If you’re playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, it will look best on a gaming PC with Nvidia GeForce RTX hardware. I played the just-released first-person shooter on the PlayStation 4 and have also started playing it on a Falcon Northwest Talon gaming PC with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super graphics card.

You have to install Nvidia’s latest drivers to make sure ray-tracing support is turned on. You can also use Nvidia’s Ansel tool to capture still images of the best scenes. You will also need the newest Windows 10 update.

That RTX hardware gives me real-time ray tracing, which dramatically improves the immersion and realism. The game designers created gritty, realistic environments that show off the RTX’s capability to render shadows, lighting, and other special effects at a full 60 frames per second, or just as fast as on other platforms.

Above: A scene in Piccadilly Circus in Modern Warfare. It shows off real-time ray tracing with multiple light sources and shadows.

You can see the ray tracing effect in the image of the shop in Piccadilly Square. Multiple light sources create multiple overlapping shadows on the wall that look real, compared to past visuals where it looks like an artist painted a shadow just to try to make it look better.

Nvidia worked closely with developers at Infinity Ward and Beenox to make sure that the game looks good at 60 FPS and 1080p to 4K resolution. The GeForce RTX 2060 will allow gamers to play at 60 FPS, maxed settings, at 1080p with ray tracing enabled. And the GeForce RTX 2060 Super will allow gamers to play at 60 FPS, maxed settings, at 1440p with ray tracing enabled. The GeForce RTX 2080 Ti will allow gamers to play at 60 FPS, Ultra settings, at 4K with ray tracing enabled.

Above: Real-time ray tracing in Modern Warfare.

Image Credit: Nvidia/Activision

When you’re playing, you’ll notice that the environment seems more immersive. Infinity Ward created a new game engine with photogrammetry techniques to make everything look more realistic, including piles of garbage on the ground. All of the improvements in light sources and objects will give you more visual cues about the action, so you can see movement in a split second. Soft shadows result from multiple overlapping shadows that are cast from different light sources in the same scene.

The new engine technology utilizes the latest advancements in visual engineering, including a physically based material system allowing for photogrammetry, a new hybrid tile-based streaming system, a new PBR decal rendering system, world volumetric lighting, 4K HDR, DirectX ray tracing on the PC, and more as well as a new GPU geometry pipeline.

Spectral rendering delivers thermal heat radiation and infrared identification for both thermal and night-vision in-game imaging. The technical investment provides a new animation and blend shape system, while the new suite of audio tools supports full Dolby Atmos, on supported platforms, along with the latest in audio simulation effects.

Nvidia said in a fact sheet that we know that a soft edge is further away from the source than a hard edge. We register these cues without thinking about them and our brain is constantly trained to deal with the information these subtle cues deliver.

Above: A point light shows light and dark imagery in the same scene in Modern Warfare with real-time ray tracing.

Image Credit: Nvidia/Activision

Ray-traced shadows are enabled in both the single-player campaign and all core multiplayer modes. Ray tracing is not enabled in the Ground War and Special Ops modes.

Nvidid said that the best missions where you can see ray tracing effects are Fog of War, Clean House, Piccadilly Square, Embassy, and Old Comrades.

Above: A flashlight illustrates real-time ray tracing.

Image Credit: Nvidia/Activision

You can see spot lights in certain areas, where a light will emit a cone-shaped light. And if you shine a flashlight at someone, as in the beginning of the game, the head of their shadow along the ground is going to be less defined than the hard shadow of their legs. Ray-traced shadows create physically accurate penumbras for spot lights, Nvidia said.

If you look at my embedded Hunting Party video for Modern Warfare, you’ll see the multiple light sources and reflections in water in the alley scene at the 2:50 mark. The shadows and lighting add so much to the realism of the moment. You can see similar effects throughout the level. And at 2 minutes and 45 seconds into the multiplayer video, you can see reflections on the palace floor from multiple light sources.

With the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super and even the 2060, you can play Modern Warfare at 60 frames per second, with maximum settings, at 1080p with raytracing enabled.