Maya LT 2016 announced

2. March 2015

 

At GDC this week, Autodesk is announcing the release of Maya LT 2016.  Maya LT is a stripped down version of Maya aimed at the indie game market.  It also comes with a massively stripped MayaLT 2016 SplineIK Clusters 1920x1080down price tag and a monthly subscription option.  When Maya LT was first announced it had a number of glaring limitations.  In the time since, many of those have been removed and several new features have been added.

 

 

 

The full press release follows:

 

Available March 26, 2015, Maya LT 2016 is packed with new features and advancements that accelerate modeling and animation, enabling indie developers to seamlessly deliver standout visuals for their games. 

“In setting up an indie studio and producing our first independent title, Maya LT provided us with a games making application second to none in terms of 3D game asset creation,” said Oliver Clarke, director, co-founder, Modern Dream. “For us, Maya LT is now an irreplaceable part of creating unique and vibrant games that stand out in a super competitive marketplace.”

The new release includes: 

- Integrated Sculpting Tools and UV editing tools: Brush-based sculpting in Maya LT now facilitates high level sculpting on models, without the need to export to a different tool, while new UV brushes (interactive cut/sew edge tool, automatic projection, pinning, weld, split, and unfold brushes) provide an intuitive, artistic-driven workflow.
- Advanced Animation and Game Exporter Tool: New Spline IK and cluster deformation help users easily animate non-humanoid characters; a Game Exporter update simplifies the management and export of multiple animation clips, making it easier for indie artists to export multiple animations for use in a game engine simultaneously.
- Physically-Based ShaderFX Nodes and user-submitted improvements: Physically-based shading material allows artists to design more realistic and high quality materials, for higher-quality assets. User submitted enhancements include: background texture loading, allowing artists to begin working without waiting for an entire scene to load; a customizable default lighting environment that standardizes the appearance of imported assets; and a fog effect in the viewport to focus on the object closest to the viewport camera.
- Creative Market content storefront: Last year, Autodesk acquired Creative Market – an online content marketplace serving more than 690,000 artists and designers. On March 26, Maya LT users will be able to purchase 3D content from a dedicated content landing page curated specifically for game makers. Users can visit the page directly from within the Maya LT app or by visiting: https://creativemarket.com/apps/mayalt .

Maya LT is available as a Desktop Subscription with pay-as-you-go monthly, quarterly and annual options. For more information about Autodesk’s GDC 2015 lineup and other activities, visit: area.autodesk.com/gdc2015 .


Will be interesting to see how the content store approach works. It seems like everyone wants to be in the online store business these days! Regardless, so pretty exciting new features in this release. As stated in the press release, Maya LT 2016 is released March 26th.

Art, News




Unreal Engine 4.7 released today

24. February 2015

Unreal Engine 4.7 was released today and boy was it a good one.  In their words:

Unreal Engine 4.7 is our biggest release yet, with the power to render huge numbers of instanced objects in large worlds, beautiful rendering of leaves and foliage, HDR texture support,NewImage in-editor animation editing, along with hundreds of optimizations and improvements.

Many highly-requested features have been added: You can now assemble new actors using components right in your level, and even create your own custom component types using Blueprint visual scripting or C++! Speaking of scripting, the Blueprint Editor UI has been redesigned with a clean, unified layout. And it’s never been easier to import content in your project -- Unreal Editor now detects new asset files and imports them automatically!

HTML5 platform + WebGL is ready to use -- run your game in a compatible browser with a single click! You can also now build, cook and deploy Android devices on Mac. For virtual reality creators, new “VR Preview” feature immerses you in your world instantly from the editor. In addition, you can now access Leap Motion support if you’re building a code-based project. Finally, we now give you the full C++ engine source code in every release to make learning and debugging even easier!

 

Highlights of the update include:

  • HTML5 export ( this the biggie, Windows only though )
  • Realistic Foliage Lighting
  • Foliage Rendering for Large Worlds
  • In World Component Editing
  • Placeable empty actors
  • Blue-printable Components
  • Automatic Asset Importation
  • Redesigned BluePrint Editor UI
  • OpenEXR HDR Textures
  • Android Development on Mac
  • Full Engine C++ source and Dev Symbols installed with launcher ( big time saver )
  • VR Playback
  • Leap Motion Plugin in Beta
  • C++ Classes in Content Browser
  • Morph Target Exaggeration
  • Animation editing directly inside Persona
  • Instant Bone Controller preview
  • Record and save animations from physics simulations
  • New Project Launcher
  • Blueprint Merge tool
  • Git Source Control Plugin Beta
  • AI Perception System
  • New Tutorials
  • Paper2D Improved Map tools
  • Paper2D Flipbook collision detection
  • Custom cursor support
  • New widget binding system
  • Visual Logger for AI
  • Translucent Object ordering controls ( z sorting for 2D )
  • Desktop quality rendering on Android with OpenGL ES 3.1 (Beta)
  • DLC Packaging Beta
  • Android Movie Playback
  • Android SDK config in editor

 

WOW!  Really, just wow.  Great release Unreal!

You can read the blog post here, or the complete release notes here.

