Khronos Group Releases Vulkan Ray Tracing

Set of pro짯vi짯sio짯nal exten짯si짯on spe짯ci짯fi짯ca짯ti짯ons publicly available today for indus짯try feedback.

Bea짯ver짯ton, OR March 17, 2020 6:00 AM PT  Today, The Khro짯nos Group, an open con짯sor짯ti짯um of indus짯try-lea짯ding com짯pa짯nies crea짯ting advan짯ced inter짯ope짯ra짯bi짯li짯ty stan짯dards, announ짯ces the rati짯fi짯ca짯ti짯on and public release of the Vul짯kan Ray Tra짯cing pro짯vi짯sio짯nal exten짯si짯ons, crea짯ting the industry셲 first open, cross-ven짯dor, cross-plat짯form stan짯dard for ray tra짯cing acce짯le짯ra짯ti짯on. Pri짯ma짯ri짯ly focu짯sed on mee짯ting desk짯top mar짯ket demand for both real-time and off짯line ren짯de짯ring, the release of Vul짯kan Ray Tra짯cing as pro짯vi짯sio짯nal exten짯si짯ons enables the deve짯lo짯per com짯mu짯ni짯ty to pro짯vi짯de feed짯back befo짯re the spe짯ci짯fi짯ca짯ti짯ons are fina짯li짯zed. Comm짯ents and feed짯back will be coll짯ec짯ted through the Vul짯kan Git짯Hub Issues Tra짯cker and Khro짯nos Deve짯lo짯per Slack. Deve짯lo짯pers are also encou짯ra짯ged to share comm짯ents with their pre짯fer짯red hard짯ware ven짯dors. The spe짯ci짯fi짯ca짯ti짯ons are available today on the Vul짯kan Regis짯try.

Ray tra짯cing is a ren짯de짯ring tech짯ni짯que that rea짯li짯sti짯cal짯ly simu짯la짯tes how light rays inter짯sect and inter짯act with sce짯ne geo짯me짯try, mate짯ri짯als, and light sources to gene짯ra짯te pho짯to짯rea짯li짯stic imagery. It is wide짯ly used for film and other pro짯duc짯tion ren짯de짯ring and is begin짯ning to be prac짯ti짯cal for real-time appli짯ca짯ti짯ons and games. Vul짯kan Ray Tra짯cing seam짯less짯ly inte짯gra짯tes a coher짯ent ray tra짯cing frame짯work into the Vul짯kan API, enab짯ling a fle짯xi짯ble mer짯ging of ras짯te짯riza짯ti짯on and ray tra짯cing acce짯le짯ra짯ti짯on. Vul짯kan Ray Tra짯cing is desi짯gned to be hard짯ware agno짯stic and so can be acce짯le짯ra짯ted on both exis짯ting GPU com짯pu짯te and dedi짯ca짯ted ray tra짯cing cores if available.

The짯re has been strong deve짯lo짯per demand for a tru짯ly cross-plat짯form ray tra짯cing acce짯le짯ra짯ti짯on API and now Vul짯kan Ray Tra짯cing is here to meet that indus짯try need, said Dani짯el Koch, seni짯or gra짯phics sys짯tem soft짯ware engi짯neer at NVIDIA and Vul짯kan Ray Tra짯cing task sub group chair at Khro짯nos. 쏷he over짯all archi짯tec짯tu짯re of Vul짯kan Ray Tra짯cing will be fami짯li짯ar to users of exis짯ting pro짯prie짯ta짯ry ray tra짯cing APIs, which enables straight짯for짯ward port짯ing of exis짯ting ray tra짯ced con짯tent, but this frame짯work also intro짯du짯ces new func짯tion짯a짯li짯ty and imple짯men짯ta짯ti짯on flexibility.

Vul짯kan Ray Tra짯cing con짯sists of a num짯ber of Vul짯kan, SPIR멫, and GLSL exten짯si짯ons, some of which are optio짯nal. The pri짯ma짯ry VK_KHR_ray_tracing exten짯si짯on pro짯vi짯des sup짯port for acce짯le짯ra짯ti짯on struc짯tu짯re buil짯ding and manage짯ment, ray tra짯cing shader stages and pipe짯lines, and ray query intrin짯sics for all shader stages. VK_KHR_pipeline_library pro짯vi짯des the abili짯ty to pro짯vi짯de a set of shaders which can be effi짯ci짯ent짯ly lin짯ked into ray tra짯cing pipe짯lines. VK_KHR_deferred_host_operations enables inten짯si짯ve dri짯ver ope짯ra짯ti짯ons, inclu짯ding ray tra짯cing pipe짯line com짯pi짯la짯ti짯on or CPU-based acce짯le짯ra짯ti짯on struc짯tu짯re con짯s짯truc짯tion to be off짯loa짯ded to appli짯ca짯ti짯on-mana짯ged CPU thread pools.

