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16. February 2017

 

Nevigo have created a unique product in articy:draft.  It’s one of the few tools out there aimed specifically at game designers with the goal of making game design tasks like plot progression, NPC dialog, inventory, application flow and more easier.  I featured articy:draft 2.0 in the game developer toolbox video series.  So what is new in articy:draft 3?  Hands down the biggest new feature is Unity integration, enabling you to publish articy:draft data directly to your Unity powered game.  They also announced that Unreal Engine integration is also in the works.  The other major feature of the 3.0 release is a new plugin system enabling developers to customize their work flow.

 

The official press release:

Bochum, Germany, February 15, 2017 - The new version 3.0 of the professional story and game design tool articy:draft - available February 16th - lets game developers export their content to Unity with just a few clicks. Besides the integration for Unity, the world’s most used game engine, articy:draft 3 comes with many more improvements like a new plugin system enabling users toarticy_to_unity automate and customize functionality to fit their individual needs.

Since its initial release back in 2012, articy:draft is used by AAA studios such as CD Project Red, BioWare and Ubisoft and by hundreds of independent developers like The Chinese Room or Daedalic Entertainment. It has become one of the standard tools for planning non-linear stories, writing interactive dialogues and managing large amounts of game objects like character or item databases. Various educational institutes and universities worldwide added articy:draft to their curriculum.  

To become even more accessible for small to mid-size teams articy:draft 3 offers a ready-made solution to integrate content into Unity. Carsten Schröder, CEO of Nevigo, explains the benefits: “Our Unity integration is more than just an importer. With its customizable flow traversal engine and out-of-the-box script evaluation, it enables developers to test and iterate on their content within the actual game right from the get-go.”

Benedikt Göpfert from Beardshaker Games confirms the efficiency after trying the new version during its beta: “If we already had the Unity plugin for our last game, we would have been at least 20% faster.”

A similar solution for developers using Unreal engine is currently in development. 

Media Contact:
Peter Thielmann
Phone: +49 - 23 27 - 9 60 21 - 21
Email: peter.thielmann@nevigo.com

 

They also released a trailer showcasing the new functionality.

GameDev News

16. February 2017

 

PlayCanvas is an HTML5 powered 3D game engine I featured a long time ago in the Closer Look game engine series.  It has come a long way since then, and just now, received a much improved code editor.  Usability improvements like the now ubiquitous tab view, an improved file navigator, improved code navigation and more.

 

From the announcement blog post:

Some of the new features introduced by the new editor:

File view & tabs

The most obvious difference is now we let you browse all your text files in the code editor and open multiple files in the same window. No more hunting through browser tabs to find that file you were editing.

Goto Anything

Editor Goto Anything

Goto Anything (Ctrl/Cmd+P) is the power users dream option. Jump to any text file in your project with a few keystrokes.

Enhanced keyboard shortcuts

We’ve had a complete overhaul of the keyboard shortcuts. All your standard text editor shortcuts are there. Including using multiple cursors and expanding selections.

Better find & replace

Editor Find

We’ve beefed up the find and replace with a new interface and easy to use extras like case-sensitive and regular expressions.

 

You can learn more about PlayCanvas here.

GameDev News

15. February 2017

 

Physically Based Rendering, PBR, has pretty much taken the world of computer graphics by storm, and Allegorithmics is at the forefront of that movement.  Today they just released Substance Designer 6.  Substance designer is a tool for creating PBR materials.  Substance designer comes with three new major features: Curve Node, Text Node and 32-bit floating point compositing.  image

The Curve Node:

The Curve node allows you to define a curve profile to remap color data. In the context of Substance Designer you will find it particularly useful to define/sculpt height maps.

The Text Node:

The Text node is pretty self-explanatory! It comes with dedicated effect filters like glow, drop shadow, and outline.  Note that the text input can also be exposed for dynamic changes in integrations! The integration plugins will soon be updated.

Another new feature of the release is Scan Processing:

New Scan Processing nodes allow you to create accurate scanned materials from a set of pre-lit photos. These photos can be shot pretty easily with minimal setup: all you need is a camera (or even a phone), a tripod and a flashlight or LED strip. Take 4 or 8 photos of the same surface with varying light angles, crop and feed them to the Scan Processor.

