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12. January 2017

 

Unity have just released patch 5.5.0p4.  No new functionality but it contains a large number of fixes:

Fixes
  • (858785) - Analytics: Fixed occasional windows editor crash on shutdown.
  • (827110) - Android: Disabled fence sync on poor performing drivers.
  • (855603, 859268) - Android: Fixed a crash when reloading or resuming scene which uses WebCamTexture.
  • (848830) - Android: Fixed an exception when trying to build to a non-existent path.
  • (845080) - Android: Fixed an issue where pausing during the splash screen would cause sprites to be black.
  • (855612) - Android: Gradle build and project export now support icon override.
  • (803872) - Android: Post process now executed before app is pushed to device.
  • (855545) - Animation: Fix for a crash using Resources.UnloadUnusedAssets with Animators caused by orphaned references.
  • (858208) - AR: Fixed a crash when exiting play mode during a Holographic Simulation session.
  • (848920, 858080, 860956) - Asset and Scene Management: Fixed a bug where importing multiple native DCC source files resulted in the contents of imported prefabs randomly switching places.
  • (849875) - Collab: Fixed an issue whereby the collab toolbar continued to have 'sign in' button even after signing in from the collab tool bar.
  • (859350) - Editor: Fixed an editor crash when switching platforms on a command line build.
  • (none) - Editor: Fixed local cache server not working if there were spaces in the path to the Unity Editor executable.
  • (858043) - Editor: Fixed Sprite Editor not always grid slicing fully black sprites correctly.
  • (793891) - Editor: Fixed launching Unity getting stuck on a grey screen for a minute or longer when your internet connection is bad.
  • (834243) - Editor: Fixed the issue that personal user is able to skip a mandatory survey.
  • (857504) - Editor: Fixed the splash screen 'Preview' button showing the NoiseModule preview texture.
  • (828286) - Editor: Reduced heap allocations for each frame when rotating the scene view in the editor.
  • (849376) - Graphics: Fixed a bug when importing Alpha8 textures which didn't import them as a single channel texture.
  • (852116) - Graphics: Fixed a crash during texture importing if the import failed.
  • (853722) - Graphics: Fixed a crash during texture importing if the texture format wasn't supported by the platform.
  • (825464) - Graphics: Fixed console error generated when using WWW.movie to create a movie texture.
  • (767034) - Graphics: Fixed errors spamming the console when performing GPU profiling on a DX11 Standalone build.
  • (none) - Graphics: Fixed the GPU Profiler in standalone mode.
  • (732380) - Graphics: Stopped rendering projectors twice if there is any transparent object visible to the camera.
  • (849356) - Graphics: Stopped the texture importer ignoring pure white Alpha channels by default. It is now a user option to choose to ignore it.
  • (810286) - iOS: Fix 2nd stage splash on iPhones with landscapeRight orientation
  • (856989) - iOS: Fixed crash in application:openURL:sourceApplication:annotation due to missing null check with Facebook SDK.
  • (831195) - iOS: Removed extra offset in constraint in default launchscreens.
  • (851764) - Lighting: Only clear the lighting progress bar when lighting is in progress. Stops lighting system accidentally closing other (non-lighting) progress bars.
  • (867312) - Metal: Fixed a memory leak when loading scene.
  • (807091) - Multiplayer: Fixed hostmigration sync issue.
  • (853316, 826931) - Multiplayer: Made sure isLocalPlayer works as expected on OnDestroy.
  • (none) - Networking: Skip proxy check when using the "file://" protocol on Windows.
  • (828188) - Physics: Display message in Inspector for Rigidbody2D when auto-mass is used on a Prefab or an inactive object.
  • (829769) - Physics 2D: Ensure that Rigidbody2D interpolation is reset if the Transform rotation is changed.
  • (715922) - Physics 2D: Fixed some 2D polygon outlines that were almost collinear causing collision detection problems.
  • (764734) - Shadows: Fixed a memory leak and assert when shadows are cast from lights with specific properties and in a specific scene setup.
  • (857270) - Substance: Fixed a crash when compressing small non-square textures to ETC with 'fast' quality.
  • (none) - Test: Corrected CHECK_EQUAL parameter and added another check for validation call count.
  • (856733) - UI: Fixed a curve preview cache not updating preview if curve data had changed but not the bounds.
  • (845756) - UI: Fixed a NullReferenceException when changing font to none.
  • (861467) - VCS: Don't attempt to connect to a Perforce server if any of the following parameters are unset: Server, User or Client.
  • (none) - VR: Fixed the usage of VRSettings.renderViewportScale in Camera's OnPreCull so that it was not a frame latent on all supporting SDKs. Fixed issues with Valve's Renderer adaptive quality feature.
  • (858634) - VR: Y-Axis Range For VR Controllers now match XBox controllers
  • (759286, 782587) - WebGL: Disabled deferred rendering on webgl1.0.
  • (850383) - WebGL: Fixed build with improperly tagged plugins
  • (none) - WebGL: Fixed Content-Length header field for local web server response that caused some audio files to have .duration == inf or zero. This was not reproducible with the normal workflow but could occur with a specific asset store plugin for webgl audio streaming.

