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16. October 2017


The Allegro framework just released version 5.2.3.  Allegro is a C based media/game framework, very similar in scope to SDL or SFML.  Allegro holds a special place in my heart as it was one of the first open source game libraries I ever encountered and it was one of the most accessible C/C++ libraries I had encountered.  To get an idea of how long Allegro has been around, the original meaning was Atari Low LEvel Game ROutines.  Yes, Atari, but not the VCS, Allegro started life on the 16bit Atari ST in the 90s.  Now it is an open source and team effort available here.


Details of the 5.2.3 release:

Changes from 5.2.2 to 5.2.3 (October 2017)

The main developers this time were: Elias Pschernig, SiegeLord, Sebastian Krzyszkowiak, Vitaliy V. Tokarev, Simon Naarmann, Bruno Félix Rezende Ribeiro, Trent Gamblin).

Core:

  • Add al_path_ustr (Bruce Pascoe).

  • Handle NULL sections more gracefully with the config API.

  • Add missing glStencilMaskSeparate prototype (Aaron Bolyard).

  • Add al_clear_keyboard_state.

  • Don't add blank lines before config sections when writing them out.

  • Fix fs_stdio_read_directory appending an extra slash.

  • Fix al_set_window_constraints when the flag ALLEGRO_MAXIMIZED is set.

  • Fix al_set_clipping_rectangle when out-of-bounds (Bruce Pascoe).

  • Enable blocked locking of S3TC formats unconditionally.

Raspberry Pi port:

  • Set default file interface when attempting to read /boot/config.txt.

Android port:

  • Replace the old build system that used deprecated tools with a new Gradle-based system.

  • Work around crashes on some Androids when an FBO is bound during egl_SwapBuffers.

  • Fix LocalRef leak when opening files using APK interface.

  • Remove -Wno-psabi switches from Toolchain-android.cmake.

Linux port:

  • Make three finger salute and LED toggle configurable.

  • Fix KEY_CHAR events under X11 with compose key enabled.

  • Fix clearing the ALLEGRO_MAXIMIZED flag under X11.

  • Add al_x_set_initial_icon.

  • Free wm_hints in set_initial_icon.

  • Read Allegro system config from ~/.allegro5rc on Unix.

Windows port:

  • Make bitmap contents persist again after device loss.

  • Add large file support for MSVC.

  • Only test cooperative lavel if device is known to be lost.

  • Don't leak the D3DEffect when attaching multiple sources.

  • Fix al_get_monitor_info (Tobias Scheuer).

OSX port:

  • Various fixes for OSX 10.6.

  • Fix some Bluetooth mice on OS X (Tom Bass).

  • Fixed deprecation warning when starting OSX console app (Tom Bass).

  • Fix OSX magic main with the LTO switch (Evert Glebbeek).

Audio addon:

  • Allow setting the buffer size for ALSA.

  • Don't apply gain twice for sample instances and streams when pan is not ALLEGRO_PAN_NONE.

  • Disallow attaching mixers with different channel configurations.

  • Add al_set_sample_instance_channel_matrix and al_set_audio_stream_channel_matrix.

  • Don't free the extra pointer in DirectSound if voice fails to play for some reason.

  • Add al_lock_sample_id and al_unlock_sample_id.

  • For OpenAL, detach from buffers before deleting.

  • Return true when seeking mod audio streams.

Acodec addon:

  • Free audio stream buffer in flac_stream_close.

  • Add DUMB 2.0 support.

Color addon:

  • Add XYZ, xyY, Lab and LCH color spaces.

  • Remove "purwablue" named color, add "rebeccablue".

Native dialog addon:

  • Improve save dialogs under GTK driver.

  • Improved path behavior in GTK native file dialog ([bk]door.maus).

  • Enable ALLEGRO_FILECHOOSER_FOLDER On Linux (Todd Cope).

  • Use unique ids to identify menu items internally, fixing their event sources.

  • Make the native message box return 2 on Windows when cancel is pressed.

Image addon:

  • Set compression level to Z_DEFAULT_COMPRESSION in png saver by default.

  • Make PNG, JPEG compression level configurable.

  • Make PNG gamma value configurable.

  • Add WebP support with libwebp.

Video addon:

  • Allow calling al_init_video_addon after al_shutdown_video_addon was called.

Build system:

  • Detect and link optional FreeType dependencies.

  • Add a CMake option to prefer static dependencies.

  • Fix SDL platform build.

