AMD teases 'mind-blowing' RDNA 2 ray tracing in its new tech demo

A burly man from AMD's Hangar 21 demo
(Image credit: AMD)

Getting excited about GPU tech demos is something PC gamers used to do back in the 90s, but when they look as good as AMD's new ray tracing demonstration then we’re happy to pretend to be 14 again. Hell, we're as excited about the next generation of Radeon graphics cards as the next human.

Hanger 21 from AMD (via Videocardz, PC Games Hardware) uses DirectX 12 Ultimate, FidelityFX (AMD’s toolkit for implementing screen-space reflections, ambient occlusion, and more into games), along with Microsoft’s DirectX Raytracing tech. And it takes all of that in order to create a video of some big men stomping around a spacecraft hangar with some fancy lighting effects. 

What we’ve got here is really a teaser trailer for the main event, which actually launches on November 19th. That's the day after reviews drop for the new AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT and Radeon RX 6800 cards. So why it's coming a day later, we're not entirely sure.

Rendered using the new RDNA2 chips which form the basis for the imminent AMD RX 6800-series graphics cards, the demo concentrates on lighting, reflections, and shadows, and is basically a huge showing-off session from AMD about what its latest cards can do. We’re fine with this, but hope it can go to 4K rather than being stuck at 1440p.

Whether the demo will ever get a public release, perhaps for benchmarking purposes, or be forever trapped in its YouTube prison, we don’t yet know. But we do know that this technology is coming to games such as WOW: Shadowlands, Godfall, and Far Cry 6. 

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AMD's FidelityFX itself is an open-source package, allowing enhancements for RDNA and RDNA2 to be added to games easily and cheaply, and so hopefully that should mean this won't just be a tech demo you come back to in year to come wondering where all that potential went, and we'll actually see it meaningfully used in a broad spectrum of games.

Given the fact the RDNA2 architecture on the PC is essentially the same as the GPU silicon inside both the new Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 consoles, you'd hope that a whole lot of developers are looking at the new AMD graphics chips and licking their lips at what's on offer.