Minecraft is huge - one of the biggest games of all time - and Microsoft have big plans for the open world online playground. One of which was the 'Super Duper Graphics Pack' which was announced back in 2017 ahead of the launch of the Xbox One X.
What is the Super Duper Graphics Pack?
It's a visual overhaul of the game that is being aimed at high end PCs and Xbox One X consoles. Featuring updated 4K and HDR support the pack also brings with it volumetric lighting and lighting effects, new textures and far more detail.
Microsoft have said that the 4K and HDR updates to the game will be made available for free but there will be a charge for the Super Duper Graphics Pack.
Some specific improvements include:
- Volumetric lighting.
- Enhanced water textures, complete with reflective surfaces.
- Dynamic shadows with object edge highlighting.
- Reflective textures for blocks, adding highlights to diamond blocks for example.
- 3D models for objects that were previously just flat textures, such as rail tracks and foliage.
Check out the official trailer, posted back in June 2017 for a better idea of what you can expect if and when the pack is released...
When is the Super Duper Graphics Pack going to be released?
We have no idea. It was announced back in 2017 and we expected it to appear on or around the launch of the Xbox One X. It didn't materialise and now it's two years later and it still hasn't been released. So, what happened?
One thing was the 'Bedrock' edition of Minecraft which was a rewrite of a huge portion of the game code. This needed to be finished before the release of the Super Duper Graphics Pack. A developer at Microsoft posted on Reddit in April 2018 explaining the issue in more detail:
Minecraft developer here. The Graphics Team is still hard at work on this (it ended up being a ton more work than initially anticipated). The graphics part of our engine was quite honestly simply not built for this, and when we tried to put all the new features in piece by piece things went bad. Performance, even on the Xbox One X, was between bad and inconsistent during all the internal play sessions we had.
It will come, but we don't have a date yet. The gameplay team has been hard at work on the Update Aquatic, while the rest of the Engine team has been working on the Switch release alongside fixing performance issues on Xbox One. Those fixes are much closer than Super Duper :)
It sounds like performance issues are the biggest reason for the delay and we can only hope that things have improved in the twelve months since this was posted.