“Star Wars” Clip Showcases Graphics Revolution

The Game Developers Conference is taking place in San Francisco this week with Epic Games hosting a presentation to demonstrate future improvements to its famed graphics engine – Unreal Engine.

The Verge reports that the highlight of the presentation was the company’s showcase of ‘real-time ray tracing’ which was demonstrated in three completely digitally rendered clips – a “Star Wars” scene, an Andy Serkis mo-cap scene involving a lizard alien quoting “Macbeth,” and a photorealistic digital human called ‘Siren’.

Ray tracing is seen as the pinnacle when it comes to lighting computer-generated environments. Used extensively in major blockbuster movies, the tech has been far too demanding to be used in real time rendering for things like video games because graphics chips just haven’t been powerful enough.

Now though they’re getting there, with this week Nvidia announcing that real-time ray tracing will be a feature of its next generation of graphics cards dubbed the Nvidia RTX. Epic Games is among the first to offer support for it, making real-time ray tracing available to Unreal Engine developers later this year.

Source: The Verge