Recently, on the subreddit for Imaginary Cityscapes, a Minecraft Redditor known as AND3R5 decided to use the block-building game’s aesthetic tools and create an eastern-style ancestral shrine against the backdrop of a massive cityscape.
According to the Redditor, they used a shader pack that used path traced shaders to provide a glow to ordinary coloration blocks, providing the lighting among the many buildings of the city’s backdrop.
Some Redditors applauded the piece for its resemblance to the Kowloon portion of Hong Kong, blending its older architecture alongside the modern-day glitz and glamor of the city. Many who didn’t even play Minecraft applauded the work of AND3R5, who clearly put a ton of effort and passion into the project.
Minecraft: What is path-tracing?
By using mods like Optifine in cohesion with those like Sonic Ether’s Unbelievable Shaders, Minecraft players with sufficient hardware can really beef up the visual capability of Minecraft’s rendering, including lighting effects like ray and path tracing.
Gamers have likely heard the ray tracing term more than a few times in recent years, as it is a relatively new graphical technology, and path tracing is linked to this mechanic somewhat.
Put plainly, ray tracing is a mechanic where a light or “ray” is sent outward from a virtual camera until it intersects an object. Then, based on the nature of the object, the ray of light can continue by being reflected or refracted upon the object. This allows the creation of light to appear as if it’s being shone on a certain surface (think light scattering over the roof of a car) as opposed to simply illuminating something statically.
This can be seen in certain Minecraft shaders, casting light and shadows based on the positioning of the sun.
Path tracing takes ray tracing to the extreme, sending out multiple rays that can number in the tens or the thousands. Instead of simply being traced back to a light source like ray tracing, path tracing bounces the ray off of available surfaces until it meets a certain bounce limit or hits a light source itself. Put plainly, it obtains the realistic lighting effects that ray tracing is trying to emulate, but at a much steeper computing cost.
Thanks to path tracing shaders, Minecraft players can view near-directionless realistic lighting within their worlds if their hardware allows for it to render. This actually works to Minecraft’s benefit, as the game’s graphical simplicity allows it to allocate additional resources to things like shaders and lighting since the block textures are often simple jobs to render by comparison.
Minecraft Redditor AND3R5’s creation
Interested fans check the Reddit post here:
AND3R5 revealed some details about the piece:
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With so much creativity in the Minecraft community, fans can expect more awe-inspiring posts like these in the future!