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29. September 2017


Augmented Reality (AR) seems to be the new hotness in game development, enabling applications to mix the real world and their game worlds together.  PlayCanvas, a 3D HTML5 powered game engine we reviewed here as well as a more recent tutorial series here, just added AR support.  Built over top of the ARToolkit, PlayCanvasAR is described as:

PlayCanvasAR makes it easy to build lightning fast augmented reality applications. With it, you can construct web-based AR applications with zero programming using the PlayCanvas Editor. Just drag in your 3D models and watch them appear in AR!

With the following features:

  • Amazing Performance - PlayCanvasAR delivers 60 frames per second, even on mobile.
  • Marker-based Tracking - PlayCanvasAR utilizes the amazing ARToolkit, an open source marker-based tracking library. Originally coded in C++, it has been ported to JavaScript using Emscripten.
  • Incredible Visuals - PlayCanvas provides an advanced WebGL graphics engine. It supports the latest WebGL 2 graphics API and implements Physically Based Rendering to achieve incredible visuals for your AR applications. And yes, that's open sourced too.

The following browsers are currently supported:

  • Android 4.0+ (Chrome 21+)
  • iOS 11+ (Safari 11+, Chrome 21+, Firefox 17+)
  • Windows XP+ (Chrome 21+, Firefox 17+, Opera 18+, Edge 12+)
  • macOS (Safari 11+, Chrome 21+, Firefox 17+, Opera 18+)
  • Linux (Chrome 21+, Firefox 17+, Opera 18+)


PlayCanvasAr is available here.  You can see the new AR functionality in action in the video below:

GameDev News

28. September 2017


The popular open source painting package Krita just released version 3.3.0.  Windows users can rejoice at this release for a couple of reasons, especially Surface users.  This release gets support for n-trig pens meaning surfaces and similar laptop pens will not be supported natively.  Additionally the option was added to support Angle instead of OpenGL, which should work around some driver problems.  The release contains several other improvements and features.


Details from the release announcement:


Less than a month after Krita 3.2.1, we’re releasing Krita 3.3.0. We’re bumping the version because there are some important changes, especially for Windows users in this version!

Alvin Wong has implemented support for the Windows 8 event API, which means that Krita now supports the n-trig pen in the Surface line of laptops (and similar laptops from Dell, HP and Acer) natively. This is still very new, so you have to enable this in the tablet settings.

And he also refactored Krita’s hardware-accelerated display functionality to optionally use Angle on Windows instead of native OpenGL. That means that many problems with Intel display chips and broken driver versions are worked around because Krita now can use Direct3D indirectly.


There are more changes in this release, of course:

  • Some visual glitches when using hi-dpi screens are fixed (remember: on Windows and Linux, you need to enable this in the settings dialog).
  • If you create a new image from clipboard, the image will have a title
  • Favorite blending modes and favorite brush presets are now loaded correctly on startup
  • GMIC
    • the plugin has been updated to the latest version for Windows and Linux.
    • the configuration for setting the path to the plugin has been removed. Krita looks for the plugin in the folder where the krita executable is, and optionally inside a folder with a name that starts with ‘gmic’ next to the krita executable.
    • there are several fixes for handling layers and communication between Krita and the plugin
  • Some websites save jpeg images with a .png extension: that used to confuse Krita, but Krita now first looks inside the file to see what kind of file it really is.
  • PNG:
    • 16 and 32 bit floating point images are now converted to 16 bit integer when saving the images as PNG.
    • It’s now possible to save the alpha channel to PNG images even if there are no (semi-) transparent pixels in the image
  • When hardware accelerated display is disabled, the color picker mode of the brush tool showed a broken cursor; this has been fixed.
  • The Reference Images docker now only starts loading images when it is visible, instead on Krita startup. Note: the reference images docker uses Qt’s imageio plugins to load images. If you are running on Linux, remove all Deepin desktop components. Deepin comes with severely broken qimageio plugins that will crash any Qt application that tries to display images.
  • File layers now correctly reload on change again
  • Add several new commandline options:
    • –nosplash to start Krita without showing the splash screen
    • –canvasonly to start Krita in canvas-only mode
    • –fullscreen to start Krita full-screen
    • –workspace Workspace to start Krita with the given workspace
  • Selections
    • The Select All action now first clears the selection before selecting the entire image
    • It is now possible to extend selections outside the canvas boundary
  • Performance improvements: in several places superfluous reads from the settings were eliminated, which makes generating a layer thumbnail faster and improves painting if display acceleration is turned off.
  • The smart number input boxes now use the current locale to follow desktop settings for numbers
  • The system information dialog for bug reports is improved
  • macOS/OSX specific changes:
    • Bernhard Liebl has improved the tablet/stylus accuracy. The problem with circles having straight line segments is much improved, though it’s not perfect yet.
    • On macOS/OSX systems with and AMD gpu, support for hardware accelerated display is disabled because saving to PNG and JPG hangs Krita otherwise.

