Minecraft Is About To Look Much Better On PC

It turns out that Minecraft is getting a visual update after all, just not the one that was originally promised. Overnight, graphics card makers Nvidia announced a new update for the game that will add Minecraft to the growing list of PC games that support real-time ray tracing.

“Ray tracing is one of the key innovations that we think is next for Minecraft,” said Saxs Persson, the game’s creative director, in a video announcing Nvidia’s update. “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.”

In a brief trailer, you can see how much more vibrant and organic Minecraft’s world feels. Lava glows against nearby blocks, streams of water shimmer and show reflections of what’s nearby, and sunlight filters through a series of vines to create a soft, warm glow on the ground. Of course, players will need Nvidia RTX graphics card if they want to see any of this in their own version of the game.

While Nvidia has also announced that ray tracing support is coming to a bunch of upcoming games including Control and Watch Dogs: LegionMinecraft is interesting because the game was originally due for a much broader graphical update called the Super Duper Graphics Pack. Announced at E3 2017, the pack was supposed to add much more detailed and realistic lighting effects to the game, as well as other enhancements, including support for 4K.

It was also supposed to be coming to more than just PC, but earlier this month Mojang announced that the Super Duper Graphics Pack had been canceled as it “proved too technically demanding to implement as planned.” The ray tracing update is due out soon.

Minecraft Is Now A Browser Game, Is Still Good

Now you can play some old-school Minecraft in your browser.

Minecraft, a game developed by a disembodied spirit and dropped here on Earth under mysterious circumstances, was once the game people asked me about when I told them what my job is. “Oh you play games?” they’d ask. “Do you know about Minecraft?” Now that That Game is Fortnite, it can be hard to remember how all-encompassing and influential Minecraft was. Playing Minecraft Classic, which is now available to play in your browser, helped me remember where that magic once came from.

Minecraft Classic only offers eight blocks to build with, and is in Creative mode by default, because that is the only option. You’re not going to be fighting Creepers or Zombies in this game. Instead, you can build and mine. Those two mechanics aren’t all that different in Classic than what they are now. Still, seeing the game stripped of all the biomes, mobs, and complicated recipes reminded me how compelling those two core mechanics are. Every time I dug downward into some rock and found a neat cave or a new type of block, it was still exciting, even if there wasn’t much to do with it. The novelty of each world being created just for you, hiding secrets within, was enough.

The Latest Minecraft Trend Has Fans Building Creepy, Giant Skeletons

Over on the Minecraft subreddit, a new trend has popped up in the last week or so where players use in-game blocks to build giant skeletons. Some are designed to look like humans or giants, others are built to look like large, dead versions of Minecraft animals or enemies.

As usual with these trends, it is hard to pinpoint the exact start, but about a week ago the Minecraft subreddit community started posting screenshots of creepy giant skeletons. These became popular, with some of the bigger and better creations earning thousands of upvotes and hundreds of comments.

After a few posts blew up, others began jumping on board the trend and uploading their own images of giant, dead things.

There is something slightly creepy about these large skeletons of long-dead giants. Imagine building something like this in a world, then inviting your friend to come play with you and not telling them. They would be probably be shocked to suddenly find a dead giant leaning on a hill.

Now, something a lot of folks don’t know is that there are actually giant skeletons in Minecraft already. These large fossils have a very, very, small chance of spawning in Minecraft worlds, but they do exist. I only recently found out about them and checking out Reddit posts about these rare fossils, it seems many other players are unaware they exist in the game. In fact, they’ve been around for a few years now.

But if you can’t find one of these rare giant fossils in Minecraft, just make your own as all these other players have done.

Halloween isn’t that far away. Building a giant skeleton monster might be a perfect way to get into the spooky season spirt.

CELESTE: CHAPTER 9 FREE DLC BEING RELEASED THIS MONTH

Celeste, One of the best platformers of this generation, will be getting its Chapter 9: Farewell free DLC in just a few days.

blog post on developer Extremely OK Games' website explains Celeste will be sent off with this free chapter that will be available to download for everyone who owns the game. This Chapter 9: Farewell DLC will be available on all platforms on September 9, though the Xbox One version may see a slight delay.

Chapter 9: Farewell will add over 100 new levels to the game, bringing Celeste to over 800 levels in total. These levels also come with new music and mechanics and can be unlocked by completing Chapter 8.

The release of this final DLC also means that the limited physical release of Celeste will soon be put into production for those who were holding out.

