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5. March 2016

 

It’s been a while since the Blender 2.76 was released, but Blender 2.77 is getting closer with today’s release of Blender 2.77 RC2.  This released doesn’t pack a ton of new features but what’s in there is certainly useful.  You can read the full release notes here.

Major features of this release include:

  • Blenders Cycles improvements (SSS, Performance, Smoke/Fire on GPU, Custom Bake Passes)
  • UI Improvements including drag and drop onto file dialogs
  • Boolean operators in edit mesh mode
  • Automatic UV on object creation
  • Cubemaps in 3D viewport and game engine support
  • Massive Grease Pencil improvements including brush sculpting and improved keyframe copying support

 

I created a video showcasing some of the features available here or embedded below.

5. March 2016

 

Another Unity patch has been released, this one is Unity Patch 5.3.3p2.  It contains the following new features, as per the release notes:

Improvements
  • Android: Audio - Don't select OpenSL output if the native device params are too bad for fast path (fixes audio issues on buggy devices).
  • Android: Buildpipe - Updated SDK tools requirements for the Editor.
  • Android: Editor - Added Marshmallow to the list of APIs.
  • Android: IL2CPP - Use Android NDK x64 on x64 Windows Editor.
  • Android: SoftInput - Get rid of hardcoded text color, switch to Light theme.
  • Windows: Added a new command line argument for standalone builds: window-mode. Options: borderless, exclusive. It lets users override the default fullscreen window behavior.
Fixes
  • (768974) - Android: Fixed alignment crash on some Android ARM devices.
  • (734124) - Android: Fixed an issue where Ping wouldn't work in release mode.
  • (762875) - Android: Fixed black screen or crash during startup on old PVR devices (Samsung Galaxy S I9000).
  • (759195) - Android: Fixed bug in Texture.GetPixels for ETC compressed textures.
  • (763447) - Android: IL2CPP - Fixed build errors on NDK paths with whitespaces.
  • (766698) - Android: IL2CPP - Fixed crash on second startup after installation.
  • (714661) - Asset Bundles: Only reimport when setting asset bundle name if cache server is connected.
  • (none) - Crash: Fixed GenerateSecondaryUVs crashes on certain meshes.
  • (759231) - Editor: Don't call OnLevelWasLoaded on the first scene when entering play mode.
  • (747856) - Editor: Fix for clustering allocation while navigating.
  • (767728) - Editor: Fixed an issue when opening a scene from the Project Browser while in playmode it resulted in that scene being loaded even after going out of playmode.
  • (766469) - Editor: Fixed a crash when selecting prefab.
  • (756004) - Editor: Fixed the issue of GUI.Windows background not being tinted by GUI.colors anymore.
  • (754127) - Editor: Fixed an issue that made GameObjects disappear from the Editor if they have an associated editor script that made use of DontDestroyOnLoad.
  • (758409) - Editor: Fixed the issue of marking scene dirty when creating prefab by dragging from Hierarchy window to Project.
  • (757027) - Editor: Fixed the issue of marking the scene dirty when pressing the apply button on a prefab instance.
  • (760112) - Editor: Fixed misleading decompression warning in emulation.
  • (765159) - Editor: Fixed startup when Unity is in a path with multi-byte characters.
  • (767222) - Global Illumination: Fixed crash when building lighting with a specific scene setup.
  • (771292) - Graphics: Fixed an issue where setting a material's shader to null would crash the editor.
  • (723960) - iOS: Fix redirect for WWW
  • (753888) - Mecanim: Fixed an issue with Animation clip length for bundled clip.
  • (760612) - Mecanim: Fixed AnimationClip.SampleAnimation memory leak.
  • (756129) - Mecanim: Fixed Animator with statemachine behaviour runtime compile error not firing callback on the right SMB.
  • (none) - Mecanim: Fixed assert when using Animator.MatchTarget.
  • (769964) - Mecanim: Fixed long start play mode for scene with a lot of controller.
  • (765141) - Mecanim: Fixed StateMachineBehaviours on layer not being called properly.
  • (754510) - Networking: Send Error: val > 0 on user disconnect, results in memory write violation and editor crash.
  • (none) - Networking: Fixed a crash due to wrong initialization of connection.
  • (762687) - OpenGL: Fixed Graphics API switching between different OpenGL versions.
  • (762687) - OpenGL: Fixed Graphics API switching to OpenGL ES.
  • (767857), (766778) - OpenGL: Fixed Mesh skinning artifacts in editor.
  • (763875) - OpenGL: Fixed point size support using GLSL snippets.
  • (none) - OpenGL: Fixed various shader compiler issues for OpenGL ES 3 / Core.
  • (none) - OS X: Fixed OpenGL performance regression on NVidia GPUs.
  • (740580) - Trails: Fixed an issue where trails would randomly vanish/flicker.
  • (none) - UI: Stopped raycast from traversing up the hierarchy when a canvas with override sorting is encountered.
  • (767206) - Wii U: Fixed a crash on secondary error confirmation.

GameDev News

2. March 2016

 

As part of their recently launched GPUOpen collection, AMD have released a beta preview open source implementation of Khronos OpenVX.  OpenVX is an API for computer vision.

