Minecraft gets beta with ray tracing support on April 16

On April 16, Xbox Insider program participants will be able to play a beta of Minecraft rendered entirely with ray-tracing. Nvidia provides feature packs and tutorials to get you started.

The open beta of Minecraft, playable from April 16, will be rendered entirely via path tracing. Path tracing falls under the ray tracing umbrella and allows more realistic worlds to be rendered in Minecraft. Objects thus acquire more material properties and reflections of, among other things, metals, water and glass are reproduced realistically.

The new Minecraft version relies on three pillars: pathtracing, a technique called physically based rendering, and dlss 2.0 to keep performance at an acceptable level. To enable pbr, a block’s attributes in Minecraft are expanded from two to six properties. In addition to the standard color and transparency properties, there are now also properties for metal, reflection, height and roughness. For example, a block of gold can give a golden glow to the environment. In theory, an infinite number of bounces from a ray is possible, but to keep it manageable for the video card, they are limited to eight bounces per ray. Nevertheless, dlss 2.0 should help to upscale the images rendered at relatively low resolution to higher resolutions.

For now, the special version of Minecraft only comes to the bedrock version of Minecraft: the Java version does not get ray tracing support. However, a tool and tutorial will become available to import worlds from the Java version to the bedrock version. Various demo worlds and feature packs will also be available to get started yourself. In addition to the beta of Minecraft, you will of course need an RTX video card from Nvidia; a GTX card that supports RTX is not fast enough.