Kappa Shader v3.0 – A tremendous update

Before I get to the full changelog of Kappa Shader v3.0, I'd like to highlight a few things as this is quite the update on all ends. You may also skip directly to the downloads if you are in a hurry.

This version of Kappa does not only feature and all-around revamp, it also has some rather interesting new features. For example colored lights, as usually achieved through voxelization and path-tracing in other shaderpacks, are now achieved through screenspace raytracing (or short, SSRT) in Kappa v3.0. However this has a few drawbacks, like the obvious screenspace limitations, so if an object is not visible on-screen it does not emit any light. Thus I have decided to limit the range of the lighting, and instead use it to enhance the vanilla lightmap so that colored emitters look less displaced. Nonetheless you can reduce the lightmap and raise the SSRT range in the settings to make the effect much more prominent. Due to performance losses caused by the overhead of the implementation, this feature is only available in the full Kappa version.

Another addition is screenspace raytraced ambient occlusion (RTAO), which is available in Kappa Lite as well, although its implementation has been tuned towards performance. In the full Kappa version the RTAO also directly drives the skylight and only uses the vanilla sky-occlusion lightmap to fill the gaps. This allows for much more authentic indirect shadowing, which makes many small objects and indoor areas look much more coherent.

Aside from these two very major additions many areas have been vastly improved, especially atmospherics (clouds, fog, water and weather) and the resourcepack specular support. The latter should now provide a state-of-the-art result with an accompanying resourcepack (Vanillaccurate made byHardTopNet for example). I want to especially highlight the water, since that has been a traditional weak spot of Kappa Shader in the past. Due to that fact I decided to give it a full-on redesign, which delivers a vastly superior result when compared to version 2.2.

The last major change that I want to highlight is that Kappa Shader now renders the ACEScg colorspace of the Academy Color Encoding System specification now. This has vastly improved the coloring of the overall lighting and leads to a much more crisp and vibrant experience. This also comes with an accompanying tonemap operator in order to bring it down to a color gamut that the average display can show.

Of course this is just showing off the most interesting changes, but since there are many more it is time for the complete changelog.


  • complete rendering pipeline overhaul
  • rendering is now internally done in the ACEScg colorspace
  • vastly improved atmospheric scattering
    • improved accuracy of sky and lighting colors
    • added a new multiscattering approximation
    • proper ozone absorption (especially noticable during the "blue hour")
  • vastly improved volumetric and planar clouds
    • improved accuracy of direct- and sky-lighting
    • improved cloud shapes
    • adjusted cloud altitude and density
  • added raytraced ambient occlusion
  • added raytraced screenspace emission
    • only available in the full version
  • new hybrid global illumination solution
    • using both screenspace raytracing and reflective shadowmapping
  • improved specular reflection handling
    • using GGX microsurface approximations and specular highlights
  • improved rough reflections quality and performance
  • improved diffuse shading by now using the Hammon-diffuse model
  • improved dynamic shadows
    • vastly improved variable penumbra shadows
    • added screenspace contact shadows
  • vastly improved wetness support
    • improved puddles
    • improved porosity approximation
  • improved water
    • water normals generated by using gerstener waves
    • improved parallax waves
    • improved water volume
    • vastly improved caustics
    • added sunlight absorption
  • improved volumetric fog
    • now done in full resolution
    • internal optimizations
    • improved morning mist
  • improved subsurface scattering
  • improved shadowmap filtering
  • added lightmap smoothing to hide vanilla lightmap artifacts
  • improved ACES RRT+ODT implementation
  • added optional HejlBurgess tonemap operator
  • improved nether smoke effect
  • added new volumetric flame effect in nether
  • added support for 1.16 nether biomes
  • added support for 1.15+ particle rendering
  • numerous internal updates and optimizations
  • exposed a variety of new settings

Hotfix v3.0a:

  • fixed surfaces with normalmaps having visual artifacts when looked at from a steep angle
  • fixed dark entities on 1.15+ when having normalmaps enabled
  • fixed broken block entities when enabling POM

Credits and Thanks:

  • BSL Shaders by Capt Tatsu
    • for providing the screenspace AO used as the fallback solution (I know its horribly outdated by now)
  • Raspberry Shaders by Rutherin
    • reference for the RTAO solution
  • Spectrum by Zombye used as reference for
    • screenspace contact shadows (I just can't figure them out myself, so I gave up on my own implementation)
    • shadowmap filtering
    • water normals and parallax calculation
    • normal data encoding method
    • hammon diffuse implementation
    • GGX microsurface approximation for rough reflections
    • also general thanks to Zombye for helping out on a couple small questions
  • The insanely creative "Quality Assurance" folks on my Discord for finding all the major bugs (even if its sometimes frustrating if a lot of stuff breaks weirdly)

And of course also a special thanks to my patrons on Patreon!

Known Issues:

  • weather particles do not render in minecraft 1.15 and newer when using the full version


By downloading you agree to the terms of use as detailed here.

Curseforge downloads offer me support due to the Curseforge-Rewards program, so unless they are unreachable I'd encourage you to download it via Curseforge.

Kappa Shader v3.0a Kappa Shader v3.0a
Kappa Shader v3.0a Lite Kappa Shader v3.0a Lite


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Posted in Kappa Shader, Shaderpack Release.