Mood Lighting: How Metro Exodus Uses Ray Tracing to Heart-Pounding Effect

The Star Wars-themed “Reflections” demo is so visually stunning, it’s natural to assume it’s a film clip.

I felt that way the first time I saw this real-time ray-tracing showcase, at GDC 2018, and so have the hundreds of people I’ve shown it to since. Hitting a hotkey to reveal the wire-frame leaves you floored.

Last October, I was again delivering a knock-your-socks-off ray-tracing demo at PAX Australia. It was then that I realized Metro Exodus could be a showcase title for real-time ray tracing in games.

Gaming as an Art Form

The Metro series is more artistic than a typical game. The game’s creators work hard to capture the feeling of the Metro novels that inspire them. As a survival horror game, the Metro series is commonly described as:

  1. Story driven – the creators take painstaking care of their story lines
  2. Moody – the series is gloomy, dark and spooky
  3. Visually stunning – the game’s gorgeousness makes it a “graphics beast,” very demanding of the tech powering it

As artists who value technology, the people behind Metro have a rare combination of artist and nerd that puts them among a select group of gutsy game developers who use the latest technology to make their game stand out visually.

To achieve the stunning results of Metro Exodus, Deep Silver, 4A Games and NVIDIA have harnessed the first-ever implementation of real-time, ray-traced global illumination.

To explain global illumination, I’ll turn to Unity:

Global Illumination is a system that models how light is bounced off of surfaces onto other surfaces (indirect light) rather than being limited to just the light that hits a surface directly from a light source (direct light). Modelling indirect lighting allows for effects that make the virtual world seem more realistic and connected, since objects affect each other’s appearance.

The effect realistic global illumination has on a gaming experience is both subtle and profound. Let me explain.

Gaming Artists Get a New Artistic Tool

Put simply, ray-traced global illumination delivers more realistic lighting. But its impact on the immersiveness gameplay is hard to overestimate.

Game developers can use this new creative tool to set the mood in the same way movie makers and photographers have for years.

Using dim lighting, shadows and over-bright techniques, artists deliver the message of “mysterious,” or “spooky” or “warmth” at a single glance.

Missing the Mystery

With ray tracing, theses techniques can now be used to greater effect in games.

The Metro Exodus segment I demoed at PAX Australia starts with ray tracing off. You awake and follow a path to a shack on the shore. As you walk up, you see a skeleton before you enter — and every single thing inside the shack, for that matter. Because everything is gray, you know it’s supposed to be dark inside. The game is a shining example of what we’re used to seeing — not bad but just not “correct.”

As a result, the spookiness is lost. Because you can see everything, there’s no mystery.

With ray tracing on, you can barely make out the skeleton as you approach the shack. Its interior is nearly pitch black. It’s more an unsettling hint than stark reality. Once inside, you’re jolted by the skeleton hanging on the wall.

RTX Off. Richly detailed, but not as spooky.
RTX On. Spooky.

Ray Tracing Is a Game Changer

Because the lighting model is more accurate, ray-traced global illumination changes the way you play Metro Exodus.

With ray tracing on, you have to pull out your flashlight to see in the dark shack. The game’s realistic lighting model means that you can only see what is illuminated by this light source — everything else is pitch black. So you focus your attention on the lit area, the light circle the flashlight creates.

With ray tracing off, you really don’t need your flashlight. If you do use it, you find your focus not on the brightened area, but on the unlit areas because you know that’s where the danger will likely come from.

RTX Off. Some light in unexpected places.
RTX On. Movie style lighting. Jump scares galore.

Don’t Fight the Feeling

Metro Exodus with ray-traced global illumination is not your typical “eye candy” demo where shot “A” looks better than shot “B.” The biggest contribution the technology makes to the game is in some ways psychological. The realistic lighting sets a mood that connects with elements ingrained in the human psyche. Its subtle visual lighting cues trigger feelings and emotional reactions I haven’t felt in video games before.

As you enter that first shack, ray tracing puts you on edge. It’s a level of spooky usually reserved for movies.

With ray tracing off, my internal voice goes something like: “I’m supposed to be scared … it’s supposed to be dark and gloomy.” With ray tracing on, it is dark. It is gloomy. And I am scared.

Ray Tracing’s Effects: It’s No Fish Story

We’ve all been trained our whole lives — by the sun — to tell what time it is. Even without a watch, we have a feel for dawn, noon, 4pm and dusk as they all have different lighting characteristics we cue on without thinking about it.

