Bi-Weekly Blog 8/4/17: Continuum 2.0 Features and more!

We have a Discord server! Continuum has launched an official discord server for better interaction with the community as well as better support, Click here to join!

We have a Discord server!

Continuum has launched an official discord server for better interaction with the community as well as better support, Click here to join!

The Pulchra Revisited PBR Extension is now available for Continuum! The PBR Module is now available for download! All blocks now have proper specular mapping meaning that Pulchra fully supports the new versions of Continuum 2.0. The PBR Module is available for all resolutions for free, download it now in the Google Drive folder.

The Pulchra Revisited PBR Extension is now available for Continuum!

The PBR Module is now available for download! All blocks now have proper specular mapping meaning that Pulchra fully supports the new versions of Continuum 2.0. The PBR Module is available for all resolutions for free, download it now in the Google Drive folder.

The new direction of Continuum 2.0 After many months of development, Alpha builds of Continuum 2.0 have finally been released. In these months, we have cleaned up and replaced nearly all prior code from Continuum version 1.3. The new direction of Continuum is very unique in contrast to our previous works. We will be moving to a fully PBR back-end while preserving the artistic style found in previous versions. Current features found in alpha builds, as well as planned features, will be using highly advanced techniques found in many AAA games. With research from Frostbite, Unreal, Nvidia, Disney, and Pixar Animations, we have come up with what will be the most sophisticated graphics processing ever to be introduced to Minecraft. For starters, Continuum 2.0 has moved to a photometric pipeline,which means that all inputs are supplied with real world values such as color temperature measured in kelvin. This will introduce proper integration of all light sources and correction of light ratios that are based off of real world values, which in turn, allows for a more natural and realistic feel in Minecraft. With this new photometric pipeline, we can accurately simulate how certain things should look if they were to be seen through a real world camera or a human eye. Current implementations will contain an Auto and Manual camera mode, as well as an Eye Adaptation mode to be found in later builds. In Manual Camera, mode the shader will behave like a real world,  full manual camera with camera controls such as Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO, Allowing you to capture the perfect screenshot. Not to mention the modifiable 3D lut and tone map, that allows for complex, customizable color grading that will give you full control over the look and feel. You can even choose to share presets with others using our convenient and simple library system.

The new direction of Continuum 2.0

After many months of development, Alpha builds of Continuum 2.0 have finally been released. In these months, we have cleaned up and replaced nearly all prior code from Continuum version 1.3. The new direction of Continuum is very unique in contrast to our previous works. We will be moving to a fully PBR back-end while preserving the artistic style found in previous versions. Current features found in alpha builds, as well as planned features, will be using highly advanced techniques found in many AAA games. With research from Frostbite, Unreal, Nvidia, Disney, and Pixar Animations, we have come up with what will be the most sophisticated graphics processing ever to be introduced to Minecraft.

For starters, Continuum 2.0 has moved to a photometric pipeline,which means that all inputs are supplied with real world values such as color temperature measured in kelvin. This will introduce proper integration of all light sources and correction of light ratios that are based off of real world values, which in turn, allows for a more natural and realistic feel in Minecraft. With this new photometric pipeline, we can accurately simulate how certain things should look if they were to be seen through a real world camera or a human eye. Current implementations will contain an Auto and Manual camera mode, as well as an Eye Adaptation mode to be found in later builds. In Manual Camera, mode the shader will behave like a real world,  full manual camera with camera controls such as Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO, Allowing you to capture the perfect screenshot. Not to mention the modifiable 3D lut and tone map, that allows for complex, customizable color grading that will give you full control over the look and feel. You can even choose to share presets with others using our convenient and simple library system.

This feature ties quite nicely into the next section which going over our PBR Camera Post Processing. With inputs to the camera, we can accurately recreate common lens effects like Depth of Field (DOF). The DOF in Continuum will be customizable on a per blade basis, allowing for a custom aperture shape which in turn allows for complex bokeh images. Other effects such as bloom, motion blur, and film grain are also all done on a physical basis to allow for a proper filmic feel. However, in the Eye Adaptation mode, we are currently researching methods to have the player camera adapt in the same way the eye does based the human eye’s response to different wavelengths and powers. Talking about the PBR back-end, The revamped lighting system starts with the primary light source in the game, the sun. The sun is provided with a configurable Lux and temperature (Changing these will break accuracy from earth however if you are simulating a place that is not earth it is totally acceptable :p). The sunlight is then absorbed and scattered by the atmosphere, creating an accurate PBR sky. Both the sun and the moon are then used to light the PBR clouds which is the last step in our sky lighting systems. These clouds will be highly configurable in both density type and size, allowing you to create nearly any weather condition you can dream of.

This feature ties quite nicely into the next section which going over our PBR Camera Post Processing. With inputs to the camera, we can accurately recreate common lens effects like Depth of Field (DOF). The DOF in Continuum will be customizable on a per blade basis, allowing for a custom aperture shape which in turn allows for complex bokeh images. Other effects such as bloom, motion blur, and film grain are also all done on a physical basis to allow for a proper filmic feel. However, in the Eye Adaptation mode, we are currently researching methods to have the player camera adapt in the same way the eye does based the human eye’s response to different wavelengths and powers.