As always, the patch is available for download here.

GameDev News

10. January 2017

 

Carmel is a new WebVR browser available for the Oculus Gear VR in preview form.  WebVR is an attempt to bring Virtual Reality to the web browser, while Carmel is their mobile browser supporting it.  You can learn more about the VR web here. In a nutshell, WebVR is going to enable you to write VR experiences in a similar experience to creating dynamic web pages today.  To help with that, Oculus have released the Carmel VR Starter Kit.  It’s a set of samples and examples to get you up and running in WebVR for the Carmel browser. 

 

You can download the starter kit on Github and getting started is easy assuming you have Node.js installed.

Running Samples

First, run npm install to get the npm dependencies used for hosting the samples locally.

Run npm start to start a local http server on port 8000.

You can navigate to, http://:8000/index.html, to access the samples on a Gear VR enabled mobile device.

The top category of links will launch each sample into the Carmel Technical Preview.

The bottom category of links can be used to launch each sample directly in your browser if the sample supports rendering monoscopically.

 

Here is a look at the Hello World example’s code:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<!--
  Copyright 2016-present, Oculus VR, LLC.
  All rights reserved.

  This source code is licensed under the license found in the
  LICENSE-examples file in the root directory of this source tree.
-->
<html>
  <head>
    <title>Hello WebVR</title>
    <style>
      body {
        margin: 0;
      }
      canvas {
        position: absolute;
        width: 100%;
        height: 100%;
      }
      #messages {
        position: absolute;
        color: white;
        width: 100%;
        height: 100%;
      }
    </style>
    <script>
      var vrDisplay;      // The VRDisplay we will present to, discovered from 
      getVRDisplays
      var frameData;      // HMD information, populated each frame by 
      getFrameData
      var layerSource;    // The source of the VRLayer passed to requestPresent, 
      our canvas element.

      var gl;             // The webgl context of the canvas element, used to 
      render the scene
      var quadProgram;    // The WebGLProgram we will create, a simple quad 
      rendering program
      var attribs;        // A map of shader attributes to their location in the 
      program
      var uniforms;       // A map of shader uniforms to their location in the 
      program
      var vertBuffer;     // Vertex buffer used for rendering the scene
      var texture;        // The texture that will be bound to the diffuse 
      sampler
      var quadModelMat;   // The quad's model matrix which we will animate

      // This is the entrypoint to this sample and where we attempt to begin VR 
      presentation
      function requestPresent() {
        // First, initialize our WebGL program for rendering a simple quad
        initWebGLProgram();

        // Next, we will get the first VRDisplay that is available and try to 
        requestPresent.
        // If VR is unavailable or we aren't able to present, we will simply 
        display an HTML message in the page.
        if (navigator.getVRDisplays) {
          navigator.getVRDisplays().then(function (displays) {
            if (displays.length > 0) {
              // We reuse this every frame to avoid generating garbage
              frameData = new VRFrameData();

              vrDisplay = displays[0];

              // We must adjust the canvas (our VRLayer source) to match the 
              VRDisplay
              var leftEye = vrDisplay.getEyeParameters("left");
              var rightEye = vrDisplay.getEyeParameters("right");

              // This layer source is a canvas so we will update its width and 
              height based on the eye parameters.
              // For simplicity we will render each eye at the same resolution
              layerSource.width = Math.max(leftEye.renderWidth, rightEye.
              renderWidth) * 2;
              layerSource.height = Math.max(leftEye.renderHeight, rightEye.
              renderHeight);

