Khronos Group Unveils Ray Tracing For Vulkan API Right Before Launch Of Next-Gen Nvidia’s RTX And AMD’s RDNA2 GPUs

The Khronos Group

The Khronos Group has finally unveiled its much-awaited Ray Tracing solution for the Vulkan API. The group announced the ratification and public release of the Vulkan Ray Tracing provisional extensions, making it the first industry’s first open, cross-vendor, cross-platform standard for Ray Tracing acceleration.

The ratification of the Ray Tracing solution for the Vulkan API by the Khronos Group is quite important for meeting desktop market demand for both real-time and offline rendering. The provisional extensions will now enable the developer community to provide feedback, which will eventually help for the finalization of the specifications. The specifications are available today on the Vulkan Registry, and the comments and feedback are being collected through the Vulkan GitHub Issues Tracker and Khronos Developer Slack.

Khronos Group Launches Ray Tracing For Vulkan API Right Before Arrival Of Nvidia’s RTX And AMD’s RDNA2 GPUs?

The announcement of the Ray Tracing Support for the Vulkan API has been long-awaited. Developers had been waiting for its arrival even before the launch of the Nvidia’s RTX GPUs and the accompanying software. Needless to add, the developer community, including game development and movie production studios have been rather disappointed with the lackluster integration of one of the most awaited features in next-gen gaming.

Vulkan API based Ray Tracing has arrived at a time when gamers and multimedia editing professionals are awaiting the arrival of first AMD’s RDNA2 GPUs as well as the next-gen Microsoft Xbox Series X and Sony PlayStation 5. All of the aforementioned products have been repeatedly confirmed to support high-end Ray Tracing, offering hyper-realistic gaming experience.

The Vulkan API Ray Tracing has been receiving overwhelming and encouraging support from NVIDIA, AMD, Intel, Imagination Technologies, and several other companies. The platform consists of a number of Vulkan, SPIR-V, and GLSL extensions. Not all are mandated in the newly ratified solution. The Khronos Group has essentially brought accelerated ray tracing to the Vulkan cross-platform, open standard API. This should inevitably lead to “enabling the highest quality of visual realism for real-time games and applications everywhere,” observed Morgan McGuire, research director at NVIDIA.

Vulkan API Ray Tracing Most Awaited By Gamers Even Though It Is Applicable To Any Graphics-Intensive Workload:

Currently, NVIDIA RTX is the only major hardware and software platform that offers any credible support for Ray Tracing. Needless to add, gamers have expressed their displeasure at the level of support. NVIDIA has struggled to get Ray Tracing on the RTX Platform. In other words, there are very few game titles that can confidently claim to have Ray Tracing setting available and enabled.

However, it is important to note that it is the lack of optimized software that leads to weird visual output, and Vulkan API based Ray Tracing should help immensely to address them. The Khronos Group’s support will help accelerate the development and finalization of the standard, making Ray Tracing commonly and easily available to developers rather than being limited to a few companies and game titles.

Interestingly, Ray Tracing, as a feature, will be helpful to many industries that work with graphics-intensive workloads. Ray tracing is essentially a powerful rendering technique that simulates how light rays intersect and interact with scene geometry, materials, and light sources. The primary aim is to generate photorealistic imagery offering hyperrealism within synthetically generated graphics.

Vulkan Ray Tracing integrates a ray-tracing framework into the Vulkan API. This enables the merging of rasterization and ray tracing acceleration. Vulkan Ray Tracing is designed to be hardware agnostic. In other words, the platform can work on both existing GPU Compute as well as dedicated ray-tracing cores if available within the Graphics Card.


Alap Naik Desai

A B.Tech Plastics (UDCT) and a Windows enthusiast. Optimizing the OS, exploring software, searching and deploying solutions to strange and weird issues is Alap's main interest.
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