Wolfenstein Gets Ray Traced, On a Laptop!

Posted by at 2:08 pm on September 13, 2010

Below is an up-to-date Wolfenstein game is rendered through a real-time ray tracer with several special effects that haven’t been possible before in games with such an accuracy. Two of several highlights are:

  • The chandelier model. Through ray tracing we are calculating physically correct reflections and refractions in the many glass objects it contains. The model is highly detailed with around one million triangles.
  • The surveillance station At a wall in the game you see twelve screens that each show a different location of the level. This can be used by the player to get a tactical gaming advantage

But here is the kicker, the images are rendered from a “cloud” of four servers with Intel’s Knights Ferry platform inside.   Knights Ferry  is a Many Integrated Core (MIC) architecture targeted towards the High-Performance Computing market (meaning: not targeted to the individual gamer to be bought). As ray tracing is a highly parallel application it can therefore take very good benefit of the many cores that are in a single chip on the Knights Ferry board. Once a chip in one of the servers has finished calculating a new frame for the game it will send it over the network to a thin client, in this case a small laptop.

Rendering high-end graphics for applications such as gaming in the cloud is an emerging trend that has some interesting advantages. Rather than being constrained to running these high-end applications only on your desktop at home, you can in principal play on any computer – such as a system at your friend’s house or even lightweight systems like a netbook or tablet.  

Screenshots are available at http://www.wolfrt.de

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