              // This can normally only be called in response to a user gesture.
              // In Carmel, we can begin presenting the VR scene right away.
              vrDisplay.requestPresent([{ source: layerSource }]).then(function (
              ) {
                // Start our render loop, which is synchronized with the 
                VRDisplay refresh rate
                vrDisplay.requestAnimationFrame(onAnimationFrame);
              }).catch(function (err) {
                // The Carmel Developer preview allows entry into VR at any time 
                because it is a VR first experience.
                // Other browsers will only allow this to succeed if called in 
                response to user interaction, such as a click or tap though.
                // We expect this to fail outside of Carmel and would present 
                the user with an "Enter VR" button of some sort instead.
                addHTMLMessage("Failed to requestPresent.");
              });
            } else {
              // Usually you would want to hook the vrdisplayconnect event and 
              only try to request present then.
              addHTMLMessage("There are no VR displays connected.");
            }
          }).catch(function (err) {
            addHTMLMessage("VR Displays are not accessible in this context.  
            Perhaps you are in an iframe without the allowvr attribute specified.
            ");
          });
        } else {
          addHTMLMessage("WebVR is not supported on this browser.");
          addHTMLMessage("To support progressive enhancement your fallback code 
          should render a normal Canvas based WebGL experience for the user.");
        }
      }

      // Once we are presenting this will get called any time a new frame should 
      be rendered on the VRDisplay
      // The timestamp passed to our callback is the current DOMHighResTimeStamp 
      at the start of the frame.
      // We can use the timestamp to update our scene and perform animations in 
      a framerate independent way.
      function onAnimationFrame(timestamp) {
        // Continue to request frames to keep the render loop going
        vrDisplay.requestAnimationFrame(onAnimationFrame);

        // Clear the layer source - we do this outside of render to avoid 
        clearing twice
        gl.clear(gl.COLOR_BUFFER_BIT | gl.DEPTH_BUFFER_BIT);

        // Update the scene once per frame
        update(timestamp);

        // Get the current pose data
        vrDisplay.getFrameData(frameData);

        // Render the left eye
        gl.viewport(0, 0, layerSource.width * 0.5, layerSource.height);
        render(frameData.leftProjectionMatrix, frameData.leftViewMatrix);

        // Render the right eye
        gl.viewport(layerSource.width * 0.5, 0, layerSource.width * 0.5, 
        layerSource.height);
        render(frameData.rightProjectionMatrix, frameData.rightViewMatrix);

        // Submit the newly rendered layer to be presented by the VRDisplay
        vrDisplay.submitFrame();
      }

      function update(timestamp) {
        // Animate the z location of the quad based on the current frame 
        timestamp
        var oscillationSpeed =  Math.PI / 2;
        var z = -1 + Math.cos(oscillationSpeed * timestamp / 1000);
        quadModelMat[14] = z
      }

      // For VR, it's important that your render method is parameterized by the 
      camera
      // (projection and view matrices) so that it can be used to render from 
      each
      // eye's perspective
      function render(projectionMat, viewMat) {
        gl.useProgram(quadProgram);

        // The view and projection uniforms are passed in and are different for 
        the left eye and right eye
        gl.uniformMatrix4fv(uniforms.projectionMat, false, projectionMat);
        gl.uniformMatrix4fv(uniforms.viewMat, false, viewMat);

        // The remainder of our rendering is the same for both eyes now that 
        view and projection have been set up.
        gl.uniformMatrix4fv(uniforms.modelMat, false, quadModelMat);

        gl.bindBuffer(gl.ARRAY_BUFFER, vertBuffer);

        gl.enableVertexAttribArray(attribs.position);
        gl.enableVertexAttribArray(attribs.texCoord);

        gl.vertexAttribPointer(attribs.position, 3, gl.FLOAT, false, 20, 0);
        gl.vertexAttribPointer(attribs.texCoord, 2, gl.FLOAT, false, 20, 12);

        gl.activeTexture(gl.TEXTURE0);
        gl.uniform1i(uniforms.diffuse, 0);
        gl.bindTexture(gl.TEXTURE_2D, texture);

        gl.drawArrays(gl.TRIANGLE_FAN, 0, 4);
      }

      function initWebGLProgram() {
        layerSource =  document.getElementById("webgl-canvas");

        var glAttribs = {
          alpha: false,                   // The canvas will not contain an 
          alpha channel
          antialias: true,                // We want the canvas to perform anti-
          aliasing
          preserveDrawingBuffer: false    // We don't want our drawing to be 
          retained between frames, we will fully rerender each frame.
        };

        // You should also check for "experimental-webgl" when implementing 
        support for canvas based WebGL fallback when VR is not available.
        gl = layerSource.getContext("webgl", glAttribs);

        var quadVS = [
          "uniform mat4 projectionMat;",
          "uniform mat4 viewMat;",
          "uniform mat4 modelMat;",
          "attribute vec3 position;",
          "attribute vec2 texCoord;",
          "varying vec2 vTexCoord;",

