Continuum Graphics August 2019 Progress Update

Here we are, back for another monthly progress update. Got a good bit done this month, despite working on some behind the scenes stuff. Lets get into it shall we?


Continuum 2.1

Aside from tons of fixes, tweaks and optimizations, a few notable things were added to 2.1 Alpha this month, including our first pass on Screen Space Reflections (SSR), a much improved autocam, partial LabPBR support & my personal favorite, even more polish on the Volumetric Clouds. Here’s a gallery of some of my favorite screenshots of the clouds:

The Clouds in particular have gotten very, very good. They’re without a doubt the best real time Volumetric Clouds I’ve ever seen. Kudos to Robobo, which put in most if not all of the work to get them to this point. And the other new features and tweaks have helped the overall look of the shader quite a bit as well. The new autocam reduces the instances of area’s appearing too dark or too bright when they shouldn’t, & SSR gives realistic reflections as well as helping to ground objects in the world, as demonstrated in the comparison shots below: (click to enlarge)

SSR Off

SSR On, notice the subtle reflection of the tree and grass in the background on the ground.

Work on 2.1 Alpha is moving at a steady pace. Hopefully we will be moving on to Beta soon™, though we will not be announcing a timeframe on that until we are a bit more confident.


Continuum 2.0

It’s been a while since we’ve had a 2.0 section, so some of you may be asking; why update 2.0?We don’t blame you, as 2.0 is fully released and work on 2.1 is well underway.

The answer is simple: LabPBR.

Since 2.1 isn’t ready for release, and we want to fully transition to LabPBR for Stratum, we needed a publically available shader that supported the format. So we took this opportunity to update 2.0.2 to 2.0.3. So it’s default specular format is now LabPBR, for ease of use with Stratum Updates going forward. The old Continuum format as well as the previous OLD option are still available in the settings for those that wish to use them as well.

In addition, we threw in a new and improved AMD fix that should allow 2.0.3 to function just as well on AMD GPUs as it does on Nvidia GPUs. No more separate ‘test’ workaround with missing graphical effects for AMD users! We also fixed a few minor bugs here and there. You can grab 2.0.3 from our downloads page now!


Legacy and RT

Legacy is still on the backburner while 2.1 Alpha and RT are worked on, but as we’ve said before, it will benefit greatly from 2.1 development. Once dev time opens up and work on Legacy resumes, it should move fairly quickly.

As for RT, we have been doing some backend work to prepare for its Alpha release. We will share a bit more about that when we are ready.


Stratum

As usual, Stratum has had a fair few updates this month, one we’ve already talked about earlier in this blog; the move to LabPBR.

As of the time of writing this, all the Master branches of Stratum (MC 1.13+), have been converted to Lab, with the 1.12.2 branches coming soon. Going forward, all branches and updates to those branches will be done in LabPBR. So users will need to be using a shader compatible with Lab, such as 2.0.3, 2.1, or any other shader from the official LabPBR wiki’s list, which you can find here.

With that aside, here’s usual monthly texture updates:

Added/Replaced:

  • Coal Ore V1

  • Terracotta

  • Farmland

  • Replaced Clay

  • Replaced Spawner

Tweaked/Fixed:

  • Farmland texture improvements

  • Tweaks to Sand

  • Tweaks to Wool

And here’s selection of screenshots of some of these updates (click to enlarge):


Site Updates

Work on the site, both forward facing, and backend, continues. The FAQ page is still being updated, and the System Requirements page should go live soon. Also, as some of you may have noticed, Continuum Tier 1 and Tier 2 are no longer on the store. Users who have already purchased these Tiers will still be getting 2.1 Beta/RC as promised, and they can still utilize the upgrade options in the shop as well, but from now onwards, Tier 1 & Tier 2 will not be sold, & will likely be phased out completely once 2.1 is fully released.

We have a few reasons for this, but chief of which is simplification. It makes some of our backend updates much easier. As for what those backend updates will entail, well, we will be sharing more info about that when the time is right, but they should make purchases and whatnot much easier on new and existing users.


Community

This month was a active one for the community as well, with our Discord server reaching, and exceeding 5,000 members! As promised, we hosted another screenshot contest to celebrate, and we had a lot of good submissions, all using Continuum Shaders of course.

Here are the top 3, as voted by our Discord Community (click to enlarge):

1st place winner from Discord Community member JoubaMety

2nd place winner from Discord Community member Storm

And our 3rd place winner from Discord Community member Arisha

Here are our runner ups, from Hydrology, Nira Seyariu, & Sir Mervin Hurr (click to enlarge):

A big thank you to everyone that participated in our contest, either by submitting an image or even just voting! We can’t wait to do it again.


That about wraps it up for August. We hope to see you back here again for our September progress update.

Thank you for your continued support!