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1. November 2016

 

Open to Unity developers that have published an existing game with over 10,000 downloads on the Google Play Store, Apple App Store or on Steam, this newly announced contest comes with a grand prize of up to $100,000 in advertising for your game.  Additionally the first 25 applications that qualify with receive $5,000USD in a cash reward.  So, what’s the catch?  You have to create your game for the UWPunitycontest (Universal Windows Platform) platform and publish it to the Windows Store.  The contest runs from Nov 1st to Feb 28th with winners announced on May 15th, 2017.

 

From the announcement on the Unity Forums:

ABOUT THE CHALLENGE
This challenge is open to developers who have Unity game apps in either the Steam Store, Good Play Store[sic] or Apple’s App Store.
Bringing your game to the Universal Windows Platform and publishing to Windows Store connects your game to an audience of over 400 million devices!

EARLY ENTRY
First 25 developers to submit to Step 2 will win $5,000 Cash Prize

TOP PRIZES
Create immediate success for your game on the Windows Store!

  • 1st prize $100,000 Ad spend APP INSTALL CAMPAIGN
  • 2nd prize $50,000 Ad spend APP INSTALL CAMPAIGN
  • 3rd Prize $25,000 Ad spend APP INSTALL CAMPAIGN

SECONDARY PRIZES
  • 10 Honorable mentions with be awarded one year Unity Pro subscription Licenses.


TIMELINE
Entry Period: Nov 1st, 2016 – Feb 28th, 2017
Performance Period: March 1st – April 30th, 2017
Winners Announced: On or around May 15th, 2017
For more info, click here.

 

So what exactly does “Ad spend APP INSTALL CAMPAIGN” mean?  You’re guess is as good as mine!  Neither the Unity forum, nor the official contest page have any details as of yet, which seems a rather large oversight!  The devil as always is in the details, and that is a detail we are currently missing.

EDIT

From the Terms & Conditions, some clarification on the prizes:

First Grand Prize: US$100,000 in credit to spend on app install ads at an advertising agency to be determined by Microsoft.

So basically it’s a $100,000 advertising budget by somewhere Microsoft determines.  I would guess it’s either going to be Microsoft’s own advertising networks (Windows Store or Bing) or perhaps Unity Ads.

GameDev News

1. November 2016

 

The Godot Game Engine has seen a slew of recent updates and is heavily under development in anticipation of Godot 3.0.  In the recent 2.1 update the Asset Library functionality was added (click here for details of the Godot 2.1 release), which is the Godot equivalent of the Unity or Unreal Engine asset stores.  Yesterday they announced the beta release of the web front end for browsing assets in the asset library using your web browser.

image

 

The announcement also documents the process of submitting your own asset to the library.

 

Another recent announcement from the Godot team was an update on the renderer changes for Godot 3.0.  The process is split across 3 milestones, and milestone 1 has just been reached, including:

Done for Milestone #1 (October 2016):
  • Make Godot compile against GLES 3.
  • Refactor the Image class to include modern data types.
  • Refactor the texture API to include more modern texture compression formats.
  • Refactor the rendering API to make it easier to understand (and contribute to!).
  • Write a more flexible, GLES 3 GLSL compatible shader language.
  • Write a more efficient Mesh format, which allows faster loading/saving.
  • Optimize scene rendering to use less function calls.
  • Make rendering always happen in Linear colorspace.
  • Investigate Physically Based Rendering (PBR), using GGX and alternatives.
  • Investigate cubemap filtering.
  • Create a new FixedMaterial that reflects PBR capabilities.
  • Implement PBR.
  • Convert gizmos to use the new FixedMaterial.
  • Add Lighting using PBR.
  • Investigate a ShadowAtlas allocation strategy.

 

Already there are some pretty powerful features in there and there are two more milestones to go.  There is a full description of the other milestones in the blog post as well as complete descriptions (and justifications) for the tasks completed in milestone one.

 

I have to say, the Godot engine is improving at a shockingly awesome rate these days.  If you are new to Godot, do be sure to jump into the GameFromScratch tutorial series.

GameDev News

1. November 2016

 

LÖVE is a popular Lua powered cross platform 2D game engine.   Its an accessible framework that I highly recommend to beginners, in fact it’s the framework I used for my GameDev For Complete Beginners tutorial series.  They just released a new version, 0.10.2, which is a relatively minor update.  One of the changes is the release of lovec.exe on Windows, which includes a command line console if one isn’t already present, a handy feature for debugging.

