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20. March 2018

 

CryEngine 5.5 preview has just been released at GDC 2018.  In addition to several new features, the 5.5 release includes several new learning materials toCry55 help new developers get started using CryEngine.  Another major change in this release is the availability of source code for the new CryEngine editor.  Additionally, Crytek have announced a new royalty based cost structure.

Details of the release from the release announcement:

CRYENGINE 5.5 highlights:

  • Getting Started Course: Our new beginner’s course shows users with no experience in game development how to create a full game in CRYENGINE in just 10 chapters.
  • SVOGI Improvements: SVOGI can now run on consoles. We have enabled developers to cache SVOGI on the disk and calculate GI completely offline. This means users can make the most realistic scenes yet.
  • Terrain System Improvements: New features and enhancements vastly improve the terrain system, including the ability to weight and blend multiple materials, more detailed height maps, and more.
  • Updated Entity Components: New and legacy components are integrated in the new entity system, including rain and water ripple entities. A new VR Camera and interaction component makes getting up and running with VR even easier.
  • C# Upgrades: We have expanded how users can create C# assets directly inside the Asset Browser, with Visual Studio instances, debugging through the IDE, and more.
  • Game Platform Plugins: A brand new Game Platform plugin allows for easy access to common distribution platforms and data transfer protocols. This includes Steamworks and PSN API functions like matchmaking, leaderboards, and achievements.

Crytek are also moving to a straight royalty based subscription model with this release:

Crytek has announced a new 5% royalty-based model for CRYENGINE, alongside a range of improvements, enhancements, new learning offerings, and full access to the editor source code. Developers around the world now have complete, uninhibited, and easy access to the power of CRYENGINE, and the opportunity to have their expertise with the engine recognized.

Creators who release games using CRYENGINE V will find development faster and easier than ever before and incur costs only after $5,000 is raised in revenue. An enterprise tier will also be introduced for custom support packages and royalty buyouts. Developers currently developing on CRYENGINE 5.0-5.4 can apply for a royalty exemption if they wish to stay on the current version and not take advantage of access to the editor source code. For more information, consult the CRYENGINE FAQ pages.

They are moving away from the donation based system they implemented in 5.0 and frankly it makes sense.  While a donation based system was excellent for the end user it seemed unviable for a project like CryEngine.

GameDev News

19. March 2018

 

Today at GDC, Microsoft may have just revealed the future of 3D graphics, Direct X 12 Raytracing or DXR.  Raytracing is pretty much the gold standard for creating realistic 3D renderings and is the technique that powers pretty much every single 3D film or game cut-scene released over the last 30 years.  The problem with raytracing is, it’s computer intensive, potentially taking hours or even days to render a single frame of animation.  Modern games have to render each frame of animation in about 23 milliseconds or less… so obviously, something has to give.  This is where DXR comes in.

Here is a description of what DXR for DX12 does, from the MSDN blog:

At the highest level, DirectX Raytracing (DXR) introduces four, new concepts to the DirectX 12 API:

  1. The acceleration structure is an object that represents a full 3D environment in a format optimal for traversal by the GPU.  Represented as a two-level hierarchy, the structure affords both optimized ray traversal by the GPU, as well as efficient modification by the application for dynamic objects.
  2. A new command list method, DispatchRays, which is the starting point for tracing rays into the scene.  This is how the game actually submits DXR workloads to the GPU.
  3. A set of new HLSL shader types including ray-generation, closest-hit, any-hit, and miss shaders.  These specify what the DXR workload actually does computationally.  When DispatchRays is called, the ray-generation shader runs.  Using the new TraceRay intrinsic function in HLSL, the ray generation shader causes rays to be traced into the scene.  Depending on where the ray goes in the scene, one of several hit or miss shaders may be invoked at the point of intersection.  This allows a game to assign each object its own set of shaders and textures, resulting in a unique material.
  4. The raytracing pipeline state, a companion in spirit to today’s Graphics and Compute pipeline state objects, encapsulates the raytracing shaders and other state relevant to raytracing workloads.

 

The blog goes into a great deal more detail of the specifics of DXR and also includes this extremely early preview of the API.  Additionally Microsoft have updated their Direct X profiling PIX to support raytracing

This announcement isn’t a software only initiative.  Obviously Microsoft will be releasing a software layer in the form of Direct X 12, and will provide a software fallback if hardware doesn’t fully support it.  However it is also a hardware initiative and NVidia have already announced their support in the form of NVIDIA RTX.  Their future Volta generation of GPUs are going to be the first to support DXR.  Additionally their game tool NVIDIA Gameworks is being updated to support Direct X 12 Raytracing.

