Game Development Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional and independent game developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I wonder what technology applications like Xara3D use to be able to perform real-time ray tracing.

How is such good quality rendering done in real-time?

share|improve this question
This question isn't suited for Game Development Stackexchange, since we didn't write Xara 3D, we can't know how they did it. You should try and write your own ray tracing algorithm, locate bottlenecks and then come back with a question on how you could optimize the function. – William Mariager Aug 22 '12 at 6:45
@William'MindWorX'Mariager I think he only used Xara 3D as an example. I think there might be people here that can give some information about real-time raytracing. – bummzack Aug 22 '12 at 7:28
William'MindWorX'Mariager this is what i meant , this is only example – user3689 Aug 22 '12 at 7:35
@bummzack, The question still seems to broad to me. There are a ton of ways to do ray-tracing and even more ways to do "good quality rendering" in real-time. – William Mariager Aug 22 '12 at 7:46
you know to many , i know none , i can read about it , but i didnt found any implemention that works smoth in real time like xara 3d – user3689 Aug 22 '12 at 8:04

You can find the tutorial Jacco Bikker made here:

It's kinda advanced since it goes through almost all important topics about Ray-Tracing, including Reflections, Refractions, Soft Shadows etc.

share|improve this answer

This might interest you:

This is Jacco Bikker's website, he's currently building a leading realtime raytracing and pathtracing engine called Brigade 2 ( 1 was non GPU, 2 is now utilizing the GPU ). You can find a lot of material on his website regarding realtime raytracing.

share|improve this answer
The link appears to only provide demos for real-time ray tracing, not samples as to how it's done. The link provided by Thomas Versteeg seems to provide more of what was asked for. That aside, thanks for the link to the cool demos! – leetNightshade Aug 23 '12 at 15:46

Here's another option - NVidia provide a free GPU accelerated raytracing engine, but it only works on their GPUs.

share|improve this answer

Typically, its done via...

  • GPGPU(General-purpose computing on graphics processing units) languages such as CUDA(An Nvidea specific api) or OpenCL(Platform independent).

  • Doing the calculations in the fragment/pixel or compute shaders in raster graphics api's such as OpenGL or DirectX.

Or, if you really have to...

  • Doing it cpu-side with highly optimized code.

Even doing it on the GPU isn't very fast. Which is why we typically employ octrees and various other methods of minimizing ray-primitive intersections.

And incase your up to some reading...

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.