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8. November 2016

 

There has been a new release of the Defold Game Engine, this one 1.2.92.  A relatively minor release, the new ability to add text to game objects is sure to come in handy for quick and easy debugging.  The Defold engine is a Lua powered, cross platform mobile focused game engine.  We have a full featured tutorial series available should you wish to learn more.

 

From the release notes:

Defold 1.2.92

Defold 1.2.92 Stable is now available.

A new component Label is available, for adding text to game objects.

  • label.set_text

The Facebook API has been updated to more align with the Facebook SDK. The old Facebook API will still function but will not be documented or updated. New API:

  • facebook.login_with_read_permissions
  • facebook.login_with_publish_permissions

We have added two more project settings:

  • graphics.max_draw_calls - Allows you to set the max number of render calls (default 1024)
  • graphics.max_characters - Allows you to set the max number of text character to pre-allocate (default 8192)

A lot of design tasks for upcoming big features.

Engine
DEF-2171 Added: Text support in Game Object
DEF-1343 Added: Facebook login & permission functionality

GameDev News

4. November 2016

 

Amazon Lumberyard, Amazon’s free* to use version of the CryEngine game engine, just released 1.6 beta.  The dominant feature of Lumberyard 1.6 is the new Twitch Metastream functionality.  Amazon acquired Twitch in 2014 and Twitch is a big part of Amazon’s push into game development tools.  Metastream is a tool to enable streamers to essentially create data overlays over top of their game streams.  Details from the Lumberyard Blog:

Metastream lets these passionate streamers customize their streams with overlays of statistics and events from their game session. Using any web authoring tool, such as Dreamweaver or CoffeeCup, streamers can create custom HTML5 pages to control the information, graphics, layout, and behavior of each unique overlay they wish. With Metastream, streamers can create more polished, interactive viewing experiences on any of their favorite streaming services, similar to what you see in professional esports and TV broadcasts.

In the following example from Amazon Game Studios’ upcoming game Breakaway, you can see that the streamer has created an overlay showing stats from the two leaders in the match. Metastream lets him dynamically highlight the leaders’ highest stat areas, such as gold collected, Kills/Deaths/Assists, and damage dealt, and even pulls character art of the game and displays it dynamically. The streamer also displays each player’s position in the standings relative to the rest of their team:

metastream-example-1

The Metastream overlay you see above is completely customizable, and streamers can use OBS, XSplit, or other software, to switch back and forth between different graphic overlays timed to game events, or on the fly with a simple hotkey. Metastream content only appears on the broadcast, so the streamer’s own view is that of the original game, without the additional broadcast graphics.

While one streamer might like to highlight two great players, others may have an entirely different take on what your game should look like streamed. If you tuned into TwitchCon 2016 when Breakaway was announced, you might have seen two commentators showing a broadcast that looked like this:

metastream-example-2

In this example, the streamer is using a picture-in-picture style, with a minimap on the left of the screen that shows where the Relic is (in Breakaway, teams compete to move the Relic across the map), as well as live team stats on the bottom. Much like “time of possession” in football, this streamer can show fans one team’s constant momentum and domination, and viewers can easily see team tactics play out on the larger minimap.

 

While most of the release notes were dedicated to the new Metastream feature, there were other components of the 1.6 release:

There’s more in Lumberyard Beta 1.6 as well, including a robust component suite that gives you the ability to more easily use all the features of the engine to build game entities, Linux support for dedicated servers, new Cloud Canvas functionality that helps you choose between multiple deployments (test or release) of AWS resources when launching your game and protect your live deployments against inadvertent modifications, and a 8.4GB reduction in our initial installation size. For details on everything new in the release, check out the full release notes here.

GameDev News

4. November 2016

 

SFML, the Simple Fast Media Library, a popular open source cross platform media framework just released version 2.4.1.  If you are interested in learning more about SFML check out our tutorial series here, orsfml-logo-big an older series available here.  Highlights of the release from the announcement post:

Some highlights are:

  • Switched back to pure Xlib instead of XCB + Xlib
  • This fixes quite a few issues for Linux (fullscreen bug, GNOME unresponsive issue, etc.)
  • Removed the internal OpenGL context
  • Which fixed the stack overflow on Windows when using multiple-threads

 

Details of the release from the change log:

 

General
Bugfixes
  • [kFreeBSD] Define SFML_OS_FREEBSD when compiling for kFreeBSD (#1129
  • [Window] Added some simple messaging when trying to build under Cygwin (#1153)
Window
Bugfixes
  • Fixed stack overflow on GlContext creation with multiple threads (#989, #1002)
  • Adjusted mouse cursor grab documentation (#1133)
  • [iOS] Fixed orientation change not rescaling window size properly (#1049, #1050)
  • [Linux] Fixed fullscreen issue (#921, #1138)
  • [Linux] Switched from XCB back to Xlib for windowing (#1138)
  • [Linux] Fixed window icon not showing up on some distros (#1087, #1088)
  • [Linux] Fixed an issue where GNOME flags window unresponsive (#1089, #1138)
  • [Linux] Fixed leak of XVisualInfo objects during GlxContext creation (#1135)
  • [Linux] Fixed possible hang when setting visibility if external window sources (#1136)
  • [OS X] Fixed inconsistency between doc and impl on OS X for the grab feature (#1133, #1148, #1150)
  • [Windows] Fixed context memory leaks (#1143, #1002)
Graphics
Bugfixes
  • Adjusted uniform error message (#1131)
  • Clarify documentation on Rect::contains function bounds (#1151)
Network
Bugfixes
  • Fixed a typo in comment for sf::UdpSocket::unbind() (#1121)

