Path-tracing or ray-tracing always looked like one of those pipe-dreams when it came to real-time simulation. It was never one of those things where you figured you would see an actual game make use of the tech anytime soon. Well, the day has arrived where real-time path-tracing has been used in a real-time game simulation environment, paving the way for photorealistic gaming experiences.
While the whole “will next-gen consoles be able to look like Avatar?” debate continues to rage on, some techniques in condensing and processing real-to-life lighting, shadows and visual effects has evolved to a point where photorealism is no longer relegated to just photos.
DSO Gaming was sent a few screenshots of the path-tracing technique in action on the Brigade 2 Engine as well as some brand new real-time footage of the engine in action, which you can check out below.
Last time the reason the video was so grainy when the Brigade 2 was showcasing real-time shadow casting was because the actual tech was running from a cloud server and was then being streamed via a laptop. However, on the official blog Sam Lapere notes...
Brigade is now rapidly approaching a point where it can instantaneously render noise-free photorealistic images. The video below isn't even using the latest code (which has massively improved support for dynamic scenes) yet. The photorealism you can get out of Brigade nowadays is unrivaled and unique in the world of game engines. The potential of this tech is endless: for example, the automotive industry can render a photoreal and interactive car commercial in real-time or allow their customers to virtually drive around in a photoreal 3D city
This isn't even CGI quality graphics anymore, it's just real-life graphics.
I'm thoroughly impressed and very interested to see what comes of it. I know that the co-founder of Geomerics, Dr. Chris Doran, felt that path-tracing was still a ways off from real-time simulation fruition, but the Brigade 2 is fast-approaching the process of being a huge threat to other high-end engines out there such as the CryEngine and Unreal Engine.