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30. April 2012

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Research in Motion, of Blackberry and Playbook fame, recently released Gameplay 1.2, a cross-platform 3D game programming library aimed at Indie developers.  As a game maker, it is easy to ignore RIM these days, especially with their CEO making comments like:

 

"We plan to refocus on the enterprise business and capitalise on our leading position in this segment,"

 

That doesn’t exactly give you the warm and fuzzy about the future of RIM consumer devices now does it?

 

That said, ignoring GamePlay would be a foolish thing to do.  Why?

 

Well first off, it’s free.  I like free.  As in, I really like free.

 

Second and perhaps most amazingly, it is cross platform.  You can target Mac OS, Windows, iOS 5.0 or higher devices, Android 2.3 or greater devices in addition to Blackberry Tablet OS 2.0 and Blackberry 10 devices ( when they arrive ).

 

Third, it’s IDE agnostic, except when required otherwise ( aka, compiling for iOS ).  I can work in my preferred Visual Studio environment.  You however have the choice between Visual Studio, XCode or Momentics IDE ( an Eclipse based IDE Rim inherited from QNX ).

 

Fourth, it’s open source and hosted on GitHub.

 

Here is a screen shot from a demo game in development:

 

 

I have to say, it looks impressive to me.

 

 

Oh, did I happen to mention it’s C++ based?  I think I just heard half of you cheer, while the other half swore! Winking smile

 

 

I do have to say, the folks at Marmalade probably aren’t pleased.  They both fill the same niche… but gameplay is free.  Now the question is, how good is it?

 

Feature-wise, here is what you can expect:

 

Current features in gameplay
  • Written completely in C++ and well documented using doxygen.
  • Solution and workspaces for Visual Studio 2010, XCode 3.2.1 and Momentics IDE’s.
  • Platform-Game abstraction layer separating all operating system code from game engine code.
  • Input system support for Mouse, Keyboard and Touch.
  • Full vector math library with classes for Vector2/3/4, Matrix, Quaternion, Ray, Plane. Also Frustum and BoundingBox/BoundingSphere classes for object culling.
  • Solid OpenGL 3.2+ (for Desktop) and OpenGL ES 2.0 (for Mobile) based rendering system with classes for RenderState, FrameBuffer, Mesh, Material, Effect, Pass and Techniques.
  • Easy-to-use and efficient Font and Sprite classes.
  • Scene-graph components such as Scene, Node, Light, Camera and Model.
  • Binary encoding tool for creating optimized bundles for loading TTF fonts and 3D game assets supporting both COLLADA and FBX formats.
  • Extensible animation system with classes for Animation, AnimationClip and Curve with built-in AnimationTarget’s on Transform and MaterialParameter’s classes.
  • Complete 3D audio system with additional support for compressed audio using OGG and supporting HDMI gaming.

 

New features in gameplay v1.2
  • Newplatforms now supporting:
    • BlackBerry Tablet OS 2.0 and BlackBerry 10 ready!
    • Apple iOS 5.1 for iPhone and iPad
    • Google Android 2.3+
    • Microsoft Windows 7
    • Apple MacOSX
  • New shader-based material system with built-in common shader library.
  • New declarative scene binding.
  • New declarative particle system.
  • Improved physics system with rigid body dynamics and constraints.
  • New character physics and ghost objects.
  • Improved animation system supporting animated skeletal character animation.
  • New declarative user interface system with support for declartive theming and ortho, and 3D form definition with built-in core control classes such as Button, Label, TextBox, Slider, CheckBox, RadioButton. Also includes Layout classes such as Absolute/Vertical and FlowLayout.
  • New cross-platform new game project wizard scripts.
  • New game developer guide.
  • New game samples and tutorials.

 

 

With the following coming soon:

 

The ‘next’ feature branch for v1.3, v1.4, v1.5
  • Optimizations and Performance improvements
  • Shadows
  • Terrain and Sky
  • Gamepad input for Wii, Xbox 360 and Bluetooth® HID controllers
  • Scoreloop Social integration
  • Editor

 

 

Editor hmm?  Wonder what that means?