Vul짯kan Ray Tra짯cing shaders are SPIR멫 bina짯ries which use two new exten짯si짯ons. The SPV_KHR_ray_tracing SPIR멫 exten짯si짯on adds sup짯port for ray tra짯cing shader stages and ins짯truc짯tions; SPV_KHR_ray_query adds sup짯port for ray query shader ins짯truc짯tions. Deve짯lo짯pers can gene짯ra짯te tho짯se bina짯ries in GLSL using two new GLSL exten짯si짯ons, GLSL_EXT_ray_tracing and GLSL_EXT_ray_query, which are sup짯port짯ed in the open source gls짯lang com짯pi짯ler. Engi짯neers at Khro짯nos mem짯ber com짯pa짯nies, inclu짯ding NVIDIA, have also added sup짯port for the SPIR exten짯si짯ons to DXC, Microsoft셲 open source HLSL com짯pi짯ler, enab짯ling Vul짯kan Ray Tra짯cing SPIR멫 shaders to be aut짯ho짯red in HLSL using the syn짯tax defi짯ned by Micro짯soft, with mini짯mal modifications.

Dri짯ver release updates and the sta짯tus of Vul짯kan eco짯sys짯tem com짯pon짯ents will be pos짯ted on the Vul짯kan Ray Tra짯cing Pro짯vi짯sio짯nal Release Tra짯cker. A Vul짯kan SDK that includes sup짯port for Vul짯kan Ray Tra짯cing will beco짯me available once all the neces짯sa짯ry eco짯sys짯tem com짯pon짯ents are upstrea짯med; check this link to watch for its avai짯la짯bi짯li짯ty. An intro짯duc짯to짯ry launch pre짯sen짯ta짯ti짯on on Vul짯kan Ray Tra짯cing is here, and fur짯ther tech짯ni짯cal details can be found in this blog post.

Industry Support for Vulkan Ray Tracing Provisional Specification

Stan짯dar짯di짯zing ray tra짯cing in Vul짯kan is an important step towards making ray tra짯cing available across a wide ran짯ge of devices, as well as enab짯ling deve짯lo짯pers to use this tech짯no짯lo짯gy to its full advan짯ta짯ge. AMD intends to pro짯vi짯de sup짯port for all of the major fea짯tures in this exten짯si짯on, inclu짯ding ray shad짯ing, ray queries, and CPU acce짯le짯ra짯ti짯on struc짯tu짯re manage짯ment. We will be working with deve짯lo짯pers to ensu짯re gre짯at per짯for짯mance from our Vul짯kan Ray Tra짯cing imple짯men짯ta짯ti짯on; the짯se efforts will help us to pro짯vi짯de end users with even more visual짯ly stun짯ning gra짯phics on AMD Rade짯on꽓 GPUs, said Andrej Zdrav짯ko짯vic, seni짯or vice pre짯si짯dent, soft짯ware deve짯lo짯p짯ment, AMD.

EA is hap짯py to see the release of the pro짯vi짯sio짯nal ray tra짯cing exten짯si짯on for Vul짯kan. Real짯time ray tra짯cing is alre짯a짯dy an important part of game deve짯lo짯p짯ment and it will con짯ti짯nue to be in the future. Allo짯wing ray queries from any shader stage is a gre짯at fea짯ture, which will both sim짯pli짯fy inte짯gra짯ti짯ons and open up the pos짯si짯bi짯li짯ty for new tech짯ni짯ques while mul짯ti짯th짯rea짯ded host-side buil짯ding of acce짯le짯ra짯ti짯on struc짯tures has the poten짯ti짯al to redu짯ce laten짯cy and impro짯ve the per짯for짯mance of our upco짯ming game titles, said Sebas짯ti짯an Taf짯u짯ri, seni짯or ren짯de짯ring engi짯neer at Frost짯bi짯te, EA.

Epic Games has been an acti짯ve mem짯ber of the Vul짯kan Ray Tra짯cing group from the begin짯ning, and we are hap짯py to see the ray tra짯cing exten짯si짯on released to the public. We at Epic Games con짯ti짯nue to who짯le짯he짯ar짯ted짯ly sup짯port Khronos셲 efforts on crea짯ting open stan짯dards to enhan짯ce the end-user expe짯ri짯ence, said Yuriy O섵onnell, ren짯de짯ring engi짯neer, Epic Games.

