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1. September 2017


Even with the Godot 3.0 release on the horizon, they still managed to release an update to the 2.x branch, 2.1.4.  Referred to as a maintenance release, it’s actually remarkably full of new features such as Windows Store/Xbox One support, MFi gamepad support and an improved Godot 3.0 exporter.


Details of the release from the announcement:


  • Platform: iOS: MFI gamepad support, audio improvements
  • Platform: macOS: system menu integration, better multimonitor DPI scaling, audio and input improvements
  • Platform: Support for UWP (Universal Windows Platform) alias WinRT as target platform, with gamepad support
  • 2D editor: Fix IK not being solved while dragging a bone (regression in 2.1.3)
  • 3D editor: Ability to select subscenes when clicking them in the viewport
  • Debugging: Many improvements to the editor's debugger and display of complex types
  • Display: Add "expand" option for window stretch aspect
  • GDScript: Backport advanced string format feature from the master branch
  • Physics: Add one-way collision to tile-set/tile-map
  • Physics: Backport move_and_slide API from the master branch
  • Tools: Improvements to the Godot 3.0 exporter (still work-in-progress)

GameDev News

1. September 2017


In beta for some time now, YoyoGames have finally released GameMaker Studio for Mac OS.  GameMaker Studio is a popular 2D game engine which is now available on Windows, Ubuntu and MacOS starting at $99.  In addition to the release of GameMaker on Mac OS, they have also released version 2.1 for all platforms.


New functionality in GameMaker 2.1 include:

Timed with the macOS launch, GameMaker Studio 2 is also receiving a comprehensive update with new features and quality-of-life improvements. The 2.1 version update introduces:

· A “last used” list: Expedite your workflow by accessing recently used assets through the new Resent Assets section of the resources tab;

· Code folding: Maximize your editing efficiency by selectively hiding or expanding sections of code, managing large sections of text while only viewing the few lines of relevant code;

· Resource tree update: Tailor the newly redesigned resource tree to your programming needs with customizable layouts, colours, and icons to highlight sections that are important to your workflow;

· Integrated debugger: Debug your programs on Mac via a simple debugging layout with new panels for debug events, keeping the focus on cleaning up your code;

· Multi touch support: Code on the go with Mac laptops, using the standard touchpad pan and zoom features to navigate naturally through workspaces.


For more information be sure to visit the GameMaker homepage available here.

GameDev News

30. August 2017

One of the nice features of moving to an annual subscription model is continuous updates throughout the year.  Autodesk have released their second update for Autodesk 3ds Max 2018.  Spline tools have seen a lot of love in this release with new freehand spine tools, new spine modifiers and the addition of 3ds Max Batch a MAXScript and Python based automation scripting system that can also be deployed in the cloud.


Details from the release notes:


3ds Max Batch:
  • 3ds Max Batch allows you to perform MAXScript or Python automation in the background, as a standalone process or in parallel with the desktop application.
  • 3ds Max Batch can be deployed on the cloud.
Freehand Spline:
  • The Freehand Spline allows you to create hand-drawn splines directly in the viewport.
Spline Influence Modifier:
  • The Spline Influence Modifier allows you to create a soft selection of spline knots based on their proximity to specified objects.
Spline Mirror Modifier:
  • The Spline Mirror Modifier allows you to easily duplicate a spline along a specified axis.
  • Duplicates any present normals.
Spline Morph Modifier:
  • The Spline Morph Modifier allows you to blend between different shapes.
  • Two methods available: progressive and blended.
Spline Overlap Modifier:
  • The Spline Overlap Modifier detects self-overlapping splines and adjusts the displacement of the intersecting segments.
Spline Relax Modifier:
Optimize Spline Modifier:
  • The Optimize Spline Modifier reduces the number of knots and adjusts their handles to optimally reproduce the original spline as closely as possible.
Influence Helper:
  • The Influence Helper allows you to easily select vertices and apply proximity based falloffs to effects.

Enhancements and Changes

PathDeform Modifier The PathDeform modifier now works in object space and can also push the materials onto the geometry based on the materials applied to segments.
Normalize Spline Modifier The Normalize Spline modifier now gives you more options to make your splines even out.
UVW Unwrap Modifier The top UVW Unwrap Modifier defects submitted and nominated by the user community have been fixed in a continuing commitment to quality.
CAD based import CAD based imports through ATF now have an average 30% reduction in conversion times.
Viewports Complex scenes, such as a commercial airliner interior with hundreds of seats, can now be used and manipulated in the viewports.

