Here’s what we got up to in February!

Focal Engine, Continuum 2.1 Build 13 and Continuum RT

The short version: while work on the actual shader side of Continuum 2.1 Build 13 is pretty much done, and the shader is ready to move into Beta status with this build, the supporting work on Focal Engine for the build is unfortunately not quite complete. RT is also still in limbo while Focal Engine and 2.1 are worked on.

The longer, more detailed and technical version, direct from dotModded:

Rewriting 2.1 for Focal has proven to be a massive undertaking for us. It hurts to write another blog without Build 13 releasing along with it, but we are trying not to cut any corners. Our progress is slow at the moment, but we’re doing our best to get this out to everyone as soon as possible. I’ve been largely unavailable over the past few months from a persisting manic episode. I’ve been changing medications and it’s been difficult to focus or get quality work done. Thankfully the rest of the team has picked up a lot of the slack, even if progress has slowed considerably. The release is currently waiting for me to fix up our shader loading and unloading process in Focal Engine. When this is completed the release will follow shortly after. Because this is my responsibility, and given my current situation I can’t give a for sure date at this time. Rest assured that we are doing our best, and I sincerely apologize for the lack of progress and delays. I’m just trying to keep up with what I can.

The main focus for this update is weather. It’s taken a lot more time than expected to not sacrifice anything with this addition. We’ve finally got the shader as close to Vulkan compatible for when the time comes, and near feature completion for beta releases. This project strictly follows PBR practices and guidelines. This results in a very tightly integrated system where everything relies on everything else. The last things that remain are two focal engine bugs that’s plaguing us with significant performance issues; along with getting it updated to the latest versions across the board. More tech details below for those interested. We’ve started properly testing the shader with only a couple minor bugs left, all features for this release are implemented and mostly tested. We’re really just waiting on Focal Engine now!

So for the bugs, both of them impact performance, though one of them only after erroring or failing to load. Focal engine uses a dependency tree for tracking resources in memory and on the GPU.

Binding/unbinding resources is based on this. We currently are using 70+ textures for 2.1, every shader is operating on different sets of memory to attempt to parallelize shader executions alongside each other. This wouldn’t be a problem in Vulkan, but we’re still in OpenGL. Managing which textures are bound at each execution and binding new textures in positions previously used does take some time on the CPU, about 0.02ms in total for binding/rebinding uniforms, buffers, and textures. Stacked over 40 or so passes and that delay is starting to add up. OpenGL is a state machine, and changing its state took more time than expected in Java due to JNI and a few other bad practices we overlooked. I’ve since started to redesign a fairly significant chunk of the binding system, to both reuse memory more effectively, and reduce the number of OpenGL/JNI calls through the frame.

The second bug has to do with initial load, and load after a crash in the shader. In some special situations Focal Engine will reload the shader multiple times, mixing up bindings, buffer sizes, and ID’s within OpenGL; causing buffers and textures to have the wrong size and format. After a successful reload with a compiled, error free, running shader. Certain effects will remain missing until a game restart.

As for a personal update for me. I’m continuing to go to therapy weekly, and keeping up with medications and trying to better myself. I’ve recently learned that my biological father (whom I’ve never had contact with) has schizophrenia, along with bipolar, ADHD, and spectrum related conditions from my bio mom’s side. I’m never going to give up; on myself, on any of our projects, this community, or this company. I’m still incredibly passionate about what I do and I love seeing all the fantastic creations and ways you all use our work. We will complete what we set out to do, no matter how long or how much effort it takes. Thank you all so much for your continued support throughout this down period and the pandemic, this community truly is something special and I’m proud to be a part of it. Great things are still to come, and I will get a hold on my mental situation. – dotModded

Hopefully the above gives a bit more insight into what is going on. We are still pushing to get this out to you all as soon as we can. Thank you for your patience.

Before we go however, we would also like to share a few of the last features we finished this month and got into Continuum 2.1 Build 13.

First up, Night Vision! This is both an essential feature for gameplay with the shader, and one we wanted in before we called Build 13 a Beta. You can find a few before/after sliders comparing it on vs off below. The effect may be tweaked and/or have more options in the future, but for now we have prioritized gameplay with it on, over realism (this is a potion after all as well, so we don’t have much real world reference here).

Another feature we added this month was a simple one, but one that we know a few of you will very much enjoy. A Scattering Coefficient setting for our Volumetric Clouds!

What does this do? In a nutshell, it will allow you to tune how bright or dark the lighting appears on the clouds. This is a personal preference setting, so many of you may never touch it, but it is there for those that do. Below is another before/after comparison with the default value and a value of 0.04.

And finally, the last feature we popped in before is a basic lens flare. It’s nothing special and will likely be updated a bit more in a future build, but for those that want one, it can be enabled in camera settings.

Here’s a screenshot:

Support Focal Engine with a Continuum RT Early Access Subscription


Stratum updates continued as usual this month, with Build 23 releasing, bringing with it 7 new textures and a few fixes. You can find the usual changelog and some screenshots below.

Stratum Build 23 Changelog


  • Moss Block
  • Deepslate Coal Ore
  • Deepslate Gold Ore
  • Deepslate Redstone Ore
  • Deepslate Lapis Ore
  • Frosted Ice
  • Frosted Blue Ice


  • Fixed Incorrectly Leveled Ice and Packed Ice heightmap

Click an image to enlarge and enable gallery view

Another update on the new site

Unfortunate, our contractor failed to meet all set deadlines and we lost faith in them, so the new site project is unfortunately on indefinite hold for now, as we do not have the time to devote to finding and vetting someone new for the job right now.

That said, half the work is done, and we will be picking this back up down the line, when time permits.

Again, thank you all for your patience and support. See you again next month!