The same can be said for the Metro Exodus demo with ray tracing on because it has a day-night cycle as part of its play. With ray tracing on, I get the same feeling that I get when I’m fishing in my tiny, battery-powered jon boat on a big lake. When the sun is setting, my internal voice feeds an anxiety: “Pack it up, it’s getting dark. This boat is too small to be out on this lake at night. You have no lights. Danger close!”

With ray tracing on in a game, it’s the same concept: “Hurry and complete the mission. The sun is going down. Mutants in the woods. Danger close! Hurry!” With ray tracing off, you lose the subtle lighting cues and the resulting tensions they create. The anxiety of potentially running around a forest full of mutants at night is lost.

That is immersion.

Ray-Traced Graphics Are a Whole New Ballgame

Ray tracing has long been the preferred way to render computer graphics, but before NVIDIA RTX the performance tax incurred made it prohibitive to use in games.

That’s not the case for movies, which for the last decade have used ray tracing to create stunningly realistic special effects. Movie makers have the luxury of rendering those scenes offline and using warehouses full of computers to do so.

Today, games use the programmable shader technology NVIDIA pioneered 15 years ago, but this technology has run its course. To make games look better, we need a new way to do computer graphics in real time.

Ray tracing is the way forward for the gaming industry. I hope that other gamers get the same kinds of visceral reactions to the lighting that I had, and that playing Metro Exodus will illustrate the impact ray tracing is having on games for them.

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Real-Time Ray Tracing and DLSS Come to Battlefield V and Metro Exodus

Two of the most storied PC gaming franchises are shipping this week with NVIDIA RTX technology, which uses AI and real-time ray tracing to deliver deeply immersive gameplay and powerful performance.

Battlefield V and Metro Exodus incorporate support for real-time ray tracing and NVIDIA DLSS (deep-learning super-sampling) — enabling cinematic-quality rendering.

The importance of real-time ray tracing in games can’t be overstated. It’s changing the way they’re developed and how gamers experience them. NVIDIA RTX is the engine driving this forward, and the entire industry is getting onboard, including developers of today’s hottest games.

Here is how two of these storied game franchises use RTX to deliver the kind of cinematic experiences normally only found at the movies:

  • Battlefield V — This stunning World War II combat game, created by EA and DICE, was the first to support real-time ray-traced reflections and has now added support for DLSS — giving a performance boost of up to 40 percent with ray-tracing reflections enabled.
  • Metro Exodus — The third installment in the haunting Metro franchise, developed by 4A Games and Deep Silver, will support RTX-enabled real-time ray tracing — the first time it has been used in a game for global illumination. At launch, the game will also support DLSS, boosting performance up to 30 percent, as well as a host of other NVIDIA gaming technologies, including HairWorks, PhysX, Ansel and Highlights.

RTX Technologies Delivering New Gaming Experiences

NVIDIA GeForce RTX GPUs are equipped with RT Cores that support real-time ray tracing and Tensor Cores that enable deep learning. Pairing ray tracing and DLSS allows gamers to get both exceptional performance and ray-traced image quality.

Real-time ray tracing — which tracks each photon of light as it moves through a scene before dissipating — is considered the “holy grail” of graphics. It allows scenes to be rendered with photographic-levels of fidelity, creating physically accurate shadows, reflections, refractions and global illumination, which capture the effects of indirect lighting.

Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) uses the power of deep learning to boost your frame rates. To enable DLSS, our supercomputer trains a custom deep learning algorithm for each game, teaching it how to make a game look its best.

This algorithm is then accelerated on the Tensor Cores built into NVIDIA GeForce RTX GPUs. The result is gamers get the benefit of their own GeForce RTX GPU’s capabilities, as well as the work of NVIDIA supercomputers that have trained on countless hours of game data.

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No Slowing Down: How TITAN RTX Brings High-Quality Images to Gameplay Design

Creating a video game with realistic graphics and smooth gameplay can be an extraordinary challenge. But with the NVIDIA TITAN RTX, one designer is taking cinematic visuals and player experiences to the next level.

Käy Vriend is the co-owner of Icebreaker Interactive, an indie game studio based in Denmark. He’s working on Escalation 1985, an online first-person shooter game set during the Cold War. For Vriend, it’s important to have realistic details to enhance the player experience, and his own experience as a war veteran plays a big part in building out the game.

