Tuesday, December 15th 2020

Khronos Group Releases Vulkan SDK, Drivers With Official Raytracing Support; Showcases Wolfenstein: Youngblood

Today, The Khronos Group, an open consortium of industry-leading companies creating advanced interoperability standards, announces that LunarG has released the Vulkan Software Development Kit (SDK) version 1.2.162.0, with full support for the new Vulkan raytracing extensions, including Validation Layers and integration of upgraded GLSL, HLSL and SPIR-V shader tool chains. The Khronos open source Vulkan Samples and Vulkan Guide have been upgraded to illustrate raytracing techniques. Finally, with production drivers shipping from both AMD and NVIDIA, developers are now enabled to easily integrate Vulkan raytracing into their applications.

Khronos released final Vulkan raytracing extensions in November 2020 to seamlessly integrate raytracing functionality alongside Vulkan's rasterization framework, making Vulkan the industry's first open, cross-vendor, cross-platform standard for raytracing acceleration. Vulkan raytracing can be deployed using existing GPU compute or dedicated raytracing cores. The Vulkan SDK now integrates all the components necessary for developers to easily use the new raytracing extensions, such as new shader tool chains, without needing them to be built from multiple repositories, and supports raytracing validation within the SDK validation layers.
"Shipping API specifications was just the first step in building the developer ecosystem for Vulkan raytracing, we now have tools and samples to truly enable developers to tap into the power of cross-platform raytracing acceleration," said Daniel Koch, senior graphics system software engineer at NVIDIA and Vulkan raytracing TSG chair at Khronos. "One of the key requests from the developer community was the ability to easily bring DirectX 12 raytracing (DXR) code to Vulkan. We have achieved that through delivering a carefully designed superset of DXR, and integrating Vulkan raytracing support in the DXC open source HLSL compiler."

As outlined earlier this year, production-ready use of HLSL in Vulkan has been achieved through integrating a SPIR-V backend into DXC, Microsoft's open source HLSL compiler. Support for Vulkan raytracing has now been integrated into DXC, enabling developers to use HLSL shaders in Vulkan raytracing applications, including porting raytracing applications to Vulkan from DXR. Vulkan is also used as a backend for layered implementations of APIs such as DirectX 12. Through the design of Vulkan raytracing, projects such as vkd3d-Proton will be able to efficiently support layered DXR over Vulkan.

Production Vulkan drivers that include the Vulkan raytracing extensions are now shipping for both AMD and NVIDIA GPUs, starting with the AMD Radeon Adrenalin 20.11.3 and NVIDIA R460 drivers for both GeForce and Quadro on Windows and Linux. The Vulkan raytracing extensions will also be supported by Intel Xe-HPG GPUs, available in 2021, with driver support provided via regular driver updates.

The Khronos Group is actively monitoring developer feedback on the Vulkan raytracing extension and ecosystem artifacts through the Vulkan issues tracker on GitHub.

Industry Support for Vulkan raytracing

"4A Games was one of the earliest adopters of hardware level raytracing by developing the first Real-Time Raytraced Global Illumination system in a video game as released in Metro Exodus, and we are excited at the addition of a vendor agnostic Vulkan implementation in the industry. We look forward to seeing how this technology progresses,"

— Oleksandr "Oles" Shyshkovtsov, CTO, 4A Games.

"Standardizing raytracing in Vulkan is an important step towards making raytracing available across a wide range of devices, as well as enabling developers to use this technology to its full advantage. AMD supports all of the major features in this extension, including ray shading and ray queries in our AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition driver. We are also working with developers to ensure great performance from our Vulkan raytracing implementation thanks to hardware raytracing support on AMD RDNA 2 architecture-based graphics cards; these efforts will help us to provide end-users with even more visually stunning graphics on AMD Radeon graphics cards,"

— Andrej Zdravkovic, senior vice president, software development, AMD.

"During the development of Rage 2 and other games, Vulkan gave us great flexibility when looking at deployment on multiple platforms. As the Apex Engine looks to adopt and avail of the latest hardware developments, it is great to see Vulkan keeping pace and investing in support for cutting edge features like hardware accelerated raytracing,"

— John Fuller, managing director, Avalanche Studios Group.

"Being one of the first adopters of Vulkan in our Rocksolid Engine already in 2015, we're thrilled to now add support for Vulkan raytracing. The first product to feature raytraced effects like reflections and global illumination will be the forthcoming GPUScore benchmark. We're also working to introduce raytracing for automotive instrument clusters and other in-car screens and Vulkan raytracing extensions are important enablers for this,"

— Tero Sarkkinen, Founder and Chairman of the Board of Basemark.

