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18. April 2016


Over on the Autodesk AREA blog Autodesk just announced the new features in the upcoming 3ds Max 2017.  3D Studios Max is a long running 3d content creation application, perhaps most often used for game development.  It seems there are several new features coming in the 2017 release.

New features include:

  • an updated UI and High DPI monitor support
  • viewport performance improvements, up to 300%
  • improvements to performance and usability of Unwrap UVW including:
    • Dramatic Performance improvements
    • New Packing Algorithm
    • New Peeling based on ABF(Angle Based Flattening)
    • Point-to-Point Selection Preview
    • Symmetrical Geometry Selection 
    • Loop Selection and Ring Selection
    • Display Only Selected Polygon in viewport
  • a new ray tracer, ART (Autodesk Raytracer Renderer)
  • new Physical material for replicating real world surfaces
  • new Sun Positioner
  • new Scene Converter to ease move to different renderers or game engines
  • scanline renderer multi core support scaled to 128 cores
  • modeling object tool improvements, including:
    • local align
    • sub object picking
    • point to selection
    • boolean and hard surface modeling improvements
  • animation controllers
  • custom attributes
  • python integration
  • skin weighting with geodesic voxel and heat map skinning
  • new text and shape tools

You can see several of the new features in this montage video

Art, GameDev News ,

8. April 2016


In 2013, Google announced the switch from Eclipse to Android Studio as the primary route for Android Development.  Android Studio is a fork of the popular IntelliJ Java IDE from JetBrains.  Yesterday they announced the released of Android Studio version 2.

So, what are the new features in this release?  Well...

  • Instant Run - For every developer who loves faster build speeds. Make changes and see them appear live in your running app. With many build/run accelerations ranging from VM hot swapping to warm swapping app resources, Instant Run will save you time every day.
  • Android Emulator - The new emulator runs ~3x faster than Android’s previous emulator, and with ADB enhancements you can now push apps and data 10x faster to the emulator than to a physical device. Like a physical device, the official Android emulator also includes Google Play Services built-in, so you can test out more API functionality. Finally, the new emulator has rich new features to manage calls, battery, network, GPS, and more.
  • Cloud Test Lab Integration - Write once, run anywhere. Improve the quality of your apps by quickly and easily testing on a wide range of physical Android devices in the Cloud Test Lab right from within Android Studio.
  • App Indexing Code Generation & Test - Help promote the visibility your app in Google Search for your users by adding auto-generated URLS with the App Indexing feature in Android Studio. With a few click you can add indexable URL links that you can test all within the IDE.
  • GPU Debugger Preview - For those of you developing OpenGL ES based games or apps, you can now see each frame and the GL state with the new GPU debugger. Uncover and diagnosis GL rendering issues by capturing and analyzing the GPU stream from your Android device.
  • IntelliJ 15 Update - Android Studio is built on the world class Intellij coding platform. Check out the latest Intellij features here.


Of these news features, the 3x improved emulator speed is by far the most exciting to me.  Put simply previous Android emulators have been SLOW.  Painfully, excruciatingly slow.  Heck, the simple fact they can TRIPLE the speed of previous emulators should give you an idea of just how slow it was!  The emulator also has an improved user interface, added drag and drop APK deployment, multi touch support, resizable windows and more.



They also increased the speed of APK deployment by a factor of 10.  All told, these improvements alone make this upgrade a no brainer.  You can learn more about the new features of Android Studio 2.0 here.  Android Studio is available for download here.

GameDev News ,

30. March 2016


Visual Studio Update 2 has now been released, bringing a number of new features to the popular developer tool, including:

  • New Universal Windows App tools
  • Improved C++ 11/14/17 support
  • Implemented ever C++ Standard Library vote into 11/14/17 standards
  • iOS XCode project import wizard
  • C# IDE usability improvements
  • Extensions auto update support
  • Many Version Control improvements
  • NuGet improvements
  • TypeScript 1.8
  • New Analytics tools
  • Updated Python and SQL tools
  • much more

Oh, and the single most important thing Visual Studio needed... performance improvements!  VS 2013 was started to get a bit slow, and VS 2015 was a downright dog at times, so hopefully these changes help!

