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Minecraft RTX Ray-Tracing Beta Goes Live On April 16


Nvidia and Microsoft have finally announced a beta for Minecraft’s gorgeous RTX ray-tracing update. It will be available on Thursday, April 16.

I had a chance to play the beta over the weekend. Unfortunately, my thoughts on the beta are embargoed until Thursday, so I can’t go into detail on my experience with it yet.

Nvidia says the game’s RTX update will include support for DLSS 2.0. That acronym stands for Deep Learning Super Sampling, a technique used by Nvidia to improve game performance. DLSS uses machine learning algorithms to upscale the render resolution of a game. For example, DLSS can be used to upscale the output of a game rendered at 1080p resolution to 4K.

This technique is important because it can boost the performance of a game significantly. Nvidia claims that the average framerate in Minecraft with RTX on, at 1080p resolution, improves from 56.8 frames per second with DLSS off to 93.6 FPS with DLSS on. At 4K, the average improves from 16.3 FPS to 49.4 frames per second. That is on a system with a Core i9-9900K, Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti, and 32GB of RAM, with game detail set to maximum and draw distance set to eight “chunks.”

RTX is a whole new world. Literally

Minecraft’s RTX mode can improve the game’s visuals on any map, but the impact is most dramatic when colored lighting, light shafts, and reflections can come into play. To highlight this, Nvidia has partnered with select community creators, who have built custom worlds with RTX ray tracing in mind. They are:

  • Aquatic Adventure RTX by Dr_Bond
  • Imagination Island RTX by BlockWorks
  • Crystal Palace RTX by GeminiTay
  • Of Temples & Totems RTX: A Tale of Elemental Artifacts by Razzleberries
  • Color, Light, and Shadow RTX by PearlescentMoon
  • Neon District RTX by Elysium Fire

These new worlds will be available for anyone to download for free in the Minecraft RTX beta.

How to play the Minecraft RTX beta

The Minecraft RTX beta will be publicly available when it launches on April 16, but it won’t automatically arrive to those who have Minecraft installed.

You’ll need the Xbox Insider Hub app, which is available for free on the Microsoft Store. Once you have that, you should find the Minecraft for Windows 10 Beta listed as available content –provided you’re looking for it after it launches, of course.

Yes, you’ll need to own Minecraft for Windows 10 to access the beta. You’ll also need an Nvidia card with RTX support, an up-to-date video card driver, and the Windows 10 May 2019 update.

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