Sony’s PS4: Ray Traced Games A Possiblity

One of the biggest developments in the PC Gaming Arena, and something that is set to take off in the next couple of years, is Ray traced games. Ray tracing is a method of producing graphics by tracing the path of light through pixels, using a vast array of optical techniques such as “Refraction, Reflection, Scattering, and Chromatic Aberration”, and is the most photo-realistic image generator around.

So, what would it take to get this kind of tech into a console? We know that the PS3 is capable of 204 GFLOPS processing power..

The story is too old to be commented.
OpenGL2819d ago

Honestly, a 3.8GHz Cell with 4 PPEs and 32 SPEs would be pretty awesome.

ExplosionSauce2819d ago (Edited 2819d ago )

I thought the PS3 was already able to perform some minimal ray-tracing.
Like on Gran Turismo. I looked that up.

I'm sure in a few years from now in the next generation, we'll see ray-tracing be applied more efficiently.

jetlian2819d ago

they needed 3 ps3 to do it. The problem right now is ray tracing isn't really made for real time.

ExplosionSauce2819d ago (Edited 2819d ago )

No, that was pretty much full ray-tracing that was done with the three PS3s.
I'm talking about the ray-tracing used in GT5 that is mainly noticeable in the menu and pre-race car screens. It was real time, but not exactly in-game.

Anyway, I'm thinking devs are going to use other options instead.

ABizzel12819d ago

Sounds nice, but the PS4 won't be here in 2011, and by the time the PS4 does come out, while the tech will still be impressive, there will be something even better, or at least it'll be modified to better fit the PS4 and use a lot less power.

EIther way the next gen of consoles should be pumping out some very impressive graphics. Ratchet and Clank looking like a Pixar film won't be an exaggeration by any means.

Tachyon_Nova2819d ago

jetlian - the problem isnt that raytracing isnt made for realtime, its that the ps3 (and 360) arent made for real time ray tracing.

jetlian2819d ago

really if your talking about ray tracing above whats out now your not gonna see it even on PC. People seem to think realtime cutscenes and gameplay are the same ... they aren't. When you add AI, Camera, and physics your not gonna see it.

They can do ray tracing now but it won't look better than stuff already out.

now does that look better than GT5? NOPE

UltraNova2819d ago

I would be more than happy if the next gen consoles support NATIVE FULL HD at a minimum 60fps games as standard!

inveni02819d ago

Did you listen to the audio in that clip? It states that the whole scene is rendered in realtime with no assistance from a graphics processor. That's pretty impressive.

aCasualGamer2819d ago (Edited 2819d ago )

Does this mean more power for future PS4 console? So, better looking games than Uncharted 2 and Killzone 2?

WOW! I love this industry so much right now! If they release a PS4 in 2011 i will buy it first day, i don't give a damn if it's more expensive.

nickjkl2819d ago

their gonna go insane with ram like they did with cpu
gonna add the ability to record game play and take screen shots
stay with blu ray
gonna up the gpu

everything else can be added with soft ware

such as
video picutre music editing custon dynamic themes custom visualizations things that can be on the ps3 that will be on the ps4 to make it a worth while jump

ProjectVulcan2819d ago (Edited 2819d ago )

It seems that some sites and less educated people on the matter think that real time fully ray traced games is the holy grail but in truth, rasterization still has a lot to offer and being developed for many many years, has become extremely sophisticated to the point the use of ray tracing in games might be best staying as simply an additional effect rather than building a game with a fully ray traced engine.

Most developers are cautious about the technique, John Carmack himself realises that rasterization will be reaching a level very soon that will probably decrease the point of a full ray traced game. Here, have a read about some realities and myths expoded about ray tracing.

The article makes the very good point that basic ray tracing as seen in Nvidia demos and Intel demos is absolutely not even close to the level employed by advanced films for photorealism, which in turn limit their own use of ray tracing due to time contraints, even despite having days to render a frame and not the fraction of a second needed to run a realtime game!

The article has a very sobering conclusion, but if you are interested in this sort of thing, you will find it very enlightening.

ExplosionSauce2819d ago (Edited 2819d ago )

You're right. This still looks better :P
But I thought PD confirmed the use of it(small amount) during menu/car screens a while back.
And even though it's not used in-game. I think it still looks pretty good.

CimmerianDrake2819d ago

You're all assuming that Sony is going to go with the mega tech intensive route again for the next gen. Kaz said he's bringing in developers to help design the PS4, so expect it to focus more on ease of development than tech. That's not to say that it won't have impressive technology, but for the first time since the beginning of the brand, Ken Kutaragi is NOT designing the newest Playstation console. He's a hardware engineer by trade, and he is Playstation. Kaz is more software oriented so I really doubt it will have the kind of leap the PS3 had over the PS2.