“To portray how war feels, you need that level of realism that makes everything palpable,” Vriend explained.

One example is the game’s tank simulator. A player who steps inside it will see an array of buttons. And they’re not just for show — all the buttons are going to be functional. “If you start the tank, you have to start the fans. If you don’t start the fans, you’ll die from carbon monoxide poisoning,” said Vriend. “That’s the attention to detail we’re looking for.”

Getting that level of detail into a game isn’t easy. But Allegorithmic’s Substance Designer and the TITAN RTX GPU helped Vriend speed up the process.

Baking the Details

Substance Designer is a tool for making materials and textures for 3D models. It features bakers to help artists create realistic environments without slowing games down.

In Substance Designer, Vriend uses three bakers that leverage ray tracing: ambient occlusion for local shadowing, bent normal for illumination and reflection, and thickness for subsurface scattering and translucency.

When he receives a 3D model from an artist, Vriend bakes the maps and analyzes them in 3D. From Substance Designer, he bakes all materials to properly run on lower resolution meshes before using Substance Painter to paint on the low-poly mesh. Then he exports the material with the model to Unreal Engine, where all the assets are knitted together to produce beautiful visuals.

TITAN RTX Kicks Things Into High Gear

So what happened when Vriend finally got his hands on the TITAN RTX?

“I was blown away,” he said. “I tried to bake 4K maps, so I hit ‘Start Render’ and I thought it wasn’t responding. But when I looked, the maps were already there. It was instantaneous.”

Without the TITAN RTX, Vriend said that baking one map with local shadowing took around 14 minutes. With RTX, it was done in 16 seconds. Now he’s able to crank up parameters and bake models at a higher quality, check if something is wrong and still have enough time to rebake if needed.

The massive boost in performance speed comes from the GPU’s RT cores, which are designed for performing ray tracing at amazing efficiency. This allows designers to make photorealistic objects, characters and environments at higher resolutions.

“Substance Designer now includes DXR technology in bakers. This gives artists access to extremely fast ray tracing,” said Nicolas Wirrmann, Substance Designer Product Manager at Allegorithmic. “TITAN RTX accelerates the bakers on a massive scale: creators get way more time to iterate at higher qualities and details than before. Designers can work at a fraction of the time it used to take.”

It isn’t just the speed that impressed Vriend — the quality amazed him, too. One specific example is the model of the M16A1 rifle, which is similar to what Vriend used during his military service.

Created in Substance Designer, “it looks exactly as I remember, from the way the spring looks to the details of the magazine release,” said Vriend. “Just from looking at it, I could feel the cold metal on my fingers, like I was holding the rifle again.”

Experience the stunning graphics and gameplay of Escalation 1985 when it’s available for early access on Nov. 9 — the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The game’s full release will be in summer 2020.

Learn More About Material Creation at GTC

Join Allegorithmic at GTC as they demonstrate Substance Alchemist, a tool that allows users to create new materials from pictures, scans or pre-existing materials.

Allegorithmic will also show how GPU-accelerated AI enhances material creation, diving deep into the features that leverage Tensor Cores.

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GeForce RTX Laptops Now Available Everywhere, Reviewers Rave

They’re lighter. They’re faster. And, in the words of one reviewer, they offer “a smorgasbord of awesome.” The new RTX laptops are here — more than 40 of them — and so are rave reviews.

We announced recently at CES that the world’s top manufacturers are bringing a record number of new laptops based on our revolutionary Turing GPU architecture to market.

They’re powered by NVIDIA GeForce RTX GPUs that fuse next-generation shaders with real-time ray tracing and AI to blur the line between movies and gaming with cinematic-quality rendering. Don’t take our word for it.

Here are some highlights from this week’s reviews in the North American press, mirroring reviews from outlets worldwide as RTX laptops become available everywhere.

CNETNew Nvidia RTX gaming laptops are blazing fast, and here’s the proof

“Surprising no one, the RTX 2080 Max Q in the new Asus Zephyrus blows past other gaming laptops when it comes to game performance.”

Digital TrendsNvidia’s new RTX graphics make for the fastest gaming laptops ever made

“The RTX 20-series for laptops feels like a win.”

“The biggest improvement is the availability of a 2080 Max-Q, which unlocks a level of performance potential that was previously reserved to only desktops and eight-pound laptops. The fact you can now enjoy it on hardware as thin as the Zephyrus S GX701 is awesome.”

