Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart Confirms Support for DirectStorage 1.2, Ray-Traced Ambient Occlusion, and Intel XeGTAO

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart PC will feature support for DirectStorage 1.2, GPU decompression, ray-traced ambient occlusion, and Intel XeGTAO, Nixxes Software and Insomniac Games have announced ahead of the port’s July 26 release. The former duo, which is being accelerated by NVIDIA RTX IO, is set to deliver a more pleasant experience for players via faster loading times, while ray-traced ambient occlusion (RTAO) is being coupled with ray-traced reflections and newly added ray-traced shadows to ensure greater visuals than the PS5 release. XeGTAO, a version of Ground-Truth Ambient Occlusion from Intel, can also be enabled in the game for those who are seeking a less-demanding alternative to RTAO. (Details regarding ray-tracing support for AMD GPUs are coming soon.)

“To enable quick loading and instant transition between dimensions, the game needs to be able to load assets quickly. DirectStorage ensures quick loading times, and GPU decompression is used at high graphics settings to stream assets in the background while playing,” said Richard van der Laan, Senior Lead Programmer at Nixxes Software. “Traditionally, this decompression is handled by the CPU, but at a certain point, there is an advantage to letting the GPU handle this, as this enables a higher bandwidth for streaming assets from storage to the graphics card. We use this to quickly load high-quality textures and environments with a high level of detail.”

“For Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart on PC, we added adaptive streaming based on live measurement of the available hardware bandwidth,” said Principal Programmer Alex Bartholomeus. “This allows us to tailor the texture streaming strategy for the best possible texture streaming on any configuration. With DirectStorage, the use of a fast NVMe SSD and GPU decompression, this results in very responsive texture streaming even at the highest settings.”

“Ambient occlusion is a technique used in games to simulate how ambient lighting affects a scene,” explained Graphics Programmer Menno Bil. “Ambient lighting is a form of indirect lighting: the light reflected from other surfaces. This effect mostly appears at creases, cracks, and corners where surfaces are close to each other. Commonly used AO techniques are SSAO (Screen Space Ambient Occlusion) and HBAO+ (Horizon-Based Ambient Occlusion). These are not very demanding on the hardware, but they do not provide physically accurate results. RTAO utilizes ray tracing further to enhance the realism of ambient occlusion in the game. We have implemented RTAO as an addition for those with high-end systems with ray-tracing compatible hardware and processing power to spare.”

Image: Insomniac Games

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