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9. February 2018


With the release of Unity 2018.1 beta, Unity have developed a completely new programmable graphics pipeline.  On top of this new rendering technology Unity have a new shader tool called Shader Graph.  Shader Graph enables you to create shaders using a drag and drop interface by creating graphs of render nodes.


To get started with the new Shader Graph, you need to be running Unity 2018.1 Beta or newer.  Additionally you currently need to download this example scene.  You can see the Shader Graph in action in this video also embedded below.

Programming, Art

6. February 2018


Today on /r/gamedev a new online tool for generating procedural 2D sprites was just released.  I did a quick video of Spritify in action you can check out here on embedded below.  Spritify is a free browser based tool for generating procedural sprites.   The tool is quite simple but could certainly use some improved documentation ( or… any documentatio for that matter! ) but it is certainly usable now.


Essentially you start by painting on a fat grid pixel display using these controls

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Draw the contour and your shape, fill the body accordingly with optional mirroring like so:

image


Various controls are available about how your sprites should be generated:

image


And at the bottom of the screen, several different procedural sprites will be generated:

image


Pretty cool tool over all.


Art , ,

30. January 2018


CoaTools, or Cut Out Animation Tools, 1.0 was just released.  Coatools is a free and open source plugin for Blender that enables users to create 2D animations directly in Blender, bringing IK based animation techniques to traditional 2D art.  It’s very similar in scope and function to other animation packages such as Spine, Spriter, Creature and Dragonbones.  The 1.0 release was quickly followed by a 1.0.1 update.


Details of these releases:

1.0 Release:

This is the first official stable release of the COA Tools.
It features a rich set of tools to create 2D Cutout Animation in Blender.

Some of the features that were in the Alphas and Betas available are disabled now. They can still be enabled in the Addon Preferences. But it is not recommended as they are going to be removed in the future releases. Thats the reason why I wanted to release an official release where they were still present, but deprecated. Some people may have used such features in older projects.

So here are the tools that probably won't work properly right now:

  • Experimental Json export (was used to export to godot. Will be removed.)
  • Spritesheet mechanics (Is replaced by so called Slot Objects. Will be removed)
  • Dragonbones Export( Many things have changed so this exporter will need a proper rewrite. Going to be modified in the future)

The addon features a complete new Addon Updater thanks to the CGCookie Addon Updater Module. Via this module I will make sure to autoupdate the addon in the future. So you can easily keep the addon up to date.

1.0.1 Release:

Trying to do publish new features/bug fixes now more often in maintainence releases.
Thanks to the new updater module people should get those features right away.

Additions:

  • Improve Sprite import (importing json files lets you choose which images should be imported. Updating images is now also integrated)
  • Improve Sprite Outliner (Sprites are now sorted based on the z depth. Rearranging sprite orders is now also included into the Outliner. AZ icon in the upper right corner)
  • Picking edge length for contour drawing in Edit Mesh Mode. Shift+Click on an edge will now pick that edge lenght for drawing contours.


You can download CoaTools on Github.  For more details be sure to check out this video, which is also embedded below.

Art, GameDev News

12. October 2017


Creating human models has always been one of the more challenging tasks artists can face.  There are a number of tools out there such as Poser, MBLDaz or MakeHuman that can create human models for you.  Often the results aren’t exactly ideal for use in real time games however.  The Blender Add-On we are looking at today however generates excellent, fully rigged and textured meshes that are perfect for use in games.


The add-on we are looking at today is the Manuel Bastioni Lab, very similar to Make Human, as it is a project from the developer who founded the MakeHuman project.  Unlike MakeHuman however, MBL runs entirely inside of Blender, and in my opinion generates more game appropriate meshes and rigs.  It is completely free and open sourced.


First download the zip file available here, then install and enable the plugin in Blender.  If you are unfamiliar with this process, the video embedded below shows you the process step by step.


Once enabled it will add a new tab to the tools panel:

image


Initial controls are incredibly simple.  Pick the base type of model you want to create, if you want it to create Cycles based materials, and if you want it to configure lighting for you.

image


There are several different defaults to chose from:

image


Your new model will be created as soon as you press the Init button.

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Now there are an absolute ton of configuration options available:

image


Modify skin tons, default poses, default facial positions and a ton more.  Once done, click Finalize and you are off to the races.


The Video

(Direct Link)

Art

27. September 2017


Aseprite, a pixel based drawing and animation app, just released version 1.2.  New features include pixel aspect ratios, gradients, reference layers and more.  There were also several bug fixes and improvements.


From the release blog post:


Aseprite v1.2 is finally the new stable version (*). If you were already using the beta version, you will not notice substantial changes. But if you were using Aseprite v1.1.13, there are a lot of new features for you (like pixel aspect ratio, layer groups, overlapping frame tags, gradients, reference layers, etc.)

This is a list of the changes from v1.2-beta12 to the final v1.2:

  • Added new Addition, Subtract, Divide blending modes
  • Added support to change theme and UI scaling without restarting (#471)
  • Disable transformation handles in the selection when a Shift or Shift+Alt are pressed by default (reported here)
  • Fixed high CPU usage on Timeline when we copy layers/frames/cels (bug report)
  • Fixed snap to grid bug with selection tool
  • Fixed crash closing all files & opening a new one when preview window was playing an animation
  • Windows: New x64 version (included in the installer and on Steam, it’ll install the x64 version on x64 machines)
  • Windows: New --disable-wintab option to avoid loading wintab32.dll
  • Removed Windows XP support (Please contact us in case that you still need a previous version with Windows XP support.)
  • macOS: Use the native macOS menu bar (#135)
  • macOS: Now ⌘M and ⌘H will Minimize and Hide the window respectively. Use Ctrl+M for Color Curves, and Ctrl+H to change View > Show Extras options.
  • macOS: Fixed bug setting broken mouse cursors in some special cases
  • macOS: Retina support (#903)
  • Fixed other bugs (including #1569, and #1423 thanks to @cebolan)

Several new features were delayed just to create a more stable v1.2 version. So sorry for everybody that don’t get what they asked for :’( Soon I’ll release the first v1.3-beta1 with some crazy new stuff, so stay tuned.


We took a look at Aseprite in action in this video should you wish to learn more.

GameDev News, Art ,

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