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26. February 2014

 

Last month I wrote about creating and exporting a model from Blender to LIbGDX.  Part of the process involved exporting to FBX then running fbx-conv.  Wouldn’t it be nice if you could export directly from Blender?  Thankfully you can!  A week or so back @Dancovich told me about his Blender plugin on Twitter.  I intended to check it out right away, but truth told, recent experience had made me pretty sick of Blender, so I’ve taken my time.  Today we are going to look at that plugin.

 

First, download it from Github (direct zip download here)

Copy the folder io_scene_g3d to your Blender plugins folder.

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In my case on my Windows 8 install, the plugin directory is: C:\Program Files\Blender Foundation\Blender\2.69\scripts\addons, like so:

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Your location will depend on the operating system you use and how you chose to install Blender.  The github page linked above has more details.

 

Now fire up Blender 2.69 ( note, the plugin currently only supports Blender 2.69!

Select File->User Preferences

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Then select the Addons tab

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Now scroll down and locate Import-Export: LibGDX G3D Exporter and check it.

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Now you are able to export directly from Blender to FBX.

 

Select File->Export->LibGDX G3D text format.

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As you can see, currently there is no binary support.  During development I tend to stick with g3dj anyway.

 

Here is the scene from Blender:

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And now that I run it in LibGDX?

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Ahhh, crap.  It’s an easy enough problem though.  The exporter saved my texture as an absolute path, I instead want a relative path.  Opening up the generated g3dj file, I see:

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Change that to:

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And you are good to go.  You can probably change Blender to work in relative paths and avoid this problem all together.  If not, altering the script to strip the paths should be a no brainer.  Now with that change we run it and:

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Hmmmm… that’s not what you were expecting is it?  What’s going on here?

 

Well, fbx-conv automatically flips the axis from Blender Z up to LibGDX Y up.  This exporter does not.  You can easily perform the same thing in code by rotating –90 degrees about the X axis, like:

modelInstance.transform.rotate(1, 0, 0, -90);

 

Then run the code and:

 

image

 

Woot, identical to Blender!

 

I havent got the chance to test the exporter all that extensively, Ive not really done any work with Blender in the last week or so, so I cant really tell you how well it performs with animations.  That said, especially during development, this could be a huge time saver for quick iterations.  The developer is actively looking for people to try it out and report bugs back.  So if you fancy exporting from Blender to LibGDX directly try it out and let @Dancovich on Twitter know if you encounter any bugs.

Programming, Art , ,

23. February 2014

 

First fire up Xcode.  If you haven’t got Xcode, I suppose first get Xcode then fire it up! :)  You also need to have an active iOS developer subscription. You can read more about that process here.

With Xcode loaded, plug in your iOS device to USB on your Mac.  On the iPad select Trust this computer if you haven’t already.

The Organizer window should be up.  If not done already click “Use for Development” button.  Now you hook up your Apple developer account, click Add to Member Center.

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You will be prompted for your Apple Developer ID.

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Next you will be prompted to request a developer certificate.

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In theory this will automatically download a developer profile for you.  In reality it failed for me, and according to google, this isn’t uncommon.  If this happens to you, log in to developer.apple.com Member Center and manually download the provisioning profile.

NewImage

 

Now back in Organizer, select Provisioning Profile and click Add

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Navigate to the file you just downloaded and select it.  Your device should now be ready for development.

 

Go to your project in Eclipse, right click the RoboVM project and select Debug->iOS Device App.

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Finally, you may be prompted to approve keychain access.  Do so.

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And you should be done.

I actually got a few errors when trying the first time.  LOCKDOWN_E_PASSWORD_PROTECTED and LOCKDOWN_E_UNKNOWN_ERROR.  I simply unplugged and replugged the iPad and tried again and third times a charm.

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21. February 2014

 

 

Indie developers are increasingly purchasing “off the shelf’ assets to ease the workload on their game project.  The popularity of resources like the Unity Asset Store, Turbo Squid and Mixamo are certainly proof.  These resources are especially useful for the artistically challenged developers amongst us.  Now, Autodesk is throwing their hat into the ring with Character Generator.

 

AutodeskCharacterGenerator

What is Character Generator?  In their own words:

Drastically reduce the time needed to create customized, rigged and ready-to-animate 3D characters with Autodesk® Character Generator; a new, easy-to-use, web-based service. With Character Generator, users have control over a character’s body, face, clothes and hair, and can then generate their customized character for use in popular animation packages: Autodesk® Maya®, Autodesk® Maya LT™, and Autodesk® 3ds Max® software as well as in game engines like Unity.

