Making progress!

Focal Engine

As many of you may know, we just released our first new Focal Engine Alpha update since refactoring our development environment. This new version of Focal Engine is our first to support both Fabric and Forge in a single Jar (hopefully the first of many), as well as our first to support Minecraft 1.20. Although only 1.20.1 for now, as we had already started this work before 1.20.4 was available, and 1.20.4 has a few additional challenges between us an a release.

This new version has quite a few under the hood improvements that should help us update faster in the future, and it should have slightly improved mod support / compatibility as well. Though we have not been able to give that much testing ourselves, as the focus since getting this update out has shifted entirely to getting a 1.20.4 version stabilized, and while that is progressing, it is going a bit slower than we would have liked.

Our lead dev, dotModded, is going to go into a bit more technical detail on much of the aforementioned stuff below:

As mentioned in previous updates, we have spent a good bit of time the last couple of months working on a plan to improve long term support of Focal Alpha while we continue to develop Focal Engine’s Vulkan version. To accomplish our goals with Focal Alpha, we had to redesign nearly everything, as well as utilize parts we originally only intended for Focal Engine VK, while coping with still having Optifine as a dependency. We have also drastically reduced the amount of work required for each game version, making updates less painful moving forward. This also helped us introduce a single jar design for Fabric and Forge, which we hope will soon span game versions 1.14.4 through 1.20.4. A 1.20.1 version of Focal Alpha utilizing these improvements was released this month.

On the Focal VK side of things, I have been working on finalizing the design for the OpenGL compatibility layer, including the resizable swapchain in a single to triple buffered layout. A lot of work is going into reducing the overhead of such a system, assuring low latencies between the two renderers. This compatibility layer is crucial for maintaining mod support that utilize custom rendering. Allowing mods to render in OpenGL for their effects, diverting as much as we can to Focal Engine, we are nearing the milestone that allows us to start attaching Focal VK to Minecraft, and starting on getting geometry loaded from the game.

However, my immediate / primary focus is on supporting Minecraft versions 1.20.4 and 1.19.4 with Focal Alpha, in that order. 1.20.4 is going to have to require a massive overhaul of our GUI, as Minecraft has changed rather significantly over the years, and made some particularly problematic changes for us in 1.20.4. The tool we use to run Optifine in our development environment seems to be incompatible as well, likely due to Optifine changes. This may turn out to be a non issue, as our new injection points should be stable. If not, we can fork and submit a pull request. 1.19.4 on the other hand, should be fairly easy, though some work adapting the GUI will probably be required there as well. Work also needs to be done for supporting version ranges better, hopefully reducing mixin config complexity going forward.

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Continuum 2.1 Beta

Continuum 2.1 Beta took another step towards the Release Candidate stage this month, with further bug fixes, improvements, and the addition of another settings preset: Medium! This joins our existing High and Ultra presets, with Low and potentially Very Low / ‘Potato’ preset(s) coming up next!

We managed to achieve what we believe to be a far more ‘balanced’ Medium preset this time around (vs Continuum 2.0). Medium retains all of the core visual features of 2.1, including: Volumetric Clouds, Fog, Water Caustics, Global Illumination, etc., but at reasonably lower quality settings. It does this while still netting a notable performance uplift over High settings. On that note, we also slightly tweaked the High preset with the experience and additional context gained from fleshing out Medium. This will likely continue as we add more presets and gain additional insight from the implementation of each. The full changelog for Continuum 2.1 Beta Build 26 is available below.

Continuum 2.1 Beta Build 26 Changelog

  • Added the Medium preset!
  • Increased High preset shadow resolution from 2K (2048x) to 3K (3072x)
  • Exposed options to change the size of the Sun and Moon
  • Added more steps to the Water Murkiness and Absorption options
  • Fixed cloud shadows not being affected by world-based time
  • Fixed cloud reprojection not using world-based time for cloud motion
  • Fixed an issue with Water Caustics. They should now appear more natural / realistic (see before / after below)

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Stratum Build 45 released this month, bringing with it quite a few new additions! As always, see the changelog below for detailed update notes.

We have also once again updated the System Requirements page, not only to hopefully be clearer about some of the higher resolution options additional requirements, but also with the latest versions ever increasing memory requirements. We highly advise that anyone regularly updating Stratum keep an eye on the System Requirements page, as the more complete Stratum gets, the higher the requirements will be…at least until we are ready to have a crack at optimizing / updating Minecrafts texture system in Focal Engine of course.

Stratum Build 45 Changelog


  • Cherry Sign
  • Cherry Door
  • Cherry Trapdoor
  • Big Dripleaf
  • Small Dripleaf
  • Brain Coral
  • Brain Coral Block
  • Brain Coral Fan
  • Dead variants of all Brain Coral
  • Fire Coral
  • Fire Coral Block
  • Fire Coral Fan
  • Dead variants of all Fire Coral
  • Item textures for signs

Tweaks / Fixes

  • Fixed emissive pixels on Double Tall Grass bottom

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As always, thank you for your continued support, and we hope you join us again for next months Progress Update!