Performance & Responsiveness

We've made the following Visual Studio performance improvements:

  • Increased the speed of opening Team Explorer and browsing work item queries in Visual Studio.
  • Significantly reduced log file generation into the %temp% directory to save disk space and prevent application failures.
  • Improved the reliability of downloading and installing VS Update and additional features.
  • Reduced the time for Visual Studio to start when extensions are installed.
  • Stopped Setup failures when downloading certain packages and selecting certain features.
  • Added support for SQLite in our browsing database engine for C++, thereby significantly speeding up the original parsing of the user code and of all IntelliSense operations that require lookup.
  • Stopped the "yield" sign from appearing next to your sign in name in the upper-right corner of the IDE. Now, your settings and profile roam for 90 days after authenticating within the IDE. (Credentials no longer expire after 7 days of no connection to
  • Updated the ASP.NET MVC5 templates. This fix addresses the vulnerability described in Microsoft Security Advisory 3137909.
  • Enabled a new database engine; now, C++ Project load should be faster and experience fewer UI delays. 
  • Increased the speed of extracting floating-point numbers with iostreams (in other words, "stream >> dbl"). It's now up to 19x faster, and all bits of the extracted value are now correct.
  • Increased the speed of std::vector reallocation and std::copy(); they are up to 9x faster as they call memmove() for trivially copyable types (including user-defined types).
  • Increased the speed of std::vector, which is up to 11x faster.
  • Increased the speed of std::string::replace(), which is enormously faster when replacing same-size substrings.
  • Increased the speed of std::string::push_back(), which is up to 3x faster.
  • Increased the speed of std::sub_match comparisons, as they now avoid constructing temporary std::strings.
  • Increased the speed of std::function's copy constructor; it is slightly faster with a reduced codegen size.
  • Improved the performance in NuGet in the Update, Installed, and Consolidate tabs; the restore and update actions; and the query speed to repositories such as that support gzip compression.
  • Improved the initial completion list invocation in a session, which now responds much faster as the enumeration of snippets has been changed to be an asynchronous operation.
  • Enhanced T4 text templates so that they now support C# 6.0.
  • Made reliability improvements in Code Map (as related to the Windows docking scenarios).

The full release notes are available here.  You can download the update here.

This is only a

GameDev News

28. March 2016


Tiled, the popular open source 2D map editor, just released version 0.16.0.  If you are interested in learning more about Tiled, we have a complete tutorial series here on GameFromScratch.

The major new features of this release are:


Auto Updater and a new installer.

On windows machines, the installer is now MSI based.  Additionally you have option on OS/X and Windows of having Tiled automatically check for updates and present the release notes.  You can also set it to automatically download and install future updates.



Improved Property Editing

The custom properties have been improved.  First up is the new Objects Type Editor enabling you to predefine a set of properties:


One other major ability is the ability to define properties types as well as their name, supporting string, int, float and bool types.


Full Change Log

  • Added checking for updates, based on Sparkle and WinSparkle
  • Added default property definitions to object types (with Michael Bickel)
  • Added types to custom properties: string, float, int, boolean (with CaptainFrog)
  • Added Properties view to the Tile Collision Editor (by Seanba)
  • Added a reset button for color properties
  • Added eraser mode to Terrain Brush and fixed some small issues
  • Reuse existing Tiled instance when opening maps from the file manager (with Will Luongo)
  • Allow setting tile probability for multiple tiles (by Henrik Heino)
  • New MSI based installer for Windows
  • Optimized selection of many objects
  • libtiled-java: Fixed loading of maps with CSV layer data that are not square (by Zachary Jia)
  • Fixed potential crash when having Terrain Brush selected and switching maps
  • Updated Dutch, French, German, Japanese, Russian and Spanish translations

You can read more about the release here.

GameDev News ,

26. March 2016


Toonz is a 2D animation package which has now been open sourced under the New BSD license as OpenToonz.  Toonz has a long history in 2D animation for inking, painting andimage digital composition and has been used extensively by Studio Ghibli on such projects as Princess Mononoke and others.  Toonz dates back to the early 90s in SGI machines.


From the OpenToonz site:

  • This is software for producing a 2D animation.

    It is based on the software "Toonz", which was developed by Digital Video S.p.A. in Italy, customized by Studio Ghibli, and has been used for creating its works for many years. Dwango launches this OpenToonz project, in cooperation with Digital Video and Studio Ghibli.

  • This software can be used by anyone free of charge, no matter whether the purpose of use is commercial or not.
  • This is available as an open source, so that users can modify its source code freely.
  • We aim to develop a new platform for connecting the academic research into frontline animation production.

Studio Ghibli also contributed GTS, a scanning tool as part of OpenToonz:

  • Sequence number scanning can be conducted efficiently according to in-between animation numbers.
  • Compatible with 4 types of scanning.
    (black-and-white, colored, with or without binarization)
  • The settings for scanning can be saved. Processes can be reproduced when some cuts are rescanned.
  • Compatible with the TWAIN standards

The source code for OpenToonz is available on Github.  You can download binaries and documentation for OpenToonz here.

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