Monthly Newsletter

June 2024 Recap

Jun 30 • 5 min read

With June being almost over, it's time to look back at what we worked on this month.





This month mostly consisted of tool development, engine development & refining concepts. Based on the feedback you guys provided in our survey, that we did back in April, we already started making changes to not just PaintSquad, but Xenyria as a whole. So let's break down what exactly happened this month.


Let's start with PaintSquad's development: June mostly consisted of getting the last few systems & tools ready for the actual rework. Although not everything is completely ready at this point, we can finally start working with the game's code again, or should I rather start re-developing the game from scratch.


A fresh new coat of paint

Yes, you read that right. For the sake of making PaintSquad more future-proof, we had to make the heavy decision of ditching most, if not all, of the code that was written for PaintSquad up to version 2.1. While this may sound like a throwback at first, several benefits come with this approach.

The main reason for this decision is that PaintSquad's code base is over 3 years old at this point. Certain features like the weapon system were developed by me back when I didn't have nearly as much experience in software and game development as I do now. Also, Minecraft got a lot of new features in the last few years which makes many of our old workarounds obsolete, therefore rewriting the entire game code helps us to keep our new code base simple and easy to understand. Additionally, all the work we've done in the last few months helps us to add new content more easily in the future.


Shining a light on Spectrum

The most important development of this month comes in the form of another tool that simplifies the development of shaders used for various UI elements in PaintSquad and Rush. Back when PaintSquad 2.0 was released, we first started to leverage the power of custom shaders to create new HUD elements, screen transitions and animations.

Back then our workflow consisted of writing shader code with a text editor, putting it into a resource pack and reloading it in Minecraft every time we made adjustments. While this approach did work well enough for the most part, it got problematic when we had to troubleshoot issues with our shader code. This led us to the idea of creating a tool that can be used to develop core shaders outside of Minecraft to further improve developer experience and productivity.


Although Spectrum is still in development, it can already be used to create simple text shaders. It not only serves as a development environment for shaders, but it also provides a layer of abstraction, allowing us to develop shaders in a more organized way.

In the following example, we're applying a rainbow gradient effect to a title. (Please keep in mind that the UI is still in a very early stage)


Starting into a new chapter

One of the last systems needing a rework is our text engine called "Chapters". If you've played PaintSquad's tutorial, you might remember the text boxes that are used to display NPC conversations and hints. However, based on the feedback we received, we realized this system caused more confusion than clarity. The main issue stems from the fact that in-world text boxes are only visible when players directly look at them which caused players to get lost during some parts of the tutorial.

PaintSquad Tutorial Textbox

Since we also want to minimize the number of messages that will appear in the chat during gameplay,  reworking our text box system also serves as a great opportunity for moving hints, tutorial texts and other notifications to different positions of the UI. We already planned out the changes we're going to make to Chapters and expect it to be finished in the coming weeks.


Lights, Camera, Action!

Once we're done with reworking Chapters, we'll focus on creating a more efficient cutscene system. While PaintSquad and Rush already feature many cutscenes in their current state, the process of creating them was tedious and time-consuming, involving a lot of trial & error. Although we're still in the planning phase, we're confident that improving the creation process of cutscenes will also have a drastic positive effect on development speed.


The road to 3.0

Up until this point, we've always referred to the upcoming PaintSquad update as "the rework", however, we've arrived at a point where we can disclose that all the changes we've made also require a major change to the version number. Therefore we can now finally say that PaintSquad's version number will be raised to 3.0. Although we cannot provide an exact release date just yet, we can finally announce that PaintSquad will be available again sometime later this year. Expect a more concrete release date in the upcoming months.

For now, we're still busy with finishing the tools & systems we need for PaintSquad's rework, but we will fully focus on developing the actual game code again soon. While it will still take some time until the new version of PaintSquad reaches feature parity with the old build, our current goal is to have some of the base game mechanics re-implemented at the end of July. We are also considering the possibility of hosting another Testfire event once we are confident that PaintSquad is in a presentable state again.

We may also publish a roadmap sometime in the future showing some of our goals for the rest of the year. However, this may still take a bit of time since we can't exactly estimate how fast we will progress in the next months.


With that, we have arrived at the end of this monthly recap. Although we can't show any in-game footage at this point in time, we hope that this will change very soon, so stay tuned for more updates. 👀

about the author


I am Founder and the Development Lead of Xenyria, so I'm responsible for developing new games, features, and services for Xenyria. I love pushing the boundaries of Minecraft.