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28. July 2016

 

Unity 5.4 is finally here.  A major feature of this release is improved graphics with better multithreaded rendering, GPU instancing, texture arrays, computer shaders and more.  VR has been improved as well and one major usability issue is Retina is finally supported, but high DPI support on Windows is for a later date.  IL2CPP, their intermediate language to C++ compiler is now available on Android in this release.

UNT_news_2016_07_blog_B

A summary of new features in 5.4 are:

  • Graphics & rendering performance improvements:
    • Better multithreaded rendering
    • Fewer draw calls with GPU Instancing – available on Windows, OSX, Linux, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One
    • Improved low level graphics features: texture arrays, compute shaders, and more
  • For Artists:
    • Thanks to sizing controls, a new trigger module, and better lighting with Light Probe Proxy Volumes (LPPV) particles are now more customizable.
    • In-engine support for motion vector rendering
  • VR Improvements: more built-in multiplatform VR support and better performance
  • IL2CPP for Android is now an officially supported platform (previously it was labeled ‘experimental’)
  • The editor now supports Mac Retina displays (Windows HiDPI support is in the pipeline) and we’ve added a zoom-able game view function (OSX & Windows)
  • Cloud Build setup is now available from the within the editor.  
  • Performance Reporting is now fully integrated in the editor, 1-click activation without plugins or code
  • A major Analytics feature update with raw data export, Heatmaps, Live Stream, and Ads data in the dashboard
  • In-App Purchasing now supports the Amazon Appstore
  • Web Player and PS3 Build target options have been removed along with iOS 6 support (we now support iOS 7.x and above)

 

There are a ton more details of the release available here.

GameDev News

27. July 2016

 

Marmalade is a cross platform C++ based game engine that just release version 8.5.  The biggest feature of this new release has got to be heavily updated 2D editor, Marmalade 2D kit.  Other features of this release include support for OpenAL and Windows Live Tiles.

 

From the release announcement:

All-new 2D Kit editor experience

Since the first release of Marmalade 2D Kit we have been working hard to improve the editor's appearance, user experience and functionality, based on feedback from users.

In this release the look and feel of the 2D Kit editor has been completely overhauled, including new style objects, intuitive icons and adjustable colors using a preference panel.

The core user experience has also been dramatically improved with changes such as:

  • Dockable panels
  • Custom editor layout preferences
  • Layout guide helpers
  • Context menu for node creation
  • Clearer animation timeline
  • Multi-key selection
  • Relative animation key frames by default
  • Intuitive zoom control
  • Clearer messaging
  • Easier 9-slice texture setup
  • Improved asset thumbnails
  • Improved animation panel 
  • Improved player interface
  • Improved resource panel
  • Improved object inspector
  • Improved anchoring support for stretching nodes

Rounding out the changes we have added some other useful functionality such as a command line interface for exporting scenes and optional automated upgrade of existing projects.

All of this is accompanied by significantly improved documentation, such as the user manual and tutorials, and a raft of general bug fixes.

New OpenAL support

OpenAL is very popular in the game dev community, allowing you to create immersive sound fields with built-in support for positional audio.

We have now added official OpenAL support, based on OpenAL Soft, to the Marmalade Platform as a cross-platform middleware module.

This new middleware module builds on top of s3eSound and is therefore available to all supported platforms, from iOS and Android to Windows and OS X. 

Whether you're starting a new project or porting an existing one to Marmalade, providing a more engaging audio experience just got much easier.

For an overview of OpenAL support in the Marmalade Platform, see here.

New Windows live tile support

One way to make your Windows apps more engaging is through the use of a live tile for your app.

With this release we are introducing a new s3eWindowsLiveTile extension to make this as easy as possible.

Interested? Find out more in the overview for S3E Windows Live Tile support.

Improved C++11 support

The previous Marmalade Platform release saw the addition of C++11 support to the main release, with the initial focus on Windows/Mac OS X Desktop and Simulator.

In this release, we've made some minor improvements in C++11 support, primarily to provide better support for the latest version of Visual Studio 2015: Update 3.

We have also significantly reduced the size of the C++11 add-on packages so you can now get started with C++11 support even quicker.

Beyond this release, the next major update to C++11 support will focus on iOS and Android so keep an eye out for it!

Improved EDK documentation

The EDK can be one the trickier areas of the Marmalade Platform to master so we've improved our EDK documentation in a couple of key areas to help make the learning curve a little less steep.

Please take a look at the updated getting started guide and a new section on debugging extensions.

Download now!

We think there's something for everyone in this release so head over to the Developer area to download now or check out the release notes for full details.

GameDev News

27. July 2016

 

Immediately following the release of Unity 5.3.6, we begin the patch cycle all over again with the release of Patch 5.3.6P1.  One again this patch is primarily a bug fix release, it also saw the Oculus Rift SDK updated to version 1.6.

 

From the release notes:

Improvements
  • VR: Updated to Oculus version 1.6 .
Fixes
  • (811596) - Asset Management: Assets added using AssetDatabase.AddObjectToAsset will no longer change their name when the project is saved.
  • (803481, 807275) - AssetBundles: Fixed an issue where calling Resources.UnloadUnusedAssets while loading an AssetBundle with AssetBundleRequest.LoadAssetAsync caused an error & stopped the asset from being loaded properly
  • (812396) - Audio: Fixed a crash when/after building for standalone with empty project with several audio clips.
  • (807653) - IL2CPP: Fixed IPEndPoint on IPv6 network.
  • (791844) - iOS: Fixed an issue where InputField.onEndEdit was called from an active InputField.
  • (815735) - iOS: Names for new iOS devices when selecting Unity Remote device.
  • (759719, 759191, 733920) - Mono: Corrected a number of possible hangs with SSL sockets when the Unity Editor entered and exited the play mode. These hangs often showed up in the AuthenticateAsClient method.
  • (810551, 810692) - Networking: ReliableFragmented channel stops working after client has disconnected, then reconnects.
  • (764330) - OS X: Fixed Screen.currentResolution.refreshRate being always 0.
  • (813872) - Particles: Fixed an issue where playing the scene with more than 270 particle prefabs caused a crash.
  • (none) - Windows Store: Fixed a potential crash on Xbox One when retrieving advertising id.
  • (none) - Windows Store: Fixed a rare deadlock when recursively calling InvokeOnAppThread and InvokeOnUIThread many times
  • (none) - Windows Store: Fixed an assert that happened on startup on Xbox One in debug builds.
  • (808700) - Windows Store: Fixed touch screen keyboard input not working on UWP.

