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16. May 2016

 

There was a new release of the popular open source Java based LibGDX game framework today, version 1.9.3.  If you are interested in learning more about LibGDX I have done extensive tutorial series covering it available here.  This series brings a number of small changes, but by far the biggest update is on iOS compatibility, which I will get to in a moment.  First the changes:

[1.9.3]
- Switched to MobiDevelop's RoboVM fork (http://robovm.mobidevelop.com)
- Addition of Intel Multi-OS Engine backend for deploying to iOS
- Updated iOS native build scripts to iOS 9.3 and TVOS 9.2
- API Addition: GestureDetector#pinchStop() called when no longer pinching
- API Addition: Gdx.graphics.setUndecorated/setResizable API added to Graphics https://github.com/libgdx/libgdx/pull/3847
- API Addition: Gdx.graphics.getGLVersion(), grab the GL version and implementation type. https://github.com/libgdx/libgdx/pull/3788
- API Change: Lwjgl3WindowListener -> filesDropped(String[] files) adds drag'n drop support for the lwjgl3 backend
- Added isComplete() to ParticleEffect to make it easier to know when all the emitters are done, behaves the same as in the 2D API.
- API Change: renamed Lwjgl3WindowListener.windowIsClosing() to closeRequested() to better communicate its intent.
- Add IndexData.updateIndices method to increase performance when used with IndexBufferObjectSubData. 
- Added FlushablePool
- Added ShapeCache see https://github.com/libgdx/libgdx/pull/3953
- API Change: moved shape builder logic out of MeshBuilder, see: https://github.com/libgdx/libgdx/pull/3996
- API Change: Table reset now calls clearChildren, not clear.
- Fixed crashes in AndroidMusic.java when isPlaying is called. Errors are now logged only rather than crashing the app.
- Added emulation of ScreenUtils for GWT
- Improved performance of glReadPixels() on GWT. New method is 20-30 times faster
- Fixed crash on Mac when using LWJGL2, custom cursors and embedding the game in an AWT window
- Fixed getDisplayModes(Monitor monitor) returning wrong data on LWJGL2 backend
- Fixed Gdx.input.getCurrentEventTime() not being set on LWJGL3, fixes GestureDetector and flick scroll not working
- Fixed not being able to select non-latin characters in TextFields
- Bullet: added CustomActionInterface, see https://github.com/libgdx/libgdx/pull/4025
- Add window size limits option to LWJGL3 app and window configurations
 
 

Perhaps the biggest component of the 1.9.3 release is how they are handling iOS support.  As you may recall the technology they relied on for iOS support, RoboVM, recently was killed off by Microsoft.  This left the LibGDX team in a bit of a bind and they found not one, but two solutions.  The first is a new RoboVM like technology from Intel called Multi-OS Engine (Moe?) and the second is to go back and fork the last known good version of RoboVM and bring it up to date.  Both have some advantages and drawbacks that are discussed on the LibGDX blog.

GameDev News

15. May 2016

 

The following is a recap of major events in the world of game development for the week ending May 30h, 2016.  I do a weekly video recapping the news available here with this week’s video embedded below.  This post is a collection of links mentioned in the recap.

 

 

The Video

GameDev News

14. May 2016

 

Itch.io have just launched Refinery, a set of tools for early access games.  In their own words:image

itch.io refinery is a customizable toolset made for developers to distribute their unfinished games, build a real community and gain useful feedback. We think early access is broken, and this is our solution.

 

From the itch.io blog, some details of the tools included in refinery.

Limited keys

Developers can now limit the total number of keys available for purchase. This makes for a great way to slowly roll our a game for testing or to target those who are most interested in your game (i.e. from a mailing list.) 

Exclusive content (rewards)

Exclusive content is a way of providing a limited quantity reward to a buyer if they purchase your project at a specific price point. Adding a reward to a project is a great way to give exclusive perks to early buyers.

Command-line tools and delta patches

With our command-line tools, developers can push a new build directly to itch.io right from your build script. Additionally, only the changed files will be uploaded by you and downloaded by players to create delta patches, so no more complete re-downloads just for patching. This is great for players of in-development games that are being patched constantly.

