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28. April 2016

 

Wave Engine, a game engine I covered here, just announced their 2016 developer contestimage with a $30,000 dollar prize pool, including $15,000 USD available to the first prize winner.  The contest is sponsored by Plain Concepts and has a deadline that your game must be published to the Windows store by October 31st, 2016. They recommend that you make your submission by September 1st however.  Other than needing to be 18, the requirement to publish to the Windows UWP store is certainly the biggest one.  You are free to publish to other app stores and you are free to publish multiple titles for consideration.

 

Details on the actual contest are rather scarce.  There is no set theme or requirement, simply make and publish a Windows 10 UWP game using Wave Engine.  You can read the contest announcement here or watch the video below.

 

GameDev News ,

27. April 2016

 

Today Xamarin is holding their annual Xamarin Evolve developer event and their have been several noteworthy announcements.  Ever since the Microsoft BUILD event last month, Xamarin for Visual Studio is now included in every version of Visual Studio.  This version has received a couple new noteworthy features:

iOS Simulator Remoting

iOS Simulator on Windows

Our iOS Simulator remoting enables you to interact with apps running in Apple’s iOS Simulator running on a Mac as though the simulator were running locally. Even multi-touch interactions are supported on Windows machines with touch capable screens, so you can interact with your app just as a user would by tapping, pinching, or swiping your touchscreen display—things that could previously only be tested on physical devices. The simulator also supports all the features you would expect such as device rotation, taking a screenshot, and even simulating location changes.

iOS USB Remoting

Debugging on simulators is a great start, but there is really no substitute for testing on physical devices. Today, we previewed support for iOS USB remoting which makes it possible to deploy and debug apps from Visual Studio to an iOS device plugged into your Windows PC. Simply connect your device to a Windows 10 machine via USB, select the device to deploy to, and debug your app on an iOS device without ever having to leave Windows.

 

To enable these features you need to switch to the Xamarin alpha release channel inside your install of Visual Studio.

 

They also announced the release of Xamarin Studio 6 (formerly MonoDevelop).  New features in this release include:

  • a new dark theme

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  • Roslyn support, Microsoft’s open source .NET compiler
  • a new project model with deeper MSBuild integration
  • F# improvements including F# support for Xamarin forms
  • Xamarin.iOS and Xamarin.Android library updates
  • addition of Workbooks, a REPL like coding system, similar to Apple’s Playground for Swift

You can read more about the new releases here.

GameDev News ,

3. April 2016

 

Wave Engine, a cross platform C# powered 2D/3D engine I reviewed recently, just released version 2.1 codenamed Hammerhead Shark.

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This release brings several new features including:

  • New profile system.
  • Visual Editor Offline mode.
  • Project Upgrader Tool.
  • Spine upgrade.
  • TileMap upgrade.
  • iOS Storyboard support.
  • Static entities on Visual Editor.
  • Non-serializable entities.

 

You can read the entire release notes here.

This release actually happened earlier in the week, but my complete refusal to post any news posts of any kind during April Fools day delayed this announcement slightly.

GameDev News ,

31. March 2016

 

Microsoft recently acquired Xamarin, the company that makes it possible to port .NET applications to Android and iOS devices.  Ever since that announcement I have been waiting for Microsoft to announce that Xamarin was going to be made free.  That just happened:Ce41KLVW4AATnDB

 

“We are pleased to announce that we will be making Xamarin available free of charge for Visual Studio developers”

 

This includes all tiers, including the free tier.  Xamarin Studio for the Mac will also be available as part of MSDN, as well as a free Mac based Xamarin Studio.

 

On top of this announcement, the Xamarin platform is going open source.  This now makes the entire .NET framework open source and completely cross platform.   More details as I find them.

 

A quick trip to the Xamarin Store ( spotted by keen eyed Twitter user @sol_proj ), shows a quick update:

image

 

As you can see from the pricing above, some features in Professional and Enterprise will still have a price tag attached.  They are mostly enterprise focused features and should not affect game developers.

 

Microsoft announced that the Xamarin open source release would be part of the .NET Foundation along side such projects as Roslyn and Xamarin.Auth.  Given that both projects are currently released under the Apache V2 license, it’s a good bet that the entire Xamarin package will be as well.

