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1. February 2018


If you are a Corona developer, you now have a pretty good idea of what is coming down the pipeline with the recently released 2018 roadmap.  Corona is a cross platform Lua powered 2D game engine that has recently become freely available.  It’s been a bit of a rocky road over at Corona Labs the last couple years, having been acquired not just once but twice.  This layer of uncertainty makes such a roadmap even more valuable for their community of developers.


Roadmap details from the Corona blog:

Q1 2018
  • Continue working on implementing HTML5 builds
  • Better support for emitters when added to display groups
  • Android API level 27 support
  • New Android sound subsystem based on modern APIs
  • Improve Appodeal plugin
  • Auto-click masks
  • Marketplace 2.0
  • Animation plugin
  • Rebuild internal statistics system
  • Open source Lua frameworks like timer.* and transition.*
Q2 2018
  • Improve Live Builds by adding console logging
  • HTML5 to public beta
  • Support arm64 architectures
  • Investigate Linux builds
  • Move the Android build system to Gradle based
  • Move the Plugin build system to Gradle based
  • Investigate wireless install for iOS, tvOS
  • Revenue-share version of the AdMob plugin
Q3 2018
  • Explore Windows Universal Builds
  • Amazon IAP improvements
  • Per-vertex meshes coloring
  • Optimize touch events.
  • Tile engine support
  • Text rendering plugin
Q4 2018
  • Open Source efforts
  • Explore the Nintendo Switch platform
  • iOS Offline builds from Corona Simulator

GameDev News

1. February 2018


Unreal recently started releasing preview versions of Unreal Engine 4.19 with some great new features and apparently one stealth one… glTF support.  This is actually excellent news for the industry as a whole, as the current standards FBX and COLLADA or convoluted, proprietary or both.  A good, game ready, cross platform, cross application open andgltf free 3D file format is desperately needed and more and more it seems that glTF may finally be that format.


User vlbanco did an in-depth post on his experiences with the new format on the Unreal forums.

My tests have resulted in this:
Basic static mesh support works. Skeletal meshes and animations are not supported yet.


Each of the objects in the scene will become a single static mesh in unreal. This is good for a modular pack, but very bad for complex multiobject files. An option to merge objects would be great (like in FBX import). This fails spectacularly if you try to import one of the complex models from https://sketchfab.com/features/gltf , like the unity robot model (he imports as a ton of tiny objects) The same happens with the drone mode;.


Interestingly enough, Blender export works by default, without any setup. There are no more scale ******** to deal with as with FBX, and also it will use the correct axis by default, so no flipped models or badly scaled models. Great improvement over FBX. It "Just Works"


All objects in the scene will import as static meshes, with their scale and position reset. If you have any scale or position at "object" level in blender, when importing into unreal this will be reset. An option to apply the scale/position would be great, but working around it is absolutely trivial.


Smooth groups export perfectly by default, exactly as they are with blender (no more import normals or not as with FBX). Another great improvement over FBX
Whole scenes cant be imported well, as every object will just become a separated static mesh centered at origin, but without the "scene hierarchy". The importer having the option to create a blueprint that holds the scene information would be a huge plus, and would allow one to create a whole scene in blender and import it as 1 object into ue4.


The material/texture import is a lot better than i expected, and its what makes this a superior format and workflow over FBX (for static meshes) right now. A blender cycles node tree will get completely translated to UE4, as long as it follows the roughness/metallic workflow. The fact that the importer already supports textures and recreates the material is awesome.


Do keep in mind, this is very much an experimental feature, but for many Blender artists, it’s already sounding like a superior experience.  Let’s hope skeletal animations get added soon!

GameDev News

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

30. January 2018


Godot 3.0 is finally here!  Godot is an open source 2D/3D game engine and the 3.0 release brings a massive number of new features including a new 3D renderer, Bullet physics,Godot3Released C# support, OpenVR and Cardboard support, GDNative plugins and much more!  Stay tuned to GameFromScratch for some great new Godot 3 tutorials and more.  Our existing tutorial series is still about 90% valid if you are looking to get started today.


New features of this release taken from the Godot announcement blog:


You can get more detail in our hands on video available here and embedded below.

GameDev News

30. January 2018


Yesterday Microsoft announced the acquisition of PlayFab, a cloud based back endMSPlayfab for games.  PlayFab enabled you to provide features like multiplayer, leaderboards, messaging, content updates and commerce while providing real-time analytics and reporting via their dashboard.  Most platforms were supported as targets with support for Unity, Unreal, Corona, Lumberyard, Cocos2d-x and the Defold game engines.


One of the biggest flaws with outsourcing your gaming back end has always been reliability.  If the provider goes out of business, you are out of luck.  Becoming part of the Microsoft team and a good fit for their Azure cloud offerings, this concern should be greatly allayed with this acquisition.


Details of the acquisition from Microsoft’s blog:

PlayFab’s backend services reduce the barriers to launch for game developers, offering both large and small studios cost-effective development solutions that scale with their games and help them engage, retain and monetize players. PlayFab enables developers to use the intelligent cloud to build and operate games, analyze gaming data and improve overall gaming experiences.

The PlayFab platform is a natural complement to Azure for gaming (Visit azure.com/gaming for more info). Azure, with locations in 42 regions worldwide, provides world-class server infrastructure, allowing creators to focus on building great games with best-available global reach. For gamers, this leads to a higher, faster degree of innovation and better experiences.

Incorporating PlayFab’s experience, growing network of game developers and powerful gaming-as-a-service platform into our product offering is an important step forward for gaming at Microsoft. PlayFab has served more than 700 million gamers and is currently powering more than 1,200 games with companies like Disney, Rovio and Atari. Its gaming platform powers some of the most prominent titles in the industry, such as “Idle Miner Tycoon,” “Angry Birds: Seasons” and “Roller Coaster Tycoon Touch.”

Together, Azure and PlayFab will further unlock the power of the intelligent cloud for the gaming industry, enabling game developers and delighting gamers around the world.

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