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23. January 2018


Epic just released a pretty awesome pair of assets packs completely free for Unreal Engine developers.  Soul:City and Soul:Cave are both AAA quality packs containing maps, models, textures, blueprints and more for creating a futuristic city as well as a cave environment.  The only real catch is the license requires the assets be used only in Unreal Engine projects, which seems reasonable enough all things considered!

Details of the two packs:

Soul City
Texture Sizes: 256, 512, 1024, 2048UE4Ass
Collision: Yes
LODs: No
Number of Meshes: 419
Number of Materials and Material Instances: 234
Number of Textures: 198
Supported Target Build Platforms: Desktop, Mobile
Usage: Licensed for use with the Unreal Engine only.


Soul Cave
Texture Sizes: 256, 512, 1024, 2048
Collision: Yes
LODs: No
Number of Meshes: 173
Number of Materials and Material Instances: 167
Number of Textures: 171
Supported Target Build Platforms: Desktop, Mobile
Usage: Licensed for use with the Unreal Engine only.


You can read more about the release and download both packs from this link.  For a quick video showing the assets in action check here or the video embedded below.

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22. January 2018


BladeCoder Adventure Engine 2.0 was just released today.  BladeCoder is an adventure game focused game engine that is open source (Apache 2) and built over the LibGDX Java game framework.  I previously featured the BladeCoder engine in the Closer Look series available here.


New changes to this release include:

  • HelpScreen doesn't stretch in 4:3 aspect ratio.
  • InkManager translation files support.
  • Import ink texts in order. Better I18N checks.
  • Add music volume fade support in MusicVolume action.
  • VoiceManager doesn't hide texts, now waits to the calc time.
  • FIX: bug when saving ink cb.

I recorded a video going hands-on with the newest version available here and embedded below.

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18. January 2018


Sketchfab has long been one of the most popular way to share and showcase 3D models on the web.  Since 2014 you have been able to download free Creative Commons licensed assets but starting yesterday they have also enabled creators to start selling their assets as well. 


From the Sketchfab blog, these are the details they believe make the Sketchfab store unique:

There are a number of things which are quite unique about it:

  • What you see is what you get: with our state-of-the art 3D viewer and model inspector, not only do you get to see the 3D models but also explore their anatomy. You know for sure how a model is made, and what you are paying for. Reduced hassle for buyers.
  • We process every file: which means that all the technical information about the file itself (polygon count, number of textures, material types��) is automatically generated. And if you already have models on Sketchfab, setting up a store is super fast. Reduced hassle for sellers.
  • An interoperable format: we added glTF support a few weeks ago, which means the file you’ll get from us will render consistently in engines like Unity or Unreal just as you see it on Sketchfab. We even made a Unity importer (download the alpha version here), to ease the process, and an Unreal version is on the way.
  • A huge and diverse library: While not all of the 2 million models hosted on Sketchfab are available for sale at launch, we are in a strong position to help you find anything you are looking for. The content is particularly diverse, from low poly assets to animated rigs and 3D scans.

If you are interested in selling on Sketchfab, be sure to read more about it here.  Currently Sketchfab takes a 30% commission on each sale.

18. January 2018


Today Oculus announced a new developer program, Oculus Start.  If you are accepted to the program youimage can get a year free of Unity plus or a royalty free Unreal Engine license!  Additionally you get access to additional support directly from Oculus as well as addition SDK and beta tools access.

From the Oculus blog:

Today, we're launching a developer program called Oculus Start aimed at providing access, support and savings to qualifying VR developers. We're launching this program to offload some of the development costs of qualified developers so that they can focus on what's really important - creating amazing VR applications. We know there is no shortage of inspired ideas and creative minds breaking ground in VR. Creativity isn't the barrier. Resources shouldn't be either. If your first app is underway, we can help you optimize for more success in this project and your next. Just as we're scaling VR through our devices, we're scaling support to the developer ecosystem.

We're accepting applications starting today!

To see if you qualify, fill in the appropriate info in the application form.Once submitted, we'll review your submission and we'll get back to you shortly.