Hideo_Kojima2818d ago

I think all GT5 is missing is

GT5 modules with raytracing to this degree would make it so so soooo much more realistic even though GT5 already looks very real.

But hey they need to live something out so that we can get an even awesomer GT6

+ Show (11) more repliesLast reply 2818d ago
ALFAxD_CENTAURO2819d ago (Edited 2819d ago )

The problem is the price.

Sony always innovating in the entertainment and gaming. They included PS2 with DVD, PS3 Blu ray, Cell CPU and other tech.

What they will introduce on PS4?
I don't doubt if the next PlayStation will cost again $600.

acedoh2819d ago

I think SONY learned about high price launches. Plus when the next, next gen starts the tech will be so much cheaper. It will be interesting to see what route will they take. Will it be the conservative motion control route or a more hardcore approach? That is why I kind of hope motion control doesn't take over.

jetlian2819d ago

Ace about it being cheaper. the chip isn't coming til 2012-13 which is when the next system should appear

CellularDivinization2819d ago

The Cell? Innovative? But wasn't it based on 70's supercomputer tech?

Sarcasm2819d ago

"I think SONY learned about high price launches."

Not exactly, if that was the case then the PSPgo would have came out at $199 from the get go.

Actually... maybe they will learn from that. Who knows.

nickjkl2819d ago

ace doh

remember the blu ray was the reason the ps3 was expensive at the time it was the most expensive component in the ps3 and thats pretty much solved they wont be releasing another disc format next gen

i mean come on if they released another disc format japans anime industry will be wrecked they are already releasing 2 episodes of 30 minute anime on one disc anything bigger and people are gonna be pissed all that unused space that they could of put another few episodes on

+ Show (2) more repliesLast reply 2819d ago
Nihilism2819d ago (Edited 2819d ago )

Tflops is theoretical peak performance and means absolutely nothing in terms of real world performance, the GTX480 at stock clocks is 1.34496 Tflops and there is no way in hell you would be able to Ray-Trace even a 640x480 scene with quad SLI. Not gonna happen.


lol, that is with a cluster of PS3's and it is also a still image.

NVM, I look forward to ray tracing and a 1080p 120fps standard next gen *snigger*

ct032819d ago

It will be a long time before games are fully raytraced. A very long time.

JVIV2819d ago (Edited 2819d ago )


evrfighter2819d ago

LOL dude

that looks like less than 15fps @ less than 720p in a scene where NOTHING is happening.

I've been following Ray Tracing for awhile. It's not even remotely close to being ready for gaming.

atticus142819d ago

Dont buy into this hype, ray tracing is still so far off its not even funny. But on the upside Devs are bound to develop many new tricks on future hardware - to where you wont even desire ray tracing anymore.

Tachyon_Nova2819d ago

DX11 added minimal support for ray-tracing, and by 2012 DX12 will be out, which could well support it properly. By then we will also have been through another generation of intel cpu's and nvidia/ati graphics cards, so i think 2012/13 is certainly possible.

Otheros002819d ago (Edited 2819d ago )

Your link's from 2008 before IBM drop the cell.
Don't believe me. Look at the date of the comments.

zaz122819d ago

I know, I want you to see what could be possible. and IBM never droped the cell they have just changed their plans look here

Snakefist302819d ago (Edited 2819d ago )

I hope they give 2GB or 4GM RAM and a Good Graphics Card on the PS4!!

frostypants2819d ago (Edited 2819d ago )

The catch with real-time ray tracing is that while it is fantastic in reproducing lighting effects, in order to make it render smoothly in real time, it could actually be necessary to scale BACK other effects and animations...meaning that while the lighting looks better, other aspects may have to look more computer generated to pull it off, at least until a certain level of processing power is achieved. Like any other graphics effect, it's a trade-off.

Look at the Nvidia Optix demos on youtube. Fantastic lighting, but there are obvious FPS issues at times, and they look very CG.

So the question becomes this: while consoles may be able to pull off ray tracing, will they be able to do so without downgrading other effects in the process?

And if you ever want to see THIS level of ray tracing in real time:
...we'll have to wait for the 800 Teraflop GPUs that this article touches upon. We're probably about 10-15 years away from that.

MNicholas2819d ago (Edited 2819d ago )

in GT5's garage view.

It can't be done in game because it basically requires the Cell processor to run full-tilt on ray-tracing rather than physics, ai, etc.

Ray-tracing isn't really feasible on PC GPUs due to architectural limitations.

GPU Raytracing (on 3 Nvidia F100) demonstrates a pathetic 2fps.

