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13. August 2015

 

Paradox ships with a full 3D editor named Paradox Studio.  In this tutorial we are going to take a look at what it can do and how it works. 

 

Once again, there is an HD video version of this tutorial available.

 

Paradox Studio Introduction

 

This is Paradox Studio:

image

 

This is where you can import assets, create entities, add components and instantiate them into scenes.  In a nutshell, it’s where you can visually compose the elements of your game.  Using Studio is strictly optional ( as is using Visual Studio ) but it can make your life a great deal simpler.

 

The majority of panels are configurable, can be minimized or re-docked in whatever pattern you prefer:

image

 

I am going to cover each panel one at a time.

 

Scene Graph

image

This is where you compose the entities that make up your game.  All game elements are entities, which in turn are containers for components, that can themselves consume or use assets.  Don’t worry, we will cover this in more detail later.  Just think of it this way… the Scene Graph is the stuff that composes your world, and all the “stuff” in your game is ultimately an Entity.  In the above screen shot, you can see the default scene created when you create a new project, it consists of a Scene that has a Sphere(Mesh), Ground(Mesh), Camera(Camera), Directional Light(Light) and Skybox(Light) entities.

 

If you create multiple scenes (I’ll show you how shortly), they will appear across the top in tab form.

image

 

This is only panel that cannot be minimized or moved, although it can be resized.  I suppose I should point out that the Scenegraph and 3D view are actually the same window, but they serve very different functions, so I will treat them as a separate windows for this tutorial.

 

You can create new entities using the imageicon, which will drop down the following menu:

image

 

Remember, an Entity is simply a container for Components, all of which have a default component called Transform, that allows them to be positioned in the world.  This means you can create the equivalent of a Point light entity by creating an Empty entity and adding a Light component to it.  We will see the component options later on.  When you create a new entity, it will be created (and automatically selected) in the 3D view:

image

 

Clicking the small magnifying glass beside the entity will automatically focus the 3D view on that entity, zooming in on it.

 

One last important concept to understand is parenting.  If you create a new entity with an entity selected, the new entity will be parented to the selected entity, like so:

Scenegraph_CreateNew

 

The newly created light will now inherit transforms applied to it’s parent, but can also be transformed independently.  The inheritance only goes down the genealogy, not up.

Scenegraph_Parent

 

Solution Explorer

 

image

The ultimate file format for a Paradox project is actually an sln file, in other words, a Visual Studio Solution file.  On top of that, Paradox provides a format for bundling codes and assets together, the package ( pdxpkg file extension ).  The Solution Explorer is where you manage the contents and dependencies of your project.

 

You can create sub folders to better organize your assets:

image

 

Even create entire new packages:

image

 

You can also create new assets directly from the Solution explorer:

image

 

Asset View

 

image

 

The asset view shows you the assets in the currently selected folder from the Solution View.  You can select an Asset (to edit it’s properties in the Property Grid, which we will cover shortly) by left clicking it. 

You can create new assets, or import existing ones, using these two toolbar buttons:

image

You can also import an asset using drag and drop from Windows Explorer:

AssetImport

 

You can also drag and drop Assets to the 3D view to create new Entities.  Here for example is dragging and dropping a 3D model asset.

AssetDragToInstantiate3DView

 

Asset Preview / History / References

These three panels are all actually separate, but by default appear together and are pretty straight forward, so I will cover them as a single entity.  Much of the functionality in these panels requires you to select an asset in the asset view.

Action History

image

Simply a stack of actions you’ve performed.  You can undo/redo using the typical CTRL+Z | CTRL+Y hotkey.  In all honesty, not sure why you would use this panel.  It’s display only, you cant change anything.

 

Asset Preview

image

A handy quick preview of how an asset would look.  The above screenshot is with a material asset selected, you can then pick a geometric shape to apply your material to.  For 3D models, it instead loads a simple model viewer.  Can be controlled via the mouse, scroll wheel zoom, right button pans and left button orbits the camera.

