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Official ray tracing support is coming to Minecraft

We've seen modders add path tracing (which is similar to ray tracing) to Minecraft with impressive effects. But now Nvidia have announced they're working on official ray tracing support for it. This, only a week after the Super Duper Graphics pack was cancelled for being "too technically demanding"

Here's how Nvidia describe the benefits of upgrading a voxel-based game in this way: "Lighting is upgraded to real-time global illumination, enabling light to realistically illuminate blocks and buildings as the world is modified. Emissive blocks like Glowstone and Lava can illuminate environments, along with other dynamic game elements. Water, glass and other reflective surfaces show accurate real-time reflections, mirroring their surroundings."

The good news is that this upgrade will itself be moddable, and so "new in-game designs that were previously impossible become a reality, be those a spooky ravine that fades into darkness, filled with hostile mobs drawn to the light of the player’s torch; fun houses made of mirrors; or caves that glow with the precious resources or dangerous lava within."

According to Polygon, we can expect ray tracing to arrive in Minecraft "within the next year".

Jody Macgregor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, and Playboy.com, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was published in 2015, he edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and actually did play every Warhammer videogame.