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Unity Acquire ProBuilder–Release Tools For Free

Unity have acquired another developer from their asset store, this time ProBuilder.   Like previous acquisitions, they turned around and made the tool available for allStair-Shape-GIF developers for free!  The full editions of ProBuilder and PolyBrush are now available for free download in the asset store.  They are part of the roadmap to be incorporated into future editions of Unity.

ProBuilder enables you to model directly in Unity, excellent for prototyping.  PolyBrush, currently in beta,  enables you to do terrain like painting directly on meshes instead of just terrains. 

Details of the acquisition from the Unity blog:

We are excited to announce a powerful new addition to our creative tools suite: ProBuilder (with other great tools) and its creators, have joined Unity. Please welcome Gabriel Williams & Karl Henkel to Unity!

Gabriel & Karl have been delivering awesome tools to enable fast and easy level design directly in the Unity Editor. With ProBuilder you design, prototype and play test rapidly your levels right in Unity. With Polybrush (beta) you refine your creation by sculpting complex shapes, painting in custom lighting or coloring, and blending textures across meshes.

In Unity 2017, we added powerful visual tools like Timeline, Cinemachine, a new FBX Exporter and we are continuing on our efforts to help artists, designers and developers create and collaborate more efficiently.

Starting today the full editions of ProBuilder and Polybrush are becoming part of Unity feature roadmap. They are now available at no additional cost to all Unity subscription plans (Personal, Plus, Pro and Enterprise).

The acquisition also includes ProGrids also available from the Asset Store for free.  ProGrids provides simple grids for easy level placement and modular level design.  They also intend to roll ProGrid functionality into Unity in the future.

GameDev News

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Kotlin Native 0.6 Released

Kotlin is a new open source language being developed by JetBrains, the folks behind such IDEs was IntelliJ, WebStorm, CLion and tools like ReSharper.  Version 0.6 of Kotlin Native was just released yesterday with support for Java 9, Objective-C container interop improved debugging and of course several bug fixes and improvements.  Kotlin is a JVM based language that essentially aims to be a better Java, more expressive with less typing while fixing a number of the languages warts.  Kotlin/Native is the technology that enables you to compile Kotlin apps directly with no need for a VM.

Kotlin

Details of the release from the Github page:

Support multiplatform projects (expect/actual) in compiler and Gradle plugin

  • Support first embedded target (STM32 board)
  • Support Kotlin 1.2.20
  • Support Java 9
  • Support Gradle 4.5
  • Transparent Objective-C/Kotlin container classes interoperability
  • Produce optimized WebAssembly binaries (10x smaller than it used to be)
  • Improved APIs for object transfer between threads and workers
  • Allow exporting top level C function in reverse interop with @cname annotation
  • Supported debugging of code with inline functions
  • Multiple bugfixes and performance optimizations

GameDev News

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Phaser 3 Released

After almost two years in development and a few months of Beta, Phaser 3 is finally available.   Phaser is an open source HTML5 game framework with a massive communityPhaser3 behind it.   We did a full Phaser with TypeScript tutorial series using the previous version of the framework, and I have long been a huge fan.  The 3.0 release has had a long and painful gestation period that you can read about in detail here.  This new release is built around a new more modular design, has an all new renderer, state manager and more.  It is an early release though and documentation and tutorials are nowhere near the 2.x levels.  For the record, the Phaser 2.x branch is continuing development as Phaser Community Edition.

Details of the announcement from the Github page:

After 1.5 years in the making, tens of thousands of lines of code, hundreds of examples and countless hours of relentless work: Phaser 3 is finally out. It has been a real labor of love and then some!

Please understand this is a bleeding-edge and brand new release. There are features we’ve had to leave out, areas of the documentation that need completing and so many cool new things we wanted to add. But we had to draw a line in the sand somewhere and 3.0.0 represents that.