Selling physical goods

Another use case for rewards is selling physical goods along with digital content. In this example you might create a reward above the minimum price that comes with t-shirt. As more shirts become available you can boost the quantity. Developers can specify on the reward that you’d like to collect a shipping address. Developers can also add a custom field to get the size of the shirt.

Restricted community access

Developers can now create a message board only available to the people who have bought your game. This is a private hub where creators can be open about your game’s development and gain useful feedback from your players.

GameDev News

13. May 2016

 

Version 2.0.3 of Godot Engine was just released.  Godot is an open source 2D/3D cross platform game engine I have extensively covered in tutorials available here.  Two of the biggest new features are from the way Godot is built.  Starting with this release OSX 64bit binaries are available.  Meanwhile on Windows, Visual Studio is now being used to compile Godot, replacing MingW, would should result in a pretty solid increase in performance.  If you run into incompatibilities, please be sure to let the team know.  In addition to these changes, OpenSSL was re-enabled in this release, after some prior security concerns.  There are of course several bug fixes and enhancements in this release.

 

The following features and changes were added in this release:

Enhancements:

  • Many new classes documented! Thanks to all those that got involved after our call for contributors! Feel free to join us as there's still a lot to do, but the progress is heart-warming!
  • Ability to shrink all images x2 on load
  • Add preview of the Camera2D's screen boundaries
  • Allow dragging on only one (global) axis when holding down shift
  • More precise InputMap Axis descriptions in project settings
  • Move export GUI debug toggle to export settings window
  • New Dictionary.has_all(Array)
  • Script editor usability improvements:
    • Autocomplete no longer shows duplicates
    • Fixed code completion after opening bracket
    • Options to change the caret color and toggle blinking
    • Option to trim trailing white space on save
  • Subclasses can extend from other subclasses via relative paths
  • Update to Godot's regex library
  • Update OpenSSL to version 1.0.2h

Bug fixes:

  • AnimationPlayer: Prevent resetting timeline when pinned
  • Fix behavior of OS.set_window_resizable
  • Fix Camera2D ignoring zoom when checking limits
  • Fix checking unsaved changes only in current scene
  • Fix launching from .app on OSX
  • Fix 'Quit to Project Manager' not stopping the running application
  • Fix shader editor syntax coloring
  • Fix to avoid video texture scaling
  • GridMap: Fix backwards rotate hotkeys
  • Keep editable instances data when replacing tree root node
  • Made trackpad behaviour optional in 3D mode
  • Reimplement key input events in Emscripten export
  • Rotation APIs: Better exposure for degrees methods
  • Tabs: various usability fixes

You can read the full release notes in the change log here.

GameDev News

13. May 2016

 

Amazon just added Substance Integration to their Lumberyard game engine in the form of an extension.  Lumberyard is Amazon’s fork of CryEngine released several months ago.  You can see Lumberyard in action in this video.  Substance is a pair of products from Allegrothimic composed of Substance Designer and Substance Painter.  They enable you to recreate real world materials for physically based rendering (PBR) and is proving extremely popular among texture artists.  Substance Painter was featured in our GameDev Toolbox series earlier if you want more details.

 

Amazon announced the new extension on their blog:

To enable the Lumberyard Substance Editor tool, go to your Project Settings inside the Project Configurator and select “Enable Packages” on the top right. This will let you enable the Substance extension for your project.

Working with .sbsar files within the Lumberyard Substance Editor grants many advantages over standard workflows. Ceramic tile textures, for example, could have sliders for adjusting the size of tiles, how they’re arranged together, and how they’re lined up. In the editor, you can make changes to these variables and see the results update in real time. To do this, use the editor to import your .sbsar file, which will then generate a .smtl (our file format for Lumberyard Substance materials) and .sub files (Substance textures). When selecting your .sbsar file, you’ll see your Substance file’s exposed settings as well as all the textures that can be generated from it.

From the Lumberyard Substance Editor, you can also change parameters at run-time using Lumberyard’s Flow Graph. As you configure a texture applied to an object in your game world, Lumberyard will show you real-time previews of the end result, both from the editor window and on the actual object. Substance works within Lumberyard as a project extension, which includes the ability to use the Substance API, the Lumberyard Substance Editor plugin, and Flow Graph nodes.

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