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Polish Information Processing Society
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Annals of Computer Science and Information Systems, Volume 21

Proceedings of the 2020 Federated Conference on Computer Science and Information Systems

15 Years Later: A Historic Look Back at "Quake 3: Ray Traced"

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15439/2020F3

Citation: Proceedings of the 2020 Federated Conference on Computer Science and Information Systems, M. Ganzha, L. Maciaszek, M. Paprzycki (eds). ACSIS, Vol. 21, pages 401412 ()

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Abstract. Real-time ray tracing has been a goal and a challenge in the graphics field for many decades. With recent advances in the hardware and software domains, this is becoming a reality today. In this work, we describe how we got to this point by taking a look back at one of the first fully ray traced games:``Quake 3: Ray Traced''. We provide insight into the development steps of the project with unreleased internal details and images. From a historical perspective, we look at the challenges pioneering in this area in the year 2004 and highlight the learnings in implementing the system, many of which are relevant today. We start by going from a blank screen to the full ray traced gaming experience with dynamic animations, lighting, rendered special effects and a simplistic implementation of the gameplay with basic AI enemies. We describe the challenges encountered with aliasing and the methods used to alleviate it. Lastly, we describe for the first time the unofficial continuation of the project, code named``Quake 3: Team Arena Ray Traced'', and provide an overview of the changes over the past 15 years that made it possible to generate fully ray-traced interactive gaming experiences with mass market hardware and an open software stack.


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