Xbox Series X To Harness The Power Of Direct X 12 Ultimate Ray Tracing
Along with the latest AMD and Nvidia graphics cards
Microsoft and Nvidia have announced DirectX 12 Ultimate, a new application programming interface that will bring next-gen graphics features to Windows 10 PCs and the Xbox Series X.
Shown off during a virtual GDC 2020 press conference on Thursday, DirectX 12 Ultimate which Microsoft is touting as the culmination of 25 years of work on DirectX, is the first universal graphics API designed to work across consoles and PCs and aims to bring “unprecedented alignment” between Windows 10 and Xbox Series X gaming.
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Its headline feature is DirectX Ray Tracing 1.1, which has been built by Nvidia in conjunction with Microsoft and AMD. This upgrade to ray tracing rendering will bring better lighting, reflection, and shadow effects to a greater number of future games. It’s also slated to make a number of current games look better, with Minecraft listed as one of the big-name examples.
Scenarios with many complex shaders will run better with dynamic-shader-based ray tracing, as opposed to using massive inline ray tracing uber-shaders, writes Microsoft. Meanwhile, scenarios that have a minimal shading complexity and/or very few shaders will run better with inline ray tracing.
DirectX 12 Ultimate also includes mesh shaders, which enables the GPU to control how it manages the level-of-detail, along with sampler feedback to reduce load times and stuttering by more efficiently loading in assets.
What Does Ray Tracing Mean
As we explain in full in our extended ray tracing feature, the lighting tech was initially devised as part of high-end graphics cards for PC gaming. It allows developers to adopt a more accurate and realistic lighting engine that reacts with all objects in a game.
This results in better reflections, shadows and ambient glare from light sources. It goes hand-in-hand with HDR to present some truly jaw-dropping effects.
You might have seen some console games with ray tracing already, as some studios use software rather than dedicated hardware management. However, this is fairly rare and using hardware means it is much more effective.
List Of Xbox Series X Series S Games With Ray Tracing
With Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S headed to market on November 10, various publishers have expressed interest in supporting ray tracing on the consoles. While each brings a vastly different approach to the potential of ray tracing technology, we’ve wrapped up the full list of games with planned support.
- Bright Memory: Infinite
- The Medium
- Watch Dogs Legion
Expect more details on each, including a breakdown of the best ray tracing experiences, following the console launch. We’ll update this list, as new titles are announced.
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Setting Up Your Computer To Use Minecraft Rtx
You might want to ensure that you properly set everything up for ray tracing. It is, after all, an advanced and demanding feature. So, the first thing you need to do after installing and enabling Minecraft RTX is to update your Nvidia GPU drivers. Here is how to do it.
Once your graphics drivers are up to date, youre ready to enjoy Minecraft RTX!
Initial Unveiling And Launch
Industry rumors of new Xbox hardware had started as early as June 2018, with Microsoft’s Phil Spencer confirming they were “deep into architecturing the next Xbox consoles” at that time. The hardware was believed to be a family of devices under the codename “Scarlett,” including a low-cost version following a similar scheme as the Xbox One family of consoles, with major emphasis on game streaming and backward compatibility. By March 2019, further industry rumors had led to speculation of two consoles within the Scarlett family under codenames “Anaconda” and the low-cost “Lockhart” version.
Microsoft confirmed Project Scarlett at its E3 2019 press conference. Microsoft said they wanted a “soft” transition from Xbox One to Scarlett, with Scarlett supporting backward compatibility with all games and most hardware supported on the Xbox One. During a presentation at The Game Awards 2019, Microsoft officially revealed the design of Scarlett and its branding, “Xbox Series X,” as well as a late 2020 release date. Following the event, a Microsoft spokesperson stated that Xbox Series X constituted an entry in a fourth generation of Xbox hardware, which will be branded simply as “Xbox” with no subtitle.
On July 16, 2020, Microsoft announced that it had ended production of the Xbox One X and all-digital version of the Xbox One S in preparation for the new products.
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When Is The Release Date For Minecraft On Xbox Series X
The question to end all questions is when Minecraft will be upgraded for the Xbox Series X and Series S. We have an entire article dedicated to when Minecraft with ray tracing will come to Xbox Series X|S, but the answer there is the same as here: we simply don’t know.
Between an early technical demonstration of Minecraft with ray tracing running on Xbox Series X, Minecraft RTX working wonderfully on Windows 10, and the gaming technologies inside Xbox Series X|S progressively becoming more accessible, it’s easy to assume and believe that Minecraft is definitely being upgraded for Xbox Series X|S. Unfortunately, there has been absolutely zero confirmation from Mojang Studios that it’s actually happening, so we’re not able to take guesses at a potential release date.
