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13. September 2017

The Xenko game engine just released version 2.1.  This recently out of beta C# powered game engine just got a bunch prettier with several xenkorendering improvements.  The engine also gained the ability to stream textures which should decrease scene load times and memory usage.  The input system was rewritten and Direct X 12 support was improved.

The following is a summary of new features in the 2.1 release:

  • Local reflections
  • Clear coat shading
  • Thin glass materials
  • Texture streaming
  • Render masks
  • Improved profiler
  • Debug text during runtime
  • Rewritten input system
  • Improved Direct3D 12 support
  • Improved environment fresnel
  • Japanese documentation now available

For more details be sure to check out the release notes which includes a full change log.

Xenko was previously known as Paradox and we did a short tutorial series available here if you wish to learn more.

GameDev News

13. September 2017

Today the Blender Foundation announced the release of Blender 2.79.  Other than a load of bug fixes, there isn’t actually a ton in the releaseB279 directly for game developers.  Perhaps the biggest feature is the new PBR shader node, implemented as the Principled BSDF node based on Disney’s PBR implementation in Renderman.  Other new features include Denoise is a new feature for removing rendering noise, a new Filmic view transform has been added for more photorealistic rendering results, improved OpenCL performance as well as various Cycles renderer improvements.  The Grease pencil also received several improvements in this release including per layer onion skinning and new interpolation tools. 

Perhaps the single best improvement of this release to me personally is automatic DPI scaling.  This means Blender will automatically detect if you are using a high DPI monitor and adjust it’s UI accordingly.  No more having to manually change the user interface each time you plug in an external monitor!

The 2.79 release also includes a ton of new add-ons, including:

Dynamic Sky, Archipack, Magic UV, Mesh Edit Tools, Skinify, Display Tools, Brush Menus, Btrace, Is Key Free, Turnaround Camera, Auto Mirror, Camera Rigs, Snap Utils Line, Add Advanced Objects, Export Paper Model, Kinoraw Tools, Stored Views, Render Clay, Auto Tracker, Refine Tracking Solution, Materials Library VX, Mesh Tissue, Cell Fracture Crack It

Be warned however, there was a change to the way add-ons work with data, meaning that backward .blend compatibility may be impacted!

To read more details of this release check the full release announcement available here.  If you are interested in learning Blender, we have a ton of great tutorials available here.

GameDev News

11. September 2017

One very cool thing the Blender foundation have started doing is offering guidance and early builds of future releases.  The next major update to Blender is Blender 2.8 and you can learn more about (and download) it at this location.  Be aware this is a VERY early release… this isn’t a beta orimage even alpha, this is a developer work in progress build and it crashes, a lot.  There’s also no guarantee that features actually make it into the final release, nor that there wont be massive changes.  Without a doubt it isn’t suitable for production work, you have been warned.  Also, going forward Blender is going to require an OpenGL 3.2 or higher capable video card, you will understand why shortly.

So then, why am I excited about this release?  Well it’s got several new features that are going to be great and a lot of this release is actually foundational.  Changes to the low level guts of Blender that will make it a better product going forward.  Additionally new grease pencil improvements are going to make Blender an excellent choice for 2D animators, you can check out a preview of the changes here.  Changes are also coming to workspaces and layers making the UI more customizable and hopefully more productive. 

All that said, the star feature coming to Blender, as well as the one most useful to game developers, is the updated viewport.  Blender is now getting two new viewport renderers, Eevee and Clay.  Eevee propels Blender forward into the modern age, allowing real time rendering of PBR scenes with realistic lighting.  In a nutshell, your game should look exactly the same in Blender as it does in Unreal Engine or Unity.  Words can’t really justify how impressive this new viewport renderer is, so instead I made a video.  You can check it out here or embedded below.

Art, GameDev News

8. September 2017

In the most recent release of Unity 2017.2 Beta, Unity added a new feature for interactive tutorials.  Basically these are step by step beginner tutorials that run directly in the Unity engine and introduce basic concepts like running your scene or present scenarios where you need to fix a problem within an existing project.  They are accessible in the Learn tab when you first launch Unity.


If you want more information, I take a hands on look at this new feature in this video:

Again, you need to be running Unity 2017.2 beta or higher in order to have access to the interactive tutorials.  You can download the latest beta here.

GameDev News

6. September 2017

Defold Engine 1.2.112 has just been released.  A relatively minor update, probably the biggest feature of this release is removal of dependencies on a graphics subsystem allowing the engine to run in headless mode.  This is a very common approach for running a game engine as a server on a back end.  The release also includes various fixes detailed below.  If you’ve never heard of it, Defold is a free 2D Lua powered game engine.  We have a complete tutorial series available if you want to learn more.

Details from the release notes:


We have extended the go.delete1 function to accept an additional bool parameter that will recursively delete the child hierarchy of the deleted object, in child to parent order. The function now also accepts a table of game object ids, which deprecates go.delete_all.

Collada fixes

The Collada parser has been fixed so that it can parse start and end times for animations (per scene). The asset unit entry is also applied to skeleton bone positions, instead of being included in their scale.

Headless engine

We have removed the dependency for X/GLFW on the headless version of the engine. This means that you should be able to run the headless engine on hardware without X, graphics card and monitor.

  • DEF-1644 - Added: New option in go.delete to also delete children.
  • DEF-1827 - Fixed: GUI nodes stretch when changing window size while disabled.
  • DEF-2845 - Fixed: Correctly initialize font cache.
  • DEF-2867 - Fixed: Headless version of engine no longer depend on GLFW/X/OGL.
  • DEF-2857 - Fixed: Truncate info/error/warning editor marker strings if too large.
  • DEF-2715 - Fixed: Collada scene start/end/framerate are parsed and used.
  • DEF-2854 - Fixed: Collada asset unit is applied to bone positions.
  • DEF-2837 - Fixed: Increased the Java heap size for javac and dx commands in build service.

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