Behold this stunning ray-traced Minecraft recreation of The Lord Of The Rings' Minas Tirith

Have you looked upon the White Tree of Gondor, Ringbearer, and seen it rendered with the power of Nvidia's proprietary ray-tracing technology? In collaboration with the fellowship of builders over at Minecraft Middle-Earth, the GPU-maker's latest RTX showcase takes us on a tour of The Lord Of The Rings' monolithic city, Minas Tirith.

From the looks of things, Nvidia took existing work from the Minecraft Middle Earth community, using its impressive RTX ray-tracing tech to enhance MME's expansive LOTR recreation, itself 11 years in the making. It's a stunning adaptation even without RTX, mind—one Rachel spent a good 10 hours exploring in its entirety, finishing her quest with a swan dive off Minas Tirith's citadel walls.

Through the video, we get to see that same city illuminated with some lovely ray-traced lighting, mind. Its dense, layered streets are kind of a perfect showcase for the technology, the greater structure casting sweeping shadows that are then filled with softer light bouncing across the citadel's surfaces. Tall walls gradually darker near their foundations, and the whole city shimmers with warm lamplight at night.

Unfortunately, unlike Nvidia's other showcase maps, the Minas Tirith demonstration isn't playable through the Minecraft: Bedrock Edition marketplace. Let's hope we do get to try the city's ray-traced recreation soon, though—I bet the glow coming off Denethor's flaming descent looks wonderful with RTX. 

Minecraft might quietly be the best showcase for ray-tracing, our Jacob reckons. If you try it out in Middle Earth right now, Rachel's put together a list of the best Minecraft RTX maps to explore. 

Disclosure: I worked on Minecraft's Console Editions as a level artist about 4 years back.


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Natalie Clayton
Features Producer

20 years ago, Nat played Jet Set Radio Future for the first time, and she's not stopped thinking about games since. Joining PC Gamer in 2020, she comes from three years of freelance reporting at Rock Paper Shotgun, Waypoint, VG247 and more. Embedded in the European indie scene and a part-time game developer herself, Nat is always looking for a new curiosity to scream about—whether it's the next best indie darling, or simply someone modding a Scotmid into Black Mesa. She also unofficially appears in Apex Legends under the pseudonym Horizon.