 

 

Basically you use a number of pre made components to generate models for export to Maya, Max and Unity.  ( Why no Softimage love? )

 

So, you pick a character:

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Refine the body.

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Add details/accesories:

4

 

And export as an FBX or Maya file:

5

 

It is available in two forms, paid and free.  The cost seems tied to the complexity of the model you’ve created.  Free versions obviously have some limitations, as shown on this (somewhat odd) chart below.  I am assuming the lack of checkmarks on the paid side was a mistake on Autodesks part. :)

6

 

Exported models are rigged with a HumanIK rig.  Perhaps the most noticeable difference between Free and Paid is the free version is limited to low quality models.  That’s a bit of a loaded expression, as what do they mean by “quality”?  If they simply mean polygon, for many people that isn’t a huge drawback. 

 

Then again, you can try it completely free, so what have you got to lose?  I glossed over a great deal of functionality in this post, so if you are interested, you should check out the Autodesk product page.

 

A few questions still remain for me.  If you are using an Autodesk toolchain, trying this out is a no brainer.  But if you are using other tools like Blender or Modo, how well does this slot into your pipeline?  How well does a HumanIK rig work in Unity, or does it work at all?  Im going to try and get back to you.  If you’ve tried it with a non-Autodesk toolchain, how was your experience?

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20. February 2014

This is one of those things I’ve put off forever but I am finally getting to the point I have to do it.  It’s time to sign up for an iOS developer license.  Without one ( and paying 99$ a year ) you cannot deploy your code to Apple devices.  The Simulator gets you most of the way there but eventually you need to run on an actual device.

 

I am going to document the process in case it’s helpful for anyone in the future.  If this ends up being obscenely straight forward, I apologize for the dull as toast post. :)

 

Head to developer.apple.com

Click Member Center

A1

 

 

Either log in or register.  Registration is free at this point.

A2

 

Click on Programs & Add-ons

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Locate iOS Developer Program and select Join Today

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In an exercise in redundant redundancy, now click Enroll Now.

A5

 

Just in case you haven’t gotten sick of superfluous button clicking, now click Continue.

A6

 

… ok, this is nowhere near as streamlined as it should be.  Anyways pick if you want to use an existing developer id, or create a new one, even though I imagine 99.99% of people will use existing.

A7

 

 

Are you a business or individual?  Individual makes things a heck of a lot easier… you simply need a credit card.  Fill in the credit card details and click continue.

A10

 

Are you feeling deja-vu?  I certainly am.  Anyway, select iOS Developer Program, then Continue.

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Review the details you’ve given and select Continue.

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Select Buy Now:

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… and, log in again.  Yeah really.  Isn’t Apple the one thats supposed to be all about usability???  Granted, you are logging in to the App Store, so perhaps its a different account for you.

A13

 

… and now, you need to enter your billing information… AGAIN.  This time with credit card details.  This is getting kind of stupid, as there was a completely redundant few steps earlier it appears.  Once you’ve confirmed or entered your payment details, it’s time to pay the piper.

A14

 

The department of redundancy comes knocking again.  Apple seriously, don’t see a few opportunities for optimization in this process here?  None at all.

A15

 

… and assuming your credit is ok...

A16

 

 

… now what?

Now you wait apparently.  Unbelievably, this isn’t a completely automated process.  You simply get an email saying your order is being processed.  That’s rather anti-climactic, especially for the “I WANT IT NOW” crowd.

 

So, about 45 minutes, the following email arrives:

A17

 

… that said, don’t expect things to be all good just yet.  Log in to Member Center go to Programs and Add-ons and...

 

A18

 

Sigh, not quite there yet.  Lame.  A few hours later, still nothing.  I’ll edit in once it is actually ready to go.

 

EDIT: 4 hours after application the account is now active.  Now if you log in to developer.apple.com, you will see an option for certificates.

A19

 

You need a certificate to run on device.  The easiest way to request a certificate is directly in Xcode, but you can manually request a certificate here as well.

20. February 2014

We all know XNA is pretty much dead but it is far from useless.  One of the big problems with XNA was it was heavily tied to XNA Studio or Visual Studio 2010.  Now, a few years on and two releases of Visual Studio later, keeping a version of VS2K10 around just for XNA is getting kind of annoying for many.  There is a manual process for installing all the various required components, but as will all “manual processes”, that requires work… who likes doing work?

