Intel OneAPI powers World of Tanks ray tracing but “doesn’t require an Intel CPU”

World of Tanks EnCore RT

World of Tanks has officially launched the tech demo for EnCore RT, its homegrown ray tracing solution. What powers the game’s unique approach is Intel Embree: a collection of ray tracing kernels developed by Intel namely for professional ray tracing application use. But despite the name on the tin, this ray tracing library isn’t proprietary to Intel’s hardware.

The EnCore engine within World of Tanks utilises Intel Embree to offload BVH (bounding volume hierarchy) tasks from the GPU to any available CPU core. BVH is a geometric structure that minimises ray tracing complexity through the use of cascading groups, and is currently executed courtesy of your graphics card. However, in an attempt to reduce GPU load and put multi-core CPUs to good use, Intel Embree will instead use any going cores within your CPU for this task.

“Intel One API is like a big collection of libraries,” Bronislav Sviglo, World of Tanks render team lead, says to PCGamesN, “and we’ve only used one of them, it’s called Intel Embree. It’s used for offline rendering, and it has like a lot of built in features. So it can implement ray tracing with different types of surfaces, but we don’t use that. We only use the part that constructs BVH. So basically it’s the multi-threaded to BVH construction part of this Intel Embree library. That’s part of the Intel One API toolkit.

“This Intel library is just developed by Intel, it doesn’t require you to have an Intel CPU. So you can use any CPU.”

With AMD currently commanding the multi-core market with its Ryzen 3000 processors, and soon to feature up to 16-cores, this is great news for World of Tanks players rocking team red. And, of course, those without the latest RTX 20-series graphics cards from Nvidia.

“You can use basically any GPU that’s DX11 capable, we’re just not promising that you will get a good frame rate,” Sviglo adds. “The frame rate depends on multiple factors: the resolution you use, the ray tracing quality that you use and of course, the power of your graphics card.”

Intel made the news recently with tales of ray tracing acceleration on its upcoming Intel Xe graphics cards. These claims proved to be based on bad data, as Intel later clarified, led astray by dodgy machine translation. But while denying one tacit mention of ray tracing, Intel purposefully shed light on another: that it will support ray tracing in the professional market with Xe and libraries such as Embree.

And since Embree has also been handy in World of Tanks, we may see Intel also use its extensive professional ray tracing expertise in other markets, perhaps even gaming, when Xe dGPUs arrive.

The World of Tanks EnCore RT tech demo is live now on, and you can also read more from the devs on how they implemented Intel Embree and ray tracing into World of Tanks over here. The official release date for EnCore RT has not yet been announced.

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