CD PROJEKT RED's Cyberpunk 2077 is widely regarded as one of the most technologically advanced games in the market, with its neon-lit Night City and highly detailed environments rendered using advanced ray tracing techniques.
And on April 11th, a new update will be released, featuring a technology preview of the Ray Tracing: Overdrive Mode, which incorporates full ray tracing, also known as path tracing, to further enhance the already impressive visuals of the game.
While ray tracing has long been used by visual effects artists to create film and TV graphics that appear lifelike, real-time video game full ray tracing was unachievable due to its extreme GPU intensity. However, with the arrival of GeForce RTX GPUs with RT Cores and NVIDIA DLSS's AI-powered acceleration, full ray tracing has become a possibility, delivering physically accurate shadows, reflections, and global illumination on all objects.
The Ray Tracing: Overdrive Mode technology preview for Cyberpunk 2077 gives gamers a sneak peek into the future of full ray tracing, and CD PROJEKT RED is working with NVIDIA on further full ray tracing enhancements, bug fixes, and performance optimizations.
One of the most significant upgrades in the technology preview is NVIDIA RTX Direct Illumination (RTXDI), a free SDK that allows developers to closely replicate the appearance of light in scenes with multiple light sources. With RTXDI, thousands of objects can now emit ray-traced light, bathing objects, walls, cars, and pedestrians in accurate lighting.
The full ray tracing and RTXDI technology upgrade enhances the game's lighting quality by delivering more depth, detail, and realism to shadows, reflections, and global illumination, which is critical in a game with a full day-night cycle like Cyberpunk 2077. The unified fully ray-traced pipeline provides better overall quality, predictability, and immersion, while also improving image quality and realism.
With the Ray Tracing: Overdrive Mode enabled, gamers can experience the most advanced real-time lighting ever seen in gaming, creating more realistic indirect lighting and occlusion, and providing a preview of how all games will look in the future. To bring these incredible effects to life at performant frame rates, CD PROJEKT RED and NVIDIA have collaborated to introduce new optimizations for this entirely new fully ray-traced pipeline.
While full ray tracing is extremely GPU intensive, GeForce RTX 40 Series gamers can play Cyberpunk 2077 with maximum performance using NVIDIA DLSS 3 and the new optimizations. For those without a game-ready device, the Ray Tracing: Overdrive Mode can still be experienced through cloud streaming with a GeForce NOW Ultimate membership, which provides the power of a GeForce RTX 4080-class PC in the cloud.