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6. December 2016

 

The Atomic Game Engine just released a new version available for download here.   This is the first formal binary release in a long time, but there has been constant work on this engine since I featured it in the Closer Look game engine series.  Perhaps the biggest change was the move to open source under the very liberal MIT license but the changes certainly don’t stop there.  The next biggest new feature on the listatomic is probably the fact Atomic now supports the C# language, along side JavaScript and TypeScript (and of course, native C++).

 

New to this particular release are:


• Support for Atomic C# scripting on Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS

Visual Studio and Xamarin Studio integration (with VSCode support coming soon!)

• Updated to TypeScript 2.0

• Physically Based Rendering (PBR) - Thanks to @dragonCASTjosh

• New examples and project templates

• Revamped build targeting JavaScript, TypeScript, C#, and native C++

• Updated to Urho3D 1.6 and SDL 2.0.4 with a great number of platform improvements

• Updated to to Monaco VSCode editor 0.6

• Bug fixes, improvements, and optimization

Thunderbeast Games LLC have put together a demo reel of the major new features added to engine in 2016 viewable below.

 

The Atomic Game Engine is available here while the source is available on Github.

GameDev News

5. December 2016

 

The mobile focused cross platform Lua powered game engine Defold just released version 1.2.94.  The release includes several bug fixes but more importantly contains some rather cool new features.  A big one, and something that was glaringly missing, is (initial) skeletal animation support for 3D models.  While a 2D engine, being able to mix in 3D models enables you to do some pretty powerful things, like texture swapped characters or dynamic inventory systems.  Particle system support for flipbook animation powered particles was also added in this release.

Full new feature list:

  • DEF-2308 - Added: Automatic particle resizing from flipbook animation
  • DEF-2161 - Added: Skeleton animations for 3D models
  • DEF-2295 - Added: Cursor and playback control for model animations
  • DEF-2304 - Added: Max GUI scene count per collection is now configurable in game.project
  • DEF-2202 - Fixed: Up-axis for Collada models are now taken into account
  • DEF-2202 - Fixed: Correct UV/texture coordinates for Collada models
  • DEF-2303 - Fixed: Label with dynamically set text remained after go.delete
  • DEF-2308 - Fixed: Automatic sprite resizing from flipbook animation
  • DEF-1972 - Fixed: Disable animating node during complete callback didn't update property fragments
  • DEF-2274 - Fixed: Spine nodes with animated alpha now works as expected
  • DEF-2145 - Fixed: Libraries/dependencies loading performance

 

You can read more, especially on the use and limitations of the new 3D animation system, in the release notes available here.  If you are interested in learning to use the Defold Engine we have a complete tutorial series available here.  If you just want to learn more be sure to check out our hands on video.

GameDev News

5. December 2016

 

Just recently at MechCon 2016, Piranha Games ( MechWarrior Online ) announced they were developing MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries as a single player game.  Why is this of interest to GameFromScratch.com readers?  There are two reasons, one big one extremely small.  First is Piranha’s decision to make the game using Unreal Engine.  This is interesting due to the fact that the studio’s previous title MechWarriormechwarrior5 Online was developed using CryEngine.  In fact it may have been one of the highest profile non-Crytek CryEngine titles that actually shipped ( sorry Star Citizen… ).  No doubt MW5 will re-use a number of assets from MWO and could have benefited from a great deal of the existing code, so the decision to change engines couldn’t have been made lightly.  This is a pretty nice win for Unreal Engine and has to sting a bit for Crytek.  Lead programmer Brian Windover gave the following answer on why they chose Unreal Engine:

“While deciding on a technology base for MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries it quickly became clear that Unreal Engine 4 would really hit all the notes for us,” said Lead Programmer Brian Windover. “When we were able to take our past experience developing a MechWarrior title and bring it to life in Unreal Engine 4 so quickly, and with such a high degree of visual fidelity, we had the immediate confidence that it was the clear engine of choice for MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries.”

