective camera pan through a non-interactive area.

Well played, Huang.
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#2
bug
Vayra86 said:
'This is in real time'... a fixed perspective camera pan through a non-interactive area.

Well played, Huang.
What? I think the video does a pretty good job at showing what RTX can do.
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#3
Ferrum Master
There's a joke about putting together a cat puzzle using Belyash.
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#4
Vayra86
bug said:
What? I think the video does a pretty good job at showing what RTX can do.
That it does! But its not playable content. Its not an actual, real-time RTX demo. Its a real time raytracing showcase that could have been prerendered for all we know, or runs on 4x2080ti. When I get to walk around and spin that robot head as a player character at good FPS at a manageable price point, we'll talk again about 'what RTX can do'. In BFV, the playable content isn't as 'sharp and crisp' for example and the vast majority of what we see is still screenspace. They needed extensive tweaking (less glamorous explanation: they simply cut down on the quality and number of reflective surfaces, I even screenshotted a few of those 'tweaks' here) to get just a few surfaces playable.

The whole deal about RTX is exactly its performance in a real, interactive gameplay situation. We all know what ray tracing looks like, we've been looking at it for years already. The only smooth RTX demos we see have super glossy objects with barely any texturing applied to them (look at the moon landing + this demo, its like watching bare Unreal Engine assets) and consisting of very simple geometric shapes. That isn't your regular in-game scenario, its a scenario that works well for RTX. Guess what, games DO come before RTX, not the other way around.
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#5
kastriot
Well rtx=physx for performance level, always not up to the task.
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#6
bug
Vayra86 said:
But its not playable content.
I'm not sure what to do with that statement wrt to a title that's about one year away from a closed beta.
I see your point, but my takeaway is what they show is what they expect to be able to pull off in real time by the time this title is released. Between developers getting to grips with RTX and whatever Nvidia can optimize in the drivers, a lot could happen between now and then.
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#7
Vayra86
bug said:
I'm not sure what to do with that statement wrt to a title that's about one year away from a closed beta.
I see your point, but my takeaway is what they show is what they expect to be able to pull off in real time by the time this title is released. Between developers getting to grips with RTX and whatever Nvidia can optimize in the drivers, a lot could happen between now and then.
It could, but what's really happening here is that you're seeing an overly optimistic tech demo that is touted 'as real time capabilities of RTX' because that is going to do well for all those months without RTX content but with cards on the shelves. Even you walked away with 'look what its capable of'.

A lot could happen, but the only thing that HAS happened is that quality was steadily degraded to get acceptable performance in 'real time'. This tech demo doesn't show us the opposite, even though it tries very hard to convey that idea.
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#8
bug
Vayra86 said:
It could, but what's really happening here is that you're seeing an overly optimistic tech demo that is touted 'as real time capabilities of RTX' because that is going to do well for all those months without RTX content but with cards on the shelves. Even you walked away with 'look what its capable of'.

A lot could happen, but the only thing that HAS happened is that quality was steadily degraded to get acceptable performance in 'real time'. This tech demo doesn't show us the opposite, even though it tries very hard to convey that idea.
"Overly optimistic" is just an opinion. I've had my share of 3D Studio, I know what RT is capable of ;)
"quality was steadily degraded to get acceptable performance" = BFV applied RT to fewer things when lower quality RT is selected. And that's disregarding that performance was improved across the board, even at Ultra settings.

As usual, we see different halves of the glass ;)
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#9
Xzibit
RT Shadows on objects with details like the robot (arms and legs) are going to be a disappointment when their limited to 1spp.
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#10
Casecutter
bug said:
What? I think the video does a pretty good job at showing what RTX can do.
Wow, I was more impressed with what was done 30 year ago. What Steven Churchill and Odyssey Visual Design was getting done in 1989 seem's impressive by this?

