A NVIDIA patent might lead to more realistic shadows in video games

A NVIDIA patent might lead to more realistic shadows in video games ...

Nvidia has established itself as a leader in the market for consumer-facing graphics cards, as well as focusing on the research and development of a wide variety of cutting-edge 3D rendering technologies. From the company's own raytracing solution, RTX, through its backend latency optimization capabilities, like Nvidia Reflex.

Nvidia has submitted an all-new shadow casting patent that, by the looks of it, might well lead to substantially improved area light shadows. Curiously, this particular patent describes a novel technique that runs parallel to raytracing and doesn't incur much of a performance penalty, although it does have a potential drawback.

Nvidia used its latest patent to describe voxel cone tracing, or VCT, which is used to determine light occlusion and shadow rendering. Specifically, the patent argues that shadow casting could be done differently, since VCT is more efficient and visually striking, with the apparent drawback that it may only be used for rectangular lights.

Nvidia is clearly interested in further enhancing its hardware's RTX capabilities, such as by using cone-shaped light sources to create a crisp and realistic shadow at a lower performance disadvantage than would be currently possible with regular raytracing.

Nvidia's this year's GPUs will set new performance records in raytraced rendering, but it's been almost confirmed that the RTX 4000 will have a significant power draw to deliver on this front. Nvidia might be able to boost the new GPUs' performance-per-watt ratings in cutting-edge titles, which is always a good thing.

Nvidia RTX 4000 is said to have destroyed 3090 in Control, but it's entirely possible that future modifications might help even older RTX 3000 and RTX 2000 graphics cards stay relevant longer using VCT and other similar techniques, given that the patent has been filed only recently.