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11. October 2017


At the annual Oculus Connect developer conference, there have been several announcements on the VR front.  First is a pretty massive price cut to the existing Oculus Rift bundle, the second such price cut, driving the price down to $399 USD.

Summer of Rift had a major impact on the VR industry, and the community’s response showed that the appetite for best-in-class VR hardware and games is stronger than ever. We want to continue getting VR into more people’s hands, so we’re permanently lowering the price of Rift to $399 USD.

Each Rift bundle comes with Touch controllers, sensors, and six free apps that give you hours of entertainment including Epic’s arcade shooter, Robo Recall, and our creative tools, Medium and Quill.

Read more about the price cut here.


In addition to the price cuts, they also announced an all new Oculus device, the Oculus Go.  It is binary compatible with the Gear VR.  Essentially it seems to be a GearVR without the phone requirement and built in speakers.  Available for $199USD, it also comes with a controller and will certainly OcGomake VR more accessible to a wider audience.

Our first standalone product is Oculus Go—the easiest way to jump into VR. It ships early next year, starting at $199 USD. It’s awesome for watching movies or concerts, playing games, or just hanging out with your friends in VR.

This all-in-one device makes VR more accessible than ever and represents a huge leap forward in comfort, visual clarity, and ease-of-use.

The headset is super lightweight, and the new fabric used for the facial interface is soft and breathable.

The high-resolution fast-switch LCD screen dramatically improves visual clarity and reduces screen door effect. And the next-generation lenses are our best ever—offering a wide field of view with significantly reduced glare.

Oculus Go also ships with integrated spatial audio. The speakers are built right into the headset, transporting you straight into VR and making the headset easy to share with someone else. If you need it, there’s also a 3.5mm headphone jack for private listening.

Gear VR and Oculus Go apps are binary compatible, and they share the same controller input set—that means developers building for Gear VR are already building for Oculus Go. As an added plus, the best of our mobile VR content library will be available to everyone on day one.

Oculus Go pushes the envelope of what’s possible at such an accessible price point, and we can’t wait to share more early next year.

Read more about the new device here.


They also announced the open sourcing of the Rift DK2.

Today, we’re excited to announce the open source release of Rift Development Kit 2 (DK2). Our progress since the release of DK1 has been thanks in no small part to this community working tirelessly alongside us. We’re doing this both to preserve and share what we learned about VR in the early days, and to let anyone use the design in their own projects.

The open source release of the DK2 hardware follows on from our earlier releases of Rift DK1 and Latency Tester. This includes schematics, board layout, mechanical CAD, artwork, and specifications under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license, and firmware under BSD+PATENT licences. We present a guided tour of DK2 for those interested in digging in deeper.


All told, a pretty big day for VR.  I’ve long held that the future of VR is a standalone device, untethered from a computer.  Hopefully the new Oculus Go solves many of the GearVR’s thermal issues and has a serviceable battery life.  VR is a great experience, but when its limited to 15 minute intervals, it kind of loses something!


GameDev News

11. October 2017


Cocos2d-x, the popular C++ port of the Cocos2D game framework, just released version 3.16.  This release brings better support for Cocos Creator, which you can see in action in this video.  The release also includes several fixed and minor new features as well as the discontinuation of support for two platforms, Tizen and Windows 10 Metro.  If you are interested in learning more about Cocos2d-x be sure to check out our tutorial series available here.


Highlights of 3.16 release:

  • better support creator_to_cocos2dx Creator plugin
  • add LayerRadiaGradientLayer
  • update to support Android Studio 2.3.3
  • fix the issue that lua projects will crash on iOS simulator with Xcode 8.0+
  • revert functionality of CocosStudio reader and flatbuffer
  • fix compling errors with iOS 11
  • use prebuit bullet libraries to improve compiling speed
  • remove supporting of Windows 10 metro, Windows Phones and Tizen
  • update to Spine v3.5.35 and support skeleton batching in web engine


You can learn more about this release here.  Cocos2d-x is free and open source, more details available here.

GameDev News

10. October 2017


Like many other techies, after reading Neuromancer or Snow Crash the idea of a 3D internet has been a distant dream.  There have been attempts certainly, like VRML 1 and 2 for example, or the online MMO Second Life, but none of really come close.  These days however a number of technologies are converging that might actually make it possible.  Fast computers, fast internet connections, WebGL in the browser and perhaps most importantly the rise of consumer level VR headsets.  All of these technologies combine to make the 3D web a possibility and A-Frame brings them all together.  A-Frame was founded by Mozilla, is an open source project that builds a VR framework over top of the popular open source Three.js engine.  You develop your game works using a HTML5 style markup working with a familiar entity/component model.