 

References

image

There are two modes of operation for this panel, References and Referencers.  It’s a great way to see what assets/entities use an asset, and in turn, what assets an asset depends on.  The above example is the Referencers tab with the default Sphere material selected, you can see that the Sphere Procedural Model uses this asset.

 

Property Grid

image

 

This is probably the most important panel in Paradox Studio.  The contents are entirely dynamic, depending on what you have selected in the editor.  The above example shows the properties with a Material asset select.  As you can see, numerous material properties can be configured here.  The settings vary from asset type to asset type.  Below for example shows a Model asset selected:

image

 

This nicely illustrates the relationship between assets.  Remember earlier when I selected the Sphere Material and it showed the Procedural Model as a Referencer?  Well this is where that reference was set.  You can see that the material attached is a Sphere Material ( the example I showed earlier in the Property Grid ).  You can easily select these relationships by clicking the Hand icon:

image

 

This will in turn bring up the Asset Picker dialog, and show compatible assets:

image

 

As you can see, you can access the entire solution, in case your asset exists in a different folder or package entirely.

 

The Property Grid functionality changes completely however if you have an Entity from the Scenegraph selected instead of an Asset, like so:

image

 

This is where you can both configure existing, or add new components to your entity.  As I said earlier, Entities are simply containers for components.  The above example is a camera, which you can see is composed of a Transform component and a Camera component.

You can also add new components to an entity using the Add Component button.

image

 

I will cover the entire process in more detail later, including how to do this all using code instead.

 

3D View

image

Finally we have the 3D view ( which technically is the same panel as the Scene graph as mentioned earlier ).  This is a 3D representation of your game world.  As we saw earlier, we can create new instances of an asset by dragging and dropping.  You can also easily select and transform assets in your scene.  If you are comfortable with a 3D application like Max or Maya this concept should be immediately comfortable to you.

 

You can move, rotate and scale using the toolbar across the top. 

image

Or using the following hot keys:

  • Q – Select
  • W – Translate/Move
  • E – Rotate
  • R – Scale

When you select an object, a 3d manipulator widget is displayed, like this one for rotating:

image

Each color corresponds with a particular axis, so the blue circle rotates around the Z axis, green around the Y and red around the X.  You can also use the grey ball in the middle to transform along all 3 axis at the same time.

You can also use these control bar buttons:

image

To configure which coordinates the manipulator should work on, world space, local space, or camera.

 

Misc

image

Across the top of the application is the above toolbar.  The icon on the far left opens the project in Visual Studio.  The grayed out button syncs changes between the two.  The next button enables you to compile your code, Visual Studio is not required.  The play icon enables you to run your game and it will run for the platform selected in the drop down to the right.  The final button enables live scripting, something we will talk about later.

 

image

Using the View menu you can toggle the visibility of every single panel we just discussed.

 

image

Pressing Ctrl + Shift + D or Help Menu->Show Debug Window, brings up the above invaluable tool.  It contains the various logs and handy debugging details as your game runs.  If something goes wrong, this is the first place you should go for details.

 

The Video

 

Programming , , ,

11. August 2015

 

Welcome to the very first tutorial in the Paradox Game Engine tutorial series, this section is going to cover installation and getting started.  The process is in reality incredibly straight forward, so this should be fairly short.  If you are unfamiliar with the Paradox Game Engine, consider starting here for an indepth review of Paradox’s functionality.

 

As with most tutorials on GameFromScratch, this one is also available as an HD video.

 

Getting Started

To get started, of course you are going to need download a few things.

 

Either version of Visual Studio will work.  If you don’t have a license, remember the community edition is free for small teams and people who make less than $1million per year in revenue.  You don’t specifically need to have Visual Studio installed, Paradox actually ships a copy of MSBuild and the .NET framework includes the C# compiler.  If you want to instead use your favorite text editor, that is an option.  These tutorials are all going to assume you are using Visual Studio however.

 

If you are going to be using Visual Studio, and don’t already have it installed, make sure it is installed before installing Paradox, as part of the Paradox installation will install a plugin to Visual Studio.  I am not going to go through the Visual Studio installation process; however if you choose strictly default settings, it will work out just fine.