Python binding:

  • Fix some corrupted regexps in the generation script (verderten).

Documentation:

  • Lots of improvements as usual (Edgar Reynaldo, Mark Oates, twobit).

Examples:

  • Fix various issues with ex_curl.

  • Fix memory leak in ex_audio_simple (Rm Beer).

GameDev News

16. October 2017


The Defold game engine received another update, this one bringing it to verison 1.2.115.  New to this release is the ability to dynamically load/unload any factory resource.  The engine also gained the ability to toggle vsync on and off.  If you are an Ubuntu user, be aware that the minimum version has been bumped to 16.04.  If you are interested in learning more about the Defold engine, we have a complete tutorial series available here.


Further details of this release:

Engine

  • DEF-2760 - Added: Dynamic loading/unloading of collectionfactory and factory resources
  • DEF-1101 - Added: Ray cast response on miss
  • DEF-1785 - Added: Software vsync
  • DEF-2913 - Added: Updated PVRTexLib to version 4.18
  • DEF-1284 - Added: Updated LuaJIT to version 2.0.5
  • DEF-2902 - Fixed: Improve handling of erroneous mesh input data
  • DEF-2915 - Fixed: “ERROR:RESOURCE: Empty resource path” is spammed in console
  • DEF-2907 - Fixed: Spine draw order out of bounds
  • DEF-2891 - Fixed: Fixing invalid MathUtil::decompose and quaternionFromMatrix.

Documentation

Documentation is going through a slow metamorphosis from larva (Editor 1) via pupa (currently) to butterfly (Editor 2).

Work in progress

Native Extensions + Linux

The upgrade of our CI machines was a big step towards supporting Linux as a platform in Native Extensions.

We’ve also decided to remove the 32 bit OSX + Linux support for the engine itself. This will remove two very old platforms for us; 32 bit OSX is obsolete, and Editor 2 only supports 64 bit Linux.

GameDev News

12. October 2017


Creating human models has always been one of the more challenging tasks artists can face.  There are a number of tools out there such as Poser, MBLDaz or MakeHuman that can create human models for you.  Often the results aren’t exactly ideal for use in real time games however.  The Blender Add-On we are looking at today however generates excellent, fully rigged and textured meshes that are perfect for use in games.


The add-on we are looking at today is the Manuel Bastioni Lab, very similar to Make Human, as it is a project from the developer who founded the MakeHuman project.  Unlike MakeHuman however, MBL runs entirely inside of Blender, and in my opinion generates more game appropriate meshes and rigs.  It is completely free and open sourced.


First download the zip file available here, then install and enable the plugin in Blender.  If you are unfamiliar with this process, the video embedded below shows you the process step by step.


Once enabled it will add a new tab to the tools panel:

image


Initial controls are incredibly simple.  Pick the base type of model you want to create, if you want it to create Cycles based materials, and if you want it to configure lighting for you.

image


There are several different defaults to chose from:

image


Your new model will be created as soon as you press the Init button.

image


Now there are an absolute ton of configuration options available:

image


Modify skin tons, default poses, default facial positions and a ton more.  Once done, click Finalize and you are off to the races.


The Video

(Direct Link)

Art

12. October 2017


Version 2017.2 of the Unity game engine was released today.  2D game tools received a lot of love in this release with new tiled based worldUnity building tools.  Unity also teamed up with Autodesk to improve FBX format support from 3DS Max and Maya.  VR platforms also got some love with ARCore, ARKit, Vuforia and Windows Mixed Reality support all added.


Further details from the Unity blog:

  • tilemap support for grid based 2D titles
  • Cinemachine support in 2D
  • sprite packing speed improvements and cleaner box collider
  • timeline visualization of audio clips
  • interactive tutorials ( previously discussed here )
  • NavMesh visualization
  • improved FBX importer/exporter directly using Autodesk’s FBX SDK
  • support for embedded materials in FBX files
  • exporting of animated custom properties from DCCs
  • importing support for Stingray PBS shaders
  • new AssetBundle API
  • support for XR platform Vuforia
  • support for Microsoft’s Mixed Reality platform
  • OpenVR support on MacOS
  • Google ARCore support ( via plugin )
  • Apple ARKit support ( via plugin )
  • Stereo Instancing ( single pass instanced rendering )
  • Editor simulation of Vive headsets
  • low level rendering support for the Nintendo Switch
  • Retina support for the MacOS player
  • GI profiler ( Global Illumination )
  • improved Progressive Lightmapper
  • linear rendering in WebGL ( details here )
  • particle system improvements
  • remoting settings, remotely change game settings without creating a new binary


You can read complete details in the release notes.