The filters will cross check the different photos and extract a pure albedo as well as an incredibly detailed normal map or height map, no tweaking required. It works even with shiny materials or metals!

Bakers have also been improved with the following new functionality:

  • You can now bake by material/texture set as in Substance Painter, limiting the hassle when your scene contains multiple materials.
  • The bake limit has been pushed to 8K (and will be pushed even further in a future update).
  • The X/Y ratio can be unlocked for non-uniform (non-square) baking.
  • You can (finally) cancel the baking process before it finishes :)

 

The following is a video of the new functionality in action:

 

You can read more about the release here.

GameDev News

15. February 2017

 

After a few preview releases, Unreal Engine 4.15 has now been released.  One of the game changer features of UE 4.15 is the ability to cook Blueprints to C++.  This means you can use the high level logic of Blueprint for developing or prototyping, but have the results compiled to C++ for better performance.  On the topic of performance, compile speeds have also been vastly improved, up to 50% Epic claim.UE415  Support for the upcoming Nintendo Switch was also added, in an experimental form.

 

Major new features include:

Compile times for programmers are drastically reduced - by as much as 50%! Reloading content while Unreal Editor is running, Reroute nodes in Materials, a new Blendspace Editor, new mathematics Blueprint nodes, and more contribute to an even more streamlined development process in this release.

For those looking to squeeze out every drop of performance, Cooking Blueprints to C++ native code is no longer an experimental feature, the Texture Streaming system has gotten an overhaul, and Alternate Frame Rendering with NVIDIA SLI gives a boost on high end systems.

The Cinematics and Animation pipelines continue to strengthen with Animation blending now possible in Sequencer, linking Animation Curves to bones for culling in LODs, and modifying curves in Animation Blueprints with the Modify Curve node. Level Sequences can now be embedded in Actor Blueprints, and early support for Level Sequence Components is available for early adopters.

Developing for Nintendo Switch is available as experimental as part of the platform improvements. GPS data is now accessible on iOS and Android using the new Location Services. Also on iOS, streaming audio and remote notifications are fully supported. Monoscopic Far Field Rendering is an option for mobile VR platforms, HDR display output is available in an experimental state, and the ability to use Playstation VR Aim Controllers is also added.

 

You can read the much more extensive release notes here.

GameDev News

14. February 2017

 

Version 1.2.97 of the Defold game engine was just released.  Defold is a Lua powered, mobile focused 2D game engine that is free for developers to use.  I have done a comprehensive tutorial series if you want to get up to speed.

 

This release has the usual collection of fixes and improvements, from the release notes:

Defold 1.2.97

  • DEF-1129 - Added: Android Immersive mode option
  • DEF-2382 - Added: App/package resource bundling
  • DEF-2069 - Added: Added engine version to dev apps
  • DEF-2376 - Fixed: Support for nested hash()
  • DEF-2374 - Fixed: Auto completion for label module in editor
  • DEF-2128 - Fixed: Music interrupted on computed gain 0
  • DEF-2383 - Fixed: Collection time step was not affecting spine and model components
  • DEF-2459 - Fixed: Editor 1 failed to load texc library on Windows
  • DEF-2408 - Fixed: Documentation bug on window.set_listener()
  • DEF-2464 - Fixed: Models not correctly destroying bone GOs

 

Perhaps the biggest new feature of Defold 1.2.97 is the inclusion of Live Update.  Essentially Live Updates enables you to flag game content to be retrieved later, enabling much smaller download size.  From the much more detailed post on Live Update:

LiveUpdate enables the developer to exclude all resources that belongs to a specific collectionproxy. When the resources within a collectionproxy is excluded they will not be bundled with the game, but instead exported as separate files for each resource. The actual collectionproxy will still be included, which allows a script to post messages such as "load" and "enable" to that collectionproxy. This will allow a developer to bundle only the first few episodes, levels, dungeons or monsters with the game that is published, and then download additional content as the player progress through the game, which will allow for a very small, and fixed, initial download size.

 

Very much a cool feature, but I wonder how well it plays with Apple AppStore regulations.

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