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26. September 2016

 

From the publisher (but not developer) that create the popular JRPG development kit RPG Maker, RPG Creator has just been released.  RPG Creator is a iOS only tool for creating and sharing JRPG style games.  It does not have interop with the desktopRPGCreator product, being a completely distinct product at least for now.  Here are details from the announcement blog:

RPG Creator is a completely separate product from the RPG Maker series for PC, with a different development team (and company).

We believe that in the future, RPG Making should be a fluid experience. In the experience we dream of, you would be able to start a project on your PC, draw maps and event on your tablet, record sound effects or voice acting lines on your phone and then bring it all together on your PC again to finish up and send out to every platform. This is the first step towards that goal.

If RPG Creator proves to be popular, we will invest more heavily into it’s development, such as looking at ways of integrating it with RPG Maker as well as creating an Android version.

To help spread the word about RPG Creator, we’ve got a few events going on.

RPG Creator Rebate
RPG Creator is Free to Play (ad supported) but you can also pick up the “Premium” version which has some extra features. As a special thank you to the RPG Maker community, we’ve set up a Rebate. If you purchase the Premium version of RPG Creator, simply forward a copy (or screenshot) of your receipt to games@degica.com and we’ll set you up with a $5 credit for the RPG Maker Web store.

 

I created a quick hands-on video of the new free to download iPad app in action available here or embedded below.

GameDev News

26. September 2016

 

Daydream is Google’s project to bring VR to the Android platform.  Two of the biggest game engines, Unity and Unreal, just announced Daydream support in preview forms.image

 

First Unity’s announcement:

We’re excited to announce that native Daydream support is available as of today! It brings a more streamlined workflow, significant optimizations and reduced latency beyond the Google VR SDK for Unity released at Google I/O. No prefabs, scripts or manual manifest modifications are required to get started – simply enable VR and add Daydream as a targeted platform and begin making your own virtual worlds.

Unity’s native support for Daydream aims to solve the hard problems for you. To get optimal performance and latency from the platform we have done a deep integration with the Daydream SDK to leverage the platform’s asynchronous reprojection and VR performance mode. We have also made it easy to switch in and out of VR mode so that your applications can easily expand to the Google VR audience.

Not targeting just Daydream hardware? You can also have your application target Google Cardboard with native support. Applications which target Cardboard will work on older devices so that your application can reach as many users as possible. At this time, Cardboard support is exclusive to Android with iOS Cardboard support coming soon.

You can find more information and download the Technical Preview here. For questions or feedback head over to the new Daydream forum.

Google has also created a Unity SDK which expands Unity further by providing spatialized audio, Daydream controller support, utilities and samples. Please see the script reference and download pages for more details.

 

And now Unreal Engine:

Back in May during Google I/O, Epic announced its day one support of Daydream, Google’s exciting mobile VR platform for high quality, mobile virtual reality which is coming in Fall 2016 and will provide rich, responsive, and immersive experiences with hardware and software built for VR.

Well, after gathering developer feedback and evolving its resources into a suite of powerful tools, Google has announced that Google VR SDK 1.0 has graduated out of beta and is now available on theDaydream developer site

As pointed out in the official announcement post, the updated SDK simplifies common VR development tasks so developers can focus on building immersive, interactive mobile VR applications for Daydream-ready phones and headsets while supporting integrated scanline racing and interactions using the innovative Daydream controller.

With this release, significant improvements to UE4’s native integration have been implemented that will help developers build better production-quality Daydream apps. The latest version introduces Daydream controller support in the editor, a neck model, new rendering optimizations, and much more - many features of which will be rolled directly into Unreal Engine 4.13.1 with the rest being availablenow through GitHub and rolling into 4.14.

Interested in accessing Google Daydream SDK 1.0? UE4 developers can do so right now by downloading the source here. We can’t wait to see what types of content the Unreal Engine community dreams up!

 

As mentioned in the Unreal Engine announcement, Google also released the 1.0 version of their new GoogleVR SDK.