 

Other changes and fixes from the change log:

Additions
Deprecations
  • Deprecated undocumented Shader:sendTexture, Shader:sendMatrix, Shader:sendInt, Shader:sendFloat, and Shader:sendBoolean methods.
Fixes
  • Fixed love on iOS 6.
  • Fixed os.execute always returning -1 on Linux.
  • Fixed the love.lowmemory callback to call collectgarbage() after the callback has fired, instead of before.
  • Fixed love.math.noise(nil) to error instead of returning nil.
  • Fixed an occasional crash when a Thread ends.
  • Fixed a hang at the end of video playback with some video files.
  • Fixed the video decoding thread to not do any work when there are no videos to decode.
  • Fixed love.graphics.newVideo(file) to no longer error if love.audio is disabled.
  • Fixed a rare bug in Source:play for streaming Sources if the associated OpenAL source object was previously used for a static Source.
  • Fixed corrupted Font glyphs in rare cases.
  • Fixed stencils inside Canvases on some OpenGL ES 2 devices.
  • Fixed an OpenGL error in OpenGL ES 3 when multiple render targets are used.
  • Fixed love.window.setMode crashing when called with a Canvas active.
  • Fixed love.window.maximize to update the reported window dimensions immediately.
  • Fixed gamma correction of ImageFonts and BMFonts with colored images.
  • Fixed the default shader improperly applying gamma correction to per-vertex colors when gamma correction is requested but not supported on OpenGL ES.
  • Fixed text coloring breaking because of an empty string.
  • Fixed large burst of particles when dramatically increasing the emission rate of a ParticleSystem.
  • Fixed SpriteBatch:setBufferSize to keep old sprite data if it can fit.
  • Fixed MouseJoint:getBodies unconditionally erroring.
  • Fixed memory leak in Text:set.
  • Fixed incorrect kerning caused by using kerning information for the wrong character in some fonts.
  • Fixed ImageData:setPixel, ImageData:getPixel, ImageData:mapPixel, SoundData:setSample, and SoundData:getSample to properly handle non-integer coordinates.
Other changes
  • Improved performance of Channel methods by roughly 2x in many cases.
  • Improved performance of Shader:send when small numbers of arguments are given.
  • Updated love.filesystem.mount to accept a DroppedFile as the first parameter.
  • Updated Shader:send to do type and argument checking based on the specified uniform variable's information instead of the arguments to the function.
  • Updated Shader:send to accept a flat table for matrix uniforms.

 

Love is free and open source, available for download here.

GameDev News

31. October 2016

 

The following is a recap of major events in the world of game development for the week ending October 31st, 2016.  I do a weekly video recapping the news available here with this week’s video embedded below.  This post is a collection of links mentioned in the recap.

 

 

The Video

GameDev News

31. October 2016

 

LWJGL, the Light Weight Java Game Library, is a low level game framework for Java layered over top of libraries such as OpenGL, CL, AL and Vulkan.  It has been used by a number of game engines including LibGDX and jMonkeyEngine to provide performant cross platform 3D support in Java.  LWJGL just released version 3.1, updating several of the underlying bindings, making various improvements and several bug fixes.

 

From the release notes:

Bindings
  • Bindings have been split into modules and are available as separate artifacts. (#100)
    • The download configurator on the website can be used to customize LWJGL builds and Maven/Gradle projects.
  • Added LMDB bindings.
  • Added Nuklear bindings. (#101)
  • Added Tiny File Dialogs bindings.
  • Added bgfx bindings. (#240)
  • Added support for new EGL, OpenCL, OpenGL, OpenGL ES and Vulkan extensions.
  • Updated all bindings to latest versions.
  • Vulkan javadoc is now almost identical to the Vulkan man pages, with links to the online Vulkan specification.
Improvements
  • Generator: Removed buffer object binding checks. (#197)
  • Generator: Added support for mapping byte/short parameters to int.
  • Generator: Added support for va_list parameters.
  • Generator: Reduced bytecode size of generated methods.
  • Generator: The Vulkan bindings are now automatically generated.
  • Optimized strlen methods used internally by LWJGL.
  • Optimized misaligned memSet and memCopy.
  • Added support for stack allocations with custom alignment.
  • Removed allocation functionality from read-only, externally managed structs.
  • Improved library loading diagnostics and added Configuration.DEBUG_LOADER option.
  • Libraries extracted by the SharedLibraryLoader are now locked to avoid conflicts with other processes (e.g. antivirus software). (#225)
  • Simplified javadoc of unsafe versions.
Fixes
  • Callback instances are now tracked when the DEBUG_MEMORY_ALLOCATOR option is enabled.
  • Fixed realloc tracking in the debug allocator.
  • Shared libraries that ship with LWJGL are now always preferred over system libraries.
  • Fixed return type of functions that return pointer to boolean.
  • stb_image: Fixed result auto-sizing of stbi_load* functions.
  • Functions that deallocate memory no longer have Java array overloads.
  • Fixed memSet bugs.
  • Fixed Java array overload generation for functions with multiple auto-size-result parameters.
  • Fixed custom checks in Java array overloads.
  • Fixed lookup of Critical JNI natives on Windows x86.
  • Disabled Critical JNI natives for functions affected by JDK-8167409 on Linux & MacOS.
Breaking Changes
  • xxHash: Added support for stack allocation of streaming hash state. Opaque handles have been replaced by the XXH*State structs.
  • NanoVG: Dropped version suffixes from NanoVGGL classes.
  • Mapped more integer parameters and return values to Java booleans, that were missed while working on #181.
  • Dropped VKUtil class and moved the version macros to VK10.

The LWJGL project is open source and available on Github here.

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