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24. February 2017

 

Valve have just launched Steam Audio a new SDK for advanced audio processing in games.  Currently it ships with support for a C api and with a Unity SDK, although a Unreal Engine SDK is in the works.  In Valve’s own words, Steam Audio is:image

Steam Audio delivers a full-featured audio solution that integrates environment and listener simulation. HRTF significantly improves immersion in VR; physics-based sound propagation completes aural immersion by consistently recreating how sound interacts with the virtual environment.

Essentially it enables you to create realistic real-time audio simulations, by integrating audio processing into your 3D world.  You define sound sources within your 3D world, define what geometry does and does not interact with the audio simulation and their acoustical properties and finally define the position of your ear in 3D space.  Steam Audio is then capable of simulating more accurate audio  positioning in a 3D world.  In many ways it works a great deal like existing physics engines, except for audio.  Obviously its tailor made for VR applications, but is useful for regular 3D applications as well.  Currently Steam Audio supports the following platforms:

 

image

There is obviously one major missing platform...  iOS.  It will be interesting to see if it is added in the future.   Somewhat surprisingly for Valve, this is not an open source project.  It is however free to use and is available for download here as both a Unity package or C API.

GameDev News

23. February 2017

 

Pluralsight is one of the oldest online courseware companies in existence, founded back in 2004.  Traditionally they have focused on the enterprise, but have been more and more active in the world of game development.  Just in time for GDC 2017, they have released a very interesting product.  A complete top down dungeon crawler game ( which can be downloaded for free here ), as well as a series of lessons covering how the game was created using Unity, Maya, Photoshop and ZBrush.  The game “Swords and Shovels” was created by a team with industry experience including such titles as Skyrim, Fallout, Fable Legends and Splinter Cell.

The following is the official press release:

SILICON SLOPES, Utah (February 23, 2017) Pluralsight, the enterprise technology learning platform, today announces the release of a free, downloadable game, Swords and Shovels,” to enhance the learning experience for aspiring game developers. The first of its kind on the technology learning platform, “Swords and Shovels” offers game developers the hands-on opportunity to play a game they can then learn to recreate in its entirety through a series of courses available on Pluralsight.

Mapped as sequential training through the Game Environment Modeling learning path, the courses provide game developers with the most direct route to increased proficiency in gamingPluralsightSaS environments, character modeling and gameplay elements using leading software tools including Maya, Unity, Photoshop, ZBrush and more.

“As technology becomes more complex, the art of creating games will become increasingly interdisciplinary,” said Andy Rahden, VP of creative, design and engineering at Pluralsight. “By embracing hands-on, interactive mediums like “Swords and Shovels” and the Game Environment Modeling learning path, we are helping game developers understand the full inner-workings of a game, see where every little piece fits and interacts within the pipeline and master the skills they need to be successful.”

“Swords and Shovels” is a top-down dungeon crawler -- a game where characters navigate a labyrinthine environment, battle monsters and loot treasure. The game and accompanying courseware was designed and authored by Josh Kinney, curriculum manager at Pluralsight, in collaboration with game development industry veterans Jean Simonet, Jonah Lobe, Dan Cox, Michael Baker and Alex Jerjomin, known for their work on “Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim,” “Fallout 4,” “Fable Legends,” “Splinter Cell Blacklist” and “Below.”

"Learning how to create games is one of the most difficult and demanding challenges in tech right now,” said Jean Simonet, a former AAA developer for “Skyrim,” “Fallout” and “Oblivion” and lead developer for the project. “Due to the complexity of modern games, many developers are forced to specialize their craft, limiting their experience and exposure to the various elements of video game creation. With ‘Swords and Shovels’ and the learning experience through Pluralsight, game developers can get a taste of the entire game-creation process and then select the learning focus that really appeals to them.”

“Swords and Shovels” is available for immediate download on Pluralsight.com/gamedev and will also be available to play at Pluralsight’s Game Developers Conference (GDC) booth #244 in San Francisco on March 1-3, 2017.

 

As mentioned above, the game is available as a free download, while the course is available via their subscription service.  You can currently get a free 10 day membership, I am currently in the process of registering, and unfortunate it doesn’t appear to be an automatic process.  Coincidentally, you can also get a 3 month subscription to Pluralsight when you sign up for Visual Studio Essentials.

