Bottom line: The familiar sandbox world of Minecraft is due for a massive visual overhaul later this week with the launch of the RTX Beta for Windows 10. Some will argue that Minecraft perhaps isn’t the best candidate for ray tracing or that other games like Skyrim or Grand Theft Auto V would have been a better fit. Then again, you also have to consider just how big Minecraft is – depending on which list you follow, Minecraft is either the first or second best-selling video game ever and remains incredibly popular to this day.
The long-awaited update adds fully path-traced rendering which enhances global illumination, reflections, shadows, atmospheric effects and more. In short, GeForce RTX GPU users are in for some seriously good eye candy, similar to the makeover that Quake II received last year.
Minecraft’s new RTX Beta also introduces physically-based materials. As Polygon recounts from an Nvidia briefing on Monday, standard Minecraft materials only have two properties – color and opacity. Physically-based materials, meanwhile, can have up to six. In addition to color and opacity, physically-based materials can emit light, look metallic, have roughness and have height (off the block’s surface).
At its core, the game also isn’t all that demanding in terms of processing power so even the slowest of RTX cards should be able to handle it without issue.
Minecraft with RTX Beta for Windows 10 launches on April 16. Nvidia recommends grabbing the Minecraft with RTX Game Ready Driver which will be available starting at 6 a.m. Pacific on April 15.