Minecraft shaders and resources

Shaders, textures, realism, FPS and Kirk or Picard?

Posted by J├╝rgen on 28 March 2023

Realistic Minecraft

I like Minecraft to have a more realistic feel. Things don't have to be round, but at least with proper lighting, shadows and nice textures, I find the game to be a bit more enjoyable. Here a few add-ons for Minecraft will be touched upon. Focus will be on the Java version, so alas, no RTX.


Resources

When realism is concerned, combined with Minecraft version 1.19.3 and not having to pay for the textures, I was kinda left with just one set;

Legendary RT Textures these textures are really nice, and really free. Also available in different resolutions. Since I mainly play Overworld with my kids, I will focus on the Base, Extended and Foliage sets. The 512x are really detailed but a bit taxing on hardware.

Examples:

Room Tools Wood Leaves Dirt


Shaders

Shaders provide lighting effects, reflections, shadows and atmospheric effects. Shaders have a profound effect on how the game looks, and how it plays.

BSL 8.2.02

BSL shaders tone down the colors to a realistic tone, and adds a atmospheric diffusion over the image. Especially long distance views over plains are a sight to behold. Note that the shaders seem to have a problem with the foliage texture pack; At night plants seem to light up.

BSL day outside BSL day inside BSL day outside BSL day inside BSL water BSL underwater

Makeup ultrafast 8.7a

Makeup Ultrafast are shaders that are brilliant on older hardware. It's sufficient tweakable and has a decent look to it. The lighting effects are a bit lacking and the overall image is a bit bland, though there are some color tweaks you can do.

Note that this shader supports focus, meaning that what's within your crosshair is sharp, and the further you go away from the crosshair, the more blurry the image becomes. While this is a neat feature, and it provides a kind of tilt-shift effect, the fast-paced game-play of minecraft means your image is constantly shifting focus, and there's a bit of a delay in the effect, meaning that when you run around the corner, you're greeted with a blurry view before it adjusts.

Makeup day outside Makeup day outside Makeup day inside Makeup day outside Makeup day inside Makeup water Makeup underwater

SEUS Renewed 1.0.1

SEUS Renewed are shaders with a lot of nice lighting and reflection effects. It properly adds a more realistic feel to the game.

SEUS Renewed day outside SEUS Renewed day inside SEUS Renewed day outside SEUS Renewed day inside SEUS Renewed water SEUS Renewed underwater

SEUS PTGI HRR 3

SEUS PTGI are my go-to shaders for realism, because it uses proper path-tracing for the lighting and reflection effects. While it's not exactly ray-tracing, it does result in a fairly natural image, meaning lighting effects are as you would expect it to be in real life. Take for example the outdoor night image below, the building to the right is lit from the inside, meaning the outside would be dark. In the other shaders, the walls seem to emit light on their own. Though the effects of this shader are amazing, it's very taxing on your system. By far the slowest shader.

SEUS PTGI day outside SEUS PTGI day inside SEUS PTGI day outside SEUS PTGI day inside SEUS PTGI water SEUS PTGI underwater

Sildur's Vibrant Shaders 1.50 extreme VL

Sildur's Vibrant Shaders add a bit more of an otherworldly feel to the game. Effects are not exactly how you expect them to be, but in doing so they create a more fantasy-world feel to the game. Especially at night, the game gains a very eerie appearance.

Sildur day outside Sildur day inside Sildur day outside Sildur day inside Sildur water Sildur underwater


Optifine vs Iris and performance

Forge or Fabric? It's a question, almost as complex as Kirk or Picard? Forge is often regarded as the solid implementation, and Fabric the fast one.

There's only one way to be sure about the differences: Benchmarking.

The following setups are used:

  • MC 1.19.3 - Forge 44.1.23 - Optifine HD U I3
  • MC 1.19.3 - Fabric 0.14.18 - Iris 1.5.2 - Sodium 0.4.9b23 - Continuity 3.0.0b

Both instances use the Base, Extended and Foliage 512x resource packs. Notable tweaks: Both instances are set to unlimited FPS without VSync. The Makeup Ultrafast shaders is set to Extreme+ and the SEUS-PTGI has its motion blur effect set to 0.25.

On both instances I created a creative single player world with the same seed.

My hardware is a laptop with an i7-11800H CPU, an RTX3070 GPU with 8GB VRAM and 64GB RAM. The Video mode will be 2560x1440

Results:

Optifine Iris/Sodium
SEUS PTGI 13 fps 10 fps
SEUS Renewed 80 fps 77 fps
Sildur's VS 124 fps 94 fps
BSL 150 fps 94 fps
Makeup UltraFast 116 fps 98 fps

So Forge with Optifine seems to be a clear winner here, at least with my hardware. Also, there's decent performance with all the shaders, except for the SEUS PTGI one.

Results without the 512x textures, just the vanilla ones.

Optifine Iris/Sodium
SEUS PTGI 50 fps 36 fps
SEUS Renewed 102 fps 103 fps
Sildur's VS 144 fps 134 fps
BSL 172 fps 163 fps
Makeup UltraFast 168 fps 188 fps

Without the textures, PTGI gets a bit more playable. So the 512x texture pack is a big hit on performance, but acceptable with shaders other than PTGI.

Finally, let's measure with 256x textures.

Optifine Iris/Sodium
SEUS PTGI 35 fps 25 fps
SEUS Renewed 77 fps 76 fps
Sildur's VS 109 fps 97 fps
BSL 118 fps 90 fps
Makeup UltraFast 119 fps 94 fps

As expected; somewhere in the middle.


Conclusion

There are a lot of ways to improve the visuals of Minecraft. There are also a lot of extra changes that can be added, like AmbientSounds, and SoundPhysics. I do hope that there will be a shader in the future with the ability to tap into the RTX portion of modern video cards. But for now I hope this overview is of some help to anyone.

Ow! And it's Picard, hands down.