 

Once you have Visual Studio installed, make sure you run it at least once to allow it to do some late step configurations.  This may not be strictly necessary, but better safe than sorry.

 

Next run the Paradox Installer you downloaded earlier.

image

 

The install process is extremely straight forward, basically just asking you which shortcuts you wish to create.  Once complete, the Paradox Launcher will be run.  This is the application you use to create new or open existing Paradox projects, as well as managing which version of Paradox you have installed:

image

 

It will now detect that you don’t have an SDK installed ( assuming you don’t have a prior install ), when prompted, choose yes:

image

 

It will then ask if you wish to install the Visual Studio integration, again click yes:

image

 

Your Paradox install should now be complete.

 

Creating Your First Project

 

Now that Paradox is installed and configured, let’s create our first project.  In the Launcher, click the big purple Start button,  your actual version number could obviously differ from mine.

image

 

This will launch the New/Open Project dialog.  You may notice there are several examples you can load.  In this case we are going to create a new project instead. 

image

 

The only thing to be aware of here is when naming your game, be sure to use a C# namespace friendly value.  For example, Game3D works, but 3DGame will work here, but then blow up when you get to the project in Visual Studio.  For a very detailed description of what’s allowed and what’s not in a C# variable see here.  Simple rule of thumb however, don’t start with a number or punctuation other than an underscore and keep away from oddball characters and you should be good.

 

Once you click the Select button, you will be taken to another dialog:

image

 

Here you can choose which platforms you want to support.  You may notice that Windows Store and Windows Phone are both showing “The Requirements to build for this platform are not met on this machine”, that is because I do not have the proper signing keys configured.  The value “Windows 10” might also be a bit confusing, as a normal “Windows” project will run just fine on a Windows 10 machine.  In this case “Windows 10” refers to the now renamed Universal apps, that enable your code to run on desktop and mobile Windows platforms.  It’s also important to note that Android and iOS development require a Xamarin license.

 

The final options are for configuring the starting graphics configuration as well as the starting orientation.  Once done, click OK.  This will then launch Paradox Studio:

image

 

Paradox creates a simple preconfigured scene for you.  Most importantly it sets up all the graphics configuration for you.  Feel free to delete everything from the scene, although I would recommend keeping at least the camera initially.

 

You can now test that your Visual Studio integration works properly.  In the toolbar you should see this:

image

 

If you have multiple versions of Visual Studio installed, you should be able to select which one you wish to use.  In my case I have only Visual Studio 2015 installed.  Either click the version you want to run, or the toolbar Visual Studio icon for the default.   Visual Studio should now open with your project displayed:

image

 

Looking in Solution Explorer you should see a project ending in .Game, as well as one project per platform you selected.  The .Game project is where the majority of your game logic will go, while platform specific initialization code will go in each platform project, if required that is.  You should also now see a new menu Paradox if you install completed correctly:

image

 

That’s it.  Paradox is now up and running and you’ve created your first project.  Stay tuned for the next part where we take a tour of Paradox Studio.

 

The Video

 

Programming , , ,

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 , ,

4. August 2015

ParadoxHeader

EDIT -- Paradox is now Xenko Game Engine and is available at xenko.com.  Everything else should remain the same however.

In this Closer Look At we look at take a look at the Paradox Game Engine.  The Closer Look At game engine series is a cross between an overview, a review and a getting started tutorial to help you decide if a game engine is the right fit for you.  The Paradox game engine is a C# based, open sourced, cross platform 2d/3d game engine that runs on Windows and can target Windows platforms, iOS, Android and soon the PlayStation 4.  Now let’s jump right in and see if Paradox is the right engine for you.

 

This review is also available in HD video right here.

 

First off, if you are just starting out, let me save you some time.  No, Paradox is not the right engine for you.  At least, not yet it isn’t.  The same is true if you aren’t willing to deal with an unstable and developing API or less than great documentation.  This is very much an engine under development and it shows.  There is however much here to love as you will soon see.

