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30. December 2015

 

GarageGames have just released Torque2D version 3.2.  Torque2D is 2D game engine built over the Torque 3D engine, which is now open source and MIT licensed.

From the release:

While you were singing carols door to door and sipping eggnog by the fireplace, the T2D Steering Committee was hard at work wrapping up one last present! Presenting Torque2D 3.2! This latest incarnation of everybody's favorite 2D engine sports several shiny new features! But before we get into that, let's take a moment of silence to remember the many bugs that lost their lives to make this release possible.


Now then, our first new feature is the FadeTo function. This works like MoveTo except that it changes the blend color over time instead of the position. If you ever wanted to fade a bad guy out when it died or fade a slightly transparent object in, then this function was written for you! It could be used to make your hero flash red when his life is low or slowly change the color of the sky as the sunsets. FadeTo comes with all the support functions of MoveTo including a cancel function and callback when it's finished.


We also added GrowTo which changes the size of an object over time. With GrowTo you can change the x and y at different rates and create all kinds of neat effects. But, there's a catch! Collision shapes don't grow with the sprite. So if your object has collision shapes attached you'll want to use it sparingly. Slight changes can do a lot. Like FadeTo, GrowTo is supported by functions to test and cancel. When an object reaches its target size it will fire a callback.
We also have support now for one way collisions. This is most commonly seen in platformer games when a character jumps up through the platform and magically lands on top of it, but in theory there's many other uses for it. This only works for edge and chain collision shapes.
And finally, last but not least, we have revived ogg! That's right! The open source, compact audio format is back by popular demand. You can start using ogg files again on Windows and Mac OSX.

GameDev News, Programming , ,

30. December 2015

 

This is a tutorial on getting started with Samsung’s GearVRf framework with the Samsung Gear VR.  The GearVR is a virtual reality headset powered by Oculus Rift technology and a modern Samsung android phone.  The GearVRf SDK is a framework made available by Samsung enabling you to develop for the GearVR using Java.  If you are wondering “Hey, can’t you use Unity or Unreal Engine?” yes, yes you can and probably should… but that’s never stopped me from doing things before!

 

First off, there is a guide to getting started available here and it will get you *most* of the way there.  This tutorial covers the missing bits…  There is also a video version available here or embedded below.

 

First off there are a number or pre-requisites before you can begin, you need to have the following installed/configured/registered:

 

The Eclipse requirement is unfortunate, however NDK support was only recently added to Android Studio.  In time expect it to work with Android Studio instead.

 

As part of the installation, make note of where you extract the Oculus SDK.  The Samsung VR SDK has to be installed at the same directory level and I believe requires the folder be named ovr_sdk_mobile.  In other words, if you installed the Oculus Mobile SDK to c:\dev\ovr_sdk_mobile then clone GearVRf to the c:\dev folder. Change into the appropriate folder and run the command:

git clone https://github.com/Samsung/GearVRf.git

This will take a few minutes and download the GearVR SDK.  Now we are ready to start working in Eclipse.  Follow the instructions from Samsung specifically “Build Configuration” to setup Eclipse, then copy the files mentioned in the section “Oculus Mobile SDK”, it’s just 3 jars to 3 different folders that need to be copied.

 

Now we are ready to import the Samsung SDK into Eclipse.  Select File->Import… then Existing Android Code into Workspace.

image

 

Now select the Framework folder ( for example c:\dev\GVRf\Framework if you cloned the sdk into the c:\dev directory ), then click Next.

Go to the menu Project and turn off Build Automatically.  Then in the same menu select Clean… toggle if not already the “Clean all Projects” tick then click OK.  This will now build the SDK.  If you get an error, there is a good chance the your NDK or Android SDK settings in Eclipse are wrong, so start there.

 

Hopefully however everything ran fine.  In which case, let’s start with a sample from the SDK.  In the same workspace you imported and built the framework, import another existing Android project using the same settings, this time importing a project from Sample subdirectory of the GearVRf install folder. 

 

Now that we have a project to run, this next part is CRITICAL or your app will crash on start.  If you haven’t already, go to the Oculus site and register for a signing key ( the link is available above ) and put in the id of your phone.  Instructions are available on the same page as the form on Oculus.  This process will generate and download a file that needs to be included in each application you run.  Simply copy this file into the assets folder of the sample you imported.

 

Now plug in your phone then in Eclipse in Package Explorer, right click the imported demo and select Run As->Android Application. The APK should now be generated and copied to your phone.  However it wont run as you need to insert your device into the GearVR now ( we will address this shortly ).  For now, unplug your phone, run your newly installed app, then insert into the GearVR.  If it loads the main menu, your application crashed.  Ideally your app will now be running. 

 

So that’s it, the steps required to get started with GearVR development using Samsung’s GearVRf SDK.  If you are thinking… Unity/Unreal would be a hell of a lot easier!  You are right… I’ll cover getting started with both of those in the near future.

 

Now that we are running you will quickly notice that putting the device into the GearVR over and over is a pain and requires you to disconnect your device from USB each time making debugging impossible.  Don’t worry, there are two ways around this.

 

Debugging a Samsung Gear VR application

 

Running in Developer Mode ( no headset )

For most builds, you can actually run your code without a device.  This way you can leave it plugged in and remove the time consuming insert in phone and restart process.  First you need to put your phone into developer mode for Oculus.

