Turn 10 May Reveal Real-Time Ray Tracing in Forza Motorsport 8 at the Game Developers Conference

A first look at Forza Motorsport 8 may be just around the corner. At this year’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, Turn 10 will be discussing ray tracing techniques, with likely applications to the next chapter in the Forza Motorsport series.

What is ray tracing? Simply put, the goal is to treat light in a video game as if it were in the real world. The rendering technique works by tracing the path of light and simulating its effect on various objects, all in real time. The result is shadows and reflections just like those you’d see in the real world, further blurring the lines between screens and reality.

Up until now, ray tracing has largely been a pipe-dream in the video game space, as it requires too much horsepower to run efficiently. While that changed for PC-goers with the advent of Nvidia’s RTX 2000 series of video cards, the tech is finally making its way to console players as well.

Both of this year’s next-generation games consoles will feature hardware-accelerated support for ray tracing. Sony’s PS5 and the Xbox Series X will allow games creators and artists to implement the technique. That’s left us wondering how it will be put to use, and all signs point to the next Forza Motorsport title taking advantage of ray tracing.

We’ve already seen Polyphony Digital’s work on ray tracing in GT Sport. Although the PS4 is not capable of it, chances are we’ll see real-time ray tracing on a PS5 Gran Turismo game. As with Sony, so with Microsoft, and during a programming and visual arts session at this year’s GDC, Turn 10 also will discuss the technique.

The description of the session, presented by Turn 10’s procedural technical director Diego Garzon reads as follows:

This lecture will examine Turn 10 approach to placing dynamic lighting baking probes used in modern real time raytracing techniques. We explore the techniques used, and what can be improved in future implementations. The use of real time raytracing is rapidly increasing the complexity of our worlds. This talk aims to share our approaches to some of these challenges with the hope that other studios and industry professional can improve their workflows.

It’s a surefire sign that T10 has been working on real-time ray-tracing with the developer versions of the new Xbox console. The studio’s creative director Chris Esaki has been talking about the development of Forza Motorsport 8 in recent weeks, and it seems pretty likely that the game will feature the technique.

However, the new console is missing out on first-party exclusives for at least a year while Microsoft continues to support the Xbox One. As the old console isn’t capable of rendering real-time ray tracing, it may suggest that there’s going to be a regular version and a graphically enhanced Series X version of the game.

In 2017, Turn 10’s Travis Gosnell discussed how Forza 7 used laser scanning and photogrammetry to create realistic environments. While this won’t be a grand reveal, it might be our first peek at the game until E3 in June. Stay tuned!

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