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28. February 2017

 

Today saw the release of a new version of Blender, although it is just a maintenance release.  This one is entirely composed of fixes.  From the release notes:

  • Port all changes for automated Cycles testing c6e4a81d
  • Fix for wrong render result of hair with BVH motion steps b3b4084
  • Fix compilation error of GLSL viewport when using Light Path node 9215848
  • Fix wrong Brick texture in material viewport 8ba1dab
  • Fix crash with material preview and image sequences dd2e33b
  • Fix T50512: Linked Backround scene with animation not updating with new depsgraph e89145e
  • Fix T50687: Cycles baking time estimate and progress bar doesn't work / progress when baking with high samples 67169e7
  • Fix T50748: Render Time incorrect when refreshing rendered preview in GPU mode b95645c
  • Fix wrong render results with texture limit and half-float textures 909c8ec
  • Fix Cycles still saving render output when error happened d9e6268, 90d96de

GameDev News

28. February 2017

 

Today at GDC, Unity have announced that the popular plugin Text Mesh is now available for free in the asset store, and soon will be directly integrated into Unity.  TextMesh is an upgrade over Unity’s built in text component with enhanced layout and markup options, improved formatting and more. 

 

Text Mesh’s description from the Asset Store:

TextMesh Pro is the ultimate text solution for Unity. It's the perfect replacement for Unity's UI Text & Text Mesh.
Powerful and easy to use, TextMesh Pro uses Advanced Text Rendering techniques along with a set of custom shaders; delivering substantial visual quality improvements while giving users incredible flexibility when it comes to text styling and texturing.
TextMesh Pro provides Improved Control over text formatting and layout with features like character, word, line and paragraph spacing, kerning, justified text, Links, over 30 Rich Text Tags available, support for Multi Font & Sprites, Custom Styles and more.
Great performance. Since the geometry created by TextMesh Pro uses two triangles per character just like Unity's text components, this improved visual quality and flexibility comes at no additional performance cost.
Optimized for Desktop & Mobile devices, TextMesh Pro brings State-Of-The-Art text rendering to Unity.

Key Features
* Easy to use & Intuitive UI
* Supports Bitmap & SDF font Assets
* Built-in Font Asset Creation tool.
* TrueType & OpenType support.
* Scripting Interface & dynamic control of text objects
* Improved performance over Unity's Text Mesh
* No Runtime Allocations


Formatting & Styling Options
* Dynamic font sizing
* Material Presets
* Over 30 Rich Text Tags available including support for superscript, subscript, underline, strikethrough, indent, align, monospacing, line height, and many more.
* UTF16 & UTF32 support.
* Text Anchoring - The usual 9 positions
* Text Alignment - Left, Center, Right and Justified
* Character, Line & Paragraph spacing control
* Automatic Word-Wrapping
* Line Breaking support for CJK
* Kerning
* Soft & Hard Hyphenation

GameDev News

28. February 2017

 

The Game Creators have released a new version of the App Game Kit beginner/indie focused game cross platform game engine.  I featured App Game Kit in the Closer Look series if you are interested in learning more.  The biggest feature of this release is no doubt IP v6 support, now a requirement for iOS applications, although this is not the only change.

From the release notes:

What's new?

  • New Tone Mapping demo
  • Support for IPv6 standard
  • New MaximizeWindow commands
  • New GetGameCenterPlayerID and GetGameCenterPlayerDisplayName commands

Here's a full run down of the additions and fixes;

Video

  • Fixed PlayVideoToTexture on Windows not working with WMV videos

Android

  • Fixed Android export not working with Firebase if the Firebase config file contained details for more than one Android app
  • Fixed exported APK crashing if it uses GameCenter commands but was exported without a Game Services ID
  • Updated Ouya export for the latest icon requirements
  • Removed hack on Android that was used to force the volume buttons to set the media volume rather than the notification volume, which may have been causing audio distortion
  • Fixed ExtractZip not working on Android if the zip file was inside the APK
  • Removed armeabi (ARMv5) binary for Android which was only used by very old devices, AGK now requires ARMv7 or greater on Android. This reduces the APK size by about 4.5MB

In-App Purchases

  • Using InAppPurchaseSetup will no longer display a message box if it is called multiple times in the AGK player, for example when broadcasting an app multiple times

Memblocks

  • Fixed SetObjectMeshFromMemblock sometimes corrupting the vertices of another object on non-Windows platforms

3D

  • Added a new example project that experiments with Tone Mapping
  • Consolidated OpenGL and OpenGLES files so there is less duplicated code, this should result in no visible change but may have introduced bugs

3D Physics

  • Fixed 3D physics ragdoll commands reporting that a ragdoll does not exist when it does
  • Fixed the skybox commands not working on some devices

Sprites

  • Fixed DrawSprite not using the scissor value set by SetSpriteScissor
  • Fixed sprites with multiple images not using the scissor value set by SetSpriteScissor

GameCenter

  • Added GetGameCenterPlayerID and GetGameCenterPlayerDisplayName commands
  • Fixed GameCenterSubmitAchievement causing a crash on Google Game Services if the value 0 is used with an incremental achievement, it will now do nothing

Input

  • Fixed key presses not being recorded by GetRawKeyState when the ALT key is held down

Images

  • Removed popup message when an image is saved to the device photos folder on iOS and Android

