On Monday, Mojang and Nvidia kicked off this week's Gamescom gaming conference with a substantial unveil for the blocky, mega-popular game Minecraft: a visual upgrade patch coming exclusively to owners of Nvidia RTX graphics cards for the game's Windows 10 version. This comes seven days after another, similar patch, which would have been free for all Xbox and Windows players, was canceled after two years of delays.
And while that canceled "Super Duper" patch looked impressive, this one takes the intentionally chunky, lo-fi Minecraft to an entirely new level, thanks to a handsome emphasis on ray tracing. All of Nvidia's RTX graphics cards include a dedicated core designed to efficiently map out massive amounts of light bounces in 3D imagery. This core's effects on Minecraft might be the most impressive yet for an RTX-compatible game.
The upgrade's reveal trailer shows exactly how this "path tracing" patch will look in action, and it revolves largely around more realistic looking models for light bouncing and reflection. The game's pixelated "gold" blocks now glisten like gold. Reflective materials now mirror whatever mobs walk near them. Light cast upon different kinds of materials will naturally glow, and underground caverns will now smolder in impressive red glows from nearby lava flows.
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