Lego Builders Journey Ray-Tracing and DLSS 2.2 Deep Dive

Ray-Traced Reflections, Shadows, AO, and Global Illumination

You can find the original uncompressed shots here

The impact of ray-traced shadows on both quality and performance is quite subtle. They basically make the shadows sharper and more detailed and can have an almost unnoticeable impact on visual fidelity in some cases. As always, ray-traced reflections have the most obvious impact on quality:

Reflections On vs Off

It’s worth noting that while the baked-in (cube-mapped) reflections do account for a number of rather glossy reflections without RT, they’re quite inaccurate and don’t account for the dynamic lighting present in the scene. Most notably, areas that should have been completely dark also cast reflections in the case of the former. In this particular scene, ambient occlusion has the most notable impact on quality due to the lack of sunlight in the scene.

In most well-lit scenes, RT reflections are easily the most prominent easily distinguished, even if you have screen-space reflections by default:

The blocks are quite glossy, and as a result, reflecting. Due to this, ray-traced reflections affect every aspect of the scene from the silhouette of the blocks to shadows (cast on the ground below the block structure) to the lighting and even transparency. Followed by reflections, ray-traced global illumination is the most noteworthy effect used in the game. The indirect bounces of light (diffuse/indirect lighting) lights up many nooks and crannies that would have otherwise been dim:

Since the blocks often result in a very irregular silhouette, global illumination lights up more surfaces than it usually would have. Ambient occlusion and shadows have a lesser impact and in most cases, the former basically offsets the excessive lighting in corners:

Ray-traced comparisons continue on the next page…

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Areej Syed

Processors, PC gaming, and the past. I have written about computer hardware for over seven years with over 5000 published articles. I started during engineering college and haven't stopped since. On the side, I play RPGs like Baldur's Gate, Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Divinity, and Fallout. Contact:
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