Gizmodo MSI’s GS75 Proves Powerful Gaming Laptops Don’t Need All That Bulk

“But the real treat is playing new titles like Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Battlefield V, the latter of which is one of the few titles that can take advantage of the ray tracing capabilities built into new RTX GPUs.”

Laptop Mag – MSI GS75 Stealth Review

“Meet my new favorite toy… MSI GS75 Stealth is one of the best light and slim premium gaming laptops you can buy.”

Laptop Mag – MSI GT75 Titan (2019) Review

“From its stately, imposing figure, to its show-stopping display, crowd-pleasing audio and powerful Core i9 processor and Nvidia RTX 2080, this Titan is just a smorgasbord of awesome.”

Laptop Mag – Alienware Area-51m Review

“NVIDIA’s superpowered RTX GPUs, it absolutely demolished every test we put in front of it with graceful aplomb.”

PCWorld – MSI GS75 Stealth Review: This light 17-inch laptop packs a wallop with GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q

“This is just the first of many benchmarking opportunities we hope to have with NVIDIA’s new RTX graphics for laptops, but the initial signs seem to point toward a lighter, faster future for mobile PC gaming.”

Tom’s Guide – Alienware Area-51m Benchmarks: Most Powerful Gaming Laptop Ever

“Based on our testing, this is the fastest gaming laptop ever. And both the CPU and GPU are upgradeable, which is a first for laptops.”

Tom’s Hardware – Gigabyte Aero 15 X9 Gaming Laptop Review: RTX Works, AI Bores

“NVIDIA’s RTX 2070 Max-Q graphics are impressive in this relatively compact form factor”

Windows Central – Razer Blade 15 Advanced with NVIDIA GeForce RTX graphics now available

“The RTX 20-series chips not only pack more power than their GTX 10-series predecessors, but they also include AI-enhancements and ray tracing, both of which can help to make your lighting look and act much more realistic in games that support the features.”

Ready to jump in? Pick out your own RTX laptop today.

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Freemium Isn’t Free! Free Mobile Games Generated a Whopping $61 Billion in 2018

The 2018 end-of-year report by Nielsen-owned gaming research company SuperData has revealed that so-called freemium games – games that are free to play but typically enable microtransactions for users to purchase upgrades and gizmos – are dominating the entertainment market, generating a massive $88 billion in the past year. Unsurprisingly this segment also known as

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Viva Las Vegas! We’re Leaving CES 2019 Laden with Awards

You know you’re leaving Las Vegas on the right note when your suitcases are stuffed with loot.

We and our partners got plenty of the shiny stuff this week at the annual International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, winning more than a dozen awards for everything from our new Big Format Gaming Display to sophisticated thin-and-light Max-Q design notebooks powered by our GeForce RTX GPUs.

The awards mirror the story we brought with us to CES: we’re transforming gaming, television and transportation, and bringing modern AI — powered by GPUs — to cars, homes and the cloud.

Here’s our latest tally of awards from this year’s CES.

  • Big Format Gaming Display – Best of CES – HP Omen X 65 Emperium, Tom’s Guide; The best gaming laptops, headsets, monitors and more – HP Omen X 65 Emperium, The Telegraph.
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 20-Series GPUs — Best of Innovations, CES Innovation Awards.
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 — Best GPU, Tom’s Hardware; Best of CES, PC World; The best gaming laptops, headsets, monitors and more, The Telegraph.
  • NVIDIA Mobile RTX Graphics — Best Gaming, The Verge; Best of CES, PC World.
  • RTX Powered Laptops — Best Tech of CES 2019 – Razer Blade 15 Advanced Edition, Mashable; The Stuff CES 2019 Gadget Awards – NVIDIA RTX Laptops, Stuff; Best of CES – Asus ROG Mothership, Tom’s Guide; CES Editor’s Choice Awards – Razer Blade Advanced Gaming Laptop, USA Today; CES 2019: The best gaming laptops, headsets, monitors and more – Asus ROG Mothership, The Telegraph; Best of Show – Asus ROG Mothership, Laptop Mag; Best of CES 2019 – Asus ROG Mothership, TechAdvisor; The best laptops of CES 2019 – Asus ROG Mothership, Android Authority.

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It’s ON! Putting Next Gen in the Hands of Tens of Millions of Gamers

Gaming is thriving. An entire generation is growing up gaming. Two billion gamers and counting. They play at home, on the go and on multiple platforms, and by far the most vibrant, innovative and open is the PC.

