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22. December 2011

 

 

 

I just received an email from Unity announcing the start of their 3.5 public beta.  Generally I wouldn’t get all that excited about a beta ( ok, that’s a lie, I love all things shiny and new! ), but this one is particularly big.

 

 

 

 

 

The biggest aspect of the new release is that much awaited deploy to Flash!  How much easier to deploy did Unity just become, considering the massive install base of Flash?  In addition to Flash, this release also adds the ability to deploy to NaCL ( Native Client ), Google Chrome’s new feature allowing native C++ in the browser.

 

 

 

On top of that, there is a new particle system “Shuriken” and perhaps even more exciting, a new built in pathfinding system, a much needed feature.  Re-written occlusion culling and built in LOD management, should both go a long way towards boosting performance, as will the now multi-threaded renderer.  Perhaps the best usability feature, is you can now multi select and edit items in the inspector! 

 

 

 

 

Full release notes available here.  I think it’s fairly safe to say this is the biggest new release in a very long time.  Good work Unity.  I don’t really have time for it, but I just can’t help myself at downloading this beta….  If you are like me and simply can’t resist the newest and greatest, go and download it now!  Amazingly enough, their servers seem to be coping quite well right now.

News

19. December 2011

 

 

In the process of scouring the net, either out of my own interest, as research for possible articles or as part of my own development process, I come across tons of absolute gems.  This new weekly column is going to be showcasing these various sites of interest, I hope you find them as interesting as I do!

 

I spend a lot of time on the web, but I can’t be everywhere!  So if you came across a really cool site, project, game or something else that you think will be of interest to a bunch of game developers, let us know and it may be featured as a future cool item.  This is all about raising exposure to items that might be of interest to your fellow developer!

 

 

 

 

Now, let me introduce the first ever Cool Thing of the Week!

 

EbonyFortress.com – List of free game development libraries

 

 

 

There are an absolute ton of free libraries out there covering all facets of game programming.  One of the biggest problems is a matter of finding them!  Often times, Google provesEbonyFortress completely useless and forum links you may come across have long since been abandoned, leading you to page after page of dead links.  Today’s entry really isn’t all that much of an exception, as it hasn’t been updated in close to a year.  That said, it is still perhaps the most timely and complete list of free game related libraries I have ever found.

 

 

This site breaks entries down into their general category ( 3D Graphics, 2D Graphics, Sound/Music, Networking, Video, Compression, Artificial Intelligence, Math/Physics, Scripting, etc. ), each entry contains a link to the library as well as the license it was released under ( such as GPL, MIT ).  There are a ton of entries, well over a hundred and from my own experiences I would say it is pretty comprehensive.  All the libraries I could think to look up were represented on this list, although in a few cases things weren’t where I initially expected them ( such as SFML being under general purpose instead of 2D graphics, although that location makes perfect sense as well. )  There are some entries in there I would probably prune due to their age ( such as Hexen 2 or Genesis ) and I would love to see an indicator to show if thee libraries are still under active development.  These small quibbles aside, the list is nearly perfect.

 

 

So, if you find yourself looking for a free library for just about any aspect of game development, this page is a very good place to start!  I can only hope the author continues to update it, to keep it the wonderful resource it currently is!






Stay tuned for next weeks CTotW! Again, we look forward to your recommendations so let us know!. We will be keeping an active archive here, which admittedly is a bit empty now. Comments of course are open on this post as well, let us know your opinion of the sites we choose! Got another similar recommendation, found it useful, didn't find it useful? Let us know in the comments below.

Cool Thing of the Week

15. December 2011

 

 

 

Ok, let me quickly start with this.

 

I am an idiot.

 

I am not denying it, I am currently paying the price for a very stupid action; I have no illusions as to who is primarily to blame, its 100% on me ( well… and Microsoft ).  Anyways….

 

Several months back I installed the Visual Studio 2011 developer preview, yeah not on a VM, but instead on my production machine(s).  Yeah that was plural, my idiocy is compounded.  Of course I know I shouldn’t have installed it in production, but simply put, its new and shiny!  Besides, they actually say it will install and work side by side with Visual Studio 2010, so I listened to them!

 

Then, as is the way of things, I started running out of space on that hard drive partition and since I wasn’t really using it I went ahead and uninstalled Visual Studio 2011.  So, Microsoft says it will *install* side by side with VS 2010, which is true… it just won’t uninstall!

 

After uninstalling the 2011 preview, I opened up a C++ tutorial project I am finishing off and:

 

C:\Projects\GameFromScratch\GFSCPP\Pang9\Pang.vcxproj : error  : MSBuild does not contain a value for the "VCTargetsPath" property.

Ahhh crap.

 

My Express install is also broken.  Joy. Sad smile

 

I think this can be fixed, apparently VCTargetsPath is a registry key setting, but once these kinds of things start cropping up, I get paranoid about my build environment.  Long story short, it looks like a re-install is in my future, and that sucks.

 

But yeah, I know I am the one to blame.

 

 

Anyways, time for the TL;DR section.

If you installed the VS 2011 preview on a production machine, DO NOT REMOVE THEM!

 

And shame on you, you should know better than to install pre-beta software on a production machine! Smile

General

14. December 2011

 

 

Today the Blender Foundation announced the release of Blender 2.61, details of which are available here.

 

Easily the biggest feature of this release is the inclusion of the Cycles renderer, that exists alongside the traditional renderer.

 

The new dynamic paint modifier, wave simulator and motion tracking features are all also major accomplishments, and go a long way towards rounding out Blender’s feature set, especially compared to the “big boys”. Bravo on the new release.

 

Sadly for realtime game developers, there isn’t much of interest in this new release.  Sadly still no BMmesh.  Soon I I hope, soon.

News

10. December 2011

 

 

Microsoft finally released Silverlight 5.  As I mentioned in an earlier post the future of Silverlight seems to be in question.  This is a shame, as I a really have a project in mind that Silverlight would have been a perfect fit for.

 

I know there is a big drive to eliminate Flash and Silverlight and move the world to HTML 5, but there are two problems with that.

 

First off, the developer experiences simply do not compare.  I would much rather develop in C# than HTML5/Javascript, moving “back” to HTML feels like a giant jump backwards.

 

More importantly, HTML5 isn’t even close to either Flash or Silverlight in performance or even features.  I am sure it will be eventually, especially given all the resources being thrown behind it, but that isn’t the case today.  So I am still trying to decide if I go ahead with my Silverlight project or not… decisions decisions.

 

These are the new parts that will be of most interest to game developers:

 

Graphics
  • XNA 3D API
  • Improved Graphics Stack
  • XNA 3D built-in effects
  • XNA 3D Project Templates with full XNA Content Pipeline
  • 3D surface composition settings
  • 3D multi-sample anti-aliasing
Media

 

 

For those of you making tools, there are a number of key ( and handy ) data binding changes as well.  You can get the full list of updates here.  You can download Silverlight 5 tools here.

 

 

Now I have to wonder… is this going to be the final Silverlight release ever?  I for one, hope not.

News

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