Microsoft and Nvidia have partnered up to announce the Minecraft RTX beta will become available to the public on 16th April.
The new beta marks the first time the public will be able to play the blocky sandbox title with ray tracing activated. This realistic light-rendering technology gives Minecraft a significant visual upgrade, with water and metallic objects becoming reflective, objects now casting realistic shadows and sunlight suddenly visible.
The update comes with several other new features, including new properties for ‘physically based materials’, support for DLSS 2.0 and six free pre-built RTX worlds to explore that offer guidance and inspiration for your own creations.
If you’ve got the Windows 10 edition of Minecraft and the required ray tracing capable hardware, you’ll be able to jump into the beta within a matter of days. For now though, read on for more details and keep an eye on Trusted Reviews for our upcoming hands-on review of Minecraft RTX.
Explained: What is ray tracing?
Minecraft RTX release date – When is coming out?
The Minecraft RTX beta opens to the public on 16th April 2020. Anyone with compatible hardware and a copy of the Windows 10 Minecraft edition will be able to play in the beta.
An official launch is expected before the end of 2020. The official release will apparently allow those without an Nvidia RTX graphics card to visit worlds created within Minecraft RTX, although the advanced lighting effects will of course not be visible to those without the necessary hardware.
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Minecraft RTX price – How much will it cost?
Minecraft RTX will be a free update for anyone who owns the Windows 10 edition of the sandbox game. The Windows 10 edition of Minecraft currently costs £22.49.
Minecraft RTX requirements – How to enable RTX
There are a couple of requirements to play Minecraft RTX: firstly, you’ll need a Windows 10 edition of Minecraft, along with an Nvidia Geforce RTX graphics card (from the RTX 2060 up to RTX 2080 Ti).
Unfortunately, those with an AMD or less powerful Nvidia GPU won’t be able to access the beta, nor will they be able to visit any worlds that have been created via the RTX update, at least for the duration of the beta.
Related: Best Graphics Cards 2020
What is Minecraft RTX?
Minecraft RTX is the new enhanced version of the Windows 10 edition of Minecraft, featuring ray tracing technology for a stunning visual boost of lighting and shadow effects.
As Minecraft utilises a more advanced version of ray tracing (called path tracing) compared to the technology found in other games such as Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Battlefield 5, the visual effects are substantially more noticeable and put a greater strain on the GPU, despite Minecraft’s simplistic textures.
To combat this, Nvidia has ensured this will become one of the very first games to support DLSS 2.0, which uses artificial intelligence to boost the pixel count in real-time, allowing you to view games at high resolutions without being a significant drain on the graphics card.
Microsoft is also introducing a slew of new physical elements for objects. Previously, blocks only differed in terms of colour and opacity. Now, ‘physically based materials’ also feature properties such as Metallic, Normal, Roughness and Emissive, allowing certain blocks (such as lava) to radiate light while metallic objects will appear shiny.
On left: RTX turned off. On right: RTX turned on
If all these new features sound overwhelming, there’s no need to worry as Nvidia is offering various tools and guides to help you adjust, including a ‘physically based materials guide’, ‘Razzleberries RTX Texture Showcase’ and some HD resource packs. A ‘Minecraft Java to Bedrock Conversion Guide’ will also help you transport any Minecraft worlds created in the Java edition to the Minecraft RTX beta.
Need some inspiration to get started? Microsoft has enlisted the help of several famous Minecraft creators to produce six pre-built RTX worlds that you’re free to explore. These worlds include puzzles and stunning set pieces that take advantage of the new ray tracing upgrade, ranging from an underwater utopia to a neon-lit city.
If you’re excited by the beta launch of Minecraft RTX and have questions regarding the new update, let us know by messaging us via the @TrustedReviews Twitter account.