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14. December 2016

 

Allegro is an open source, C++ based game framework handling low level tasks such as window creation, input, data loading, drawing images, playing sound and other common 2D game tasks (much like SDL or SFML).  It runs on Mac, Windows, Linux, iPhone and Android devices.  Allegro is a libraryallegro that has been around for years, in fact it started life on the Atari ST computers.  Allegro actually stands for Atari Low Level Game Routines.  It’s an accessible and easy to use framework and one that has a special place in my heart.  The developers at Allegro just released a new version, 5.2.2.

Details of the new release:

Core:

  • Don't accumulate time in the timer while it is stopped.

  • Use dynamic OpenGL ES checks, so binaries produced on newer platforms don't crash on older ones.

  • Destabilize the OpenGL extensions API (BREAKING CHANGE!).

Raspberry Pi port:

  • Add various optimizations.

  • Fix al_set_mouse_xy under X.

Android port:

  • Fix buffer overrun and memory leak in the clipboard support.

  • Add WANT_GLES3 to disable some of the newer features on platforms where they aren't supported.

  • Fix build in Android versions below 3.1.

  • Fix a crash when activity is destroyed/paused.

  • Allow building for android mips, arm64 and mips64.

  • Add al_android_get_jni_env and al_android_get_activity utility functions.

  • Update manifest files for newer Android versions.

Windows port:

  • Handle keyboard input properly when Ctrl is pressed (Tobias Scheuer).

Hurd port:

  • Define a fallback PATH_MAX (Andreas Rönnquist).

OSX port:

  • Clear window to black when going in/out of fullscreen.

  • Fix window centering when going out of FULLSCREEN_WINDOW mode.

  • Fix OSX 10.12 build.

  • Allow 32 bit builds on OSX (MarcusCalhoun-Lopez).

Build system:

  • Fix issues with building on GCC6 on Windows.

  • Fix source directory littering while configuring the Android build.

Python binding:

  • Add support Python 3 (Gabriel Queiroz).

Documentation:

  • Document the behavior of al_set_target_bitmap with respect to transformations (Edgar Reynaldo).

  • Fix typo in al_use_transform docs (Ryan Roden-Corrent).

Examples:

  • Add kerning to the al_get_glyph example in ex_ttf.

  • Various fixes in ex_camera (Erich Erstu).

GameDev News

14. December 2016

 

Krita is a popular open source digital painting application, which just saw a milestone 3.1 release.  Why a milestone release you ask?  This release marks the first time that Krita runs natively on Mac OS thank to a summer of code sponsored project by Julian Thijssen.  A Mac OS release isn’t the only feature of this release.  Full features include:

  • Mac OSX Support
  • Render animations (to Gif, MP4, MKV and OGG formats)
  • Animation Curves and Opacity (another Summer of Code project)
  • New Colour picker
  • New Quick Brush Engine
  • Stop Based Gradient Editor
    • krita_texture_bg
  • Create a stroke around your selection (https://docs.krita.org/Stroke_Selection)
  • Halftone filter added. Find it in the main menu: Filters > Artistic.
  • add a new Eraser Switch Opacity feature, similar to the Eraser Switch Size one.
  • new layer from visible option in layer menu
  • OSX: add quicklook plugin
  • Added support for loading Scribus XML palettes.

 

These features on top of a few dozen other fixes and changes.  Krita certainly is developing nicely and Google’s Summer Of Code program has been a big help.

Krita is available for download here.

GameDev News

14. December 2016

 

Tizen is an open source embedded OS based on the Linux kernel designed to be used in a variety of devices, the most relevant to game developers are Smart TVs and mobile phones.  It came to life out of a home grown OS project at Samsung called Bada.  To date the majority of devices that run Tizen are from Samsung including the Z1 and Z3 smart phones, Gear 2 smart watch and the JU6500 4K smart TV, although other manufacturers are part of the committee.  Basically you can think of Tizen as Samsung’s hedge against Android should something go wrong with that platform.

So… why does this matter to you as game developers?  Well Tizen just announced a contest with some pretty simple rules and $9million in prizes.  Basically over a 9 month period, the top 100 apps in the Tizen app store will get $10,000.  So if you manage to have a top 100 app for the entire duration of the contest, you will make a cool $90,000 on top of any other revenue you make from app sales.  While the Tizen app store may not be the biggest in the world, a $10,000 monthly incentive is sure to draw developer interest.

 

Details of the contest:

HOW TO
PARTICIPATE

  • 1.Develop a Tizen application or game using TIZEN SDK & Tools (http://developer.tizen.org) The target devices should be Samsung Z1, Samsung Z2, Samsung Z3 and further smart phones launch in the 2017.
  • 2.You need to join the Tizen Store seller office
    (http://seller.tizenstore.com) first and follow the instructions on the website to register your applications.
  • 3.Visit the incentive program website, which will be opened on the early of January 2017, and register your app with its basic information.

