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20. September 2012

A pair of engine related items in the news today.

Logo

 

 

First off, Unity signed an *extensive* deal with Nintendo permitting them to include a version of Unity with their Wii U SDK, both internally, externally and to 3rd party licensees.  In Unity's own words:

 

 

 

 

 

This extensive agreement will provide Nintendo the right to distribute the Unity development platform to its in-house, external, and third party licensee developers providing the large number of artists, designers, and engineers intimately familiar with Nintendo gaming systems direct access to Unity's powerful engine and highly efficient tools that have been specifically designed to enable developers immense creative freedom.

Unity Technologies and Nintendo will collaborate to create a Wii U deployment add-on that will provide the over 1.2 million registered developers using Unity, including thousands of studios currently developing mobile and social games, an excellent opportunity to bring existing titles from the massive Unity catalogue and create a slew of new games for the innovative new console.

 

You can read more about it here.

 

 

In completely unrelated news, as I mentioned earlier this week, Torque3D is going open source.  Well, gone open source is probably the best way to word that, as the code is now live on GitHub.

 

Torque Logo H

They also released the reference documentation as a separate GitHub site.

 

 

You can read more about the release on GarageGames.   Here is a brief excerpt from that link:

 

We have chosen to use GitHub to host the Torque 3D repositories. GitHub has become the place for open source projects on the Internet and makes it easy for the community to participate in growing a product. You’ll want to create a GitHub account if you want to do anything more than just download the current version of Torque 3D.

Today there are two separate public repositories for Torque 3D. The first is the master branch for Torque 3D’s source code and four project templates. This contains the latest stable version of the game engine and is nearly identical to the T3D 1.2 retail version. If you wish to use GitHub for your own development then you will want to fork the master branch and then clone it to your local computer.

 

Always nice to have another open source game engine available.  NIce to see there wasn't a heavy delay between announcement and today.  Good job GarageGames.

News

20. September 2012

I ran into a small problem today, that took more then a few cycles to puzzle out.

 

Basically I was installing and configuring Moai to work on Mac, and this process had a few steps.

First I had to install the FMOD libraries and configure them in Xcode. 

Then I needed to build each host ( I am working from Git instead of the compiled binaries )

I then configured my preferred Lua/Moai IDE IntelliJ according to my own guide, which by the way, worked exactly the same.

 

But then, when it came time to run my code via moai-fmod-ex I got an error along the lines of error ./libfmodex.dylib does not exist which makes sense in the end.  The Moai Mac host is built to expect the FMOD dylib to be in the same directory as executable.  Problem is, when you run it as a tool within IntelliJ and give it a different working directory, it will not find the DLL.  I tried setting the path using DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH, but oddly this didn't work.  I did manage to get the Moai host running by using the bizarrely named install_name_tool, which also presented a new challenge.

 

Apparently… Xcode used to install this tool in the /usr/bin directory, but then they changed it to the /Developer/usr/bin directory… then apparently they changed it again to the /Applications/Xcode.app/Contents/Developer/usr/bin/ folder, which is not in the PATH and is a pain in the ass to type, so I copied it to /usr/bin ( sudo required).

 

I then relocated the path to the dylib by:

change to moai fmod host directory

install_name_tool -change './libfmodex.dylb' '/path/to/dylib/file/libfmodex.dylb' moai-fmod-ex

 

 

Now it runs properly from within IntelliJ. 

General ,

19. September 2012

The ignore me part of this post is very real, this post has content that is probably of very little interest to 99% of you.  You see, until now I have been spoiled by the wonderful ( and free! ) Windows Live Writer blogging software, part of the Windows Live Essentials package.  Coincidentally that pack also includes a very good video editing package, so if you have written it off as garbage, you've made a serious mistake.

 

 

Anyways, Windows Live Writer seems to be universally regarded as the best blogging software out there ( Google it… this shocked me too! ), and on a Mac there is no good (free) alternative.  There is however hope, in the form of MarsEdit which I am currently giving a test drive in this post.  It's 40$, which compared to free is quite expensive, but compared to say…  kobe beef, is extremely cheap.  It's quite simple initially, but seems to do most of what I require so far…  mind you, I haven't posted any images or source code yet, so who knows what is going to happen.  I also haven't tried editing an existing post ( too afraid ), or editing a MarsEdit post in WLW ( I haven't got one yet. )

 

So that is what this post is all about… test driving MarsEdit and then seeing how friendly it plays with Windows.  So, the rest of this post is going to be a mish-mash of … stuff.