The forces driving PC gaming are staggering in scale.

Take the battle royale genre — think Fortnite, Call of Duty Blackout and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. It’s had a meteoric rise from zero to a player base of 300 million across platforms in just two years, bringing many new players to PC gaming and GeForce.

Consider the unstoppable rise of esports. It’s the fastest growing spectator sport and is on track to amass close to 600 million fans by 2020. That’s 2x in just three years. Worldwide prize money exceeded $150 million, also 2x in three years. Performance and fast response (frames per second and latency, respectively) are the top considerations for esports gamers, making GeForce the preferred GPU for top tournaments and pro gamers.

Gaming has become the new mass medium. More than 750 million people are watching gaming live streams and videos on outlets like YouTube and Twitch.tv. In fact, Twitch made news last year by surpassing CNN for monthly viewers. Within our GeForce community, we’ve seen games capture and sharing explode with 2 billion captures using GeForce Experience last year.

And PC gamers are the most demanding. Developers continue to produce more visually rich games. Over the past five years, the GPU performance required to play the latest games at 1080p, 60 FPS has increased 3x. And the most desired gaming monitors have doubled in resolution. The motivation for the installed base of gamers to upgrade is real — gamers choosing higher-end GPUs has increased 2.5x since 2013.

Along Comes GeForce RTX

At CES we announced we’re bringing our revolutionary Turing technology to tens of millions of gamers with the new GeForce RTX 2060, priced at just $349, along with impossibly sleek new Max-Q laptops to drive today’s fastest growing gaming platform.

GeForce RTX 2060 Delivers Performance… and Much More

The RTX 2060 delivers the performance and value for the “sweet spot” of GeForce gaming. The GeForce RTX 2060 follows a line of the most popular GPUs on Steam: GeForce GTX 960, 970 and 1060. This class of GPU represents one-third of our gaming installed base. With Turing’s advanced streaming multiprocessors, the RTX 2060 delivers up to 2x the performance of the GTX 1060 on today’s games.

Turing is much more than raw performance. It represents the biggest architectural leap forward in over a decade. With a new hybrid rendering approach, Turing fuses rasterization, real-time ray tracing and AI for incredible realism in PC games. GeForce RTX paves the way for the future of PC gaming.

Gaming Ecosystem Already Onboard

The gaming industry has come together to start delivering the future of PC gaming.

Microsoft released an extension to DirectX called DirectX Raytracing (DXR) last November, laying the foundation for accelerated ray tracing and giving developers access to the capabilities of the RTX GPUs.

And the leading game engines – Epic’s Unreal Engine, Unity, EA’s Frostbite and more – are delivering seamless access to accelerated ray tracing to thousands of developers, ensuring a future of breathtakingly realistic games.

Ray Tracing Meets AI

GeForce RTX uses Turing’s 52 teraflops of Tensor Core performance to enable Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS). DLSS starts with a given resolution and uses a trained AI network to construct high-quality, higher resolution gameplay. The result is a clear, crisp image with up to 50% higher performance.

Real-Time Ray Tracing + DLSS = RTX On!

At CES, we announced DLSS will be coming to Battlefield V. While it has been noted that the beauty of ray tracing can come at the cost of some performance, this is overcome with the integration of DLSS. With the addition of DLSS,  Battlefield V is able to run “RTX ON” (ray tracing + DLSS)  and maintain the same frame rate as non-ray tracing (RTX OFF) at 1440p on an RTX 2060.

We also announced DLSS is coming to blockbuster BioWare (EA) title Anthem, which releases in February. And there are dozens of other current and upcoming titles in the pipeline.

Leaner, Meaner, Greener: RTX Brings Big Performance to Sleek Laptops

Demand for gaming laptops has grown dramatically in recent years, driven by their transformation from a compromised platform to a full gaming experience, thanks to Pascal — and now Turing — GPUs and NVIDIA’s Max-Q laptop design approach.

Gaming laptops are the fastest-growing gaming platform, and GeForce gaming laptops sales have grown 10x in five years. A key driver: Max-Q, an innovative approach to crafting the world’s thinnest, fastest, quietest gaming laptops.

Max-Q has enabled a new class GeForce gaming laptops.  With impossibly sleek designs, thinner than 20 mm, narrow bezels, 144 Hz displays and extended battery life. Seventeen Max-Q laptops have already been announced this year, more than double last year’s total number. And overall a record 40+ new RTX models in more than 100 configurations start shipping Jan. 29 from the world’s top OEMs.

