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Minecraft to receive official ray tracing support

By midian182 · 13 replies
Aug 19, 2019
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  1. The joint announcement from Microsoft and Nvidia came ahead of the Gamescom trade show in Cologne, Germany, this morning. Owners of RTX cards will experience the benefits of the change when a free update is pushed out, which is scheduled for sometime within the next year.

    “Ray tracing sits at the center of what we think is next for Minecraft,” said Saxs Persson, head creative director for Minecraft at Microsoft, in a statement. “GeForce RTX gives the Minecraft world a brand-new feel to it. In normal Minecraft, a block of gold just appears yellow, but with ray tracing turned on, you really get to see the specular highlight, you get to see the reflection, you can even see a mob reflected in it.”

    As was the case with the Quake II RTX makeover, the Minecraft update will refit the entire game with path tracing, an advanced form of ray tracing. As for the effects it will have, Nvidia writes: "Lighting is upgraded to real-time global illumination, enabling light to realistically illuminate blocks and buildings as the world is modified. Emissive blocks like Glowstone and Lava can illuminate environments, along with other dynamic game elements. Water, glass and other reflective surfaces show accurate real-time reflections, mirroring their surroundings."

    Earlier this year, a modder created a shader pack that added path tracing to Minecraft. It introduced effects such as light beams and their reflections on tiled floors to the game.

    The upgrade itself will also be moddable, allowing players to generate raytraced content. “New in-game designs that were previously impossible become a reality, be those a spooky ravine that fades into darkness, filled with hostile mobs drawn to the light of the player’s torch; fun houses made of mirrors; or caves that glow with the precious resources or angerous lava within," writes Nvidia.

    News of the official ray tracing support comes not long after Mojang announced it was canceling the long-promised Minecraft Super Duper Graphics pack. It was said to improve shadows, lighting effects, textures, water reflections, and more. It even increased the game’s resolution to 4K on the Xbox One X. Mojang said the pack proved “too technically demanding to implement.” If you're interested in giving Minecraft a try, you can download the game here.

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    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 21, 2019
  2. Nero7

    Nero7 TS Evangelist Posts: 498   +236

    Will be scrapped just like the high fidelity graphics pack.

    Oh wait, this must be the reason why that was scrapped, because a 2080ti can only run minecraft either with RTX ON or with better graphics but not both lol.

    RTX is cancer. PhysX and Levolution are gone and its all just because of "pretty lighting" that was achievable without it as well.
    orondf likes this.
  3. ET3D

    ET3D TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,667   +325

    I tend to agree. When someone at Microsoft says “Ray tracing sits at the center of what we think is next for Minecraft,” it feels like Minecraft should just die.

    Really, giving a game that runs fine on mobile, consoles and Intel Integrated an upgrade that works only on GPUs costing hundreds of dollars and claiming it's an essential part of the game only makes sense if Microsoft is planning to immediately go ahead and ditch RTX in favour of a lightweight raytracing solution.
    orondf likes this.
  4. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,256   +699

    "Your scientists were to preoccupied with whether they could, they forgot to ask whether they should"
    Raytrace3D likes this.
  5. Lew Zealand

    Lew Zealand TS Guru Posts: 834   +730

    So they couldn't get the high fidelity graphics pack and the RTX ray tracing update to work together so they chose the one which could make them more money via Nvidia payola: RTX. Makes reasonably good business sense.
  6. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 4,177   +3,785

    PhysX likely would have been fine had Nvidia not have purchased it. The fact that they made it so that it wouldn't run on AMD cards meant that all the consoles couldn't use it and thus it wasn't even a choice for a significant number of games. In addition, Nvidia seemed to intentionally reduce performance of PhysX. Before it was acquired, the performance was actually pretty darn good. All of a sudden when Nvidia got it performance took a nosedive on everything but the high end Nvidia cards. They intentionally disabled acceleration on AMD products.
  7. Nobina

    Nobina TS Evangelist Posts: 2,044   +1,560

    What a joke. Are they gonna include a serious title any time soon?
  8. treetops

    treetops TS Evangelist Posts: 2,646   +611

    Ray Tracing is the internet explorer of graphics card features. If internet explorer used 10x more resources. Sorry that's not fair to IE, sorry IE. You're not as bad as RT.
  9. neeyik

    neeyik TS Guru Posts: 280   +241

    That's because the original PhysX PPU card was a very capable vector processing unit, at around 50 GFLOPs and with a huge amount of internal bandwidth. At the time of its physical launch, there wasn't a GPU that had suitable compute capabilities to compare, hence why its respective performance was so good. By the time the likes of the G80 came out, 50 GFLOPs was small - the G80 was around 5 times that number. However, only the G80 was that high, the likes of the G84 was back around the same as the PhysX PPU.

    And Intel, of course. This was because the purchase of Aegia wasn't to buy the architecture and software, but to eliminate a potential competitor and/or remove it from being bought by Intel or AMD.
    Evernessince likes this.
  10. CrisisDog

    CrisisDog TS Booster Posts: 148   +38


    Will this only be for the Windows 10 version, or will the Java based runtime be updated as well?

    Not to mention, the Xbox shouldn’t be getting this, as I believe the GPU is AMD based.
  11. neeyik

    neeyik TS Guru Posts: 280   +241

    Only the Windows version has been talked about, as it uses Direct3D (and thus, Direct3D DXR) for the rendering.

    Any GPU that supports D3D12, fundamentally supports DXR - as to whether or not, it has the capability of performing the routines to a required level is a different matter. For example, any D3D12 GPU could render a single ray traced triangle in an otherwise empty space; very few can do so at 1080p with multiple rendering passes for compute and rasterisation, in a scene with millions of triangles.
  12. ET3D

    ET3D TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,667   +325

    NVIDIA could have bought it and made it a success if they kept to the discrete accelerator paradigm. People actually bought GeForce cards for PhysX acceleration alongside AMD cards, and NVIDIA fought that every step of the way. I think that was a bad move on NVIDIA's side.

    But if “Ray tracing sits at the center of what we think is next for Minecraft,” then Ray Tracing needs to work on all platforms. Minecraft is far from being a Windows-only game.
  13. Markoni35

    Markoni35 TS Addict Posts: 312   +130

    I've seen very similar effects in other games running on GPUs without RTX. This is clearly a Nvidia-bribed move by Microsoft. As usual, the gaming tzars, Intel and Nvidia, are making their path using bribery instead of technology.
    That's why I don't want to buy them anymore. Even if it would give me a few FPS more, I don't want to support terrorism and crime.
  14. Markoni35

    Markoni35 TS Addict Posts: 312   +130

    In fact, you have a benchmark called Lightsmark from 2007 which demonstrated real-time radiosity (a more complex technique than raytracing) by using a combination of CPU and GPU. The developer (a Czech programmer) figured out that by optimally spreading and moving data between CPU and GPU he can make radiosity computations a lot faster than by just using the GPU.

    He managed to render real-time soft shadows, including very soft penumbra shadows that we yet have to see in RTX implementation.

    But of course, most of the gamers don't know much about technology, so they can be told "You must buy a RTX graphics card, it's impossible to make those effects in any other way".

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