Ray Tracing

For the release of FS2020 I updated my PC with a Nvidia RTX graphics card that supports Ray tracing. When will the Flight Simulator team start supporting the Ray tracing features?

Google nvidia rtx raytracing

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They will upgrade their engine to DirectX 12, that means Ray Tracing will be later available! But we don’t know when this happens.

EDIT: DirectX 12 is coming summer 2021


What do you think raytracing will bring to the sim? The reflections are already really good, and there is no nearby walls and objects when in the sky. I can see the benefit for FPS games but a flight sim?


Ray Tracing would be helpful in some situations, eg. when flying during the night, and seeing more accurate reflections of the city lights under the wing in an Cessna 172. Right now, these reflections are really nice, but compared to flying in real life, you can definitely see a difference. Another use case could be reflections on wet surfaces and water puddles.
Probably not a high priority wish - i guess most ppl don’t even have an RTX GPU right now, but it’s nice to have.


In cockpit view you will see parts that are supposed to be reflected in the water hidden very often. In the external view it’s less of a problem unless you’re flying close to terrain or viewing the aircraft up close. The reflections will also be a lot more accurate when landed on water, sitting on a wet tarmac, and in the hangar preview.

I think ray-tracing will bring lots of benefits overall, and keep in mind that it can be used for things other than reflections as well. More accurate shadows, global illumination and ambient occlusion for example, and the latter looks quite bad in its current state.


I feel ray-tracing is a graphics feature many don’t know they want until they experience it. It is really amazing to see firsthand, imo. Generic reflections/lighting/shadows just don’t compare. Some games often fake them quite well, for sure! But ray-tracing is another level, imo.

Ray-tracing would have skyscraper building windows accurately reflecting the surrounding environment. Shoreline water, lakes, and ponds accurately reflecting the surrounding world. Accurate airplane window reflections, etc. I think ray-tracing brings better shadows, lighting, etc., in general, too.

The game does a lot of this stuff great, but I don’t think it’s nearly as accurate as it would be with ray-tracing. For example, the current game has these anomalies, if we can call them that…

Sky/clouds reflecting underneath the wing?

Not many runway lights reflected in this jet:

I don’t have time to try and find a bunch of examples, but I’m sure over time I’ll see some more glaring opportunities for ray-tracing, and shortcomings of the currently-implemented tech.

That said, this game is an absolute technical marvel. Obviously, ray-tracing would be a sort of ‘icing on the cake’ thing at this point. But would help make the worlds feel even more realistic and alive, so to speak


According to a dev Q&A from a while back, they said “Right now we are doing DirectX11, at some point we will switch to DirectX12, and at this point we can start looking into this Ray Tracing thing”.

So it’s possibly coming, after Dx12 which we don’t have a timeline for yet. Hopefully Dx12 brings some performance gains as well.


Digital Foundry reaffirmed recently in their hands-on video that, according to the team, they would be upgrading the engine to DirectX 12 Ultimate at some point, so we know it’s still coming. I’m guessing they would prefer to upgrade the engine first before porting the game to the Xbox consoles, since those APIs are more similar.


Could it be another baby vaporware?

Just curious what you mean by “it”? Do you mean ray-tracing, DX12, or DX12 Ultimate?

Ray Tracing makes games look so good and I’m sure if Ray Tracing was in the sim, it would look so real.

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I’m not sure it’d look real at 5 FPS. :joy:

But they already said that this kind of feature will have to wait for the implementation of DX12, which means next summer.


Don’t really see the use/need for raytracing in a sim like this. No highly reflective metallic surfaces all around, no glowing neon lights.
Only possible benefit I would see is raytraced shadows for the buildings in a city, but doubt it would make too much of a difference compared to the current system. Maybe reflections in the water?
Pretty sure I wouldn’t want to sacrifice any performance for it though.


Add RT sure if there is DLSS support with DX12 otherwise it would be disaster to run.As of right now the sim does need proper reflections.

Ray tracing reflection is cool though.

Right now the reflections are too grainy and blurry.

Also, ray tracing shadow would help reduce the shimmering shadows in the cockpit


I don’t see RT being added anytime soon. It may be at some point, but I’d be surprised if it would be a priority. Realistically, only people with RTX3000 series cards would be able to use it. Yeah, RTX2000 cards CAN run it, but the second you turn it on, your frame rate takes a massive hit. Ditto with the new Radeon 6000 series.

Seeing most people (even RTX3000 series owners) struggle to stay above a constant 30 fps, I don’t think the huge frame hit that ray tracing would give is worth it. At least not with hardware currently on the market.

I’d much rather have a really beautiful game that runs at acceptable frame rates than stare at an absolutely drop-dead gorgeous slide show.


I agree that it seems like there’s a huge amount of optimization work that would need to be done before raytracing could possibly be usable for any but a tiny handful of users with super-powerful PCs, making it a poor value proposition.

But I’d say the same about VR, and they’re shipping that next week. :slight_smile:

I think it should be an option (why not) and add in DLSS with the dx12 update. Throw it in performance mode and have a blast.

Not sure if it’s really necessary. The number of light sources that could need raytraced reflections is fairly limited in my opinion.

The main light source during day is obviously the sun. Cockpit surfaces are rather matte, aswell as the outside surfaces of aircraft. Unless you’re not diving into the street canyons of big cities there are also not many occasions where real-time raytracing would make much sense. Especially when keeping in mind that the sim already struggles with performance in certain settings.

Just my personal opinion, though.

Edit: maybe a “nice to have” but certainly no game changer.

I have yet to see a good looking game with Raytracing.

Cyberpunk is a joke.

Read Dead Redemption does all this without Raytracing, without DLSS and still delivers 60 fps steady in 4 K with my 3080.

I would not waste a single developer minute into Raytracing. I would put everything I have in CPU optimization.