For everyone who has supported Celeste, the blog post also mentions a change in the development team. Thanks to the commercial success of Celeste, the team now has an official office in Vancouver and was able to bring the team over to all work together in person. Matt Makes Games will now be known as the previously mentioned Extremely OK Games, or EXOK, to commemorate the expansion.

If you haven't heard of Celeste, it's one of the few games to receive the coveted 10 out of 10 for our review here on IGN. We strongly recommend you give it a look.


Hope Corrigan is an Australian freelance writer for IGN. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

MINECRAFT OFFICIAL DUCKTALES ADVENTURE MAP RELEASED

Mojang has unveiled an official DuckTales-themed DLC for Minecraft, which includes skins and new quests.

Available in the Minecraft Marketplace Store, the mash-up pack is the latest Disney property to enter the Minecraft universe after Pirates of the Caribbean and Toy Story previously got the block treatment.

According to the official announcement on Minecraft's website, the DLC includes “the show’s most iconic locations – from the city of Duckburg and the halls of McDuck Manor, to legendary locations like the Pyramid of Toth-Ra or heights of Mount Neverrest. Solve a mystery or rewrite history as Huey, Dewey, Louie, Webby, or any of the other 30 characters available.”

There are also two new storylines, multiple quests, and 50 new collectibles that can be displayed in the McDuck trophy room once found.

The 1987 DuckTales cartoon was rebooted in 2017 for modern audiences, but still follows the adventures of Scrooge McDuck and his nephews, including Donald Duck. The new Minecraft DLC's launch coincides with the release of the third season.

You can check out screenshots from DuckTales Adventure Map in the slideshow above, or the NVIDIA RTX-ray tracing improvements from the Minecraft high fidelity texture pack coming to Windows 10.

Ray tracing: Everything you need to know about ray tracing

Ray tracing is one of the hottest topics of 2019. Not only will Nvidia’s new RTX graphics cards support the technology, but so will the upcoming PS5 and Xbox 2.

But what exactly is ray tracing? We explain the groundbreaking light-rendering technology here, while also explaining how it will improve the visuals for future games to come.

And if you want to start gawping at ray tracing games right now, we detail the hardware you need to get it up and running as well was which games support it. Read on for everything you need to know about ray tracing.

What is ray tracing?

Ray tracing is a rendering technique that creates more realistic light effects. By using ray tracing tech to simulate the physical behaviour of light, you’ll see it bounce off objects in the virtual world just as it would in reality.

While ray tracing has been around for some time in the film and TV production worlds, the release of Nvidia’s RTX graphics cards marked the first instance when ray tracing could be rendered in real-time,  making it possible to incorporate into video games.

Nvidia Ray Tracing Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Nvidia’s screenshot of Shadow of the Tomb Raider demonstrating ray tracing

It isn’t only light that benefits from ray tracing; this more realistic behaviour of light also creates more authentic reflections and shadows.

Look down at a puddle, and ray tracing should allow you to see your character’s face staring right back at you. While reflections are nothing new in video games, developers previously had to pre-render them. Clever tricks, such as rendering an identical room on the other side of a mirror, created the illusion of a reflection, but real-time ray tracing makes the real deal possible. 

Shadows, meanwhile, will look more dynamic. Think of a rising sun over a forest. With ray tracing, shadows are directly affected by the light source and will move accordingly with the sun’s position in the sky. The Shadow of the Tomb Raider tech demo also depicted how flickering firecrackers and candles will create more realistic and atmospheric lighting in dark environments.

Ray tracing games

The full list of games confirmed to support ray tracing is as follows:

However, most of these games are still awaiting software patches before they can feature ray tracing. So far, Battlefield 5, Shadow of the Tomb Radier and Metro Exodus are among the few video game to have the technology activated right now.

Even more games are expected to confirm support for ray tracing throughout 2019. And now the PS5 and Xbox 2 are confirmed to be supporting ray tracing, it’s likely that developers will be much more keen to start using it.

We’ll revise this list as soon as more information becomes available.

Is ray tracing worth it?

Nvidia’s ray tracing tech demos may look impressive, but how good is the technology in action? We tested real-time ray tracing for ourselves with Battlefield 5 – the very first game to actively support the technology.

In the snow-blanketed landscapes of Battlefield 5’s single player experience Nordlys, ray tracing truly excelled. Mountain ranges could be seen in the reflection of a frozen lake, while flames glinted off the metallic surface of machine guns, even as snow thundered down.

