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26. August 2015

 

… in beta form, that is.  It was announced a while back that Unity was working on a Linux version of their editor.  It appears it has finally arrived, according to this blog post, replicated below:

 

Hello again, lovely people!
Last month, I wrote a blog post detailing our plans for Unity on Linux.  Well, I’m back again to tell you the big day has come; today we’re releasing an experimental build of Unity for Linux!
An Experimental Build

Today’s build is what we call an experimental build; future support is not yet guaranteed.  Your adoption and feedback will help us determine if this is something we can sustain alongside our Mac and Windows builds.

Today’s build is based off Unity 5.1.0f3 and comes with the ability to export to the following runtimes:

  • Linux, Mac, Windows Standalone
  • WebGL
  • WebPlayer
  • Android
  • Tizen
  • SamsungTV
System Requirements
  • 64-bit Ubuntu 12.04 or newer (just like our player, the editor will run on most ‘modern’ 64-bit Linux distributions, but official support is only provided for 64-bit Ubuntu 12.04 or newer)
  • Modern Nvidia, AMD, or Intel graphics card with vendor-supported graphics drivers
Feedback and Issues

We’ve created a new section of the forums for you to provide feedback and report issues.  That’s the primary place where we’ll be communicating with our users who are using the Linux build, so be sure to check it out.  Crashes of the editor will pop up the bug reporter, which we encourage you to use in that case (because we’ll get the stacktrace).

That’s all for now. You can find the downloads here:

Read more about the release notes and known issues in our forum post.

Much love from Unity

Na’Tosha


I know there are a lot of Linux devs out there that have been calling for a Linux version for quite some time. I am curious to see how popular it will actually be though. In the end, many of the people that embrace Linux as opposed to MacOS, are also the type that embrace open source. Why then would this demographic gravitate to Unity, when open source friendly options like Godot exist? I don't personally have any Linux installs at the moment, so I wont be testing this new release.

News

21. August 2015

Today marks the official release of jMonkeyEngine 3.1 alpha. Generally I wouldn't make a news post over a minor alpha release but a) jme has been pretty quite lately b) I'm currently looking at this engine right now c) it's a pretty massive release.

In addition to underlying changes like a move to github, transition from ant to gradle build systems and implementation of a commenting system that isnt from the 90s, there are some pretty huge new features, such as iOS support, FBX importing, VR support, render optimizations and much more.

 

The full release notes follow:

 

At long last, we have our first alpha release for the jMonkeyEngine 3.1 SDK.

Go get it on GitHub and start breaking things.

Not only does this release mark the introduction of some absolutely game-changing features (or shall we say, abbreviations: iOS, FBX, VR!); it also marks a significant step forward in jME’s underlying infrastructure. In the following weeks, we will explain each and every one of these changes in depth.

All the same bits, structured differently

  • First, we switched from using Google Code (SVN) to GitHub (Git) for
    our source code repository.
  • And then, as if that wasn’t enough, we went from using ANT
    for our build system to using Gradle.
  • We also migrated our forum to the ever more awesome Discourse, which was followed by a series of website updates, with more to come.

These structural changes will allow us to do our work more effectively, and with the combined power of GitHub and Discourse, we’re already seeing a big uptake in contributions and overall user participation.

Unified Renderer Architecture

Previously, there would be a Renderer implementation for each platform that jME3 supported, but all of these platforms supported OpenGL, so in the end, this led to a lot of code duplication. Each time we wanted to add a new renderer feature, all existing renderer implementations had to be modified in the same way.

The new unified renderer architecture means there’s only 1 Renderer implementation, “GLRenderer”, which then calls into GL interfaces implemented by each back-end – this is much easier to maintain. It means easier modification of renderer internals, including performance improvements, as well as the ability to add really advanced features to the renderer that wasn’t possible before. As a consequence, the OpenGL 1 renderer is now out, nobody will ever miss it and (probably) nobody used it for anything. There were some other changes around the rendering pipeline, reduce useless work and improve performance.