Krita is completely free and available for download here.

GameDev News

27. September 2017


Aseprite, a pixel based drawing and animation app, just released version 1.2.  New features include pixel aspect ratios, gradients, reference layers and more.  There were also several bug fixes and improvements.


From the release blog post:


Aseprite v1.2 is finally the new stable version (*). If you were already using the beta version, you will not notice substantial changes. But if you were using Aseprite v1.1.13, there are a lot of new features for you (like pixel aspect ratio, layer groups, overlapping frame tags, gradients, reference layers, etc.)

This is a list of the changes from v1.2-beta12 to the final v1.2:

  • Added new Addition, Subtract, Divide blending modes
  • Added support to change theme and UI scaling without restarting (#471)
  • Disable transformation handles in the selection when a Shift or Shift+Alt are pressed by default (reported here)
  • Fixed high CPU usage on Timeline when we copy layers/frames/cels (bug report)
  • Fixed snap to grid bug with selection tool
  • Fixed crash closing all files & opening a new one when preview window was playing an animation
  • Windows: New x64 version (included in the installer and on Steam, it’ll install the x64 version on x64 machines)
  • Windows: New --disable-wintab option to avoid loading wintab32.dll
  • Removed Windows XP support (Please contact us in case that you still need a previous version with Windows XP support.)
  • macOS: Use the native macOS menu bar (#135)
  • macOS: Now ⌘M and ⌘H will Minimize and Hide the window respectively. Use Ctrl+M for Color Curves, and Ctrl+H to change View > Show Extras options.
  • macOS: Fixed bug setting broken mouse cursors in some special cases
  • macOS: Retina support (#903)
  • Fixed other bugs (including #1569, and #1423 thanks to @cebolan)

Several new features were delayed just to create a more stable v1.2 version. So sorry for everybody that don’t get what they asked for :’( Soon I’ll release the first v1.3-beta1 with some crazy new stuff, so stay tuned.


We took a look at Aseprite in action in this video should you wish to learn more.

GameDev News, Art ,

26. September 2017


Do you find that 8/16-bit games aren’t retro enough?  Yearning for an even earlier art start?  Well then, do I have the perfect software for you!  RexPaint, an ANSI painting package.  So, how exactly does it work?  Well just like any other paint package frankly, except instead of drawing with pixels or voxels, you using ASCII characters.  RexPaint supports many of the features you would expect from a modern art package, multiple drawing tools, palette tools, layer support etc.  The end result can then be exported as a PNG or in several text formats.


To see RexPaint in action, be sure to watch the video below.  Oh, and it’s completely free.

