Once upon a time, Microsoft promised a truly impressive 4K overhaul for Minecraft and then canceled it. Shortly thereafter, Nvidia announced that it would create an RTX-powered version of Minecraft, delivering ray-traced visuals to Nvidia owners who own the Windows 10 version of the game and want to play it in this mode. Nvidia has just published some updated visuals for the game, along with asset packs intended to be used by modders and content creators to hit the ground running.
First, let’s look at some maps created by community members, as showcased by Nvidia. All captions by Nvidia.
Of Temples and Totems RTX. By: Razzleberries – An adventure world focusing players on exploring and completing challenges in mysterious temples. Each temple showcases per-pixel emissivity and real-time shadows, and leverages global illumination to create an immersive experience for players. (Caption: Nvidia)
Crystal Palace RTX. By: GeminiTay. A survival map with a whimsical fantasy theme, that features a masterfully built castle. Ray-traced shadows and beautiful atmospherics create realism in this world built on a 1:1 scale. (Caption: Nvidia)
Imagination Island RTX. By: BlockWorks. A fully explorable theme park, filled with easter eggs, that hosts four distinct lands, each dedicated to an element of real-time ray tracing. In this scene we see the visitor center of the park, highlighted by god rays cast in real-time through the windows, shining down onto the floor. (Caption: Nvidia)
The company has also included links to its guide on using PBR (Physically-Based Rendering) textures in Minecraft. PBR textures are textures that can work with path tracing to reflect additional scene detail, or that function as emissive textures and directly emit light themselves. The image below showcases some examples of PBR textures — the multi-colored orange block in the center is an interesting example of how light reflections work in the ray-traced version of Minecraft.
Nvidia has published several guides to both PBR textures and the process of converting a Java world to run in the ray-traced version of Minecraft RTX that will be available from the Windows Store. AMD and Intel GPU owners should know that you can run Minecraft with mods that implement their own path-tracing overhaul to Minecraft’s visuals. I’m not familiar enough with the installation process to walk you through it independently, but there are other incredible mod pack overhauls for the Java edition of Minecraft that may not be formally RTX-powered, but definitely offer a taste of the same upgrades and effects.
Feature image shows a Java world converted to RTX via Nvidia’s article. Image/Conversion by @PearlescentMoon
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