First disclosed this evening with teaser videos related to a GDC presentation on Unity, today AMD is announcing two developer-oriented features: real-time ray tracing support for the company's ProRender rendering engine, and Radeon GPU Profiler 1.2.

Though Microsoft’s DirectX Raytracing (DXR) API and NVIDIA’s DXR backend “RTX Technology” were announced today as well, the new ProRender functionality appears to be largely focused on game and graphical development as opposed to an initiative angled for real-time ray tracing in shipping games. Similarly, while Radeon GPU Profiler (RGP) has not received a major update since December 2017, as it is AMD’s low-level hardware-based debugging/tracing tool for Radeon GPUs this is likewise purely for developers.

In any case, for Radeon ProRender AMD is bringing support for mixing real time ray-tracing with traditional rasterization for greater computational speed. As with today's other real-time ray tracing announcements, AMD's focus is on capturing many of the photorealism benefits of ray tracing without the high computational costs. At a basic level this is achieved by limiting the use of ray tracing to where it's necessary, enough so that it can be done in real-time alongside a rasterizer. Unfortunately beyond a high-level overview, this is all AMD has revealed at this time. We're told a proper press release will be coming out tomorrow morning with further details.

As for the new version of RGP, 1.2 introduces interoperability with RenderDoc, a popular frame-capture based graphics debugging tool, as well as improved frame overview. The update also brings detailed barrier codes, relating to granular regulation of graphical work among DX12 units.

Regardless, AMD has yet more to say on the ray-tracing topic. Along with tomorrow's press release, AMD has a GDC talk scheduled for Wednesday on “Real-time ray-tracing techniques for integration into existing renderers,” presumably discussing ProRender in greater detail.

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  • edzieba - Wednesday, March 21, 2018 - link

    Don't forget that raycasting engines (with special cases!) were developed before hardware-accelerated raster engines! Wolfenstein 3D for example (though admittedly that 'cheats' by casting rays for an enforced 2D level layout). Despite most games moving to PBR pipelines, if you're not interested in full global illumination that makes raytracing MORE tractable, as you now only need cast the direct rays, then shade the target (why not raster? to reduce geometry load). Reply
  • SlyNine - Sunday, March 25, 2018 - link

    This isn't really accurate. From my knowledge and experience working with cycles. You just have to have the right shaders and material setups. Reply
  • mr_tawan - Tuesday, March 20, 2018 - link

    Sounds like AMD, and Microsoft + Nvidia didn't talk to each other... Reply
  • Zizy - Tuesday, March 20, 2018 - link

    Sounds like they did and AMD didn't like the way discussion went :) Reply
  • SydneyBlue120d - Tuesday, March 20, 2018 - link

    I'm really curious to know if and what level of support Ryzen APU will provide... Reply
  • lucam - Thursday, March 22, 2018 - link

    PowerVR has implemented that much earlier and in a more effective way.. Reply

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