Hardware accelerated ray tracing is now firmly established in triple-A titles on PC and with the transition to next generation Xbox and PlayStation hardware, consoles can now join the party. Watch Dogs: Legion is the first DXR-enabled title we’ve seen that also features ray tracing on consoles – which raises the question: to what extent can the new machines match up to existing PC hardware? What kind of compromises are required to bring RT to consoles – and what happens when we retrofit those cuts to the PC version? Let’s just say that the answers are illuminating.
Hardware RT in Watch Dogs Legion is used for reflections, replacing the standard system based on a combination of screen-space reflections and cube maps. To make that clearer, cube maps are essentially non-dynamic ‘probes’, capturing environment detail and baking them into a texture wrapped around a cube – and typically thousands of them … Read the rest