I hope all of you started the new year in a good way. Its time for a development progress update again.
There have been numerous bufixes in the past month as well as some minor feature revamps and additions. Most notably the sky has recieved another rework and looks even better now. This includes both the atmospheric scattering, which now also produces an authentic “blue hour”, as well as the clouds. Especially the cirrus/2D clouds have recieved a major upgrade. Water has recieved some minor changes as well as an alterative wave generation method which can be enabled in the shaderpack settings. Furthermore a variety of new settings to control the academy color encoding system (or short ACES) implementation have been exposed as well as an alternative tonemap-operator which should further enhance the overall customizability of the pack.
Aside from these changes, most updates were of minor nature or even just internal restructuring and cleanup passes. Overall Kappa v3.0 is drawing close to its release state as its becoming more and more robust and refined and already is the best version of Kappa Shader despite the remaining quirks.
Due to Kappa v3.0 Lite and Regular editions being more intensive to run than v2’s pendants I have also decided to shift the editions of Kappa Shader around a bit, including a new “Toaster Edition” that covers the bottom end. The latter is more or less a derivate of my fastPBR shaderpack, about which there are also some news later on, so it generally has less of the advanced features but still keeps the key visual elements and looks of Kappa Shader. Ontop of that it has temporally upscaled clouds, something that isn’t possible in the other editions due to restrictions imposed by Optifine, which causes quite a performance uplift. The Toaster Edition still needs some work before I am confident enough to push it into the wild but it should be ready soon enough and its simpler codebase is less prone to bugs and issues.
Due to the holidays as well as the sudden motivation to crunch issues on Kappa Shader I have been less busy with Nostalgia Shader, however there are still some notable additions that will make its way into the next preview version (which should be on Patreon within a few days as I still am tweaking some things). Namely it recieved a major revamp of the cloud lighting, which brought back some of the pop they had in v2 while still looking cohesive within the scene. Custom Ice handling has also been added as a fancy quality of life feature, as it makes frozen lakes and such look much more appealing without the need for a resourcepack. Other than that there have been some adjustments to water as well as an update of the ACES implementation, which lead to some more color grading adjustments. This should lead to the pack looking less underexposed in daytime now.
FastPBR is more and more turning into a quite active project as its distinct visuals and high performance seem to be quite popular, which lead to me deciding to keep it as an individual project, unlike my initial plans to integrate it into the “Kappa Lineup” as I have now done with the Toaster Edition of Kappa Shader. It is however in the need of some internal reworks as it started out with an older revision of my internal shaderpack framework/foundation, and a full rewrite with the latest revision would take longer than swapping out the outdated parts. Despite that its already doing reasonably well and just recieved a sky revamp as well as improved water, depth of field, motionblur and some bugfixes.
This is a project I have been teasing for a while now, not being sure if I will ever make it public but as the demand as well as its potential seem to increase by the day I’m confident that I should be able to get something robust enough within the next months. It features pathtraced lighting, more specifically being a hybrid-renderer, and is focused on gameplay-viability but can also flex its muscles when it comes to screenshots, just as you know it from the non-RT Version of Kappa (especially v3.0). However the focus on the lighting doesn’t mean I am cutting corners elsewhere. It still features the full set of atmospherics that Kappa v3.0 already has, meaning it will look great both in indoor scenes as well as outdoors, a traditional weakpoint of shaderpacks that are focused on pathtraced lighting.
I have not yet decided on how to handle the distribution part of it, but I like the idea of having a more basic version for free, while having a more advanced and regularily updated paid version. The idea behind that model is that people can get an impression of it before paying, as well as giving people that can’t or won’t pay something usable to discourage them from pirating as these projects are incredibly difficult and time consuming to work on. That is also the reason why free shaderpacks featuring path-traced lighting are so rare, the amount of work going into them is much higher than on traditional, rasterized packs.
Thats it for this months blog, see you all next time or on my Discord Server.