The European video game publisher CRYTEK makes games, publishes games, and helps you create your own games — that latter business is accomplished by their physics engine CRYENGINE. Like most third-party engines out there, CRYENGINE is free to download and develop with, but if you sell something with it, CRYTEK gets a royalty cut of each sale. (Unless your product is a flop — the company does not count the first $5,000 earned.)

CRYTEK revealed this week they’ve figured out how to implement real-time ray tracing in the CRYENGINE and will be adding it later this year. What is ray tracing? CRYTEK explains it this way:

Ray tracing is a rendering technique that simulates complex lighting behaviors. Realism is achieved by simulating the propagation of discreet fractions of energy and their interaction with surfaces. With contemporary GPUs, ray tracing has become more widely adopted by real-time applications like video games, in combination with traditionally less resource hungry rendering techniques like cube maps, utilized where applicable.

You may still be confused. But that’s OK. It makes better reflections, basically. Ray tracing has been used in CGI animation for decades, but only recently has real-time rendering power improved enough to start using it in games. You can see everything ray tracing is capable of in CRYTEK’s demo video below.

Real-time ray tracing will become a feature in CRYENGINE later in 2019.

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