Windows

  • Added MaximizeWindow command to maximize the window on Windows and Linux
  • Fixed SetWindowSize command not accepting the new parameters
  • Added a parameter to SetWindowSize to ignore bounds checking so that over sized windows can be created

Misc

  • Fixed HTTPEncode entering an infinite loop
  • Fixed HTML5 mouse wheel being inverted
  • Increased network client timeout from 5 seconds to 20 seconds
  • Fixed Random2() producing too many instances of the start value
  • Fixed RunApp command on Mac and Linux not accepting multiple parameters for some commands

IPv6 Support

  • Added IPv6 support to all platforms except HTML5
  • Any network commands that accept an IP address will now accept an IPv4 or IPv6 address
  • The HostNetwork command will listen on both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses (if available) and accept connections from both
  • Added GetDeviceIPv6 to return the IPv6 address of the device, it will first look for global addresses and then local ones
  • Existing Android Tier 2 projects will need to add the function GetIPv6 to their AGKHelper.java file, check the template project for details

IDE

  • Added a menu option in the IDE to view the AGK video tutorials on Youtube

GameDev News

28. February 2017

 

King have just released an updated version of their Defold Engine’s Editor, a prelease 2.0 version.  If you’ve never used Defold, we have a comprehensive tutorial series available here.  Don’t worry, the entire series is still valid even if things look a bit different.  Actually that’s a big part of this release, Editor 1 and 2 are completely compatible with each other.  Editor 2 is a rewrite for performance, usability and stability that aims to replicate Editor 1’s functionality.

 

Here are the FAQ on the 2.0 release:

Anything I need to know before I start?

Here are some things that are good to know:

  • Editor 2 saves all files at once. This will create a lot of diffs, because of new fields appearing in the files. This is not a compatibility issue, and will furthermore only happen the first time youDefold2 save your project.
  • While we have no known data loss issues, you might want to check your diffs before pushing to production—especially for business-critical projects.
  • The app extracts some executables from a jar (e.g. the game engine executable) and expects to be able to run them. Windows Defender thinks they are Trojans and might want to quarantine, but we promise they are safe.
  • The "desktop actions" (e.g. Help ▸ Report Issue, which invokes a browser) has been known to hang on some distros. This is obviously a bug, please report using Github directly if this happens to you.
  • Some keyboard shortcuts are either missing or temporary. Some of the shortcuts will probably change between Editor 1 and 2 for a nicer workflow and to better adhere to what users expect coming from other programs.

The complete list of registered bugs can be found on Github.

There are also a few early gotchas to be aware of as well, this is an early release after all.

What features are missing in Editor 2?

Features that are currently missing in Editor 2, but are high priority:

  • Game projects can’t be bundled—this has to be done in Editor 1.
  • Ability to open text files in external editor by default.
  • Texture profiles.
  • 3D Animation Set editing.

You can download the new editor here.

GameDev News

27. February 2017

 

Firebase is a backend as a service owned by Google that provide a number of server side features for application developers such as realtime cloud database support, notifications, authentication with various providers, analytics, notifications, storage and more.  Basically if you need some kind of network integration, Firebase aims to provide it.  Today at GDC they just announced the public release of SDKs for game developers, both in C++ and Unity formats.  The official release blog:

If you haven't heard yet, the Firebase team is at the Game Developers Conference this week to show all you game developers out there how Firebase can make it easier for you to develop successful games. And one of our big announcements at the show is that the official Firebase SDKs for Unity and C++ have now graduated to full General Availability! This means that they're both primary supported platforms that Firebase is committed to supporting in the future.

Both SDKs let you take advantage of:


AdMob: Monetize your games with targeted, in-app advertising, include native ads and rewarded video. Guides: Unity/C++.
Analytics: Record events that happen in your game with our free and unlimited analytics service, now complete with real time views! Guides: Unity/C++
Realtime Database: Magically sync your app's data across all devices, usually within a few hundred milliseconds. Guides: Unity/C++
Dynamic Links: Create mobile deep links that you can use to point players to any element of your game (if they have it installed), or take them to the Play Store / App Store (if they don't). Guides: Unity/C++
Authentication: Sign in your users in from third party providers like Facebook, Google, and Github, or use our built in username and password system. Guides: Unity/C++
Cloud Messaging: Send notifications to iOS, Android and web clients through a single endpoint, or use the Firebase Notifications panel to schedule notifications without having to worry about writing any custom server code or curl calls. Guides: Unity/C++
Remote Config: Tweak variables from the cloud, and then use Firebase Analytics to see if they give you the results you expect. You can even use Remote Config to deliver custom values to specific groups of people, like your expert players. Guides: Unity/C++
Storage: Store user-created binary data in Cloud Storage buckets directly from the app - fantastic for uploading screenshots or videos. Guides: Unity/C++

You can jump in today with our new getting started guide for gamedevelopers . As a bonus for developers working in Cocos2D-x, we've also released a set of new samples that demonstrate how to integrate the C++ SDKs into your Cocos2D-x games. As always, if you have questions or comments, reach out to us through our support team, Stack Overflow or the firebase-talk group!

 

Pricing for Firebase is available across 3 different tiers, a free limited to 100 simultaneous connections, 1GB of realtime storage and 10GB of network usage, a $25/month subscription with unlimited connections, 2.5GB of storage and 20GB a month of network usage, or a pay as you go tier for $5/GB/month storage, $1GB networking.  You can read more about the pricing here.

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