Real-time Ray-Tracing (RTX) for AoE4?

All this talk about graphics and nobody’s mentioned what really matters: real-time ray-tracing! :wink:

Would love to have this tech used for proper reflections in the water, realistic lighting based on time of day/weather, and real-time lighting effects here and there, window reflections, etc.

What do you think? I think it’d be awesome

In 5 years when the hardware that can do that exists.

Ray Tracing hardware is still very slow and designers have to do a lot of tricks to make it work.
In a game with Random Maps you can’t do that. Random maps make a lot of things more complicated.

In most games a lot of processing is done by the developers and baked into the map like lighting, shadows and reflections. In an RTS, especially one with random maps, you can’t do that.

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Minecraft is random, yet it’s getting real-time ray-tracing :slight_smile: If Minecraft can have it now, so can AoE! :smiley:

I really do hope ray tracing is a thing in AoE4, at least from a singleplayer/ campaign perspective I would love just to absorb the beauty of the world and ray tracing would just add icing to the cake. I wonder if there will be a day night cycle at least for singleplayer campaigns and ray tracing could take advantage of the suns movement and cast striking silhouettes.

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Traditionally, yes. But with real-time ray-tracing, I’m pretty sure that’s not needed; the GPU does all that processing real-time.

The hardware already exists, and more and more games are doing it. PS5 and the new XBox have the ability, too, so even more games will have it. The game ‘Control’ has it and it performs just fine

Microsoft helped incorporate the tech in Minecraft, and there are eventual plans to bring it to the new MS Flight Simulator, as I understand it… after more important updates are made. Microsoft seems to want to help push the tech forward. So, AoE seems like a natural fit :slight_smile: Bring it to the RTS genre.


With the chip shortages, I don’t think this is even feasible now.

It is done in real time but never alone. Most reflections are not done with ray tracing because performance costs. You can see that in some games where cars disappear in the reflection when they are at a certain distance. Also for ray tracing you need to make a second mirror “world” that has lower resolution graphics. Something you have to make before hand. That’s only done in areas of the map that have reflective surfaces.

This hardware can only handle small amounts of ray tracing. Hardware that can do a lot of ray tracing doesn’t exist yet.

Most reflections in most games that have ray tracing are not done with ray tracing because of the performance costs.
Ray tracing is just another tool to fill a gap that other methods have.

Reflection probes or screen space reflections are still the methods that are used for most reflections.
Ray tracing is good for reflecting things that are close the the reflective surface something that the other methods are bad at.

But in an RTS the camera is far away.

The hardware could be used for real time shadows and stuff but they seem to look pretty good already.
Ray tracing is really nice for games where you get close up to things, something you don’t in an RTS.

And first point in guides for noobs will “turn off ray-tracing” x)

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One would think, but judging by all the threads and posts about people not liking the AoE4 preview graphics (which features a lot of zoomed-in shots), it seems many play RTS games zoomed-in :slight_smile:

  • Imagine volumetric shafts of light being cast through tree leaves and forests in AoE real-time.
  • Building materials and stained glass windows bouncing light off them and hitting the environment around them.
  • Explosions, fires, and fire-tipped arrows properly illuminating things around them.
  • Monk/relic magic fireworks casting proper illumination onto units and environment around.
  • Proper refraction and representation of things underwater.
  • Etc.


surely the fact that everything in minecraft is low-poly must make minecraft a better platform for RTX technology?

Judging by all the threads about AoE4’s graphics, AoE4 may be a good candidate if that’s a main qualifier. I’ve seen other games with better graphics than Minecraft doing fine with RTX.

RTX is coming soon to games near you. Hope you’re ready!

PS: Minecraft has a bigger world to do RTX on than AoE4. So, there’s that, too…

I would recommend you looking at modded Minecraft with shaders and look like this can look like without Raytracing.
Raytracing is just the icing on the cake.

Can’t be seen from above and doesn’t need raytracing

Windows are rare and the reflections of like stained windows of a cathedral can be done nicely without Ray Tracing.
We could use Ray Tracing if we’d be able to go inside of the building maybe.

So like in AoE3DE?

I think that could distract more and it unrealistic.

Mediaeval Submarines? Also no need for Ray Tracing.

Ray Tracing is not a magical “make games look better” button even if Nvidia is trying to tell that.

