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29. February 2016

 

Microsofts entrant into the VR field, the HoloLens, will begin taking developer pre-orders tomorrow for a healthy price tag of $3000USD.

 

Ouch.

 

First, let’s temper some expectations... this is very much a developer release, the actual launch of the HoloLens is a long ways out.  This release is akin to the original DK release for the Oculus Rift a couple years back.  This was the most recent comment about a HoloLens commercial release date:

“When I feel the world is ready, then we will allow normal people to buy it,” Kipman said Thursday, speaking to reporters at the TED conference in Vancouver. “It could be as soon as we say ‘yes,’ and it could be as long as a ‘very long time.'”

Hopefully the consumer hardware will be a great deal cheaper.  With news of the pre-order however, we did get some insight into the specs behind the HoloLens.  Taken from VentureBeat:

Here are the specifications for the HoloLens Development Edition headset:

  • Optics: See-through lenses (waveguides), 2 HD, 16:9 light engines, automatic pupillary distance calibration, 2.3 million total light points in holographic resolution, more than 2,500 radiants (light points per radian) in holographic density
  • Sensors: 1 inertial measurement unit (IMU), 4 environment understanding cameras, 1 depth camera, one 2-megapixel photo and HD video camera, mixed reality capture, 4 microphones, 1 ambient light sensor
  • Human understanding: Spatial sound, gaze tracking, gesture input, voice support
  • Processors: Intel 32-bit architecture and custom-built Microsoft Holographic Processing Unit (HPU) 1.0
  • Battery life: 2-3 hours of active use, up to 2 weeks of standby time; works when charging
  • Memory: 2GB RAM
  • Storage: 64GB flash
  • Connectivity: Micro-USB 2.0, Bluetooth 4.1 low energy
  • Wi-Fi: 802.11ac
  • Audio: 3.5mm headphone jack, built-in speakers, volume up/down
  • Other components: Power button, brightness up/down, battery status LEDs
  • Weight: 579 grams (1.27 lbs)

The HoloLens Development Edition kits come with a headset, an overhead strap, a clicker, a charging cable, a microfiber cloth, nose pads, and a carrying case.

 

Not just anyone can order a HoloLens however, you need to apply and be accepted into the program.

GameDev News

29. February 2016

 

So today marks the first day you can place an order for the HTC Vive, the VR headset that came via a collaboration between HTC and Valve.  If you though the Oculus Rift was expensive take a deep breath... the HTC Vive is $800USD, plus shipping, as seen from their online store:

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This is a $200 increase over the Oculus Rift’s cost, however this bundle also includes two wireless controllers while the Rift only included the bundled (and mostly unwanted) Xbox controller.  The Vive pre-order also comes with the games Job Simulator, Fantastic Contraption and Tilt Brush.

 

Anyways, back to the HTC Vive.  Pre-orders will start shipping in April 2016.  I have to assume orders will be fulfilled in a first come, first served basis.

Personally I was extremely pumped for VR.  Then over the holidays I got a $100 Samsung GearVR and truly the future had arrived.  That said, with these initial price tags ( other than the GearVR that is ), VR is going to be niche only for quite a while unfortunately.  One more chance at a reasonable price with the PlayStation VR... but this is Sony we are talking here.

GameDev News

29. February 2016

 

HaxeDevelop, an IDE specifically for Haxe development has been released.

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HaxeDevelop is sadly a Windows only IDE, and there is a good reason for this.  HaxeDevelop is ultimately a fork of the popular FlashDevelop IDE, which has long been the best IDE for Haxe development.  This fork obviously focuses heavily on Haxe related functionality.  Like FlashDevelop, HaxeDevelop is free and open source.

 

Some noteworthy features:

Project Managment

HaxeDevelop has built-in support for many workflows.
Of course all Haxe target platforms are integrated. You can also start using frameworks like OpenFL, Lime, Flambe, Kha, HaxeFlixel, Adobe Flash and Adobe AIR with the build-in project templates. You can create, customize and share your own project templates.

HaxeDevelop projects


Navigate in your code

The Outline panel gives you an overview of your code.
Click in the tree to jump in the code or open imported classes. Note that anywhere in your code you can also press F4 to jump to the declaration of the element at cursor position. To jump back, press Shift+F4 (also works after using a code generator).

HaxeDevelop class outline


Compiler integration

The rich type system of the Haxe Compiler in HaxeDevelop.
HaxeDevelop magically combines the Haxe Compiler Completion with the build-in completion service for lightning fast completion. See Haxe compiler errors in the Results panel - double-click on errors to jump to the reported error location.

