The non-profit industry, Khronos Group has been working behind curtains ever since Nvidia announced RTX technology. With that said, Khronos group has recently announced Vulkan universal ray-tracing support.
This is big news as ray-tracing technology now will not be limited by hardware capabilities. This works in a manner where an image is generated by detecting the path of light as pixels in an image plane. Further on it simulates the effects of its encounter through virtual objects. Khronos Group published different provisional extensions that enable using this technology with the onboard Vulkan API (Application programming interface).
If we look into the history of Vulkan, this technology was based on AMD’s (Advanced Micro Devices) Mantle API. Later onwards, it was also present on the Playstation 4 and Xbox One APUs. We also had a taste of the capabilities of this technology in the Vulkan enabled AAA title DOOM 2016. 4
This works very similar to the DirectX Raytracing (DXR) method and is the first open-source API solution. It is nice knowing the Red, Blue and Green Team are working with Khronos to create a standardize API. Intel’s XE GPU line may also make use of the upcoming technology.
The extensions found on Khronos Group’s website are free of use for public and favor both cross-platform and cross-vendors. The senior graphics system software engineer at Nvidia and Vulkan ray-tracing task subgroup chair at Khronos, Daniel Koch issued the following statement in the press release:
The overall architecture of Vulkan ray-tracing will be familiar to users of existing proprietary ray tracing APIs
Koch also addressed that the latest Vulkan standard porting will be straightforward while introducing more functionality and application flexibility. While this news is still hot, having standardized Vulkan API support will make it easier to have games support ray tracing on all platforms like Windows, Mac, Xbox, PlayStation.
Since it is not possible to use DXR (DirectX Raytracing) on a non-Microsoft platform, Vulkan maybe that leap of faith which will enable the luxury of using ray tracing for both console users and budget pc gamers. However, this will only be possible if embracing the APIs is as easy as Vulkan claims it to be. Only time can prove if our doubts are wrong or right.