"Blender's mission is to get the best of the world's CG technology in the hands of artists as free/open source software. Industry-wide accepted open standards are essential for our goal. For that reason I'm proud to see the industry having agreed on the Vulkan raytracing API. This is going to be huge! For us, the upcoming raytracing functionality was a big motivation for why we are working on Vulkan real-time rendering already since 2019,"

— Ton Roosendaal, chairman Blender Foundation.

"In the past 20 years, rasterization techniques were at the core of innovation in real-time rendering. At Crytek, the Vulkan API is playing a major part in driving advancements in this area, helping us to deliver a high-performance game-engine with outstanding visuals across different platforms and operating systems. We are pleased that Khronos is releasing vendor-independent Vulkan raytracing extensions that define essential functionality for bringing real-time raytracing to Vulkan supported applications. Similar to the rasterization domain, this extension plays a major part in our plans for offering cutting edge raytracing functionality in CRYENGINE, while benefiting greatly from hardware-specific implementations of each vendor,"

— Theodor Mader, technical director, CRYENGINE/Crytek.

"With the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform Dassault Systèmes provides business and people with virtual universes to imagine sustainable innovations for today and tomorrow. Our rendering technology serves a multitude of industries and use-cases, ranging from high-performance, real-time scenarios to high-quality GI and physical light simulation. Vulkan raytracing enables us to bring hardware accelerated raytracing into the hands of our users in a cross-platform and vendor agnostic way. This is huge!"

— Nicolas Jean, R&D technology rendering manager, Dassault Systèmes.

"At EA we inspire the world to play and are dedicated to jointly developing open standards that empower developers to push creative boundaries for compute and graphics, like Vulkan raytracing. We are excited about this release from Khronos as it will pioneer future innovations that deliver extraordinary experiences for players."

— Colin Barré-Brisebois, head of technology at SEED, Electronic Arts.

"At Epic Games we have always been committed to the advancement of open standards and cross-platform systems that give people freedom of choice and control over their creativity. As early adopters of raytracing technologies we are thrilled to see Khronos releasing Vulkan raytracing extensions as part of the Vulkan SDK and we're excited about the possibilities that this release opens up for Unreal Engine creators."
— Juan Cañada, raytracing Lead Engineer, Epic Games.

"Holochip develops light field technology for the U.S. military and is incorporating glasses-free 3D visualization capabilities into existing environments. The Vulkan SDK raytracing release will enable wide adoption of Holochip's real-time light-field rendering solutions across numerous display devices - from headsets, lenticular screen, tabletop, CAVE and volumetric displays to next-generation holographic and other 3D displays. This release paves the way for military environments to benefit from the technical advances in the commercial 3D imaging and raytracing markets. These advances will provide greater situational awareness across land, sea, space and cyber, leading to greater effectiveness, cost savings and risk reduction in areas such as Command and Control (C2), planning, training, maintenance and medicine. Click here to learn more about Holochip's real-time light-field rendering solutions,"

— Robert Batchko CEO of Holochip Corporation.

"Imagination Technologies has a decade-long commitment to creating innovative raytracing hardware IP across a wide spectrum of platforms. The release of Vulkan's raytracing framework will give developers unrivalled freedom to create applications across our hardware platforms and provide new, unique graphical experiences on a variety of upcoming mobile devices,"

— Mark Butler, vice president of software engineering Imagination Technologies.

"At Intel Architecture Day 2020, we announced that new GPUs based on the gaming-optimized Xe-HPG architecture will be available in 2021 and feature hardware acceleration for raytracing. We're thrilled to see Khronos push graphics forward with new raytracing extensions and we look forward to providing driver updates and additional details when we launch next year,"
— Lisa Pearce, vice president, Intel Architecture, graphics and software.

"The Glacier Engine has a Vulkan backend that powers HITMAN3 on Stadia. At IO Interactive we follow with interest the evolution of the API and the upcoming extensions. Raytracing is a topic we're actively working on for our games, so we're very excited to see hardware agnostic support coming into Vulkan,"

— Maurizio De Pascale, CTO, IO Interactive A/S.

"The arrival of a vendor agnostic approach to hardware accelerated raytracing in Vulkan will impact our industry in a similar fashion as the arrival of hardware transform & lighting, flexible shaders, or compute shaders did. I for one am looking forward to seeing how it's going to be used,"

— Jim Kjellin, CTO, MachineGames AB.

"NVIDIA has taken a leadership role in bringing raytracing to Vulkan, enabling developers with cross-platform access to RTX acceleration. Today we are rolling out Vulkan raytracing in our production drivers and have upgraded Quake II RTX to be the world's first cross-vendor raytracing Vulkan application,"
— Dwight Diercks, senior vice president of software engineering, NVIDIA.

