Why it matters: If ever there was a game that proves graphics aren’t the most important element, it’s Minecraft. The sandbox's blocky visuals haven’t stopped it from becoming one of the most popular titles of all time, but those who want to give its looks an overhaul can turn to modders. One particular shader pack is getting a lot of attention as it adds what resembles ray tracing effects.
While this isn’t the kind of ray tracing you’ll find in Battlefield V, Metro Exodus, and Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the 'path tracing' rendering method used in the latest build of Sonic Ether’s Unbelievable Shaders (SEUS) looks just as good.
Artist @notglacier posted a couple of short clips on Twitter that show how the shader changes the game. We see some effects associated with ray tracing, including light beams and their reflections on the tiled floors.
Messing around a bit more— notglacier (@notglacier) March 30, 2019
you can do indirect lighting and stuff now pic.twitter.com/X8q3msBen7
Vanilla Minecraft might work on the most potato-like of PCs, but you’ll need something a lot beefier if you want to run this shader pack at an acceptable speed. Notglacier used an i9-9900k CPU and a GTX 1070 Ti, and that combo was enough for only 25 – 40 fps.
If you own Minecraft and would like to give it a huge visual overhaul, you can download the shader pack from Sonic Ether’s Patreon page, where it’s available to backers. Those who pledge monthly payments also get access to his Discord server and experimental builds.
In other Minecraft news, it was recently discovered that Microsoft had removed all mention of creator Markus “Notch” Persson’s name from the splash screens—likely a result of his controversial comments on Twitter.