For us this is just the start of a new chapter in Phaser’s life. We will be jumping on bug reports as quickly as we can and releasing new versions rapidly. We’ve structured v3 in such a way that we can push out point releases as fast as needed.

We publish our Developer Logs in the weekly Phaser World newsletter. Subscribe to stay in touch and get all the latest news from us and the wider Phaser community.

You can also follow Phaser on Twitter and chat with fellow Phaser devs in our Slack and Discord channels.

Phaser 3 wouldn’t have been possible without the fantastic support of the community and Patreon. Thank you to everyone who supports our work, who shares our belief in the future of HTML5 gaming, and Phaser’s role in that.

Happy coding everyone!

Cheers,

Rich – @photonstorm

I have downloaded the new release and am playing around with it as I write this, so stay tuned for more.

GameDev News

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HaxePunk 4.0 Released

HaxePunk 4.0 has just been released and is available here.  HaxePunk is a popular 2D framework, starting life as a port of the popular FlashPunk library.  It is capable of makingimage games for several platforms including Windows, Linux, Mac, iOS, Android and HTML.  HaxePunk 4.0 has been in development for over a year and includes several new features including custom shader support, signal binding for events, an improved input system and more.

Details of the release from the HaxePunk blog:

Shaders

HaxePunk’s Flash target and software rendering support have been removed, simplifying the code and allowing us to focus on hardware rendering features, such as custom shader support. Custom shaders can be applied to any individual graphic as well as entire Scenes.

In addition, the renderer is more robust and has been heavily optimized.

(Read more)

Signals

As an alternative to extending and overriding behavior, many parts of HaxePunk now support Signals, which let you bind one or more functions to be called whenever an event occurs. For example, Scenes have signals that fire before/after update, before/after rendering, on input, when the screen is resized, etc.

myScene.preUpdate.bind(myFunc);

Improved Input system

The Input system has been unified, making it easier to mix multiple input devices:

Input.define("start", [Key.ENTER]);
Mouse.define("start", MouseButton.LEFT); trace(Input.check("start"));

These abstract inputs can also be used as Signals:

class MyScene extends Scene
{ public function new() { super(); onInputPressed.start.bind(onStart); } function onStart() { trace("You either pressed enter or clicked the mouse!"); }
}

(Read more)

Better BitmapText

BitmapText now supports rich text via XML markup:

BitmapText.defineFormatTag("red", {color: 0xff0000}); var txt = new BitmapText("Here's some <red>colored</red> text!", { font: "fonts/azmoonfleet.64.fnt", size: 14,
});

With these tags you can animate characters, render inline images, change fonts, and more.

Backend abstraction

HaxePunk now officially supports recent versions of both OpenFL and NME. Support for additional backends such as Kha is on the roadmap!

GameDev News

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Spritify–Procedural 2D Sprite Generation

Today on /r/gamedev a new online tool for generating procedural 2D sprites was just released.  I did a quick video of Spritify in action you can check out here on embedded below.  Spritify is a free browser based tool for generating procedural sprites.   The tool is quite simple but could certainly use some improved documentation ( or… any documentatio for that matter! ) but it is certainly usable now.

Essentially you start by painting on a fat grid pixel display using these controls

image

Draw the contour and your shape, fill the body accordingly with optional mirroring like so:

image

Various controls are available about how your sprites should be generated:

image

And at the bottom of the screen, several different procedural sprites will be generated:

image

Pretty cool tool over all.

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Art , ,

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Virtual Reality in Godot 3

As part of the Godot 3 release, Godot got official support for VR headsets using Cardboard, SteamVR and OpenHMD interfaces implemented using the new GDNative functionality in Godot.  Today I decided to test it using my Samsung Odyssey HMD a Windows Mixed Reality headset that has beta compatibility with SteamVR.  I personally had very little hope for things to go smoothly… boy was I wrong.  What follows is a step by step guide to using VR in Godot.  This whole process is made possible by the hard work of Bastiaan Olij, his Godot 3 OpenVR project is available here.

