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15. September 2017


Some time back Microsoft launched the UWP, Universal Windows Platform, a target enabling you to create Windows store apps that could also be run on XBox One hardware.  There was however a big catch, limited resources.  From the UWP documentation:

  • The maximum memory available to an app running in the foreground is 1 GB.

    • The maximum memory available to an app running in the background is 128 MB.
    • Apps that exceed these memory requirements will encounter memory allocation failures. For more information about monitoring memory use, see the MemoryManager class reference.

  • Share of 2-4 CPU cores depending on the number of apps and games running on the system.

  • Share of 45% of the GPU depending on the number of apps and games running on the system.

  • UWP on Xbox One supports DirectX 11 Feature Level 10. DirectX 12 is not supported at this time.

  • All apps must target the x64 architecture in order to be developed or submitted to the store for Xbox.

So, basically you got access to half of an Xbox One…  Bummer.  Thankfully in the upcoming Fall Update, that is all about to change!  From the Microsoft blog:

Since the advent of consoles, developers have asked for ways to create games for one platform that you could run anywhere. With the release of the Expanded Resources feature in the Windows Fall Creators Update, we are taking the industry closer to that goal than it has ever been before. Now, developers will automatically have access to 6 exclusive cores, 5 GB of ram and full access to the GPU!

Awesome!  I have a video discussing this change available here.

GameDev News

14. September 2017


The Defold Engine just got it’s own community hub, available at defold.com/community.  In addition to the existing forums and social media pages, the community portal now includes an asset portal and a community games showcase.

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The Asset portal currently contains just under 30 different projects including new project templates, to Unity Ad plugins and UI systems.  The system also enables authenticated users to upload their own assets.  The new Games page showcases games made using the Defold game engine and also includes the ability to upload your own titles.  The look is very polished, although the icons used right now are rather large requiring a fair bit of scrolling.  Hopefully as the site gets more populated, the sizes are dialed back a little bit for efficiencies sake.


Defold is a free 2D Lua powered game engine.  If you are interested in learning more, we have a complete tutorial series available here.

GameDev News

13. September 2017


The Xenko game engine just released version 2.1.  This recently out of beta C# powered game engine just got a bunch prettier with several xenkorendering improvements.  The engine also gained the ability to stream textures which should decrease scene load times and memory usage.  The input system was rewritten and Direct X 12 support was improved.


The following is a summary of new features in the 2.1 release:

  • Local reflections
  • Clear coat shading
  • Thin glass materials
  • Texture streaming
  • Render masks
  • Improved profiler
  • Debug text during runtime
  • Rewritten input system
  • Improved Direct3D 12 support
  • Improved environment fresnel
  • Japanese documentation now available


For more details be sure to check out the release notes which includes a full change log.


Xenko was previously known as Paradox and we did a short tutorial series available here if you wish to learn more.

GameDev News

13. September 2017


Today the Blender Foundation announced the release of Blender 2.79.  Other than a load of bug fixes, there isn’t actually a ton in the releaseB279 directly for game developers.  Perhaps the biggest feature is the new PBR shader node, implemented as the Principled BSDF node based on Disney’s PBR implementation in Renderman.  Other new features include Denoise is a new feature for removing rendering noise, a new Filmic view transform has been added for more photorealistic rendering results, improved OpenCL performance as well as various Cycles renderer improvements.  The Grease pencil also received several improvements in this release including per layer onion skinning and new interpolation tools. 

Perhaps the single best improvement of this release to me personally is automatic DPI scaling.  This means Blender will automatically detect if you are using a high DPI monitor and adjust it’s UI accordingly.  No more having to manually change the user interface each time you plug in an external monitor!


The 2.79 release also includes a ton of new add-ons, including:

Dynamic Sky, Archipack, Magic UV, Mesh Edit Tools, Skinify, Display Tools, Brush Menus, Btrace, Is Key Free, Turnaround Camera, Auto Mirror, Camera Rigs, Snap Utils Line, Add Advanced Objects, Export Paper Model, Kinoraw Tools, Stored Views, Render Clay, Auto Tracker, Refine Tracking Solution, Materials Library VX, Mesh Tissue, Cell Fracture Crack It

Be warned however, there was a change to the way add-ons work with data, meaning that backward .blend compatibility may be impacted!


To read more details of this release check the full release announcement available here.  If you are interested in learning Blender, we have a ton of great tutorials available here.

GameDev News

11. September 2017


One very cool thing the Blender foundation have started doing is offering guidance and early builds of future releases.  The next major update to Blender is Blender 2.8 and you can learn more about (and download) it at this location.  Be aware this is a VERY early release… this isn’t a beta orimage even alpha, this is a developer work in progress build and it crashes, a lot.  There’s also no guarantee that features actually make it into the final release, nor that there wont be massive changes.  Without a doubt it isn’t suitable for production work, you have been warned.  Also, going forward Blender is going to require an OpenGL 3.2 or higher capable video card, you will understand why shortly.


So then, why am I excited about this release?  Well it’s got several new features that are going to be great and a lot of this release is actually foundational.  Changes to the low level guts of Blender that will make it a better product going forward.  Additionally new grease pencil improvements are going to make Blender an excellent choice for 2D animators, you can check out a preview of the changes here.  Changes are also coming to workspaces and layers making the UI more customizable and hopefully more productive. 


All that said, the star feature coming to Blender, as well as the one most useful to game developers, is the updated viewport.  Blender is now getting two new viewport renderers, Eevee and Clay.  Eevee propels Blender forward into the modern age, allowing real time rendering of PBR scenes with realistic lighting.  In a nutshell, your game should look exactly the same in Blender as it does in Unreal Engine or Unity.  Words can’t really justify how impressive this new viewport renderer is, so instead I made a video.  You can check it out here or embedded below.


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