Getting back into things

WIth the Holidays behind us, and a small but much needed break for most of the team, we got back into the swing of things. Read on for a summary of what we were up too this January.

Focal Engine

As many of you may have already seen, Focal Engine v1.0.3 was released early last month. This update brought with it 1.16.4 compatibility, as well as some small quality of life fixes. As the month rolled along and MC 1.16.5 released, we found that 1.0.3 works fine with it as well. 1.16.5 was a very small game update, but forward compatibility is never a given, so this was a nice surprise.

As far as development goes, work internally has been focused on getting Focal ready for both the Optifine split, and Vulkan. Right now it’s mostly planning, so we know what needs changed, where, and how, to hopefully avoid having to do another large refactor of this in the future. We’ve also been adding a few things that are necessary for the Continuum 2.1 port to Focal…more on that later in the blog though…

Continuum RT

RT also got a new build early in the month (featured in the last blog as well). That build fixed up AMD compatibility and tweaked a few smaller things.

Other than that though, RT itself hasn’t gotten much attention this month. To really move forward with it, we need to push Focal forward, and that’s exactly what we are doing. It may be getting a new sky model that we are looking at for 2.1 soon however, so look out for that.

Continuum 2.1

It’s been a bit since we had sat down and taken a look at 2.1 as a group, what with all the focus on Focal and RT…but we did just that this month, and have decided to change 2.1’s path a bit.

We’ve previously said that 2.1 Alpha is near Beta, and just needs Weather and a few smaller features to be considered for Beta, and that was true…for the Optifine version of 2.1. With the release of Focal and all the potential 2.1 would have on that though? Well, we would be remiss if we didn’t take advantage of that. So with that said, the tentative plan for 2.1 (which is already underway), is to port it to Focal as is, enhance a ton of it’s core features with the greatly expanded flexibility and featureset Focal allows, improve performance, and maybe even add a few new features before it hits Beta, RC, and then finally, full, free public release.

This does mean it may spend a bit more time in Early Access, but we firmly believe it will be worth it. Plus, we have more than just Robo working on it now (who has and still is a bit held up by University unfortunately), and using Focal vs Optifine should allow quicker iteration and development, as well as better debugging.

We have already begun the process of porting 2.1 to Focal, and most of it is already done internally. A few changes did need to be made to Focal to support a more ‘traditional’ non-RT shader like 2.1, but nothing crazy so far, and all stuff that needs to be done eventually regardless. We have already gotten to the point where we have started to investigate a new sky model for 2.1 (which may be ported to RT as well), that fixes some long standing issues with the old model, so keep a look out for future progress updates for more info on that, and the other enhancements that will be making their way into the Focal version of 2.1!


Stratum builds are still being slightly offset from their usual end of month release to about the first week of the month due to holiday time constraints. We hope to get back on track in the coming months, but there was still some good progress this month. Not a ton of textures, but some long overdue and highly anticipated ones!

The first of these is glass, both blocks, and panes. We were waiting for some shader side features to come online to do these, as we wanted some fancy refraction and whatnot…but since those are still a bit away, we have made the decision to add some more basic ones in than we had intended. The vanilla texture was just too jarring to leave alone.

Glass isn’t all we are adding though…Glowstone and Redstone lamps are coming in the next Stratum build as well! Some of you may remember Glowstone used to be in a much, much earlier version of Stratum, and was then removed due to some licensing issues we didn’t foresee…but we finally got a suitable replacement! We are pretty happy with both Glowstone and the Redstone lamps, but the latter will likely be getting some further touch ups as time goes on.

We also updated the Pack version of Stratum 1.13+, and the Performance Leaves addon to version 6. This means that on MC versions 1.16.2 through 1.16.5, there will be no more warning about the pack being incompatible to ignore. Older versions (MC 1.13-1.16.1), will warn about the pack being made for a newer version of the game however, but we feel with both our development platform moving up to 1.16.4, and the amount of our users that wish to use the latest versions, it was finally time to move the pack version up.

As for future plans, we want to continue to tackle a few of the most common blocks first for a bit, even though this takes a bit more time per texture, due to the devs having to search for suitable materials for a specific block, vs finding materials and matching them to a block, we think it’s worth it to make using the pack a more consistent experience short term. The next textures we are looking at replacing are flowers, as the vanilla ones stick out quite a bit at the moment, and then maybe we will be taking a look at torches and the crafting table.

With all that said, make sure to keep an eye out for Stratum Build 12, which should be coming in the next couple days, and teasers for upcoming textures on our social media accounts and Discord over the next month!

Textures to be added and/or changed in Build 12:


  • Glass Block
  • Glass Pane
  • Glowstone
  • Redstone Lamp

Tweaked / Fixed

  • Nether Gold Ore F0 corrected
  • Pack Version for 1.13+ Version updated to 6
  • Pack Version for Performance Leaves addon updated to 6

Screenshots (click on images to enlarge)

Before we move on, we’d like to share a great video showcase Hodi put out this month that included Stratum Build 11 and Continuum 2.1. Great work as always from Hodi!

Until next time

Once again, thanks to each and every one of you for your continued support! See you next month!