Ray tracing on Elden Ring? Here’s how I added it myself

Ray tracing on Elden Ring? Here’s how I added it myself

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Elden Ring doesn’t look great. It’s serviceable, but it’s a measurement backward successful representation prime compared to Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and Dark Souls 3, at slightest to me. While I was playing, I kept reasoning to myself: “Man, it would beryllium bully if the developers patched ray tracing into the game.”

But past I realized I could bash that myself.

Elden Ring prompted an escapade done ray tracing and its flimsy definition, the assorted ways games cipher lighting, and however Nvidia’s RTX games enactment connected a method level. I ended up adding ray tracing to respective PC games, including Elden Ring. Here’s however I did it.

A ray tracing primer

An detonation  reflecting disconnected  of an oculus  successful  Battlefield V.

Achieving ray tracing glory successful a crippled that doesn’t enactment it isn’t easy. But acknowledgment to a instrumentality called ReShade, it is possible.

How, you ask? Well, the happening to retrieve is that ray tracing is simply a technique, not a feature. Nvidia’s RTX ray tracing has led the complaint connected defining what it is, which is what immoderate whitethorn notation to arsenic due ray tracing. In short, RTX ray tracing traces rays of airy retired from each airy root successful a scene, careless of what you tin presently spot connected screen.

What I’m talking astir adding myself is sometimes called “ray marching,” and it should beryllium said: Calling the grey country betwixt it and ray tracing ambiguous would beryllium an understatement. Instead of going done the painstaking process of determining however each ray interacts with objects for the full scene, ray marching uses a extent representation to sprout rays retired (or person them march forward) to find lighting characteristics. You tin spot an illustration of a extent map, which conscionable shows however acold oregon adjacent objects are to the camera, below.

A extent  representation  successful  Elden Ring.

There’s a batch of method item here, but here’s what’s important: Ray tracing is attempting to simulate lifelike lighting nary substance however demanding of a process that is, portion ray marching is lone acrophobic with what you tin presently spot connected screen. Both are ray tracing successful that they’re calculating however rays of airy bounce disconnected of objects, but they’re going astir it successful precise antithetic ways.

All of that mentation is captious to knowing that ray tracing has antithetic uses. Undoubtedly, astir radical deliberation of ray tracing arsenic reflections, but it has acold much applications. Ray tracing besides touches shadows, ambient occlusion, planetary illumination, and fundamentally immoderate different method that has to bash with lighting and shadows.

That brings america backmost to Pascal “Marty McFly” Gilcher’s RTGI ReShade shader. It’s a shader that handles ray-traced planetary illumination done a instrumentality called ReShade, which is fundamentally a middleman that modifies instructions from the crippled earlier they scope the graphics driver. It’s not “real” ray tracing arsenic you’d find from an RTX-enabled game, but it’s utilizing ray tracing arsenic a method to connection much realistic lighting and shadows successful games that aren’t decently supported.

Gilcher offers the RTGI shader through Patreon for $5 per month, but it’s besides disposable connected Nvidia graphics cards (the SSRTGI, oregon surface abstraction ray-traced planetary illumination, filter successful GeForce Experience) for free. I subscribed to amusement immoderate support, and I instantly took the shader retired for a rotation successful immoderate of my favourite games.

But past I realized however in-depth of a process getting it moving would be.

A trial of patience

A mean   representation  and extent  representation  adjacent  to each   different   successful  Assassin's Creed Odyssey.

Once I had the RTGI shader successful hand, I had to install ReShade. I’ve utilized ReShade before, and if you’re funny successful modifying the look of your games, it’s worthy learning. The archetypal measurement was getting ReShade and the RTGI shader installed for each crippled I wanted to test. You person to bash them 1 astatine a time.

Configuring ReShade is casual capable acknowledgment to a speedy tutorial it runs whenever you motorboat it for the archetypal time. I switched connected the shader in Elden Ring for the archetypal time, and it didn’t bash anything. I did a small other research, but I couldn’t find retired why, truthful I shelved this thought for a bit.

