It is once again time for a new devblog, although this month was one of the less eventful ones but I think I still managed to get a reasonable amount of updates done (I should perhaps be a bit less critical about myself on that topic but I digress).
Version 4.0 finally got released as I couldn’t wait for the new Optifine Features I am using to be backported to older versions, since there is no telling when this will happen.
So far it has been living up to the expectations with the massive performance uplift and the sspt making it much more accessable and attractive for most people. I’m rather proud of this version because of that and the overall way it turned out, as it finally feels like the way Kappa Shader is supposed to be like, without having to resort to ugly hacks to get things to work like I had to in version 3.
Needless to say that I have already picked up work on 4.1, which will focus on ironing out some remaining quirks and is intended to be more of an overall polishing pass to really turn it what I hope to be one of the best packs out there, or at least something where I feel like ist getting close to that. So far the most notable change of 4.1 is the emission handling, which now matches KappaPT in terms of colors.
A preview of 4.1 is already available for Tier 2 Patrons and 4.0 has already been released for free as most of you probably know by now.
As I am still struggling with extremely odd performance issues of the voxelisation pass I decided to refactor the entire thing, which sadly turned out to only help much less than expected. This issue is one of the rather frustrating things I need to work out currently, as it seems to especially hurt performance on nVidia with no clear hints at the reason behind this, which in turns requires me to rely on experience and intuition, and this takes a lot of trial and error. One of the new Optifine features might help with this though, but said feature is unfortunately also having some performance related quirks as of now, which makes the situation a bit difficult but I am fairly certain that I will get this figured out somehow.
Aside from this inconvenience there have been numerous tweaks and improvements to filtering and accumulation, which means the lighting should be even smoother and more consistent in motion.
There have also been a few minor improvement to the sky rendering, which is now producing crisper and less pixely results, making the skybox look much nicer than before, as you can see around the horizon area.
The next planned features are currently worldspace reflections and irradiance caching, which the latter most likely being the first one to be added, as it aids with the path traced lighting quality and allows for cheaper and better lighting in the reflections.
Preview P7 of KappaPT is also available for Tier 2 (5€) currently as it is a bit of a milestone version. Preview P8 will regularly pick up on Tier 3 (10€) again but these occasional milestone versions will be available for lower tiers as I’ve outlined in the KappaPT Launch Post.
Something that’s also requiring a bit of a rethink is the eventual free lite version of KappaPT, which feels rather redundant by now due to Kappa 4.0 (and 4.1 even moreso) being as close as it is to KappaPT, so I would say it’s a more sensible decision to instead polish and improve the normal Kappa Shader rather than maintaining another branch of it for the free PT Lite version, especially with how close they are to each other, not to mention the extra time it would need. I would much rather not artificially split the packs in this case, but instead make both of them as good as they can be with the normal Kappa Shader doubling as a lite/demo of what to expect of KappaPT, as the two are quite literally identical in many parts with the only exceptions being indirect lighting and block emission (and even there the normal Kappa Shader is not far off thanks to its SSPT).
I am slowly but steadily working my way through Vanilla Plus 3.0, which doesn’t result in too exciting news in terms of visuals as its more of an internal overhaul as I stated before but nonetheless I am doing some careful visual touch-ups.
This includes improved fog, much nicer water absorption and vanilla water handling as well as lightweight and improved godrays, which will likely be part of the new default settings in 3.0.
I am currently still focusing on the overworld part, which is mostly done by now but still lacks some extra features like optional custom water or reflections. These and the dimension support are the remaining things I have to add until it can enter public testing, which may or may not happen this or next month, depending on the speed of things.
This pack has finally been released last month, and so far the reception seems to be rather good despite the few quirks it has currently (which includes broken enchantment overlays).
I will most likely take care of these later this month, which will eventually result in the release of version 1.1.
Unfortunately I decided to scrap the current iteration of the rewrite of UShader as the performance was way below the expectations and also far below the public release. I will eventually start from scratch again at a later point when I can dedicate more time to it. In the meantime I am intending to bring some of the more essential changes like the colorgrading back to the public release codebase, which should still yield a version with most of the visual gains the rewrite has without the negative side effects.
My main focus right now are Vanilla Plus 3.0 and KappaPT, as I have some ideas for these two, which also need some more work in general right now. Due to that I have put the next update of Nostalgia Shader on the backburner, as it’s in a solid spot with 3.0 aside from the slightly lower than intended performance, but that is still reasonably good.
Since my project juggling got a bit stressful lately I decided to focus on the biggest construction sites for now, since I can dedicate time to the other projects much more easily if the big ones are sorted out.
To wrap things up, another very big shoutout to my patrons who really seem to be steadily increasing in numbers lately. Your support is very much appreciated, no matter how much it actually is.