GameDev News

4. November 2016

 

Tiled, the popular open source map editor, just released version 0.17.1.  If you are interested in learning more about Tiled I have a comprehensive tutorial series available here.  This update is primarilytiled-logo-white composed of fixes, but also contains updated Chinese and French translations.  There is also an experimental plugin for supporting the Defold game engine.  If you want to learn more about the newly support Defold engine, I have a tutorial series available here.

 

Details of the new release from the release announcement:

Changelog

  • Fixed wrong alpha value when opening the color picker dialog
  • Fixed saving of object group color alpha value
  • Fixed tile id adjustment for newly added tilesets
  • Fixed "Object Properties" entry in the context menu to be always enabled (by Erik Schilling)
  • Fixed out-of-sync tile selection during layer offset change (by nykm)
  • Fixed hidden objects becoming visible when offsetting the map (by ranjak)
  • Fixed problems with using predefined file properties
  • Lua plugin: Fixed type of animation frame properties
  • OS X: Use standard shortcut for toggling full screen
  • OS X: Fixed compile when pkg-config is present
  • Windows: Include the Defold plugin
  • Windows: Added support for DDS, TGA, WBMP and WEBP image formats
  • Linux: Added 64-bit AppImage (with help from Simon Peter)
  • Chinese translation updates (by endlesstravel and buckle2000)
  • French translation updated (by Yohann Ferreira)

 

Tiled is free, open source and available for download here.

GameDev News

3. November 2016

 

Another day, another Unity game engine patch, this time patch 5.4.2p3.  As is typical of Unity patches, it contains no new functionality, just the regular collection of fixes and improvements.  From the release notes:

 

Improvements
  • iOS: Exposed EditorUserBuildSettings.iOSBuildConfigType in public API.
  • User profile markers in scripts now show in platform profilers even when the Unity profiler is not running.
Fixes
  • (832837) - Animation: Fixed a crash when receiving null property modification in animation recording.
  • (835544) - Animation: Re-enabling playback/recording in play mode.
  • (844785, 841067) - AssetBundles: Fixed a deadlock when decompressing lzma bundle when stream had incompressible data.
  • (774264, 820297) - CacheServer: Fixed creation of directories and an issue while sending file and socket was closed.
  • (819150) - Collab: Fixed a crash with collab toolbar.
  • (826244) - Graphics: Texture2D.ReadPixels no longer reads from the wrong location on iOS/Metal when reading a section of an image.
  • (842538) - IL2CPP: Correctly marshal an out array of structures which uses the LPStruct marshaling directive.
  • (840534) - Mono: Prevent GetHostEntry from throwing a SocketException on Windows when the machine is not connected to any network.
  • (827122, 804744) - Multiplayer: Fixed a crash with StartAsClient.
  • (790431, 785347, 771860, 836170, 827884) - Multiplayer: Fixed the issues concerning disconnect and error handling.
  • (761588, 820982, 773323) - Multiplayer: Fixed weaver error handling of not supported types.
  • (756572, 737241, 775248) - Multiplayer: Fixed weaver generation of Serialize and Deserialize functions.
  • (765145, 840314, 710625, 730779) - Shaders: Fixed some cases where surface shader writing to o.Occlusion would not sample the texture with correct UVs.
  • (833647) - UnityWebRequest: Fixed redirect to a relative URL.
  • (none) - VR: Fixed issue with Oculus causing Controller Input to fail for bumpers.
  • (838737) - Windows Store: Fixed incorrect instanceID for component when cloning object with component contained in a struct inside list.

 

The patch is available for download here.

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Xamarin Release SkiaSharp for Cross Platform High Performance 2D Graphics
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22. February 2016

 

Today Xamarin announced the release of SkiaSharp, available now on Github.  SkiaSharp is based on Google’s Skia library.  The library was released under the MIT source license.

 

From the release:

Today we’re launching SkiaSharp, a cross-platform, high-performance 2D API for .NET developers available across mobile, desktops, and servers.

SkiaSharp provides a powerful C# API for doing 2D graphics powered by Google’s Skia library, the same library that powers Google Chrome, Firefox, and Android’s graphic stacks.

SkiaSharp ships conveniently as a cross-platform NuGet package, and supports the following platforms out of the box: MacOS X, Android and iOS with Mono, and the Windows Desktop with .NET. As NuGet evolves, we’ll offer this for .NET Core and assorted Linux distributions (In the meantime, if you need it now, you can build SkiaSharp yourself).

Why We Chose Skia

While Mono has supported System.Drawing for a while, and we built a CoreGraphics-powered version for Mac/iOS, it has never been a pixel-perfect match for the original .NET implementation of System.Drawing. Mono.Cairo is also generally available, but has some limitations that are difficult to work around.

Skia gives us the same graphics output across all platforms, is actively maintained, and offers great features not found elsewhere, like filters and hardware accelerated graphics.

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