Talking about the PBR back-end, The revamped lighting system starts with the primary light source in the game, the sun. The sun is provided with a configurable Lux and temperature (Changing these will break accuracy from earth however if you are simulating a place that is not earth it is totally acceptable :p). The sunlight is then absorbed and scattered by the atmosphere, creating an accurate PBR sky. Both the sun and the moon are then used to light the PBR clouds which is the last step in our sky lighting systems. These clouds will be highly configurable in both density type and size, allowing you to create nearly any weather condition you can dream of.

Our Volumetric weather system will simulate wind fronts based on the Beaufort scale. This scale is the scientific standard of driving different wind conditions, where 0 equals virtually no wind while 11 is the equivalent of a hurricane. This volumetric weather system will drive things like water surface simulation, clouds, and waving vegetation. The surface has a ton of PBR lighting techniques such as proper directional diffuse sampling of all light sources including the sun, sky, clouds, and torches/glowstone. All ambient light is gathered by a new method of ambient occlusion a member of our team came up with (Based on the Burley BRDF and Alchemy Ambient Obscurance methods). This ensures proper and natural lighting that can be found in your Minecraft world  

Our Volumetric weather system will simulate wind fronts based on the Beaufort scale. This scale is the scientific standard of driving different wind conditions, where 0 equals virtually no wind while 11 is the equivalent of a hurricane. This volumetric weather system will drive things like water surface simulation, clouds, and waving vegetation.

The surface has a ton of PBR lighting techniques such as proper directional diffuse sampling of all light sources including the sun, sky, clouds, and torches/glowstone. All ambient light is gathered by a new method of ambient occlusion a member of our team came up with (Based on the Burley BRDF and Alchemy Ambient Obscurance methods). This ensures proper and natural lighting that can be found in your Minecraft world

 

The shadow method that Continuum will be using is Variance Shadow Maps (VSM). This method is outstanding for its great reduction of aliasing and peter panning. On top of that, we will also be adapting a new Dual PCSS method we have come up with, featuring fully proper stained glass shadows with proper penumbras. As a bonus, we will also be doing small scale ray traced shadows for those small needed details. Continuum will also use a new kind of specular reflection method that we believe is the most superior. This method is not only a fully PBR SSR ray tracer, it also allows for us to create a shadow space ray tracer as well, allowing for offscreen reflections. All reflections will be fitted with a dual layer GGX BRDF using a height correlated Smith approximation. The dual layers will allow for proper withering on surfaces whenever raining or near water. All air in continuum will be rendered using volumetrics, having proper volumetric atmospheric scattering, fog, and larger rain particles. All scattering done underwater will be volumetric as well, responding to the waters waves creating gorgeous underwater caustics and light shafts. Clouds will also influence shadows and volumetric scattering allowing for the morning rays to pierce through the clouds.

The shadow method that Continuum will be using is Variance Shadow Maps (VSM). This method is outstanding for its great reduction of aliasing and peter panning. On top of that, we will also be adapting a new Dual PCSS method we have come up with, featuring fully proper stained glass shadows with proper penumbras. As a bonus, we will also be doing small scale ray traced shadows for those small needed details.

Continuum will also use a new kind of specular reflection method that we believe is the most superior. This method is not only a fully PBR SSR ray tracer, it also allows for us to create a shadow space ray tracer as well, allowing for offscreen reflections. All reflections will be fitted with a dual layer GGX BRDF using a height correlated Smith approximation. The dual layers will allow for proper withering on surfaces whenever raining or near water.

All air in continuum will be rendered using volumetrics, having proper volumetric atmospheric scattering, fog, and larger rain particles. All scattering done underwater will be volumetric as well, responding to the waters waves creating gorgeous underwater caustics and light shafts. Clouds will also influence shadows and volumetric scattering allowing for the morning rays to pierce through the clouds.

These are the main features that will be added through Alpha and Beta and will be fully prepared for Continuum 2.0s full release in early Q1 of 2018.

CONTINUUM 2.0'S FEATURE LIST:

  • Full Artist Customizability
  • Customizable Color Grading using known softwares.
  • Fully PBR and customizable Camera Systems.
  • Photometric Lighting Systems.
  • PBR Eye Adaptation.
  • PBR Post Process Effects.
  • PBR diffuse lighting.
  • PBR specular lighting.
  • PBR Global Illumination.
  • PBR Sky, Clouds, and Atmospherics.
  • PBR Weather Systems.
  • PBR Volumetrics.
  • PBR Dual Layer rough Refraction.
  • Real Parallax Occlusion Mapping.
  • Dual PCSS.
  • Colored light/volumetrics.
  • Dual Layer Reflectance for simulating weathering on objects.
  • Full PBR texture support from resource pack makers.
  • Cinematic and Photography Tools.

 

That's all the time we have for today, Check in two weeks from now to find out what we're up to.

-James