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17. November 2015

 

I have noticed that there isn’t one good single source for game development news.  When a new game engine is announced or a new version of a critical tool, library or engine is released, there is no easy way to hear about it.  I hope to step in and fix this with GameFromScratch.  I am to become a single hub for indie and professional game development release news.  Basically I am going to scour the web for information so you don’t have to.

The following is the list of projects that I intend to monitor for news worthy activity. This is of course a work in progress, so if there is an engine, tool or project you want me to follow, let me know in comments or email me at news@gamefromscratch.com. Once finalized I will make this list permanently available so it will be easy to tell which projects are being tracked.  As news occurs it will be announced here under the category GameDev News.  Don’t worry, this isn’t GameFromScratch turning into a news only site, things will remain much as they are… just with a lot more news thrown in!

If you are the author of a tool, engine or project that is not on this list, be certain to email me. Of course, if you’ve got news to announce, sending it to me directly will result in a much higher chance of me noticing and thus reporting on it.  Ideally include a link to your RSS feed if one exists.  Otherwise I am setting up an elaborate network of RSS feeds, scripts and manual site checks to keep track of what is going on in the world of game development. 

This is of course a work in progress, so give me some time to get things all sorted and working properly.  Your feedback is as always appreciated!

 

So without further ado, the initial list of technologies I am monitoring.  The “Other” category is for the topics I am considering covering or that I feel are news worthy but don’t have a single source.


Engine Tools/Libs Other
  • LibGDX
  • Unity
  • Unreal
  • Blender Game Engine
  • Paradox3D
  • Duality
  • Urho3D
  • Gameplay3D
  • Gideros Mobile
  • Cocos2D-x
  • Marmalade
  • Monogame
  • Love2D
  • jMonkeyEngine
  • Babylon
  • Godot Engine
  • GameGuru
  • Construct2
  • GameMaker
  • RPGMaker
  • Torque2D/3D
  • Wave Engine
  • CopperLicht
  • Leadwerks
  • Atomic Game Engine
  • Polycode
  • Phaser
  • Corona
  • Shiva 
  • Neoaxis
  • Esenthel
  • Spring RTS
  • Goo Create
  • Oxygine
  • PlayN
  • ChilliSource
  • PlayCanvas
  • AGK
  • Dark Basic
  • ClickFusion
  • Isogenic
  • GDevelop
  • Citrus Engine
  • Stencyl
  • Blender
  • Tiled
  • Box2D
  • SFML
  • SDL
  • Ogre3D
  • Allegro
  • LWJGL
  • Pixi.js
  • CraftyJS
  • CreateJS
  • Bullet
  • Autodesk’s Suite (Max/Maya/Mudbox)
  • Adobe’s Suite ( Photoshop, Mixamo, Flash )
  • ZBrush
  • 3D Coat
  • Modo
  • Sketchup
  • Overlap2D
  • Texture Packer
  • Physics Editor
  • bgfx
  • Substance Painter/Designer
  • Quixel Suite
  • CopperCube
  • CocoonJS
  • GLFW
  • Flixel/HaxeFlixel
  • Flash/HaxePunk
  • Luxe/Snowkit
  • Inkscape
  • Krita
  • Xamarin
  • RoboVM
  • GIMP
  • Starling
  • Articy Draft
  • Game Jams
  • Free Art Releases
  • New GD Book Releases
  • Game Jams
  • Kickstarter GameDev

 

If you are wondering, the first column is mostly composed of complete game engines while the second contains mostly game libraries and tools.  The distinction is completely arbitrary so don’t mind which column I sorted a given technology by, it has no real meaning.  I may move libraries to a completely different column in the future.

I know that by no means this list is complete, it’s just the libraries I could come up with off the top of my head that are news worthy ( mature, have a user base and aren’t abandoned ).  So if you have additional suggests, please email them or leave them in the comments below.  As new suggestions are added I will update this list accordingly until I consider it “ready”, at which point I will move it to a permanent location.

News, GameDev News

10. November 2015

 

One thing I have greatly enjoyed about running GameFromScratch.com over the years was getting emails like “Thank you for introducing me to _____ game engine”.  GFS is actually a pretty large community at this point and the indie gaming community would be nothing without the awesome tools, frameworks and game engines available today.  One of my major goals is to increase awareness of these great tools.  Up until now I have done fairly piecemeal reporting on indie game development news but now I am going to be a bit more active.

 

So what exactly does this mean?  Well it means I am going to do a great deal more smaller posts on GameFromScratch about new game development product releases to help generally raise awareness in the community.  I am also going to be implementing a new tagging system here so the people that want to filter it out can!  Don’t worry, GameFromScratch is going to continue with much the same content it has today, just with more news thrown in.