RTX Is for Creators

GeForce RTX Desktops and Laptops are great news not just for gamers but for the world’s creator community, whose numbers exceed 20 million. Whether you create complex 3D animations or edit high-resolution videos, you’ll be able to experience a new level of productivity on GeForce RTX.

This week at CES, we announced collaborations with Autodesk and RED for 3D animation and 8K video editing. We also demonstrated how we’re bringing hardware-accelerated ray tracing, AI-enhanced graphics and advanced video processing to our new thin and light GeForce RTX Max-Q laptops.

We also announced a major upgrade to OBS, the standard tool for game broadcasters. With GeForce RTX any game stream can achieve pro-quality from a single gaming rig, or even broadcast on the go from thin and light RTX Max Q laptops.

Finally, we announced we are working with HTC to push the state of the art in virtual reality with foveated rendering using RTX GPUs and HTC’s new Vive Pro Eye headset.

RTX Is the Next Generation of Gaming — and It’s ON!

The RTX 2060, priced at just $349, together with a record 40+ RTX gaming laptops open up the next generation of PC gaming to tens of millions of gamers.

The next generation of gaming is here.

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HTC Vive Pro Eye, NVIDIA RTX and ZeroLight Push State of the Art in VR at CES

Whether you’re building a sleek virtual car buying experience or just want to unwind by taking a few swings of the bat, you’ll want to check out the new HTC Vive Pro Eye headset.

Demonstrating VR’s enormous potential for professional applications and games, HTC VIVE is showing off the eye-tracking capabilities of their new headset powered by NVIDIA RTX GPUs at CES in Las Vegas at the Wynn hotel’s Alsace room.

Visitors to HTC’s booth can experience eye-tracking on the show floor for themselves with ZeroLight virtual auto showroom software and MLB Home Run Derby VR.

These demos not only make VR’s potential for creative professionals and gamers clear, it’s yet another demonstration of how NVIDIA GPUs are propelling VR forward.

Eye tracking combined with a technique called foveated rendering can be used to craft more lifelike VR experiences. The Vive Pro Eye takes advantage of foveated rendering through NVIDIA’s VRWorks Variable Rate Shading (VRS) to tailor the quality of a rendered image to where the user eyes are focused.

VRS is a new rendering feature of the NVIDIA RTX architecture, which applies more GPU shading horsepower to where it will have the most impact, while reducing horsepower to the rest of the image.

This allows for more efficient use of a GPU’s processing power: It no longer needs to render every part of the scene at the same rate.

ZeroLight, powered by the Unity graphics engine, is the premier virtual environment for auto showrooms, used by automakers to help customers configure their cars and see the results in immersive detail.

ZeroLight has implemented NVIDIA VRS technology, combined with eye tracking on the new HTC Vive Pro Eye, to deliver higher image quality while maintaining performance. The result is a more immersive virtual experience.

The Vive Pro Eye will also feature a crisp 2880×1600 resolution, which gives it a pixel count that’s nearly 80 percent higher than the original Vive.

This increased resolution will make games look better than ever and create more immersive gameplay experiences.

Of course, a higher pixel density headset will require a powerful GPU to keep up with it. That’s why we recommend NVIDIA’s VR Ready RTX graphics cards for the best VR experience on Vive Pro Eye.

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They Came, They Gamed, They Went Bonkers: Inside Our CES 2019 Gaming Suite

Seek and you will find. Knock and you will enter.

If you know the right people or, rather, if the right people know you, you’ll be ushered into NVIDIA’s black and green bedecked suite at the serene Wynn Hotel, just a few minutes from the chaos of CES 2019 this week at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

And once you are, boy howdy. Even before the show floor opened Tuesday, NVIDIA has been telling the story of the technologies that will upend gaming in 2019 to key social media influencers — names like Austin Evans and JayzTwoCents — and more than 120 gaming journalists.

Big Game Hunting with GeForce RTX 2060

It’s not hard to find something new. Look one way and you’ll see Atomic Heart, an atmospheric adventure set in the Soviet Union from Moscow-based Mundfish. Look another and you’ll see Justice, a beautifully lit role-playing game from Beijing-based NetEase.