"Vulkan raytracing is a milestone for the computer graphics industry at large. For the first time, graphics developers are able to leverage hardware raytracing through a fully performant, cross platform and vendor agnostic API. OTOY is thrilled to have participated in the Khronos Group's development and ratification of the new Vulkan raytracing extensions. We are actively using these extensions to deploy future Vulkan versions of OctaneRender - OTOY's industry-leading cinematic GPU spectral path-tracer - as well as forthcoming Vulkan releases of OTOY's AnimeRender, Brigade, Sculptron and RNDR,"

— Jules Urbach, CEO, OTOY Inc.

"Quantic Dream are currently implementing raytracing into our upcoming projects with the help of the new Vulkan raytracing extensions. It allows us to improve our graphics tremendously and we can't wait to share the results! In general we find the arrival of vendor agnostic raytracing to be an excellent development for the industry,"

— Ronan Marchalot, Quantic Dream.

"Rebellion has been one of the earliest adopters of Vulkan and we did this to further our development goals and to provide greater flexibility to our teams. We are delighted with the arrival of vendor-agnostic raytracing in Vulkan and we are excited to see how it develops,"

— Chris Kingsley OBE, co-founder and CTO, Rebellion Developments.

"SiliconArts is excited to support the Vulkan cross platform raytracing API with options for hybrid rendering. This expands the potential for both content creators and new cloud and client rendering architectures,"

— Dr. Hyungmin Yoon, CEO and founder, SiliconArts.

"The arrival of a hardware agnostic raytracing API is a great development for the graphics industry, arguably it's one of the most exciting things to have happened in recent years. At Traverse Research, we're heavily invested in the future of raytracing as a technology and we are able to bring our expertise in this area to a range of companies. We're very excited about this announcement, and have been involved in this effort since its earliest days,"
— Jasper Bekker, founder, Traverse Research.

"Cross-platform raytracing is a big deal. We are excited about the possibilities this opens up for our partners and customers,"

— Don Holden, software engineer, Valve.
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8 Comments on Khronos Group Releases Vulkan SDK, Drivers With Official Raytracing Support; Showcases Wolfenstein: Youngblood

#1
ZoneDymo
"Cross-platform raytracing is a big deal. We are excited about the possibilities this opens up for our partners and customers,"

— Don Holden, software engineer, Valve


HOW ABOUT THE POSSIBILITES THIS OPENS UP FOR YOU DAMN IT VALVE, START MAKING GAMES AGAIN
Posted on Reply
#2
FinneousPJ
NVidia already published a new driver for Linux with RT. Still waiting on AMD c'mon!!
Posted on Reply
#3
mouacyk
ZoneDymo"Cross-platform raytracing is a big deal. We are excited about the possibilities this opens up for our partners and customers,"

— Don Holden, software engineer, Valve


HOW ABOUT THE POSSIBILITES THIS OPENS UP FOR YOU DAMN IT VALVE, START MAKING GAMES AGAIN
HL3 confirmed! And no RTX needed.
Posted on Reply
#4
MKRonin
Which pic is ray-traced? Looks like the 3rd pic has 2 captions but 2nd pic doesn't have any.
Posted on Reply
#5
GoldenX
FinneousPJNVidia already published a new driver for Linux with RT. Still waiting on AMD c'mon!!
If you are using the proprietary AMDGPU-PRO driver, you are doing it wrong.
You use RADV or AMDGPU.
Posted on Reply
#6
FinneousPJ
GoldenXIf you are using the proprietary AMDGPU-PRO driver, you are doing it wrong.
You use RADV or AMDGPU.
I'm not using it.
Posted on Reply
#7
Vayra86
ZoneDymo"Cross-platform raytracing is a big deal. We are excited about the possibilities this opens up for our partners and customers,"

— Don Holden, software engineer, Valve


HOW ABOUT THE POSSIBILITES THIS OPENS UP FOR YOU DAMN IT VALVE, START MAKING GAMES AGAIN
Holy crap dude, they just made Alyx! Gabe is now taking the team on a ten-year field trip to explore the possibilities for HL3.
MKRoninWhich pic is ray-traced? Looks like the 3rd pic has 2 captions but 2nd pic doesn't have any.
The one that doesn't look quite as dank as the other.

I think.
Posted on Reply
#8
seccentral
MKRoninWhich pic is ray-traced? Looks like the 3rd pic has 2 captions but 2nd pic doesn't have any.
sais everything anyone needs to know abt the state of raytracing atm :)))
Posted on Reply
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