 

EDIT – It appears my guess about the license may be wrong.  According to this post ( thanks Mario ), Xamarin have relicensed Mono to use the MIT license:

At Microsoft Build today, we announced that we are re-releasing Mono under the MIT license and have contributed it to the .NET Foundation. These are major news for Mono developers and contributors, and I am incredibly excited about the opportunities that this will create for the Mono project, and for other projects that will be able to benefit from this.

Mono Runtime Released under MIT License

While Mono’s class libraries have always been available under the MIT license, the Mono runtime was dual-licensed. Most developers could run their apps on Windows, Linux or Mac OS X on the LGPL version of the runtime, but we also offered Mono’s runtime under commercial terms for scenarios where the LGPL was not suitable.

Moving the Mono runtime to the MIT license removes barriers to the adoption of C# and .NET in a large number of scenarios, embedded applications, including embedding Mono as a scripting engine in game engines or other applications.

 

Mono is the underlying cross platform implementation of the .NET runtime that Xamarin is built over top of.  Of course this doesn’t mean that the Xamarin suite itself is going to be MIT as well.  Regardless, both the MIT license and Apache license are incredibly permissive, so it shouldn’t be a big deal either way.

 

For those that prefer their news in video form, here it is:

GameDev News

30. March 2016

 

Twin announcements today from the MS Build conference that will have a direct affect on indie developers.  The first is that UWP (Universal Windows Platform) applications can now be run on Xbox One.  The second, anyone can turn their Xbox One into a devkit (warning... big big big disclaimer attached!).

 

Partial announcement from the Windows Blog:

Gaming gets better with the Windows 10 Anniversary update, including background music and Cortana coming to Xbox One. Cortana can become your personal gaming assistant and help you find great new games, new challenges or tips and tricks. On Xbox One, we’re continuing to deliver on top fan-requested features like support for multiple GPUs and the ability to turn off v-sync. Game developers have access to a fully open ecosystem with the Universal Windows Platform, making it easy to bring the games people love to both Xbox One and other Windows 10 devices. With the Anniversary Update, any Xbox One can be a developer kit with Xbox Dev Mode, enabling anyone to develop for the living room. And, the Windows Store will offer a unified store experience for all developers, creating new opportunities to reach millions of new customers.

 

Polygon however have a great deal more details, including the gotcha I mentioned above.

While the preview of Dev Mode is available to anyone now, Charla stressed that most people should wait until its full release later this summer.

"You might run into issues now," he said.

The preview only offers access to 448 MB of the Xbox One's 8 GB of RAM. When Dev Mode comes out of preview, Charla said, developers will have access to the full 1 GB of RAM supported for UWP Xbox games.

"It's also a preview," he added. "And we want to be able to test things still in the preview."

[Snip]

First, a user has to download the Dev Mode activation app from the Xbox Games Store. Launching the app kicks off a welcome screen and a link to documentation that details what to expect when you switch over from retail to a dev kit, as well as the requirements.

The requirements include that you:

  • Join the Windows Insider Program
  • Are running Windows 10 on your PC
  • Have a wired connection to your PC from your Xbox One
  • Install the latest Visual Studio 2015 and Windows builds
  • Have at least 30 GB of storage free on your console

The introduction also warns that once you've converted your console over, you may occasionally run into issues running retail games. In addition, the introduction says, leaving Dev Mode will require resetting your console to its factory settings and uninstalling all of your games, apps and content.

Upon agreeing, you're given a code that can be entered on your computer once you sign into your Dev Center account. The activation can take awhile and usually requires updating your console. Once it's complete, the console restarts and returns you to your standard startup screen.

"It doesn't take a lot of time to switch to Dev Mode," Charla said as he took me through the process on Microsoft's remote console.

After setting up Dev Mode, a user simply pairs their Xbox One with Visual Studio, which sees the console as a Windows 10 machine to which it can deploy content directly through a wired connection.

"When a UWP app is running, it doesn't know it's running on an Xbox," Charla said. "It just knows it's a Windows 10 device."

 

So tread carefully!  Be sure to head on over to Polygon to read the full article.  While this has been in the works for 3 years, it’s nice to see that development has finally come to the Xbox One.  Considering Microsoft absolutely owned this segment when they release XNA, I am somewhat staggered it took this long.  Did you try it out?  If so, how much of an impact did it have on your retail games?

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