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21. August 2018


Valve just announced the release of Photon on GitHub.  Photon is a custom version of the WINE translation layer, that has been optimized to better support games, including native support for all of the game controllers that Steam currently supports, as well as a translation layer enabling you to play D3D 11/12 games on Vulkan.

Details from the release announcement:

  • Windows games with no Linux version currently available can now be installed and run directly from the Linux Steam client, complete with native Steamworks and OpenVR support.
  • DirectX 11 and 12 implementations are now based on Vulkan, resulting in improved game compatibility and reduced performance impact.
  • Fullscreen support has been improved: fullscreen games will be seamlessly stretched to the desired display without interfering with the native monitor resolution or requiring the use of a virtual desktop.
  • Improved game controller support: games will automatically recognize all controllers supported by Steam. Expect more out-of-the-box controller compatibility than even the original version of the game.
  • Performance for multi-threaded games has been greatly improved compared to vanilla Wine.

Proton is built around the following technologies (and more):

  • vkd3d[source.winehq.org], the Direct3D 12 implementation based on Vulkan
  • The OpenVR and Steamworks native API bridges
  • Many wined3d performance and functionality fixes for Direct3D 9 and Direct3D 11
  • Overhauled fullscreen and gamepad support
  • The "esync[github.com]" patchset, for multi-threaded performance improvements


Although Proton works on Mac, Steam Play is currently only supported on Linux machines.  Initially there is only a subset of games supported officially, with the ability to request whitelisting for other games coming soon.  Eventually this technology will hopefully enable you to run the majority of your Windows games directly in Linux from the Steam client.  It will be interesting to see what this support does to Linux development support in general… is it a good thing, or bad thing, for Linux platform adoption?

GameDev News


21. June 2018


Once again, Steam’s annual summer sale is upon us, and of course loads of software of interest for game developers are on offer.  This guide highlights some of the items on sale.  Many of these programs we’ve covered in the pass.  In those cases, click the Learn More link to… learn more.



GameDev News


20. April 2018


Dust3D is a new application unlike any other 3D modeller I’ve used.  It’s free, open source, runs on Mac and Windows, with Linux support possible if you compile it yourself.  What makes it unique however is it’s approach to modelling.  Essentially you model by create a series of circles along two axis, which act as loft points for the generated mesh.  Really it’s one of those things you need to see in action to understand… thankfully I’ve made this video showing exactly that.



Dust is certainly not for creating highly detailed 3D models, instead it’s more useful for rapidly creating base meshes, which can then be exported in OBJ format and sculpting/refined in other 3D modelling applications.

Art


17. April 2018


Foundry, the makers of Mara and Modo among other CG applications, have just released Kanova in early access on Steam.  Kanova is a 3D sculpting application in the same vein as Mudbox and ZBrush, although designed for a VR workflow.  Using your Oculus Rift or HTC Vive headset you can model in 3D like working with virtual clay.  Don’t worry desktop users, VR is not required to use Kanova.  The nicest part is, Kanova is also currently free as part of the early access release!


Details of the new application from Steam:

Kanova is a simple, easy to use, VR enabled, 3D sculpting application. It uses the patented 3D Adaptive Distance Field (ADF) technology developed by Foundry. Unlike other tools on the market, Kanova can be used in pure VR form, for creative exploration, or as a hybrid/VR desktop application. Artists can further refine and develop creations by exporting to Foundry's 3D content creation platform, Modo and Modo indie.
Sculpting in VR completely changes artists typically approach creating 3D objects. Freeing them from learning technical tools and terminology and allowing them to intuitively sculpt 3D objects in a natural fashion. The simplified nature of Kanova's interaction means that it appeals to first time users to 3D as well as seasoned artists and industry professionals, giving each a unique tool from which to create 3D artwork.
Feature highlights include:

  • Editing scenes using Kanova in desktop mode and within the VR environment
  • Selecting different modeling tools
  • Creating multiple layers
  • Sculpting and painting in color
  • Exporting to Sketchfab format


The Kanova User Guide provides details on the features available and how to access them using the Kanova desktop application and from within the VR environment.


I went hands on with Kanova in this video, also embedded below.  While early in development, it’s an application that holds a heck of a lot of potential.

Art


22. March 2018


The popular open source painting application Krita just hit the major milestone of a 4.0 release.  This release adds several new features but by far the biggest new feature has to be vector graphics support.  Krita now supports SVG 1.1 with 2.0 support in the works and received several new tools to support vector graphics workflows.  Built on top of the new vector graphics functionality, Krita also received an excellent new Text tool.

There are several other new features such as an isometric grid, fat pixel editor when heavily zoomed allowing you to paint on a pixel by pixel basis, new Python support including a new Python plugin manager and much more.  You can learn more about this release from the release notes available here.  I also look into the release in more detail in this video, also embedded below.

GameDev News


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