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14. December 2016

 

Tizen is an open source embedded OS based on the Linux kernel designed to be used in a variety of devices, the most relevant to game developers are Smart TVs and mobile phones.  It came to life out of a home grown OS project at Samsung called Bada.  To date the majority of devices that run Tizen are from Samsung including the Z1 and Z3 smart phones, Gear 2 smart watch and the JU6500 4K smart TV, although other manufacturers are part of the committee.  Basically you can think of Tizen as Samsung’s hedge against Android should something go wrong with that platform.

So… why does this matter to you as game developers?  Well Tizen just announced a contest with some pretty simple rules and $9million in prizes.  Basically over a 9 month period, the top 100 apps in the Tizen app store will get $10,000.  So if you manage to have a top 100 app for the entire duration of the contest, you will make a cool $90,000 on top of any other revenue you make from app sales.  While the Tizen app store may not be the biggest in the world, a $10,000 monthly incentive is sure to draw developer interest.

 

Details of the contest:

HOW TO
PARTICIPATE

  • 1.Develop a Tizen application or game using TIZEN SDK & Tools (http://developer.tizen.org) The target devices should be Samsung Z1, Samsung Z2, Samsung Z3 and further smart phones launch in the 2017.
  • 2.You need to join the Tizen Store seller office
    (http://seller.tizenstore.com) first and follow the instructions on the website to register your applications.
  • 3.Visit the incentive program website, which will be opened on the early of January 2017, and register your app with its basic information.

TIMELINE

Participation Registration Period
Early of Jan, 2017 – Oct 31, 2017 (GMT)
Program Duration
Feb 1, 2017 at 00:00 - Oct 31, 2017 at 23:59(GMT)

INCENTIVE
REWARDS

Prize
$10,000 for top 100 apps every month(The reward can be provided at once per a app)
Judging Criteria
Every month, the 100 eligible applications that have
been downloaded the most times on Tizen Store.(Detailed rules will be released in January 2017)

 

Tizen support is available in several game engines including Unity, Cocos2d-x, GameSalad, OpenFL and GameMaker.

GameDev News

13. December 2016

 

With the release of Unity 5.5 a couple weeks back, we had to know that Unity 5.6 beta would be just around the corner.  Well, we have officially rounded that corner, Unity 5.6 Beta was released today. 

So, what’s new in Beta 5.6 release?

  • Vulkan renderer support (Android, Windows, Linux, Tizen)Unity56
  • Metal Compute support (iOS, Mac OS/X)
  • GPU instancing and particle system performance improvements
  • EncodeToEXR to Texture2D, save HDR textures to EXR on disk
  • 2D Game Dev workflow improvements
    • Axis Distance Sort for Z sorting
    • Outline Editor added to Sprite Editor Window ( automatic tessellation or manual mesh shape editing)
    • 2D Physics casting API and new 2D Contact API
    • CompositeCollider2D, merge multiple colliders
    • 9slice (9patch?) support
  • New video player with 4K and 360 degree support
  • Unity Collaborate improvements (partial publish, ignore files, rollback)
  • iOS added to Unity Performance Reporting
  • Google Daydream and Cardboard support added ( was previously a forked version )
  • Support for Facebook GameRoom
  • Physics Debug Visualization
  • Physics.ComputePenetration and Physics.ClosestPoint functions added

 

They also discussed some upcoming features for 5.6:

  • Progressive Lightmapper for baked lightmaps
  • more light modes
  • redesigned lighting window + new Light Explorer window
  • timeline (cinematics system)
  • multithreaded jobs system
  • new platforms (such as Nintendo Switch)

 

You can read more details about the 5.6 release here as well as more details of their upcoming features here.

GameDev News

13. December 2016

 

The next version of Visual Studio, Visual Studio 2017 is currently in Release Candidate.  I’m pretty excited about this release, I took a preview look available here, as it works to undo a great deal of the bloat that has been creeping into Visual Studio over the years.  While VS2017 isn’t quite ready for release, they have released an update for the Release Candidate (RC) build.  In addition to several bug fixes, it adds a few new command line utilities and greatly streamline the csproj file format.

 

Details from the release announcement:

CLI enhancements

  • Added the dotnet add p2p command, for adding project to project references.
  • Added the dotnet remove p2p command, for removing project to project references from the project file.
  • dotnet new templates are updated to reflect the simplified csproj syntax.
  • Added verbosity control to build, pack, publish, restore & test using –v | –verbosity. The verbosity levels map to MSBuild verbosity levels.

Bug fixes

  • Migration from xproj to csproj
    • Migration of projects that have P2P references is no longer broken.
    • Removed PostPublishScript target.
    • Removed post-migration reference to dotnet-test-mstest.
    • Fixed migration output issues.
    • Migration adds RIDs when migrating projects with .NET Framework TFM.
    • Migration no longer migrates the reference to dotnet-test-xunit if project.json contains it.
  • Project to Project References
    • Referencing from a UWP project is no longer blocked.
    • Referencing from regular csproj no longer gives warnings.
    • TargetFramework dropdown in the project properties page works.
  • NuGet
    • Restore hang fixes and stability improvements.
    • Pack now uses the correct version range for dependency projects.
    • Restore now adds correct project dependency version for command line restore.
  • MSBuild
    • Improvement to incremental builds for C# and VB projects that use wildcards that ensures a rebuild when a source file is deleted.
  • ASP.NET Core Tooling
    • Entity Framework Core commands such as Add-Migration and Update-Database can now be invoked using NuGet Package Manager Console.
    • To successfully restore Bower packages, you no longer need to have Git installed globally or manually reference Git in Tools-Options.
    • Can successfully debug ASP.NET Core Web Applications with Windows Authentication.
  • Docker
    • When provisioning an Azure Docker registry and App Service plan, it no longer requires a new resource group to be created in the same region as the App Service plan.
    • Improved the usability of creating a new Azure resource group.