GameDev News , ,

26. September 2016

 

Cocos Creator just released version 1.2.2.  Cocos Creator is a HTML5 based game engine and editor built over top of the Cocos2d-x game engine.  I did a hands on video with Cocos Creator available here if you want to learn more.

 

Primarily a fixed release, here are the details from the release notes:

 

Engine
  • [Engine] Refactored index.html page for Web build, improve page initialization speed massively.
  • [Engine] Add API cc.view.enableAntiAlias(false) to disable bilinear image smoothing for pixel-art graphics.
  • [Engine] Support cc.view.enableAntiAlias(false) API in native platform.
  • [Engine] Fixed pop-up keyboard on some tablet device with wider screen will cause screen orientation to change issue.
  • [Engine] Fixed register events to a deactivated node in start method will make the node respond to event on native platform issue.
  • [Engine] Fixed register events to a deactivated node, the event will not work after node is activated issue.
  • [Engine] Fixed some registered node event will not work when Web window lost and regain focus.
  • [Engine] Fixed when loading TTF assets, the loaded callback may not fire at the correct moment issue.
  • [Engine] Fixed using deprecated API on mobile browser will report error directly issue.
  • [Action] Fixed tintTo and tintBy not working properly on native platform issue.
  • [Action] Fixed using cc.targetedAction will report error issue.
Editor
  • [Prefab] Add synchronized Prefab option, user can select whether a prefab should sync changes to all instances in scene.
  • [Animation] Fixed the red needle in timeline may break issue.
  • [Animation] Fixed when dragging node in scene to edit position keyframe may not work issue.
  • [Animation] Fixed undo node deleting operation may cause updateAnimatingInEditMode to report error issue.
  • [Console] Added ignore case switch to determine whether filter is case-sensitive.
  • [SDK] Fixed inserting AnySDK runtime library to Web build may not work issue.
Component
  • [Label+Widget] Fixed setting Label's Overflow to SHRINK and leave string empty, turning on one dimension align for Widget will crash on native platform issue.
  • [Particle] Fixed when texture set to null will crash on native platform issue.
  • [Tilemap] Fixed deleting node with Tiledmap and undo will make the node not visible issue.
  • [Graphics] Fixed Helper module not found in case-sensitive OS issue.
  • [EditBox] Fixed resize node has wrong effect issue on mac platform issue.
  • [Button] mouseover event will not be registered if button's hover sprite is null.
  • [ScrollView] Fixed save scene will cause ScrollView's content node get random position issue.
  • [ScrollView] Fixed disabled Scrollview component can still respond to touch event issue.
  • [ScrollView] Added TOUCH_UP event callback.

GameDev News

23. September 2016

 

Welcome back to our ongoing Godot tutorial series.  You may notice a pretty major change in the way Godot looks from previous tutorials.  This is because this tutorial jumps forward to Godot 2.1 which has an updated look and feel.  Don’t worry, the process is virtually identical regardless to which version of Godot you were running.  Today we are going to look at implementing 2D lights in your Godot game.  This will involve creating Godot light nodes, as well as occluders to prevent light.  We will also look at light masking, which is useful for implementing fog of war type effects. 

 

As always there is a video version of this tutorial available here.

 

First let’s set up a simple scene we can test our lighting on.  I simple create the following hierarchy using the default Godot icon sprite.

image

 

Then scale it up like so:

image

 

Now let’s add a Light2D as a Child to our Root node:

image

 

Notice the exclamation mark?

image

 

This is because we need to specify a texture to use as the light source.  I created the following image in Paint.net (process is shown in the video if you want to see how it was made):

LightMask

 

Notice that this image is a grayscale PNG file with an alpha channel.  Where there are no pixels at all, there will be no light shown.  Where it is whitest, the light will be most intense, while the darker it gets the less intense the light.  Save this image or create your own and add it to your project.  Now we set it as the texture source for our light.

image

 

Now if you move your Light2D node around the scene, you will see how it interacts with other objects in the scene:

GIF

 

There are a number of properties you can set for the light, such as the Energy (intensity) Color (tint) and Scale (size):

image

 

Notice also Mode.  We will come back to that in a minute.  Now sometimes you aren’t going to want all lights affecting all objects in the scene.  Thankfully there is a setting for that.  Notice in the range category there is a setting called Item Mask:

image

 

This controls what layer of items this light will interact with (there is also a setting for shadows as well).  Now if you switch over to your Sprite, under canvas item you will notice a Light Mask setting:

image

 

So long as the light and CanvasItem use the same masking channel, the light will apply to that node.  If they don’t use the same channel, the light will have no effect.  This can lower processing costs and enables you to exempt parts of your seen from being lit if so desired.

