Ray tracing will come to more games with a new Vulkan SDK

You can already play 'Quake II RTX' on AMD GPUs.

Lightspeed Studios/NVIDIA/id Software

To date, PC games with ray traced visuals have had to lean on Microsoft’s DirectX or use GPU-specific code. Now, however, that technology should be available to a wider audience. LunarG has released a Vulkan software toolkit that lets developers add ray tracing to games and apps using the open graphics standard. You’ll need a capable GPU like AMD’s Radeon 6800 models or NVIDIA’s RTX 20- and 30-series cards, but you can otherwise expect to play ray-traced games more often.

The kit represents the culmination of multiple efforts to bring ray tracing to life in Vulkan, including finalized extensions this November and graphics drivers from both AMD and NVIDIA. Intel’s Xe-HPG hardware will support ray tracing in 2021.

You won’t even have to wait long to see the first fruits of the expanded ray tracing support. As PC Gamer explained, the previously NVIDIA-only Quake II RTX project has received a patch bringing AMD GPU support. It’s not the most cutting-edge example of real-time lighting effects, but it’s proof the technology is quickly opening up and might soon reach mainstream adoption outside of game consoles.