On left: DXR turned off. On right: DXR turned on

Explore one of the many deserted homes in Battlefield 5, and the ray tracing improvements are even more noticeable. Glass cabinets show a clear reflection of the entire room, as well as your own character. If a sneaky solider were to sneak up behind you while you ogled the cabinet, you’d be able to spot them immediately. Turn off DirectX Raytracing (DXR) and the glass cabinet will still show a reflection, but a very blurred and murky one that has been pre-designed and can’t be affected by its surroundings, no matter how hard you attempt to intercept the light.

Even the glass-fronted picture frames hanging up on the walls benefit significantly from ray tracing. Once activated, you’re able to see the sunlight glistening on the surface, giving it a glossy appearance rather than the dull image you’d usually find.

On left: DXR turned off. On right: DXR turned on

But while this level of detail is incredibly impressive, it’s so subtle you probably wouldn’t notice it unless you went looking for it, especially in fast-paced bombastic ventures such as Battlefield 5 where you’re too busy gunning down Nazis to bother gazing at a reflection in a cabinet.

When you factor in how much of a performance drain that ray tracing is on the GPU, you have to ask yourself whether that subtle improvement is worth it. Playing through the Nordlys level on Battlefield V in Full HD with DXR turned off, the game held an approximate frame rate average of 130fps. After activating DXR, though, that frame rate average dropped to 80fps. That’s a whopping 50fps difference.

Since we were using the Alienware Aurora R8 gaming desktop with a Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti and Intel Core i9 9900K configuration, Battlefield V still ran smoothly despite the 50fps hit. If you’re using a less modest graphics card though, (such as the RTX 2070 or GTX 2080,) or you fancy playing in 4K rather than Full HD, then frame rates might drop to such a degree that you may decide to sacrifice DXR altogether.

What do I need for ray tracing?

Right now, there’s actually a great deal of graphics cards that technically support ray tracing. Nvidia recently released a patch enabling support on all GTX graphics cards. That said, you currently won’t get the full benefit of the technology unless one of Nvidia’s RTX cards.

The consumer cards currently in the RTX lineup include the RTX 2080 TiRTX 2080RTX 2070 and RTX 2060 GPUs.

These graphics cards boast new hardware called Tensor Cores and RT Cores, which are required to make real-time ray tracing work as efficiently as possible. Nvidia also invented the term ‘Giga Rays’, as a measurement of performance for ray tracing.

Nvidia says that 5 Giga Rays per second is the minimum amount of virtual light ideally required to fully illuminate a typical room in a video game environment. The RTX 2070 offers the standard 5 Giga Rays/sec, while the 2080 offers 8 Giga Rays/sec and the 2080 Ti a whopping 10 Giga Rays/sec.

In other words, lighting effects on games played on a system with a 2080 Ti running will look the most impressive, realistic and immersive. 

It looks like AMD will soon be joining the ray tracing party too, with the next-gen AMD Navi 7nm architecture strongly rumoured to be supporting the technology. The PlayStation 5 will also feature ray tracing, using the AMD Navi GPU architecture, but the next-gen console isn’t expected until 2020.

Minecraft RTX is the first game worth the ray tracing upgrade

Nvidia took a big gamble on ray tracing when it launched its RTX series graphics cards last year. 

There’s no doubt ray tracing improves visuals for games, with lighting effects behaving more naturally and shadows offering more detail than before, but whether that enhancement is significant enough to merit the extra cost of Nvidia’s RTX graphics cards has long been debatable. 

The improvements ray tracing provides varies from game to game, arguably being so subtle in the likes of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Shadow of the Tomb Raiderthat you may not notice the upgrade without being made aware of it beforehand. 

Upcoming games such as Cyberpunk 2077 and Watch Dogs Legion look to take advantage of the light-rendering technology to greater effect. With sidewalks and puddles reflecting the many luminous signs, futuristic cities in both games become more vibrant and immersive.

To call these enhancements “game changing” would be a hefty exaggeration though. In fact, I’m not even sure they’re enough to convince me Nvidia’s ‘ray tracing-capable’ RTX graphics cards are a better buy than AMD’s cheaper Radeon RX 5700 and Radeon RX 5700 XT alternatives. 

Cyberpunk 2077 ray tracing

It’s a different story if you’re a Minecraft fan though.

The blocky sandbox builder has never been known for high fidelity visuals. Quite the opposite, its basic textures were a big part of its charm. With the ray tracing makeover though, Minecraft suddenly looks gorgeous while still retaining its simple building blocks style.

With Minecraft all about creating huge aesthetically pleasing structures, the ray tracing update doesn’t merely feel like a novelty boost, but rather a fully-fledged sequel. 