GameDev News

29. August 2017


Today both Unity and Unreal Engine announced support for Google’s ARCore SDK, Android’s answer to Apple’s recently released ARKit.  So what are ARCore (and ARKit)?  These are SDKs making it easier to implement augmented reality applications on mobile devices. 


First, Unity’s announcement:

Unity and Google have a shared vision of democratizing Virtual and Augmented Reality development. Unity’s XR team has been working hand-in-hand with the Immersive Computing team at Google to overcome some of the most difficult challenges AR development presents.

One of the biggest challenges that developers face is ensuring that their apps and experiences are available to the widest possible audience. To overcome this challenge, AR needs to work on hardware that users already own, such as mobile devices. Technologies like ARCore present new opportunities for delivering AR experiences to millions of users. With this SDK, developers can use Unity to easily create new high-performance AR Android Apps or upgrade existing apps with exciting AR functionality.


Then Unreal Engine’s announcement:

Google has announced ARCore, which brings augmented reality (AR) functionality to Android smartphones starting today. This is great news because you can immediately get started with Google’s developer preview of ARCore, which includes Unreal Engine support!

ARCore enables AR development across the Android ecosystem, giving developers the ability to make compelling AR experiences without the need for any additional hardware.

Today, the ARCore SDK supports the Google Pixel, Pixel XL, and the Samsung Galaxy S8 running Android 7.0 Nougat and above. As the developer preview is refined, Google is adding new devices, with a target of 100 million devices at launch.

We at Epic are working to empower developers to create amazing AR experiences using Unreal Engine, which is gaining deeper AR platform support by the day. Unreal Engine 4.18, coming in mid-October, is shaping up to be a major release for AR, with more mature ARKit support, along with early access support for ARCore.


I personally don’t see the point behind AR beyond a marketing exercise.  Augmented reality applications have been around since the beginning of modern smart phones.  Are you more excited about AR?  Or like me do you just view this as a the next gimmick marketing move?

GameDev News

28. August 2017


Somewhat belatedly announced (by me), Urho 3D 1.7 was released last week.  Urho is an open source 3D game engine available here.  I coveredlogo a previous version of the Urho game engine as part of the closer look game engine series if you wish to learn more.  Urho is also the underlying technology behind the Atomic Game Engine as well as Xamarin’s C# port, UrhoSharp.


Urho 1.7 brings several new features including inverse kinematic (IK), Apple TV platform support, WebAssembly compilation and much more.  Details from the release notes:

