Minecraft Is Getting Ray Tracing

Minecraft Is Getting Ray Tracing
Image: Nvidia

Minecraft‘s long awaited graphics update might be no more, but the classic block-builder has still gotten a visual upgrade thanks to ray tracing.

Nvidia announced on Monday afternoon that — provided you’ve got an RTX graphics card, of course — Minecraft‘s lighting system has just gotten an enormous upgrade. Called path tracing, the new lighting model simulates how light travels through a scene to provide a unified method of calculating lighting as opposed to relying on separate renderers to calculate lighting for different effects.

A two minute snippet of Minecraft with and without ray tracing can be seen below:

Nvidia just released bunch of ray tracing trailers for existing and future games, including Control, Watch Dogs Legion, Vampires: The Masquerades, Call of Duty, SYNCED: Off-Planet and a new ray tracing effect for Metro Exodus that’ll ship in the The Two Colonels DLC. There’s also a live gameplay demo at Gamescom this year with Cyberpunk 2077: fingers crossed that gets released sometime this week.

As with all the other games, ray tracing for now is an exclusive feature for Nvidia’s RTX-series cards. Ray tracing will be added into Minecraft as a free update, although no word yet on when it’ll be released.


  • Alex, ray tracing is not an RTX exclusive feature, all Pascal GTX cards have been able to do it for about 6 months now. Due Minecraft’s low strain on GPU’s, you might even be able to get playable framerates too.

    • You’re right, it’s been extended to Pascal cards but the frame rates are pretty brutal. And I wouldn’t assume it’d work well on lower Pascal cards just because it’s Minecraft. When Quake 2 RTX dropped there were 2080 Tis struggling to run the game higher than 90fps, and that’s not exactly any more hardware intensive than Minecraft.

      But I’d also point to this note in the Minecraft RTX presser:

      NVIDIA GeForce RTX™ GPUs are the only GPUs capable of playing games with real-time ray tracing.

      Which then links to a page that’s exclusively about the 20-series cards. Now I’m certain if I’m Nvidia I’d want people only looking at RTX-series GPUs if they actually wanted to play games with ray tracing, but I think given the Quake 2 experience and everything else that’s used ray tracing so far, I definitely wouldn’t assume that the Pascal cards could handle this.

  • This is basically hairworks 2.0

    Tanks framerates unless you had specific Nvidia graphics cards at the time.

    Nice to see though. I hope AMD cant implement something similar but better on the FPS hit. Like what they did with Vulkan.

  • I hope this comes to consoles next gen – the difference looks astonishing.
    I’ve been playing Rage 2 on Xbox One X and it’s a glimpse of next gen because they’ve kept the resolution 1080p but ramped up all the special effects – those pretty light rays!

  • Eh needs better diffuse lightning. As it is, bright areas are super glary and shaded areas are way too dark; colours only look their true hue in the super narrow stripe of balanced lightning between both areas, which may be very realistic but in practice, obscures gaming elements. Every single scene looked like happening on the dawn of a summer day.

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