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21. November 2017


articy:draft is unique product for game developers to design and implement game details such as application flow, game inventory and character dialog trees.  They have recently released a plugin enabling you to use your articy:draft data directly in Unreal engine.  It is available for download here on Github.  Keep in mind this is a work in progress release, so not all features may be implemented, or you may encounter bugs.


From the github page:

Goals

We release our current progress for the plugin as a github open source project in the hopes that this will give you a substantial headstart into incorporating your articy:draft data into your unreal project while still give you enough flexibility to adjust the plugin to your needs. We also would love to hear about suggestions or even better for you to directly contribute to the development of the plugin.

Features

While this is not meant as a full product release, it is still considered a working foundation for integrating your articy:draft content into your unreal engine project. So you can expect the following features including but not limited to:

  • Everything accessible via C++ and Blueprint
  • Flow player for automatic configurable flow traversal as an actor component
  • Automatic import
  • Database with your project data. Excluding Journeys, Settings, Template constraints
  • Uses of unreal engines localization


If you are interested in learning more about articy:draft, we previously featured it in our ongoing GameDev Toolbox series.  The video is available here and embedded below.

GameDev News

21. November 2017


Up till this point in our ongoing Allegro Tutorial Series we have covered creating a window, handling a game loop, drawing sprites, handling input and playing audio, pretty much every aspect of creating a basic game.  In this final tutorial we are going to look at some of the other graphics capabilities in Allegro, specifically graphics primitives.


If you’ve been following the tutorial series till this point, it should come has no surprise that primitives are implemented as an add-on as well.  In this case it’s using the Primitives add-on:

image


Without further ado, let’s jump straight into the code example:

#include "stdafx.h"
#include <allegro5\allegro.h>
#include <allegro5\allegro_primitives.h>

int main()
{
	ALLEGRO_DISPLAY * display;

	al_init();
	display = al_create_display(640, 480);
	al_init_primitives_addon();
	float points[8] = {0.0f, 0.0f, 100.00f, 100.00f, 200.00f, 100.00f, 640.00f, 150.00f};

	float polygon[8] = { 640.0f, 100.0f, 640.0f, 300.0f, 380.0f, 350.0f, 200.0f, 200.0f };

	bool running = true;
	while (running) {
		al_draw_line(0, 0, al_get_display_width(display), al_get_display_height(display), al_map_rgb(255, 0, 0),5.0);
		al_draw_rectangle(100, 100, 300, 300, al_map_rgb(0, 255, 0), 1);
		al_draw_ellipse(300, 300, 120, 50, al_map_rgb(0, 0, 255), 3);

		al_draw_spline(points, al_map_rgb(128, 128, 0), 8);

		//al_draw_polygon(polygon, 8, ALLEGRO_LINE_JOIN_BEVEL, al_map_rgb(255, 15, 15),3,1);
		al_draw_filled_polygon(polygon, 8, al_map_rgb(255, 0, 0));
		al_flip_display();
	}

	al_destroy_display(display);
	
	return 0;
}

When you run this example you should see:

image


Granted, a pretty chaotic mess in the end, but illustrating a number of concepts in a single example.  First we start off by calling the appropriate init() method for the Primitives add-on.  When then draw a line in red ( R = 255, G = 0, B=0 ) from the top left to the bottom right corner of our display.  Next we illustrate drawing a rectangle, followed by an eclipse.  Finally we illustrate a slightly more advanced example of drawing a spline, then a polygon, by providing an array of points/vertices to draw.  As you can notice from the commented function, there are also functions specifically for drawing primitives fill with a solid colour.


We have only scratched the surface of the drawing functionality the Primitive add-on is capable of in this example, but the basic concept applies to all functions.


That concludes the tutorial series and should hopefully give you a good foundation on getting started with Allegro.  If you wish to jump into more depth with Allegro, be sure to check out the official manual available here.


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14. November 2017


YoyoGames, the creators of GameMaker Studio, just announced a new cheaper “Creator” edition.  Creator edition is available for $39 per year on Windows and Mac ( each being a separate purchase per platform ).


Currently available on the store, Creator edition offers the following functionality:


Creator Windows

GameMaker Studio 2 Creator Windows lets you create games for Windows. Get unlimited resources and release your games to stores such as Steam and itch.io.

Creator Windows features are only available on Windows PCs.

