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30. November 2017


Today marks the release of Cocos Creator 1.7.  Cocos Creator is a full suite 2D game engine built on top of the Cocos2d-x open source project.  It imageprovides a complete game editor and SDK for creating cross platform 2D games.  If you are interested in learning more, be sure to check out our recent hands-on video with Cocos Creator.

Cocos Creator 1.7 brings several new features to the engine.  Details from the developer forums:

Performance Improvements
  • [Engine] JSB 2.0 officially launched, greatly optimizing the native platform operating efficiency. Support debugging, if you use manual bindings, be sure to bind the code to be upgraded. For more information, read the [JSB Binding and Debugging Tutorials] (https://github.com/cocos-creator/cocos2d-x-lite/blob/develop/cocos/scripting/js-bindings/docs/JSB2.0-learning-en.md34)
  • [Engine] Separate culling and transform calculation steps to improve performance
  • [Engine] Fixed bug where the width of the rung would change to 0 after adding the Camera component to the node
  • [Animation] Optimize animation components
  • [Engine] Optimize native platform camera cropping performance
What Is Different
  • [Editor] The plug-in script “Allow Editor Load” is disabled, the internal display is not checked
  • [Build] iPhone X Screen Resolution Support
  • [Build] Projects can now exclude un-needed modules for native engine projects. (Project Settings -> Module Config)
  • [Build] Allow native scripts to disable script encryption (support choose whether encrypt js files in builder panel)
  • [ProjectSettings] Add CocosAnalytics to the Services tab.
  • [ProjectSettings] Increase data validation when saving project settings
  • [TypeScript] Upgrade the TypeScript compiler to 2.4.2
  • [Editor] Improve the template of the new script
  • [Editor] Optimize Explorer file sorting
  • [Editor] Explorer to create a new node immediately change the file name state
  • [Console] supports setting line height and font size to change log display
  • [Engine] Give detailed hints when a user has erroneously released a resource that may still be used
  • [Engine] Support mouse event bubbling
  • [Engine] Support and WebView interoperability
  • [Engine] supports dynamic modification of cc.macro.ENABLE_CULLING
  • [Engine] Provides the native platform RenderTexture’s saveToFile interface
Downloads:

GameDev News

27. November 2017


Today Amazon announced the preview release of their new AR/VR engine “Sumerian”.  Sumerian consists of a web based editor for composing AR/VR scenes as well as a programming environment, either using a visual interface or scripted via JavaScript.  Sumerian currently supportsSumerian Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and iOS devices with Android ARCore coming soon.  The editor enables you to import and then position 3D objects authored in either OBJ or FBX format, with Unity scene format coming soon.


You can preview a Sumerian authored scene in a WebGL 2 capable web browser by clicking here.  Advanced warning, this scene caused Chrome to freeze up on my computer, so your mileage may vary.


Sumerian in Amazon’s own words:

Amazon Sumerian lets you create and run virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and 3D applications quickly and easily without requiring any specialized programming or 3D graphics expertise. With Sumerian, you can build highly immersive and interactive scenes that run on popular hardware such as Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and iOS mobile devices (support for Android ARCore coming soon). For example, you can build a virtual classroom that lets you train new employees around the world, or you can build a virtual environment that enables people to tour a building remotely. Sumerian makes it easy to create all the building blocks needed to build highly immersive and interactive 3D experiences including adding objects (e.g. characters, furniture, and landscape), and designing, animating, and scripting environments. Sumerian does not require specialized expertise and you can design scenes directly from your browser.


While this may sound like a new game engine, unfortunately it really doesn’t seem to be aimed at that demographic.  Instead Amazon seem to be targeting Sumerian towards sales and education markets.  Sumerian use cases given by Amazon are:

  • Employee education
  • Training Simulations
  • Field Service Productivity
  • Virtual Concierge
  • Design and Creative
  • Retail and Sales

So, while something can look like a game engine, walk like a game engine and talk like a game engine, that doesn’t make it a game engine unfortunately.  While Sumerian tools are free to use, at least while in preview, the generated results are meant to run on AWS and have a price tag attached:

Pricing Details


Scene Storage

You are charged for the total storage size of the 3D assets you upload and store in Sumerian at the rate of $0.06 per GB per month.

Scene Traffic

You are charged for the total volume of traffic generated by your scene each month at a rate of $0.38 per GB per month. The total cost is the number of views your scene receives in a month multiplied by the published project size and the cost of $0.38 per GB transferred.

