Gathering Feedback: Open Problems in Real-Time Raytracing

For HPG 2018‘s keynote (co-located / two days before SIGGRAPH 2018) I’ll be discussing some of the latest advances in game raytracing, but most notably some of the open problems.


With DXR making raytracing more accessible, and bringing us one step closer to “real-time raytracing for the masses”, the gap between offline and real-time is significantly getting smaller. To that, tailoring some of the existing offline raytracing approaches to real-time doesn’t happen overnight, can’t be done 1:1 nor free of compromises, as many of you saw in our GDC/DigitalDragons PICA PICA presentations. Existing offline approaches are definitely not free of problems, as raytracing literature and algorithms have originally be designed with offline in mind.

HPG is a great forum for discussing these sort of things since lots of folks in research are definitely interested in what DXR can enable for their research, want to know what problems we are trying to solve, and how their research can be adopted by the games industry.

That said, I would appreciate any feedback from fellow developers & researchers about what you think are the most important open problems in real-time raytracing. Already have a few, but definitely interested in hearing your thoughts on the matter.

Feel free to answer here, tweet at me, or privately. Additionally, if you’re around Vancouver for SIGGRAPH you should consider attending HPG. Schedule is shaping up to be pretty awesome! 🙂

So, what’s your #1 open problem with real-time raytracing?

SIGGRAPH 2017 – Past, Present and Future Challenges of Global Illumination in Games

This post is part of the series “Finding Next-Gen“.

Just got back from Los Angeles, where I presented in the Open Problems in Real-Time Rendering Course at this year’s SIGGRAPH:

Global illumination (GI) has been an ongoing quest in games. The perpetual tug-of-war between visual quality and performance often forces developers to take the latest and greatest from academia and tailor it to push the boundaries of what has been realized in a game product. Many elements need to align for success, including image quality, performance, scalability, interactivity, ease of use, as well as game-specific and production challenges.

First we will paint a picture of the current state of global illumination in games, addressing how the state of the union compares to the latest and greatest research. We will then explore various GI challenges that game teams face from the art, engineering, pipelines and production perspective. The games industry lacks an ideal solution, so the goal here is to raise awareness by being transparent about the real problems in the field. Finally, we will talk about the future. This will be a call to arms, with the objective of uniting game developers and researchers on the same quest to evolve global illumination in games from being mostly static, or sometimes perceptually real-time, to fully real-time.

You can also download my slides with notes here.

Super grateful to have been part of this initiative. Lots of great content was presented. Thanks to everyone who came to the course!