Continuum Graphics July 2019 Progress Update

We’ve had another fairly busy month, and that means lots to share!

Let’s get into it…


Continuum 2.1

2.1 has made a lot of good progress this month, with the first implementations of Volumetric Clouds, some improvements to POM, first implementation of Specular, as well as a lot more polish on the sky in general. Those of you that follow us on Twitter, Facebook and/or Discord may have already seen most of these updates, but for those that haven’t here’s some screens:

Most of these features will continue to be polished as development goes on, and things that are still missing, like torch lighting, weather, night, etc., will be added in the coming weeks.

Before we move on, me and the team thought it would be interesting to compare Alpha 2.1 in this stage of development to Alpha 2.0, just to see how much we have evolved…

2.1 Alpha right now, after ~5 months of continuous development (click to enlarge, FPS in top left)

2.0 Alpha, also after ~5 months of development (click to enlarge, FPS in top left)

As you can tell, 2.1 is much farther along, both in quality & features. It has Volumetric Clouds, POM, better shadows, etc., all things 2.0 lacked at this stage & it runs a good bit faster.

As far as settings go, both shots are taken on the same PC, with 16 chunk render at 1440p, with Stratum 256x. 2.0 Alpha is using default settings, but 2.1 Alphas settings aren’t quite default. 2.1 actually has Volumetric Clouds enabled, as well as POM, which is a FPS hit for it vs 2.0. They would be on in 2.0 but as mentioned above, 2.0 did not have those features at all at this stage of development. If the settings were the same, 2.1 would be even faster.

Despite that, 2.1 Alpha is running nearly 2x faster in this scenario than 2.0 Alpha (164fps vs 86fps), and again, that is with more effects and less bugs.

2.1 still has a ways to go before it’s ready for release, but it is moving along much quicker than 2.0 did. There is still some more room for optimization too, especially after some recent effect additions, like the Volumetric Clouds mentioned above. So it will likely gain some more speed going forward.

The main reason we have been able to move so much faster with 2.1 is our community. Your continued support over the years has allowed us to do what we love, and to do it faster/better than ever before…so from all of us here at Continuum Graphics, thank you :)


Continuum RT and Legacy

Work on RT is progressing nicely. Some Discord Community members may have seen the first teaser images we released about halfway through the month:

Keep in mind, it’s still quite early, but it works! Though it already had some updates since this screenshot was taken and is already a bit faster still. It’s also capable of ray tracing all the way out to a 32 chunk render distance (if you want, though full 32 chunk requires a 16K shadowmap resolution, so unfortunately 32 is quite slow). It’s just shadow and color for now though. More info to come soon™ :)

As for Legacy, sadly, not much has been going on with it this month. Again, the main focus for the whole shader dev team has been 2.1 and RT. Once more is done on those fronts work on Legacy will no doubt speed up considerably.


Stratum

Stratum had its fair share of updates this month as well. Also, LabPBR is still being evaluated internally and I personally hope to see us start making the switch within the month. Anyway, onto the updates:

Tweaked/Fixed

  • Diorite green channel issue

  • Grass path rotation issue

Added:

  • Diorite

  • Andesite

  • Melon

  • Polished Granite

  • Grasspath Side

  • Smooth Stone Slab

    Screenshots of these additions/fixes below, taken with 2.0.2, as usual (click to enlarge)


Site

Some of you might have noticed, we have added a FAQ section to the site (along the top banner, in a dropdown under INFO), and internally, system requirements and updated tutorial pages are being worked on. These will all be rolled out in the coming weeks and updated as necessary. They should be useful resources to those that need them.


Automation

Our new automation system for orders has undergone quite a few updates and fixes as well. It is now even more reliable, can handle normal orders as well as valid upgrade orders, and can even handle assigning roles in the Discord server with the only input needed being your order number. It’s been fully deployed and will continued to be closely monitored for potential issues, but we are fairly confident in its ability to handle orders accurately now. It should improve the order and role process quite a bit :)


Community

We are growing ever closer to 5K Discord members. Last I checked we were around 4750. Once we reach 5K we will be hosting another Screenshot Contest on the server. Prizes will be a bit bigger than usual too I think, since 5K is a pretty big numer and this will be our third contest. Be sure to join us in the server for contests like these, ask questions, get help, keep up with updates, or hangout with the community and developers. You can join or invite friends that haven’t joined with this link.


That’s about it for this month. I hope to see you all back again for next months progress update!