News




Unreal giving away $5 million in grants to Unreal Engine developers

19. February 2015

 

In their ongoing quest to take over the development world, Unreal have announced something really cool…  5 million dollars in grants to Unreal Developers!  Each project can receive between $5,000 and $50,000.  To be eligible you must have a working prototype.

 

So, what’s the catch?

 

None.

 

Really… nothing.  

 

Although obviously if your game rocks and sells millions and millions of copies, Unreal wins too.  Pretty awesome really.   The entire blog post follows:

 

Since Unreal Engine 4’s launch, we’ve been amazed at the groundswell of cool projects in development by the Unreal community. One thing we’ve heard many times: While development can be fueled by creativity and determination alone, finishing and releasing a commercial project often requires money.

We know this firsthand, as Epic’s early projects were built on shoestring budgets funded by such sources as Tim Sweeney’s lawn-mowing earnings, and Mark Rein’s credit card (before they took it away from him!). A small budget can make all the difference in shipping a project with the content, marketing materials, and promotional expenses necessary for it to gain traction.

So, Epic Games has created a $5,000,000 fund to provide grants ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 to select projects being built with and around Unreal Engine 4. Any project that has reached the “working prototype” stage of development is eligible for nomination, and all nominations will be considered based on merit.

The best part? There are absolutely no strings attached. Your project remains yours; you own your IP and publishing rights and you can spend any grant funds however you like. Epic’s goal is simply to help UE4 developers succeed because when you succeed, we succeed.

Unreal Dev Grants are open to games of all kinds on all platforms from developers anywhere in the world, and to cool non-game projects as well.  

If you have or know of a UE4 project which is up and running, nominate it for an Unreal Dev Grant by visiting Unreal Dev Grants information page, or stop by Epic’s booth #1024 South at GDC. Grants will be considered based on a review of a working prototype of the project, and will be awarded over time as the cool stuff rolls in!

News




LÖVE Lua game engine release version 0.9.2

15. February 2015

 

LÖVE, a Lua based game engine I covered wayyyyy back in Battle of the Lua Game Engines and also featured in the game development for kids article, just announced release 0.9.2 just in time for Valentines day.  The announcement follows:

 

Here are a few big changes and highlights, and the full changelog, as well as download links can of course be found below, and on the wiki and front page respectively.


