Ray tracing and high quality 3D assets for TGC 2019?

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kahi

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« on: May 21, 2020, 05:53:48 AM »
I have an Nvidia RTX graphics card in my PC since last summer. The RTX demos of real-time dynamic lighting are amazing and make me think that golf games would benefit greatly from the addition of ray tracing.

The graphics companies (cards, engines) are developing software algorithms to ease the requirements for direct hardware ray tracing.

Also, photorealistic 3D assets from companies like Quixel (now acquired by Epic Games) enable the creation of truly realistic environments.

How big of an effort would it be from HB Studios' developers to a) enable ray tracing and b) upgrade the 3D assets with new photorealistic versions in TGC 2019?

To me the physics in the game and the ball flight model are already very good but the courses are not very close to photorealism. Don't get me wrong, many courses are awesome as they are but they are not very realistic looking.

Stan Solo

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« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2020, 07:14:23 AM »
There will be no upgrades to TGC 2019  .... all focus is on PGA TOUR 2K21 which will be released on August 21st.

I wouldn't expect a huge leap in graphics either as the game is running on the Unity engine, as in previous incarnations.

Photorealism is quite some way off ... I'm afraid.

kahi

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« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2020, 08:28:33 AM »
1. Unity already supports ray tracing albeight in a preview version so why would using Unity prevent using ray tracing in TGC/2K? Not at launch but soon thereafter?

https://unity.com/ray-tracing

2. With the ray traced lighting and the photorealistic assets photorealism could be technically achieved right now. Why do you think it’s way off for us golf gamers? Or did you mean that we probably won't see it in a TGC/2K game anytime soon?

Upgrading TGC 2019 would be like the ray tracing mods for other current or even older games. These mods are popping up all over the place (Minecraft, Quake II, Battlefield V, GTA 5 to mention a few) and they look fantastic. Golf is a pretty static game so it should be easy to mod.

Any HB developers able to comment?

P.S. Some recent 3D graphics improvements are already creeping into other golf games, think of e.g. the Nvidia Turf Effects which are already used in Virtual Golf 2 (Trackman sim software). Not related to ray tracing but cool anyway.

https://developer.nvidia.com/turfeffects

Stan Solo

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« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2020, 09:09:35 AM »
It will come down to finance and resources. HB started out as a indie developer and don't have the clout of EA and others.

Unity was also used for Perfect golf and these are two very different games on the same engine. It may come down to coding.

Yes golf is quite a static game but it's also an open world environment with lots of rendering, draw distance and objects.

That does require quite a lot of horse power to run smooth.

kahi

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« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2020, 10:22:03 AM »
Having seen what game developers are already doing with the new graphics horsepower they have been given I must say I don't share your pessimism :).

I would think an HB Studios developer would be thrilled to be able to utilize ray tracing and better 3D assests in their game without having to rewrite the game. Those additions do not require special black magic coding skills since ray tracing is supported in the game engine (Unity), in the OS (DXR API in Windows 10) and most importantly in the hardware (Nvidia RTX).

That's why you can turn ray tracing so easily on and off in the games that support it, on the fly. You can still keep your old lighting model but add the ray tracing option if the player has the hardware that is required!

Another interesting question to HB's developers: what about those improved 3D assets like grass and especially trees? How difficult would it be for you to add new high quality photorealistic versions? And what effect would that have on the PC requirements?

Stan Solo

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« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2020, 02:38:52 PM »
I'm not pessimistic,more realistic  ... I would love to have photorealistic courses in a lifelike 3D environment like you say.

But I cannot see it happening anytime soon  ... not with this golf franchise,due to the reasons I stated.

They added speedtree in TGC 2019 and the rough textures did look better in the latest trailer for the new game.
But improvements are slow and a long time coming ...

In the meantime with next gen consoles on the horizon and a decent PC set up we might see the new game with native 4K running @60fps .

kahi

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« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2020, 12:31:47 AM »
Thanks for mentioning SpeedTree! I’m a TGC 2019 newbie and don’t know the technologies HB has used.

Checked out SpeedTree and they are selling high quality 3D assets, both for the game and the cinema industries. They support the main game engines like Unity and UE.

Their hero series of trees for games look very good, using those in TGC/2K would bring us a lot closer to photorealism. And using the cinema series would bring us all the way there.

Reading some discussions on SpeedTree use in TGC 2019 it (of course) comes down to performance. The makers of TGC 2019 had to build the game to work well in the hardware people were using when it was launched.

But that’s my point: those hardware limitations will be all but gone with the new consoles (PS5, XBOX X) and the recent PC graphics (Nvidia RTX, AMD RDNA 2). No reason to hold back with the 3D assets like trees anymore.

It’s especially important that the new consoles are so capable, they are the benchmark that sets the heaviest restrictions on the game developers at any point in time. Check out the Unreal Engine 5 demo on the new PS5 to see what’s coming!

https://youtu.be/qC5KtatMcUw

EDIT: Sorry to be pushing the issue but I'm just so excited and amazed about this new level of real-time photorealism on my home PC!