GameDev News

12. December 2016

 

The PlayCanvas team have just released a “mega” update for the PlayCanvas 3D HTML5 game engine.  If you are interested in learning more about PlayCanvas, we previously featured them in the Closer Look game engine series.  Now back to the update.

 

Calling an update “mega” you’d expect it to be loaded with features, and for the most part it is.  In this update:

  • live camera preview ( a must have! ) with a render preview window showing contents of selected cameracamerapreview
  • interactive asset previews in inspector
  • ability to toggle anti-aliasing off and on
  • place model in front of camera instead of origin by holding Ctrl key
  • switch between large and small thumbnails in asset view
  • up folder navigation option (another must have)
  • hover over asset to see full name
  • Code editor enhancements
    • highlight current line of code
    • highlight errors
    • better cursor visibility
    • fewer disconnection messages

 

The release also contains several optimizations and fixes:

Optimizations

Huge speedups achieved for both loading and rendering of scenes!

  • New thumbnail rendering system reduces VRAM usage in the Editor by up to a factor of two. This makes the Editor more stable and faster to load, especially for larger scenes.
  • Major optimisations for loading and Editor rendering process so projects with thousands of entities and assets can load and render now up to 10 times faster in extreme cases.
  • Asset load operations are now batched rather than performed one by one.
  • All engine assets are loaded only when they are required (when they are enabled), leading to reduced traffic and loading times.
  • Optimisations in internal API of Editor and UI leading to reduced garbage collection (and therefore GC stalls) and speeds up UI templating for Hierarchy and Assets panels.
  • Enabled GZIP on WebSocket traffic, which reduces data transfers for initial loading.
Fixes
  • Fixed up arrow while navigating in the Hierarchy tree.
  • Fixed sorting of folders in the Assets panel tree.
  • Fixed material overrides on the Model Component if the model asset wasn’t loaded.
  • Cubemap faces now update in the Inspector (in the Faces section) if a face texture file is changed.
  • Read-only users can now select text/number field values.
  • Double click or right mouse click on number fields now will select whole content of the field and not just part of number separated by a dot or minus sign.
  • Networking improvements have been made to reduce disconnects.

 

You can learn more about PlayCanvas here.

GameDev News

11. December 2016

 

LibGDX, the cross platform Java powered open source game framework, just released version 1.9.5.  This release is mostly about upgrading under the hood libraries and tooling support including GWT, RoboVM and LWJGL version updates.  The release is also compatible with iOS 10 and Xcode 8.  If you want to learn more about LibGDX we have a comprehensive tutorial series available here as well as a video tutorial series available here.

 

Details of the update from the release announcement:

[1.9.5]
- Upgraded to MobiDevelop's RoboVM fork version 2.3.0, update your[sic] 
- Upgraded to GWT 2.8.0 for faster compiles and better compile output
- Fix NPE swallowing "video driver unsupported" error on LWJGL 2 backend.
- Allow window icons to be set in Lwjgl3ApplicationConfiguration or Lwjgl3WindowConfiguration.
- Allow window icon and title to be changed in Lwjgl3Window
- API Addition: ApplicationLogger interface, allowing easier access to custom logging
- DefaultRenderableSorter accounts for center of Renderable mesh, see https://github.com/libgdx/libgdx/pull/4319
- Bullet: added FilterableVehicleRaycaster, see https://github.com/libgdx/libgdx/pull/4361
- Bullet: updated to 2.85, see: http://bulletphysics.org/wordpress/?p=456
- Updated iOS native build scripts to iOS 10.1 and TVOS 10.0
- API Addition: BitmapFont#blankLineScale.
- Fixed rounding of Drawables in ProgressBar. Allow rounding to be disabled with setRound().
- Updated LWJGL3 backend to LWJGL 3.1.0, see https://blog.lwjgl.org/lwjgl-3-1-0-released/
- LWJGL3 backend now supports non-continuous rendering, see https://github.com/libgdx/libgdx/pull/3772
- API Change: Lwjgl3WindowListener.refreshRequested() is called when the windowing system (GLFW) reports contents of a window are dirty and need to be redrawn.
- API Change: Lwjgl3WindowListener.maximized() is called when a window enters or exits a maximized state.
- API Change: Lwjgl3WindowListener.deiconified() removed, combined with .iconified().
- API Change: Lwjgl3Window.deiconify() renamed to .restore() since it can also be used to de-maximize a window.
- Lwjgl3Window now has a maximize() method, and windows can be started maximized using the window or app configuration's setMaximized() method.
- NinePatch can now be drawn rotated or scaled.
- NinepatchDrawable is now a TransformDrawable.
- API Change: Group add* methods no longer remove and re-add the actor if it is already in the group, instead they do nothing.
- API Change: g2d.Animation is now generic so it can support Drawables, PolygonRegions, NinePatches, etc. To fix existing code, specify the TextureRegion type in animation declarations (and instantiations in Java 6), i.e. Animation myAnimation = new Animation(...);
- TiledDrawable throws unsupported operation if trying to draw rotated/scaled. #4005
- API Change: DragAndDrop now puts default position of drag actor at pointer location. The original default offset from the pointer was (14, -20).
- Added ShaderProgramLoader for AssetManager.
- BoundingBox#isValid now returns also true when min==max, see: https://github.com/libgdx/libgdx/pull/4460
 

For details on updating your LibGDX project to the latest version see here.

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