OpenGL 3 Core Profile Support

This is a significant improvement especially on Mac OS X and Linux where using the Core Profile actually allows more features to be used than otherwise. Do note that many jME3 shaders don’t support GLSL 1.5 which is required on some platforms when using OpenGL Core Profile – this is being worked on …

Geometry / Tesselation Shader Support

Added support for specifying geometry and tessellation shaders in the material definition. Note that this requires hardware capable of running such shaders. This feature is not used in the engine itself for any capability.

Scene Graph Optimizations

Previously, the engine would need to recurse into the scene graph 3 times every frame, even if nothing was changed! This has been improved so only the branches of the scene graph that require updating or rendering are actually walked into. This equals big performance boost for mostly static and large scenes. The only kind of scenes that don’t benefit from this are scenes where all objects and lights are constantly moving and the entire scene is visible in the camera the whole time. Those kinds of scenes are very rare!

In addition, hardware skinning is now enabled by default, which means a big speed boost when there are many animated models on screen.

Lighting Boost

Remy “nehon” already made a post about this which you can read here. With both single pass lighting and light culling you can now expect big performance improvements in large scenes with many lights. – When rendering shadows for lights, only casters that are inside the light’s area of influence are rendered.

FBX Importer (Beta!)

There’s a beta quality FBX importer currently in development. Unfortunately skeletal animation is not supported yet, but once it is finished, it should replace the semi-functional OgreXML support and hopefully be on par with the .blend importer.

Geometry Instancing

If you want to render a certain (complex) model many times in different places. E.g. a forest or asteroid field, you can use InstancedNode (requires OpenGL3 and higher support!)

Rewritten Audio Streaming

If you were using audio streams before, you might have noticed that they have quite a lot of limitations. They cannot be looped, reset, or stopped without the audio stream becoming useless. The new changes mean you can now stop, loop, or reset audio streams with ease. Also, updates about audio finishing playing now occur every frame instead of every 50 milliseconds (e.g. if you were relying on it for any events & such)

Further, there’s a new capability to determine current playback position of an audio source. Can be used to synchronize events or video to an audio stream.

Networking Improvements

HostedServices: Essentially like AppStates, but independent of jME3 Application infrastructure.

Gamma-correct lighting and high dynamic range rendering

Gamma-correct lighting – basically means lighting looks better or more realistic, or both. Oh, and if you’re planning on using this, you better make sure its always on because your scene will look different depending on if its on or off. While at it, you can also use the new tonemap filter for HDR rendering. The tonemap algorithm is based on a filmic curve from Uncharted 2.

Profiling Frame Times

With the app profiler state, you can see how long each part of a frame takes, e.g. rendering or updates, thus allowing you to detect stuttering parts in the game and optimize them.

iOS Improvements

  • Now iOS support is mostly stable (but still behind Android support). More testing is needed.
  • Texture loading issue fixed.
  • Audio support now enabled.

Android Bugfixes & Improvements

  • Texture decoding is now handled by C++ code so loading time is now much shorter. This also means the terrain alphamap issue is fixed. Previously you had to flip the alpha channel to use terrain on Android, this is no longer required.
  • OGG/Vorbis audio decoding is now handled by C++ code. This allows using the native OpenAL Soft audio library to handle audio instead of the Android built-in MediaPlayer, hence 3D audio, doppler effects, and reverb is now supported.
  • Support for Android Fragments (on Android 4.0+)
  • Added support for joysticks. For example, you can connect your Xbox 360 controller to your Android tablet and it will show up as an actual joystick in jME.

