Unity announces ray tracing with ‘photorealistic’ demo

Game engine to receive reflection technology in 2019

Unity used its GDC 2018 press conference to announce a partnership to bring Nvidia’s RTX ray tracing technology to its engine.

In a collaboration with Nvidia and BMW, the company debuted a video featuring a real life car (the 2019 BMW 8 Series Coupe) and a version of the car powered by Unity, with both versions of the vehicles virtually indistinguishable from one another.

The video is an example of how ray tracing will work on “consumer-grade” Nvidia RTX graphics cards, it said, with “photorealistic image quality”.

Real-time ray tracing is the headline feature of Nvidia’s RTS graphics cards, allowing for realistic reflections similar to that seen in CGI movies. Currently only a small number of PC games support the feature and very high spec systems are required to use it.

Select Unity users already have access to ‘production focussed’ ray tracing tools, the company said, with an ‘optimised preview solution’ coming in the second half of 2019.

“Real-time ray tracing moves real-time graphics significantly closer to realism, opening the gates to global rendering effects never before possible in the real-time domain,” said Natalya Tatarchuk, Unity’s vice president of graphics.