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30. March 2016

 

Twin announcements today from the MS Build conference that will have a direct affect on indie developers.  The first is that UWP (Universal Windows Platform) applications can now be run on Xbox One.  The second, anyone can turn their Xbox One into a devkit (warning... big big big disclaimer attached!).

 

Partial announcement from the Windows Blog:

Gaming gets better with the Windows 10 Anniversary update, including background music and Cortana coming to Xbox One. Cortana can become your personal gaming assistant and help you find great new games, new challenges or tips and tricks. On Xbox One, we’re continuing to deliver on top fan-requested features like support for multiple GPUs and the ability to turn off v-sync. Game developers have access to a fully open ecosystem with the Universal Windows Platform, making it easy to bring the games people love to both Xbox One and other Windows 10 devices. With the Anniversary Update, any Xbox One can be a developer kit with Xbox Dev Mode, enabling anyone to develop for the living room. And, the Windows Store will offer a unified store experience for all developers, creating new opportunities to reach millions of new customers.

 

Polygon however have a great deal more details, including the gotcha I mentioned above.

While the preview of Dev Mode is available to anyone now, Charla stressed that most people should wait until its full release later this summer.

"You might run into issues now," he said.

The preview only offers access to 448 MB of the Xbox One's 8 GB of RAM. When Dev Mode comes out of preview, Charla said, developers will have access to the full 1 GB of RAM supported for UWP Xbox games.

"It's also a preview," he added. "And we want to be able to test things still in the preview."

[Snip]

First, a user has to download the Dev Mode activation app from the Xbox Games Store. Launching the app kicks off a welcome screen and a link to documentation that details what to expect when you switch over from retail to a dev kit, as well as the requirements.

The requirements include that you:

  • Join the Windows Insider Program
  • Are running Windows 10 on your PC
  • Have a wired connection to your PC from your Xbox One
  • Install the latest Visual Studio 2015 and Windows builds
  • Have at least 30 GB of storage free on your console

The introduction also warns that once you've converted your console over, you may occasionally run into issues running retail games. In addition, the introduction says, leaving Dev Mode will require resetting your console to its factory settings and uninstalling all of your games, apps and content.

Upon agreeing, you're given a code that can be entered on your computer once you sign into your Dev Center account. The activation can take awhile and usually requires updating your console. Once it's complete, the console restarts and returns you to your standard startup screen.

"It doesn't take a lot of time to switch to Dev Mode," Charla said as he took me through the process on Microsoft's remote console.

After setting up Dev Mode, a user simply pairs their Xbox One with Visual Studio, which sees the console as a Windows 10 machine to which it can deploy content directly through a wired connection.

"When a UWP app is running, it doesn't know it's running on an Xbox," Charla said. "It just knows it's a Windows 10 device."

 

So tread carefully!  Be sure to head on over to Polygon to read the full article.  While this has been in the works for 3 years, it’s nice to see that development has finally come to the Xbox One.  Considering Microsoft absolutely owned this segment when they release XNA, I am somewhat staggered it took this long.  Did you try it out?  If so, how much of an impact did it have on your retail games?

GameDev News ,

29. March 2016

 

Welcome to the second Blender how to ( here is the first ), a series of quick step by step tutorials showing you how to accomplish a specific task using Blender.  Today we will look at a way of quickly modeling a high rise building.  It assumes you know the basics of using Blender.  If you don’t, no worries, I have tutorials for that!

 

First, start with the default cube, like so:

image

 

Now enter edit mode(TAB) and  loop cut (CTRL + R) it about the center, like so:

image

 

Select all the faces of the top half and separate them (P->Selection)

image

 

In object mode move the newly separated top portion up along the Z axis (G + Z + mouse)

image

 

Select the bottom box, make a copy (SHIFT + D), then move it up along the Z axis.

image

 

Select the middle piece, switch to edit mode, select the bottom face and delete it (x –> faces), like so:

image

 

This face is going to represent the various floors of your building.  Keep the top and bottom edges the same size as the top/bottom box and start carving it up to match your floor.  I generally start by doing a pair of loop cuts along the entire length, like so:

image

This can be accomplished by doing a loop cut (Ctrl + R), then before clicking to commit, scroll button once to perform multiple evenly spaced cuts at once.  Next I move them up and down the mesh simultaneously by simply scaling along the Z axis (S, Z, mouse move)

Now lets do several more loop cuts for windows using the same process (Ctrl + R, Mouse wheel multiple times):

image

 

Next select every other edge created (alt + shift click to select multiple) like so:

image

 

We now want to edge slide the selected edges (G,G)

image

Now select the inner faces like so:

image

Then hit E to extrude them

image

Repeat the similar process on all 4 sides to define your building.  Obviously you would arrange as you saw fit.

