PC Perspective: Let’s just jump right into the issue at hand. What is your take on current ray tracing arguments floating around such as those featured in a couple of different articles here at PC Perspective? Have you been doing any work on ray tracing yourself?

John Carmack: I have my own personal hobby horse in this race and have some fairly firm opinions on the way things are going right now. I think that ray tracing in the classical sense, of analytically intersecting rays with conventionally defined geometry, whether they be triangle meshes or higher order primitives, I’m not really bullish on that taking over for primary rendering tasks which is essentially what Intel is pushing. (Ed: information about Intel's research is here.) There are large advantages to rasterization from a performance standpoint and many of the things that they argue as far as using efficient culling technologies to be able to avoid referencing a lot of geometry, those are really bogus arguments because you could do similar things with occlusion queries and conditional renders with rasterization. Head to head rasterization is just a vastly more efficient use of whatever transistors you have available.

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