Blender Importer

  • Improved support for models animated with IK (inverse kinematics)
  • Support for loading linked .blend files

SDK Editor Improvements

dark_monkey

  • Enhanced shader node editor with many issues fixed.
  • 3D Scale / Rotate Tool.
  • New “DarkMonkey” theme which matches the forum theme (you have to enable it manually under the Look and Feel settings)

Bullet Physics

  • Added capability to change number of solver iterations – aka “physics accuracy”.
  • Added support native sweep test (previously was unimplemented)
  • Fixes to native ray test (previously was broken / crashing)
  • Allow 3D vector linear and angular factor instead of just a scalar factor

Misc Engine

  • Print out current build branch / tag / revision / hash in log

Misc Bugfixes

  • Fix inconsistent mouse coordinate origin on AWT panels
  • Fix translucent bucket on AWT panels
  • Fix using texture arrays with GPU compressed textures
  • Fix building engine on JDK8 and latest Android NDK
  • Fix point sprites on Android
  • Fix post-processing / FBO on Android
  • Fix running jME3 in the Android emulator
  • Fix shadow effect Z fade feature
  • Fix compilation issues on Java 1.8
  • Fix broken Material.preload() method
  • Fix water filter not working on GPUs without OpenGL 3 support
  • Fix crashing filter multisample support on OpenGL 3.2 contexts
  • Fix bounding volume not updated when geometry inside BatchNode is modified
  • Fix incorrect flipping of 2×2 DXT5 images
  • Fix audio source reverb being enabled by default
  • Fix batching with vertex colored meshes
  • And a trillion other bug fixes I forgot to mention, so you better start using jME 3.1 today!

 

News ,

9. August 2015

 

 

EDIT:  The tutorial series announced below is now live and available here.

 

Hello All, just a quick update on an upcoming tutorial series here on GameFromScratch.com.   I have recently been looking at the Paradox game engine, cumulating in a Closer Look at Paradox3D.

 

I rather enjoyed my time with the engine, but I will say outright that the documentation is in pretty rough shape.  There are two ways to look at this.  For new users its a rough go and makes Paradox inaccessible.  For a tutorial writer however, it’s an opportunity, as the worse the documentation the more you need good tutorials! Winking smile

 

There is one major challenge here… the documentation is spotty for a reason.  The API is under active development and they are making breaking changes as they go.  This certainly presents a challenge.  Part of it is simply the nature of the beast, but I am going to address it in a couple ways.

 

First I am going to keep each tutorial quite small, so if it breaks it only breaks a small portion of the over all tutorial.  I am going to be doing both text and video tutorials.  It might be possible to update text tutorials as things break, but obviously this isn’t possible with the videos.  Second, I am going to mark the version I use for each tutorial.  I will keep with the most current release as I update the series, so you can quickly see what version the tutorial works with if things have in fact broken.  Quite often the comments section can capture and work around breaking API changes.  Finally I am going to keep the explanation in each tutorial to a minimum.  This will help keep tutorials small and will also help with the fact in many cases I am guessing at the best way to implement something.

 

I intend to cover as much as possible over the course of the series.  I am going to take a recipe type approach.  This is how you draw a sprite sheet, this is how you add animation to a model, this is how you play an audio file, etc.  Please let me know what you want to see covered.  Expect the first new tutorial early this week.

News , ,

3. August 2015

 

It was becoming clear that Autodesk was entering the game market when they purchased BitSquid back in June of last year.  In addition to making the Magicka series of games, they also created the BitSquid game engine.  In March of 2015 Autodesk announced that Bitsquid was now the Stingray Game Engine and that it was coming soon.  Today more details emerged, including pricing and a release date.  Here is the official press release:

image

 

 

Autodesk Launches Stingray Game Engine at GDC Europe 2015


COLOGNE, Germany, August 3, 2015 --
At the Game Developers Conference (GDC) Europe 2015, Autodesk (NASDAQ: ADSK) announced that its new Stingray game engine will be available to game developers worldwide beginning August 19, 2015. Later this summer, Autodesk will also offer Autodesk Maya LT Desktop Subscription customers access to Autodesk Stingray as part of their subscription.