First, we assume that you are using Godot 3 or higher.  If you havent already installed Godot 3 or higher, go do so now.

Next, create a new project, the specifics really don’t matter.  There are a few requirements, every scene must have a ARVRCamera and the camera must have an ARVROrigin as it’s parent.  I start with the following setup:

image

The ARVROrigin only has one property, the world scale.  The ARVRCamera has several more options such as FoV, an Environment and more.  For now the defaults are fine.  Next we need to do a small bit of code to run the VR server.  Attach a script to the root node and add the following code to _ready:

func _ready(): var vr = ARVRServer.find_interface("OpenVR") if(vr and vr.initialize()): get_viewport().arvr = true get_viewport().hdr = false

And… done!  Really, that’s it.  Add a few objects to your scene under the ARVROrigin.  Plugin in your headset and press play.  At this point in time your scene should render on your headset and you should already have head tracking enabled!

Next up, let’s go ahead and install the OpenVR functionality.  First select the AssetLib tab:

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Now search for VR and select OpenVR module:

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Click the install button.  Then once downloaded, click install again:

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Now click Install once again and addons will be copied to your project including all of the dlls and scenes we need.

Next it’s time to implement some controller logic.  You could implement them yourself using ARVRController, or you can let someone else do the hard work!  With ARVROrigin selected, right click and select Instance Child Scene…

image

Navigate into the module we installed earlier into the folder addons/godot-openvr/scenes and select ovr_controller.tscn.

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Next you can add default behavior to the controller you just created.  Right click the newly created controller node, instance child scene and this time select Function_Pointer.tscn.  Your scene should now look like:

image

At this point you now have a 3D game with full head tracking, a single controller with pointer functionality.  Pretty awesome!  For even more functionality you can implement another controller, attach teleport controls to it and you will have the ability to move around.  Next replace your camera with a ovr_first_person scene and presto, you’ve got a VR game!

If you’d prefer the video version check here (or embedded below):

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Unreal Engine 4.19 Gets Experimental glTF Support

Unreal recently started releasing preview versions of Unreal Engine 4.19 with some great new features and apparently one stealth one… glTF support.  This is actually excellent news for the industry as a whole, as the current standards FBX and COLLADA or convoluted, proprietary or both.  A good, game ready, cross platform, cross application open andgltf free 3D file format is desperately needed and more and more it seems that glTF may finally be that format.

User vlbanco did an in-depth post on his experiences with the new format on the Unreal forums.

My tests have resulted in this:
Basic static mesh support works. Skeletal meshes and animations are not supported yet.

Each of the objects in the scene will become a single static mesh in unreal. This is good for a modular pack, but very bad for complex multiobject files. An option to merge objects would be great (like in FBX import). This fails spectacularly if you try to import one of the complex models from https://sketchfab.com/features/gltf , like the unity robot model (he imports as a ton of tiny objects) The same happens with the drone mode;.

Interestingly enough, Blender export works by default, without any setup. There are no more scale ******** to deal with as with FBX, and also it will use the correct axis by default, so no flipped models or badly scaled models. Great improvement over FBX. It “Just Works”

All objects in the scene will import as static meshes, with their scale and position reset. If you have any scale or position at “object” level in blender, when importing into unreal this will be reset. An option to apply the scale/position would be great, but working around it is absolutely trivial.

Smooth groups export perfectly by default, exactly as they are with blender (no more import normals or not as with FBX). Another great improvement over FBX
Whole scenes cant be imported well, as every object will just become a separated static mesh centered at origin, but without the “scene hierarchy”. The importer having the option to create a blueprint that holds the scene information would be a huge plus, and would allow one to create a whole scene in blender and import it as 1 object into ue4.

The material/texture import is a lot better than i expected, and its what makes this a superior format and workflow over FBX (for static meshes) right now. A blender cycles node tree will get completely translated to UE4, as long as it follows the roughness/metallic workflow. The fact that the importer already supports textures and recreates the material is awesome.

