A Ray Into The Future
When the PS4, Xbox One, and WiiU were announced, people thought that the future had come. Today, next-gen consoles on the horizon again, and so is the future of gaming! Fortnite, along with the Fortnite Tracker, isn’t about to be left out, so Epic will make sure the game has a new graphical trick up its sleeve: ray tracing.
Tracing the History
Considering that ray tracing is a rather recent development, let’s discuss that first. It’s a rendering technique that tries to simulate each and every ray of light from a light source and how it behaves when it hits an object. As the name suggests, this is achieved by tracing the path of light in an image plane as pixels. It’s a technique that creates very photorealistic effects, and is applied in CGI stills, as well as those in movies and TV series. It’s the secret as to why obviously fictional things such as spaceships and magical creatures seem so tangible and lifelike.
There are, however, two drawbacks with ray tracing. First is that it requires a considerable amount of computational cost. However, considering the end result, it’s only fair. Second is that if the computational cost for this technique is already high in stills, then how much more in video games, a medium that is completely reliant to rendering?
Perhaps the reason it’s becoming widely used now even though it’s not exactly a new technology (its first use in film was way back in 1979) is because of the said demands. Only now did the hardware capable of making good use of it came about. In fact, the first fully ray-traced film was Monsters University, which was only seven years ago. Then again, it hasn’t been that long for games to start using the tech ever since it was first used for an entire movie. This goes to show that the future really is now.
Nvidia GPU Royale
Going back to Fortnite, Nvidia and Epic Games, during the announcement of the former’s RTX 30 Series GPUs, have announced that four RTX-powered effects will be supported by the game. According to Nvidia executive Matt Wuebbling, the game’s use of Nvidia tech is going to be “a showcase for how competitive gaming will improve with technology.”
If the use of ray tracing is a historical and technological milestone for the gaming industry, then so are the RTX 30 Series. They are the first GPUs to have 24GB of VRAM – higher than the usual RAM of a good chunk of mid-spec, fully functional rigs today.
Beyond Simulated Light
Apart from the game-supported features, the RTX 30 Series has other cool features that will make Fortnite players happy, especially the more serious competitors. The Nvidia Reflex will reduce system latency, allowing players to react much faster – or rather, at the right times. Suffice to say, it will boost your Fortnite Tracker stats. And for streamers, Nvidia will enhance your home streaming with AI-enhanced video and voice communications.
Ray-traced reflections, shadows, global illumination, and ambient occlusion are going to be possible in Fortnite, as well as many improvements to the competitive streaming experience. Provided that you have Nvidia’s RTX 30-series GPUs, that is. With Fortnite continuing to be the biggest online competitive game right now, there’s no better title for Nvidia to show its flexing of muscles than Epic’s cultural phenomenon of a Battle Royale shooter.
There is no time like the present, because we’re only a few weeks away from the future. And the way we see it, Fortnite is one of the games that will usher it. The game is not history–it’s still making history!