@CapFrameX on Twitter reports that Cyberpunk 2077 might be adding support for Nvidia’s Real-Time Neural Radiance Caching for Path Tracing technology (NRC) in the near future. This should significantly improve the image quality of Cyberpunk 2077’s new RT overdrive feature and reduce the noise in some of the game’s Path Tracing effects.
NRC is a relatively new Nvidia technology that was announced back in 2021. The key aspect of the technology is that it is powered by a neural network to approximate the radiance field in a path-tracing pipeline. According to Nvidia, this AI technology adapts to scenes on the fly with a training method that functions during the rendering process.
The AI can handle fully dynamic scenes and does not make educated guesses on a scene’s lighting, geometry, or materials. The AI model is also self-training and can simulate infinite-bounce transport after training with just a few bounce updates.
To demonstrate, Nvidia shared a video and an image in its original presentation detailing the advantages of NRC compared to normal path tracing with no denoising filters and ReSTIR (another type of denoiser). In both media formats, NRC outperformed ReSTIR by a very noticeable amount and provided a level of image quality that is very close to the reference image.
Sadly, the addition of NRC ensures a performance cost of approximately 2.6ms at 1080p, according to Nvidia. Hence, it is not a free quality upgrade compared to pure path tracing with no denoiser. However, Nvidia demonstrates that NRC is around 9% to 23% faster than ReSTIR, so there will be an advantage.
We don’t know how NRC will operate in Cyberpunk 2077, but we can safely gauge that it will noticeably improve the game’s overall image quality in RT Overdrive mode, and make certain lighting effects clearer with fewer artifacts. In addition, if Cyberpunk 2077 is using ReSTIR right now as its current denoiser, we can also expect a healthy frame rate improvement if the game transitions to NRC.