Console ray tracing may very well be on the way. Gran Turismo developer Polyphony Digital demoed its real-time ray tracing technology SIGGRAPH Asia, an annual conference that focuses on computer technology relating to graphics. As the Gran Turismo games tend to be on consoles, it’s likely that Polyphony Digital is going to be integrating this technology into one of their future games. This would have one of consoles’ heaviest hitters bringing some high-end graphics technology to an environment that often can’t keep up with gaming PCs.
So, what’s so cool about ray tracing? Well, the short answer is that it makes things look really good. The long answer is that it’s a system that calculates the predicted path of light and then uses that information to provide a more realistic image. Early ray tracing efforts were limited to pre-rendered imagery, but real-time ray tracing (and hopefully soon, console ray tracing) is going to be more and more likely as time passes. The technology is likely essential for edging us ever closer to photorealism in games, and we all know how much Gran Turismo likes to make their cars look good.
The console ray tracing tech was demoed in a short presentation at SIGGRAPH Asia that’s available on YouTube. Unfortunately, the video isn’t of the best quality so it’s a little difficult to really appreciate the fine detail that Polyphony Digital has managed to achieve with the implementation of their tech. Still, it should give you an idea of the direction they’re headed for future games in the Gran Turismo franchise. It certainly looks great, even on a potato-quality recording.
The real challenge will be moving this from a demo environment to something that can work on our gaming machines at home. Consoles have always had a tough time keeping up graphically as compared to PCs, but this console ray tracing tech demoed by Polyphony Digital might have a real shot at leveling the playing field a little. The Gran Turismo games were plenty beautiful before and it looks like they’re about to get even more stunning.