“Earn even on the GTX 470”: World of Tanks developers introducing Ray Tracing into the game

At the September Tankist’s Day event, Wargaming first announced its appearance in World of Tanks

ray tracing technology which should improveShadow rendering quality in a popular tank action. Then the journalists were rather teased, since extremely little information was provided. Especially a lot of questions were caused by the news that, unlike the usual implementation of this technology in games, the Wargaming solution does not require a video card with hardware support for ray tracing. We contacted World of Tanks Encore RT product manager Alexander Shemetov and World of Tanks graphics programmer Denis Ishmukhametov and asked them a few questions. About optimization, about how the technology works without RT-cores, what computer configurations it is designed for, and about approximate release dates.

gagadget: As I understand it, your technology is different from what users usually mean by Ray Tracing in games. At a minimum, it does not require an Nvidia graphics card of the Geforce 2060 family. What else are the differences?

Denis Ishmukhametov: RTX is Nvidia's proprietary technology and wedo not use. World of Tanks uses the ray tracing (RT) algorithm itself, which has been used since the 80s. Our implementation uses DirectX 11, Compute shader shaders and the Intel Embree library. Thus, the calculations fall on the GPU and CPU. Typically, ray tracing works in three stages. The first is building a data structure (BVH), where polygons are combined into boxes to speed up work. The second one is the trace itself - this stage can be used to draw shadows, global lighting, and more. Then comes the third stage, at which noise and grit are removed. On video cards with hardware trace support, only the second stage is accelerated.

Compared with Nvidia technology, our picture quality will not differ, the only difference is that we do not need the RT-core of the video card

Note: Due to the fact that in World of Tanks ray tracing uses DirectX 11, the function can be launched on Windows 7 and higher.


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gagadget: What about optimization on multi-core processors? How efficiently will all cores be used?

Alexander Shemetov: In February of this year, World of Tanks releasedAn update that provides support for multi-core processors. With this update, it became possible to fully load all processor cores, including virtual ones. The technology introduced then allowed to accelerate the stage of building a data structure (BVH). So we prepared in advance. In terms of optimizing and loading all cores, everything works well. Together with the game client, support for multi-core and raytracing was introduced into the World of Tanks Encore RT demo program. So you can already test the new technology in dynamics and evaluate the optimization yourself.


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gagadget: What specifically will affect ray tracing in World of Tanks? Shadows, reflections, or lighting in general? For example, in Battlefiled V, reflections of fire and tracers of tank shells can be seen on puddles or car bodies. Will something like this be implemented in your project?

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Denis Ishmukhametov: Now the power of video cards, even if theyuse hardware acceleration of raytracing, enough only to realize one of the possible effects. There are games where shadows are worked out, there are games where tracing is used to improve reflections or global lighting. It is not yet possible to realize everything at once - the video cards will not be pulled. We decided to concentrate on the shadows, as in World of Tanks this is the most noticeable part of the visual component.

Alexander Shemetov: It is worth clarifying that the shadows will go ontanks and from tanks. Due to this, we were able to achieve good performance, even in comparison with games that use hardware acceleration of ray tracing.

Unlike the shadow map, which is now inmainly used in the gaming industry, tracing is more accurate and realistic ... The shadows from small details became clearer and lost the effect of the "ladder", at the same time, new blurry shadows appeared in the penumbra (partial shade), the space between the areas of full shadow and full light


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gagadget: As I understand it, it will be possible to enable tracing, both in HD and in the SD client of the game?

Denis Ishmukhametov: Yes, however, for the option to work, it will be necessaryenable "improved graphics" in the game settings. Setting is optional, if the computer does not "pull" - the player can turn it off. In addition, there are three RT operation modes: low, medium and high quality.

gagadget: What computer configurations is the new technology designed for? How much will performance drain?

Denis Ishmukhametov: To run shadow tracing, just haveDirectX 11 capable graphics card (Nvidia GTX 470 or later, or equivalent AMD card). But with such hardware, probably, the player will not get comfortable performance.

We counted on top-end video cards of five years ago - Nvidia GeForce 970, similar solutions from AMD and other manufacturers

Alexander Shemetov: Of course, we conducted testing, we are approximatelyWe know what configurations our players play on. However, everything was carried out in greenhouse conditions on stable systems. In fact, it all depends on the user’s settings, the situation in the battle, maps, personal preferences, included programs on the background and many other little things. It’s hard to say for sure. Especially for this, we are releasing our demo application World of Tanks Encore RT, which will allow any player on his machine and in his conditions to test the technology and choose a comfortable configuration of settings in advance. The technology is optimized for AMD, Nvidia graphics cards and Intel integrated graphics, so there should be no problems on productive laptops.


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gagadget: At what stage is development currently underway, can you name the approximate release dates?

Alexander Shemetov: Soon.

You can test the operation of raytracing now in the World of Tanks Encore RT application.