          "void main() {",
          "  vTexCoord = texCoord;",
          "  gl_Position = projectionMat * viewMat * modelMat * vec4(position, 1.
          0);",
          "}",
        ].join("\n");

        var quadFS = [
          "precision mediump float;",
          "uniform sampler2D diffuse;",
          "varying vec2 vTexCoord;",

          "void main() {",
          "  gl_FragColor = texture2D(diffuse, vTexCoord);",
          "}",
        ].join("\n");

        quadProgram = gl.createProgram();

        var vertexShader = gl.createShader(gl.VERTEX_SHADER);
        gl.attachShader(quadProgram, vertexShader);
        gl.shaderSource(vertexShader, quadVS);
        gl.compileShader(vertexShader);

        var fragmentShader = gl.createShader(gl.FRAGMENT_SHADER);
        gl.attachShader(quadProgram, fragmentShader);
        gl.shaderSource(fragmentShader, quadFS);
        gl.compileShader(fragmentShader);

        attribs = {
          position: 0,
          texCoord: 1
        };

        gl.bindAttribLocation(quadProgram, attribs.position, "position");
        gl.bindAttribLocation(quadProgram, attribs.texCoord, "texCoord");

        gl.linkProgram(quadProgram);

        uniforms = {
          projectionMat: gl.getUniformLocation(quadProgram, "projectionMat"),
          modelMat: gl.getUniformLocation(quadProgram, "modelMat"),
          viewMat: gl.getUniformLocation(quadProgram, "viewMat"),
          diffuse: gl.getUniformLocation(quadProgram, "diffuse")
        };

        var size = 0.2;
        var quadVerts = [];

        var x = 0;
        var y = 0;
        var z = -1;
        quadVerts.push(x - size, y - size, z + size, 0.0, 1.0);
        quadVerts.push(x + size, y - size, z + size, 1.0, 1.0);
        quadVerts.push(x + size, y + size, z + size, 1.0, 0.0);
        quadVerts.push(x - size, y + size, z + size, 0.0, 0.0);

        vertBuffer = gl.createBuffer();
        gl.bindBuffer(gl.ARRAY_BUFFER, vertBuffer);
        gl.bufferData(gl.ARRAY_BUFFER, new Float32Array(quadVerts), gl.
        STATIC_DRAW);

        quadModelMat = new Float32Array([
          1, 0, 0, 0,
          0, 1, 0, 0,
          0, 0, 1, 0,
          0, 0, 0, 1
        ]);

        texture = gl.createTexture();

        var image = new Image();

        // When the image is loaded, we will copy it to the GL texture
        image.addEventListener("load", function() {
          gl.bindTexture(gl.TEXTURE_2D, texture);
          gl.texImage2D(gl.TEXTURE_2D, 0, gl.RGBA, gl.RGBA, gl.UNSIGNED_BYTE, 
          image);

          gl.texParameteri(gl.TEXTURE_2D, gl.TEXTURE_MAG_FILTER, gl.LINEAR);
          gl.texParameteri(gl.TEXTURE_2D, gl.TEXTURE_MIN_FILTER, gl.
          LINEAR_MIPMAP_NEAREST);

          // To avoid bad aliasing artifacts we will generate mip maps to use 
          when rendering this texture at various distances
          gl.generateMipmap(gl.TEXTURE_2D);
        }, false);

        // Start loading the image
        image.src = "../assets/cube-sea.png";
      }

      function addHTMLMessage(msgText) {
        var message = document.createElement("div");
        message.innerHTML = msgText;
        document.getElementById("messages").appendChild(message);
      }
    </script>
  </head>
  <body onload="requestPresent()">
    <canvas id="webgl-canvas"></canvas>
    <div id="messages"></div>
  </body>
</html>

News

6. January 2017

 

Back in September I reported on the impending end to development of the cross platform C++ game framework Marmalade.  It was slated to see it’s final release in March of 2017.  According to an email I received earlier today, it seems a last minute savior has stepped in, GMO Cloud k.k.  Not a traditional gaming company, GMO Cloud is a Japanese group of companies known primarily for cloud hosting and security solutions, perhaps most famously in the west as the parent company of GlobalSign, one of the oldest SSL certificate companies in existence.  While not a gaming company, it does appear that they intend to continue development of Marmalade and to continue supporting Marmalade developers.  Excerpt from their press release:

GMO Cloud K.K. (President and CEO: Mitsuru Aoyama, “GMO Cloud”), a member of the GMO Internet Group, was granted the exclusive rights to use the Marmalade software development kit (SDK) by Marmalade Technologies Ltd (Headquarters: London, UK, “Marmalade Technologies”) on November 24, 2016. The Marmalade SDK features cross platform support.