Changelog
  • Inverse kinematics support.
  • Bullet RaycastVehicle support.
  • AppleTV platform support.
  • WebAssembly support on the Web platform.
  • IME support on Linux platform.
  • Several font rendering improvements and TypoGraphy sample.
  • WebP image loading support.
  • Sparse navigation meshes and navmesh streaming support.
  • AutoRemove bool removed. Replaced with more general AutoRemoveMode mechanism.
  • Free functions supported in attribute accessors.
  • IntVector3 class.
  • EnumAttributeAccessorImpl is now compatible with enum classes.
  • Use default continuous physics & substepping values for Box2D world.
  • Node-specific 2D physics collision events.
  • Improved Box2D joint handling.
  • Use GetDerivedComponent() when getting PhysicsWorld2D to allow subclassing it. PhysicsWorld2D members no longer private also for this reason.
  • ApplyLinearImpulseToCenter() function in RigidBody2D.
  • Additional info exposed in 2D physics events.
  • CollisionShape2D scale allowed to be signed.
  • Refactor PhysicsWorld2D contact info.
  • ParticleEmitter2D can be made to stop / restart emitting.
  • CSV and base64 encoding options when loading TMX files.
  • Several tilemap / TMX file improvements.
  • Improved convex hull debug draw.
  • Bool & int shader parameters on D3D11 / OpenGL.
  • Maximum extrusion distance for directional light shadows.
  • Shader compilation defines added to materials.
  • Shader compilation defines added to renderpath commands.
  • Shader compilation define exclusion mechanism in Pass.
  • Multisampled rendertargets.
  • Mipmapped rendertargets.
  • Alpha-to-coverage can be enabled in pass or material. Requires D3D11 or OpenGL.
  • Line antialiasing support.
  • Optional soft particles support.
  • Improve VSM shadows by moving z/w divide to pixel shader.
  • Anisotropic-nearest filtering mode, when supported.
  • Optional per-texture max anisotropy setting.
  • Physical light values support.
  • Area light support.
  • Multisample option for VSM shadows.
  • Shader cache location is configurable, and defaults to a user-writable directory.
  • Renderer events for screen buffer allocation & global shader parameters having been set.
  • Renderer event for all views having been rendered.
  • DecalSet optionally sizes vertex & index buffer only based on use.
  • New face camera mode in BillboardSet & Text3D.
  • Support defining neighbor terrains to avoid LOD discontinuities.
  • AnimationController internal control structures can be accessed as part of its public API.
  • AnimationController can be queried if any animation is playing on a layer.
  • Allow to get animation tracks by index.
  • Custom projection matrix support.
  • Implement GetMultiSampleLevels() on OpenGL.
  • Monitor and refresh rate options for Graphics::SetMode().
  • Allow unclamped morph weights.
  • Static helper function for calculating VertexBuffer element offsets.
  • Model metadata support.
  • PBR improvements.
  • Clean up PBR shaders & techniques; do not require tangents in PBR shaders unless using normal mappings.
  • Possibility to set mouse mode or visibility before Input class initialization.
  • Mouse centering / position setting moved to Input public API.
  • Seek method for audio streams.
  • Anchors and pivots can optionally be specified for UI elements.
  • ProgressBar UI element added.
  • UI root element custom size support.
  • UIElement child XML loading returns created child instead of success bool.
  • Add delta parameter to UI element resize event.
  • SDF font supersampling.
  • FontType enum exposed to public API.
  • NAVIGATIONPUSHINESS_NONE mode in CrowdAgent.
  • NavArea solid debug geometry.
  • To/from string conversions in JSONValueType / JSONNumberType.
  • Add function to test for Rect / Rect intersection.
  • Resize overloads in Vector / PODVector.
  • Remove ineffective static TypeInfo checking functions.
  • Node & UIElement child query function overloads that return a collection.
  • Node IsChildOf() function.
  • Temporary parameter added to Node CreateChild() function.
  • Sprite2D can define its draw & texture rectangles.
  • UniquePtr class.
  • Several math API functions added.
  • Stable random generator added.
  • Add FloatToRawIntBits function.
  • Variant can hold Rect objects.
  • Variant can hold 64-bit integers.
  • Mipmap manipulation support in Image.
  • Image class SaveDDS() function.
  • Text3D GetHeight() function.
  • Console auto-completion.
  • Console text highlighting according to message type.
  • XMLFile GetOrCreateRoot() function, and XMLElement GetOrCreateChild() function.
  • Urho3DPlayer attempts to read CommandLine.txt from resource system on all platforms, if cannot read from filesystem.
  • Improve use of SDL_Init() so that Context keeps track of initialized SDL subsystems.
  • IES cookie generation in RampGenerator.
  • AbstractFile as a parent class for those that implement both Serializer & Deserializer.
  • Allow specifying child node by name in attribute animation paths.
  • Functions to get rotation axis & angle in Quaternion.
