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5. June 2017


Khronos Group, the consortium behind the OpenGL/Vulkan series of SDKS have just released the 2.0 specification for glTF.  glTF is an attempt to create a runtime friendly data format for 3D models with modern feature support.  Intended to replace such formats as COLLADA or FBX with a file format with modern features but streamlined for realtime usage.  It is a mix of JSON descriptor coupled with a binary format and various supported textures.  The 2.0 version aims to modernize the format, adding support for PBR (Physically Based Rendering) textures.


From the release announcement:

The release of glTF 2.0 delivers a significant upgrade to glTF 1.0, an extensible, runtime neutral, open standard format for real-time delivery of 3D assets, which describes full scenes with compact transmission and fast load time. In response to major functionality requests from the developer community using glTF 1.0, the release of glTF 2.0 adds Physically Based Rendering (PBR) for portable, consistent description of materials. In glTF 1.0, a material was defined with a GLSL shader, which suited WebGL, but was problematic when importing a glTF model into a Direct3D or Metal application. Through using PBR, visually arresting glTF 2.0 models are now consistently portable to any rendering API. A PBR material is defined by a few concise parameters that can be used to generate shaders for any rendering API. glTF 2.0 defines a simple to implement, but powerful, PBR model that provides high-quality materials, and yet, is scalable to suit the capabilities of different classes of platform and device.


For Blender users, there is a glTF exporter in the works available here.

GameDev News

2. June 2017


Unity have just launched Remote Settings as a package available for download in the Asset Store for free.  Remote Settings enables you to make tweaks and changes to gameplay after a game has been deployed using an interface similar to the PlayerPrefs API.  Two usage examples Unity gave for Remote Settings are dynamically changing the difficulty curve of a shipped game as well as providing context appropriate content, such as seasonal themes.


Details from the Unity blog:

Remote Settings is easy to use. It‘s native to the Unity engine and employs an API similar to PlayerPrefs that most Unity developers are familiar with. We’ve also included a “Remote Settings Component” that lets you get started without writing any code. Once set up, Remote Settings requires no additional engineering work to operate. All changes apply as soon as the game restarts. You can even use the Analytics dashboard to track real-time impacts on key metrics.

So far, we’ve had some really great reaction from our pilot customers.

“Remote Settings allows us to dynamically modify various gameplay factors in real-time and are incredibly easy to implement in our projects! It saves us plenty of development hours so we can keep focusing on creating new experiences for our players!”

Lukasz Wolinski
CTO, Dr. Panda

Remote Settings is now in open beta and free to use for all Unity developers. You can download the package from the Asset Store or through the configure page from the Analytics dashboard.


Here is the description from the Unity asset store:

Unity Analytics presents Remote Settings, a cloud service that provides game developers the ability to change behaviors and configurations of their games without requiring an update to the app.


Create settings that control the difficulty of your level bosses, allowing you to tune game play if you suspect some levels are too hard or too easy. Or create settings that specify the relative frequencies of game items.


And the best part is, after you sync changes with the dashboard, the new values are automatically downloaded and read by every client device when they start a new session. No download or update to the package and app stores are necessary.

GameDev News

2. June 2017


SpeedTree is a popular middleware package for creating trees and foliage for games and other media.  Used for games like the Forza series, Gears of War, Far Cry, Dragon Age and many more titles, as well as films such as Iron Man 3, Avatar and World War Z.  Amazon have now ST8announced SpeedTree 8 is integrated into their Lumberyard engine and better yet, available free.

Following the release of Starter Game, we’re thrilled to give you another tool for building imaginative worlds in Lumberyard. Introducing SpeedTree 8 for Lumberyard, available free to all Lumberyard developers starting today. You can download it here.

The combination is a powerful one: take the industry-standard in 3D vegetation modeling, seamlessly integrate it with Lumberyard’s advanced rendering and lighting technology, and remove any subscription cost. The result is a faster, more intuitive way to create visually stunning worlds for your games. We can’t wait to see what you’ll build.


SpeedTree 8 brings the following new features:

  • Full PBR material workflow and rendering – PBR rendering and a revamped material workflow give you more precise control over your maps. You can also adjust your models before exporting them into Lumberyard, saving you time and effort.
  • New Generators – Sometimes imperfections can make your trees appear more lifelike. With these new generators, you can create a variety of realistic features on your trees, including knots, fungi, gashes, and cavities.
  • New Shape Control – This feature allows you to easily bunch branches together, so you can achieve more natural, organic shapes in vegetation (such as the “broccoli” effect.) You can create large clumpy trees or small clusters within your tree branches.
  • New SpeedTree Library – Buy stock assets, including 2K leaf textures and 8K bark textures. Get access to thousands of species of trees from around the world—an incredibly diverse, high-quality collection of models and materials.
  • And much more – Including unlimited age variation; one-draw-call models with tiling textures, wind, and LOD; new techniques for low-poly branch structure modeling and mesh editing; and automatic vertex color painting for wind, with an in-modeler preview.


You can read more about the SpeedTree and Lumberyard announcement here.