 

Now that we have our floor defined, it’s time to make a lot of them.  Switch to object mode then go to the modifiers tab and select Array:

image

 

Now we need to make sure we set the axis to array along ( set Z to 1 in the relative offset area ) and the number of times to duplicate under the count section.

image

When satisfied, click the Apply button.  Finally move your top and bottom pieces so they cap the building on each end, like so:

image

 

Select all 3 shapes and merge them together (Ctrl + J) like so:

image

Now we just need to weld our objects together.  Box select (B) the overlap area between the bottom and middle boxes in edit mode, like so:

image

Now select Remove Doubles in the Tool menu(T), then manipulate the Merge distance

image

Until you see

image 

Repeat for the top portion.

 

TADA, a building in Blender.  An ugly building mind you, but a building none the less.

image

Art ,

29. March 2016

 

Defold is a game engine that was recently release by King at GDC 2016.  It’s a cool and capable cross platform Lua powered game engine that you can see in action in this video.  One of the big downsides of the engine (and an upside too) is that your code resides on King’s servers.  Behind the scenes they maintain a git repository, but it’s quite understandable that this might not make you feel warm and fuzzy.  Thankfully you have the option of using your own server as described in these instructions.

If you are comfortable at the command line, here are the instructions below:

Command line

Prerequisite: Git - OS X, Windows, Linux

  1. Open your project in the Defold editor.
  2. Right click on the game.project file, select "Show in Finder" (or similar for your platform).
  3. Next, you need to navigate to the project location (from step 2) in a terminal window. Here's how:
    • OS X - Open the project location in Terminal.app, for a detailed guide see this.
    • Windows - Open the project location in Git Bash, for a detailed guide see this1.
  4. Lastly, change the ​origin remote to your own Git URL entering these commands into your terminal:
git remote set-url origin <your_own_git_server_url>
git push -u origin master

 

Easy enough.

 

Note however that you will still need to create your project on the Defold servers, but the code will now reside on your own servers.  This requirement should be removed in version 2.0 according to this forum post.

GameDev News

28. March 2016

 

Tiled, the popular open source 2D map editor, just released version 0.16.0.  If you are interested in learning more about Tiled, we have a complete tutorial series here on GameFromScratch.

The major new features of this release are:

 

Auto Updater and a new installer.

On windows machines, the installer is now MSI based.  Additionally you have option on OS/X and Windows of having Tiled automatically check for updates and present the release notes.  You can also set it to automatically download and install future updates.

tiled1

 

Improved Property Editing

The custom properties have been improved.  First up is the new Objects Type Editor enabling you to predefine a set of properties:

tiled2

One other major ability is the ability to define properties types as well as their name, supporting string, int, float and bool types.

 

Full Change Log

  • Added checking for updates, based on Sparkle and WinSparkle
  • Added default property definitions to object types (with Michael Bickel)
  • Added types to custom properties: string, float, int, boolean (with CaptainFrog)
  • Added Properties view to the Tile Collision Editor (by Seanba)
  • Added a reset button for color properties
  • Added eraser mode to Terrain Brush and fixed some small issues
  • Reuse existing Tiled instance when opening maps from the file manager (with Will Luongo)
  • Allow setting tile probability for multiple tiles (by Henrik Heino)
  • New MSI based installer for Windows
  • Optimized selection of many objects
  • libtiled-java: Fixed loading of maps with CSV layer data that are not square (by Zachary Jia)
  • Fixed potential crash when having Terrain Brush selected and switching maps
  • Updated Dutch, French, German, Japanese, Russian and Spanish translations

You can read more about the release here.

GameDev News ,

26. March 2016

 

Toonz is a 2D animation package which has now been open sourced under the New BSD license as OpenToonz.  Toonz has a long history in 2D animation for inking, painting andimage digital composition and has been used extensively by Studio Ghibli on such projects as Princess Mononoke and others.  Toonz dates back to the early 90s in SGI machines.

 

From the OpenToonz site:

  • This is software for producing a 2D animation.

    It is based on the software "Toonz", which was developed by Digital Video S.p.A. in Italy, customized by Studio Ghibli, and has been used for creating its works for many years. Dwango launches this OpenToonz project, in cooperation with Digital Video and Studio Ghibli.

  • This software can be used by anyone free of charge, no matter whether the purpose of use is commercial or not.
  • This is available as an open source, so that users can modify its source code freely.
  • We aim to develop a new platform for connecting the academic research into frontline animation production.

Studio Ghibli also contributed GTS, a scanning tool as part of OpenToonz:

  • Sequence number scanning can be conducted efficiently according to in-between animation numbers.
  • Compatible with 4 types of scanning.
    (black-and-white, colored, with or without binarization)
  • The settings for scanning can be saved. Processes can be reproduced when some cuts are rescanned.
  • Compatible with the TWAIN standards

The source code for OpenToonz is available on Github.  You can download binaries and documentation for OpenToonz here.

GameDev News ,

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