  • Improved AngelScript API dump.
  • Consts exposed to AngelScript API.
  • OS query functions added to ProcessUtils.
  • Add resource to cache before sending background load event.
  • Prevent sending event to subscribers added during event handling.
  • Prevent rendering of unnecessary shadow maps.
  • Prevent rendering of deferred light volumes which would be masked out due to lightmask being only 8-bit in deferred rendering.
  • Move “cold” parts of Node into NodeImpl class to improve performance.
  • Populate rapidjson value before adding to parent.
  • Update to AngelScript 2.31.2.
  • Update to FreeType 2.7.1.
  • Update to SQLite 3.18.0.
  • Update to LibCpuId 0.4.0.
  • Update to Box2D 2.3.2.
  • Update to Assimp 3.2.
  • Update to LZ4 1.7.5.
  • Update to Bullet 2.86.1.
  • Build system: ensure empty CMAKE_OSX_DEPLOYMENT_TARGET on iOS build.
  • Build system: auto-disable PCH on Android Clang build.
  • Build system: prefer CMake’s regex instead of grep.
  • Build system: turn off PCH on bad ccache version.
  • Build system: Bash on Ubuntu on Windows -support.
  • Build system: work around MinGW 6.1.0 linking issue.
  • Build system: MinGW 6.1.0+ fix (narrowing conversion / internal compiler error.)
  • Build system: consider MinGW as multilib compiler.
  • Build system: make URHO3D_64BIT option applicable on MinGW.
  • Build system: use absolute output path for MinGW sysroot auto-detection.
  • Build system: fix Wayland build.
  • Build system: autodetect availability of clock_gettime() on Apple platforms.
  • Build system: fix package metadata for RPI & ARM platforms.
  • Build system: fix Urho3DAll.h generation in non out-of-source build.
  • Build system: avoid special chars in paths in MRI script passed to ar utility (Web build.)
  • Build system: Always use export header for auto-discovering build options.
  • Build system: use -O2 option for MinGW release build
  • Build system: add option to control how to share resources on web platform.
  • Build system: check availability of native compiler toolchain.
  • Build system: remove older CMake constructs that are no longer necessary.
  • Build system: new Android toolchain.
  • Build system: several Web build related improvements.
  • Build system: MODULE library type support option for Web build.
  • Build system: disable exception handling codegen for Web DEBUG build.
  • Build system: remove unused options from define_source_files() macro.
  • Build system: Prevent resource symlink creation during resource packaging.
  • Build system: Skip try_compile test when not appropriate (iOS debug build.)
  • Build system: use no_weak_imports linker flag.
  • Build system: workaround struct redefinition on newer MinGW.
  • Build system: search for DirectX path both rooted & non-rooted.
  • Build system: make clean for MinGW / Android / Web platforms.
  • Build system: enable multi-threaded compilation in Visual Studio.
  • Build system: fix mklink test when current path is not sources dir.
  • Build system: fix symlinked batch files not being launchable from Windows Explorer.
  • Build system: generate PCH files using naming convention expected by Clion.
  • Build system: generate dummy PCH only in out-of-source build tree.
  • Editor: do not attempt to parse extensionless files as XML.
  • Editor: draw navigation debug geometry.
  • Editor: prevent unnecessary attribute inspector refresh on resource reload.
  • Editor: allow drag-drop of generic XML files into attribute edit fields.
  • Editor: improved handling of structure attributes.
  • Editor: optimization to avoid updating temporary objects when they are not shown in hierarchy.
  • Editor: optimize update during object spawn.
  • Editor: paint selection.
  • Editor: show origins option.
  • Editor: fix UI element internal var indexing so that editing user-defined variables works right.
  • Editor: restore window positions on viewport mode switch.
  • Editor: terrain editor.
  • Editor: color wheel for Text3D.
  • Editor: double size on high DPI display.
  • Editor: fix resource browser node add/removal shown in hierarchy window.
  • Editor: fix resource browser preview camera position.
  • AssetImporter: possibility to export animation without skinned mesh.
  • AssetImporter: $fbx node suppression.
  • AssetImporter: fix animation start/end times when saving multiple animations.
  • AssetImporter: fix incorrect applying of model’s root node transform.
  • Documentation: explain how to setup Windows MKLINK privilege.
  • Documentation: add section on scene graph events.
  • Documentation: explain EMSCRIPTEN_WASM build option.
  • Documentation: note on simultaneous network server & client usage.
  • Documentation: update on the define_resource_dirs() macro.
  • Documentation: do not include RapidJSON classes.
  • Documentation: inverse kinematics page.
  • Sample content: Kachujin model, used in SkeletalAnimation sample.
  • Sample content: new Urho3D logo.
  • Sample content: mutant model added to the CharacterDemo.
  • Sample content: Vertex colors in the standard primitive models.