Built on the powerful, data-driven architecture of the Bitsquid engine, which Autodesk acquired in 2014, Stingray is a comprehensive new platform for making 3D games. The engine supports a host of industry-standard game development workflows and includes powerful connectivity to Autodesk 3D animation software that simplifies game development across a wide range of platforms.


"Between Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and the proliferation of mobile platforms, the games industry is undergoing a major transition, which poses new complexities for both AAA and indie game developers. Autodesk developed Stingray with these challenges in mind, and we're excited to share its debut with the game developer community," said Autodesk senior vice president, Media & Entertainment, Chris Bradshaw. "Stingray makes it easy and intuitive for artists with varying skill sets and programming expertise to create the next generation of 3D blockbuster games, entertainment and even architecture."

 


Stingray feature highlights include:


-- Seamless Art-to-Engine Workflow:
Import, create, iterate, test and review 3D assets and gameplay faster with a one-click workflow and live link between Stingray and Autodesk 3D animation software.


-- Modern Data-Driven Architecture: A lightweight code base gives game developers the freedom to make significant changes to the engine and renderer without requiring source code access.


-- Advanced Visuals and Rendering: Produce visually stunning games with a powerful rendering pipeline, physically-based shading, advanced particle effects, post processed visual effects, lightmap baking and a high-performance reflection system.


-- Proven Creative Toolset: Stingray includes proven solutions like Beast, HumanIK, Navigation, Scaleform Studio (UI technology built on Scaleform), FBX, Audiokinetic Wwise and NVIDIA PhysX.


-- Versatile Game Logic Creation: Stingray includes a wide range of development tools, making game creation more accessible for game makers with varying levels of experience - including visual node-based-scripting and Lua scripting. C++ source code will also be available as an additional purchase upon request.


-- Multiplatform Deployment and Testing: Quickly make and apply changes to gameplay and visuals across supported platforms: Apple iOS, Google Android, Microsoft Windows 7 and Windows 8, Oculus Rift DevKit 2, Sony PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Xbox One.


Autodesk previewed Stingray at GDC 2015 earlier this year in San Francisco. Since then, game developers around the world have signed up for Autodesk's beta program, shipped games using this technology and provided feedback including:


"Stingray's data-driven architecture and flexibility have helped us build a broad portfolio of games, and quick iteration times for both code and content creators has boosted our productivity significantly. The engine has been a key success factor for us because we're able to produce high quality games in a shortened timeframe. We're excited to see how Autodesk will continue to evolve the engine," shared Martin Wahlund, CEO of Fatshark.


"We never know what kind of games we're going to create, and the engine is good for that. It really allows us to just make anything. We can make an FPS or an RTS, or a top-down shooter, or a role-playing game, or whatever. It's not tied to a specific genre," explained Johan Pilestedt, CEO, Arrowhead Game Studios.


The Stingray engine can also be used in design environments and is an informative next step to further understand design data before anything is physically built. The engine's real-time digital environment, on a powerful, data-driven architecture, is programmed to look and feel like the physical world. Through the high-end development tools and visual scripting system, customers can program objects, light effects, environmental elements, materials, and entourage elements to behave and react as they would in the physical world.


Connected to Autodesk 3ds Max, architecture, engineering and construction customers can import Autodesk Revit data into 3ds Max, add content to the 3ds Max scene and then place that scene in the Stingray engine to explore, animate, and interact in the designed space.


Pricing and Availability


Autodesk Stingray runs on Windows and will be available via Autodesk Subscription starting August 19, 2015 for $30 US MSRP per month. Later this summer, Autodesk plans to offer Maya LT Desktop Subscription customers access to the engine as part of Maya LT. For more details about Stingray, visit: www.autodesk.com/stingrayengine


About Autodesk


Autodesk helps people imagine, design and create a better world. Everyone--from design professionals, engineers and architects to digital artists, students and hobbyists--uses Autodesk software to unlock their creativity and solve important challenges. For more information visit autodesk.com or follow @autodesk.

