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Khronos will discuss "standardized ray tracing" at GDC - AMD and Nvidia will be there

What should we expect from Vulkan?

Vulkan receives a major update with version 1.2 - Brings Developer-focused changes

Khronos will discuss "standardised ray tracing" at GDC - AMD and Nvidia will be there

To date, only one retail game has delivered raytracing support through the Vulkan API, Wolfenstein Youngblood. If you want to include more games in this list, you'll need to include Vulkan-based projects like Quake II RTX and other non-retail releases. 

As it stands, the Vulkan API lacks support for raytracing. Yes, Nvidia has released RTX specific extensions for Vulkan raytracing, but this support is hardware exclusive and lacks the multi-platform/multi-vendor raytracing support that Microsoft's DXR (DirectX Raytracing) delivers.

At GDC 2020, the Khronos Group plans to discuss "Ray Tracing in Vulkan" with engineers from AMD, Intel and Nvidia. That's right all three major PC GPU makers will be there.  This makes a lot of sense, as standardised ray tracing support will require support for multiple hardware vendors, and AMD's Radeon Technologies Group has plans to enter the ray tracing arena soon. 

Sadly, we do not know what form Khronos' ray tracing implementation will take. Still, given Khronos' recent moves with Vulkan 1.2, we guess that Vulkan will closely align with Microsoft and its DXR implementation. Vulkan 1.2 already supports HLSL (DirectX's Shading Language) with support for up to Shader Model 6.2. Support for Shader Model 6.3 will bring with it support for DXR HLSL code, and this code should be usable with Vulkan's planned raytracing implementation. 

Why align so closely with Microsoft? The simple answer is that multi-platform game releases will likely come to Microsoft's next-generation console, the Xbox Series X, and with that comes the need to utilise DirectX 12. Aligning with Microsoft with regards to raytracing will make it easier for developers to utilise their existing code with Vulkan, or create new code which will function in both DirectX 12 and Vulkan.  

At this time, it is unknown when official ray tracing support will come to Vulkan, though we should expect to bear more at GDC. 

Vulkan receives a major update with version 1.2 - Brings Developer-focused changes

You can join the discussion on Khronos' plans for Vulkan raytracing support on the OC3D Forums

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