GameDev News

29. May 2017


SharpDX is a managed wrapper for the DirectX series of APIs including Direct 3D 9/11/12, Direct2D, DirectInput, XInput and more.  This library makes it easy to use DirectX libraries with languages such as C#, VB.net and more.  It is released under the incredibly flexible MIT open source license.  This release brings support for Visual Studio 2017 and perhaps most importantly, support for .NET core platform.


This new release of SharpDX contains:

  • Several bug fixes, see the full list below
  • A migration of the build system to VS 2017
  • Added support for the .NET Core Platform (netcoreapp1.0, netstandard1.1, uap10)

This release is the dedicated work of external contributors, thanks a lot for their work!

The binaries are accessible on nuget.


The full list of new features and bugs is available here.

GameDev News

27. May 2017


Tiled, an open source 2D map editor, finally hit the 1.0 milestone release.  As expected from a major point release, this one is loaded with new features.  External tilesets, text objects, grouping of layers are perhaps the largest new features, there are however dozens more.  If you areTiled interested in learning more about Tiled, we have done a comprehensive set of tutorials to get you started.


Details from the release notes:

Changelog

Many more improvements were made, here is the full list:

  • Added support for editing external tilesets (#242)
  • Added a text object with configurable font and wrapping (#1429)
  • Added layer grouping (#1038)
  • Added Tile.type and inherit tile object properties from the tile (#436, #1248)
  • Added a start page
  • Added selection of underlying objects with Alt modifier (by Yuriy, #1491)
  • Added an option to disable safe writing of files (#1402, #1404)
  • Added invert selection action (by Leon Moctezuma, #1423)
  • Added support for isometric terrain overlays and tile collision objects (#419, #757)
  • Added 180-degree symmetry mode to terrain brush with Alt modifier
  • Added short and consistent map format names to use with --export-map (by Marce Coll, #1382)
  • Added Swap Tiles action (by Alexander Münch, #866)
  • Added tileset background color property (#227)
  • Added 60 degree tile rotation support for hexagonal maps (by Victor Nicolaichuk, #1447)
  • Added a check for duplicates when adding tiles (by Simião, #1227)
  • Added option to run commands from menu as well as edit them (by Ketan Gupta, #943)
  • Added custom shortcuts for commands (by Ketan Gupta, #1456)
  • Added optional ID and Position columns to objects view (by i-ka, #1462)
  • Added an executable picker for custom commands (by Ketan Gupta, #942)
  • Added marching ants effect on selected objects (by Mohamed Thabet, #1489)
  • Added all open tilesets to the Tilesets view
  • Added auto-show/hide all views (Clear View) action (by erem2k, #563)
  • Added minimap in the resizing dialog (by Yuriy, #1516)
  • Added drag-n-drop support in Layers view (#178)
  • Added support for storing object type definitions in JSON format (#1313)
  • Added cut/copy/paste actions for custom properties (#515)
  • Allow changing the tile of tile objects (by Mohamed Thabet, #409)
  • Allow selecting a folder to fix multiple broken links at once
  • Added support for dragging external tilesets into the Tilesets dock
  • Added support for dragging images into image collection tilesets
  • Write out Tiled version in TMX/JSON “version” attribute (#1416)
  • Remember last view on map also for closed files (#905)
  • Remember tileset zoom level in the tileset editor (by Artem Sharganov, #408)
  • Change current layer depending on selected objects (by Glavak, #1424)
  • Improved support for using Tiled on HiDpi screens
  • Improved the behavior of the tile selection tool
  • Made Ctrl+D duplicate objects instead of deleting them
  • Use an eye icon instead of a checkbox for layer visibility (by Ketan Gupta, #1127)
  • JSON tileset: Save width/height of individual tile images
  • Linux: Added MIME type for tileset files
  • Fixed hexagonal rotation of tile stamps (by Bdtrotte, #1476)
  • Fixed handling of broken tile references, which now render as a red marker
  • Fixed manual reloading of images for image collection tilesets
  • Fixed Offset Layers tool to wait until mouse is moved
  • Fixed current stamp to always update when a tile is clicked
  • Fixed handling of pinch gestures (#1305)
  • Fixed flipping a group of objects to work like expected (by Vitek1425, #1475)
  • Fixed stamp brush to work better on staggered maps (by Bdtrotte)
  • Fixed objects offsetting while resizing (by Acuion, #1518)
  • Fixed fill tool for hexagonal maps (#883)
  • Fixed potential crash in Terrain Brush
  • Windows: Fixed menus when using OpenGL in full screen mode (#1576)
  • Windows: Added Sticker Knight and Python example scripts to installer (#819)
  • Windows: Fixed bringing existing Tiled window to foreground (#1256)
  • AutoMapping: Fixed object groups always getting added
  • AutoMapping: Improved map boundary handling (by Stefan Beller, #1224)
  • AutoMapping: Apply custom properties set on output layers
  • terraingenerator: Made the amount of columns configurable
  • terraingenerator: Copy tile properties from the source tilesets
  • Added Ukrainian translation (by Olexandr Nesterenko)
  • Added Hungarian translation (by Balázs Úr)
  • Added Finnish translation (by ekeimaja)
  • Updated Bulgarian, Dutch, French, German, Russian, Spanish and Turkish translations


You can learn more about and download tiled here.

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