If you like playing Minecraft, but wish it could look a bit better than the pixelated square cubes, there is hope. At least I find it more appealing to play when it looks great, although graphics are not always what’s most important. There are many addons and graphics packs available out there, but one of the nicer ones is Stratum from Continuum Graphics.
Continuum Graphics LLC is a small team of graphics developers and artists who modify games and give them new life. Currently they focus on making shaders like Continuum and resource packs / addons like Stratum for Minecraft, but might expand to other games / areas in the future.
What does it do?
Stratum is a graphics pack for Minecraft. It is a high resolution, realistically themed resource pack, with physically
based rendering and parallax occlusion mapping support, as well as high quality specular and normal maps. That truly is a difficult way to say that it makes your Minecraft look a lot nicer. Stratum is being built specifically with the Continuum shader in mind, but it should work well with other Minecraft shaders.
To visualize it for you, I’ve embedded some demonstration videos from YouTube. It shows a pretty huge difference between the standard (vanilla) graphics in Minecraft, versus the fresh and detailed graphics from the Continuum shader pack combined with the Stratum graphics pack.
Here is a recorded video from YouTube showing off Stratum in 1024×10214.
Pretty cool transformation. Now take a look at this next one that really shows the difference between vanilla (the standard graphics) and the 2048x version of Stratum. The detail level of the textures is amazing! The 2048x version is really taxing on your system, so unless it is really powerful, you might want to go for 512 or 1024.
In order to use the Stratum graphics, you need to have the Java version of Minecraft. The one you can buy in Windows Store will not work. After trying for quite some time on the Windows version of it, and then resorting to their support chat, I found out that it simply does not work. So – get the Java version if you haven’t done so already.
You also need the Continuum shader pack, and a piece of software called OptiFine. This is available for free.
It should run on a variety of systems, the less powerful computers can utilize one of the lower resolution options, such as 256x, or maybe 512x. Higher end systems can go with 1024x, and really beefed up systems can use the full 2048x pack.
I have tried this with 512x resolution on my AMD Ryzen 5, with Nvidia 1070, and it works pretty well. Anything above this will give the computer a heart attack. Not to mention the 2048x pack.
Try before you buy
Who doesn’t like free? The guys at Continuum know we do, so they do provide a 128×128 version of Stratum for free to anyone that wants to try it out. It is fully up to date with the higher resolution versions of Stratum, and will allow you to try the pack to see where it is in development before buying a version, or just use for as long as you want.
You can purchase it in three tiers:
Tier 1 : 256×256 (5 USD)
Tier 2 : 512×512 (15 USD)
Tier 3 : 1024×1024 & 2048×2048 (25 USD)
All tiers contains the previous tier content. Since I use Nvidia 1070, I went for tier 2.
How to install it
Obviously, you’ll need to have Java installed. You can get this for free from java.com.
Furthermore, you need Minecraft, remember to get the Java version. The Windows Store version will not work with Stratum and Continuum. Get your copy from minecraft.net.
Third – go get OptiFine from this website. Just get the latest version. You have to install Java and Minecraft first, before attempting to install OptiFine, Continuum and Stratum. After downloading OptiFine, run it with Java if Windows asks, it is a Java JAR file. It should just be to click through, and it will install itself into your Minecraft installation.
Then get Continuum and Stratum (shaders and graphics) from the Continuum website. Remember, the demo version in 128×128 is free. These two should be unzipped and placed into your Minecraft installation folder. This can be a little bit tricky. Normally, your Minecraft will be installed under C:\Users\Username\AppData\Roaming\.minecraft\
The Continuum shaderpack should be unzipped in the
C:\Users\Username\AppData\Roaming\.minecraft\shaderpacks folder. If shaderpacks isn’t already there, just create it. Make sure that the Continuum shader is in its own folder inside shaderpacks, not inside twice. For example \shaderpacks\continuum\continuum\….. and so on.
Same goes for the Stratum pack, unzip it and place the folder inside \.minecraft\resourcepacks. If resourcepacks isn’t there, create that folder too.
Then launch Minecraft, and choose your OptiFine installation. You can then enable the graphics pack in the settings, along with other graphics tweaks and settings to your liking.
Then enjoy a nicer looking Minecraft!
If this was a bit hard to follow, watch the YouTube video below:
What is Stratum for Minecraft you say? If you want your Minecraft looking fresh, you should try out this graphics pack, along with the shaders. Purists might not find this appealing, but for the rest of us it is pretty sweet. If you haven’t already, take a look at the demonstration YouTube video and see for yourself what Minecraft can become.
Have you tried any graphics addon for Minecraft? Tell me which one(s) and what you think of them in the comments section below.