At the upcoming developer fair GDC, Nvidia and CD Projekt will introduce the Overdrive mode. So Night City will soon be even more realistic.
Night City, the world of Cyberpunk 2077, can already look fantastic with the right hardware. However, Nvidia and CD Projekt want to give it a little more.
This is not completely new in and of itself, as a new ray tracing feature was announced last September. On the site of the developer trade fair GDC, Pawel Kozlowski (Senior Developer technology Engineer, Nvidia) and Jakub Knapik (Global Art Director, CD Projekt) announced a joint panel on path tracing in Night City.
Night City in even more beautiful light
The planned GDC talk by Nvidia and CD Projekt is to take place on 22 March. Nothing less than “the next level” of visual realism is promised. Path tracing is supposed to offer even better light and reflections than ray tracing.
This is supposed to be made possible by the new “RT: Overdrive” mode, which joins the already existing ray tracing methods. These include RT reflections, diffuse lighting with ray tracing, RT shadows and RT global illumination.
The main features of the Overdrive mode can be found here in list form (via dsogaming):
NVIDIA RTX Direct Illumination (RTXDI):
- Uses ray tracing to create precise light and shadows for various objects
- Provides accurate, coloured light for neon signs, street lamps, car lights, LED screens and televisions
Improved Ray Tracing:
- Indirect light and reflections are reflected multiple times for even more accurate and realistic results
- Reflections are rendered at full resolution for higher quality
More physical lighting:
- Improved lighting techniques make the use of other occlusion techniques unnecessary
- Provides more accurate, realistic and immersive global illumination, reflections and self-reflections
Apart from ray tracing, CD Projekt added DLSS 3 via patch in January.
But it’s not just for the players that this should mean an improvement. Developers should also find it much easier to create realistic lighting scenes, which in the long run will play into the players’ hands again.
After all, one can assume that more developers will then deal with the technology. But what is path tracing anyway?
What is path tracing?
The calculation of realistic light is highly complex and certainly needs more explanation than just these few lines. Nevertheless, we will provide you with a highly simplified outline:
Path tracing is a rendering technology that is theoretically very similar to ray tracing. In ray tracing, individual rays of light from each pixel are sent throughout the scene. When a ray hits a surface, a new ray is calculated to represent the reflection. This continues until a ray of light hits a light source again.
Path tracing does the same thing, except that it sends out more rays in random directions and then restricts them afterwards to the rays that are most likely to provide a realistic lighting scene. This creates the most realistic lighting scene possible, as you can see in the examples above.
It is beyond the scope of this article to go into more detail. You can find more information about the technology in the (Nvidia-Blog).
When can I expect the update?
It is not yet clear when exactly you will be able to enjoy the path tracing. As already mentioned, the official presentation will take place on 22 March at the GDC. We can assume that Overdrive will be rolled out either during the event or shortly afterwards. However, this is not certain.
Are you still playing Cyberpunk 2077? Are you looking forward to graphics updates for the sci-fi universe? Would your computers be able to handle another ray tracing/path tracing technology? Have you played Cyberpunk 2077 at all? Feel free to post your opinions and experiences in the comments!