There are no fees or catches (but, be sure to check out the important info and link to governing terms. We simply want to help support developers on their VR journey and continue to build the VR future together.


The criteria to qualify for Oculus Start is as follows:

Oculus may approve your application in its sole discretion, and approval may be withheld or withdrawn without notice. You are eligible to participate if you: (a) have a valid email address; (b) are at least the age of majority in your jurisdiction of residence; (c) have never yourself or through a VR project received funding from a platform (e.g., without limitation, Oculus, Google, Microsoft, Valve, Steam, HTC), venture capital, or crowdsourcing over USD$10,000.00; (d) as of the date of application, must have published an app on the Oculus Store or another virtual reality platform; (e) have an Oculus developer account; and (f) if you are participating in connection with your VR work within an organization, that organization must be privately held. Limit of one (1) application per person and up to two (2) per organization. Each of up to two (2) developers working on VR projects within the same organization may apply to the program, however, no developer’s application will be accepted if they work with more than one (1) other developer on VR projects within an organization.

So then, what are the benefits of Oculus Start?  They are threefold, access, support and savings as follows:

Access

A direct path to early tech and networking opportunities get you going faster, first. Benefits may include:

Get developer kits for new and existing hardware.

Receive access to beta tools and services.

Gain new knowledge and bond with fellow developers at industry events like Oculus Connect.

Support

Oculus experts will help you troubleshoot and elevate your VR creations. Benefits may include:

Receive dedicated technical support.

Meet 1:1 with our veteran VR team at local events.

Connect with the community of VR developers to share your development experiences.

Savings

Oculus partnerships and network benefits will help offset development costs. Benefits may include:

Receive one year free Unity Plus license or a royalty free Unreal license.*

Get to know the Oculus Store better with Oculus wallet credits.

Learn more at the Oculus Start homepage.

GameDev News

16. January 2018


Epic have just released the first preview version of Unreal Engine 4.19, Preview 1.  Of course this is a preview release and is certainly not meant for use in a productionimage environment!  This release adds dynamic resolution support, Vive Pro support, Live Link animation plugin improvements, general animation improvements and a number of fixes and quality of life improvements across the entire release.  As always the latest release can be installed using the Epic Game Launcher.


Full details of the release from the Unreal forums:



