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New Graphics Firm Promises Real-Time Ray Tracing 136

arcticstoat writes "A new graphics company called Caustic Graphics reckons it's uncovered the secret of real-time ray tracing with a chip that 'enables your CPU/GPU to shade with rasterization-like efficiency.' The new chip basically off-loads ray tracing calculations and then sends the data to your GPU and CPU, enabling your PC to shade a ray-traced scene much more quickly. Caustic's management team isn't afraid to rubbish the efforts of other graphics companies when it comes to ray tracing. 'Some technology vendors claim to have solved the accelerated ray tracing problem by using traditional algorithms along with GPU hardware,' says Caustic. However, the company adds that 'if you've ever seen them demo their solutions you'll notice that while results may be fast — the image quality is underwhelming, far below the quality that ray tracing is known for.' According to Caustic, this is because the advanced shading and lighting effects usually seen in ray-traced scenes, such as caustics and refraction, can't be accelerated on a standard GPU because it can't process incoherent rays in hardware. Conversely, Caustic claims that the CausticOne 'thrives in incoherent ray tracing situations: encouraging the use of multiple secondary rays per pixel.' The company is also introducing its own API, called CausticGL, which is based on OpenGL/GLSL, which will feature Caustic's unique ray tracing extensions."

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