 

Overview

 

As mentioned earlier, Paradox is a Windows based game engine capable of targeting Windows, Windows Universal, Windows Phone, plus iOS and Android using Xamarin.  PlayStation 4, Mac and Linux support are listed as coming soon.  Paradox provides an editor but is built primarily on interop with Visual Studio which for small teams or individuals is now thankfully free.  I tested with both Visual Studio 2013 and Visual Studio 2015 without issue.

 

The engine itself is impressively full featured:

  • Paradox Studio 3D editor
  • Target Windows, Windows 10, Windows Phone, Android, iOS and coming soon PlayStation 4, Linux and MacOS
  • Tight integration with Visual Studio
  • Broad 2D and 3D file support, asset management
  • 2D and 3D engines
  • Pre-generated and dynamic font support
  • 2D frame based and 3D bone/blended animation
  • Full customizable rendering pipeline
  • Physics via the Bullet Physics Library
  • Shader support via composition with inheritance and mixin support
  • Target both HLSL and GLSL
  • Complete UI system with text, images, scrolling, modals, 9patch, scrolling, etc
  • Layout system including canvas, grid, panel, stack panel and uniform grid controls
  • music (mp3) and sound effect support with positional support
  • mouse, keyboard, touch (with gestures) and gamepad input support

 

Paradox is currently available for free.  The source code is also available on Github under the GPL license.  Please note the GPL license is incredibly restrictive in what you can do using the source ( must release all changes and derived source code! ) and is by far the open source license I like the least.  You do not however have to release source code if you link to the binary versions.  They also negotiate source licenses if the GPL doesn’t work for you.  I do believe that the source license is under review, or at least was.

 

Getting Started

 

Getting started with Paradox is easy, start by downloading the installer available here.  When you run the launcher it will install the newest version of the SDK as well as the Visual Studio plugin.  You can update the SDK and re-install the plugin using the launcher.

image

 

Assuming you are running for the first time, click the big purple “Start” button in the top left corner.  By default the launcher will be left open unless you click “Close the launcher after starting Paradox” option.

Next you will be taken to the New/Open Project dialog:

image

 

As you can see, there are a wealth of samples you can get started with, or you can create your own New Game or Package.  We will be creating a new package.  These samples however are absolutely critical, as they are probably the primary source of reliable/current documentation when using Paradox.


Let’s select New Game:

image

 

Fill in the relevant information and click Select

image

 

Next we select the Platforms we want to support as well as our targeted graphic fidelity and default orientation.

image

 

Your project will now be created, bringing you  to Paradox Studio.

 

Paradox Studio

 

Meet Paradox Studio:

image

 

The above screenshot demostrates the default starting scene that will be generated for you when creating a new project.  There are a few things to realize right away… first, none of the above is required.  You could remove everything and create your game entirely in code.  Of course you will generally be creating more work for yourself if you do.  Let’s run our default application.  Choose your application and press the play or debug icon:

image

 

When you hit either button, Visual Studio is invoked via MSBuild and your project is compiled and run (Visual Studio does not need to be open, but it must be installed).  And here is the default application running:

image

 

Now let’s take a look at the various components of Paradox Studio. 

image

 

This is the scene graph of your world.  Using the * icon you can instance new entities:

image

 

You can create hierarchies of entities by selecting one then creating a child using the * icon:

image

 

In Paradox all items that exist in the game’s scene graph derive from the Entity class.  Paradox is a component based game engine and the entity class is basically a component container coupled with spatial information.

 

Below the Scene Graph is the Solution Explorer:

image

 

Somewhat interestingly, the Paradox game engine uses the Visual Studio Solution (sln) as their top level project format.  If you look in the project folder you will see YourProj.sln, then a folder hierarchy containing your code, assets, etc.  Outside of creating new packages and folders, there isn’t a ton of reason to use the Solution Explorer, at least so far as I can figure out.