  • Rendering Updates:
    • Temporal AA Upsampling. This is a spatial and temporal upscaler that happens in the Temporal AA pass to produce consistent geometry sharpness from varying primary screen percentage from 50% up to 200%.
    • Dynamic resolution. To go with Temporal upsampling, Unreal Engine 4.19 also introduces Dynamic Resolution to automatically adjust screen percentage according to previous frame GPU workload.
    • Landscape Rendering optimizations.
      • The LOD system was changed from distanced based to be specified in screen size, like static mesh.
      • The LOD distribution was also changed to give more coherent triangle size in distance.
  • VR/AR Updates:
    • VR Resolution Settings. Significant change from Screen Percentage to Pixel Density (see blog)
    • Vive Pro Support. All existing UE4 content that supports SteamVR is compatible with HTC’s newly-announced Vive Pro.
    • Motion Controller Component Visualization. Motion Controllers in Unreal Engine 4.19 now have a new Visualization category.
  • Audio Updates:
    • Upgrade to Steam Audio Beta 10
    • Oculus Audio plugin has been updated and includes a reverb plugin, as well as support for Android and playing back Ambisonics files.
    • Added Resonance Audio plugin
    • First-Order Ambisonics File Support. First-order Ambisonics files can now be imported into Unreal projects and played back using Spatialization plugins.
    • Improvements to UE4’s native VOIP implementation. Spatialization, Distance Attenuation, Reverb, and custom effects for a player's voice can now be controlled using the UVoipTalker scene component.
    • Pre and Post Source Effect Bus Sends Types
    • Added support for Multichannel file import
    • Enabled bAllowAnyoneToDestroyMe on audio components
    • Added ability for submixes to define their own channel format. Currently Stereo, Quad, 5.1, 7.1, and first order ambisonics are supported.
  • Animation/Physics Updates:
    • Live Link Plugin improvements
      • Added UI to Maya, displaying connection status to UE Editor
      • Stream active camera as EditorActiveCamera
      • Display currently streamed subjects
      • Allow add and removal of streamed subjects
      • Refactored entire plugin so that streaming has a manager and streaming objects/interfaces
      • Reworked editor update hook so that streaming is more robust and facial rigs / leaf bones now correctly update
      • Live Link now integrated as a first class feature into Persona
      • Added Virtual Subjects to Live Link
    • Animation improvements
      • Added “Hide Unconnected Pins” for button BreakStruct nodes
      • Added control of Post Process Animation Blueprint
      • Copy Post node now supports copying curves as well as Bone transform
      • Fixed motion blue when changing skeletal mesh properties
    • Animation Tools Updates
      • Added auto-range feature to cloth view ranges
      • Additional Skel Mesh Component Debug info
      • Exposed Sequence Recordings Settings in Animation Editors
      • Improved Clothing Visualizations
      • Clothing Create Menu now defaults to use the Skeletal mesh Physics Assets
      • Improved bounds following in Animation Editor Viewports
      • Added Pinnable Command List to animation editors
      • Added the ability to follow and orbit specified bones
      • Added up to 4 separate viewports to all Animation Editor viewports
    • Editor and Tools Updates
      • Added Contect Menu to HLOD level nodes in HLOD outliner treeview
      • Added a hotkey and command for toggling Post Processing in Preview Scenes
      • Added a new shortcut for switching foreground and background colors in the Mesh Painter
      • New Proxy LOD System (Experimental). An experimental plugin for producing low poly LOD with baked materials for multiple meshes. The new system is used by HLOD and is a replacement for Simplygon.
      • Added support for RGBA Masks in Mesh Painter
    • Physics Updates
      • Saved BodyInstance runtime memory
      • Added “Show Only Selected Constraints” to the physics asset editor
      • Added Ctrl+T keyboard shortcut to toggle between Body and Constraint Selection
      • Added “Set Use CCD” function for changing Continuous Collision Detection option at run-time
    • Sequencer Updates
      • Added Anim BP Weight control
  • Sequencer Updates:
    • Workflow improvements
      • Level sequence dynamic transform origin. You can now offset the actors controlled by sequencer transform tracks with a global offset at runtime
      • Copy/Paste/Duplicate Object tracks. You can now copy/paste/duplicate object tracks and their child tracks;copy a spawnable to the same level sequence or another sequence; copy a possessable from one level sequence to another and the object will be bound to the same object in the other level sequence; copy from one UMG animation to another.
      • Improved Sequencer Editor performance. Sequencer is now able to compile partially or completely out-of-date evaluation templates from the source data as it needs.
  • Gameplay/Scripting Updates:
    • Blueprint Debugging: Call Stack Display. A control that displays the current Blueprint call stack has been added to the Developer Tools menu. Double-clicking entries in the call stack will focus the corresponding node in the Blueprint Editor.
    • Blueprint Debugging: Single stepping improvements. You can now ‘step into’ (F11), ‘step over’ (F10), or ‘step out’ (Alt+Shift+F11) when stopped at a Blueprint breakpoint, making debugging sessions quicker and easier.
    • Improved Tools For Optimizing Disk Size. Several tools have been added or improved to help analyze disk/download size for packaged games.
  • Tools Updates:
    • Folder Favorites for the Content Browser. You can now favorite any folder in your Content Browser to be easily accessible. Can be enabled/disabled using the View Options for Show Favorites.
    • Material Parameters Editing and Saving. New to the Material Editor and the Material Instance Editor is the ability to save parameter values to a new Child Instance or to a Sibling Instance.
  • Core Updates:
    • Encryption/Signing Key Generator. It is now possible to configure .pak file signing and encryption fully from the Editor via a single unified settings panel.

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