 

 

I am going to download and play with the SDK, and if I get some time ( something I am chronically short of lately ) I may post a walk around and possibly a tutorial or two.  Has anyone out there been playing with this technology?  Any opinions?

 

 

If you are interested, check out the announcement blog post as well as the source on GitHub.  Oh and perhaps most impressive of all for an open source gaming product… there is actually documentation. The documentation is available here including this development guide[direct pdf link].

 

I have to say, congratulations to Sean Paul Taylor and Steve Grenier on this impressive release!

General , , , ,

29. April 2012

 

 

One of the most bizarre things missing from the PlayStation simulator was support for analog imagesticks, or gamepad support in general.  I had just assumed that you would be able to plug a gamepad into your PC to control the simulator, but I was wrong.  A keyboard only solution made owning an actual device pretty much an absolute requirement.  Fortunately a user on the PlayStation Suite Developer Forums YamatoKei released a code driven solution, which in his own words:

 

 

 

The simulator's input layout and limitations weren't to my taste, so I made myself a way around it:

Run a TCP server that reads PC's gamepad state and sends it back on a client request. And add a simple utility class/lib to connect to that server + decode data transparently from within the game. With a one-line change to revert-back to using the native input on real devices.

Uploaded here: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1969613/openglForum/PadServer.7z

Code to use:

static ILXPAD pad1 = new ILXPAD_Net();
//static ILXPAD pad1 = new ILXPAD_Vita();
...
pad1.start();
...
pad1.update();
...
camera.roty -= pad1.RStick.X;
bool jump = pad1.Cur.CROSS;

Cheers. :Wink:

 

Just what the doctor ordered!

 

[Download Link]

 

Buyer beware, I haven’t actually tried this out, so if it doesn’t work, destroys your computer or causes a horde of angry cows to raze your house, I take no responsibility.

Programming ,

29. April 2012

 

 

One of the biggest points of confusion for people new to Blender seems to be navigating the UI.  The UI layout of Blender is amazingly powerful but it is extremely easy to find yourself lost in a sea of windows and panels you’ve opened with no idea how to close them.  This video tutorial shows you how to customize the Blender layout exactly how you want it and once you get the gist of it, it is an extremely powerful system. The video is for Blender 2.59, but should be equally valid in 2.6x.

 

 


 

 

There is no audio, it is entirely narrated on screen.  The video is probably illegible in the embedded window above, however it was encoded at 1080p and hosted on YouTube and Vimeo in HD ( although for some reason the Vimeo encoding looks much worse, so use YouTube for the best quality ).

 

 

If you are just starting out with Blender, I highly suggest you check it out. Once you realize just how much flexibility you have in deciding how you want to work you will become much more productive.  Oh and if you are lucky enough to have multiple monitors, Blender is amazingly flexible in this regard too!

Art ,

28. April 2012

 

Somewhere between 2.63RC and 2.63 release the Knife tool was changed so that you need to press Enter or Spacebar to commit the changes.  Previously you could commit using the right mouse button, which I preferred.  Lucky enough, it is easily addressed.

 

In Blender, selected the menu File->User Preferences…

 

Switch over to the Input tab, expand 3D View->Mesh then Knife Topology Tool then finally expand Knife Tool Modal Map, like such:

 

image

 

First we need to delete the existing Right Mouse binding, locate it and click the X to the right:

 

image

 

Now scroll down ( within the Knife Tool Modal Map panel) and locate the Add New Button:

 

image

 

 

 

It will insert a new empty record like such:

 

image

 

Expand the arrow to the left of our newly added entry, and it fill it in as follows ( or set by right clicking to the right of the Mouse dropdown):

 

image

 

 

Now locate the Save as Default button in the button left corner of the Window and click it:

 

image

 

Voila, right click should now cause your cuts to commit when you right click.

Art ,

28. April 2012

 

I am going to continue to develop a number of PlayStation Suite SDK tutorials and finding them could start getting confusing.  Therefore I have put together an index page off all tutorials I have created and will continue to update it as I create more.  Tutorials are ordered in more or less chronological order that a developer should read them in.  I will put this in the side bar shortly, for now you can access the PS tutorial index here.

Programming ,

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