Ima짯gi짯na짯ti짯on Tech짯no짯lo짯gies are very hap짯py to see ray tra짯cing beco짯me a stan짯dard part of Vul짯kan, hel짯ping the over짯all ray tra짯cing eco짯sys짯tem to grow sub짯stan짯ti짯al짯ly due to Vulkan셲 wide reach across many plat짯forms and devices, said Rys Somm짯e짯feldt, seni짯or direc짯tor of pro짯duct, Ray Tra짯cing and High Per짯for짯mance Gra짯phics, Ima짯gi짯na짯ti짯on Tech짯no짯lo짯gies. 쏻e are very sup짯port짯i짯ve of the stan짯dard, which will help us deli짯ver the effi짯ci짯ent, fast, and focu짯sed hard짯ware solu짯ti짯on we are deve짯lo짯ping for our customers.

The Intel Xe archi짯tec짯tu짯re road짯map includes sup짯port for hard짯ware acce짯le짯ra짯ted ray tra짯cing, and we쇑춓e exci짯ted to work with Khro짯nos to imple짯ment full sup짯port into Vul짯kan, said Joshua Bar짯c짯zak, gra짯phics soft짯ware archi짯tect at Intel.

NVIDIA ships beta dri짯vers today with sup짯port for the pro짯vi짯sio짯nal stan짯dar짯di짯zed ray tra짯cing func짯tion짯a짯li짯ty in Vul짯kan, said Mor짯gan McGui짯re, rese짯arch direc짯tor at NVIDIA. 쏝rin짯ging acce짯le짯ra짯ted ray tra짯cing to the Vul짯kan cross-plat짯form, open stan짯dard API is ano짯ther signi짯fi짯cant step towards enab짯ling the hig짯hest qua짯li짯ty of visu짯al rea짯lism for real-time games and appli짯ca짯ti짯ons everywhere.

We are very exci짯ted about having hard짯ware ray tra짯cing sup짯port baked into Vul짯kan. Vul짯kan Ray Tra짯cing enables us to rese짯arch high-end ren짯de짯ring solu짯ti짯ons, while also having sup짯port for all sup짯port짯ing ven짯dors and plat짯forms with mini짯mal over짯head, said Jules Urbach, CEOOTOY.

About Vulkan

Vul짯kan is an open, royal짯ty-free API for high-effi짯ci짯en짯cy, cross-plat짯form access to modern GPUs, with wide짯spread adop짯ti짯on in lea짯ding engi짯nes, cut짯ting-edge games, and deman짯ding appli짯ca짯ti짯ons. Vul짯kan is sup짯port짯ed in a diver짯se ran짯ge of devices from Win짯dows and Linux PCs, con짯so짯les, and the cloud, to mobi짯le pho짯nes and embedded platforms.

About The Khronos Group

The Khro짯nos Group is an open, non-pro짯fit, mem짯ber-dri짯ven con짯sor짯ti짯um of over 150 indus짯try-lea짯ding com짯pa짯nies crea짯ting advan짯ced, royal짯ty-free, inter짯ope짯ra짯bi짯li짯ty stan짯dards for 3D gra짯phics, aug짯men짯ted and vir짯tu짯al rea짯li짯ty, par짯al짯lel pro짯gramming, visi짯on acce짯le짯ra짯ti짯on and machi짯ne lear짯ning. Khro짯nos acti짯vi짯ties include Vul짯kan, OpenGL, OpenGL ES, Web짯GL꽓, SPIR멫꽓, Open짯CL꽓, SYCL꽓, Open짯VX꽓, NNEF꽓, OpenXR꽓, 3D Com짯mer짯ce꽓, ANARI꽓, and glTF꽓. Khro짯nos mem짯bers dri짯ve the deve짯lo짯p짯ment and evo짯lu짯ti짯on of Khro짯nos spe짯ci짯fi짯ca짯ti짯ons and are able to acce짯le짯ra짯te the deli짯very of cut짯ting-edge plat짯forms and appli짯ca짯ti짯ons through ear짯ly access to spe짯ci짯fi짯ca짯ti짯on drafts and con짯for짯mance tests.


Khro짯nos짰 and Vul짯kan짰 are regis짯tered trade짯marks, and ANARI꽓, Web짯GL꽓, glTF꽓, NNEF꽓, Open짯VX꽓, SPIR꽓, SPIR멫꽓, SYCL꽓 and 3D Com짯mer짯ce꽓 are trade짯marks of The Khro짯nos Group Inc. OpenXR꽓 is a trade짯mark owned by The Khro짯nos Group Inc. and is regis짯tered as a trade짯mark in Chi짯na, the Euro짯pean Uni짯on, Japan and the United King짯dom. Open짯CL꽓 is a trade짯mark of Apple Inc. and OpenGL짰 is a regis짯tered trade짯mark and the OpenGL ES꽓 and OpenGL SC꽓 logos are trade짯marks of Hew짯lett Packard Enter짯pri짯se used under licen짯se by Khro짯nos. All other pro짯duct names, trade짯marks, and/or com짯pa짯ny names are used sole짯ly for iden짯ti짯fi짯ca짯ti짯on and belong to their respec짯ti짯ve owners.