Raytracing on Vulkan Final Spec Released

The Khronos Group have just released the final specification for Raytracing on Vulkan. Details of the release on the Khronos Group announcement:

Today, Khronos® has released the final versions of the set of Vulkan®, GLSL and SPIR-V extension specifications that seamlessly integrate ray tracing into the existing Vulkan framework. This is a significant milestone as it is the industry’s first open, cross-vendor, cross-platform standard for ray tracing acceleration – and can be deployed either using existing GPU compute or dedicated ray tracing cores. Vulkan Ray Tracing will be familiar to anyone who has used DirectX Raytracing (DXR) in DirectX 12, but also introduces advanced functionality such as the ability to load balance ray tracing setup operations onto the host CPU. Although ray tracing will be first deployed on desktop systems, these Vulkan extensions have been designed to enable and encourage ray tracing to also be deployed on mobile.

These extensions were initially released as provisional versions in March 2020. Since that time (see Figure 1), we have received and incorporated feedback from hardware vendors and software developers, both inside Khronos and from the wider industry, but the overall shape of the API and the functionality provided are fundamentally unchanged. Thank you to all who reviewed and used the provisional extensions and especially those who provided feedback!

Along side the release both AMD and NVIDIA have released updated drivers ( AMD here, NVIDIA here). Keep in mind, both drivers are beta and are intended for developers, so should not be installed unless you specifically need to implement the raytracing extensions. Additionally they released an updated set of Vulkan examples on Github, showcasing the new raytracing extensions in action. You can learn more about this release in the video below.

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