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Raytracing and high quality textures to make golf simulator software photorealistic

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  • Raytracing and high quality textures to make golf simulator software photorealistic

    When can we expect to see raytracing being used in golf simulator software? It's all the rage in other genres now that the graphics card makers are supporting it in hardware. Shouldn't be a biggie to use it in golf simulation.

    And by using better and better textures and material meshes it should be no problem to achieve photorealism pretty quickly. Check out what people are doing with e.g. Unreal Engine 4 to create photorealistic environments, with raytracing.

  • #2
    The nice folks that make golf game software are usually not the number one developer's in the world, at least as far as graphical engines and rendering. The next gen will give you your ray tracing. You don't have a sim yet?


    • #3
      Nope, buying time from commercial installations as have been for 30 years. During that time the sims have improved nicely but the 3D graphics still look like a game. It’s now technically possible to make them photorealistic.

      The simulators that use photos (not 3D graphics) are of course already photorealistic but they cannot escape the feeling of being static, the immersion is not very high (to me).

      The holy grail would be to play sim golf with photorealistic VR but I guess that’s not going to be possible soon.


      • #4
        kahi I actually don't think you will have to wait for the developers to start enabling ray-tracing in future simulator software. What we are already starting to see with NVIDIA on their top-tier GPU's and complimenting software is enhancements to games that are being played. Obviously Ray-tracing has a lot to do with the three types of shading (or is it 4?) but you could expect in the next few generations to see some form of enhancement of the visual representations through secondary or built in graphics software. Think of it more like how many 1080p projectors now are able to "upscale and downscale" 4K content by using pixel shift technology.

        I've been able to use Ray Tracing on some games that came out, and while it does certainly punch up the realism of certain objects, its is by no means making me believe its very realistic.

        Ultimately, we are not at a point where its feasible for the normal (and even commercial consumer) to upscale large environments with multiple enhancing effects like Ray-Tracing. Just look at the street price on a 2080Ti...

        I'f I had to put money on when it will really start making a shift towards consumer/commercial environments... Wait until the next generation of Quadro GPU's come out...


        • #5
          I think that the next major update from each of the main golf sim companies will incorporate some form of ray tracing. e6 just came out last year or two ago and it was about five years since 1.6 was out and TM just released VG2 last year as well and I think they owned the prior version for about a year or so. I suspect VG3 to come out in a few years and that e6 would likely be about the same length of time. I feel this last update from each was pretty impressive and also that most have been happy with what they have seen. The other big limiting factor will be 4k. We are just now starting to get projectors with enough lumens to light up large screens, but I believe the focus of most projector companies today in the lower (under $3k price range) will be to get HDR right as they still are not producing sufficient lumens to do this correctly and I also think their focus will be on moving from eshift tech to actual 4k (which will likely not drive down pricing from where we are at today). Additionally, even the best GPUs struggle with 4k and raytracing today and so two years out might be the sweet spot for affordable GPUs that are powerful enough to deliver 4k and raytracing with sufficient frame rates.


          • #6
            4K (2160p) is definitely too much for a while, 60p with ray tracing achievable with mainstream GPUs in a couple of years. Already achievable with the high end. But for HD (1080p) high frame rate ray tracing is already here, I bought my RTX 2060 for 320 euros last summer. What is needed is the support for ray tracing in the software, like golf games / simulator packages. I guess you can enable it without the special hardware to some extent but for high performance the hardware support is a must.

            HDR is interesting and will make outdoor scenes (such as golf courses) look more lifelike, especially when combined with the wider colour gamut. But while a new 4K TV already produces fantastic HDR, for simulators HDR requires improvement from the projectors. As far as I know no current projector is very good with HDR yet. However, I don't see HDR as a must for achieving immersive photorealism in games but of course it does add to the experience.

            I forgot to state that to achieve photorealism, we also need photorealistic texturing on photorealistically modeled objects. That might actually be the most important factor of the whole equation. Fortunately that sector is developing with rapid speed, with companies like Quixel already producing incredibly realistic 3D assets that software developers can buy and use with 3D engines.

            You can get a sence of what ray tracing does without photorealism by watching one of the videos of the Minecraft ray tracing mod: The scenes with ray tracing on are fantastic but they still look like a game.

            Add to that photorealistic (or close to it) textures and objects and you get to something like this: That's in-game footage, rendered in real time on a PC.

            True photorealistic textures are available in the demos that use Quixel's materials, for example this one:

            So to my amateur eye the mandatory pieces of the puzzle already exist and what is missing is the software development effort to utilize the pieces for golf. Can't wait to see it!


            • #7



              • #8
                Something like a lower tech iteration like impact screen improvements don't seem to be rapidly innovating and that's low hanging fruit to drastically improve sim appearance.

                BTW TGC2019 is not a game Nvidia is going to massage for Ray tracing capabilities. The game is like a bug under a rock to them.

                BTW again last Summer had an early experimental version of ReShade with "ray tracing*, I couldn't get crap out of it then and tried again recently, and I'm getting nothing per ray tracing still. I was going to ask the Forum maybe if anyone else figured out the pseudo ReShade ray tracing


                • #9
                  Solstice72 have you seen the post by Kmurray ?

                  "I am having trouble getting Reshade working in FSX 2018 but managed to get it working in TGC19"


                  • Solstice72
                    Solstice72 commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Yeah, I'm using ReShade, it's the added feature of Ray Tracing that I was commenting seems to not work.

                • #10
                  Found out that HB Studios is using Unity as the graphics engine. The potential for photorealism is already there!


                  An example of what can be done with high quality 3D assets:

                  Last edited by kahi; 05-11-2020, 05:13 AM.


                  • #11
                    Check this out!