14 Cell processors do the following scene at 1080P x 30-60fps which means, because the Cell is scalable, 1 Cell processor can do it at 2-4 fps.

For comparison, the Centrino Duo could only manage 68 minutes/frame.

Ray-tracer running with all full ray-tracing features enabled @ 720P on 1 PS3 (6 SPUs x 3.2ghz) at 4-6fps (no GPU assistance, Cell only):

3 Million triangle terrain rendered @ 720P with 4xMSAA or 1080P without MSAA done entirely on 1 Cell processor (8xspu @ 2.4ghz) with no GPU.

steve30x2819d ago

GPU Raytracing (on 3 Nvidia F100) demonstrates a pathetic 2fps.

This is untrue. When I enable SLI that particular program wont run so that must be run on one GPU. I have two GTX470's btw. I have to disable SLI fot the garage to run.

MarkNicholas2818d ago

At 0:25 into the video.

"what's in the box is three GF100s. They're working collaboratively to accelerate the ray tracing"

steve30x2817d ago

I have two GTX470's in my box. Does that mean that I have to have SLI enabled all the time? No it doesnt. Just because there are three GPU's in there it doesnt mean they are running SLI to run that program.

Sharingan_no_Kakashi2819d ago

Ugh. I'm sorry, but every time i hear ray trace I cringe. It produces lovely graphics in 3dsmax but it takes so freaking long to render. I hate using ray tracer. Though it would be lovely on ps4.

FanboyPunisher2818d ago

You need to understand technology is far beyond this in technology.

Cell - is dead compaired to tech today, its a joke.
Its the gpus that will make this happen, nothing else, 1TFlop zaz12 noob.

avengers19782818d ago

Don't the consoles need more Ram. I mean isn't that the real problem with current consoles.
I really think that gaming machines are going to hit a wall soon. I can't really imagine games looking better than they do currently, but other improvements like game play options, length of campaign, overall content in game, and fewer glitches(bugs). Oh and load times, can we get some faster load times please.

+ Show (9) more repliesLast reply 2817d ago
theonlylolking2819d ago

If they use this then games this gen will look disgusting in comparison.

Tachyon_Nova2819d ago (Edited 2819d ago )

They for the most part (except for a handful of PS3 exclusives) already do compared to what I've been playing since 2007!

Trroy2819d ago (Edited 2819d ago )

Ray tracing isn't used in games because, for the quality it produces, its too expensive. You can ALWAYS use that horsepower for more triangles, better pixel shaders, etc.

Ray tracing will *never* be used for games... ever. You'll always be able to one up it, with the same hardware, using triangle rasterization. Why burn power on a technique that is grossly less efficient, in terms of quality/time, no matter how much power you have?


Less efficient now but in the next couple of years it'll be efficient.

kaveti66162819d ago

It won't be any more efficient in the next couple of years; it will just be doable.

I agree with Trroy, for a particular quality ray-traced image, a much better rasterized image can be produced for the same cost or less. Why would anyone choose ray-tracing then?

kneon2819d ago

Ray tracing has been around for decades, with very underpowered hardware, so a lot of really smart people have spent a lot of time trying to make it efficient. It is inherently compute intensive, and while more efficiency gains will continue to be made don't be expecting any drastic improvements.

OpenGL2819d ago

I don't know if I would say *never* but it is still more than a console generation away.

Nihilism2819d ago (Edited 2819d ago )

Oh wow, the article actually based their entire assumption that the next gen of games would be ray-traced on the nvidia statement that games can be ray-traced on a GT200 card.

I used Nvidias ray-tracing program on my GTX280 ( which is a GT200 card ), guess how many frames it rendered at at 1080p.....about 1 frame per second, so yeah, unless you like 1 frame per second games, it's not going to happen, nevermind the fact that that 1 frame per second was with a still object and only one car on screen, lolololololol

Also lol at this site using theoretical peak performance as a measure of the cards potential real world performance, it is literally an equation based on the sum parts of a card that NO ONE will ever reach unless they achieve 100% perfect programming.

"No matter Sony’s hardware choice, with the technology on offer as of next year, it’s pretty clear that the PS4 & Xbox 720 should both support real-time Ray traced games – the only real hurdle is always going to be the cost, and whether or not it is economically feasible to the company to implement."

ahahahahaha, I love how they are so irrationally misinformed and then they come to a conclusion like that. This is the sort of journalism we have to put up with, people who know nothing about technology saying what the future holds or what the consoles are capable of.


But by that time when it is more efficient there will be rival methods far more efficient still. If developers always chose the bext option visually regardless of the performance penalty, games would all be using SSAA, developers always use smoke and mirrors, they will never use ray-tracing because of it's performance hit, I think i'll take John Carmack's word over your on that.