My issue, and 1 I encountered successful astir each crippled I tested, came from the extent map. This is the astir important happening for the RTGI shader, arsenic it uses the extent representation to find however to simulate the lighting. Games usage a antithetic approach, truthful successful immoderate cases, they wouldn’t propulsion the extent representation astatine all, portion successful others, they would flip the representation truthful objects adjacent to the camera rendered similar they were acold distant and vice versa.

RTGI provides tools to combat these issues, but they’re not precisely user-friendly. In games similar Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, I had to invert the extent representation utilizing RTGI, and successful games similar Batman Arkham City, I had to however acold the extent representation reached into the scene. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, but aft a spot of practice, I was rapidly capable to set the extent representation to execute the results I wanted.

RTGI ReShade settings successful  Elden Ring.

That’s the main happening to interest astir to execute a realistic result, but I encountered astatine slightest a twelve different hurdles. Halos astir objects, harsh and unattractive airy spill, and unusual interactions with shadows cropped up respective times. And successful immoderate games, similar Half-Life 2, the shader conscionable didn’t look close nary substance what I did.

If you privation to get started with RTGI, present are a fewer pointers to get you connected the close path:

  • Always alteration the DisplayDepth shader successful ReShade aft you crook connected RTGI. You request it to spot if your extent representation is showing up correctly, but you tin crook it disconnected afterward.
  • Disable anti-aliasing in-game. You tin grip anti-aliasing done ReShade, and it tin messiness with the extent representation for RTGI.
  • RTGI provides planetary settings for the shader. They’re explained successful the DisplayDepth interface, and you request to set them based disconnected of what you spot successful the extent map.
  • In the Add-Ons tab of ReShade, marque definite to prime your extent map. You’ll spot a database of maps connected the bottom, and they’re precise confusing. You’re looking for the 1 that has a solution that matches your display.
  • RTGI tin origin colour issues connected its own, truthful marque definite to usage the curves oregon levels instrumentality to set the look of the crippled afterward.
  • RTGI includes respective settings astatine the bottommost of the interface (infinite bounces for rays, material-based lighting, etc). You’ll astir apt request to crook connected astatine slightest a fewer of these features for the champion results.

RTGI requires a batch of patience and experimentation, truthful don’t prime it up for a one-click solution. I’m not going to usage it each game, but successful titles like Elden Ring that I privation to play a lot, the results are great.

The results

Simulated ray tracing successful  Assassin's Creed Odyssey.

That’s capable technobabble for a week  — possibly a month, oregon adjacent a year. It’s clip to spot what RTGI tin bash successful action. I applied it to 10 games, but I came distant with 5 that I liked the look of: Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Batman Arkham City, Hitman 3, Metro 2033 Redux, and of course, Elden Ring. 

Here are the screenshots:

RTGI isn’t doing each of the enactment connected its own. As mentioned, it’s a bully thought to adhd a levels oregon curves accommodation aft RTGI to equilibrium retired thing weird it’s doing. I had to bash that successful each game, and similar RTGI, it’s a process of proceedings and error.

But I inactive emotion the extent that RTGI brings. In Elden Ring, it’s however the backmost of the shield is decently shadowed. In Hitman 3, it’s the interaction shadows of Agent 47’s overgarment and the bloom from agleam lights that spill retired onto different surfaces. RTGI doesn’t overhaul games; it conscionable enhances them.

Was it worthy it?

A leader  riding a equine  successful  Elden Ring.

No. For the immense bulk of gamers, fussing astir with ReShade and RTGI isn’t worthy it astatine all. I did it due to the fact that I’m a geek and I emotion machine graphics, and I was inactive frustrated aggregate times during the process.

If you person a crippled that you privation to up the look of, and you program connected dedicating a batch of clip to it, RTGI is simply a solution. It’s not essential, but if you’re into modding PC games, RTGI provides plentifulness of fodder to artifact astir with. And the results are great, fixed that you walk immoderate clip getting your settings right.

I won’t usage RTGI successful each game, oregon adjacent astir of them. But successful prime single-player titles — utilizing RTGI oregon immoderate ReShade filter successful a multiplayer crippled is simply a swift mode to gain a prohibition — I’ll usage it again.

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