The technology in the spotlight at the Game Developers Conference this year is definitely ray tracing. Microsoft announced its new DXR real-time ray-tracing feature for DirectX 12, and Nvidia is showing off its proprietary RTX acceleration technology that runs on its Volta chips. For its part, AMD is taking the wraps off of Radeon Rays, an open-source "intersection acceleration library." The technology is said to work on all OpenCL 1.2-compatible platform and doesn't require AMD hardware. The company is also showing off a new version of ProRender software with real-time ray-tracing capability.
Radeon Rays is the new name for AMD FireRays, a ray-tracing SDK the company rolled into its GPUOpen initiative back at the beginning of 2016. The software doesn't need AMD silicon to run, though the company points out that its GCN graphics processors' asynchronous compute engines "allow Radeon Rays to output the data for display into the ray-tracing viewport while the application is simultaneously driving the graphics engine."
Radeon Rays will run on Windows, macOS, and Linux. The SDK also comes with an open-source stand-alone renderer that AMD says shows off how easy it could be for developers to implement an advanced rendering engine around the tool.
While Radeon Rays sounds like a tool intended for professional 3D rendering rather than accelerating real-time ray tracing in games, the company invited Sebastian Aaltonen from Second Order to talk about the application of ray tracing in its game Claybook. Takahiro Harada, the architect of AMD's ProRender global illumination renderer, will talk separately about using AMD libraries (including Radeon Rays) in next-generation rendering applications. GTC continues all week, so AMD's announcements may not be the last news about ray tracing in the next few days.