Another month down, another holiday passed (one we hope everyone that celebrated enjoyed safely!), and once again, time for another progress update. Let’s get into it.

Focal Engine and Continuum RT

As work on Continuum 2.1 Build 13 finally starts to wrap up, some focus has moved back to Focal. We’ve also managed to secure some Nvidia 30 series cards for the last few main devs that hadn’t yet been able to upgrade, so this should ensure that the upcoming work on Vulkan, as well as integrating RTX technologies into Focal goes much, much more smoothly.

Work on the 1.17 version of Focal has progressed nicely as well, and we currently have it working, albeit with some bugs. Hopefully we can squash those in short order and get that out to you all soon!

Support Focal Engine with a Continuum RT Early Access Subscription

Continuum 2.1

As mentioned above, 2.1 Build 13 is finally wrapping up. We are currently just cleaning up a few things related to Weather and Specular that aren’t quite how we want them visually, and tidying up some code to speed things up as much as possible ahead of launch. And now that all of our devs have Nvidia 30 series GPU’s, we can much more easily ensure the upcoming release is optimized for 30 series!

Another thing some of you may have seen on our socials this month, we found a way to easily and cheaply improve our POM shadows, giving them the ability to self shadow. Here’s a little before / after:

We’d also like to give you guys a little peak at weather in its current state. Proper cloud cover, the new SSR, raindrops, puddles, etc. are all implemented and working. It’s not quite perfect, and we are still tweaking some aspects of it, but it’s good enough for a little tease. We would like to note that this is with the rain splash particles disabled, because otherwise ugly, bright blue particle effects will splatter the ground and just generally look odd. Unfortunately, disabling the particles also disables the rain sound effects, which is why we attempted to find a solution to hiding these without disabling them, or even just making them more transparent, like we did with rain particles, but we had no luck. It would seem that we may need Focal to fully split with Optifine to accomplish what we want with these particles.

One last thing before we move on, dot wanted to share a summarized changelog of the shader to this point, to give some idea of everything that has gone into just this update shader side. This is not exhaustive (the list would be huge due to the amount of stuff rewritten, bugfixed, optimized, etc.), but it does cover the main stuff.

Overall Shader Restructure

  • Updated to Focal Engine format from OptiFine
  • Fully updated to modern shading techniques (Shader Model 6.0)
  • Separated effects into individual passes to better utilize cache
  • Moved many effects to have temporal accumulation
  • Moved most shaders to compute
  • Added precomputation for many effects
  • Reorganized lighting pipeline to assure energy correctness
  • Added variable rate shading functionality for various effects
  • The entire shader has been rewritten at this point


  • Skylight is now implemented as an optimised irradiance map improving performance and correctness (Mostly precomputed)
  • GTAO is now fully implemented and optimized. (Multibounce AO, Specular Occlusion)
  • GI has been significantly optimised and energy corrected
  • Expanded material support with higher precision (not all features are implemented however are available for use within the shader)
  • New parallax (3D) texture mapping
  • New parallax shadows (with self shadowing)
  • Shadow map distortion improvements


  • Moved to Stochastic Screen Space Reflections
  • Optimized with Variable Rate Shading
  • Accelerated by HiZ ray trace
  • SSR denoiser
  • Updated brdf for metals to add multiple scattering, improving look
  • Fallback IBL for rough materials, significantly improves performance and reduces noise


  • New ray marched sky, allows us to implement weather effects properly and change the atmosphere dynamically
  • Weather has been added, with puddles and raindrop ripples
  • Aerial Perspective has been added for clouds and terrain, powered by the new sky
  • Volumetric fog has been optimised and refined
  • Fog effects account for terrain lighting conditions
  • Clouds have been optimised and downscaled, lighting is now based on irradiance map (further optimisation is still needed)
  • Water waves have been improved


  • New histogram based auto exposure
  • Updated aces and default LUT
  • Updated Bloom
  • Updated to new TAA method
  • Added TAA sharpening
  • Render Quality multiplier uses an up/down scale filter


We had another good roundup of textures added to Stratum this month, with a fair few new Nether textures fitting the spooky vibe and arriving just in time for Halloween! With these additions, the Nether feels a lot more fleshed out when using Stratum. A few other nice blocks were added as well, Check them out below.

The full changelog and some screenshots for these updates can be found below.

Build 20 Changelog


  • Crimson Roots
  • Warped Roots
  • Crimson Fungus
  • Warped Fungus
  • Nether Sprouts
  • Weeping Vines
  • Twisted Vines
  • Ancient Debris
  • Bookshelf

Tweaked or Fixed

  • None

Some screenshots have been attached below, per usual.

Click an image to enlarge and enable gallery view

A few site updates

As some of you may have noticed, we have made a few changes around the site.  The main changes are the new stacked Continuum Graphics icon, which was applied so that we could once again add our Discord server to the top level nav bar, so users could more easily find it to ask questions prior to purchasing, and get quick post order support if needed. We also updated the store page, clarifying and standardizing as much as possible within the confines of the current design, as well as moving RT down below Continuum Early Access to better direct first time users to what is likely the more appropriate package for them. Finally, we updated many images across the site with new ones, including some new additions to the Projects Showcase page for you to check out.

A LOT more changes are in the pipeline with the new site we are building in the background, but that’s still a ways out.

Thank you for your continued support, and we hope you join us again for next months progress update!