Do keep in mind, this is very much an experimental feature, but for many Blender artists, it’s already sounding like a superior experience.  Let’s hope skeletal animations get added soon!

GameDev News

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Godot 3.0 Released

Godot 3.0 is finally here!  Godot is an open source 2D/3D game engine and the 3.0 release brings a massive number of new features including a new 3D renderer, Bullet physics,Godot3Released C# support, OpenVR and Cardboard support, GDNative plugins and much more!  Stay tuned to GameFromScratch for some great new Godot 3 tutorials and more.  Our existing tutorial series is still about 90% valid if you are looking to get started today.

New features of this release taken from the Godot announcement blog:

You can get more detail in our hands on video available here and embedded below.

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GameDev News

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Microsoft Acquire PlayFab

Yesterday Microsoft announced the acquisition of PlayFab, a cloud based back endMSPlayfab for games.  PlayFab enabled you to provide features like multiplayer, leaderboards, messaging, content updates and commerce while providing real-time analytics and reporting via their dashboard.  Most platforms were supported as targets with support for Unity, Unreal, Corona, Lumberyard, Cocos2d-x and the Defold game engines.

One of the biggest flaws with outsourcing your gaming back end has always been reliability.  If the provider goes out of business, you are out of luck.  Becoming part of the Microsoft team and a good fit for their Azure cloud offerings, this concern should be greatly allayed with this acquisition.

Details of the acquisition from Microsoft’s blog:

PlayFab’s backend services reduce the barriers to launch for game developers, offering both large and small studios cost-effective development solutions that scale with their games and help them engage, retain and monetize players. PlayFab enables developers to use the intelligent cloud to build and operate games, analyze gaming data and improve overall gaming experiences.

The PlayFab platform is a natural complement to Azure for gaming (Visit azure.com/gaming for more info). Azure, with locations in 42 regions worldwide, provides world-class server infrastructure, allowing creators to focus on building great games with best-available global reach. For gamers, this leads to a higher, faster degree of innovation and better experiences.

Incorporating PlayFab’s experience, growing network of game developers and powerful gaming-as-a-service platform into our product offering is an important step forward for gaming at Microsoft. PlayFab has served more than 700 million gamers and is currently powering more than 1,200 games with companies like Disney, Rovio and Atari. Its gaming platform powers some of the most prominent titles in the industry, such as “Idle Miner Tycoon,” “Angry Birds: Seasons” and “Roller Coaster Tycoon Touch.”

Together, Azure and PlayFab will further unlock the power of the intelligent cloud for the gaming industry, enabling game developers and delighting gamers around the world.

GameDev News

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Epic Release Free 1000+ AAA Quality Asset Pack For UE4

Epic just released a pretty awesome pair of assets packs completely free for Unreal Engine developers.  Soul:City and Soul:Cave are both AAA quality packs containing maps, models, textures, blueprints and more for creating a futuristic city as well as a cave environment.  The only real catch is the license requires the assets be used only in Unreal Engine projects, which seems reasonable enough all things considered!

Details of the two packs:

Soul City
Texture Sizes: 256, 512, 1024, 2048UE4Ass
Collision: Yes
LODs: No
Number of Meshes: 419
Number of Materials and Material Instances: 234
Number of Textures: 198
Supported Target Build Platforms: Desktop, Mobile
Usage: Licensed for use with the Unreal Engine only.

Soul Cave
Texture Sizes: 256, 512, 1024, 2048
Collision: Yes
LODs: No
Number of Meshes: 173
Number of Materials and Material Instances: 167
Number of Textures: 171
Supported Target Build Platforms: Desktop, Mobile
Usage: Licensed for use with the Unreal Engine only.

You can read more about the release and download both packs from this link.  For a quick video showing the assets in action check here or the video embedded below.

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GameDev News