  • Sample content: fix normals / lighting on the cylinder.
  • Sample content: Line primitive models.
  • Sample content: material preview model.
  • Fix broken off-mesh movement for CrowdAgent.
  • Fix Bullet assert / crash when collision shape was changed from compound to non-compound.
  • Fix unintended update of wordwrapping text’s width.
  • Fix uninitialized fields in FontFaceBitmap.
  • Fix recreation of CollisionChain2D shape.
  • Fix positioning of borderless window (if not filling the whole monitor.)
  • Fix RigidBody2D not returning to original transform.
  • Fix copypaste error in SpriteSheet2D load code.
  • Fix out-of-bounds text buffer access when compiling an AngelScript module.
  • Fix VariantMap to JSONValue and back conversion.
  • Fix handling /./ in executable path in SanitateResourceName().
  • Fix crash if script object constructor throws.
  • Fix incorrect optimization in UIElement::GetElementAt().
  • Fix potential crash when erasing sibling nodes during component destructor.
  • Fix blend modes for 2D particles.
  • Fix use of asGetActiveContext() in template code, as it could leak undesirably to user application and cause undefined symbol.
  • Fix jumping Slider knob.
  • Fix AngelScript temp variable corruption and problem with handle-reference argument.
  • Fix Constraint2D body connection serialization (other body nodeID.)
  • Fix instancing in vegetation shader.
  • Fix SDL keyboard input on RPI platform.
  • Fix fixed size billboard not properly realculating size in all cases.
  • Fix multisample quality handling on D3D11.
  • Fix Text3D batches beyond the first not showing correctly.
  • Fix input scaling for high DPI displays.
  • Fix differentiation of alpha & RGBA textures in text shader.
  • Fix crash in usedGlyphs mode.
  • Fix zero sized UI root element causing divide by zero.
  • Fix various missing script API functions.
  • Fix terrain UV coordinates generation.
  • Fix shader define update when Text3D changes its rendering between SDF / non-SDF.
  • Fix erroneous fadeout of other AnimationController animations, if playback of new animation failed.
  • Fix nearest filter mode not using mipmaps on OpenGOL.
  • Fix skinning matrix pointers changing erroneously after late creation of bones.
  • Fix BillboardSet 16 bit indices limitation.
  • Fix CrowdAgents getting erroneously included in navmesh geometry.
  • Fix calculation of UI element combined screen rect.
  • Fix world space tangent for billboards.
  • Fix ValueAnimation’s time range not getting expanded by adding event frames.
  • Fix ValueAnimation removal during event handling causing crash.
  • Fix word wrap text char positions.
  • Fix WorkQueue item insertion; insert last if no other option possible.
  • Fix unnecessary mouse centering in screen mode change handling.
  • Fix unsafe removal of event receivers.
  • Fix string corruption in SQLite queries.
  • Fix error in skybox HLSL shader when instancing is forced on.
  • Fix erroneous reuse of backbuffer depth buffer when multisampling.
  • Fix uninitialized memory in Material.
  • Fix out of bounds array access when material quality is higher than high.
  • Fix shadow-related shader function signatures on GLES.
  • Fix shaky water shader on GLES.
  • Fix memory leak in AngelScript Dictionary.
  • Fix weight fade erroneously affecting animation after weight was set manually.
  • Fix LookAt mixed rotation mode.
  • Fix skydome GLSL shader.
  • Fix depth bias not getting cloned in Material::Clone().
  • Fix CrowdAgent removal to be safe during reposition event.
  • Fix keeping track of RigidBody2D constraints.
  • Fix double shader parameters passed from e.g. Lua, convert to float.
  • Fix navigation system obstacles not observing their scene node movement and updating themselves.
  • Fix self-insertion in Vector.
  • Fix slowed down navigation agent when scene node dirtied during reposition event.
  • Fix slope-scale bias adjustment on OpenGL.
  • Fix incorrect hashing of rasterizer states on D3D11.
  • Fix AnimationController animation search differentiating slash and backslash when it shouldn’t.
  • Fix LineEdit text & cursor not being centered by default.
  • Fix potential flipped normals in physics collisions (double manifold issue.)
  • Fix undefined __cpu_model symbol in shared lib on GCC.
  • Fix cache datatype for URHO3D_LIB_TYPE
  • Fix Android black screenshot (use RGBA format.)
  • Fix missing network update if node is added to the scene late.
  • Fix crash when setting model resource to drawable component that is not attached to a scene node.

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This Week In GameDev–June 12th/2016
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12. June 2016

The following is a recap of major events in the world of game development for the week ending June 5th, 2016.  I do a weekly video recapping the news available here with this week’s video embedded below.  This post is a collection of links mentioned in the recap.

The Video

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