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14. September 2017


The Defold Engine just got it’s own community hub, available at defold.com/community.  In addition to the existing forums and social media pages, the community portal now includes an asset portal and a community games showcase.

image

The Asset portal currently contains just under 30 different projects including new project templates, to Unity Ad plugins and UI systems.  The system also enables authenticated users to upload their own assets.  The new Games page showcases games made using the Defold game engine and also includes the ability to upload your own titles.  The look is very polished, although the icons used right now are rather large requiring a fair bit of scrolling.  Hopefully as the site gets more populated, the sizes are dialed back a little bit for efficiencies sake.


Defold is a free 2D Lua powered game engine.  If you are interested in learning more, we have a complete tutorial series available here.

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13. September 2017


The Xenko game engine just released version 2.1.  This recently out of beta C# powered game engine just got a bunch prettier with several xenkorendering improvements.  The engine also gained the ability to stream textures which should decrease scene load times and memory usage.  The input system was rewritten and Direct X 12 support was improved.


The following is a summary of new features in the 2.1 release:

  • Local reflections
  • Clear coat shading
  • Thin glass materials
  • Texture streaming
  • Render masks
  • Improved profiler
  • Debug text during runtime
  • Rewritten input system
  • Improved Direct3D 12 support
  • Improved environment fresnel
  • Japanese documentation now available


For more details be sure to check out the release notes which includes a full change log.


Xenko was previously known as Paradox and we did a short tutorial series available here if you wish to learn more.

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13. September 2017


Today the Blender Foundation announced the release of Blender 2.79.  Other than a load of bug fixes, there isn’t actually a ton in the releaseB279 directly for game developers.  Perhaps the biggest feature is the new PBR shader node, implemented as the Principled BSDF node based on Disney’s PBR implementation in Renderman.  Other new features include Denoise is a new feature for removing rendering noise, a new Filmic view transform has been added for more photorealistic rendering results, improved OpenCL performance as well as various Cycles renderer improvements.  The Grease pencil also received several improvements in this release including per layer onion skinning and new interpolation tools. 

Perhaps the single best improvement of this release to me personally is automatic DPI scaling.  This means Blender will automatically detect if you are using a high DPI monitor and adjust it’s UI accordingly.  No more having to manually change the user interface each time you plug in an external monitor!


The 2.79 release also includes a ton of new add-ons, including:

Dynamic Sky, Archipack, Magic UV, Mesh Edit Tools, Skinify, Display Tools, Brush Menus, Btrace, Is Key Free, Turnaround Camera, Auto Mirror, Camera Rigs, Snap Utils Line, Add Advanced Objects, Export Paper Model, Kinoraw Tools, Stored Views, Render Clay, Auto Tracker, Refine Tracking Solution, Materials Library VX, Mesh Tissue, Cell Fracture Crack It

Be warned however, there was a change to the way add-ons work with data, meaning that backward .blend compatibility may be impacted!


To read more details of this release check the full release announcement available here.  If you are interested in learning Blender, we have a ton of great tutorials available here.

GameDev News

11. September 2017


One very cool thing the Blender foundation have started doing is offering guidance and early builds of future releases.  The next major update to Blender is Blender 2.8 and you can learn more about (and download) it at this location.  Be aware this is a VERY early release… this isn’t a beta orimage even alpha, this is a developer work in progress build and it crashes, a lot.  There’s also no guarantee that features actually make it into the final release, nor that there wont be massive changes.  Without a doubt it isn’t suitable for production work, you have been warned.  Also, going forward Blender is going to require an OpenGL 3.2 or higher capable video card, you will understand why shortly.


So then, why am I excited about this release?  Well it’s got several new features that are going to be great and a lot of this release is actually foundational.  Changes to the low level guts of Blender that will make it a better product going forward.  Additionally new grease pencil improvements are going to make Blender an excellent choice for 2D animators, you can check out a preview of the changes here.  Changes are also coming to workspaces and layers making the UI more customizable and hopefully more productive. 


All that said, the star feature coming to Blender, as well as the one most useful to game developers, is the updated viewport.  Blender is now getting two new viewport renderers, Eevee and Clay.  Eevee propels Blender forward into the modern age, allowing real time rendering of PBR scenes with realistic lighting.  In a nutshell, your game should look exactly the same in Blender as it does in Unreal Engine or Unity.  Words can’t really justify how impressive this new viewport renderer is, so instead I made a video.  You can check it out here or embedded below.


Art, GameDev News

8. September 2017


In the most recent release of Unity 2017.2 Beta, Unity added a new feature for interactive tutorials.  Basically these are step by step beginner tutorials that run directly in the Unity engine and introduce basic concepts like running your scene or present scenarios where you need to fix a problem within an existing project.  They are accessible in the Learn tab when you first launch Unity.

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If you want more information, I take a hands on look at this new feature in this video:


Again, you need to be running Unity 2017.2 beta or higher in order to have access to the interactive tutorials.  You can download the latest beta here.

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Blender 2.68 released. What's in it for Game Developers? A visual tour.
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18. July 2013

Today the Blender Foundation released Blender 2.68.  It's not a large release, epecially compared to some of the more recent ones, but it has a few modelling features I am going to absolutely love. B268

 

 

 

 

First and foremost is the change to the Bridge tool.  You can now bridge between edge loops with a different number of vertices!  This is one of those features I miss when moving from other 3D packages to Blender.  Here is the new bridge tool in effect:

BlenderBridge

 

This feature is exceedingly handy for connecting multiple models together, even if it might require some cleanup later.

 

The next new modelling feature is Vertex Connect, which can basically be thought of as a knife tool that operates between vertices.

Vertexconnect

 

It's a small thing, but it will make doing face cuts much cleaner, resulting in at least two less vertices per cut.

 

 

Finally, you know have the option to split faces when you dissolve vertices.

BlenderFaceSplit

 

I'm not entirely sure if I will use this or not.

 

On the modelling side, there were a number of revisions for symmetric modelling, and a new Grid Fill tool for filling two connected edge loops.  In many ways this reminds me a ton of the early 3DS Max patch modelling plugin ( … which name I have forgotten… everyone had a copy… ).

 

These images are from Blender.com.

 

If you start with this:

GridFill1

 

And apply a grid fill, you end with this:

GridFill2

 

Very cool and potentially very useful, but I HATE Blenders curve tools with a passion.

 

On the non-modelling side of things, the Cycles renderer got a few improvements. CPU and GPU performance were improved, a mist render pass was added, hair rendering on GPU as well new nodes were added.  On the physics side, particles now respect the modifier stack and the smoke particle sample now is higher resolution.  There were improvements to motion tracking, general usability as well as 280 bug fixes!

 

 

Not an earth shattering release, but theres enough new stuff in there that certainly make your life easier.  They had me at bridge tool!

 

So head on over and download it now.  I offer a 100% money back guarantee!

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