CD Projekt Red dives deep into Cyberpunk 2077’s path traced renderer

CD Projekt Red dives deep into Cyberpunk 2077's path traced renderer

CD Projekt Red looks “Behind the Settings” of Cyberpunk 2077’s RT Overdrive mode

Next week, Cyberpunk 2077 will be receiving its highly anticipated “RT Overdrive” mode on PC, giving gamers access to a full path traced renderer for what was already one of PC’s most graphically impressive games.

In their latest video, CD Projekt Red has dived deep into both DLSS 3 and Path Tracing with their first “Behind the Settings” video, highlighting the impact of the path traced rendering used in their upcoming “RT Overdrive” mode, and why they believe that path tracing is the future of game rendering. 

Let’s start with one thing, the fact that CD Projekt Red does not expect most gamers to play Cyberpunk 2077 with RT Overdrive mode enabled. The setting is hugely demanding, around 40% more demanding than the game’s existing RT Ultra mode, and works best when combined with super resolution technologies like DLSS 2 and FSR 2, and with Nvidia’s new DLSS 3 (Frame Generation) feature. CD Projekt Red considers their RT Overdrive mode a experimental feature, one that looks into what they believe is the future of game rendering.

With path tracing, CD Project Red have taken a new approach to ray tracing. Instead of implementing ray tracing on a feature-by-feature basis by using ray tracing to create shadows, reflections, and global illumination, path tracing implements ray tracing more fully, using ray tracing to do everything at once. The benefit of this is that the results are more true to life/accurate, and data single rays can be used to complete multiple tasks. Instead of multiple features that work independently and don’t talk to each other, path tracing is a complete solution that does everything and shares data between features.

In the video below, CD Projekt Red showcases their new path traced renderer in action, and highlights its benefits over their older ray tracing implementation, one of which is the ability for all lights in-game to case shadows and impact global illumination. 

Cyberpunk 2077 is already an incredibly demanding PC game, but though the power of modern image upscaling and frame generation technologies, a fully  path traced version of this game will soon be available to play on PC. In time, ray tracing will move from being a niche feature and become something that is standard for all PC and console games, though it will likely take a few hardware/software generations before this dream is realises. 

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