  • Unlimited Resources
  • Integrated Source Control
  • Texture Management
  • SWF / Spine Support
  • Extensions
  • Marketplace
  • Windows Export


So, what’s the catch?  Why buy this instead of the $99 developer edition?  Here are the details of the Creator edition from the FAQ:

With the Creator Licence you unlock the power of GameMaker Studio 2 and get access to unlimited resources as well as the possibility to create a final executable of any project you make. You can buy either a Windows or a macOS licence, meaning that you will only be able to compile a final executable for one or the other depending on which you bought, although you can use the IDE on both Windows and macOS (just download which ever one is appropriate from the Downloads section of your YoYo Account).

It is worth noting that the Creator Licence will not permit you to change the Splash Screen of your projects, nor can you disable anonymous game analytics, and your executables will be compiled using the VM with no YYC option. You do, however, get access to the Marketplace where you can find assets of all kinds, or even make and sell your own.

The Creator licence is a 12 month non-renewing licence, and at the end of the 12 month period you will need to buy another licence to continue using GMS2 fully. The Licence is designed for hobby developers or for people that just want to have fun making small projects for themselves, as well as those people that want to learn to use the product without having to pay a larger initial amount.

Essentially the catch is a required splash screen, while only being able to compile for the platform your purchased a license for (Windows or Mac).

GameDev News

13. November 2017


In the first tutorial we looked at creating our initial application, while in the second tutorial we looked at events and a cleaner game loop, in the third tutorial we looked at drawing bitmaps on screen.  We then moved on to handling the keyboard and mouse while in this tutorial we are going to cover handling audio in Allegro.


Once again, lets jump straight into the code example.

#include "stdafx.h"
#include <allegro5/allegro.h>
#include <allegro5/allegro_audio.h>
#include <allegro5/allegro_acodec.h>

int main()
{
	ALLEGRO_DISPLAY *display = NULL;
	ALLEGRO_SAMPLE *sample = NULL;
	ALLEGRO_SAMPLE_INSTANCE *sampleInstance = NULL;

	al_init();
	al_install_audio();
	al_init_acodec_addon();
	
	al_reserve_samples(1);

	sample = al_load_sample("explode.wav");

	// The commented out version below is much easier
	//al_play_sample(sample, 1.0, 0, 1, ALLEGRO_PLAYMODE_LOOP,NULL);

	//However if you need access to additional control, such as currently playing position, you need
	//to attach it to a mixer, like the following example
	sampleInstance = al_create_sample_instance(sample);
	al_attach_sample_instance_to_mixer(sampleInstance, al_get_default_mixer());
	al_play_sample_instance(sampleInstance);

	// Loop until sound effect is done playing
	while (al_get_sample_instance_playing(sampleInstance)) {}

	al_destroy_sample_instance(sampleInstance);
	al_destroy_sample(sample);
	al_uninstall_audio();
}


At this point it should come as no surprise that audio support in Allegro is implemented as an add-on.  In fact it’s implemented as a pair of add-ons.

image


The audio add-on implements the audio playback functionality, while the Codec add-on is what supports loading the various different audio file formats.  Speak of file formats, Allegro supports the following file formats: .wav, .flac, .ogg, .opus, .it, .mod, .s3m, .xm and .voc.  Since they are implemented as add-ons, we once again need to call the corresponding init or install function before we can use audio functions.


Audio files are loading into memory as samples.  Before we go to far, we need to reserve resources for the samples we are going to use.  In this simple example we have only a single example, thus we call al_reserve_samples(1).  Now that our resources are allocated, we actually load the sample from disk with a call to al_load_sample(), in this case I am passing in a sample named “explode.wav”, which I have copied into my debug directory. 


Now that our sample is loaded into memory there are two ways to access it.  One is very simple, a fire and forget function you can see commented in the example above.

	al_play_sample(sample, 1.0, 0, 1, ALLEGRO_PLAYMODE_LOOP,NULL);

This is the easiest way by far to play audio in Allegro.  This example will play the sample “sample” at normal volume (gain), centered, at regular 1x speed, in a constant loop.


If you want a bit more control over the audio playback however, this function will no longer suffice.  So for example if you want to be able to determine when a sample is done playing, you instead need to create a SAMPLE_INSTANCE, which is done by passing our sample to al_create_sample_instance().  We also need a mixer to actually play the instance, which thankfully there is one already available for us, accessible using the function al_get_default_mixer(). 


