Next Battlefield 5 Update Brings a Big Performance Boost for DXR Ray Tracing

The next Battlefield 5 update will bring a massive upgrade for ray tracing performance on PC. The update will also fix a number of bugs that have been affecting game performance. Nvidia and DICE plan to continue improving the game’s ray tracing implementation as it matures.

The massive performance boost will come to the Nvidia RTX graphics cards. The Windows 10 DirectX Ray tracing (DXR) implementation in Battlefield 5 launched November 15, and showcased the future of real-time graphics. That future was impressive real-time reflections and significantly impaired performance. Initial tests pegged Battlefield 5 performance with ray tracing enabled to be roughly half that of the game without. The new update looks to turn that around.

In a video on the Nvidia GeForce YouTube channel, two Nvidia employees discussed changes to the game’s implementation of ray tracing. The update further optimizes variable rate ray tracing, which means developers can focus rays on certain materials like metal and glass. Variable rate ray tracing improves performance and quality, as more rays are focused on specular and reflective materials. The update also improves filtering and the denoiser implementation, making for more accurate real-time reflections. A number of shader optimizations have also been implemented.

A performance-draining bug was also fixed in the latest update. Destructible objects caused a large bug with ray tracing, but the bug has been attended to. One of the worst offenders with ray tracing  had been vegetation. Nvidia and DICE altered ray tracing of vegetation, leading to massive performance boosts.

Altogether, the update promises a nearly 50 percent increase to performance on Windows. Battlefield 5 is the first game to feature DXR, and showcases what can be done with the emerging technology. Getting acceptable performance is still incredibly expensive, with the cheapest Nvidia RTX cards going for around $600.

Battlefield 5 released in mid-November as the first World War II themed game in the series since 2009’s download-only Battlefield 1943 later this month. DICE plans to roll out continuous, free updates for the game with its new Tides of War service. The first chapter in the Tides of War multiplayer service goes live.