Throughout several decades of video game development, there are tens of titles that we call legendary, but perhaps just about a dozen games are trend-setting. Wolfenstein 3D was undoubtedly one of those titles that created a new genre of games — first-person shooter. Then Wolfenstein got a remake in the form of Return to the Castle Wolfenstein in 2001. Now, Wolfenstein is reborn once again as an AMD engineer is adding a path tracing patch to the 21-year-old game.
“I’m’ so excited to announce my newest project, Wolf PT: A real-time path tracer for Return to Castle Wolfenstein,” wrote Dihara Wijetunga, a senior graphics R&D engineer at AMD, over on Twitter (Via Overclock3D). Based on ioRTCW with a custom DX12 backend. It’s’ still very early in development, so here’s a few comparison shots. Expect more soon!”
The whole project looks promising from what we can see from the few screenshots on Twitter, yet improvements over the game from 2001 are noticeable. For the original Wolfenstein 3D fans, this is obvious rejoice.
Some readers may ask what path tracing is and how it is different from ray tracing; for this, there are some excellent publications. In short, ray patching is a subset of ray tracing methods, albeit with considerably lower requirements for computing resources. When implemented right, it produces impressive results, but it requires additional work to ensure good quality.
Given that we are talking about a 2001 remake of a legendary title, quality improvement is a good thing for enthusiasts.
A link to the excellent publications would be excellent.
"ray patching" = path tracing ?
The oversimplified explanation is that it uses fewer, chonkier rays to do the same job.
Ray tracing is a fundamental technique to determine visibility of primitives. By itself, it does not generate images.
One can apply ray tracing techniques to create images or parts of them: for example, rendering reflections with ray tracing is an application of it. So is rendering AO using ray tracing. Or path tracing, it is a method for simulation indirect light using ray tracing. It is neither a sub nor a superset of ray tracing.
Although I will say in this case, whoever chose the coloring for the lights did a pretty bad job of trying to preserve the original look. Especially when some of those torches don't appear to be casting lights at all.
Torch light maps are obviously broken.