Managed to snag yourself one of those fancy new Nvidia 30-series cards? Looking for something to really put it through its paces? Well, lucky for you, graphical powerhouse Minecraft has finally taken its RTX ray-tracing support out of open beta. Now, anyone and everyone can give the block-busting builder a ridiculously shiny makeover, assuming their PC is packing the power to run it.
I actually have nabbed myself an RTX card (a 20-series, mind) since Minecraft's RTX support entered beta. And you know what? It looks... fine. It looks fine.
As per Nvidia's post you'll still need an RTX-enabled 20- or 30-series card to run Minecraft's new ray-traced worlds. What is nice is that you can still play with folks without those cards, or on other platforms. Where you're seeing all the fancy new rays and reflections, they'll be treated to Minecraft's default visuals. The update also includes DLSS upscaling (and Microsoft's own upscaling) to help run these scenes at respectable framerates.
To help show this all off, this week's release also comes with new RTX-enabled worlds. Colosseum lets you explore a dusty Romanesque landscape rendered with lush natural lighting, while a second, Dungeon Dash, is set to arrive sometime "soon" and includes 10 of those aforementioned dungeons to dash through. And then there's all the maps included over the beta - interdimensional portals, cyberpunk cities and Mediterranean islands. Unfortunately, you can't turn any old world into an RTX-enabled one without a bit of tinkering, as explained on the Mojang FAQ.
But then, I'm not entirely sure I'm that bothered. I think my problem with it, in motion, is that it's still Minecraft. While I'm generally not fussed with raytracing generally, I loved its use in Teardown - a game that, thanks to its shattering structures and billowing smoke clouds, feels like it couldn't be rendered any other way. Ray-traced Minecraft looks nice, but not meaningfully nicer than any number of shader packs that attempted to fake the same thing.
It's a neat new way to look at Minecraft, though, and a no-brainer to try out if you're sporting the hardware for it. I can't say I don't still wonder what Nate's hellish Shrek LARP would've looked like with realistic reflections...
Disclosure: Yes, I used to work on Minecraft's console ports and yes, some of the stuff I made is in the Windows 10 version. It's been a long time. We've all changed. Minecraft has changed. I've changed.