I wanted it to start a about 14.18 min in; that's what the robot reminds me of.
<div class="youtube-embed" data-id="WehxxVDzYME:865"><img src="https://i.ytimg.com/vi/WehxxVDzYME:865/hqdefault.jpg" /><div class="youtube-play"></div><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WehxxVDzYME:865" target="_blank" class="youtube-title"></a></div>
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#11
junglist724
I'd be more impressed if we could download ANY of these tech demos.
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#12
londiste
Vayra86 said:
In BFV, the playable content isn't as 'sharp and crisp' for example and the vast majority of what we see is still screenspace. They needed extensive tweaking (less glamorous explanation: they simply cut down on the quality and number of reflective surfaces, I even screenshotted a few of those 'tweaks' here) to get just a few surfaces playable.
BFV playable content is sharp and crisp. It is not as 'sharp and crisp' as the tech showcase was and this was criticized for making everything a mirror which the actual game does not. Majority of what we see is not screenspace. Extensive tweaking had nothing to do with quality and number of reflective surfaces, DICE has very specifically said that and the same has been shown in a number of analysis.

Cmon, stop with the bullshit.

Casecutter said:
Wow, I was more impressed with what was done 30 year ago. What Steven Churchill and Odyssey Visual Design was getting done in 1989 seem's impressive by this?
Different kinds of impressive. A frame in a hours/days vs a frame in tens of milliseconds.
Given the resolutions and methods used back in 1990, that stuff could be run realtime in shaders on any recent GPU.
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#13
Vayra86
londiste said:
BFV playable content is sharp and crisp. It is not as 'sharp and crisp' as the tech showcase was and this was criticized for making everything a mirror which the actual game does not. Majority of what we see is not screenspace. Extensive tweaking had nothing to do with quality and number of reflective surfaces, DICE has very specifically said that and the same has been shown in a number of analysis.

Cmon, stop with the bullshit.
When the video of RTX performance was compared pre and post patch I only needed one look to spot differences. Textures, lighting and quality were all tweaked. I haven't got the screens here but if you find the announcement of a 50% perf increase you will find my post(s) with examples.

And of course there was a quality hit, this is inherent to the whole RTX affair on Nvidia GPUs. They have dedicated hardware to scale back quality in a somewhat convincing way. They simply fire lower amounts of rays or lower the complexity of surfaces.

Show me 'numbers of analyses' stating the opposite please, and I'll happily shut up. And also some data to back up your statement that 'the majority isn't screenspace'... because we already know RT in BFV is limited to a small selection of surfaces.

I'm allergic to bullshit, if it was BS, and if you can show me it is, I'll be more than ready to drop it. So far I haven't seen anything able to convince me, and really, I've been looking.
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#14
londiste
Textures, lighting and quality are all very dynamic and it isn't easy to get the scenes lit the same way.

Why would quality hit be inherent to DXR? There is a perf hit, sure, but quality?

They do not fire less rays, they changed the algorithm of where the rays were cast. Nobody has said anything about lower amounts of rays.
Screenspace reflections have issues that are clearly not there for DXR reflections. With the perf patch there was an addition of vegetation (probably everything with lots of alpha-textures) from screenspace reflections.

I don't get the 'small selection of surfaces'. Do you want everything to be a mirror or something? Reflectivity is governed by a roughness attribute of the material with two different cutoff levels for low/medium and high/ultra. With high/ultra the amount of reflections is quite appreciable.
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#15
bug
londiste said:
Textures, lighting and quality are all very dynamic and it isn't easy to get the scenes lit the same way.

Why would quality hit be inherent to DXR? There is a perf hit, sure, but quality?

They do not fire less rays, they changed the algorithm of where the rays were cast. Nobody has said anything about lower amounts of rays.
Screenspace reflections have issues that are clearly not there for DXR reflections. With the perf patch there was an addition of vegetation (probably everything with lots of alpha-textures) from screenspace reflections.