 

So, feel free to ignore me :)  Unless of course, you too recently added a Mac to your daily regime and are looking for a blogging alternative to Live Writer.  Oh, and I tried QTM already ( it was free ), and…  yeah, no.

 

The good news so far is, it spoke to my blog, got all the recent posts and downloaded the categories, which is nice as I use a slightly less common blog platform ( BlogEngine ).  That said, I haven't seen support for tags yet...

 

Now lets give an image a shot.

 

This is a centre aligned image ( of Oolong, the famous pancake balancing rabbit.  It appears you can position easily enough, but image effects and wrapping text

Oolong

around the image is beyond MarsEdit.

 

Now lets see what happens with a right aligned image, If this text can't be wrapped around an image, that is actually a gigantic deal breaker right there.

Oolong

 

Hmm, well it appears I can at least do that much, but I don't appear to be able to set the padding between my text and the image.

 

 

Perhaps even more oddly, I don't have the ability to resize an image once it has been added.

 

That frankly is just bizarre.

 

Also, I am just typing this stuff so I can fill the space to the bottom of the image.  Not that I can guarantee that will make sense once published, as this column of text doesn't come close to matching the actual width of my blog, so I have no idea how the text is going to format once posted.

 

Now it's time to see how code gets pasted:

 

var express = require('express'),
server = express.createServer();

server.use('/scripts', express.static(__dirname + '/scripts'));

server.get('/', function (req, res) {
res.sendfile('index.html');
});

//server.get('*', function (req, res) {
// res.redirect('/#' + req.url, 302);
//});

server.listen(process.env.PORT || 3000);

 

Hm, default from WebStorm, it pastes as simple text.  Well, that's not going to work.  There doesn't appear to be any plugin support, so let's try pasting as RTF from the wonderful Sublime Text:

 

viewport = MOAIViewport.new()
viewport:setSize(screenWidth,screenHeight)
viewport:setScale(screenWidth,screenHeight)

 

 

Hmmm, nope.  HTML maybe?

 

viewport = MOAIViewport.new()

viewport:setSize(screenWidth,screenHeight)

viewport:setScale(screenWidth,screenHeight)

 

main.lua

09/19/12 10:04:21 /Users/Mike/Dropbox/Moai/Adventure/2/main.lua
  5
if screenWidth == nil then screenWidth =640 end
  6
if screenHeight == nil then screenHeight = 480 end
  7  
  8
MOAISim.openWindow("Window",screenWidth,screenHeight)
  9  
10
viewport = MOAIViewport.new()
11
viewport:setSize(screenWidth,screenHeight)
12
viewport:setScale(screenWidth,screenHeight)

 

 

 

… well, getting there, but ugly as sin.  Thats using the ExportHtml plugin for Sublime Text.  I will look in to a better option in the future.

 

EDIT: Opened and edited in MarsEdit.  No tag support, picture formatting is meh at best and I am not happy with code markup yet, but the basics are there for now.  May have made progress with code formatting:

 

09/19/12 10:26:20 /Users/Mike/Dropbox/Moai/Adventure/2/main.lua 
17 MOAIRenderMgr.pushRenderPass(layer)
18
19 sprite = MOAIGfxQuad2D.new()
20 sprite:setTexture("smile.png")
21 sprite:setRect(-200,-200,200,200)
layer = MOAILayer2D.new()
layer:setViewport(viewport)
 
MOAIRenderMgr.pushRenderPass(layer)
 
sprite = MOAIGfxQuad2D.new()
sprite:setTexture("smile.png")

sprite:setRect(-200,-200,200,200)

EDIT2: Pages opens and edits fine in Live Writer.

 

 

Verdict:

 

MarsEdit may work for me, but the lack of built in code formatting makes things a gigantic pain in the hoop, as do the lack of image formatting tools and (albeit a minor point) the lack of tagging.  On the other hand, I really do like the editing environment, it’s a much nicer and more natural experience than Live Writer.  The publishing process is also much nicer, as is the management aspects.