 

Fortunately though, for those of us that are labour adverse but want to use XNA in a more modern IDE, there is now a solution.  The XNA Enabler.

 

 

I’ve been able to apply these steps to several machines successfully, but manually copying files and running obscure commands gets old after a while.  Taking what I’ve learned from these articles, I wrote a quick utility app that performs the necessary steps to get XNA running with the click of a button.

XNA Enabler

The app scans the registry at start up, looking for any required software.  Specifically, it looks for Visual Studio 2010, 2012, 2013 and the XNA Framework, XNA Game Studio and XNA 4.0 Refresh.  If all XNA components, Visual Studio 2010 and at least one newer version of Visual Studio are found, you can click the “Enable XNA” button to simply copy the files around on your machine.  If XNA and/or Visual Studio 2010 are not present, the “Copy XNA” button unpacks the required XNA files (about 50 megs worth) onto your drive and puts them in the right places.  It also runs several individual XNA installers (framework redistributable, shared components and platform tools).  Either operation will then reset your Visual Studio extension cache and force a rebuild using the “devenv.exe /setup” command line option.

 

Very cool stuff! There is one very important comment from the post that I should draw special attention to.

 It also requires UAC privileges because the “devenv.exe /setup” command fails otherwise.

You can download the complete package here.  Warning, it’s 52MB in size as it contains the required XNA files.

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Unreal Engine 4.12.1 Hotfix
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7. June 2016

 

Fast on the heels of their Unreal Engine 4.12 release, Epic have just released hotfix 4.12.1 for UE4.  This hotfix is predictably enough composed entirely of fixes.  The complete list of fixes follows:

 

Fixed in 4.12.1


Fixed! UE-31570 Crash in StaticDuplicateObject while compiling or editing variables in blueprint widgets
Fixed! UE-31550 Using Integer Bitmask crashes editor
Fixed! UE-23371 [CrashReport]UE4Editor_GraphEditor!FNodeFactory::CreateNodeWidget() nodefactory.cpp:91
Fixed! UE-26761 Crash When Compiling Child Blueprint Containing a Custom Event with the Same Name as its Parent's Event
Fixed! UE-31443 Crash occurs clicking "Select All" in Foliage Tool in QA-Sequencer map
Fixed! UE-31183 [CrashReport] UE4Editor_Engine!FAnimNode_StateMachine::Evaluate() [animnode_statemachine.cpp:745]
Fixed! UE-31574 RemoveNaNTracks causes anim DDC data to be regenerated every load on old animations
Fixed! UE-31445 [CrashReport] UE4Editor_DetailCustomizations!FBodyInstanceCustomization::GetDefaultCollisionProvider() [bodyinstancecustomization.cpp:35]
Fixed! UE-31255 Shipping Builds packaged for WinXP 32 bit crash when opening on Win7
Fixed! UE-31492 Can no longer generate a dsym on Mac
Fixed! UE-25561 Read IAP information node causes hang if connection is disconnected
Fixed! UE-31539 GPU crash on PS4 due to GS mode not getting disabled when using parallel contexts
Fixed! UE-31247 Emissive for Static Lighting discarded upon Re-opening Level or Restarting Project
Fixed! UE-28817 [CrashReport] UE4Editor_Engine!FStaticLODModel::Serialize() [skeletalmesh.cpp:1261]
Fixed! UE-15903 [CrashReport] Lighting build triggers array out of bounds crash
Fixed! UE-31620 Roughness Calculation is incorrect in 4.12
Fixed! UE-26288 Crash on unchecking Generate Lightmap UVs and Applying with Mesh already assigned and painted as Foliage
Fixed! UE-31182 [CrashReport] UE4Editor_Engine!FMaterial::GetShader() [materialshared.cpp:1564]
Fixed! UE-18906 [CrashReport] Crash in !UE4Editor_D3D11RHI!FD3D11DynamicRHI::Shutdown()
Fixed! UE-30985 Reflective surfaces rendering incorrectly in -featureleveles2 -opengl
Fixed! UE-31431 Crash in Sequencer play rate track when setting negative play rate
Fixed! UE-31647 Crash changing the color of a fade track section
Fixed! UE-31648 Sequencer audio doesn't play after rendering a movie in editor.

 

As always, the hotfix can be downloaded using the launcher.

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