GDC 2023 - Real-time Sparse Distance Fields for Games

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Published on 24 Mar 2023, 14:00
This presentation will introduce a novel algorithm for PC and console developers to efficiently generate sparse distance fields (SDFs) in real-time. Although ray tracing has been more widely adopted throughout the past years to compute various effects, an implementation that ensures a high framerate while maintaining a high-quality output across a variety of GPUs remains challenging.

SDFs provide a compute-based scalable alternative that helps accelerate complex scene representation and traversal with a stable frame rate. SDFs are computed in a continuous manner on static or dynamic geometries introduced to the scene to avoid redundant computations and ensure optimal performance. Cascades act as MIP levels to ensure high scalability. The global scene data representation enabled by SDFs can then be leveraged as inputs to modern graphics algorithm, such as Global Illumination or Ambient Occlusion.

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