Ray-tracing may be the next big thing for the gaming industry with both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Scarlett (X Series) promising hardware-level support for the technology, but it has been around for a while. In fact, there were many demos available on the years-old PlayStation 2. This may sound hard to believe and yes, these were just demos, but to think that the ancient console was able to leverage the technology is still quite impressive.
The above video includes a set of demos from SCEE Assembly 2008. They were all run using just 16K of work-space and include a bunch of then-groundbreaking technological demonstrations. There’s a 70 layer grass patch featuring 100K polygon (just for a small patch of grass), a character mesh-model of sorts exhibiting advanced PhysX and shadows (by PS2 standards anyway) and finally, the ray-tracing demo called “Don’t Enter the Sphere”.
Skip to 4:35 for the ray-tracing demo. From what I can tell, it mainly leverages low resolution real-time ray-traced reflections and considering the hardware, it’s remarkable. Best of all, this was all executed using the GPU and 16K of memory. The CPU wasn’t utilized at all. Have a peek and let us know what you think. Cheers!