Both are already using NVIDIA’s real-time ray-tracing technology and playing on NVIDIA’s just announced GeForce RTX 2060 GPU, which brings the ray-tracing technology long relied on by moviemakers equipped with sprawling multimillion dollar rendering farms to gamers for just $349.

Five for Fighting: Battlefield V Comes Alive

Perhaps even more impressive: what NVIDIA RTX — including the RTX 2060 — does for games that are already on the market.

Released in November, Battlefield V — the latest edition of one of the gigantic ”AAA” franchises anchoring the gaming industry — already takes advantage of NVIDIA’s RTX real-time ray-tracing technology to bring the Western European Theater in World War II to life with the flair and detail of a Hollywood war movie.

Now Battlefield V is adding support for DLSS, a wild new technology that uses deep learning AI algorithms — powered by computational cores originally used in the world’s fastest supercomputers — to predict what an image on a screen should look like and enhance it, in real time. The result, on display at the Wynn, is a game that looks better and plays faster.

Sudden Change, Years in the Making

More’s coming. Even before NVIDIA launched its latest generation of GeForce RTX gaming GPUs, it had lined up Microsoft, whose software and standards undergird PC gaming, to support the underlying Turing architecture’s innovations.

NVIDIA has also lined up the industry players on whose software high-profile game developers build new games, companies such as Epic Games and Unity. As a result, there’s already a fat pipeline of RTX-enhanced games in development.

Run Fortnite Better, Cheaper, Faster

Another story that pops out at NVIDIA’s gaming suite: even without any tweaks to take advantage of these new technologies, RTX runs today’s biggest games at their best at a lower price than ever.

Guests to NVIDIA’s suite will see Fortnite — the frenetic free for all that has captured the imagination of a generation of gamers — playing at more than 100 frames per second with ultra settings on at 1440p resolution on a GeForce RTX 2060.

Same with Overwatch, another intense multiplayer game that boasts a sprawling installed base.

Nonstop RTX Laptops at CES 2019

The other big gaming news at CES: all these games can be played on the go, with more than 40 new laptops (in over 100 configurations) equipped with NVIDIA RTX GPUs. Among them, 17 thin-and-light models that take advantage of NVIDIA’s Max-Q design.

NVIDIA’s gaming suite was packed with these new laptops.

And they were doing more than just gaming. NVIDIA showed off a TITAN RTX equipped desktop editing 8K RED video, an RTX 2080 equipped laptop deftly editing 6K RED video, and ray-traced animation on a desktop equipped with an RTX 2080 Ti.

Another unlikely trick: a complete desktop game broadcasting setup powered by an RTX 2060 able to do the work of a far pricier dual PC setup. NVIDIA staff even showed off a RTX 2080 powered laptop broadcasting live gaming.

Displaying for Keeps

NVIDIA also showed off a new generation of displays that promise to bring smooth, stutter- and tear-free images to more gamers than other before.

The showstopper: the NVIDIA BFGD 65-inch HP Omen X 65 Emperium. The display anchored a selection of freshly announced monitors equipped with NVIDIA’s G-SYNC technology, which has just been extended to the sprawling array of adaptive sync displays.

The images were rivaled only by the stunning images hung on the walls of the suite, taken with NVIDIA’s Ansel in-game photography tool and displayed alongside reproductions of paintings by Picasso.

Where Cars Are Stars

It’s a big story to take in — and coffee and plenty of NVIDIA staff were on hand to help tell it. This is too big a tale to be told on the show floor — where NVIDIA’s sleek green, gray and white booth, nestled amid pavilions from Audi and Mercedes — was focused on an NVIDIA automotive story showgoers were eager to hear.

Meanwhile, look for the gaming story being told today in the quiet of NVIDIA’s suite in the Wynn to be shouted tomorrow from the rooftops by gaming’s most influential names.

The post They Came, They Gamed, They Went Bonkers: Inside Our CES 2019 Gaming Suite appeared first on The Official NVIDIA Blog.

“Next Gen Is On” with RTX: NVIDIA Opens CES with Launch of GeForce RTX 2060, 40+ Laptop Models

NVIDIA kicked off CES 2019 on Sunday night by outlining sweeping plans to put to work the radical new graphics technology of real-time ray tracing in gaming and content creation in a dizzying array of laptops and desktops.

Speaking to a crowd of nearly a thousand attendees, NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang announced the GeForce RTX 2060, which at $349 makes NVIDIA’s new Turing architecture accessible to tens of millions of PC gamers.

