Back in 2012, Sonic Ether’s Unbelievable Shaders (SEUS) for Minecraft were the best way to give the game a graphics overhaul. Shaders brought a real-world atmosphere to the blocky landscape, with global lighting, glorpy water, and swaying trees. We’ve come a long way since then, but from that first release SEUS has always been the first upgrade I download whenever I return. I did that very recently, and I discovered that all those years of free updates have paid off in a big, big way for the developer. He’s absolutely raking it in on Patreon.
Currently, he’s earning £46,663 a month to make Minecraft look pretty. That’s a staggering amount that spiked between the end of 2018 and 2020, and he's maintained that level of income for the past year. Rather sweetly, his goals at the time of launching were £360 for the first tier, and then £730 for the second tier.
That surge coincides with his work on “SEUS PTGI”, a very experimental version of his shaders that implements ray tracing on non-RTX graphics cards. The global illumination add-on brings with it effects like coloured lighting. He's also working on a feature that would run the game at 540p but output it and 1080p with very little drop in quality. It’s no wonder people are happy to chip in a few coins every month. For very little money, you could be running Minecraft without the bespoke hardware of modern PC graphics cards (though you'll definitely need a decent PC). Currently, only patrons can access it, but he plans to give away the final and working version away for free, just like he does with his previous releases.
It’s superb news for him. On his Patreon page, he mentions having to give up working on SEUS as it wasn’t financially viable. But now he’s in a great place: “I moved on to other projects to better support myself financially. However, I just found myself being drawn back to it! So, I decided to go with what felt right and return to working on Minecraft shaders and create this Patreon page in the hopes that it could be sustainable for me. I can't believe how much it's grown now!”
This also gives me the chance to link to my favourite style of Minecraft video on Youtube: thirst traps. Here’s a recent example of what the right combination of shaders, resource packs, and hardware can get you.
Worth every penny. If that's piqued your interest, there's plenty more out there. Have a look at our collection of the best shaders for Minecraft.