Recent rumors have suggested that Minecraft will receive its next-gen upgrade with the upcoming Caves and Cliffs Update. However, the Caves and Cliffs Update was recently split into two parts and partially delayed, so even if Minecraft was being upgraded for Xbox Series X|S with this next feature update it’s still not clear. Should we expect it in Summer 2021 or Winter 2021? If the next-gen upgrade was planned, has it now been delayed beyond the Caves and Cliffs Update like the new archeology system? There’s simply no way to know for sure.
Xbox Series X: See How It Uses Ray Tracing To Dramatically Improve Graphics
Microsoft shows off the Xbox Series X’s ray tracing abilities, marking the first time a home console has been able to use this feature.
Microsoft has recently shared a lot of details about the Xbox Series X. This includes a fresh look at how the console’s use of hardware accelerated DirectX ray tracing makes next-gen games look even better. Starting off with a definition: ray racing is essentially a technological framework that allows for improved lighting, shadows, and reflections. It also helps create more realistic-sounding audio. In short, it’s a way for developers to create “more physically accurate worlds,” according to Microsoft.
Microsoft says the Xbox Series X is the first-ever console to feature this kind of ray tracing, and it’s made possible thanks to the console’s custom GPU made in collaboration with AMD.
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Will Tuttle of the Xbox Wire witnessed ray tracing on the Xbox Series X first-hand with Minecraft. Tuttle said the advancements that ray tracing offers were immediately obvious. “Shadows cast from objects soften or harden depending on how far away from the object you are, while lava gives off a warm orange glow that dissipates over distance and reflects off of minecart rails,” Tuttle said. “Even the moon casts its own rays, streaming down through cracks in the walls and reflecting off particles in the air.”
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Lighting The Future Of Graphics
Better reflections and lighting might not seem like a big deal for games when sharper textures, more details, and 4K resolutions tend to be championed as graphical highpoints. But you really need to see ray-tracing in action to really see its effect.
In the likes of Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Control, the effect of ray-tracing is reasonably subtle, but still adds more depth and realism to the games. The reflective floors and surfaces of Controls Oldest House really pop with ray-tracing enabled.
In Battlefield V, ray-tracing adds a lot more detail to environments, thanks to bullet flashes and fires reflecting off of shiny gun barrels and puddles of rain. But its with the addition of ray-tracing to older, less graphically advanced games where we can see the effect of ray-tracing in action.
Minecraft got a ray-tracing patch that allows people with GeForce RTX cards to add fancy lighting to the game. And the feature utterly transforms Minecraft.
The blocky and rudimentary looking game turns into something that wouldnt look out of place in an high-end Scandivaian architecture agency. The lighting adds sumptuous amounts of depth to the games low-fi graphics.
Its the same story for Quake II RTX, a version of the venerable deathmatch game designed for people with GeForce RTX graphics cards. Ray-tracing does a good job of making a 1997 game look like its at least a decade newer.
Why Is Ray Tracing Better
To explain Ray Tracing, its important to first understand how games and animation have traditionally been rendered thus far. Through a process called Rasterization, 3D models are translated, pixel by pixel, into a flat, 2D image. Lighting on a plane is calculated according to distance and angle to the light source, as well as other light-specific information like hue. This process is repeated, frame by frame, at whatever frame rate on display. You can think of it like your computer or TV creating a high-level flipbook.
Ray Tracing on the other hand, literally calculates the path taken by photons from their source to the surfaces they collide with and, most importantly, where they bounce off and ricochet from there you know, how actual light works. Light bounces off of everything, to some degree, hence the term Bounce Light. Advanced Ray Tracing incorporates everything from intensity, hue, and type of light being emitted to the nature of the materials theyre bouncing off of to render scenes with incredible accuracy compared to Rasterization, which can really only guess at how something might appear. This simple change in how a scenes light is processed can make the exact same 3D model appear significantly more lifelike.
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Xbox Game Pass Comparison
Suffice it to say, if you dont have the cash to make a big upfront purchase, then Microsoft still wants to get you on board for its next generation of consoles. You wont own any of the games you can play , but thats the trade-off you make.
Microsofts plans for the next generation of gaming are sprawling. Two consoles that are available via subscription and can play a huge chunk of your existing Xbox games, a new roster of games that will be playable on your existing Xbox One, a continuing focus on PC gaming, and a game streaming service mean that, no matter what hardware you own, theres a decent chance youll be able to pay Microsoft to play its games.
Weve written before about how the focus on trying to sell subscriptions rather than premium hardware means that the true next-gen Xbox is the subscription itself, rather than the hardware it plays on. Microsoft is casting its net wide, and it doesnt want any hardware requirements to get in the way of you subscribing.
Sony, meanwhile, is doing what its always done: its making a new console, developing exclusive games for it, and selling it. Its hard to argue too much with the approach when its done so well for the company so far, especially with the PS4.
Update November 12th, 1:30PM ET: Added hands on impressions now that the Xbox Series S and Series X have launched.
How To Enable Ray Tracing In Minecraft
You probably never guessed it, but the trendy game titled Minecraft has been blessed with a 2021 upgrade in terms of realism. It is called ray tracing, and it was introduced by the famous chipmaker Nvidia. Although originally intended for PC gamers, ray tracing will be made available for Xbox Series X as part of the new Minecraft RTX.