GameDev News

23. February 2017

 

Amazon just released the 1.8 Beta version of their Lumberyard game engine, an engine forked from CryEngine.  The 1.8 release contains over 234 (um... 235?) improvements, fixes and features, the primary new feature being the Cloud Gems Framework.  The new framework is described as:

Lumberyard Beta 1.8’s new Cloud Gems Framework makes it easier for you to build and launch connected game elements, such as dynamic content, leaderboards, and live messages. With the Cloud Gems Framework, you can add a connected feature to your game in as little as 30 minutes, with one engineer, freeing up the rest of your team to think about innovation and player experience.

The Cloud Gems Framework is made up of the Cloud Gem Portal, a web application that lets anyone on your team visually manage your cloud features (e.g. scheduling messages, releasing dynamic content, or deleting a fraudulent leaderboard score), and Cloud Gems – modular packages of discrete functionality and assets that include everything necessary for a developer to include that functionality into their project, including backend and client functionality. Cloud Gems can be used out of the box in production, and they come with full source code in case you want to customize their behavior in whatever way you choose.

Considering Amazon is one of the largest cloud computing companies in the world and the primary profit center behind Lumberyard is selling cloud services, I suppose this new functionality makes a great deal of sense.  Another part of this release is an updated UI, as shown in the screen shot below.

Lumber

Other features of this release include Multiple UV support for meshes, the ability to animate component entities in Track View as well as new GameLift functionality.  You can read more about this release in the release notes as well as on the Amazon Dev Blog.

GameDev News

22. February 2017

 

Yoyo Games have released GameMaker 2.0.5.72.  Primarily focused on IDE stability and exporting, there are several fixes and some solid new features in this release.  Perhaps the biggest new feature is the addition of gesture support such as taps, drags and swipes, with the mouse acting as a single finger on desktop builds.

 

From the release notes:

 

Release Notes

  1. Lots of fixes throughout, especially in the new modules
  2. A new gesture event system has been added - Tap, Drag, Flick
  3. Colour picker sliders should now work properly, regardless of language settings
  4. When copying frames in the image editor, layer-hiding should now work properly
  5. The Preference for overriding DPI now has a percentage slider for ease of setting and increased clarity
  6. Code windows should now open and fit inside the available space
  7. Maximised code window tabs can now be dragged back onto their object to re-dock them
  8. Maximised code windows have a new context menu item for "Go to Object"
  9. We now validate that the user is not picking a project folder inside the GMS2 folder space as these are deleted on update
  10. HTML5 can now build to a folder ("Loose Files") as well as a zip
  11. To avoid confusion, the Test target is removed if you have purchased Desktop and therefore have Windows also
  12. Deleting an object that is used in a collision event now propts that it will delete all redundent events
  13. UWP packaging has been fixed to provide an .appxupload as the file written out
    Known Issues
  14. Still investigating an issue stopping some users from updating their runtimes since 2.0.3
  15. Dragging a gmz onto the IDE when another project has unsaved changes and saying no to saving, can cause import issues
  16. Building with extensions on YYC platforms can include extensions not marked for that target
  17. Pressing F1 on DnD nodes doesn't open the correct page of the manual
  18. You can find more info about known issues at https://account.yoyogames.com/report-bug

GameDev News

21. February 2017

 

The Atomic Game Engine, an open source 2D/3D game engine ( featured here, pre open sourcing ) just gained UWP and XBox One support.  UWP, or Universal Windows Platform, is Microsoft’s successor to the unpopular Windows RT, that enables you to target several platforms using a single code base.  From the announcement:

We’re pleased to announce that Universal Windows Platform support is coming to the Atomic Game Engine! Development builds of Atomic’s UWP technology already run great on Windows 10 and Xbox One. We also look forward to supporting innovative UWP powered devices like the HoloLens and Surface Hub!

Atomic’s powerful API can be leveraged in UWP apps using standard tooling and languages, such as JavaScript, TypeScript, C#, and C++ with full source debugging and profiling.

Atomic’s UWP support is integrated with Visual Studio and joins the existing Xamarin and native Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, and WebGL platforms.

 

You can see the new platform support in action in the video below.

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