Millions of Minecraft gamers across the globe will get to experience their self-created worlds more vividly than ever before when Minecraft with RTX moves to open beta on Windows 10 this week and introduces realistic shadows, lighting and vibrant colors to the best-selling videogame of all time.
“We teamed up with Mojang Studios to bring next-generation ray tracing and AI to Minecraft and the results are truly amazing,” said Jeff Fisher, senior vice president of gaming at NVIDIA. “There is a ton of excitement from the community for Minecraft with RTX, and we can’t wait to see what they create.”
On Thursday, at 10 a.m. Pacific time, Minecraft players on Windows 10 can download the beta of the highly anticipated free game update, unleashing a next-generation graphical makeover that includes real-time ray tracing, more realistic materials and NVIDIA DLSS 2.0.
NVIDIA will also give players six new Minecraft worlds to download for free from the Minecraft Marketplace, allowing them to experience what is possible in Minecraft when real-time ray tracing is applied.
“The next big evolution for Minecraft has arrived with Minecraft with RTX,” said Saxs Persson, franchise creative director of Minecraft at Microsoft. “The core of regular Minecraft is building with blocks. GeForce RTX GPUs transform the Minecraft world with a dramatically more realistic look by adding life-like lighting effects, shadows, reflections, refraction and more to the builder’s tool kit.”
Ray Tracing Comes to Minecraft
Together, NVIDIA, Microsoft and Mojang Studios, the developer of Minecraft, have added a form of ray tracing known as path tracing for the Windows 10 version of the game. Path tracing simulates the way light is transported throughout a scene. It presents a unified model for lighting calculations for many different types of effects that have traditionally been implemented separately using rasterized or hybrid renderers. Among these are:
- 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
- Accurate reflections in water and metallic surfaces
- Transparent materials such as stained glass, water and ice with reflection and refraction
- Volumetric fog and light shafts
Ray tracing was added to Minecraft using the industry-standard Microsoft DirectX 12 Ultimate API. NVIDIA GeForce RTX™ GPUs are the only GPUs with dedicated ray-tracing cores that allow games to be ray traced in real time.
New Physically Based Materials System
Building blocks in Minecraft are now upgraded with material properties that emulate real life — a technique known as physically based rendering (PBR). This PBR system supports material properties for light emission, roughness, depth and metallicity that combine with ray tracing to enable lighting effects such as reflections, refraction, translucency, transparency and global illumination that open new possibilities and ways to create in Minecraft.
Using AI to Boost Image Quality in Minecraft
Minecraft with RTX also introduces NVIDIA DLSS 2.0 to the game. Powered by RTX Tensor Cores, DLSS 2.0 is an improved deep learning neural network that boosts frame rates while generating beautiful, sharp images for games. It provides the performance headroom — 1.7x+ faster frame rates — to power full path tracing in Minecraft with RTX.
Six Gorgeous New Minecraft Worlds to Play in, Build and Explore
To celebrate the open beta of Minecraft with RTX, NVIDIA has worked with some of the most talented Minecraft creators to make six new Minecraft worlds available to gamers that show off the dramatic possibilities that ray tracing and PBR textures bring to the game. Selected due to their fantastic track record of making captivating contributions in the Minecraft community, these creators delivered exciting results.
“What Minecraft with RTX introduces to the game can only be described as mind-blowing,” said RazzleberryFox, CEO at Razzleberries, a founding partner and industry leader on the Minecraft Marketplace. “The added dimension these incredible visuals add to Minecraft has reinvigorated our collective creativity and enabled us to create amazing new worlds and experiences for Minecraft that just were not possible before.”
The six new worlds will be downloadable for free from the in-game Minecraft Marketplace 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
Minecraft with RTX will come as a free update later this year to users that own Minecraft on Windows 10. Players will need to sign up for the Minecraft Windows 10 RTX beta through the Xbox Insider Hub on April 16. The beta worlds will be downloadable for free from the Minecraft Marketplace on April 16. Players will also need a GeForce RTX 2060 GPU or higher and the latest NVIDIA Game Ready Driver.