Notice that both the sample and instance need to be cleaned up after use or they will leak resources.  Not shown in this tutorial, there are also streaming functions for breaking larger audio files up into smaller chunks for streaming.  In this day of abundant RAM, these functions are less used, so I have not covered them here.


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10. November 2017


In the first tutorial we looked at creating our initial application, while in the second tutorial we looked at events and a cleaner game loop then in the third tutorial we looked at drawing bitmaps on screen.  Today we are going to look at handling keyboard and mouse input.  We covered this slightly in earlier tutorials when we looked at event queues and enabled the application to exit when the user pressed a key.  This tutorial will go into a great deal more depth.  Without further ado, let’s jump into the code sample:

#include "stdafx.h"
#include <allegro5\allegro.h>
#include <allegro5\allegro_image.h>

int main()
{
	ALLEGRO_DISPLAY * display;
	ALLEGRO_EVENT_QUEUE *queue;
	ALLEGRO_BITMAP * bitmap = NULL;

	al_init();
	display = al_create_display(640, 480);
	queue = al_create_event_queue();

	al_install_keyboard();
	al_install_mouse();

	al_register_event_source(queue, al_get_keyboard_event_source());
	al_register_event_source(queue, al_get_display_event_source(display));
	al_register_event_source(queue, al_get_mouse_event_source());

	al_init_image_addon();
	
	bitmap = al_load_bitmap("image64x64.jpg");
	assert(bitmap != NULL);

	bool running = true;
	float x = 0, y = 0;

	int width = al_get_display_width(display);
	while (running) {
		al_clear_to_color(al_map_rgba_f(0, 0, 0, 1));
		al_draw_bitmap(bitmap, x, y, 0);
		al_flip_display();

		ALLEGRO_EVENT event;

		if (!al_is_event_queue_empty(queue)) {
			al_wait_for_event(queue, &event);
			if (event.type == ALLEGRO_EVENT_DISPLAY_CLOSE)
				running = false;


			if (event.type == ALLEGRO_EVENT_MOUSE_AXES) {
				x = event.mouse.x;
				y = event.mouse.y;
			}

			if (event.type == ALLEGRO_EVENT_MOUSE_BUTTON_UP) {
				x = y = 0;
				al_set_mouse_xy(display, 0, 0);
			}
		}

		// Actively poll the keyboard
		ALLEGRO_KEYBOARD_STATE keyState;

		al_get_keyboard_state(&keyState);
		if (al_key_down(&keyState, ALLEGRO_KEY_RIGHT))
			if (al_key_down(&keyState, ALLEGRO_KEY_LCTRL))
				x += 0.1;
			else
				x += 0.01;
		if (al_key_down(&keyState, ALLEGRO_KEY_LEFT))
			if (al_key_down(&keyState, ALLEGRO_KEY_LCTRL))
				x -= 0.1;
			else
				x -= 0.01;
	}

	al_destroy_display(display);
	al_uninstall_keyboard();
	al_uninstall_mouse();
	al_destroy_bitmap(bitmap);

	return 0;
}


When you run this application, the sprite will be drawn in the position of the mouse cursor.  Clicking and mouse button will reset the sprite’s position back to (0,0).  You can also control the position of the sprite by using the left and right arrow keys.

GIF

As we can see mouse and keyboard functionality is optional, so we need to call the appropriate init() function for both devices, then later the appropriate uninstall() function to clean them up.  Just like earlier we create an event queue, and register additional event sources for both keyboard and mouse.  As you can see, multiple event types can exist in a single event queue.

Mouse handling is extremely straight forward, when the mouse is moved it will fire a ALLEGRO_MOUSE_AXES_EVENT with the mouse location stored in the events mouse.x and mouse.y properties.  You can also see that mouse button activity fire a ALLEGRO_MOUSE_BUTTON_UP_EVENT when a mouse button is released.  In this case we set the position of the mouse using al_set_mouse_xy().

We take a slightly different approach with keyboard handling.  We could use a similar approach, however it would only handle one key event at a time.  What we instead want to do is poll the current status of the keyboard every pass through our game loop.  We take this approach so we can detect multiple concurrent key presses.  This is done by populating a ALLEGRO_KEYBOARD_STATE structure with a call to al_get_keyboard_state().  We can then poll the status of individual keys by calling al_key_down().


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