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It’s been announced that the long-awaited Minecraft with RTX will be launching this week. The game has been a worldwide smash hit, and the addition of ray tracing effects is going to have a monumental impact on the gameplay itself. But, what does this mean for Minecraft, and what exactly is RTX?
The addition of RTX basically means that we are going to see Minecraft with ray tracing. What does this mean? Well, Minecraft will now include real-time ray tracing effects like lighting, shadows, reflections and much more that is accomplished with RTX.
Minecraft with RTX came about thanks to a collaboration between Microsoft and Nvidia themselves, who have been working on the game together to produce something of exceptional quality that will overhaul the game’s experience on PC.
The game itself will launch in Beta mode on April 16, and will feature 6 downloadable RTX Creator Worlds, designed for the beta specifically to show off the full capabilities of the RTX technology within Minecraft itself. These six different worlds are going to be downloadable from the in-game Minecraft marketplace, and have been created by pro-Minecraft creators on behalf of Microsoft and Nvidia.
The RTX effects have been described as ‘groundbreaking’, and are set to overhaul the in-game graphical capabilities of Minecraft. Realistic hard and soft shadows are now going to be much more immersive, with light ‘filling interiors through windows and gaps in the terrain’, and other light sources casting ‘pixel-perfect lighting.’
Light is set to behave in other interesting ways too, with reflections now perfectly cast on all reflective surfaces with a level of fidelity that ‘far surpassing that of screen space reflections’, whilst light also ‘reflects, refracts and scatters through…other transparencies, whilst other atmospheric effects occur naturally, resulting in high-quality volumetric fog, and pixel perfect god rays.’
Boiled down to its basics, Minecraft with ray tracing is set to behave like a much more realistic and immersive game world thanks to the natural lighting effects that ray tracing allows for – but its not just ray tracing that is being added to the game.
Nvidia’s DLSS 2.0 is a brand new, revolutionary rendering technique that allows for real-time rendering thanks to AI-based super-resolution. This is the process of rendering ‘fewer pixels, and then using AI to construct sharp, higher resolution images that run at much faster frame rates.’
What does this mean for Minecraft?
Well, hopefully, it means that in this new high-resolution Minecraft with ray tracing the world will render at an increased speed and distancing, without waiting for a full asset to load before it appears in a similar HD state to the rest of the in-game world.
We also hope that it means that rather than struggling to render only part of a larger or more long-form Minecraft creation, you will be able to see all of what you have created as soon as possible – leaving out poorly rendered assets for ones that look better even from a distance.
Apparently DLSS 2.0 achieves all this without losing image quality, keeping assets and images comparable to native resolutions. If you have an Nvidia RTX GPU all you need to do to enable the DLSS 2.0 is go to settings, then Advance Video, switch on upscaling’ – and you are all done!
Apparently performance differs from world to world when it comes to DLSS 2.0 at the moment – but performance has apparently been recorded as increasing by 3x at 4K in the Minecraft with RTX beta.
These different graphical features are incredibly promising, and we can’t wait to see them implemented in other games than Minecraft – but this is a really exciting start. What is there to explore in the Minecraft with RTX Beta? Find out below…
Created by Dr_Bond, this world was created to show off the new and immersive effects of Minecraft with ray tracing whilst underwater. Featuring a wide color palette both above and below the waterline, it seems that the creators really want to push and promote the new abilities of the ray-traced-god-rays that light both the ocean-themed palace and the ocean seafloor.
It isn’t just the lighting they want players to experience though. Players can also expect to solve puzzles throughout this world, with creator Dr_Bond excited about seeing his creation in a more ‘powerful and robust’ lighting than he was used to seeing within Minecraft. You can download this world from the Minecraft Marketplace.
Created by Razzleberries, this world features deep jungle and ancient temples that are filled with ‘puzzles, traps, and dangerous new foes!’ Whilst this could mean new Minecraft monsters, we think that the creators are more excited about seeing how ray tracing effects the single-player experience, with enhanced map makers and builders highlighting points of interest in players’ maps by using light to draw the eye.
Players can also expect to ride elephants in this more story orientated Minecraft mode – and they will play through it all with the expectation of collecting totems to help the in-game villagers whilst being shone down on by the brand new god ray effects, with ancient torches providing ambient lighting in the darker and spookier areas of the map.
One for the fantasy fans, this Minecraft world was created by GeminiTay, and comes complete with a crystal palace filled with puzzles, treasure, and a village to defend and save.
GeminiTay has been creating Minecraft worlds since 2013, and said that the addition of Ray tracing presented a new layer of design when it came to in-game crafting, as now he had to consider where features such as windows or glass panels would go in relation to how colors would interact and blend with each other when complete.
Interestingly, that’s what he achieved with the Crystal Palace, which will provide a massive environment to experience the realistic lighting of ray tracing within the sea, on land and (more interestingly) behind the refractive walls of the Crystal Palace itself.
Imagination Island has been created by Blockworks – a group of Minecraft creators who met online 7 years ago and founded Blockworks as a way to push the game to the limits of what was possible whilst creating sublime and imaginative in-game creations.
Imagination Island is made up of four separate lands, like a regular theme park, and is jam-packed with Easter eggs that have only been enhanced by the custom PBR textures that were made by the Blockworks crew. They even spoke to Nvidia about their creation, saying that ‘even though it’s the same game with the same blocks, being inside an environment with ray tracing is a completely different experience.’
A ‘magical prism room’ that was designed to blend ray-traced colored lighting with intricate gameplay, the player can expect to see the technical aspects of RTX ray tracing shine through in this world created by PearlescentMoon.
‘Global illumination, color theory, reflections and more will be on offer to play within the Color Light and Shadow RTX world – and it even comes complete with an infinity mirror to truly test the limits of what’s possible with an RTX enabled world.
A familiar Java-based map that has now seen a port to the Windows-based version of the game complete with an RTX overhaul.
A world that really will display the full spectrum of what ray tracing has to offer, with the neon lighting behaving like it never has done before to give off the impression of a totally different city replete with holograms, neon signage, and dark corridors lit only by the lighting throughout the city.
This map isn’t exactly an RTX demonstration. It’s actually a way for players to come into the Minecraft beta and learn just how ray tracing effects almost every single asset available in the Minecraft world.
Have your own textures you want to test? This is the world to do it in, but make sure that you have followed the PBR texturing guide to see all your textures in action.
Finally, it was announced that players will be able to create their own worlds in the Minecraft RTX edition beta – but they will have to adhere to textures installed in the PBR texturing process, and be aware that realms cannot be made whilst in beta mode.
In order to play the Minecraft RTX edition beta then you will need to make sure that you have a current version of the game for Microsoft Windows, as well as an Nvidia GeForce RTX ready graphics card that will be able to handle the game. You will also be able to find a list of the necessary drivers and install locations on the official site here, but we are confident that the game should prove an immersive and comprehensive step forward when it comes to Minecraft’s graphics
Have a look at our roundup of some of the best RTX cards on the market and get yourself ready to fall in love with Minecraft once again.