 

So there you have it, it will be available for $30 a month starting later this month.  Interestingly it seems to also be available as part of the Maya LT subscription which is also $30 a month or $240 a year, so it’s effectively free to Maya LT users.  It’s certainly a boon for existing Maya LT users, but in a world full of free game engines, is a subscription based engine going to fly?

 

You can learn more about the StingrayEngine at http://stingrayengine.com/ or by watching the video below.

 

Introducing the Autodesk Stingray 3D game engine from Autodesk Media and Entertainment on Vimeo.

News

14. June 2015

 

As mentioned recently, I am in the process of compiling the Godot Game Engine Tutorial Series into an e-book format.  Today I just published the 10 chapter, 150 page first draft of the Godot Engine book.

 

BookCover

It can currently be downloaded by Patreon backers right here.

 

It is currently available in the following formats:

  • PDF
  • epub
  • mobi

 

Due to the large file size (@15mb) to install on a Kindle you will need to install via side-loading, the file is beyond the limits for emailing to Kindle.

 

Right now, this is mostly just a straight compilation of content available here on GameFromScratch.com.  I will need to do an editorial pass to make sure text makes sense in book format, as well as replacing now static animated gifs with more meaningful images.  If you prefer to read offline, wish to print or want to reader on an e-reader, this book should be perfect for you.

 

If you are interested in checking it out, Chapter 8: Using Tilemaps can be downloaded here. Of course, if you’ve already read the Godot tutorial series, this is going to be incredibly familiar.

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Tiled 0.18.0 Released
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21. December 2016

 

On their way to a 1.0 released, Tiled, an open source map editor, just released version 0.18.0.   In addition to several fixes and updated translations, there are a few convenience features that are sure to make people happy.  You can now create a new layer via cut and paste as well as performingtiled paste in place actions.  There is also a new menu enabling you to change between compatible custom property types ( for example converting a string to an int or vice versa ).  They also updated the UI to make dealing with custom Z ordering easier.  If you are interested in learning Tiled, we have a complete tutorial series available here.  Full details of this release are available in the change log below.

 

Change log

Many smaller changes have been made as well. Here's the full list:

  • Added Layer via Copy/Cut actions
  • Added support for Paste in Place action for tile layers
  • Added context menu to change custom property type (by Dmitry Hrabrov)
  • Added support for higher precision for custom floating point properties
  • Added %mappath variable to commands (by Jack Roper)
  • Added snapping to pixels (by Mamed Ibrahimov)
  • Added right-click to clear the tile selection
  • Added a context menu action to reset the size of tile objects
  • Added exporter for Game Maker Studio room files (by Jones Blunt)
  • Added Move Up/Down buttons to Objects view (by iskolbin)
  • Added pixel coordinates to status bar for object tools (by iskolbin)
  • Added Sticker Knight platformer example (by Ponywolf)
  • tmxrasterizer: Added --size argument and support local file URLs
  • tmxrasterizer: Use smooth pixmap transform by default
  • Linux: Register tmxrasterizer as thumbnail generator for TMX files
  • Allow scrolling past map edges with mouse wheel
  • Enabled HiDpi scaling and improved the quality of some icons
  • Reversed the order of the objects in the Objects view
  • JSON plugin: Added Node.js support to the JavaScript export
  • Updated TMX schema definition (by assofohdz)
  • Fixed unfinished objects getting saved
  • Fixed OpenGL rendering mode when application is scaled (HiDpi screens)
  • Fixed Remove and Rename actions for predefined properties
  • Windows: Fixed console output
  • libtiled-java: Use Maven, deploy to OSSRH and code updates (by Mike Thomas)
  • libtiled-java: Added a basic isometric renderer (by Mike Thomas)
  • Updated Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese, Czech, Dutch, Hebrew, Norwegian Bokmål and Spanish translations

 

For complete details on this release check here.  To download Tiled head over here.

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