When will path tracing engines be used for games?

Looking at the path tracing engine called “Brigade” i was wondereing if path tracing engines might some day become the standard renderengines used in games. Obviously path tracing engines are way more accurate, and they look a heck of a lot better! But they are currently not that fast.

Do you think that some day, processing power will be strong enough to render games in realtime using path tracing?
Please tell me your opinion :slight_smile:

EDIT: So apparently somebody have already attempted to make a game with Brigade

I wouldn’t personally say that path-tracing is more accurate or looks better currently. It’s noisy and choppy, as the videos you posted show. Sometime soon, you might find path-tracing to have gotten to the point where current / next-gen graphics will be with the capabilities of deferred lighting and other advanced techniques. I do like path-tracing, and it would be cool to see it integrated into a game engine, but I don’t think it currently is ready for game engines.

There’s currently no hardware available to render out a fully pathtraced game at 60 FPS with no noise, the brigade demos are pretty and contain the first gameplay scenes with true reflection and refraction effects (as in, no cubemaps or textures), but there’s little incentive to add a mode to the BGE where the Cycles engine renders the game because you perhaps have only a very small number of users who could take advantage of it (compounded by the fact that most of this is Nvidia only until AMD can improve their OpenCL drivers).

I am aware that, path tracing engines aren’t ready for game engines yet. But i still hold on to that, they look way better. The problem with the noise would hopefully get solved, as more and more people start developing it. Just look at the evolution of say PS3 games. When the PS3 came out, the games were not a lot better looking than the PS2 games. Now 6 years later, on the same consoles graphics have gotten way better. That’s because people learn new techniques and ways to improve graphics on the same hardware.

My point is that, if more people started developing realtime path tracing engines, they would evolve very fast.

I wasn’t really talking about blender game engine, being rendered with cycles. More game engines in general.

You’re right, but I think that in the time that it takes for realtime path tracing engines to get to smooth, noise-less graphical output, traditional polygon-based engines would be pretty much there quality-wise (path-tracing level graphics). You mentioned the jump between PS3 on launch and 6 years afterward - I’d think that it would take at least six years for path tracing to get to a usable state, even on perfect hardware. At that point, we’d be looking at the generation after this generation that’s coming up (PC / Wii U 2 / PS5 / XBOX One 2, or whatever). Basically, I’m not sure if we’d see a huge difference between Unreal Engine 5 and Brigade at that point.

Cool tech, yeah, and it really looks good. I just don’t know if it’ll be really usable for game engines in time. In any case, I’d always welcome more alternatives to game development.

Good grief, that demo is unsettling. If I ever need to make something horror movie like, I’ll just watch techdemos for inspiration.

As for the topic, doubtlessly. Every programmer I hear anout pathtracing keeps mentioning how easy a decently written pathtracer is to maintain, because it doesn’t require all those annoying hacks like cubemapping, reflectionmapping, spherical harmonics and etcetera.

Though I think, right now we’re most likely going to see the first raytraced commercial game from an indie or experimental developer, made for the indie market. The graphics are good enough to let a good art team go wild with it, but if you would put it in a AAA game… Well, let’s say there’s going to be thousands of whiny gamers asking “why this game looks so grainy on my nice super-hd screens, what a waste of technology this is”.

Oh, and not to mention ‘games journalists’ who will give their ‘proffesional opinion’ that it looks shit.

If this hypothetical development team was smart, they’d frame the noise as a story element: You are exploring the gameworld through a rather dodgy camera.

We are starting to see path tracing used in traditional rasterizer based engines such as Unreal Engine 4 through the use of voxel cone tracing. This is the way you are likely to see things like ray tracing and path tracing in games, to enhance visuals instead of replacing them.