We recently interviewed the co-founder and creative director of Neon Giant Tor Frick to talk about the key technical features of The Ascent, such as ray tracing and NVIDIA DLSS, both available on the PC version via Steam.
Frick told us:
The Ascent is a bit of a special case, you’d think the camera angle would make it easier to implement ray tracing, but because of how much of the world we loaded at any given time, we actually needed quite a few custom implementations for the raytracing, especially for geometry culling as we have a lot of that. It took some back and forth to find the right methods for this.
Visually, we also adjusted the reflections, both for performance, but also with an added layer of visual control to enhance the effect. Things like the strength and roughness of the reflections, to maximize the effect. We have a lot of moving objects and animated shaders in the world, and we wanted to use them as much as possible. So if you play with raytraced reflections enabled, you’ll see reflected animated billboards that are only visible with raytracing because they are outside the playable space. Just to bring that extra layer of life into the world.
For DLSS we are currently at 2.1, but we want to upgrade to 2.2 before launch or very soon after. The implementation went very smoothly, with some support from our friends at Nvidia.
However, it appears that neither ray tracing nor NVIDIA DLSS are available when playing The Ascent through your Game Pass subscription on PC. To be precise, NVIDIA DLSS is missing completely, while ray tracing can be enabled but makes no visual or performance difference.
Some Reddit users have even tried injecting NVIDIA DLSS files into the game, but the packaged nature of Game Pass games makes it nearly impossible to tinker like you would any regular PC game (which is also why modding on Game Pass is still lagging). Let’s hope the developers of The Ascent fix the broken ray tracing and add NVIDIA DLSS to this version of the game, but more importantly, Microsoft should both improve the accessibility of Game Pass files so that PC gamers can freely modify the files while she would with a regular Steam title, making sure the feature set stays the same for all PC versions.
Otherwise, as good as a deal Game Pass is currently, it may not be enough for the hardcore PC gamer with missing features like this one.
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