Sumerian Hosts (optional)

If your Host uses Amazon Lex or Amazon Polly, then you are charged for what you use. Each offers a free tier for the first 12 months using the service. Visit the Lex pricing page and Polly pricing page for pricing details.

You can learn more about Amazon Sumerian here.  It is currently in preview, requiring an Amazon account number to sign up.  If you are interested, the application form is available here.


GameDev News

21. November 2017


articy:draft is unique product for game developers to design and implement game details such as application flow, game inventory and character dialog trees.  They have recently released a plugin enabling you to use your articy:draft data directly in Unreal engine.  It is available for download here on Github.  Keep in mind this is a work in progress release, so not all features may be implemented, or you may encounter bugs.


From the github page:

Goals

We release our current progress for the plugin as a github open source project in the hopes that this will give you a substantial headstart into incorporating your articy:draft data into your unreal project while still give you enough flexibility to adjust the plugin to your needs. We also would love to hear about suggestions or even better for you to directly contribute to the development of the plugin.

Features

While this is not meant as a full product release, it is still considered a working foundation for integrating your articy:draft content into your unreal engine project. So you can expect the following features including but not limited to:

  • Everything accessible via C++ and Blueprint
  • Flow player for automatic configurable flow traversal as an actor component
  • Automatic import
  • Database with your project data. Excluding Journeys, Settings, Template constraints
  • Uses of unreal engines localization


If you are interested in learning more about articy:draft, we previously featured it in our ongoing GameDev Toolbox series.  The video is available here and embedded below.

GameDev News

14. November 2017


YoyoGames, the creators of GameMaker Studio, just announced a new cheaper “Creator” edition.  Creator edition is available for $39 per year on Windows and Mac ( each being a separate purchase per platform ).


Currently available on the store, Creator edition offers the following functionality:


Creator Windows

GameMaker Studio 2 Creator Windows lets you create games for Windows. Get unlimited resources and release your games to stores such as Steam and itch.io.

Creator Windows features are only available on Windows PCs.

  • Unlimited Resources
  • Integrated Source Control
  • Texture Management
  • SWF / Spine Support
  • Extensions
  • Marketplace
  • Windows Export


So, what’s the catch?  Why buy this instead of the $99 developer edition?  Here are the details of the Creator edition from the FAQ:

With the Creator Licence you unlock the power of GameMaker Studio 2 and get access to unlimited resources as well as the possibility to create a final executable of any project you make. You can buy either a Windows or a macOS licence, meaning that you will only be able to compile a final executable for one or the other depending on which you bought, although you can use the IDE on both Windows and macOS (just download which ever one is appropriate from the Downloads section of your YoYo Account).

It is worth noting that the Creator Licence will not permit you to change the Splash Screen of your projects, nor can you disable anonymous game analytics, and your executables will be compiled using the VM with no YYC option. You do, however, get access to the Marketplace where you can find assets of all kinds, or even make and sell your own.

The Creator licence is a 12 month non-renewing licence, and at the end of the 12 month period you will need to buy another licence to continue using GMS2 fully. The Licence is designed for hobby developers or for people that just want to have fun making small projects for themselves, as well as those people that want to learn to use the product without having to pay a larger initial amount.

Essentially the catch is a required splash screen, while only being able to compile for the platform your purchased a license for (Windows or Mac).

GameDev News

7. November 2017


With the upcoming Godot 3.0 release, there is a pretty major change to the physics system within the engine.  They have decided to replace the in-house physics engine with the open source Bullet physics engine.  Bullet is a well established open source project and has been used in such games as Rocket League, Grand Theft Auto 4 and DiRT as well as powering applications such as Blender and Cinema4D.  This change will not affect 2D physics in the Godot engine.


From the Godot announcement:

Introducing Bullet

Godot always supported an abstract physics interface, so Andrea Catania (Odino) volunteered to add Bullet support as a backend. I initially though it would not be possible to replicate Godot's API in Bullet faithfully, but Andrea proved me wrong and did a fantastic job. He also finished before the Beta deadline, so his work was just merged and will be present in Godot 3.0.

Physics should work just like before, and no code should change, except Bullet is being used internally. Godot's old physics engine is provided for compatibility and can be selected in the project settings, but will likely be removed by the time 3.1 is out.


In an unrelated but similarly timed announcement VR support was also added to Godot in the recently released Alpha 2.  You can read more about VR support here.  I did a hands-on video about both physics and VR in Godot available here or embedded below.

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