Intel Bringing oneAPI to Gaming, Demoes Rendering Toolkit for Graphics

As part of its Virtual Game Developers Conference (GDC) 2020, Intel has put a presentation online detailing the features of its oneAPI Rendering Toolkit that are applicable for games. These libraries include Embree, OSPRay, Open VKL, OpenSWR and Open Image Denoise. Intel also announced that some will receive GPU support soon.

The libraries discussed below are part of Intel’s oneAPI suite (which went into beta late last year) focused on rendering. Given the company's push into graphics with its Xe Graphics architecture, it isn't surprising to see it focusing more on the gaming side of the house. 

Open VKL

Intel’s Open Volume Kernel Library is a library for high performance kernels for sampling and traversing rays in volumetric data (scalar fields). It contains APIs for single sampling and packets to aid in vectorization of ray tracing algorithms. It is optimized for x86 CPUs and includes AVX-512 support. Intel said GPU support is in the works.

(Image credit: Intel)

Open Image Denoise

Open Image Denoise is a library for denoising images rendered with ray tracing. It uses deep learning. Like Open VKL, it also supports up to AVX-512 and GPU support is also coming.

As an example, Intel said denoising light maps in Unity gives improved quality over Gaussian filters with a reduced number of samples.

(Image credit: Intel)


Third is Intel’s Open Scalable Portable Ray Tracing library. It is a full library for ray tracing on CPUs, with rendering options from fast to photorealistic. It is scalable from laptops to supercomputers, according to Intel, and GPU is also coming. 

Intel released OSPRay 2.0 early this year.

(Image credit: Intel)


Intel’s Open Software Rasterizer is implemented as part of the MESA driver stack. Intel says it is intended for scalable software rendering of large scenes, on the order of billions of triangles. It is designed for HPC systems and OpenGL 4.0 support is coming.


Embree is an open source library focused at solving the fundamental computations for ray tracing. It uses the latest state-of-the-art ray tracing algorithms. The kernels are highly optimized and deliver a 1.5 to 6x speedup, according to Intel. This is achieved by using SIMD (AVX-512), optimized data structures and other optimizations. It is targeted at professional rendering applications, and it has a wide adoption in the film industry.

(Image credit: Intel)

In gaming, Intel says it can be used for precomputing lighting for static geometry. It is used in Activision’s Lightmapper. It can also be used for ray-based collision detection, including gun shots. It is used in World of Tanks.

Intel announced that Embree integration in Sycl is coming with CPU and GPU support. Sycl is the programming language of Intel’s oneAPI toolkit.

Also as part of its Virtual GDC 2020, Intel paired its integrated graphics with a discrete GPU for gaming.