TIMELINE

Participation Registration Period
Early of Jan, 2017 – Oct 31, 2017 (GMT)
Program Duration
Feb 1, 2017 at 00:00 - Oct 31, 2017 at 23:59(GMT)

INCENTIVE
REWARDS

Prize
$10,000 for top 100 apps every month(The reward can be provided at once per a app)
Judging Criteria
Every month, the 100 eligible applications that have
been downloaded the most times on Tizen Store.(Detailed rules will be released in January 2017)

 

Tizen support is available in several game engines including Unity, Cocos2d-x, GameSalad, OpenFL and GameMaker.

GameDev News

13. December 2016

 

With the release of Unity 5.5 a couple weeks back, we had to know that Unity 5.6 beta would be just around the corner.  Well, we have officially rounded that corner, Unity 5.6 Beta was released today. 

So, what’s new in Beta 5.6 release?

  • Vulkan renderer support (Android, Windows, Linux, Tizen)Unity56
  • Metal Compute support (iOS, Mac OS/X)
  • GPU instancing and particle system performance improvements
  • EncodeToEXR to Texture2D, save HDR textures to EXR on disk
  • 2D Game Dev workflow improvements
    • Axis Distance Sort for Z sorting
    • Outline Editor added to Sprite Editor Window ( automatic tessellation or manual mesh shape editing)
    • 2D Physics casting API and new 2D Contact API
    • CompositeCollider2D, merge multiple colliders
    • 9slice (9patch?) support
  • New video player with 4K and 360 degree support
  • Unity Collaborate improvements (partial publish, ignore files, rollback)
  • iOS added to Unity Performance Reporting
  • Google Daydream and Cardboard support added ( was previously a forked version )
  • Support for Facebook GameRoom
  • Physics Debug Visualization
  • Physics.ComputePenetration and Physics.ClosestPoint functions added

 

They also discussed some upcoming features for 5.6:

  • Progressive Lightmapper for baked lightmaps
  • more light modes
  • redesigned lighting window + new Light Explorer window
  • timeline (cinematics system)
  • multithreaded jobs system
  • new platforms (such as Nintendo Switch)

 

You can read more details about the 5.6 release here as well as more details of their upcoming features here.

GameDev News

13. December 2016

 

The next version of Visual Studio, Visual Studio 2017 is currently in Release Candidate.  I’m pretty excited about this release, I took a preview look available here, as it works to undo a great deal of the bloat that has been creeping into Visual Studio over the years.  While VS2017 isn’t quite ready for release, they have released an update for the Release Candidate (RC) build.  In addition to several bug fixes, it adds a few new command line utilities and greatly streamline the csproj file format.

 

Details from the release announcement:

CLI enhancements

  • Added the dotnet add p2p command, for adding project to project references.
  • Added the dotnet remove p2p command, for removing project to project references from the project file.
  • dotnet new templates are updated to reflect the simplified csproj syntax.
  • Added verbosity control to build, pack, publish, restore & test using –v | –verbosity. The verbosity levels map to MSBuild verbosity levels.

Bug fixes

  • Migration from xproj to csproj
    • Migration of projects that have P2P references is no longer broken.
    • Removed PostPublishScript target.
    • Removed post-migration reference to dotnet-test-mstest.
    • Fixed migration output issues.
    • Migration adds RIDs when migrating projects with .NET Framework TFM.
    • Migration no longer migrates the reference to dotnet-test-xunit if project.json contains it.
  • Project to Project References
    • Referencing from a UWP project is no longer blocked.
    • Referencing from regular csproj no longer gives warnings.
    • TargetFramework dropdown in the project properties page works.
  • NuGet
    • Restore hang fixes and stability improvements.
    • Pack now uses the correct version range for dependency projects.
    • Restore now adds correct project dependency version for command line restore.
  • MSBuild
    • Improvement to incremental builds for C# and VB projects that use wildcards that ensures a rebuild when a source file is deleted.
  • ASP.NET Core Tooling
    • Entity Framework Core commands such as Add-Migration and Update-Database can now be invoked using NuGet Package Manager Console.
    • To successfully restore Bower packages, you no longer need to have Git installed globally or manually reference Git in Tools-Options.
    • Can successfully debug ASP.NET Core Web Applications with Windows Authentication.
  • Docker
    • When provisioning an Azure Docker registry and App Service plan, it no longer requires a new resource group to be created in the same region as the App Service plan.
    • Improved the usability of creating a new Azure resource group.

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