There are countless improvements seen in Minecraft RTX. Certain materials like gold now feature a glossy and reflective texture, lava will now illuminate surrounding blocks with an orange tint and water becomes transparent, so you can see fish swimming below the surface. 

Of course, Minecraft dabblers likely won’t fancy spending big on an RTX card to see these ray tracing improvements, but serious players who spend multiple hours a week building masterpieces will likely see this as a solid long-term investment. 

Sadly, I can’t comment on specifics for performance, and to what extent the ray tracing technology is a performance drain on the GPU, but I can confirm I didn’t come across any technical issues during my Minecraft RTX demo. 

Minecraft RTX is easily the best looking ray tracing game yet. As someone who hadn’t played Minecraft in three years beforehand, the RTX hands-on demo at Gamescom 2019made me want to jump right back into the sandbox and get creative again. 

Minecraft Earth Beta Launches for Android in 5 Cities

Mojang finally launches the Minecraft Earth beta for Android users who gain access to the Rubies in-game currency first.

Back in May, Microsoft announced that Minecraft was making the transition to the real world thanks to augmented reality. Now some lucky Android users are experiencing Minecraft Earth for the first time.

As The Verge reports, developer Mojang launched the closed beta of Minecraft Earth today on Android. However, it is extremely limited as the tweet below reveals. This is a closed beta, meaning you'll only be eligible to take part if you received an invite. Even then, initially the beta is limited to just five cities: London, Mexico City, Seattle, Stockholm, and Tokyo.

The Android beta is finally here! We’re hard at work rolling out the update in five cities: Seattle, London, Tokyo, Stockholm, and Mexico City. Happy crafting everyone!

http://redsto.ne/earthandbet 

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iOS users have had access to the beta since July 16 when it launched first in London and Seattle before expanding to the same five cities as Android. What the iOS version doesn't have yet, though, is Rubies.

Android players gain access to the Rubies in-game currency first, which they can purchase during the closed beta. iOS players will get Rubies “very soon.” Rubies can be bought or earned, but they won't be lost once the beta ends. Mojang is ensuring they are linked to an Xbox Live account so they carry over once the final Minecraft Earth apps launch.

Mojang needs beta testers to keep on playing so in order to keep an account active you'll need to sign in every seven days. If you'd like to try the closed beta, simply sign up and cross your fingers.

‘Minecraft Earth' beta is available on Android — in five cities

Right on time, the beta test for Microsoft's augmented reality Minecraft game is ready for Android users to give it a try. Just like the beta iOS users have had access to, Minecraft Earth is still invite-only for registered testersand available in just five cities: Mexico City, London, Tokyo, Seattle and Stockholm. According to those who are already in, if you're having trouble with the invite email then try clicking the link included from your mobile device instead of on a PC.

The Minecraft Earth beta recently reset its AR playing field and updated to version 2.0.0 on iOS. Crafters Earth reports that has brought familiar mobs like creepers and spiders to the game plus a number of challenges and adventures. Also, the in-game store is enabled so people can use the “Rubies” currency to buy build plates and accompanying items. A blog postnotes that Android users can buy them in the game's store right now, with access on iOS coming soon. Any rubies earned or purchased will stick with a player's account through this beta test and once the game is fully available.

You'll also need a device running Android 7.0 or higher to participate, and you can find out more information from the game's FAQ right here.

Minecraft Earth@minecraftearth

The Android beta is finally here! We’re hard at work rolling out the update in five cities: Seattle, London, Tokyo, Stockholm, and Mexico City. Happy crafting everyone!

http://redsto.ne/earthandbet 

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Capcom may unveil a spiritual successor to ‘Resident Evil Outbreak'

The next Resident Evil game may not be a sequel or a remake — not a straightforward one, anyway. Capcom is teasing plans to unveil a new title, nicknamed Project Resistance, at 11AM Eastern on September 9th. The developer hasn't said anything about what it will entail, but the initial signs point to a spiritual successor to the spin-off Resident Evil Outbreak. Thumbnails grabbed from the YouTube Premiere show what looks to be four heroes working together to slay the zombie hordes. It's not certain if you'll fight alongside AI or human players, but you won't be alone.

Whenever the game arrives, it'll be available on PC, PS4 and Xbox One. You'll also see plenty after the title's premiere. Capcom intends to show gameplay on stage at Tokyo Game Show in mid-September, and residents of Japan who register in advance will have an opportunity to play at the event. Project Resistance is clearly deep into development, even if an honest-to-goodness launch is still a while away.

Bigger images from the Project Resistance teaser trailer

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