“Troll”, Epic’s Stunning RTX-Powered Ray Tracing Demo, Wows GDC

By Jordan Dodge on March 21, 2019 | Featured Stories GDC 2019 GeForce RTX GPUs NVIDIA RTX Ray Tracing

Jaw-dropping graphics might not be the first thing you think of when talking about trolls — until now.

A visually stunning ray-tracing demo using Unreal Engine 4.22 and powered by a single GeForce RTX 2080 Ti — “Troll”, from Goodbye Kansas and Deep Forest Films — stunned a packed audience at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, on Wednesday.

Offering a glimpse of what developers and creators can do with ray tracing running on GeForce RTX GPUs, the demo marks an unprecedented level of cinematic-quality lighting, with complex soft shadows and reflections.

The enigmatic video — set in a deep dark forest -- shows a mysterious woman interacting with a magical crown, interrupted by the arrival of, well, something, when the video ends.

"Ray tracing is more than just reflections -- it’s about all the subtle lighting interactions needed to create a natural, beautiful image," said Nick Penwarden, director of engineering for Unreal Engine for Epic Games. "Ray tracing adds these subtle lighting effects throughout the scene, making everything look more real and natural and making it easier to create beautiful shots."

The demo was a highlight of Epic’s annual opening session, State of Unreal. Always hotly anticipated, the session has become a tradition at the annual conference — and an opportunity for Epic CEO Tim Sweeney to showcase the latest advancements in Unreal Engine technology and set the tone for the entire industry.

One of the key themes this year: enabling ray tracing for developers and creators.

Epic has been working to integrate RTX-accelerated ray tracing into its popular Unreal Engine 4, used by game developers and content creators to build amazing games and art. As of Unreal Engine 4.22, Unreal’s renderer will support the new Microsoft DXR API for real-time ray tracing. It’s already available in preview and Epic announced the final release is coming next week.

Unreal Engine is used by over 6 million developers worldwide, from those working on innovative indie games to many of the world’s biggest franchises. Now ray tracing is available for them to implement. The addition of technology features into the game engine makes ray tracing more accessible and easier to implement.

Game developers attending the show can stop by the Unreal Engine Learning Center at Moscone South #349 to learn how to integrate ray tracing in their games with sessions like “A Hands-on Look at Using Ray Tracing in Games with UE 4.22.”

To help the creator community, we announced the release of our first-ever NVIDIA Studio Driver. The program puts drivers through rigorous testing and is optimised for creative apps, including Unreal Engine.