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11. February 2017

 

Released back in 2012, Greenlight on Steam has been an ideal launch pad for indie developers.  Greenlight enabled Steam users to vote on what games they wanted to see appear on the Steam store and frankly… it’s become a bloated mess too, flooded with shovelware and rife with developer fraud.  As a result Valve have decided to replace Greenlight with Steam Direct.

 

Excerpt from Valve’s announcement:

A better path for digital distribution

The next step in these improvements is to establish a new direct sign-up system for developers to put their games on Steam. This new path, which we’re calling “Steam Direct,” is targeted for Spring 2017 and will replace Steam Greenlight. We will ask new developers to complete a set of digital paperwork, personal or company verification, and tax documents similar to the process of applying for a bank account. Once set up, developers will pay a recoupable application fee for each new title they wish to distribute, which is intended to decrease the noise in the submission pipeline.
While we have invested heavily in our content pipeline and personalized store, we’re still debating the publishing fee for Steam Direct. We talked to several developers and studios about an appropriate fee, and they gave us a range of responses from as low as $100 to as high as $5,000. There are pros and cons at either end of the spectrum, so we’d like to gather more feedback before settling on a number.

 

So basically Steam Direct is attempting to reduce the flood of titles by attaching a price tag to the submission process.  I think some indie developers may be suffering a bit of sticker shock at the $5,000 upper limit to their possible pricing.

 

Since the original announcement, they have released a follow up post answering some of the communities questions:

  • This new direct path “Steam Direct” described in our post linked above will entirely replace Greenlight. So a couple weeks before we activate this new path, we'll stop accepting new submissions in Greenlight.
  • In the meantime, if you are considering posting your game to Greenlight, please do so.
  • We’ve always evaluated and Greenlit titles that we feel we have enough data on, either in terms of customer votes or success on other platforms, awards, kickstarters, or other similar inputs. We plan to continue Greenlighting titles that have sufficient community interest until the release of Steam Direct. At that point, any games that we didn’t have sufficient data to Greenlight will be invited to use the new onboarding path and app fee if they are still interested in bringing their product to Steam.
  • If you paid the Greenlight Submission Fee and don’t have any Greenlit titles, you can get a refund of your Greenlight Submission Fee.
  • We have a couple more internal tools we need to complete and we want to allow some time to account for feedback or suggestions from the community. So there isn’t a specific timeline at this point, but we expect to be able to make this transition sometime in the next few months.

 

What do you think of the change?  As a gamer I avoided Greenlight like a plague, but as a developer, I am disappointed to see the changes.  I do however understand them completely.

GameDev News

11. February 2017

 

SFML, Simple and Fast Media Library, just released version 2.4.2.  SFML is a popular open source C++ based game framework that handles all the low level tasks required for 2D game development, including graphics, window management, audio, input and even networking.  If you want to learn more, we have a full SFML tutorial series available here.logo

 

Release 2.4.2 is composed almost entirely of bug fixes, including:

 

SFML 2.4.2

System
Bugfixes
  • [Windows] Removed thread affinity changes in sf::Clock (#1107)
Window
Bugfixes
  • Fixed bug where TransientContextLock would hang (#1165, #1172)
  • [Linux] Fixed GLX extensions being loaded too late (#1183)
  • [Linux] Fix wrong types passed to XChangeProperty (#1168 #1171)
  • [Windows] Make context disabling via wglMakeCurrent more tolerant of broken drivers (#1186)
Graphics
Bugfixes
  • Optimized sf::Image::create and made it more exception safe (#1166)

 

You can read the release notes here, while SFML is available for download here.

GameDev News

8. February 2017

 

There has been a new release of the MIT licensed open source 3D game engine Torque, bringing it to version 3.10.  Originally intended as a fairly minor update, this release ended up adding some rather significant new features, such as Mac OS support.   Other new features announced in this release:

    • Mac OSX support
    • Ipv6 support
    • OpenAL-Soft for audio
    • Hardware Skinning support
    • OpenVR(Vive) support
    • Updates to various libraries such as PhysX, Bullet, libVorbis, libOGG, libPNG, SDL, and recast.

 

The post also went on to discuss intentions for the upcoming 4.0 release.  The actual discussion of upcoming changes is far to large to be quoted below, so I recommend reading the full thread for more details on what’s planned for Torque 4.0.

GameDev News

8. February 2017

 

Epic Games have just released Unreal Engine 4.15 preview 4.  This release is composed entirely of fixes.  From the release notes:

We have just released Preview 4 for 4.15! Thank you for your continued help in testing the 4.15 build before its official release. As a reminder, the Preview builds are for testing only, and should not be used for the active development of your project.