 

Now sometimes you want to have light actively blocked in your scene.  For example you might have a wall that should cast a shadow.  This is easy to implement in Godot using Occuluders.  This is simply a polygon area where the proverbial light don’t shine.  Let’s set one up around the nose of our Godot sprite.  Add a LightOccluder2D to your Sprite.

image

 

Your scene hierarchy should now look like:

image

 

With the LightOcculder2D node selected in the Scene the following icon should be available in the 2D view:

image

 

Click the pencil.  Now we want to draw our occlusion polygon, like so:

Gif2

 

Now notice the way the light interacts with the scene...

gif4

 

Now remember earlier on the Mode value of our Light2D node?

image

 

Now we are going to switch it over to “Mask” and show a powerful capability.  This can be used to create localized lights or to implement fog of war effects.  Just like before we need a texture to represent our light source, but this time we want the pixel values reversed, so I created the following image:

LightMask2

 

In this case the black area will receive no light, while the whitest area will contain the most light.  Here is the end result:

gif5

 

By scaling the light out to the full size of the screen, you can easily attach such a light to the character sprite to easily implement a fog of war type approach.

 

The Video

Programming ,

21. September 2016

 

Well, this move is interesting...inxileTS  inXile Entertainment, formed from the ashes of Black Isle Studios, are the developers responsible for Bards Tale, Wastelands 2 and Torment which is currently in early access.  They also might be the developers responsible for a very new trend in game development...  selling game assets to other game developers.  They have teamed up with the popular 3D model store TurboSquid to sell the assets from previous titles.

From the TurboSquid press release:

New Orleans, Louisiana, Sept. 20, 2016 — inXile Entertainment announced a deal today to distribute 3D models from their game catalog exclusively on TurboSquid’s world-leading 3D marketplace. inXile, founded by game industry legend Brian Fargo, is the creator of PC video games including Wasteland 2, Torment, and the Bard’s Tale series.

inXile 3D models from previously released and upcoming titles will be available for purchase on TurboSquid’s marketplace. The move will make production-tested, AAA models available to professional, indie, and hobbyist game developers. inXile CEO Brian Fargo said, “We’re huge believers in stock 3D, and making our own studio’s labor intensive creations available will benefit the indie game dev community as they evolve and drive our industry forward.”

TurboSquid will begin by processing and publishing content from inXile’s recent release Wasteland 2. The models will be made available in common 3D and game engine formats. Fargo added, “3D models for AAA titles are often built and used for only a single title. It made sense to create additional value out of our existing content by opening it up to other developers.”

Matt Wisdom, TurboSquid CEO, envisions this becoming common practice for many game studios. “Studios are often sitting on thousands of 3D models that were incredibly expensive to produce. Selling the content helps offset the rising costs of development for the studio, and it allows developers around the world to access amazing, consistent, game-ready models.”

TurboSquid and inXile expect content to start going online this year, and all models will be available with a standard royalty-free license.

 

It will be interesting to see what price point these assets are released at.  In some ways it could be a massive boon for game developers if reasonably priced.  Having game tested ready to go 3D models would certainly be a time and money saver.  This is especially true for more generic models such as fences, buildings and the like.  However once you start getting into less generic models, such as characters or enemies, games made using these assets will quickly start feeling quite similar.  It will also be interesting to see what they will do with more unique models such as key NPCs or highly game specific set pieces.  They will have a struggle to balance IP rights with the royalty free release.

It makes a lot of sense from a developer perspective.  There is a massive cost sink in creating these assets and very little chance of reuse outside of a sequel.  It will be interesting to see if any other game developers follow suite.

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