“RTX is here, next gen is on,” said Huang, speaking to a packed house of press, partners and professionals from around the consumer electronics and automotive industries at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Huang’s unveiling of the RTX 2060 was the highlight of a flurry of announcements, including more than 40 new laptop models in 100+ configurations based on new Turing-generation GPUs, and new monitors packed with NVIDIA G-SYNC technology for silky smooth gaming.

“For $349 you can enjoy next generation gaming,” Huang said to broad hoots from the audience. “The long awaited RTX2060 is here.”

Stunning Demos

Kicking off a 90-minute talk studded with stunning demos, Huang explained how Turing represents the biggest shift in real-time graphics since NVIDIA invented the programmable shader more than 15 years ago.

Turing combines support for real-time ray tracing — thanks to its RT Cores — and deep learning — thanks to its Tensor Cores — in addition to a new generation of programmable shaders.

“It learns from great content what it should look like,” he said. “Then, one day, we give it an image and it goes through a network called DLSS and what comes out of it is a beautiful image. This is the neural network we created to improve an image.”

The combination reinvents graphics, allowing designers, artists and developers to create photo-realistic experiences that were only possible in scenes painstakingly generated over days, or weeks, on sprawling render farms.

The approach received immediate industry support from Microsoft, the companies that offer the most widely used game engines, and some of the world’s biggest game developers.

Huang then segued to a stunning demo that’s sure to go viral. Those who have tuned into any of NVIDIA’s recent events know the first part of the tale: a futuristic hero is equipped with armor, with the whole thing rendered in stunning detail, thanks to real-time ray tracing.

This demo, though, has a twist. Our hero launches himself into the sky, before sticking a suitably heroic landing. And then he gets stuck. The takeaway: real-time ray tracing makes real-time cinematic graphics possible.

It was the first of a cavalcade of demos with a single message:  RTX has ushered in a new generation of gaming, with truly cinematic graphics. In addition, new benchmarks, such as 3DMark Port Royal, make it easier to measure the combined impact of RTX’s new features on gaming experiences.

Another showstopper: Anthem, available Feb. 15, a fast-paced game set in a sprawling open world from BioWare, the acclaimed Canadian studio behind the Dragon Age and Mass Effect franchises.

All of these experiences will be more accessible than ever, thanks to the new GeForce RTX 2060. The new graphics card is the ideal upgrade, as games get more demanding and look to trade up to the latest generation of graphics technology, Huang said.

NVIDIA also continues to push forward the state of the art for gaming displays. Launched in 2013, G-SYNC introduced gamers to smooth variable refresh rate gameplay, with no screen tearing and no V-Sync input lag.

Huang announced plans to bring NVIDIA’s expertise with display technology to the broader pool of adaptive sync displays, announcing 12 G-SYNC Compatible displays and bringing silky smooth and beautiful gameplay to more gamers.

Real-Time Ray Tracing on a Laptop

These advancements are supported by a host of new systems from major PC brands featuring GeForce RTX. Gamers can also dip into a range of new thin-and-light laptops featuring Geforce RTX 2080, RTX 2070 and RTX 2060 GPUs. Huang announced a record number of laptops from all the top brands, many of them thin-and-models featuring NVIDIA’s Max-Q design.

These systems make it possible for gamers to enjoy the latest ray-tracing enhanced games — such as Battlefield V — while playing on battery power.

“We’ve redefined mobile gaming,” he said, holding a sleek new notebook on which he played Battlefield V. “This is twice as fast as Playstation Pro.”

And content creators will be able to free themselves from bulky workstations, rendering animations and editing high-definition video content on the go.

There are 8 million people who broadcast games, many using OBS, the world standard for coding and streaming. And there are many who use VR. And content creation, too.

As a result, Huang announced that RTX will be able to use Autodesk Arnold for interactive rendering. RTX will be able to be used to do 8K RED video editing.

And we’re partners with OBS on pro-quality broadcast streaming on a single PC, rather than the two that are currently required. RTX can also be used for high-end VR — with VirtualLink — a single wire that connects the GPU to the head mounted display — and other features with HTC, which the company will announce later at CES.

All this is “so we could create the perfect GPU for gamers, rather than just the perfect gaming GPU,” Huang said.

The post “Next Gen Is On” with RTX: NVIDIA Opens CES with Launch of GeForce RTX 2060, 40+ Laptop Models appeared first on The Official NVIDIA Blog.