GameDev News

11. October 2017


At the annual Oculus Connect developer conference, there have been several announcements on the VR front.  First is a pretty massive price cut to the existing Oculus Rift bundle, the second such price cut, driving the price down to $399 USD.

Summer of Rift had a major impact on the VR industry, and the community’s response showed that the appetite for best-in-class VR hardware and games is stronger than ever. We want to continue getting VR into more people’s hands, so we’re permanently lowering the price of Rift to $399 USD.

Each Rift bundle comes with Touch controllers, sensors, and six free apps that give you hours of entertainment including Epic’s arcade shooter, Robo Recall, and our creative tools, Medium and Quill.

Read more about the price cut here.


In addition to the price cuts, they also announced an all new Oculus device, the Oculus Go.  It is binary compatible with the Gear VR.  Essentially it seems to be a GearVR without the phone requirement and built in speakers.  Available for $199USD, it also comes with a controller and will certainly OcGomake VR more accessible to a wider audience.

Our first standalone product is Oculus Go—the easiest way to jump into VR. It ships early next year, starting at $199 USD. It’s awesome for watching movies or concerts, playing games, or just hanging out with your friends in VR.

This all-in-one device makes VR more accessible than ever and represents a huge leap forward in comfort, visual clarity, and ease-of-use.

The headset is super lightweight, and the new fabric used for the facial interface is soft and breathable.

The high-resolution fast-switch LCD screen dramatically improves visual clarity and reduces screen door effect. And the next-generation lenses are our best ever—offering a wide field of view with significantly reduced glare.

Oculus Go also ships with integrated spatial audio. The speakers are built right into the headset, transporting you straight into VR and making the headset easy to share with someone else. If you need it, there’s also a 3.5mm headphone jack for private listening.

Gear VR and Oculus Go apps are binary compatible, and they share the same controller input set—that means developers building for Gear VR are already building for Oculus Go. As an added plus, the best of our mobile VR content library will be available to everyone on day one.

Oculus Go pushes the envelope of what’s possible at such an accessible price point, and we can’t wait to share more early next year.

Read more about the new device here.


They also announced the open sourcing of the Rift DK2.

Today, we’re excited to announce the open source release of Rift Development Kit 2 (DK2). Our progress since the release of DK1 has been thanks in no small part to this community working tirelessly alongside us. We’re doing this both to preserve and share what we learned about VR in the early days, and to let anyone use the design in their own projects.

The open source release of the DK2 hardware follows on from our earlier releases of Rift DK1 and Latency Tester. This includes schematics, board layout, mechanical CAD, artwork, and specifications under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license, and firmware under BSD+PATENT licences. We present a guided tour of DK2 for those interested in digging in deeper.


All told, a pretty big day for VR.  I’ve long held that the future of VR is a standalone device, untethered from a computer.  Hopefully the new Oculus Go solves many of the GearVR’s thermal issues and has a serviceable battery life.  VR is a great experience, but when its limited to 15 minute intervals, it kind of loses something!


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22. July 2016

 

Somewhat recently Unity announced new pricing that didn’t exactly make Unity developers the world over cheer.  Then a few weeks later, they announced newer and much improved pricing.  Part of this new pricing included the ability to make the Unity splash screen optional in the Pro version and “customizable” in the Basic version.  They said:

The new splash screen will read “Made with Unity” in all editions of Unity – no more mention of “Personal Edition”. You will also be able to customize it with your own (blurred) background image and your own company logo in addition to the Unity logo. This feature is coming, but give us a bit of time to perfect the technical aspects of it before we release it. The customizable splash screen will be available in all versions of Unity, but can be completely turned off in Unity Plus and Unity Pro. We’ll have a blog post with further details later.

Well later is here and that blog post has arrived.

As you saw in our recent pricing announcements, part of our new structure allows you as a Plus or Pro subscriber to disable the Splash Screen feature of Unity. In addition to this we wanted to provide a set of simple tools to let you display a co-branded splash screen with animation, for those of you that do wish to use them.

As we still require Personal Edition users to show a Unity splash screen for now, these tools will also be available and become the default method of showing the Made with Unity splash. The tools are still in development, and are currently aimed to be part of Unity 5.5. Check out the video above for what they look like in practice, and please provide us with feedback in the comments below.

 

They also included the following video demonstrating the tool:

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