 

Next up is the Asset View:

image

 

This is where you can see and select the various assets that compose your game.  They can be organized into folders to keep the mess to a minimum.  You can instantiate and asset by simply dragging it to the 3D view.  You can also import existing assets and create new assets using this window.  Creating a new asset once again involves clicking the * icon:

image

 

The views across the right are context sensitive.  If you select an asset in the Asset View, it’s properties (if any) will be exposed in the Property Grid:

image

 

The above show a portion of the settings that can be configured for a Material.

 

Below the Property Grid is the References/Preview/History panel.  References shows you either all of the objects that reference, or are referenced by the selected object:

image

 

Action History is simply a recently performed task history:

image

 

While Asset Preview enables you to see your asset in action, for example your material applied to teapot:

image

It’s a fully zoom/pan-able 3D view.

 

The property grid however performs double duty.  When selecting an instanced object ( from either the scene graph or the 3D view ) as opposed to a template from the Asset View you will have complete different options available:

image

 

This is where you configure or add new components on your entity.  Public properties of a component will have the appropriate fields available.  Click Add Component to add a new component to your entity:

image

 

Keep in mind that components that were already added ( such as Light and Transform in this case ) will not be displayed.

Components can in turn have Assets attached to them:

image

 

Click the hand icon and the asset chooser dialog is shown:

image

 

Finally we have the 3D View.

Paradox3DView

 

The 3D View can be used to create and position the various entities in your scene.  As you can see in the image above, the 3D view provides the traditional transformation widgets from the 3D graphics world.  It also uses the traditional QWERT hot keys for selection,transform, rotate and scale that Maya made famous.  The view can be zoomed using the mouse wheel or Alt + RMB, panned with middle mouse button and orbited using RMB.  You also have the ability to toggle between local, camera and global coordinates as well as snap to the grid.

 

One oddly missing component however is axis markers, making navigation a bit more difficult than it should be.

 

For the most part the editor does it’s job.  Occasionally it can become a bit unresponsive and I’ve had to restart it a few times to sync changes between it and Visual Studio.  The primary purpose of the editor is to add and manage assets in your game, to position them in space.  As I mentioned earlier, usage is entirely optional.  There are however a few glaringly missing features, such as the ability to see and manipulate collision volumes ( you can create them, just oddly not see them ) or the ability to create nav visibility meshes.

 

The Coding Experience

 

So far we’ve only seen the project creation and configuration components of Paradox3D, however it’s when you leave Paradox Studio that is either going to make you love or loathe Paradox.  As I mentioned earlier, the ultimate project type of Paradox is a Visual Studio solution.  Paradox is designed to work hand in hand with Visual Studio.  In the main editor you should see this button:

image

 

Clicking the Visual Studio logo will automatically open your project in Visual Studio, in my case Visual Studio 2015 (which is supported, along with 2013 and I believe 2010).  Here is our default project:

image

 

Hmmm… not a lot of code here… in fact there is only one file, our platform specific bootstrap.  Obviously there would be one such project for each platform you selected when you created your game.  The code contained within is certainly not huge:

 

using SiliconStudio.Paradox.Engine;

namespace DemoOh
{
    class DemoOhApp
    {
        static void Main(string[] args)
        {
            using (var game = new Game())
            {
                game.Run();
            }
        }
    }
}

 

This file implements your specific platform’s main and simply creates an instance of the Game class, then calls Run().

 

Well then, how exactly do we code our game?  Well that’s where the component based nature of our game comes in.  In your Game project, add a new class like I did here with ExampleScript.cs:

image

 

There are a couple choices of the type of script you can create depending on your needs.  For a game object that is updated by the gameloop you have a choice between an asynchronous script using C# async functionality, or a more traditional synchronous script, which implements an update() method that is called each frame.  There is also a Startup Script that is called when the engine is created but not on a frame by frame basis.

 

I’ll implement a simple SyncScript for this example, as it’s the most familiar if you are from another game engine. 