 

On the whole, MarsEdit seems like a capable product that falls short in a few key categories.  If I find nothing else, I will probably purchase a license.  Does anyone have another recommendation for Mac based blogging software?z

Totally Off Topic ,

18. September 2012

 

I just read on Reddit  that Meridian 59 has been open sourced and hosted on Github.  I took a quick look at the code and it was written in straight C and appears to be quite clean and easy to read, at least, as readable as Win32 C code can be!

 

If you have never heard of Meridian59, it was one of the first MMORPG’s that was published by the now defunct 3D0 Company.  In fact, it was the first commercial 3D MMO released.  The company that developed it went under, then another company went took over and later went under as well.  However they have managed to keep the servers running in a non-commercial capacity and people are still playing to this very day.  Always awesome to see people release commercial source code, even slightly older code.  There aren’t too many MMO’s open sourced.

 

Getting it to build might be a bit of a trick though.  Parts haven’t been open sourced, specifically the compression library and audio library, although I believe they are provided in binary form.

 

Perhaps the biggest gotcha is going to be building the room editor, which requires Borland 4.5!!! to build.  Ironically I think I have a copy on disk somewhere, as Borland C++ was the compiler of choice when I was in University.  The remaining code compiles with Visual Studio 2008.

 

So, if you ever wanted to peek behind the curtain on a commercial MMO, here’s your chance!

News

18. September 2012

 

The release candidate for the upcoming Blender 2.64 release was um, released today ( that’s a lot of releasing… ).blenderSS

 

For game developers, there isn’t really a ton in this release targeting you, but then, we made out like bandits in the prior release so we can’t be greedy I suppose.

 

Of perhaps most interest to game developers, are the following features:

 

Mesh Tools

Bevel and inset now are modal operator with mouse control, a wire frame tool was added to turn edges into wireframe tubes, and vertex/edge/face sorting tools were improved.

 

Sculpting

Sculpting has received some major improvements such has masking to control which areas of the mesh are influenced by sculpting, new brush map modes to control how textures are projected onto the model, and an input stroke averaging option to make brush strokes smoother.

 

Skin modifier

The Skin modifier takes a skeleton made up of vertices and edges as input and generates a polygon skin as output, consisting mostly of quads aligned along the edges. The output is mostly quads, although some triangles will appear around intersections.

 

Game Engine

Lamps and shadows were improved with support for variance shadow maps, shadow color, sun lamp shadows and lamp textures. Non-power of two textures and compressed textures will now load faster and use less memory. A new Character physics type was added, designed for player controlled characters for which a full dynamics simulation would give unwanted behavior.

 

and perhaps most important of all:

Collada

The Collada exporter has been improved for better support of export to game engines, with more fine grained options to control which data is exported.

 

In addition to the above changes, there were a number of changes to the camera tracking tool, the Cycles renderer, green screening tools and a number of smaller fixes and tweaks.

 

You can download the release candidate here.

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‘Futile’ Unity code only 2D game framework alpha released
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12. August 2012

 

This post over on the gamedev forums at reddit caught my eye.  User @Mattrix has released a framework for creating 2D games using Unity with code only.  This effectively turns Unity in to a runtime only; it makes almost zero use of the tools provide with Unity and in many cases completely re-invents things Unity already does, such as texture packing.

 

At first glace you may be thinking “Why?  Isn’t that remarkably stupid?”

 

Well, not really.  To a certain degree, you are already cludging Unity a bit when you are working in 2D as it is, it certainly is designed as a 3D toolset.  Consider this though, if you want to create a game for Android and/or iOS and you want to use C#, what are your options?  Well, basically that leaves MonoGame or Unity.  MonoGame is certainly a good choice, but there is a major downside…

 

A 400$ price tag.  You see, in the end you either need monotouch or mono for android, which are 400$ a piece. ( God I wish Xamarin would reconsider their pricing! )

 

Or you can go with Unity, which is a licensed version of mono, with a complete game library built overtop and the exact same price tag.  Even better, just a few months back Unity made both Android and iOS versions completely free ( I know I got my licenses then ).  So, if you want to take a code heavy approach and avoid the higher level tools, but prefer to work in C#, Futile is certainly worth checking out.

 

He has included full source for a sample game, that you can see in the following video:

 

He has also provided a 10 minute as well as an hour long video tutorial on getting started.

 

 

I might play with this if I get a bit of time.  If you are interested in checking it out, this is the website and the source code is available on github.

 

Regardless to it’s final usefulness, it’s an interesting idea and it’s cool that he shared it.

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