The shader game is no doubt dominated by SEUS, Sonic Ether's shader juggernaut. However, there are many capable other players in the field, and with SEUS development slowing down due to Sonic Ether being hired to work on The Forest, these alternatives are primed to go mainstream. Sildur's Shaders is one of these, and it's ready to blow up. Let's take a look…
In the article I will talk about the “Vibrant” version of Sildur's Shaders, since this is the main version.
Out of the box you'll notice that Sildur's Shaders come with most if not all of the graphical features you've come to expect from the best shaders. Water, ripples, reflections, dynamic shadows, godrays and all that good stuff is here.
The water is certainly impressive. The reflections are good and don't bug out (from my experience). The ripples are extremely subtle, to the point of not being noticeable at times.
The daylight effects are all decent and look good, but won't blow your mind. You've seen all of this before, but it all works and looks good. Sildur's Shaders always had great colors, something shaderpacks rarely get right, and the latest version is no exception. Everything is very vibrant (thus “Sildur's Vibrant Shaders), and it feels great to play in such a beautiful world. The clouds are simple, but effective - balancing between over-the-top realistic and overly simple. The good old waving grass effect is here and works wonders to make the world feel alive.
There's an effect called “Distant Blur” that I think will be very polarizing to people. The effect makes distant objects and terrain look blurry. It covers up that ugly border when loaded chunks run out in the distance, however, the result is something not everybody will enjoy. This also negates any benefits beyond the Far view distance. Luckily, the shaders are quite customizable and even come in four pre-configured version. While Ultra and High have this effect, Medium and Low do not. It's up to you to decide if you want it or not.
Indoors, Sildur's Shaders once again impresses by being fully featured and stable. Torch light color is very warm and does make for some interesting visuals, especially when you're looking at a lit up object from a distance, or are in a cave.
When it rains, a whole new suite of effects will activate for a very immersive experience. The clouds get dense and gray. Your vision gets slightly blurred, making seeing into the distance almost impossible. Finally, there's a very subtle but neat raindrop effect on the “lens”.
At night, the sun's rays are replaced by the moonlight, complete with the godray effect. The night is appropriately dark, but does not make it completely impossible to do something - once again Sildur's Shaders strikes a good balance.
Night and rain is a new story, as your visibility is brought to a new low (almost like you're playing the game on a console). There's a very inconsistent and, I'm assuming, not completely finished “wet” effect that shows up on the ground. At some moments it looks great, at some it looks strange.
When it comes to performance, Sildur's Shaders has always been one of the best. Even with the view distance on Far and with the Ultra shader, I still get above 60fps on my 770GTX. I imagine you could get these shaders to work on pretty much any gaming PC built in the past 4 years (as long as you use Optifine like the creator recommends). You might need to use a different version of the Vibrant shaders (Ultra, High, Medium and Low are available), but you'll probably get it running. The current 1.05 version is marked as a Beta, so that probably explains why it gets unstable when you switch shaderpacks on the fly. During normal gamplay, it worked fine.
To conclude, I used to consider Sildur's Shaders the top alternative when it comes to shaderpacks. It's made some improvements and it is now a strong contender for the best shaderpack available. As the graphical wars continue, it might even take SEUS over for the crown. I recommend you give it a shot, assuming you can run it, and see if there's a version that works for you.
You can get it yourself here:
Download the Sildur's Shaders mod here!
- Install the Forge API.
- Run Minecraft at least once.
- Download the Shaders mod and Optifine.
- Put both of those mods' .jar files in the mods folder located in your .minecraft folder.
- Put the shaderpack .zip in the shaderpacks folder located in your .minecraft folder (if it doesn't exist, make it).
- For any additional info, head to our big Mod Installation Guide.
- Ready to go! Enjoy.
Like always, feel free to leave any feedback you might have in the comment section below.
Version of mod reviewed: v1.051 for Minecraft 1.7.10.