I don't get the 'small selection of surfaces'. Do you want everything to be a mirror or something? Reflectivity is governed by a roughness attribute of the material with two different cutoff levels for low/medium and high/ultra. With high/ultra the amount of reflections is quite appreciable.
The truth is, while the human eye is exceptionally good at spotting difference in luminance, it's quite hard to tell what constitutes a lower quality by just looking at a RT and a rasterized version of a render. You'd need an offline version of a RT image as a reference to be able to tell which of the others is closer to the truth. Otherwise, you're just telling what looks better to you. As usual, this will vary from one individual to the next.
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#16
londiste
Vayra86 said:
When the video of RTX performance was compared pre and post patch I only needed one look to spot differences. Textures, lighting and quality were all tweaked. I haven't got the screens here but if you find the announcement of a 50% perf increase you will find my post(s) with examples.
There was not much there:
- The lower quality weapon from the announcement video is from DXR Medium which had issues before patch. It did not apply or mostly applied High settings. In all likelyhood the before video/image was High disguised as Medium. Apparent lower quality weapon in the ice scene is positioning/lighting/reflections, not quality of the model or textures.
- There were screenshots from the PCGH video implying SSR for soldiers and cars. Screenshots were correct but it was actually a demonstration for comparison with SSR running on RX580.
- The PCGH older video clearly shows no vegetation in DXR reflections just to confirm.
- Techspot article detailing changes which actually brought nothing new to the table besides also noting that vegetation got added as SSR.
Anything I missed?

Rest of the image quality articles I have seen mirror the same.
Amount of falling leaves were indeed reduced but this was generally agreed to be a good thing. That includes Techspot and If I remember correctly also PCGH above :)
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#17
Vayra86
londiste said:
There was not much there:
- The lower quality weapon from the announcement video is from DXR Medium which had issues before patch. It did not apply or mostly applied High settings. In all likelyhood the before video/image was High disguised as Medium. Apparent lower quality weapon in the ice scene is positioning/lighting/reflections, not quality of the model or textures.
- There were screenshots from the PCGH video implying SSR for soldiers and cars. Screenshots were correct but it was actually a demonstration for comparison with SSR running on RX580.
- The PCGH older video clearly shows no vegetation in DXR reflections just to confirm.
- Techspot article detailing changes which actually brought nothing new to the table besides also noting that vegetation got added as SSR.
Anything I missed?

Rest of the image quality articles I have seen mirror the same.
Amount of falling leaves were indeed reduced but this was generally agreed to be a good thing. That includes Techspot and If I remember correctly also PCGH above :)
Alright, I see. I'll shut up then, I suppose - it was still an impressive performance jump regardless, even if quality had been reduced at large.

But to say that the majority of what you see is RTRT, is a bit of a stretch isn't it? All you have is reflections with a single bounce, and only on a limited number of assets. And that ties into what @bug pointed out very well: you'd need a reference image to really see the difference at this point. Does a DXR enabled scene 'feel' more immersive in BFV? Hardly... Does it approximate reality? Hardly - we're simply missing reflections we'd expect to see and especially light sources are supposed to do so much more than they do now. This Atomic Heart tech demo gets a lot closer, and here you do get an extra sense of immersion, of looking at something that is truly higher in quality and more accurate - I got that especially out of the way the shadows respond to light, slowly transitioning from a soft to a hard shadow. That is a real, novel graphical effect and it gets picked up immediately.
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#18
bug
Vayra86 said:
Alright, I see. I'll shut up then, I suppose - it was still an impressive performance jump regardless, even if quality had been reduced at large.

But to say that the majority of what you see is RTRT, is a bit of a stretch isn't it? All you have is reflections with a single bounce, and only on a limited number of assets. And that ties into what @bug pointed out very well: you'd need a reference image to really see the difference at this point. Does a DXR enabled scene 'feel' more immersive in BFV? Hardly... Does it approximate reality? Hardly - we're simply missing reflections we'd expect to see and especially light sources are supposed to do so much more than they do now. This Atomic Heart tech demo gets a lot closer, and here you do get an extra sense of immersion, of looking at something that is truly higher in quality and more accurate - I got that especially out of the way the shadows respond to light, slowly transitioning from a soft to a hard shadow. That is a real, novel graphical effect and it gets picked up immediately.
That is correct, what we have now is a hybrid solution that applies RTRT selectively.
It will be a little more interesting when we get titles that use RTRT for global illumination (I believe the next Metro title is up?), that should apply to most (all?) of the scene.

