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Using path-tracing, a common way to render in 3D, ray 'bounces' are simulated as they are emitted from light sources and hit different surfaces. This is based on the reflectiveness of objects and the amount of light they diffuse, which will scatter light in different ways. It can be complex, as it involves working out where the intersection points of these bounces of light are with multiple material properties. It is computationally heavy, time-intensive and costly. Nevertheless, the outcome is exponentially better, as light is modelled and executed much more accurately although still an approximation versus more speculative rasterized graphics and as a result scenes can look photorealistic.

At present, ray-tracing is limited by traditional single-computer technology which means that every scene in a game is rendered for each person individually. This is not economical or performant and would be far too slow for realtime gaming, aside from every gamer needing to own the latest, most expensive hardware. When ray-tracing is distributed across multiple machines on the cloud, server side and thus tapping into massive resources, it can deliver the full blown capacity of ray-tracing rendering in realtime.

The constraints studios face when building games are lifted. No longer must they navigate the restrictions of various hardware, making sacrifices when executing their gameplay vision, forced to deliver a compromised version of the original concept. With cloud-based ray-tracing, game worlds become more complex than what has previously been conceived and graphics look as good as a photo.

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Ultimately, the end product of this technology is far better than single-computer ray-tracing, providing superior hardware that only the cloud can deliver. Not only does it give game designers the chance to realise their full creative vision, it also gives players games that previously they could only have dreamed of experiencing. This superior hardware is why all big gaming publishers, hardware manufacturers, engine developers and cloud companies are pushing gaming onto the cloud and incorporating some form of ray-tracing.

Most notably, Microsoft announced Project Scarlett at E3, a high-end console with 8K and ray-tracing features that will utilise its new xCloud game streaming platform. But fully-fledged ray-tracing is still too slow and too uneconomical for a single-computer. By moving to the cloud and building specialised and more powerful cloud hardware, consoles can keep up with the trend for bigger, better and more beautiful games, finally competing with the fidelity that PC games are known for.

There are a few technical challenges that go hand-in-hand with ray-tracing, with the two biggest issues being latency and performance concerns.

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On top of this, ray-tracing produces a wealth of redundant information when rendering an entire area, regardless of the viewing angle. Imagine rendering one area in a game for 1, players, 1, times over. As you can imagine, this is extremely time-intensive and expensive. However, this is where cloud-based ray-tracing outperforms other ray-tracing methods.

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Aspects can be rendered once for an unlimited amount of people as ray-tracing becomes shared across many players, making it a highly cost-effective option. People tend to have one console or gaming machine. Aether Engine explores how you make use of the availability of hardware on it. Not only can you move the game to the cloud, enabling studios to develop previously unbuildable games and render without traditional restrictions, but you can also have hundreds of thousands of players interacting with each other in your game - check out our Aether Wars 10, player battle for a taste of gameplay at this massive scale!

Probably because I used to wrong keywords. Cloud rendering is hard task. But those clouds in video are just couple of "cloudy" particles. I don't think that that is something nice :. For nice clouds problem is not the cloud simulation, but the cloud rendering, which is impossible to handle to be photo realistic in realtime for scene with dynamic lighting. What happens in participating media like cloud is:.

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Light emission exist only when participating media emits light like hot gas or fire or when they are lighted this is simalar part to normal rendering , absorption mean that light is absorbed and scattering is the biggest computational problem. Light is scattered inside the volume. Then you want to have self shadowing and shadow emmiting to the ground and opaque scene.

How to do it?

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Where to obtain cloud? Clouds can be simulated by perlin noise. It is very common and looks nice. Perlin noise can be 4D, where 4th dimension is time to create nice dynamic clouds. If you want to specify cloud shapes: you have to do volumetrization over the desired shapes, save it as density 3D grid and multiply it with perlin. By rendering particles? Particle clouds are possible.

It is most simple method. However, simulation of any light propagation between particles is pretty hard. It is very typical that you have to sort particles in the view direction of camera or in so called half-axis between camera-dir and light-dir. This is impossible in realtime application unless your target platform doesn't support shader model 4 or better shader model 5 - and gpgpu computing like cuda, openCl or direct compute - so you could write Parallel radix sort and sort particles every frame that will be realtime.

Sorting is needed for alpha blending and also for smart shadow mapping. By volumetric raycasting. Volumetric raycasting means, that you have grid where you did fluid simulation typicaly Navier-Strokes, but voxelized cloud shape is ok too. And shoot ray for every pixel through volume and integrate radiance across the ray. This is suprisingly OK for realtime applications.

Real-Time Rendering of Volumetric Clouds

Raycasting on wiki. You don't have to have gpgpu computing. Volumetric raycasting can be done on pixel shader, because it doesn't need any synchronization between threads rays. Having grid in 3D texture is perfect on graphics hardware, because you can benefit from native tri-linear interpolation of the texture unit. Self shadowing can be done by shooting ray from every sample to light and counting the density of light shadowing volume. This is slow. You could use some shadow mapping with transitions like deep shadow maps.

The light scattering is also not possible in realtime with gpgpu it is.

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Volumetric raycasting is fast and it is easier to implement than particle sorting and work fast even on older HW. I can't speak to the details of Cloud, but clouds are usually implemented using three dimensional Perlin noise. From the video and my recollection, Cloud "merges" the clouds by just making your cloud bigger and removing the other one.