Learn more in the video below:

GameDev News

19. March 2018

 

Today at GDC, Amazon have announced the launch of GameOn, an API for backend services for game developers similar to Microsoft’s recently announced Azure Game Cloud service.  One interesting new feature of GameOn however is the ability to offer real world rewards in your game, that will be issued from Amazon.com.  It will be interesting to see how well that service matches meshes with various gambling laws.

Details of GameOn from the GameOn homepage:

What is Amazon GameOn?

GameOn is a set of flexible APIs built on AWS cloud infrastructure and works on any operating system, giving you the ability to scale quickly, while allowing you to invest more time in what you do best—designing great games. With GameOn you have an easy tool to bring more players in on the action—allowing them to compete for real-world prizes fulfilled by Amazon or other in-game rewards. Drive engagement and increase monetization of your games by adding leaderboards, leagues, and multi-round competitions to your games, or strengthen your fanbase by allowing players and streamers to create their own user-generated competitions.

 

Obviously pricing is going to be a big factor in GameOn adoption.  This is why Amazon is making GameOn free until May the 1st, 2018.   For a limited time you get 35,000 free plays per day, then get charged $0.003 per play.  The devil is in the details there in terms of what a “play” is.  If that’s per game, it could become outrageously expensive extremely quick.  If it’s per user per day the price is more reasonable but could still quickly rack up.  Clearly this will only work with games that monetize on a per play basis as opposed to traditional pay once and done pricing models.   You can learn more about pricing and sign up for a developer key here.

GameDev News

19. March 2018

 

If you are an Unreal Engine game developer, Epic just announced a pretty sweet give away.  They just released $12,000,000 worth of art assets from the 2017 MOBA Paragon.  The assets include 20 AAA quality characters, fully rigged, textured and animated, ready for game deployment.  Additionally they released 1,500+ assets used to develop game levels. 

The assets are usable without condition so long as you are using Unreal Engine.  If you are using a different game engine you have no rights to any of these assets.

To see the assets in action be sure to watch this video.

GameDev News

15. March 2018


Cocos Creator 1.9 has just been released.  Cocos Creator is a full game development IDE for creating cross platform 2D games built on top of the Cocos2d-x framework.  If you are interested in learning more about Cocos Creator, be sure to check out our most recent hands-on video.  The 1.9 release brings several new features and bug fixes, the largest of which is the addition of two new platforms of sorts, Facebook Instant Games and QQ Play in beta form.


Details of the release from the release notes:

Features
  • Support for Facebook Instant Games, [see Documentation] (http://www.cocos2d-x.org/docs/creator/manual/en/publish/publish-fb-instant-games.html37)
  • Support QQ Play, [See Documentation] (http://www.cocos2d-x.org/docs/creator/manual/en/publish/publish-qqplay.html10)
  • [Editor] Assets panel directly supports copy and paste resources (via right-click menu or shortcut keys)
  • [Editor] In the scene editor’s Rect edit mode, support for dragging a node’s white space, easy to change the value of the anchor
  • [Editor] Added “Sync” button to the particle component’s Property inspector. Clicking Sync will set the Custom parameter to be the same as File. (Synchronize button is only available if you check Custom and set File)
  • [Editor] Adds scale property to Timeline to facilitate editing of both scaleX and scaleY
  • [Engine] PhysicsManager Adds FIXED_TIME_STEP and MAX_ACCUMULATOR Parameters
Bug Fixes
  • [Engine] [Web] Fixed an issue where the input box could not pop up in some MIUI browsers
  • [Engine] Fix the issue that the audio may not stop after checking MD5 build
  • [Engine] Fixed issue where Label’s stroke may be truncated by one pixel
  • [Engine] Fixed an issue with exception-free messages in the cc.Class constructor
  • [Engine] [Animation] Fixed issue where one frame would be played less when the Animation component switched animations or manually set the AnimationState time
  • [Engine] [Wechat] Fixes Failed to Use Remote Service Loading After iOS Wechat Mini Game Native Code Pack Exceeding 4MB
DEPRECATION
  • As of v1.8.2, cc.eventManager is no longer recommended. Use cc.EventTarget or cc.systemEvent instead. The original API will be removed in 2.0.
  • As of v1.8.2, cc.inputManager is no longer recommended. Use the same interface as cc.systemEvent instead. The original API will be removed in 2.0.
  • As of v1.8.2, dragonBones.CCFactory.getFactory is no longer recommended. Please use dragonBones.CCFactory.getInstance instead. The original API will be removed in 2.0.
KNOWN ISSUES
  • When copying and pasting resources in the Assets panel, the resource properties will still not be copied. (Since 1.9.0)
  • On a native platform, calling the action.easing(cc.ease***) method may cause the node’s logical data to be out of sync. Please use cc.ease***(action) instead. (Since 1.8.2)


Cocos Creator is available for download here for both Mac and Windows.


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