Also, no need to shut up, your points are still valid. Just don't forget about the general context ;)
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#19
INSTG8R
My Custom Title
bug said:
That is correct, what we have now is a hybrid solution that applies RTRT selectively.
It will be a little more interesting when we get titles that use RTRT for global illumination (I believe the next Metro title is up?), that should apply to most (all?) of the scene.

Also, no need to shut up, your points are still valid. Just don't forget about the general context ;)
I like what I see but it’s really gonna take Gen2 to and more adoption/optimization before we really see where it goes. When the 2060 equivalent doesn’t have to make the sacrifices that the top tier currently have to to pull it off and not take so much of hit doing, I’m totally onboard.
This “tech demo” is what’s “possible” but not realistic with the real world performance requirements. Metro I hope will be another step closer. But it’s really gonna take another generation for this to really be the “magic” it can be
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#20
Vayra86
londiste said:
Nobody has said anything about lower amounts of rays.
This is one point I doubt you understand or maybe I didn't describe it all too well. They don't need to fire lower amounts of rays. Changing the algorithm is essentially doing that - this is just semantics here. What Turing's shaders do is fire raytracing probes. Not actual rays. Only those that hit the desired surfaces are actually being processed. So an algorithm that is more effective at the probe implementation effectively calculates lower amounts of rays, and the denoiser fixes that - but it does 'fix' that at a lower resolution. The end result is a less 'crisp' reflection. In some cases barely visible or a very minor difference, but in other, more complex scenes/reflections, it quickly can turn into blurry mess.
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#21
bug
INSTG8R said:
I like what I see but it’s really gonna take Gen2 to and more adoption/optimization before we really see where it goes. When the 2060 equivalent doesn’t have to make the sacrifices that the top tier currently have to to pull it off and not take so much of hit doing, I’m totally onboard.
This “tech demo” is what’s “possible” but not realistic with the real world performance requirements. Metro I hope will be another step closer. But it’s really gonna take another generation for this to really be the “magic” it can be
Spot on.
What will also slow RTRT adoption is that we can't go full-RT for at least another decade. So a piece of the GPU die that could do RT, is stuck supporting the rasterization path. But it is what it is, we can't just throw a working solution out the window.
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#22
londiste
Vayra86 said:
Does a DXR enabled scene 'feel' more immersive in BFV? Hardly...
It depends. Scenes where there are noticeable reflections, they actually do feel more immersive. A lot of BFV content where there are hardly any reflections - nope :)
Vayra86 said:
especially light sources are supposed to do so much more than they do now. This Atomic Heart tech demo gets a lot closer, and here you do get an extra sense of immersion, of looking at something that is truly higher in quality and more accurate - I got that especially out of the way the shadows respond to light, slowly transitioning from a soft to a hard shadow. That is a real, novel graphical effect and it gets picked up immediately.
These are the two other things that hybrid RTRT can fairly easily bring to a game - shadows and AO. Atomic Heart goes for overkill at this point, doing all of it with DXR. Some of the seen scenes are clearly going to have performance issues.
Vayra86 said:
This is one point I doubt you understand or maybe I didn't describe it all too well. They don't need to fire lower amounts of rays. Changing the algorithm is essentially doing that - this is just semantics here. What Turing's shaders do is fire raytracing probes. Not actual rays. Only those that hit the desired surfaces are actually being processed. So an algorithm that is more effective at the probe implementation effectively calculates lower amounts of rays, and the denoiser fixes that - but it does 'fix' that at a lower resolution. The end result is a less 'crisp' reflection. In some cases barely visible or a very minor difference, but in other, more complex scenes/reflections, it quickly can turn into blurry mess.
Better probe placement - more probes in places where they are needed, places that reflect - could easily need to calculate more rays, not less.
We will have to see how denoiser/filters work with lighting. And whether Nvidia's denoising is any good. As far as we know, BF5 is still using DICE's own.

We should keep in mind that alternatives are not necessarily free or with better quality. Cubemaps and such are cheap but ugly. SSR is rendered at half resolution and usually comes with 10-15% performance hit.
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