 

Of course, to report on news I need to be aware of it!  This is going to be solved in a two fold manner.  First I have set up a new account specifically for engine and tool developers to contact me with their game development related news.  If you’ve created or updated a product, library, framework, book or engine that you think is newsworthy for indie game developers, please email news@gamefromscratch.com and I will do my best to report it in the timeliest manner possible assuming it is relevant.  GFS gets a quarter million views or more a month composed entirely of full and prospective game developers, so it should be a great place to get the word out. There is of course a fine line between news and spam, which is why I will be keeping this a manual process.

 

Second, I am going to be setting up a list of resources to monitor and will periodically ( hourly, daily, weekly? all depends how resource intensive this becomes ) check for updates and report them accordingly.  Of course if you run such a project and want the news out, sending it directly to news@gamefromscratch.com is going to have a much faster turn around, especially as the list grows larger and larger!

 

In the next day or two I will make the first draft of the initial projects I am going to monitor for news.  Of course the coverage that matter is ultimately driven by you, so if there are projects ( some example, Tiled, LibGDX, SFML, Box2D, Lime, Unity, Substance, Maya, Blender, etc ) you want monitored for new releases, be sure to let me know!  Of course too, if there are subjects you absolutely don’t want covered, let me know that too.  Remember I am also going to implement a set of tags such as NEWS_POST and NOT_NEWS_POST, so you can easily filter all of this out if you have no interest at all in being updated on goings on in the gamedev world.

 

Any and all feedback is appreciated.  I’m working on the initial list as we speak so expect it in the next day or two.  If you are a game tool/engine developer and want to make sure your product is covered or you have news to report, be certain to email me.  If you think this entire idea is barmy and that I’m completely insane, also let me know!

News ,

28. October 2015

 

So I find myself needing to create a new website and this created a world of complications with one very easy solution, which I’m assuming you can guess from the title above…

 

I started GameFromScratch.com some 5ish years ago and the state of the web has changed a great deal since then.  I had a dedicated server from other projects, so the sky was the limit when it came to choosing a server technology.  I had little idea what GFS would evolve into or how much control I would require over my CMS, so as a programmer I went with the language/technology I was most comfortable with at the time, C#/Asp.net.  Instead of doing everything myself I built the site around BlogEngine.  It’s served me well enough, but in this age of mobile, SEO and responsive design, it’s a needlessly complicated mess.

 

I did a recent redesign of the site, but in the end I want to do a clean break.  Problem is, you can’t.  I have years of Google search engine juice, thousands of in-bound links and many other things that would break if I ported to a new site.  Beyond that, ugly or not, creaky or not, GameFromScratch is still my baby and I couldn’t just put her out to pasture.

 

After some thought on the subject I figured out how to go forward.  GameFromScratch is going to continue exactly as it is.  I will continue hosting 100% of my content here, I will add new blog posts and tutorial series here just like normal.  However, “finished” tutorial series will also be available on another home.  With the exception of perhaps pissing Google off due to duplicate content, I think it’s the best of both worlds.  People can continue to enjoy GameFromScratch.com as it is today, while people using it for straight reference material can enjoy a much cleaner and hopefully faster site.  Also it gives me the opportunity to introduce a slightly shorter and more accurate URL.  Win/win for everyone I hope.

 

This however lead me to the same challenge I had years ago… choosing a technology.  Now though I have come to realize less is more.  I have no desire to use a gigantic bloated CMS like Wordpress or Drupal.  More to the point I have absolutely no desire to install another server or database technology (and potential security loophole) on my servers.  I also had, have and always will continue to have a gigantic aversion to PHP, which winnows down the field a heck of a lot.  On the other hand, I also have little desire to manually craft a site from scratch.

 

Enter Jeykll.

jekyll-logo-light-solid

Jeykll is what you could call a “Static Site Generator”.  Basically its the framework to create a site within, couple with some tools that generate the site for you.  No database, no server technology, nothing.  The end result is simply a folder full of clean, modern HTML that can be deployed however you want.  This means no added security risks, no performance overhead and extremely simple backups.  It does however provide a framework of local tools that make your development process a heck of a lot faster than just writing HTML.

 

I am still very new to Jekyll, but so far it ticks all of the boxes I need.  The only real complication in the scenario is Ruby, the language it depends on.  As a language/ecosystem, Ruby seems horrifically fragile and it’s 10x worse on Windows where it is a bit of a red headed step child.  Point blank, getting and keeping your Ruby stack running is going to be by far the most challenging part of the process.

 

Anyways, if you find yourself needing to create a website, consider checking out Jekyll, I’ve created a small video about it available here or embedded below.

 

I looked at a few other options that you might wish to be aware of and why I personally didn’t go with them.