Ray Tracing is perfect for a 1st/3rd Person game that takes part in a city with a lot of reflecting windows or constant pools of water on the ground. Especially with neon lights and stuff like that.
Also please don’t call it “RTX” that is a Nvidia marketing term.

In a Medieval World there isn’t much to reflect besides the sunlight, and the sun is basically infinitely far away so you don’t need expensive ray tracing calculations. Directional lights are cheap and well optimised.

In the future I can see other usages for Ray Tracing in RTS like tracing the line of sight of every unit in the game for realistic vision simulation but than your game requires Ray Tracing hardware because it actually affects gameplay.

Have you played a real-time ray-tracing game rather than just watched vids online?

Yes, they can. The light would be cast downward through the trees so we’d get a 3/4 view or whatever… emerging on the ground from through the trees. People who like to zoom in would get a better view, too. As well, there’s an opportunity between buildings, between ships, between units, too. In fog, and varying degrees of fog, as well. In smoke, too. Maybe as battles get longer with many cannon shots, fires, and firey weapons happening, a haze fills the air. From mountains and hills, walls, and boulders.

AoE3:DE misses a lot of places that should be illuminated. The ground as flaming arrows fly over it, units, trees, and more. That is the by-product of doing the old workaround “looks decent enough” method. RTX is next level and probably wouldn’t require texture hacks and such.

No. Boulders, rocks, plant life, whales, fish, coral, bottoms of ships from our perspective view, and so on.

Sure it is, if the developer knows what they’re doing and implements it well. If you’re not an nVidia fan, that’s fine. I can tell you’re not impressed by the tech, and/or would rather just keep using old or frankenstein methods for trying to replicate some of this stuff in games. I know great things can and have been pulled off without it. (I think Red Dead Redemption 2’s graphics are impressive without it.) But not all devs are Rockstar, and I’m ready for games to evolve using the real-time raytracing tech (thank you, nVidia). RTX rocks. At SIGGRAPH 2019(?), people were wowed by their RTX demonstrations. Makes sense. Ray-tracing has, historically, been pretty expensive to pull off… including when rendering from software like Maya.

I’m aware of that. I used it because someone else did, and that may be how quite a few know it as. Kudos to nVidia for being the first to bring it into mainstream and into the light. I can use the term RTX if I want. Plus, I got tired of typing “real-time raytracing” every time. And as far as I know, RTRT isn’t an acronym that gets used for it, or if it is, probably nobody knows it. So, I’ll use RTX when I please :slight_smile: Readers of this thread know what I’m talking about.

I hope you never say “Band-Aid” for off-brand adhesive bandages. Or dumpster, escalator, frisbee, or fiberglass… you’d be saying marketing terms from current and past companies.

I don’t own a GPU that can do Raytracing because I don’t like paying 2x the MSRP.

I can see why that would look nice but it would destroy the readability of the game.
There is a reason why the gunpowder smoke in games like AoE3 disappears very quickly.

Ray Tracing is not done for light that doesn’t reflect of anything.

Water doesn’t look transparent from a high angle because it reflects the sky. Having all those details would also distract.
But anyway how would you use Ray Tracing for that?

No I am impressed by Ray Tracing. It’s an awesome new technology.
It’s just that it can’t do everything. Why render things using Ray Tracing when they look exactly the game without?
Also those are not Frankenstein Methods. Ray Tracing is just one more tool that is added that is used in combination with the existing methods. All games that use Ray Tracing still use all of the traditional methods because Ray Tracing can not replace them for now. So it’s technically even more “Frankenstein”.
The only exception are games like Quake 2 RTX that have very limited graphical fidelity that allows them to be fully rendered using Ray Tracing.

Maybe at one point in the future all graphics are done using Ray Tracing but that is still very far away.

Nvidea cheats with their advertisement, like every one else, they don’t sow a very nice looking none Ray Traces scene and than show how it can be improved with Ray Tracing, they show a scene that is done badly with traditional methods.

I’m not saying Ray Tracing is bad, I’m just saying there aren’t many things that it can be used for in an RTS unless you want to go into 1st and 3rd person perspective. Why investing a lot of effort into something that people will basically never see?

If RTS or other top down games like city builders were more popular the industry would develop more tech that would benefit those games. Most graphic technologies and game engines are optimized for 1st and 3rd person games.

I have a 3070 and would love to have rtx in aoe4.

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