Update from April 11, 2023: Anyone who always wanted Cyberpunk 2077 to be a little nicer will finally be rewarded for waiting today. Patch 1.62 has been available since 1 p.m. today and can be played now. This means RT Overdrive mode is now available. It should make the light in the game even more realistic. You can find out exactly what that is later in the article.
But be careful: You can only enjoy this new technology with a graphics card from the 40 series. An additional requirement is DLSS3, which was added to the game in February.
And you can find out what that looks like in a video by CD Projekt:
This is what the new Overdrive mode looks like in Cyberpunk 2077
Updated March 23, 2023: CD Projekt announced at the GDC 2023 developer fair (Game Developer Conference) that patch 1.62 should be released on April 11, 2023. The graphics update is intended to bring the “RT: Overdive” mode into play, which we told you about in the original article below. This was first published by a Reddit user named “mrFahrenheit94”, who is said to be at the presentation was there.
link to Reddit content
There are no official announcements or recordings of the announcement yet, but the date seems realistic. After all, CD Projekt has been working on the project for a while. We were able to catch a first glimpse of the Overdrive mode on September 20, 2022.
link to YouTube content
What does the update do? In short, it aims to improve the performance of in-game ray tracing and add path tracing to the game. This means that the lighting should look even better than “just” with ray tracing. You can find out what the two types of tracing are all about in the original article.
Which graphics card do you need for this? It is very certain that you will need a high-end graphics card to use path tracing fluently. With an Nvidia RTX 4080, that won’t happen.
Original article from March 15th:
Night City, the world of Cyberpunk 2077, can already look amazing with the right hardware. However, Nvidia and CD Projekt want to give something more.
This is not completely new in and of itself, because a new ray tracing feature was announced last September. Pawel Kozlowski (Senior Developer Technology Engineer, Nvidia) and Jakub Knapik (Global Art Director, CD Projekt) have announced a joint panel on the website of the GDC developer fair, which will deal with Path tracing in Night City should go.
Night City in an even more beautiful light
The planned GDC presentation by Nvidia and CD Projekt is scheduled to take place on March 22nd. Nothing less than “the next level” of visual realism is promised. Path tracing is said to offer better light and reflections than ray tracing.
The new “RT: Overdrive” mode should make this possible, which joins the existing ray tracing methods. These include RT reflections, ray-traced diffuse lighting, RT shadows, and RT global illumination.
The main features of the Overdrive mode can be found here in list form (via dsogaming):
NVIDIA RTX Direct Illumination (RTXDI):
- Uses ray tracing to create precise lighting and shadows for different objects
- Provides accurate, colored light for neon signs, street lights, car lights, LED screens and TVs
Improved ray tracing:
- Indirect light and reflections are reflected multiple times for even more accurate and realistic results
- Reflections are rendered at full resolution for higher quality
More physical lighting:
- Improved lighting techniques make the use of other occlusion techniques unnecessary
- Produces more accurate, realistic, and immersive global lighting, reflections, and self-reflections
Apart from ray tracing, CD Projekt delivered DLSS 3 via patch in January. Colleague Nils Raettig took a look at it for you.
But this should not only mean an improvement for the players. It should also be much easier for developers to design realistic lighting moods, which then plays into the hands of the players in the long run.
After all, one can assume that more developers will then deal with the technology. But what is path tracing anyway?
What is path tracing?
The calculation of realistic light is highly complex and certainly needs more explanation than just these few lines. Nevertheless, we insist on providing you with a greatly simplified outline:
Path tracing is a rendering technology that is theoretically very similar to ray tracing. With ray tracing, individual rays of light are sent from each pixel through the entire scene. When a ray hits a surface, a new ray is calculated that represents the reflection. This continues until a ray of light hits a light source again.
Path tracing does the same thing, only it emits more rays in random directions and then narrows it down to the rays most likely to create a realistic lighting mood. This creates a lighting atmosphere that is as realistic as possible, as you can see in the examples above.
Going into more detail is beyond the scope of this article. You can find more information about the technology in the Nvidia blog.
When can I expect the update?
It is not yet clear when exactly you will be able to enjoy path tracing. As already mentioned, the official presentation will take place on March 22nd at the GDC. One can assume that Overdrive will be rolled out either during the event, or rather shortly afterwards. However, that is not certain.
Are you still in Cyberpunk 2077? Are you looking forward to graphic updates for the sci-fi universe? Would your computers cope with another ray tracing / path tracing technology? Have you played Cyberpunk 2077 at all? Let us know your opinions and experiences in the comments!