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1. March 2017

 

Kotlin is a new programming language created by JetBrains, the folks behind such great developer tools as IntelliJ, WebStorm and Resharper.  It is a statically typed language the runs in the JVM, on Android and as of this release, compiled to JavaScript.  Kotlin was designed to be a lot more concise than Java, one of the biggest pain points people have with the language.  It is also meant to be 100% interoperable with existing Java code and frameworks.  Today’s release also brings JavaScript support out of “experimental” status, now enabling Kotlin to compile down to JavaScript much like other languages such as TypeScript and Dart.  This release also brings CoRoutine support for easier async programming.

 

From the announcement blog post:

Our vision for Kotlin is to enable the use of a single expressive, performant, strongly typed language across all components of a modern application. Kotlin 1.1 makes two major steps towards this goal.

First, the JavaScript target is no longer experimental, and supports all Kotlin language features, a large part of the standard library, as well as JavaScript interoperability. This allows you to migrate the browser frontend of your applications to Kotlin, while continuing to use modern JavaScript development frameworks such as React.

Second, we’re introducing support for coroutines. As a lightweight alternative to threads, coroutines enable much more scalable application backends, supporting massive workloads on a single JVM instance. In addition to that, coroutines are a very expressive tool for implementing asynchronous behavior, which is important for building responsive user interfaces on all platforms.

Below we describe these two changes further. In other news: we’ve added type aliases, bound callable references, destructuring in lambdas and more. See the details in our What’s new page (check out the runnable examples!).

 

Kotlin is available as a plugin for IntelliJ IDEA, NetBeans and Eclipse.

GameDev News

1. March 2017

 

Unity have just released another patch for the older 5.4 branch of Unity.  Composed primarily of fixes, this patch also introduced ogg vorbis support on tvOS as well as the addition of ShaderVariantCollections, described in the release notes below.

Improvements
  • Asset Bundles: Introduced the ability to use ShaderVariantCollection to ensure Shader variants are built when packing the Shader with ShaderVariantCollection separate from the Material using the Shader.
  • Audio: Add support for streaming oggvorbis on tvOS.
Fixes
  • (861178) - Analytics: Fix adds Internet permission on Android when Analytics service is used.
  • (877407, 867093, 877210) - DX11: Fixed D3D11 Device creation failures on Windows Vista and Windows 7 systems without DX11.1 runtime.
  • (857117) - Editor: Fixed a rare issue where building the player and saving the project after could cause the Editor to lock up.
  • (878784) - Editor: Fixed Assertion failed error in console: '(sharedData.instructionCount == 0) || sharedData.combinedBounds.IsValid()'.
  • (799748) - Global Illumination: Fixed a rare issue where spawning external processes (such as GI Baking) could fail or cause a deadlock.
  • (849079) - Graphics: Fixed a crash in some circumstances if object disables renderer when culling updates visibility.
  • (847494) - iOS: Don't strip alpha channel out of launch screens.
  • (852360) - Scripting: Fix issue with StopCoroutine not stopping IEnumerator and CustomYieldInstruction based coroutines.
  • (852993) - Scripting: Fixed a rare failure when building players.
  • (none) - VCS: Fixed an issue which was trying to add files from ProjectSettings folder to Version Control even if they were already under Version Control.
  • (none) - Windows: Fixed -hideWindow briefly showing the window before hiding it on standalone players.

 

As always, the patch is available for download here.

GameDev News

28. February 2017

 

Today Unity had their GDC keynote presentation (available embedded below) and announced details of the final 5.x release, version 5.6 which is schedule to be released on March 31st.  Details of the 5.6 release:

Here’s a brief rundown of the key 5.6 features talked about in the keynote:

Physically Based Rendering and Global Illumination: Enables virtual objects that look and behave like they would in the real world.

Progressive Lightmapper: Gives you immediate feedback when trying out different lighting scenarios, with selective baking, super fast iteration, and debugging.

Vulkan: Our friends at Infinite Dreams came on stage with Skyforce Reloaded to demonstrate how to maximize performance and reduce battery usage.

To learn how to get the most from Vulkan in Unity, be sure to attend the GDC session presented by ARM on Thursday, 10AM – Room 3022 West Hall.

Metal: Apple Metal graphics API gives you access to the raw power of the chipsets on your devices. Now, available directly in the editor on MacOS, you can view scenes in editor as it will appear when you deploy on a device. Unity 5.5 added instancing, the ability to write native Metal shaders — 5.6 brings Metal Compute. Developer nWay got on stage with their upcoming game Power Rangers: Legacy Wars to show off the full potential of Metal. Thank you to surprise special guests Ludi Lin and Jason David Frank of Power Rangers fame for joining us on stage!

2D Tools: Unity 5.6 is adding CompositeCollider2D, an outline editor, 2D physics contacts API and more.

New NavMesh: Adding AI and Pathfinding to more easily control character navigation through giant game worlds.

Unity Collaborate: A simple way for teams to save, share, and sync their Unity project — all Cloud hosted! Unity Collaborate has entered open beta so be sure to sign up now!

Performance Reporting: Unity Performance Reporting automatically collects errors across various devices and platforms making it easier for you to find and fix issues in real time. Additionally, Performance Reporting for Unity 5.6 beta will capture and report crashes recorded for iOS games. With 5.6, you can expect support for even more platforms. There’s no code required, simply click the On switch for “Performance Reporting” in the Services window.

TextMesh Pro: We’re happy to announce that one of the top performing tools on the Unity Asset Store, used to deliver substantial visual quality to text styling and texturing in games via advanced text rendering, will now be available for free to users of 5.3+ and natively integrated into Unity in the future.

Visit the Unity Asset Store to get TextMesh Pro now.

VR platforms: 5.6 will ship with Google Cardboard/Daydream support, including for iOS.

 

They also discussed Unity 2017, which will enter beta in April.

Upcoming features include:

  • Timeline, a track-based sequencing tool that applies a “drag and drop” approach to choreograph animations, sounds, events, videos and more, will make it easier for storytellers to compose stunning cinematics.
  • New scriptable rendering pipeline that will allow developers to customize and extend render loops for mobile, HD and VR/AR.

We can’t wait to share these new tools to support content creators. You can check out the preview build of Timeline now.

 

The Unity Keynote Video

GameDev News

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

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