A zen-like 3D puzzle game utilizing path-tracing called Light Lands is available for download right now. You can download the game Alberto Rodriguez’s blog page.
The game’s design is based on procedural algebraic visuals and sounds, with all of the lighting being powered by native global illumination.
Obviously, patht-racing is oftentimes just as intensive as a rendering solution as raytracing, hence the system requirements to run Light Lands will require you to have at least a quadcore CPU, and at least 4GB of RAM. The game does not rely on DirectX or Nvidia’s new RTS for ray-tracing, so you will need a GPU that can run OpenGL 3.3 or higher.
The music is also composed by Polish musician Yerzmyey, who is known for his chiptune compositions. You can check out one of his concerts below.
Now there are no gameplay videos up or available, but the concept behind its design is really unique, as the Raydiant++ engine doesn’t rely on buffering and rendering each frame, but instead relies on a lightspectering rendering module that uses photon-simulation to render synthetic photon accumulation based on a virtual photographic plate. This is all based on a lot of CPU-reliant calculations that will be proportional to the CPU threading capabilities, which is why the game requires at the very least a quadcore with multithreaded support.
Now you might notice that the visuals are kind of grainy in the main image as well as the screenshots on the blog, it’s because the game is using a lower resolution to simulate the ZX Spectrum and other older 8-bit games.
Rodriguez also goes into detail about how lightspectering works. The simple gist of it is that it’s almost like a sped-up version of rendering new JPEGs with changes in the lighting and global illumination taking place as the camera adjusts and the lighting conditions morph to reflect updated illumination changes. According to Rodriguez this limits the GPU overhead and draws most of its core computational load from the CPU.
The simple explanation is that lightspectering allows for 30fps through 60fps rendering capabilities while utilizing ray-tracing quality global illumination, which previously wasn’t a very viable solution for a real-time game.
Hayssam Keilany worked with the Brigade Engine to achieve similar results with path-tracing based on the shader advancements he made with GTA IV’s iCEnhancer, but the engine kind of faded to the background over the years.
Keilany is currently working on more immediate solutions within the design space, such as advanced AR graphics rendering for mobile devices, as demonstrated in the clip he shared from SIGGRAPH.
Now that we are showing some of the tech @ SIGGRAPH 2018, I can show cool stuff again, yay.
Real-time reflections + approximated lighting running on iPhone X with ARKit.
Shadows are here, but the black keyboard does not help. 😛
Mesh from @Sketchfab by Paul Hanberry #ARKit pic.twitter.com/ks0JdbTbXz
— Hayssam Keilany (@icelaglace) August 15, 2018
According to Rodriguez, utilizing lightspectering would enable more developers to take advantage of CPU scaling instead of brute forcing rendering solutions through bigger and more powerful GPUs.
He hopes that companies like Intel and AMD will take a look at the technology as a means of changing the trajectory of how advancements are made with real-time light rendering and path/ray-tracing, mentioning in the blog…
“Because of the efficient use of available SMP on current and coming modern powerful CPUs it may be of interest to Intel and AMD for this technology to go mainstream, since it will justify the need to get as many CPU cores as possible thus reversing modern trend to push for better graphics cards and shifting interest to CPU instead.”
Given that Nvidia has invested heavily in RTX and are using it as a selling point for the new line of GPUs, it’s unlikely that lightspectering will become mainstream anytime soon.