What you need to know
- Minecraft is picking up RTX ray tracing later this week.
- The first beta build is going live on April 16 via the Xbox Insider Hub, and will be available for users that have an RTX-enabled video card.
- NVIDIA is also introducing six new worlds in the Minecraft Marketplace.
Minecraft launched 10 years ago, but it continues to be one of the most-played games. With 112 million players and over 100 billion views for Minecraft-related videos in 2019 alone, it's clear that there's a lot of interest in the game.
Minecraft has been teasing an update with overhauled visuals for some time now, and we now have more details on the same. The first beta build of Minecraft with NVIDIA's RTX ray tracing features is set to go live on April 16 from 10 a.m. PT.
Minecraft with RTX brings immersive visuals and realistic lighting effects to the sandbox game, with NVIDIA adding path tracing — the "most advanced form of ray tracing" — to the Windows 10 version of the game. Here's what that entails, straight from NVIDIA:
- Direct lighting from the sun, sky and various light sources
- Realistic hard and soft shadows
- Emissive lighting from surfaces such as glowstone and lava
- Global illumination
- Transparent materials such as stained glass, water and ice with reflection and refraction
- Accurate reflections in water and metallic surfaces
- Volumetric fog and light shafts
NVIDIA says it is also adding ray tracing to physical objects, allowing for light, reflections, and shadows to bounce off in-game objects. And as path tracing is visually intensive, NVIDIA is bringing DLSS 2.0 — its AI-assisted upscaling tech that relies on dedicated TEnsor cores on RTX cards — to the game, stating it will boost frame rates while delivering the same image quality. As you can probably imagine, Minecraft looks very different with RTX enabled:
The update is for the Bedrock Edition of Minecraft for Windows 10 that's available on the Microsoft Store. Minecraft with RTX will be delivered as a free update to those that already own the game on Windows 10, and those interested in the beta will be able to sign up using the Xbox Insider Hub. Because the update relies heavily on RTX features, you'll need a GeForce RTX 2060 or above to be able to play the game.
NVIDIA also mentioned that it is adding six new worlds in the Minecraft Marketplace that users will be able to download for free. The new worlds highlight the new RTX features on offer, and include:
- Aquatic Adventure RTX by Dr_Bond
- Color, Light and Shadow RTX by PearlescentMoon
- Crystal Palace RTX by GeminiTay
- Imagination Island RTX by BlockWorks
- Neon District RTX by Elysium Fire
- Of Temples and Totems RTX by Razzleberries
Of course, one of Minecraft's main draws is its 8-bit visual style, so if you don't want to enable the new RTX features, you don't have to. NVIDIA is adding a hotkey to toggle RTX features on and off in-game, and you can also manually disable the feature in the game's settings.
The public release is slated for release sometime around the end of the year, with NVIDIA noting that Microsoft has final say on when the stable build will go live.
Now with RTX
Add a new dimension to Minecraft
NVIDIA's RTX ray tracing features will let you see Minecraft in an entirely new light. With updated visuals and life-like lighting effects and upgraded texture, this is an update that you should try out if you have an RTX video card.
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Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia for Android Central, Windows Central's sister site. When not reviewing phones, he's testing PC hardware, including video cards, motherboards, gaming accessories, and keyboards.