Various Vulkan Ray-Tracing Efforts, Including A Rust-Written Ray-Tracer
Written by Michael Larabel in Vulkan on 1 April 2018 at 07:27 AM EDT. 4 Comments
Given all the interest in ray-tracing and related announcements for Windows from last month's Game Developers Conference, I decided to spend some time on this holiday weekend looking at some of the Vulkan ray-tracing projects.

While Microsoft introduced the DirectX Raytracing (DXR) API for Direct3D 12, there isn't currently any dedicated ray-tracing API for Vulkan that is part of the specification. But AMD has open-sourced their Radeon ProRender with ray-tracing support leveraging Vulkan. And we're likely to see much more work in this area moving forward.

There have already been various ray-tracing projects making use of Vulkan on GitHub. Below are some of those projects if you are looking for some fun code to dive into this holiday weekend.

Vulkan-GPU-Ray-Tracer - It's fairly basic, but it's working for demos and the ray-tracing is implemented using a Vulkan compute shader.

FinalProject-HybridRenderer - This was for a final university project, but it's a hybrid renderer using ray-tracing and rasterization in Vulkan, or their "ray-raster" renderer. A lot of interesting technical information and documentation on that GitHub page, hit it up.

satellite-vk-oem - A Vulkan 1.1 targeting ray-tracing mini-engine. It's much further along than just ray-tracing with a ball and box, at least for their demos.

vulkan_raytraced_cube - A fairly basic Vulkan ray-tracing demo for those wanting to dive into the code. This ray-tracer is written in C++.

Vulkan_Ray_Tracer - Still early in development, but a lot of code so far.

Vulkano-Raytracing - Real-time ray-tracing in Vulkano, the Vulkan bindings for the Rust programming language. So far though this Rust-written Vulkan ray-tracer has a single triangle rendering and is quite basic, but the developer has ambitions to be able to do much more than its current state, and I know there are many Phoronix readers in the forums who are overjoyed about Rust code.

If I missed any other interesting Vulkan ray-tracing projects in the works, feel free to mention them in the forums.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

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