Art ,

25. September 2017


SDL 2.0.6 has been released.  SDL, the Simple Directmedia Layer, is a low level C framework providing cross platform low level services for 2DSdl-logo game developers.  SDL has been used for such titles as FTL:Faster than Light, Axiom Verge and Starbound and hundreds of other titles.  It provides access to graphics, gamepad, windowing and more.  It is completely free and open source.  The 2.0.6 release contains several bug fixes as well as new cross platform Vulkan support.


Details of this release:

General:

  • Added cross-platform Vulkan graphics support in SDL_vulkan.h
    SDL_Vulkan_LoadLibrary()
    SDL_Vulkan_GetVkGetInstanceProcAddr()
    SDL_Vulkan_GetInstanceExtensions()
    SDL_Vulkan_CreateSurface()
    SDL_Vulkan_GetDrawableSize()
    SDL_Vulkan_UnloadLibrary()
    This is all the platform-specific code you need to bring up Vulkan on all SDL platforms. You can look at an example in test/testvulkan.c
  • Added SDL_ComposeCustomBlendMode() to create custom blend modes for 2D rendering
  • Added SDL_HasNEON() which returns whether the CPU has NEON instruction support
  • Added support for many game controllers, including the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller
  • Added support for inverted axes and separate axis directions in game controller mappings
  • Added functions to return information about a joystick before it’s opened:
    SDL_JoystickGetDeviceVendor()
    SDL_JoystickGetDeviceProduct()
    SDL_JoystickGetDeviceProductVersion()
    SDL_JoystickGetDeviceType()
    SDL_JoystickGetDeviceInstanceID()
  • Added functions to return information about an open joystick:
    SDL_JoystickGetVendor()
    SDL_JoystickGetProduct()
    SDL_JoystickGetProductVersion()
    SDL_JoystickGetType()
    SDL_JoystickGetAxisInitialState()
  • Added functions to return information about an open game controller:
    SDL_GameControllerGetVendor()
    SDL_GameControllerGetProduct()
    SDL_GameControllerGetProductVersion()
  • Added SDL_GameControllerNumMappings() and SDL_GameControllerMappingForIndex() to be able to enumerate the built-in game controller mappings
  • Added SDL_LoadFile() and SDL_LoadFile_RW() to load a file into memory
  • Added SDL_DuplicateSurface() to make a copy of a surface
  • Added an experimental JACK audio driver
  • Implemented non-power-of-two audio resampling, optionally using libsamplerate to perform the resampling
  • Added the hint SDL_HINT_AUDIO_RESAMPLING_MODE to control the quality of resampling
  • Added the hint SDL_HINT_RENDER_LOGICAL_SIZE_MODE to control the scaling policy for SDL_RenderSetLogicalSize():
    “0” or “letterbox” - Uses letterbox/sidebars to fit the entire rendering on screen (the default)
    “1” or “overscan” - Will zoom the rendering so it fills the entire screen, allowing edges to be drawn offscreen
  • Added the hints SDL_HINT_MOUSE_NORMAL_SPEED_SCALE and SDL_HINT_MOUSE_RELATIVE_SPEED_SCALE to scale the mouse speed when being read from raw mouse input
  • Added the hint SDL_HINT_TOUCH_MOUSE_EVENTS to control whether SDL will synthesize mouse events from touch events

Windows:

  • The new default audio driver on Windows is WASAPI and supports hot-plugging devices and changing the default audio device
  • The old XAudio2 audio driver is deprecated and will be removed in the next release
  • Added hints SDL_HINT_WINDOWS_INTRESOURCE_ICON and SDL_HINT_WINDOWS_INTRESOURCE_ICON_SMALL to specify a custom icon resource ID for SDL windows
  • The hint SDL_HINT_WINDOWS_DISABLE_THREAD_NAMING is now on by default for compatibility with .NET languages and various Windows debuggers
  • Updated the GUID format for game controller mappings, older mappings will be automatically converted on load
  • Implemented the SDL_WINDOW_ALWAYS_ON_TOP flag on Windows

Linux:

  • Added an experimental KMS/DRM video driver for embedded development

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