Here's a great example of where a golf game could be taken right now. The creator used UE4 but this can be done in Unity just as well. He has used 3D assets from SpeedTree (the trees) and Quixel (the rest, I assume). Watch this in 2160P to enjoy the quality.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXdJk87v4Fs
« Last Edit: May 22, 2020, 06:24:44 AM by kahi »

Stan Solo

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« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2020, 07:12:46 AM »
lol ... looks like HB are busy with promoting the new game so you are stuck with me for the time being !
Any info about the new game will be in a drip drip format ...

Yes you're right ... you can slobber and drool over the Unreal engine ..that would take golf games into another dimension.
Even something like RAGE in Red Dead Redemption 2 would be fantastic.

As I said HB are a small developer and it looks like they have found a good publisher in 2K who will invest in them.
I hope they can exploit the full potential of Unity in the new game but a lot of it will come down to costs and budget.

leslie.sangster

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« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2020, 09:03:04 AM »
I’m sure I’ve seen a video similar to that but using the unity engine
It’s an ultra realistic tech demo called Book of the dead

https://unity3d.com/book-of-the-dead

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« Last Edit: May 22, 2020, 09:12:38 AM by leslie.sangster »

kahi

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« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2020, 10:48:02 AM »
@stan_solo No worries, good that someone comments 👍 And we share a common goal, I actually think the HB devs do, too.

EDIT: @leslie.sangster Thanks, that's awesome! The demo uses Unity's HDRP rendering pipeline but not ray tracing yet. But it gives us a glimpse of the quality of golf course environment possible already with the 2018 version of Unity.

Here's a beautiful explanation of hardware accelerated ray tracing using Metro Exodus. The environments (the 3D assets) are game-like and not photorealistic but the lighting presentation and comparison to the old ways is great.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ms7d-3Dprio

And another recent one, using Blender as the tool, showing how easy it is to select the lighting rendering in the tool on the fly, switching back and forth between the old renderer and the new ray tracing one.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3ZL-Ve-6Y4

To repeat the point: it should be no problem at all for a game developer to upgrade even a current game by using a more recent version of the game engine with ray tracing support, turning the ray tracing on (allowing using it in the game's settings by the player) and upgrading the 3D assets to get photorealistic materials and surfaces.

To me one of the most beautiful things in golf is playing in the morning or in the evening when the light comes at a low angle and the shadows are beautiful. Ray tracing will provide this beauty to our golf games without any special effort. Stunning!
« Last Edit: May 22, 2020, 12:09:07 PM by kahi »

wirenut48

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« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2020, 03:54:17 PM »
This has been an interesting read as I have kinda fell out of touch with the newer tech advancements. This all sounds promising as most people under estimate how much processing goes into 3D modeling of a golf course. I always laugh when I hear someone say it's just a golf game and I have other games that are much more demanding. It would be nice if Devs could get better performance using these newer techs and engine advancements without having to make sacrifices in graphics.
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leslie.sangster

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« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2020, 05:33:26 PM »
This has been an interesting read as I have kinda fell out of touch with the newer tech advancements. This all sounds promising as most people under estimate how much processing goes into 3D modeling of a golf course. I always laugh when I hear someone say it's just a golf game and I have other games that are much more demanding. It would be nice if Devs could get better performance using these newer techs and engine advancements without having to make sacrifices in graphics.
The thing is my Xbox goes crazy only on the golf club game I can hear the fan working hard


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kahi

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« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2020, 03:54:16 AM »
The fortunate thing for us consumer golfers is that there are many golf software developers who are competing against each other.

While it may seem that TGC 2019 is the only high quality golf game out there right now, there is another market segment that has heavy competition: the golf simulator market.

TGC 2019 is present there as well via a company called ProTee (www.protee-united.com). They integrate TGC 2019 with the launch monitors being used in the simulators and call the software "The Golf Club Simulator 2019".

Other high quality sim software in addition to the sim version of TGC 2019:
- E6 Connect (TruGolf)
- Virtual Golf 2 (Trackman, they have now bought Jack Nicklaus Perfect Golf as well)
- FSX 2020 (Foresight)
- Full Swing Golf (this is what Tiger endorses and uses at his home)
- GSX Golf (Sports Coach)
- Creative Golf 3D
- HD Golf
- WGT (World Golf Tour Media)

These companies try to provide a very high quality golf course software experience, alongside the simulator setup and the launch monitor and the PC hardware they include in the golf simulator product packages.

So there's plenty of competition when it comes to providing the most immersive (most photorealistic) golfing experience in a commercial simulator. And since all these software packages are running on a normal PC, there is no difference to the games we play on consoles and home PCs when it comes to how the software is built.

The golf simulator market is a high end commercial market, quality requirements are extremely high. After one of these companies comes up with a new and better version of their software, all others are compared to that benchmark. Rest assured, the new hardware capabilities (ray tracing, photorealistic 3D assets) will be in use in one or more of these software packages sooner rather than later. Trackman is already using Nvidia's Turf Effects in the latest version of Virtual Golf.

And since the hardware and the OS running the simulator software is the very same that we have in our PCs at home, all console and PC golf game producers will feel the pressure to make their games better, too.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2020, 04:23:39 AM by kahi »

 

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