Fixed in Preview 4 - CL 3286799
Fixed! UE-41213 Persona - Scene Setup not working correctly
Fixed! UE-41389 Crash in Skeletal Editor due to null ActorFactory reference
Fixed! UE-41376 Pitch and LPF parameters updated incorrectly in audio mixer
Fixed! UE-41377 Audio device hot swap fails for extreme audio device ranges
Updated! UE-41450 PhysicsBall BP not updating location with Collision volumes
Fixed! UE-41497 Illegal Else Without Matching If
Fixed! UE-41474 Putty directory is missing from \Engine\Extras\ThirdPartyNotUE\ in binary builds from the Launcher
Fixed! UE-40740 Unable to escape from the truck in PlatformerGame
Fixed! UE-38060 Ribbon Trails are inconsistent in Content Examples
Fixed! UE-41353 MatineeFightScene too dark due to tonemapperfilm changes
Fixed! UE-41368 Subway Sequencer too dark due to tonemapper film changes in 4.15
Fixed! UE-41360 Incorrect camera starting position in PlatformerGame
Fixed! UE-41359 Crash in FTickFunction::RegisterTickFunction
Fixed! UE-41333 [CrashReport] UE4Editor_AssetRegistry!FAssetRegistry::GetSubClasses() [assetregistry.cpp:2803]
Fixed! UE-41339 Second Controller input not recognized on console
Fixed! UE-41298 iOS Device displays textures darker than in Editor
Fixed! UE-41498 PS4 differential patch size is abnormally large
Fixed! UE-41565 Movie playback not keeping texture filtering settings when switching contexts
Fixed! UE-40779 Crash occurs with PlatformMediaSource called in infinite loop
Fixed! UE-40063 Crash when a material with a texture parameter is deleted when it has instances with static permutations
Fixed! UE-41283 Engine Scalability view distance settings are not being reflected accurately in the viewport
Fixed! UE-41380 Clicking reimport on a skeletal mesh crashes the editor - UE4Editor_Engine!USkeleton::GetSmartNameContainer() [skeleton.cpp:1410]
Fixed! UE-41496 QAGame Controller Loses Focus on Edge of Viewport
Fixed! UE-41113 Widgets can no longer take focus after clicking somewhere other than the widget itself
Fixed! UE-41495 Crash setting actor rotation via details panel in VR editor

 

As always the preview version is available for download using the Epic Game Launcher.  Also, as always, this is not a release intended for production use, you have been warned.

GameDev News

7. February 2017

 

Unity have released a pair of patches for Unity, today they released 5.3.7p4 while a couple days back they released a patch for the newer 5.5.1p2 branch.

 

Details of the 5.3.7p4 patch:

Improvements
  • Virtual Reality: Updated to Oculus runtime version 1.11.
Fixes
  • (854214) - Android: Fixed an incorrect behaviour with Application.persistentDataPath.
  • (none) - Android: Play audio from background applications at the original volume when it is not muted.
  • (668043, 837519) - Asset Pipeline: Fixed an issue where asset and timestamp maps could get out of sync.
  • (865666) - Graphics: Fixed a crash that occurred when loading models from AssetBundles with Tangents set to Calculate Legacy.
  • (none) - Networking: Skip proxy check when using the "file://" protocol.
  • (764734) - Shadows: Fixed a memory leak and assert when shadows are cast from lights with specific properties and in a specific scene setup.
  • (813101) - WebPlayer: Fixed compression settings for WebPlayer when building from command line.

 

 

Details of the 5.5.1p2 patch:

Improvements
  • Virtual Reality: Updated to Oculus runtime version 1.11
Fixes
  • (854214) - Android: Fixed an incorrect behaviour with Application.persistentDataPath.
  • (none) - Android: Fixed readback from float RenderTexture into half float Texture.
  • (none) - Android: Play audio from background applications at the original volume when it is not muted.
  • (865057) - Animation: Fixed crash in animation window when starting playback on invalid optimized game object
  • (849656) - Animation: Fixed vertical and horizontal flips using Box Tool with tangents set to Infinity.
  • (846853) - Asset Bundles: Fixed a crash when loading a scene with occlusion culling from an asset bundle in editor play mode.
  • (none) - Asset Importing: Significant performance improvements to DXT1, DXT5, BC4 and BC5 texture compressor, resulting in faster asset imports.
  • (865507) - Audio: Fixed a WACK certification failure in UWP player builds using the Microsoft HRTF audio spatializer.
  • (840009) - Cache Server: Fixed an issue when building, an unreachable cache server was reported as a warning not an error and did not cause the build to fail.
  • (none) - Cloudbuild Analytics: Fix for iOS and Android crash when all services are OFF.
  • (857206) - Deployment Management: Corrected the behaviour on Windows where using -logfile on batch mode with an emptry string would cause output to go to stdout, consistent with all other platforms.
  • (857507) - Editor: Disallow setting DontSave on a transform unless it is already set on the GameObject.
  • (824020) - Editor: Fixed a crash for D3D platforms if shader compilation did not return any compiled shader data ie, a shader contained #error pre-processor directive.
  • (836737) - Graphics: Don't render the screen space depth buffer if nothing requires it ie screenspace shadows are disabled.
  • (866230) - Graphics: Fixed large objects lit by a directional light self shadowing in editor when player was set to android.
  • (861445) - Graphics: Fixed a crash that occurred when loading models from AssetBundles with Tangents set to Calculate Legacy.
  • (874227) - IL2CPP: Allow the Unity Ads engine integration to work properly on iOS builds that are archived and uploaded to TestFlight.
  • (none) - Physics 2D: Ensure that a PhysicsMaterial2D can be reassigned to a Collider2D.
  • (871727) - Physics 2D: When turning on Rigidbody2D.simulated, the body position/rotation should be synchronized to the current Transform.
  • (857087) - UI: Fixed miscoloured mesh when this was created with CanvasRenderer.SetMesh, passing an array of Color objects to Mesh.colors.
  • (814290) - Virtual Reality: Fixed inconsistency in game view between Singlepass Stereo and Multi Pass when using Split Stereo Diplay.
  • (830612) - Virtual Reality: Fixed incorrect culling in Split Stereo Display.
  • (832185) - Virtual Reality: Fixed incorrect eye view in Split Stereo Display.
  • (832283) - Virtual Reality: Fixed incorrect viewport bounds in Singlepass Stereo.
  • (none) - Windows: When standalone player is embedded into other window, Alt+Enter shortcut for full screen is disabled.

 

The patches are available for download here.

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