“Unreal Engine 4’s increasingly versatile Blueprint system enables our designers to quickly prototype their ideas and craft the foundations of an outstanding single-player campaign. Its core technology, intuitive AI framework, and native VR support enables our engineers to introduce truly next-gen features with great ease and reliability. On the artistic side, Unreal Engine 4 is stunning, but it’s also extremely adaptable. It empowers our artists to really push our visuals to the edge, both in detail and scope, while still maintaining excellent performance.”

 

So, what’s the second reason?  The previous game, Mechwarrior 4:Mercenaries is easily in my top 5 games of all times list.  I also enjoyed MW:O, especially once their terrible publisher was removed from the equation, so I feel the title is in good hands.  Basically I’m just giddy this title was announced and I really look forward to seeing it happen.  The following early alpha video was shown along side the announcement:

 

 

 

For the three people that might be curious, my top 5 games of all times ( not the best games of all time, but certainly the ones that affected me the most) in no particular order is:

  • MechWarrior 4 series
  • Ultima 7
  • Tie Fighter
  • ShadowRun (Genesis Version)
  • Baldur’s Gate 2

 

Do you have a similar list? 

GameDev News

2. December 2016

 

Unity have just announced they have acquired Anima2D, a bone based 2D animation system (like Spine, Spriter, Creature, DragonBones, etc.) that works directly inside Unity.  After the aquisition Anima2D was removed from the Unity Store and will be instead made available for free starting in January 2017.

 

Details from the Unity blog:

At Unity, we are always looking for new ways to help our developers and provide them with the best tools possible. To that end, we are excited to announce that Anima2D, a popular skeletal animation software, will be available to the entire Unity developer community for free starting in January 2017! Along with this powerful tool, we welcome one of the asset creators, Sergi Valls, into our dedicated 2D team.
Improving the 2D creation experience

We’re committed to the goal of democratizing development and Anima2D will be an important part of improving our toolset and workflow for developers who are focused on the 2D space. Anima2D’s unique approach to 2D animation and 2D character tools combined with Sergi’s experience will be a pivotal part of this effort.

Anima2D features

  • image002D Bones
  • Sprite to mesh conversion
  • SpriteMesh Editor
  • Automatic weights
  • Weight Editor
  • Inverse Kinematics
  • Save / Load Poses
  • Atlas compatible
  • Bake Animation to Bones
  • Onion Skin
  • Create Avatar Masks

 

You can read more about the announcement here.  You can see a quick video of Anima2D in action linked below.

GameDev News

1. December 2016

 

CryEngine 5.3 is coming soon and Crytek just announced one of the new major features, a new visual programming language “Schematyc”.  From the CryEngine blog:cry

What is Schematyc?

At its heart, Schematyc is a node-based visual scripting language aimed at changing the way gameplay systems can be built within CRYENGINE. It gives designers the power to create new gameplay functionality using a set of building blocks, without needing an actual programmer every step of the way. As such, it should especially benefit smaller indie teams, where we know that experienced C++ programmers can often be a rarity, as it allows everyone on the team to help with the gameplay scripting.

 

…wait a minute here.  Doesn’t CryEngine already have a visual programming language called Flowgraph?  Why yes, yes it does.  The new Schematyc language is meant to compliment Flowgraph:

How it differs from Flowgraph

Some of you may be raising their eyebrows now and wondering what the release of Schematyc means for our existing visual scripting tool, Flowgraph.  While they may look similar at first, their intended purposes are actually very different. Whereas Flowgraphs are great for level scripting, Schematyc is designed to provide more finite control of the objects within those levels. All logic is driven by state and context in order to simplify the information that is presented to designers, and greatly reduced latency should make it possible to take new gameplay systems beyond the prototyping stage without the need to re-write them in C++.

 

From that description it sounds like a UI for managing state machines without the performance penalty of Flowgraph.  Schematyc will be available in beta form in the upcoming CryEngine 5.3 release which drops later this month.

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