  • Swipe down and select Settings gear icon
  • Tap Applications
  • Tap Application Manager
  • Locate Gear VR Service, tap
  • Tap Manage Storage
  • Tap VR Service Version Several times
  • Swipe Developer Mode on.  Now you can run without the Rift (great way to record video by the way…)

There is a dedicated post and video on this topic now available here.

 

Debug Wireless

You can also set adb into wireless mode. 

  • On your phone select Settings->Wireless->Click your active connection, make note of your IP address
  • Open a terminal/command prompt and cd into your Android SDK folder\platform-tools
  • Plug in your phone
  • In the terminal/command prompt type adb tcpip 5555
  • Now connect to device wireless with adb connect 123.123.123.123 (<--- obviously, your IP address here)
  • Unplug your device.  At this point you may want to restart Eclipse.
  • Now you can run from Eclipse directly to the device without having to plug in.

 

Video

Programming ,

29. December 2015

 

So over the holiday I joined the VR revolution with a Samsung GearVR while I wait for the Oculus Rift to be released.  The good news is, it’s really quite cool, except a full review shortly.  However, one of the challenges of reviewing something like the GearVR on the web is taking a screenshot…  How can you demonstrate the experience if you can’t take screen shots?  Well fortunately you can, but it’s a bit of a hack/workaround to get there.

 

First off, you need to have an external keyboard.  Personally I used a Logitech K810 I have sitting around.  Next be sure to pair it with your Galaxy phone, simply select Settings->Bluetooth and locate the keyboard.  Now fire up the GearVR like normal.  Then when running simply hit the Print Screen button on your keyboard and the screenshot will automatically be saved to your photo roll.

 

Now, the screenshot may not look exactly like what you expect.  Here for example is the dashboard:

Screenshot_2015-12-29-15-43-39

Notice the tilting???  Well that’s because I didn’t have my hand on the print screen key when I started the app, so I had to remove the goggles to find the key.  Oops.

 

And here is Netflix running, slightly less tilted:

Screenshot_2015-12-29-15-44-25

 

As you can see, you get a screenshot for each eye and they aren’t square like you’d expect on a PC.  There may be a way to take a screenshot without requiring an external keyboard, but I don’t know what it is.  If you know an easier way, please let me know in the comments below!

General ,

28. December 2015

 

A couple months back I got sick of having to wear a headset when doing video recording.  I had been using a set of Astro A30 headphones which gave solid results, but I found them uncomfortable after extended periods of recording and didn’t like being tethered to my machine.  So I decided to try out the ubiquitous Blue Snowball, which I demonstrated in this video.  Many people love this microphone… I am not one of these people.  There are virtually zero settings available to you, so if your setup isn’t ideal, the snowball fails.  More than a foot or two from the microphone it picks up nothing, to mention nothing of the horrific echo I was getting in my environment.  I ended up getting so many bad recordings that I switched back to my headset while hunting down an alternative.

 

Shopping around at most local stores it seemed the only options were Blue Snowballs and Yetis.  I certainly didn’t want to double down on that particular mistake.  Then I came across the Seirēn from Razer.  Other than the price tag and technical support, I’ve long been a fan of Razer products.  They are one of the few true premium brands in the PC space, from laptops, keyboards and mice and hopefully to microphones.  A quick search revealed mostly good reviews, so I decided to give it a shot.  What follows is an unboxing of the Razer Seiren.  It is not a proper review however as I haven't spent nearly enough time with it.

 

The Specs

Price

@$200 USD MSRP (purchased for $200 CDN)

Microphone specifications
• Power required / consumption: 5V 500mA (USB)
• Sample rate: 192kHz
• Bit rate: 24bit
• Capsules: Three 14mm condenser capsules
• Polar patterns: Cardioid, stereo, omnidirectional, bidirectional
• Frequency response: 20Hz – 20kHz
• Sensitivity: 4.5mV/Pa (1kHz)
• Max SPL: 120dB (THD: 0.5% 1kHz)

Headphone amplifier
• Impedance: > 16ohms
• Power output (RMS): 130mW
• THD: 0.009%
• Frequency response: 15Hz – 22kHz
• Signal-to-noise ratio: 114dB

 

Images

 

The Box

ProductBox

 

Opened

boxOpen

 

Cables and Manual

 

CablesAndDocs

Front

 

Front

 

Back

 

Back

 

Audio Samples

Here are two sets of recordings, one at 1.5” foot range, the other at about 4”, done with the Blue Snowball and the Raer Seiren, both in the exact same spot and with out of the box settings:

 

Blue Snowball

Near Recording

Far Recording

 

Razer Seiren

Near Recording

Far Recording

 

Video Test

The following video is a test recording on YouTube, again with default settings.

General

27. December 2015

 

This series is a recap of GameFromScratch’s previous week activity on YouTube.

IMG_1826

 

This week was pretty sparse because it was the week of the Christmas holiday.  Happy holiday folks!  There were however still four videos this week:

 

A Completely Random Look at 123D Sculpt a freely available tablet based sculpting application from Autodesk.

 

A Completely Random Look at 123D Sculpt

 

Next up we have another episode in the Closer Look game engine series. This one looks at the early access Atomic Game Engine

A Closer Look at the Atomic Game Engine

 

Next up we have another entry in the GameDev toolbox series. This time it's Webstorm, the excellent JavaScript IDE from Net Brains

GameDev Toolbox: Webstorm

 

And of course, this weeks news:

This Week in GameDev -- Week 6, Dec 27/2015

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