Cyberpunk 2077: Why Overdrive Ray Tracing makes Night City look better

20 April 2023 at 18:07 in Gaming News with no comments

Cyberpunk 2077 benefits greatly from Nvidia’s long-awaited Overdrive mode, which enables full ray tracing.

By Kilian Kilian

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  Cyberpunk 2077  

Key Facts

  • The new Overdrive Ray Tracing for Cyberpunk 2077 was released on April 11th.
  • The lighting is now reflected much more detailed from all surfaces, and shadows have also been improved.
  • Overdrive Ray Tracing is very graphics-intensive.

The new Ray Tracing technology will make Night City shine in a new light


Overdrive Ray Tracing was released for Cyberpunk 2077 on April 11th. This new technology significantly enhances the reflections in the game world.

  Cyberpunk 2077  

Nvidia had previously stated that Cyberpunk 2077 is already one of the most technologically advanced games on the market, using a variety of Ray-Tracing methods. However, with the introduction of Overdrive Ray Tracing, which allows for full Ray Tracing, also known as Path Tracing, the technology is set to be further improved.

Full Ray Tracing accurately simulates light throughout entire scenes, a technique also used in film and television to make scenes look as realistic as possible. This was not possible in the gaming industry for a long time due to the high graphics requirements. However, with the new GeForce RTX 40 series graphics cards and the new DLSS technology, this is now possible.

With the new update to Cyberpunk, all neon signs in the city are now captured by Ray Tracing, improving the reflections of light on the walls. Additionally, reflections have been significantly improved, as can be seen particularly on the cars.

Check out this Before/After image from Nvidia to see how the reflections on the cars have been improved.

  Cyberpunk 2077

Information about the new Ray Tracing technology


Compared to the old Ray Tracing method used in Cyberpunk 2077, the Psycho Ray Tracing, the Overdrive Ray Tracing is significantly improved.

Overdrive Ray Tracing calculates the light and shadow from every light source, which was previously limited due to budget constraints.

This new Ray Tracing technology is also known as Path Tracing, as it follows the path of light. This means that light not only illuminates the area it hits, but also reflects and diffuses light to the surroundings. This is particularly impressive in Cyberpunk 2077, where the city is flooded with neon signs.

The reflected light also reflects the color of the surface it hits. For example, if you shine light on a blue container, the reflected light that bounces off the ceiling and the surrounding area will also be slightly blue.

The previous Ray Tracing method often caused issues with unusually bright skin on characters. These issues have been resolved with the new Ray Tracing technology.


Who benefits from the new Ray Tracing?


A frequently asked question is who can actually see the new Ray Tracing. To see the new Ray Tracing, you need an RTX-capable graphics card, at least from Nvidia’s 20 series.

However, many older graphics cards struggle with FPS issues. The RTX 3050, which is the weakest of the RTX graphics cards, manages about 30 FPS at 1080p, which can lead to a slightly worse gaming experience. Nevertheless, you can still enjoy the beautiful shine of the city.

CD Projekt Red recommends the new Ray Tracing only for the 40 series of Nvidia graphics cards, as this can still achieve high FPS numbers despite the Ray Tracing. With an RTX 4090 and settings at 4K, you can still achieve 95 FPS despite the new Ray Tracing.

However, this is only possible through the new DLSS 3 Performance Mode, which makes the game run smoother, especially with Ray Tracing.

So it is clear that this new Ray Tracing technology requires a lot of performance, but it is worth it. Cyberpunk 2077 reaches a whole new level of light and shadow quality, which makes the city with all its neon lights now reflect and shine everywhere.


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