GTA

GTA 5 mod highlights the power of ray tracing

by Paul Cotton

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A new GTA mod is using ray tracing, the latest technological advancement to come to gaming. It has already been confirmed that the PS5 will utilize its technology, and the Xbox is also expected to.


What is ray tracing?

Ray tracing is a relatively new rendering technique that creates realistic lighting effects. It generates an image by following, or tracing, the path of light as pixels. The technology allows the light to simulate the effect it would have on certain objects.

Essentially, it heightens the realism of images and video. The main benefit of ray tracing, from a visual stand point, is it decreases the contrast making dark places when light is involved less dreary.


GTA 5 mod

Despite being nearly six years old, GTA 5's Los Santos provides an excellent setting to showcase ray tracing technology. With shadowy areas provided across the map, the benefit of ray tracing can be clearly highlighted.

GTA 5 has one of the biggest modding communities among all games and it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that ray tracing has been added to the game.

Lucas
Lucas
The effect of ray tracing in a high end GTA apartment...

GTA V modder Pascal Gilcher (aka Marty McFly) who made this mod, has shared its capabilities for all to see. The effect can be seen from underneath dingy bridges, to apartments and Vespucci beach.

To access the mod you will need to become a Patreon supporter of Gilcher, although it will eventually become free. Gilcher describes the process of this mod as follows:

"What I’m doing is ray tracing in screen space, tracing rays against the depth buffer (a data buffer that contains the information how far an object is away, as opposed to the color buffer which tells you what color the object has and what you usually see in any game). When compared to DXR, it has several limitations: anything behind another object does not contribute, anything outside the screen does not contribute, backfaces do not contribute. The benefits of this shader is that it can run on every game and GPU and it’s a step up from regular SSAO. I hope this serves as a sneak peek at what DXR ray tracing can do and why everyone in VFX can’t wait to get real ray tracing for their games."

Lucas
Lucas
Previously dingy areas in GTA 5 now look reinvigorated...

PS5 and ray tracing

The mod looks visually stunning, even on a game released in 2013. The PS5 will seek to add native 4K graphics and a fully-fledged implementation of ray tracing technology. As a result, the hype for the visual fidelity of the next generation consoles is growing.

Naturally, one game that comes to the everyone's minds after seeing this mod is GTA 6. Rockstar, have of course, yet to announce the next Grand Theft Auto game but it's truly exciting to think what that, and various other future games, will be capable of.