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Microsoft is really taking advantage of their ownership of Minecraft. The game is appearing on as many platforms as possible, including the new VR head-mounted display from Facebook's Oculus. That's right, you can play the popular adventure crafting game with officially supported integration for the Oculus Rift.
Over on the Xbox news site they announced that starting today you can get your hands on a patch for the Windows 10 edition of Minecraft that includes the ability to play the game using the Oculus Rift. The update is free and will supposedly open up a whole new way to play the game.
According to the post, they optimized the Windows 10 DirectX 11 performance support to better work in cohesion with the playability of Minecraft. This upgrade comes on the heels of Microsoft having the developers update the game to support Samsung's Gear VR for the mobile port of Mjoang's title. A video was also posted to explain what techniques they used and how they made the game compatible with VR devices, which you can check out below.
The VR living room feature is kind of neat, as it allows users to take a break from using their HMD to look around the world and instead play Minecraft from a virtual living room's television set. It's like an Inception-style feature.
The post further explains that for the desktop version of the game, the Oculus Rift support will have native MSAA features for VR users, which means that there will be sharp anti-aliasing with multisampling. This particular method of anti-aliasing is designed to target performance over edge optimization, so while you will still get a high-quality anti-aliasing render of Minecraft while using your Oculus Rift headset, you will still be able to get the best performance quality possible out of the experience.
When it comes to virtual reality integration, performance is key. Microsoft opting for MSAA over the FSAA method of anti-aliasing means that they want to ensure gamers are getting the smoothest experience possible while reducing artifacts, jagged edges and poor image quality.
Some people might be wondering why performance and clarity are so important to the VR experience in a game like Minecraft. Well, a lot of it boils down to how well your brain can process the information and how well your body can adjust to the experience. Lower resolutions or jagged edged imagery can strain your eyes as you attempt to make out the visuals in a game, while poor performance can give you a bad case of motion sickness.
This is one of the reasons why Microsoft isn't bothering with VR on the Xbox One due to the steep requirements to play games at an adequate resolution and frame-rate on the device. Hardware that's at least capable of outputting at 1080p at 90fps has been the standard requirement for most games, which is why the minimum requirements for using the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive is 8GB of RAM, a quad-core processor and a GTX 970.
For those of you with at least a GTX 970, you should be able to play Minecraft without any problems with the native Oculus Rift support.
If you have the Windows 10 version of Minecraft you can grab the update for the Oculus Rift right now and start experiencing the blocky world of Mojang's smash hit in virtual reality.