Imagination Technologies Ray Tracing Graphics Cores Provide New Opportunities for Unity Devs
|Stuart Parkerson in Mobile Tech Wednesday, March 19, 2014|
Imagination Technologies has launched a new family of graphics IP cores that enable more immersive games and apps with real-life dynamic lighting models that enable advanced lighting effects, dynamic soft shadows, and life-like reflections and transparencies.
The real gee whiz part of this announcement is the power of ray tracing that creates photo-realistic images by accurately tracing paths of light. This “Wizard” architecture is a ray tracing-enabled version of the Imagination Technologies PowerVR Series6XT Rogue architecture which adds new features to the pipeline, enabling accurate real time modeling of fully dynamic lights and shadows.
PowerVR GR6500 is the first member of the new Wizard family of cores designed to bring real-time, interactive ray traced graphics to a broad range of consumer and mobile platforms, as well as gaming consoles and mainstream gaming PCs, workstations and servers.
The announcement is on the heels of a new Unity 5 platform which promises the most advanced lighting system in the games industry. Unity has said that it will incorporate Imagination Technologies real-time ray tracing technology in Unity 5.
Unity and other developer platforms will continue to raise the bar on power grabbing games and Imagination Technologies new graphics IP cores are the company’s answer to keeping mobile gamers happy. The technology could enhance traditional game development allowing developers to easily add high quality and dynamic shadows, reflections, transparencies, global-lighting, ambient occlusion and more.
According to the company, “Enabling ray tracing capability in consumer devices required a fundamental breakthrough in the algorithms used within ray tracing, as well as the careful addition of optimized fixed function blocks in the GPU to allow ray tracing operations to be performed within the power consumption and bandwidth budgets available in today’s mainstream consumer devices.”
With Imagination’s Wizard Ray Tracing family, patented custom hardware engines ensure the GPU’s processor clusters are kept free to run sophisticated shaders, producing stunning results with minimal developer effort. The hardware ray tracing processors, including coherence gathering engines, fixed function intersection testing array and accelerated scene hierarchy generator, receive rays from the shaders, determine their intersection and initiates more shaders.
The company says that, “PowerVR Wizard GPUs can enable a broad range of other capabilities for developers that would either be impossible, low quality or too inefficient using standard techniques. Examples include lens distortion correction, lenticular display rendering, multi-perspective rendering, targeted rendering to points of interest, line-of-sight calculations, collision detection and more.”
The combination of efficient shading clusters and low-bandwidth ray tracing will enable developers to bring a new level of quality and enhanced realism to their apps and games. For example, ray tracing can add a superior shadowing or lighting solution to existing games while allowing game developers to preserve the vast majority of the investment that they have already made in their game engines and tools. In addition, dynamic generation of assets in-game will streamline the content creation workflow and save distribution costs by reducing the size of the game files.
The net effect is an architecture that can perform ray tracing operations around 100 times as efficiently as performing the same operation using GPGPU functionality.
PowerVR GR6500 features:
- Ray tracing: 300 MRPS (million rays per second) and 100 MDTPS (million dynamic triangles per second) at 600 MHz
- Shading: Four Unified Shading Clusters (USCs), with 128 ALU cores delivering in excess of 150 GFLOPS (FP32) or 300 GFLOPS (FP16) at 600 MHz
- PowerGearing G6XT for advanced power management and dynamic resource allocation
- PVR3C triple compression technologies (PVRTC and ASTC for texture compression, PVRIC for frame buffer compression, PVRGC for geometry compression)
- Deep Color support for very high image quality at Ultra HD resolutions and beyond
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