Ray with Me: How One Indie Developer Used Reddit to Get His Ray-Tracing Project Some Help

Sunside Games’ Reddit post brought Stay in the Light to NVIDIA’s attention, and the game illustrates many reasons why ray tracing is the future of games.
by Ryan Hintze

Scrolling through the NVIDIA Reddit, I came across a post from “fatheadlifter.”

Looking for RTX gamers to beta test a new Ray Tracing-only game

Hey everyone, I’m developing a game that is RTX required and I’m in need of some beta testers who can help make sure this is working good on their RTX systems. I’m an old pro developer, worked on games like Borderlands and Battlefield, and I’m looking to do something really advanced with bleeding edge graphics…

And that’s all there is to getting the NVIDIA developer relations machine, strong in marketing and in technical expertise, behind your title.

Stay in the Light Is Unique and Original

Turns out that post was from Richard Cowgill of Sunside Games, a one-man indie developer. And his game, Stay in the Light, out in early access today, is the latest example of why I love the NVIDIA Indie Spotlight Program.

Stay in the Light is unique for a lot of reasons. In it, you’re hunted by “Him,” a creature lurking in a mysterious dungeon. With only a few items — a mirror, chalk and a torch — you must survive and avoid Him. There are treasures to be found, puzzles to solve and clues to uncover.

The game has a random dungeon generator so every time you play it, you’re in a new dungeon. It’s hours of endless replay ability and spooky fun.

The thing about Stay in the Light that NVIDIA loves is the fact that it requires ray tracing to play. Richard used a GeForce GTX 1080 Ti in the development process before we got him a GeForce RTX GPU. And he didn’t start on the game until NVIDIA released our driver that enabled ray tracing on GeForce GTX cards in April.

Ray tracing was a requirement before we ever discovered it. But we think in the future many more games will find cool ways to use ray tracing, and along the way it will show up as a minimum specification.

How Stay in the Light Illustrates the Power of Ray Tracing

Stay in the Light uses ray tracing as part of the core gameplay, not just for eye-candy.

It’s used for shadows, a critical component for setting the mode in any horror scenario.

It’s also used for reflections, usually from one of the critical tools you have to aid your survival, the mirror. The mirror reflects things behind you with pixel-perfect accuracy. So you can keep an eye out for Him as you make your way through the dungeon.

Most importantly, Stay in the Light shows that ray tracing is easy to use, a key reason that all developers are embracing it. With Battlefield V, Metro Exodus and Shadow of the Tomb Raider on the market, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Quake II RTX and Wolfenstein:Youngblood on the horizon, it should be clear that the big developers and publishers are on board with ray tracing.

But ray tracing has its share of “one guy’ stories … indie guys without the clout, resources or budgets of a AAA title, and who use ray tracing to make their games even better. Stay in the Light is a prime example.

Ray Tracing Is the Future of PC Gaming

Since Gamescom 2018, NVIDIA has been pioneering the use of real-time ray tracing in games.

We’ve pushed hard and in less than a year we have: ray-tracing capable GPUs for almost any budget (GeForce GTX and RTX); an industry-standard API (Microsoft DXR); support in major game engines (Unity and Unreal Engine); AAA games that support it; and indie developers using it to set themselves apart.

We’ve worked hard to get a thriving ecosystem behind real-time ray tracing, and to lay the foundation for the next generation of PC games.

Stay in the Light is a great example of what ray tracing can do. Grab it on Steam, check out the early access version and help Sunside Games improve on the great work they’ve already completed.