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Nvidia announced that Microsoft’s Minecraft will be the latest game to support Nvidia’s real-time ray tracing graphics on the PC.

The game is one of a number that Nvidia will show running on Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics cards at the Gamescom game event in Cologne, Germany this week. Other games that will include RTX support at Gamescom include Dying Light 2, Synced: Off-Planet, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Cyberpunk 2077, Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2, Metro: Exodus — The Two Colonels, Control, and Watch Dogs: Legion.

Minecraft has sold more than 176 million copies to date, and now it will look dramatically more realistic through RTX.

A free game update will provide Minecraft players with visualizations of their self-created worlds, with more realistic shadows, lighting and vibrant colors.

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“We are incredibly happy with how fast and how broad the adoption of this technology has been across the ecosystem,” said Jason Paul, general manager for software and technology at Nvidia, in a press briefing. “The biggest video game of the past decade is supporting RTX.”

Nvidia and Mojang are adding a form of ray tracing known as path tracing for the Windows 10 version of the game. Path tracing simulates the way light is transported throughout a scene. It presents a unified model for lighting calculations for many different types of effects that have traditionally been implemented separately using rasterized or hybrid renderers.

“Ray tracing sits at the center of what we think is next for Minecraft,” said Saxs Persson, franchise creative director of 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.”

The new effects include:

  • Direct lighting from the sun, sky and various light sources, including emissive surfaces such as glowstone and lava
  • Realistic hard and soft shadows depending on the size, shape and distance of the light source
  • Per-pixel emissive lighting
  • Indirect diffuse illumination (diffuse global illumination)
  • Indirect specular illumination (reflections)
  • Transparent materials with reflection, refraction and scattering (stained glass, water, ice)
  • Atmospheric scattering and density (volumetric fog, light shafts, realistic sky)

One of the interesting new games is Synced: Off-Planet, which is being built by Tencent’s flagship games development studio. The game is a brand new franchise that will use ray-traced reflections and shadows in a new twist on PvPvE that has players fighting each other while surviving 1,000+ “Nano Zombies.”

“Minecraft is the Legos of our generation, enabling people to create and build in a world inside of inside of a video game,” Paul said. “And the community has done amazing things with it. The impact of this game in the community is massive. We’re really excited to be working with Microsoft to take this to the next level.”

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