HaxeDevelop errors and warnings


Organized settings

Tools > Program Settings

Many aspect of HaxeDevelop are configurable.
All program specific settings and the plugins settings are stored in a friendly searchable panel.

HaxeDevelop program settings


Task Panel

View > Task List

Keep track of your project state.
The Tasks panel help you track your project state: see what you have TODO or the BUGs to fix. If these are not enough; you can even add your own custom keywords.

HaxeDevelop task panel

GameDev News

28. February 2016

 

Released in candidate form a couple weeks back, the Spring RTS engine just released version 101.  Spring is a real-time strategy game for Windows, Mac and Linux that is focused open source game engine.

 

Release 101 brings:

Lua Feature & Map shaders
It is now possible to set custom shaders for features and map drawing from lua.
Line of Sight refactor
Line of sight calculation performance was greatly improved allowing it to be smoothly updated every simulation frame.
Transports refactor
The hard-coded transport behaviour was tweaked to allow the attachment of any unit to any other unit from lua.
Internal pr-downloader support
An essential step towards in-game lobby, it already allows rapid tags to be used in game dependencies and in start scripts.

Or you can view the new features in action in this video:

 

More information about Spring is available here.  The C++ source code is available on Sourceforge.

GameDev News

28. February 2016

 

I have done several complete Blender tutorials here on GameFromScratch on using Blender including this one and this one that take you from complete beginners to reasonably fluent.  Taking the next step however can be quite tricky.  So I’m going to do a series of quick and simple tutorials showing how to accomplish a specific task in Blender.  Keep in mind, this shows one way of doing things, not necessarily the right way.  These tutorials assume you already know how to operate Blender, so if you do not, be sure to check out one of the two earlier linked tutorials.

There is now a video version of this tutorial available here.

 

Modeling a Low Polygon Sword

In this tutorial I am going to model the entire thing as a single mesh.  You could of course model it component by component if you preferred.

 

Start with the default Blender cube.

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Switch to edit mode, insert an edge loop (Ctrl + R), apply immediately.

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Switch to Polygon editing mode (CTRL + TAB + 3), select the left most face and delete (X) select Vertices:

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Now go into modifiers, add a Mirror modifier.  Select the appropriate axis to mirror along (Y in my case)

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This puts us back to having a cube again:

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Now, still in edit mode, select everything (A), then scale along X then Z axis ( S-X, then S-Z ), so your shape looks like this:

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Select the end face (non-mirrored one) and extrude ( E ) it several times.

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Now switch to the side view, then apply a Bend (Shift + W), like so:

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This presents a small problem, our vertices left the mirror axis:

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The easiest solution is to select the top vertices, then in properties (N), manually set the mirror axis value to 0, then repeat for the bottom vertices.

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I’m going to be extruding the sword blade out next, but first I want the edge to be flat so the blade extrudes cleanly.  This is easily accomplished in a non-intuitive way...  select these edges:

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Then scale 0 along the axis you want to align.  This can be accomplished with S+Z+0, aka, scale 0 along the Z axis, with the following result:

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Easy enough...  now we need to make a few edge cuts so we have a nice extrude-able blade.  First make a pair of loop cuts like so:

GIF

 

By the way, when making your edge cut (Ctrl + R), before right clicking to commit you can use the wheel mouse to make multiple evenly spaced cuts.  Or new edge loops are a bit two far apart when evenly spaced, so move them closer together.  With both newly created loops still selected, simply scale on the X axis (S+X) and move the two edge loops closer together.  Then add another edge loop at the edge, like so:

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Now simply extrude our newly created polygon  a couple times:

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Grab the top most edge to make things pointy...

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Now taper the edge however you like your sword to look:

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Finally we need a hilt...  Everything we need is in place already...  If you look at the bottom of the sword, it should look something like this:

image

 

First less flatten the one polygon (S+Z+0) like we did with the blade, just this time with the single polygon selected:

image

 

If you prefer the look, you could have flattened the entire bottom of the sword.  Next scale along the X axis, then move it slightly down the Z axis:

image

 

And time for more extrusions...

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Now move and scale things until it looks like you want...

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TADA... one low polygon sword in about 3 minutes time.  Of course you probably want to add a bit of detail here and there...  Mostly this can be accomplished with bevels (CTRL + B), for example using a bevel we can add so detail to the hilt or handle should we wish, like so:

GIF2

 

After loop cutting in and beveling whatever additional detail you wish into the model, leave edit mode and apply the Mirror modifier:

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And tada:

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