Follow along in this article to learn how to enable ray tracing in Minecraft.
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Taking Minecraft To The Next Level
For those of you that have a computer with an Nvidia graphics card, youre in luck because you can play Minecraft with ray tracing. If you want to try it, you can give the trial version a whirl and decide whether you like it by yourself.
Have you managed to enable ray tracing for Minecraft on your computer? How do you like it so far? Let us know about your experiences with ray tracing in the comments below.
Elden Ring Limited To 60fps Ps5 & Xbox Series X Ray Tracing Confirmed
Bandai Namco has confirmed Elden Ring will support up to 60FPS gameplay and feature ray tracing on PS5 and Xbox Series X|S consoles.
A Bandai Namco webpage features outlines Elden Ring‘s performance capabilities on PS5 and Xbox Series X|S consoles, which confirms 60fps and ray tracing support. After roughly two years of silence, the FromSoftware title resurfaced during Summer Game Fest with official gameplay footage and a January 2022 due date. As most are well aware, however, Bandai Namco has since delayed Elden Ring to late February.
Fortunately, the slightly longer wait hasn’t resulted in FromSoftware resorting to another lengthy bout of silence. On the contrary, Elden Ring’s development team unleashes new information fairly often now, the most recent of which revolved around the five Character Classes. When booting up the action RPG next year, players will have the option to choose from the Bloody Wolf, Champion, Enchanted Knight, Prophet, and Warrior classes, each of whom will bring something unique to the table. Such news made the rounds at the perfect time, too, given the imminence of the Elden Ring Closed Network Test.
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How To Enable Ray Tracing In Minecraft On An Android Or Iphone
A decade ago, having more complex video games on smartphones was not expected. That has changed, of course, as we have much more complex games than Minecraft on our pocket computers. So, can you get Minecraft RTX for your iOS or Android device? No, at least not for now. Ray tracing requires modern graphics juggernauts, and smartphone and tablet technology are still years away.
Devil May Cry : Special Edition
Originally, Capcom announced that Devil May Cry 5: Special Editionwould not feature ray tracing at launch on Xbox Series X, but the game launched with the same suite of graphical options across Series X and PlayStation 5. It actually features four graphics modes, two of which enable ray-traced reflections. Quality mode renders the game at 4K and runs between 30 fps and 60 fps, while performance mode renders the game at 1080p and stays locked at 60 fps.
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New Games No Hardware
Say you dont own an Xbox or a gaming PC, but you do have an Android phone. Does Microsoft have any next-gen gaming options for you? Thanks to game streaming, it does. On September 15th, Microsoft added game streaming to Xbox Games Pass Ultimate, which costs $14.99 a month. The feature, which was known previously as xCloud, could give you a way to play many of the biggest Xbox Series X games without having to own any gaming hardware at all. You can stream them to a device as simple as an Android phone, for example .
Game streaming isnt an entirely new idea Sony launched its PlayStation Now service way back in 2014 to a muted response but Microsoft is taking a much more interesting approach. Rather than focusing on older titles, as Sony did with PlayStation Now, Microsoft says its new games will be available to stream the day they release and lists recent first-party titles like Forza Horizon 4, Gears of War 5, Tell Me Why, The Outer Worlds, and Ori and the Will of the Wisps as being among the 150-plus games available to stream at launch.
Microsoft promises to let you stream major Xbox games straight to your phone.
Game streamings future on iPhones is uncertain
Xbox Game Pass briefly explained: console, PC, xCloud streaming and more
What Is Ray Tracing For Minecraft On Xbox Series X
Ray tracing is one of those vague gaming terms that doesn’t concern the vast majority of gamers. However, when properly used, ray tracing can have real effects on how a game looks, particularly in the atmosphere department. On games that are already meant to be photo-realistic, ray tracing allows them to take it to the next level by accurately portraying lighting instead of simply “guessing” as was commonplace before. It’s very complicated, but fortunately, we’re here to break it all down.
Ray tracing, down at its core, requires three things to work: capable hardware, supported drivers and software, and a game built with ray tracing in mind. With Xbox Series X|S, all three of these things will be present, with ray tracing being touted as an essential next-gen feature for both the Xbox Series X|S and the PS5. Minecraft could be one of the games to support real-time ray tracing at some point in the future.
Now, it should be noted that Minecraft with ray tracing already exists, and it looks incredible, completely altering the look and feel of this over-10-year-old game. We even paired Minecraft with ray tracing and an NVIDIA RTX 3060 for even more beautiful results. However, Minecraft with ray tracing is currently available only for Minecraft: Bedrock Edition on Windows 10 when paired with high-end NVIDIA RTX GPUs.
If you want all the details regarding Minecraft with ray tracing, be sure to check out our ultimate guide on Minecraft with ray tracing.
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