Intel’s efforts to implement path tracing on integrated graphics

Nvidia, in collaboration with CD Projekt Red, integrated ray tracing technology into “Cyberpunk 2077,” thereby introducing the RT Overdrive mode. “Cyberpunk 2077” became the fourth game to receive ray tracing technology, following “Quake 2: RTX,” “Minecraft,” and “Portal.”

As the roster of games supporting ray tracing technology expands, other GPU manufacturers may be incited to offer support. Recently, Intel unveiled the latest advancements of its engineering team in ray tracing and neural graphics research, endeavoring to accomplish a more efficient ray tracing rendering, thereby enabling integrated graphics to achieve real-time ray tracing. Intel recently presented three papers at SIGGRAPH, EGSR, and HPG, elucidating new ray tracing optimizations, designed to reduce the computational burden required for simulating light reflections, thereby enhancing GPU performance.

Sampling Visible GGX Normals with Spherical Caps Fig. 1

In the first paper, Intel proposed a novel method for calculating GGX microfacet surface reflections. As a graphic technique to simulate light bouncing in different directions, the new approach simplifies materials into a hemispherical mirror, making the simulation process more straightforward. The second paper demonstrated a more effective method for rendering shimmering surfaces in a 3D environment, considering the average number of visible shimmers per pixel, allowing the GPU to render the precise quantity of visible shimmers. The third paper introduced a more efficient way to construct photographic trajectories under varying lighting scenarios. The final outcome is a more efficient rendering technology that outputs complex direct lighting effects in real time.

While these three technologies can’t guarantee the seamless operation of ray tracing on integrated graphics, Intel aims to enhance the core rendering of ray tracing to improve the real-time ray tracing performance of future integrated and standalone graphics cards.