Vulkan 1.2.162 Released With Ray-Tracing Support Promoted

Written by Michael Larabel in Vulkan on 23 November 2020 at 06:00 AM EST. 13 Comments
Earlier this year Vulkan ray-tracing arrived in provisional form while with today's Vulkan 1.2.162 specification update this functionality has been promoted to stable and ready for broad industry support.

The Vulkan ray-tracing support is now deemed final and out of the provisional guard. This includes the finalized versions of VK_KHR_acceleration_structure, VK_KHR_ray_tracing_pipeline, VK_KHR_ray_query, VK_KHR_pipeline_library, and VK_KHR_deferred_host_operations.

The Vulkan ray-tracing specification now has the support of AMD, Arm, EA, Epic Games, Facebook, Imagination, Intel, NVIDIA, Qualcomm, Samsung, Unity, Valve, and other stakeholders.

NVIDIA originally introduced their own VK_NV_ray_tracing extension while now there is the multi-vendor support agreeing to the finalized spec with this KHR (Khronos) specification around ray-tracing. This comes following the recent launch of the Radeon RX 6000 series that does support hardware ray-tracing and Intel recently began their open-source Linux driver work around ray-tracing in preparing for Xe-HPG hardware that will support the capability. We haven't seen much in the way of open-source AMD work yet around ray-tracing support on Linux besides some LLVM work on the AMDGPU shader compiler but hopefully that will soon change with this ratified spec.

For game developers currently making use of DirectX 12 Ray-Tracing, the Vulkan Ray-Tracing is designed to be a straight-forward stepping stone to support. This is also hopefully good news for the likes of VKD3D/VKD3D-Proton for hopefully being able to support DirectX 12 DXR games over Vulkan translations in the future.

It's a great early Christmas present seeing Vulkan 1.2.162 arriving today with the finalized Vulkan Ray-Tracing specification.
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