Here is a simple A-Frame application.

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
    <title>Hello, WebVR! - A-Frame</title>
    <meta name="description" content="Hello, WebVR! - A-Frame">
    <script src="https://aframe.io/releases/0.6.0/aframe.min.js"></script>
</head>
<body>
<a-scene fog="type: linear; color: #AAA">
    <a-box position="-1 0.5 -3" rotation="0 45 0" color="#4CC3D9"></a-box>
    <a-sphere position="0 1.25 -5" radius="1.25" color="#EF2D5E"></a-sphere>
    <a-cylinder position="1 0.75 -3" radius="0.5" height="1.5" color="#FFC65D"></a-cylinder>
    <a-plane position="0 0 -4" rotation="-90 0 0" width="4" height="4" color="#7BC8A4"></a-plane>
    <a-sky color="#ECECEC"></a-sky>
</a-scene>
</body>
</html>


Run this in browser and you will see:

image


Run it in a browser using a VR headset and you will have full 3D head tracking.  Even cooler, hit Ctrl + Alt + I and you get access to the inspector:

image


Giving you full access over the entities making up your scene, the components attached to them and even give you the ability to create completely new ones.  If you are interested in learning more be sure to check out the video below.

Programming ,

3. October 2017


There is a new release of the Lua powered 2D Defold game engine, bringing the version to 1.2.114.  If you’ve never heard of the Defold game engine we have a complete tutorial series to get you started, available here.  This new releases adds support for Facebook’s new GameRoom App Store for Windows platforms only. 



Details of the release from the release notes:

Engine

  • DEF-2505- Added: Facebook Gameroom integration
  • DEF-2896 - Fixed: Added more allowed libs when building android (native extensions)
Work In Progress
Native Extensions + Linux

When updating the build server to Ubuntu 16.04, we’re also migrating our own
CI pipeline to use the same Docker container. We’re doing this to minimize the configuration overhead.

While doing this, we need to update a lot of smaller things in our pipeline, and also we’re cleaning up
old technical debt. But, we’re seeing light at the end of of the tunnel now, and we can hopefully release this feature
to you soon.

Lazy loading of factory assets

We’re also reworking how the assets are loaded in the game.
Instead of loading all assets up front, we’re now loading the assets right before they’re needed.
This feature should help out the developers that have many and/or large

Frame throttling

We’re also making sure the engine respects the “update_frequency” setting while still using VSync.
This will remove the issue of having the game run too fast.

GameDev News

3. October 2017


There are several different IDEs that run in the cloud, although they are quite often tied to a very specific development stack.  Cloud based development has a number of advantages.  You don’t need to install any software besides your browser, you can code and debug using any browser enabled device, you can often work collaboratively and of course, your code can then be run in the cloud.  If you find yourself needing to write server code, be it a web server or game backend a cloud based IDE/server may be just the ticket for you.


Enter CodeAnywhere.  CodeAnywhere can basically be thought of as a web based IDE front end for multiple languages/stacks built over on demand virtual machines.  Basically you can create a virtual machine with root ssh shell access, then are provided with a browser IDE to create and run your code.  Finally that virtual machine (“container” in CodeAnywhere parlance) can act as your server.  Let’s take a quick look at the process.


First you need to sign up, you can use any oauth provider for authentication, for example I used my Gmail account.  The free tier is all you need at this point.  Once you start needing more space you can upgrade to one of several different subscriptions.

image



Next you can create a “Container”.  On the free tier you are limited to one at a time.   There are several different pre-defined stacks to choose from, operating on either Ubuntu or Centos.  Stacks include technologies such as Java, C++, Node, .NET Core, pretty much every single current server stack.

image


Once your container is created, you now have a ssh shell with full sudo access.  Create whatever files you need, run your package manager, whatever you need to do.

image


In the editor you have access to your entire project hierarchy:

image


Click a file and it will be opened in the code editor:

image


As you can see it contains most modern IDE functionality, code complete, code folding, syntax colouring, etc.  Finally you can run your code and access it in several different ways:

image


Hands-On Video

Programming

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