 This license will allow GMO Cloud to accelerate the development of and the ability to offer new features for the Marmalade SDK. GMO Cloud wants to increase its ability to support the development of games and apps in both Japan and abroad in order to expand and enhance sales and support throughout the world.

Followed by

To help meet these needs, GMO Cloud obtained a license to resell the cross platform SDK “Marmalade,” which enables the development of games and apps compiled from a single source code. They released the SDK on July 1, 2015 and currently offer it to game developers in Japan.


 “We are very excited about GMO managing the development and distribution of the Marmalade SDK to enable our customers to continue building compelling content with the high performance and flexible C++ framework that the Marmalade SDK delivers” said Bruce Beckloff chairman and CEO Marmalade Technologies Ltd.


 GMO Cloud believes that by performing everything from development to provision of the SDK that it had previously only sold, it will be able to further stimulate the development of games and apps in Japan and around the world. The company has thus been transferred exclusive rights to use Marmalade from Marmalade Technologies. In addition to selling it in the Japanese and overseas markets, GMO Cloud will develop new features for this tool that will make developers’ lives easier. The company will also enhance the sales and support that it offers in Japan and elsewhere to make Marmalade a more popular SDK, continuing to support the evolution of the game and app development market.

 

You can read the full press release here.  Certainly good news for existing Marmalade developers.  Will be interesting to see what the future holds.

GameDev News

4. January 2017

 

Inkscape is a popular open source vector based graphics package available for Windows and Linux.  The OS X version is not yet available for reasons explained here.  Version 0.92 adds a few new features including mesh gradients, new live path effects and more.  Below is a summary of the new features, although much more detailed release notes are available here.

Exciting New Features

Mesh gradients are a powerful tool enabling artists to more easily create photo-realistic drawings - a feature we would love to see made part of the W3C's Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) standard; if you find this feature as cool as we do, please request that your favorite web browser adopts support for it too!

Inkscape works closely with the SVG standards committee, and thanks to our many generous donors, the Inkscape project sponsors an engineering representative to attend SVG working group meetings over the past few years. A welcome outcome of this participation is the improvement and addition of over a dozen SVG and CSS properties.

Live Path Effects are proving to be a vibrant ecosystem in the Inkscape project, and many innovative new ideas have been percolating over the past couple years since our last release. Spiro Live, BSpline, and Roughen essentially provide new drawing modes. The Simplify LPE cleans up vector elements non-destructively by smoothing paths, shapes, groups, clips, and masks. Perspective/Envelope and Lattice Deformation 2 enable artists to interactively deform/transform drawing elements. Other new features enable interactive mirroring, interactive rotation of copies along an arc or circle, and dozens of other additions and enhancements.

 

Below is a video showing Inkscape 0.92 in action.  You can learn more about and download Inkscape here.

GameDev News

4. January 2017

 

Today marks the release of Cocos2d-x 3.14.  Cocos2d-x is a popular open source cross platform C++ game library that was used to make games such as BADLAND, Clash of Kings and Final Fantasy Record.  If you want to learn more about Cocos2d-x, we have a complete tutorial series available here.

 

Cocos2d-x 3.14 brings several fixes and improvements including:

  • [NEW] Add Spine binary file format support
  • [NEW] Action: add a method to get the number of actions running in a given node with specific tag
  • [NEW] Action: new actions: ResizeBy and ResizeTo
  • [NEW] Button: can set title label
  • [NEW] Can disable multi touch on Android
  • [NEW] EventDispatcher: Add hasEventListener to check listener existance
  • [NEW] EditBox: add horizontal text alignment
  • [NEW] EventDispatcher: added hasEvent() to check if an event is added
  • [NEW] Sprite: support slice9 feature
  • [NEW] Slider: add methods to get _slidBallNormalRenderer
  • [NEW] Desktop: add a method to toggle between fullscreen and windowed
  • [NEW] Desktop: add events for window resize, focus and unfocus
  • [NEW] Mac: supports game controller
  • [NEW] JSB: add cc.sys.now() and perfromance.now(), the last one is more accurate
  • [NEW] Lua: add cc.vec3 functions: add, sub and dot
  • [NEW] Lua: use luajit 2.1.0-beta2
  • [NEW] Web: Add cc.CONCURRENCY_HTTP_REQUEST_COUNT to control max concurrent task count for XMLHttpRequest

 

More information about the release is available here, while Cocos2d-x is available for download here.

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