Getting back in the swing of things.

Focal Engine

First up, Focal Engine. We’d like to say that the long road to our 1.20 update for Focal Alpha is at it’s end, but unfortunately, we’re not quite there yet. We stole a bit of time away from dotModded’s busy start of year schedule to help explain what exactly is taking so long though (and it’s this segment that caused the small delay on this blogs release). I’ll let him take it from here:

Focal Engine Alpha Progress: As some of you are very aware we have been teasing the Focal Engine Alpha update for 1.20 for a fair few months now. I admit that I vastly underestimated how complex this update would be. For some background, Focal Engine Alpha expands upon Optifines functionality and implements a new way of managing resources and shaders. This was necessary for further optimizations, and allowed us to modernize many of the effects for our shaders. This also allowed us to develop shaders that are “Vulkan Ready” simplifying the transition to Focal Engine’s future Vulkan version. Focal Engine Alpha was never intended to be maintained for this long, and the initial development environment was rather complex. Having all the class transformations Optifine applies to Minecraft sources allowed us to actually debug the interactions between the two mods. This vastly simplified the initial development as we could step through line by line and rapidly fix state issues. Fast forward from 1.14 to 1.20 and this environment has gotten incredibly messy, spitting out builds for each Minecraft version between them, creating patches for Optifine and dealing with all the errors for each version can be incredibly tedious. With the rapid changes to the Forge Gradle plugin our Gradle plugin handling the sources needs to be rewritten for each Forge Gradle version.

In comes the new development environment for Focal Engine’s Vulkan version: it was designed to develop the engine for all versions of Minecraft at once, implementing version specifics in a respective loader for the version. This also gives us the ability to very simply have a single jar for all versions and mod loaders which makes it easier for you, the end user, to install. However, this comes at a cost, as the existing Gradle plugin yet again needs another rewrite for all game versions and loaders. Meaning we don’t have the classes Optifine changes in our debugger, leaving us essentially flying blind, using existing tools like Barteks Optifinedevtweaker to substitute the old Gradle plugin.

This is what has slowed down the development of 1.20 so much, the transition from the environments couldn’t be simpler, the game is running, our shaders are loading, however things are rendering to the wrong places, meaning the order of calls has changed, massively throwing a wrench into the update. I sincerely apologize for getting people’s hopes up in that it was coming soon, but as it stands now progress is happening very slowly and we’re still not sure what bugs are still hiding. We may have to revisit the plugin and bite the bullet and get it updated to 1.20. This however would further delay the update, for now though we’re trying to push past the bugs to get this update out quickly but correctly. We will update you as we progress. Thank you for your patience.

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Continuum 2.1

With that less than stellar news out of the way, we do have some good news on the Continuum 2.1 side of things!

As many of you no doubt noticed, we released Continuum 2.1 Beta Build 25 at the end of January. This update not only came with a sizable amount of improvements and fixes, but it was the first step in moving out of Beta and into the last stretch of Early Access development for 2.1, the Release Candidate stage.

While we’re not quite there yet, the settings preset system has been implemented, and both High (the default, out of box setting for 2.1), and Ultra have been fully fleshed out and implemented! We will be working on Medium, Low, and potentially a lower than low preset going forward. How far we take these presets will depend on how things shake out. We have some things we want to try for the lower ones, but aren’t sure how well they’ll end up looking. We may ask for some feedback over in our Discord server, so if you’d like to potentially contribute there, make sure you’ve joined. It’s free and open to anyone who wishes to follow our development a bit more closely. We also have special roles that donors can redeem, many of which unlock donor only channels. You can find the invite link in the nav bar along the top of our site.

In addition to those first two settings presets, we made a smattering of other changes, here are the details on those:

  • Added an option to subtract an amount of light from emissive blocks to try to reduce emissive block self-lighting.
  • Added a setting to enable interpolation on the TBN matrix (potentially useful for those using certain mods / custom models).
  • Made the Moon Luminosity option into a slider.
  • Added an option to disable stained glass tinting.
  • Added clearer values for GI and AO filter radii.
  • Numerous small settings tweaks and cleanups.


As mentioned in our previous blog, we had folded Stratum’s December and January development into one update. This was done due to the holiday season limiting development time and making rushing out an update far less worthwhile, as the size of the update would likely be impacted greatly. This was further impacted by Mythical, our texture developer, contracting Covid over the holidays. Thankfully, he has recovered well, but in retrospect, it was a good choice to combine these updates this year, moreso than in previous years.

Regardless of that, this new update is still one of our biggest yet, and brings with it some much anticipated updates!

See the changelog below for detailed update notes.

Stratum Build 44 Changelog


  • Blast Furnace
  • Hopper
  • Minecart with Hopper
  • Redstone Repeater
  • Redstone Comparator
  • Cherry Planks
  • Cherry Stairs
  • Cherry Slab
  • Cherry Button
  • Cherry Boat
  • Chest Boats (of all wood varieties)
  • Cherry Leaf Particles (thanks to ‘taylboat’ on the shaderLABs discord for this one)


  • Improved effective texture resolution of Boats in 1024x, 512x, 256x and 128x versions of Stratum
  • Fixed grass texture not applying in Minecraft 1.20.4 (due to a texture name change by Mojang in this version)
  • Updated the main pack version for Official Minecraft 1.20.4 support
  • Updated Performance Leaves addon pack version for Official Minecraft 1.20.4 support

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As always, thank you for your continued support!