KingKiff2819d ago (Edited 2819d ago )

Good stuff.


Talking sense to some people is like getting blood from a stone. There are some gross over estimates of power of the next gen of consoles floating around at the moment.

They will not be a god damn super computer like they are suggesting.

kneon2819d ago

Well it's still better than the hours/frame I was getting doing ray tracing back in university :) And that was only at VGA resolution. We're a long way off from affordable real time ray tracing at HD resolutions.

But even if they could do it (eventually), it doesn't necessarily mean that they should.

OpenGL2819d ago

Even a couple of GTX 480s in SLI will struggle with ray-tracing, and those are 3 billion transistor GPUs!

Tachyon_Nova2819d ago (Edited 2819d ago )

Sure, but consider that a 100% improvement in efficieny is surely attainable over the next 2 years, and that your graphics card is less than half as strong as a 5970, and that in two years there will be a card at least twice as strong as a 5970, and that you could triple sli the bastard, then you will be up to a theoretical frame rate of around 24 frames for 1 object by 2012/13! Yeah actually, that sucks.

Enate2819d ago

There are some over estimations of power period not just in consoles.

NewsForMe2818d ago

So all that have to do is make the card 60 times better, no problem there.

+ Show (3) more repliesLast reply 2818d ago
Z7772819d ago (Edited 2819d ago )

but don't forget that more pixels= much more space required on disc. lets just hope Nintendo and Microsoft turn to bluray if thats the case.

OpenGL2819d ago

Uhh.... what? Rendering resolution has absolutely nothing to do with the disc medium. If you're talking about texture resolution you could fit higher resolution textures on a Blu-ray, but it's likely that RAM limitations will be an issue first.

Trroy2819d ago (Edited 2819d ago )

Ha! Z777's post is the funniest I've read in a long time. +bubble for funny.

zaz122819d ago

resolution has nothing to do with disk space, but high res textures (needed to match the high res) need more disk space.

frostypants2819d ago (Edited 2819d ago )

Because, Trroy, if there's a surplus of horsepower, efficiency isn't important. You do what looks better, regardless of "cost". Eventually we'll hit a point where complete photo-realism is possible with ray-tracing...a level that is not possible with the techniques you refer to.

There's a reason why ray-tracing exists for still images and pre-processed special effects, and a reason why these graphics technologies are moving towards support of it. These people aren't idiots.

Drac2819d ago

The other thing to remember is due to its very nature Ray Tracing is very much a parallel process, and like every other scene building technique there's tricks to speed up the process, (eg voxels).

+ Show (3) more repliesLast reply 2818d ago
darthawesome902819d ago

Looks amazing. There have been several articles about ray-tracing and they all say the same thing, the future looks sweet. In fact there are several companies trying to make this more efficient and easier to use for devs.

I only have one question: How much development time will this add to games? I don't feel like waiting 10 years for Gran Turismo 6 or Final Fantasy. I would rather sacrifice graphics in favor of a better story and longetivity.

mrmcygan2819d ago

I can't even imagine how graphics will look next generation

KingKiff2819d ago

Not much better than this gen and no where near as good as current PC games...

ExplosionSauce2819d ago

"no where near as good as current PC games"?
Don't be a fanboy.

That was the same mentality people had last generation and the previous one to that as well.

KingKiff2819d ago (Edited 2819d ago )

"That was the same mentality people had last generation and the previous one to that as well. "

Did you ever stop to consider that they where correct???

DUH MATE!!! If you couldn't already tell the last 2 generation's of console games have been well behind the PC games of the time...

I am no fanboy, you are if you think that any console games are as good looking as the same period PC games. Think before you type mate.

ExplosionSauce2819d ago (Edited 2819d ago )

I'm saying that next console generation can be better than the current PC games(now).

I never said console games will look better than PC games at the same time/period.

steve30x2817d ago

If the hardware is as powerful or a little more powerful as a high end PC gaming PC then the next gen games will look much better. I just hope they use Tesselation.

+ Show (1) more replyLast reply 2817d ago
Tachyon_Nova2819d ago (Edited 2819d ago )

The first games for PS4/Xbox3 will probably look around about as good as say Uncharted 2 with slightly upgraded textures, better lighting, and in 1080P 3D with atleast 8xAA equivalent. By mid way through the generation I would expect to see games eclipsing Crysis's graphics, although perhaps with smaller play areas> By about the 6th/7th year, we should see games looking like Metro2033 maxed out.

All games next gen must surely be in 1080P with substantial anti-aliasing and interactive environments.

zaz122819d ago