 

  • Adobe Muse
    • It was a nice editor and with it’s themes provided a great deal of what I needed.  The resulting code though wasn’t extremely clean, it has a rather hefty pricetag, and worse of all, once you commit to Muse you have to stick to Muse to generate new versions of your website.
  • Siteleaf
    • Siteleaf is very similar in basic process to Jekyll.  With a few major differences.  First, it includes web hosting options as well as an in cloud content editor.  Second, it’s got a price tag attached.  Third, it simply didn’t work on Windows… bit of a deal breaker there.  It’s not really Siteleaf’s fault, it’s Ruby, but still a rather large deal breaker for me.
  • Dozens of other static site generators
    • You certainly aren’t starved for choice in this category.  That said, if in doubt, go with the one with the biggest community.  That’s Jekyll.  I was tempted to find one that was built on top of Node instead of Ruby for a better Windows experience, but with Jekyll releasing version 3 with less dependencies and a smoother Windows experience, this became unimportant.
  • Wordpress/BlogEngine/Drupal et al
    • What can I say, they are still an option.  Jekyll certainly isnt for everyone.  Each of these CMSs is absolutely huge, some are downright dinosaurs at this point.  On the other hand… there is no scaffolding, no hosting requirements, a huge community of people you can contract work out to, etc.  If you are not moderately tech savvy, these are still most likely your best best.  Just be aware, you pay for that convenience when something goes wrong… it goes REALLY wrong.  Then again, you can also hire someone to fix it.

Totally Off Topic ,

14. June 2015

 

As mentioned recently, I am in the process of compiling the Godot Game Engine Tutorial Series into an e-book format.  Today I just published the 10 chapter, 150 page first draft of the Godot Engine book.

 

BookCover

It can currently be downloaded by Patreon backers right here.

 

It is currently available in the following formats:

  • PDF
  • epub
  • mobi

 

Due to the large file size (@15mb) to install on a Kindle you will need to install via side-loading, the file is beyond the limits for emailing to Kindle.

 

Right now, this is mostly just a straight compilation of content available here on GameFromScratch.com.  I will need to do an editorial pass to make sure text makes sense in book format, as well as replacing now static animated gifs with more meaningful images.  If you prefer to read offline, wish to print or want to reader on an e-reader, this book should be perfect for you.

 

If you are interested in checking it out, Chapter 8: Using Tilemaps can be downloaded here. Of course, if you’ve already read the Godot tutorial series, this is going to be incredibly familiar.

Programming, News , , ,

26. May 2015

 

I will admit, the end results look a heck of a lot like the starting point, but behind the scenes it was pretty much a complete rewrite of all the underlying CSS and a good chunk of HTML changes.  Sorry for the delay in new tutorials, but the end is finally here.  I ended up keeping a very similar over all layout and colour scheme to the original site.  I had a darker theme temporarily, but it was harder to read and caused me to receive a fair number of less than happy emails… ;)

 

 

So what’s new here?

 

The most immediately obvious is the old interface has been stripped away.  Outdated menus to obsolete tutorials no longer clutter the site.  Behind the scenes, the HTML is optimized and the page should load better.  The biggest changes are highlighted below.

 

Responsive and Mobile Friendly site

 

This was the number one reason behind the rewrite.  Basically Google tied their search rankings to the mobile friendliness of a site.  I could (and did) turn on the mobile theme for the site as a temporary workaround, but having separate styles for different browsers was ugly.  The new site now scales better across a broad range of devices, from high resolution monitors to small mobile screens.

 

Here for example is the site running on my HTC One mobile phone.

GFS

 

The layout is such that an iPad in portrait mode will get the mobile site, while turning to landscape will get you the full UI.  Use the icon in the top right corner to bring down the site menu.

 

New Getting Started Page

 

A lot of people arrive here with no prior experience.  I have set up a new landing page to get them started with a series of simple questions.  I will be expanding upon and improving this area over time.

 

New Game Engines section

 

Over time I did “Closer Look at” guides for a number of game engines.  I have gathered them together into a single resource, and intend to start adding more guides for more popular engines very soon.  Thing of this as an ideal resource for getting started choosing between different game engines.

 

New Tutorials Page

 

This area is still very much a WIP.  Basically I have done a number of tutorials for a number of different  gamedev topic.  This page is going to bring them all together on one spot.  Once again, very much a work in progress.

 

image

 

Video Section

 

I’ve been producing more and more video tutorials, hosted on YouTube and linked from individual blog posts.  The video gallery is an attempt to bring all of these videos together in a single location.  Still very much a work in progress too.

image

 

Miscellaneous Small Changes

 

There were tons of small incremental changes… site actually has icons now, links to Digg removed, tags improved, font and colour changes, etc.  Most importantly though, Google is now happy and hopefully so are you all.

 

Hopefully you find the new site to be an over all more pleasant experience.  Some things are still in a WIP stage, but good enough IMHO that I can focus again on creating content while I slowly fix the rough edges.  There are bound to be a few bugs, so if you catch one, let me know.  Also, if you absolutely hate a change I’ve made, please also let me know!

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