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Minecraft's lighting will look more realistic, thanks to Nvidia tech

Looking for ores never looked this good.

Minecraft ray tracing

How Minecraft looks with the new ray-tracing graphics update.

Nvidia

Minecraft is about to lighten up a bit. An upgrade to Microsoft's popular building game will include graphics technology from Nvidia called ray tracing that adds new, sophisticated lighting, the companies said Monday. 

This comes a week after Microsoft canceled the "Super Duper Graphics Pack" for being too technically demanding. The free ray-tracing update is set for release sometime within a year for Windows 10 versions of the game. 

"Ray tracing sits at the center of what we think is next for Minecraft," Saxs Persson, franchise creative director of Minecraft, said in a statement. "GeForce RTX gives the Minecraft world a brand-new feel to it. In normal Minecraft, a block of gold just appears yellow, but with ray tracing turned on, you really get to see the specular highlight, you get to see the reflection, you can even see a mob reflected in it."

The form of ray tracing coming to Minecraft is called path tracing. It will make light from sources such as the sun create hard and soft shadows. It can also create a reflection off some surfaces, which is a big change to the block-based game not known for impressive graphics. 

Minecraft turned 10 years old this year. With its 10th anniversary came the announcement of a new augmented reality game, Minecraft Earth. The mobile game will let players create their own AR worlds in the real world. Minecraft Earth is currently in a closed beta and is set for release later this year. 

Originally published on Aug. 19 at 6:48 a.m. PT.
Update, 7:02 a.m. PT: Adds background details. 

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