 

Features from this release:

Features

  • The code is highly optimized for both x86 CPU and OpenCL for GPU
  • Supported hardware spans the range from low power embedded APUs (like the new G series) to laptop, desktop and workstation graphics
  • Supports Windows and Linux
  • Includes a “graph optimizer” that looks at the entire processing pipeline and removes/replaces/merges functions to improve performance and minimize bandwidth at runtime
  • Scripting support allows for rapid prototyping, without re-compiling at production performance levels
  • Interoperates with the popular (open source library) OpenCV

The current release version is 0.9 (beta preview).

GameDev News

2. March 2016

 

Sp3 for 3ds Max 2016 has been released, updating the popular 3D content creation package.

The service pack makes the following changes:

Animation

  • MAXX-24066 Changing Frame Rate Breaks Default AutoKeyframe When Greater Than 0
  • MAXX-27784 CAT Motion Editor Spinner Y and Z are buggy.
  • MAXX-29434 Program error when user saves bip without extension
  • MAXX-27484 skinOps.ReplaceVertexWeights not working

Core

  • MAXX-28752 Customer Error Report: Program error on File Open in UpdateSnapDisplay
  • MAXX-28406 Memory leak with Animation playback

FileIO

  • MAXX-24692 No mapping during import of Autocad
  • MAXX-29250 Program error while exporting a scene created in 3ds Max 2014
  • MAXX-29125 FBX: custom attributes lost while importing fbx from MotionBuilder
  • MAXX-28897 DWG Import of dwgs containing negatively scaled blocks displays incorrectly.
  • MAXX-29186 Program error with Container Operation
  • MAXX-26606 Scenes with many xref objects take exponentially longer to load

Materials ShaderFX

  • MAXX-29612 Undo break connection Program error
  • MAXX-27846 ShaderFX in Max 2015/2016 doesn't receive Shadows

Maxscript

  • MAXX-28959 Add filename being imported/exported to NOTIFY_POST_IMPORT and NOTIFY_POST_EXPORT

Modeling

  • MAXX-28623 Linked Objects Inherit Parent Object Scaling
  • MAXX-29452 Customer Error Report: Program error with Mesh Optimize

Rendering 

  • MAXX-28428 Arch & Design templates not working anymore
  • MAXX-28958 Expose RenderElement from OpenEXR Layer

Text tool

  • MAXX-25232 Object Scaling / Frame #0 seems to not being transferred to the preset.

Viewports

  • MAXX-23386 Nitrous reflection display buggy/partly broken

Service pack 3 for 3ds Max 2016 can be downloaded here.

GameDev News ,

1. March 2016

 

Starling is a flash based game engine, perhaps most famous for Angry Birds.  For some time the primary maintainer has been quietly pounding away on the next version.  Today (actually a couple days ago, this news item slipped through my net, sorry about that) Starling 2.0 is available and it’s a pretty extensive update.  Behind the scenes there were a number of fundamental changes, such as the addition of a mesh class as well as the addition of render cache.

The render cache has a pretty profound effect on CPU load, as illustrated by this graphic demonstrating Starling 1.7(upper) vs 2.0(lower) CPU usage:

 

The filter API was also rewritten, to make use of the new render cache and improve functionality.  Finally there were several convenience changes:

  • The TextField class is now accompanied by the new TextFormat. The setup is quite similar to classic Flash — but without the pain of constantly having to re-assign the format for changes to show up. In Starling, when you change the TextField's format, it's going to be updated right away!
  • The TextField class also includes a new wordWrap property.
  • The Image class contains two new properties: scale9Grid and tileGrid. For Feathers-users, this will sound familiar: they replace Scale3Image, Scale9Image and TiledImage.
  • All Display Objects can now be scaled uniformly with a single property: scale.
  • My personal favorite: the new pixelSnapping property, which is enabled per default, makes sure that all objects are rendered as sharp and crisp as possible. No more casting to int to avoid blurriness!
  • You can now attach "frame actions" to MovieClips, i.e. code to execute at certain frames.
  • The Pool provides simple object-pooling for standard classes like Point, Rectangle andMatrix.
  • The juggler now supports uint handles for IAnimatable removal, which prevents nasty pooling bugs.

Full details of the release are available here.

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Xenko Game Engine Announces Upcoming VR Support
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24. October 2016

 

Regardless to how actual sales have turned out, there is no question that VR support is now one of the hot button must have features for a game engine.  The folks over at Silicon Studios, the makers of the Xenko Game Engine (previously Paradox3d) are aware of this trend and have made VR development a priority.  They recently released a blog post about the future of the Xenko engine, and VR specifically.

 

From the post:

Therefore, we are now 100% on track to support VR in Xenko. So, what does this mean? First of all, the technology hints were in place before the decision was made in July. Important rendering, lighting, and audio features were already in place or planned to soon to be in place. For instance, Forward Clustered rendering, touted as the best rendering for VR, is now supported, our support for Oculus Rift is in place, our performant multithreading and back-end support of next generation APIs such as Vulkan smooths the way for AAA style VR games needing the best possible performance, and last but not least, we are working on adding HRTF support to our audio system to accommodate a sense called proprioception, necessary for a true VR audio experience.

In conclusion, let’s not bury the lead here: the game industry disruption caused by this race to widely support VR, trough of disappointment or not, is the reason why Xenko is now on track to become the first built-from-scratch comprehensive VR engine for game developers.

When? Soon.

 

Is VR a must have feature for you when evaluating an engine these days?  If you’ve never heard of the Xenko engine, I featured it in the Closer Look game engine series when it was still called the Paradox engine.  In fact we also did a short tutorial series on using the engine.

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