GameDev News

26. July 2016

 

Today at SIGGRAPH, Allegorithmic made a couple announcements regarding their Substance texturing product lines.  We featured Substance Painter in our GameDev Toolbox series if you want more details.  Among their announcements today, the revealed that Substance Painter, Designer and B2M will be free for students for personal use.   They also announced that they will be shipping a “massive amount” of high quality content as part of their Live subscription plan.

 

From the Allegorithmic blog:

FREE SUBSTANCE PERSONAL LICENSES FOR STUDENTS

We're proud to announce that Substance Painter, Substance Designer and Substance B2M will become entirely free for students, for personal use, starting on August 4th, 2016. Teachers may also request their free personal license, and can also continue to benefit from Academic pricing to equip their school's lab/campus by contacting us. We believe that students should have access to the best tools at no cost and join our community to help us shape the future of digital art.

SUBSTANCE LIVE WITH FREE CONTENT

Substance Live will soon include a massive amount of high-quality content at no additional cost. We have partnered with selected producers to provide thousands of professional assets to all Substance Live subscribers. For $19.90 per month, subscribers will have access to the latest versions of Substance Painter, Substance Designer, Substance B2M and dozens of assets to download every month from a huge database of production-ready content. 

SUBSTANCE ACADEMY

As announced in the keynote, Substance Painter alone was launched over 1.1 million times between April 1 and June 30, 2016. The number of people learning and using Substance products is greater than ever, as is the need for tutorials and training. To help users everywhere learn Substance inside out, Substance Academy will launch on the Allegorithmic website in the near future. This free online learning resource will feature tutorials, videos, assets and more for users at all levels who want to learn Substance at their own pace. 

SCAN WORKFLOW

Capturing data via 3D scanning or photogrammetry has now become a mature technique. Numerous initiatives are underway at Allegorithmic to streamline the management and processing of scanned data within the Substance toolset. We are currently working with a number of partners and clients to make this workflow as seamless as possible. You can see a demo in the keynote above beginning at 22m35s.

GameDev News

26. July 2016

 

Today at SIGGRAPH 2016, Autodesk announced updates to both their Stingray game engine and Maya LT, the indie focused version of their Maya content creation application.  The Stingray Game Engine updates mostly revolve around VR support, including improved Vive and Rift support.  Maya LT 2017 gets an updated UI, improved Viewport performance, a shape authoring tool and more. 

 

Full press release:

 

Autodesk Upgrades VR Capabilities and 3D Animation Tools for Indie Game Developers at SIGGRAPH 2016
San Francisco, CA (July 26, 2016)
-- At SIGGRAPH 2016, Autodesk unveiled its latest version of 3D animation and modeling software for indie game developers (Autodesk Maya LT 2017), as well as Autodesk Stingray 1.4, the newest version of its powerful 3D game engine and real-time rendering solution.
One of the most significant updates for Maya LT is the time editor, a new tool which helps indie game developers streamline animation of complex characters. Additional updates include improvements to existing animation tools and a newmayaStingray way to organize the tools and user interface (UI) into customized workspaces.
“Subscribing to Maya LT allows us to equip a growing team more easily, and always have the most up-to-date tools available" Sam Abbott, COO, Compulsion Games.

Additional highlights include:

Autodesk Maya LT 2017 Additional Features:
-- An updated graph editor has many new features including a UI/UX refresh that simplifies day-to-day tasks.
-- Shape authoring tool improvements in Maya LT provide artists with more control to create, tweak, and correct animations in a very detailed way.
-- Viewport 2.0 improvements facilitate faster selection performance for scenes with large numbers of nodes and scenes containing hidden objects.
-- Vertex order transfers and corrections make it easier to work between different game creation tools, without losing data as an asset moves through the pipeline.

Autodesk Stingray 1.4 Additional Features:
-- The Stingray 1.4 release offers improved VR capabilities and enhanced connectivity with Maya LT, facilitating a powerful art-to-engine workflow for game developers.
-- Improved support for VR platforms includes compatibility with the Oculus Rift SDK v1.3 and the SteamVR SDK v0.9.19.
-- Flow scripting for HTC Vive controllers offers a faster and more efficient way to add interactivity to VR experiences, while simplifying the process for designers to create and test their prototypes.
-- Unique to Stingray, support for WebGL2 enables developers to test their projects on WebGL2 supported browsers.
-- Level sync, with Maya LT, enables artists to link and export entire scenes directly to Stingray. This creates an easier way to build, iterate, review and change game levels and design scenes, without having to manually reproduce layouts in two tools.
-- Easier asset share between different Stingray projects further benefits collaborative work environments.
-- NavMesh improvements for better AI behavior.
-- Edit UV scale and offset values in materials exported from Maya LT allows users to continue edit UV tiling in Stingray.


Maya LT 2017 is available globally via subscription. Subscribers of Maya LT receive access to Stingray 1.4 as part of their subscription. For more information, visit Maya LT or Stingray on Autodesk.com .

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