The full changelog is listed here:
  * Added Lua 5.3's UTF-8 module (via utf8 = require("utf8")).
  * Added Shader:getExternVariable.
  * Added several new canvas texture formats.
  * Added love.graphics.getCanvasFormats.
  * Added love.graphics.getCompressedImageFormats.
  * Added ParticleSystem:setQuads.
  * Added ParticleSystem:setLinearDamping.
  * Added SpriteBatch:flush.
  * Added love.graphics.getStats.
  * Added "mirroredrepeat" wrap mode.
  * Added love.audio.setDopplerScale and love.audio.getDopplerScale.
  * Added optional duration argument to Joystick:setVibration.
  * Added love.joystick.loadGamepadMappings and love.joystick.saveGamepadMappings.
  * Added Joint:setUserData and Joint:getUserData.
  * Added Joint:getBodies.
  * Added GearJoint:getJoints.
  * Added Contact:getFixtures and Body:getContactList.
  * Added Body:getWorld.
  * Added Body:getJointList.
  * Added Body/Contact/Fixture/Joint/World:isDestroyed.
  * Added love.mousemoved event callback.
  * Added love.mouse.setRelativeMode and love.mouse.getRelativeMode.
  * Added Scancode enums, love.keyboard.getKeyFromScancode, and love.keyboard.getScancodeFromKey.
  * Added love.window.getDisplayName.
  * Added love.window.minimize.
  * Added love.window.maximize.
  * Added love.window.showMessageBox.
  * Added 'refreshrate' field to the table returned by love.window.getMode.
  * Added love.window.toPixels and love.window.fromPixels.
  * Added love.window.setPosition and love.window.getPosition, and 'x' and 'y' fields to love.window.setMode and t.window in love.conf.
  * Added love.filesystem.isSymlink, love.filesystem.setSymlinksEnabled, and love.filesystem.areSymlinksEnabled.
  * Added love.filesystem.getRealDirectory.
  * Deprecated SpriteBatch:bind and SpriteBatch:unbind.
  * Deprecated all uses of the name 'FSAA' in favor of 'MSAA'.
  * Deprecated the 'hdrcanvas' graphics feature enum in favor of getCanvasFormats.
  * Deprecated the 'dxt' and 'bc5' graphics feature enums in favor of getCompressedImageFormats.
  * Fixed crashes when love objects are used in multiple threads.
  * Fixed love.filesystem.setIdentity breaking in some situations when called multiple times.
  * Fixed the default love.filesystem identity when in Fused mode in Windows.
  * Fixed love.system.openURL sometimes blocking indefinitely on Linux.
  * Fixed love.joystick.setGamepadMapping.
  * Fixed the order of vertices in ChainShapes.
  * Fixed love.mouse.getPosition returning outdated values if love.mouse.setPosition is used in the same frame.
  * Fixed love.graphics.newFont to error when given an invalid size argument.
  * Fixed the filename and backtrace given when love.graphics.print errors.
  * Fixed a small memory leak if love.graphics.newCanvas errors.
  * Fixed shader:getWarnings returning unnecessary information.
  * Fixed some cases of noncompliant shader code not properly erroring on some nvidia drivers.
  * Fixed a potential crash when Shader objects are garbage collected.
  * Fixed a potential small memory leak triggered when love.graphics.newShader errors.
  * Fixed love.graphics.newMesh(vertexcount, ...) causing the Mesh to do instanced rendering.
  * Fixed Mesh:getVertexMap.
  * Fixed Image:refresh generating mipmaps multiple times if mipmap filtering is enabled.
  * Fixed Image:setMipmapFilter to not keep bad state around if it errors.
  * Fixed Mesh:setDrawRange when the Mesh has a vertex map set.
  * Fixed internal detection of the 'position' and 'effect' shader functions.
  * Fixed Texture memory leak when Meshes are garbage collected.
  * Fixed the default line join mode to be 'miter' instead of an undefined value.
  * Fixed the default error handler text size when highdpi mode is enabled on a Retina monitor.
  * Fixed the default error handler background color when sRGB mode is enabled for the window.
  * Fixed love.window.setMode to fall back to the largest available mode if a width or height greater than the largest supported is specified and fullscreen is used.
  * Fixed the state of wireframe mode when love.window.setMode is called.
  * Fixed Canvas:getPixel to error if the coordinates are not within the Canvas' size.
  * Fixed detection of compressed textures to work regardless of the file's extension.
  * Renamed all cases of FSAA to MSAA. The FSAA names still exist for backward-compatibility.
  * Updated the Windows executable to automatically prefer the higher performance GPU on nvidia Optimus systems.
  * Updated the --console command-line argument in Windows to open the console before conf.lua is loaded.
  * Updated t.console and the --console command-line argument in Windows to use the existing Console window,if love was launched from one.
  * Updated the love executable to verify that the love library's version matches.
  * Updated the Lua wrapper code for modules to avoid crashes when the module's instance is created, deleted, and recreated.
  * Updated internal code for handling garbage collection of love objects to be more efficient.
  * Updated love's initialization code to trigger a Lua error if love.conf has an error in it.
  * Updated the paths returned by love.filesystem.getSaveDirectory and friends to strip double-slashes from the string.
  * Updated the error message when love.filesystem.write or File:open fails because the directory doesn'texist.
  * Updated the error message when love.math.setRandomseed(0) is attempted.
  * Updated the error message when invalid UTF-8 strings are used in love functions that expect UTF-8.
  * Updated love.physics.newPolygonShape and love.physics.newChainShape to accept a table of vertices.
  * Updated love.physics.newChainShape to error if the number of arguments is invalid.
  * Updated love.thread.newThread to accept a literal string of code directly.
  * Updated love-created threads to use names visible in external debuggers.
  * Updated SpriteBatch:unbind to use less VRAM if the SpriteBatch has the static usage hint.
  * Updated love.graphics.newImage, love.image.newImageData, etc. to leave less Lua-owned memory around.
  * Updated love.graphics.push to accept different stack types to push. Current types are "transform" and "all".
  * Updated love shaders to accept GLSL ES precision qualifiers on variables, although they do nothing.
  * Updated the error message for love.graphics.newShader to be less cryptic if an invalid filename is given.
  * Updated compressed texture loading code to allow BC6 and BC7 compressed textures (if the graphics driver supports them.)

And our downloads, also available on the home page are here:

 

The entire announcement is available on their forums here.  Perhaps most exciting is the 0.10 release, which adds official Android and iOS support.  Features I know many people have been waiting for.  For the record, there are unofficial Android and iOS ports already available.  This move will just make them part of the main distro.  Still a huge development when it happens.

News ,




NVidia NSIght Visual Studio Edition 4.5 released

13. February 2015

 

Nvidia just released version 4.5 of their NSight Visual Studio Edition graphics programming toolkit that I mentioned in the OpenGL resource roundup.

 

The follow are the major points of this new release:

New NVIDIA® Nsight™ Visual Studio Edition 4.5 Features:

Graphics Debugging and Profiling

  • Expanded OpenGL API support to include the 4.3 core profile features.

  • Added the capability for OpenGL applications to generate source code to replay captured frames outside of the original application. Allows users to compile and rerun the captured frame and share and modify generated code. 

  • Improved performance in Frame Debugger and Analysis Tracing modes by reduction of interception overhead, resulting in better interactivity and improved accuracy of data measurement.

  • Added a new Frame Statistics View that includes call counts for draw calls, dispatches, clears, etc.

  • Added a histogram control to the Resources View to visualize color channels and perform range remapping for visualization.

  • The Memory View can now export data to CSV or binary files.

Compute Debugging and Profiling

  • CUDA 7.0 RC

  • Several bug fixes

     

     

 

NVida Insight is completely free and can be downloaded here.  Obviously Visual Studio is required, but as it is now free that shouldn’t be a big problem.

News