 

using System;
using SiliconStudio.Paradox.Engine;

namespace DemoOh
{
    public class ExampleScript : SyncScript
    {
        public override void Update()
        {

            if (Game.IsRunning)
            {
                if (Input.IsKeyDown(SiliconStudio.Paradox.Input.Keys.Left))
                {
                    this.Entity.Transform.Position.X -= 0.1f;
                }
                if (Input.IsKeyDown(SiliconStudio.Paradox.Input.Keys.Right))
                {
                    this.Entity.Transform.Position.X += 0.1f;
                }
            }
        }
    }
}
 
This script simply checks to see if the game is running, if it is we check to see if the left or right arrow key are down.  If either is, we move along the X axis accordingly.  Since all entities have a Transform component, this script can now be attached to any Entity we create in the world, either programmatically, or using Paradox Studio.  One very cool thing about these scripts is you have code access to 100% of the underlying engine.  One VERY important thing to notice before moving along is the public modifier on our class!  If you do not make your class public, it wont be scene as an option in studio!  Now do a build in Visual Studio to make sure your code compiles. (Ctrl + Shift + B )
 
Now let’s take a look at the process of attaching this script to an entity in Paradox Studio.
 
First in 3D View or the Scene Graph, select an object we are going to attach the script to.  Personally I am using the default sphere that was created.
 
image
 
 
With the Entity selected, in the Property Grid we should now be able to attach a Component.  Select it then add a Script component.
 
image
 
 
Scroll down to the Script section and your newly created script should now be available.  Click the + icon next to the List, then choose your script:
 
ParadoxSelectScript
 
 
If for some reason the script doesn't show up as an option:
  • verify it compiled successfully in Visual Studio
  • if it did, then verify it’s set as public
  • if it is, then reload your project in Paradox:

image

 

There are enough common bugs in Paradox Studio that a Reload will fix.  It’s annoying but quickly becomes second nature.

 

Now that your script is attached to a Script component, you can run the application and see you can now update the sphere position using the arrow keys.  Also not, you don’t have to run from Paradox Studio, after you make the edits in Studio, make sure to save your project, then in you can also run in Visual Studio using F5 or by hitting the Start/Debug toolbar.

ParadoxGameRunning1

 

The Documentation and Community

 

As mentioned earlier, this is where it all starts to go a bit wrong with Paradox.  There is full documentation, including getting started guides and reference materials, all available online only.  There is also a forum as well as a stack overflow style answers site.

 

The biggest challenge is with the engine being beta and under active development, much of the documentation is simply wrong.  What remains is often sparse at best.  Frankly the samples are going to be your primary learning source for now.  Of course the game engine is open source and available on github, just be sure to read up on the license thoroughly.

 

Conclusion

 

I think the Paradox Engine has the potential to be a great engine.  It is certainly not for beginners, not by a mile.  All of the functionality you require to create a game is in there, with a few glaring exceptions.  The rendering engine is extremely nice and I personally liked the programming model, of course I like component based engines, so I was bound to enjoy it.  The documentation however is…  yeah, not good.


I did however enjoy Paradox enough that I think I am going to do a tutorial series to help others get started with it.  Of course, I will suffer the same problems that Paradox do, a changing code base is going to break my work constantly.  So I am going to try and focus on smaller more bite sized tutorials.  Let me know if you are interested.

 
 
 

The Video

Programming ,

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.

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Unity Release Patch 5.5.2p3
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17. March 2017

 

Unity have released a new patch, this one bringing the Unity game engine to version 5.5.2p3.  The patch is composed entirely of fixes including:

Fixes
  • (868587) - Animation : Fixed a race condition in the legacy animation system which could cause a crash if a GameObject and an Animation assigned to that GameObject were deleted in the same frame.
  • (864273) - Editor: Fixed an issue with deselect of single selected item in hierarchy with ctrl/cmd+click.
  • (864246) - Editor: Fix for time not updating in Editor if play mode is entered and then exited while paused.
  • (861345) - Editor: Fixed an issue with vertex snapping jumping to extreme values in isometric view.
  • (858292) - GI : Fix for lightmaps not being loaded in a standalone player when loading scene through an AssetBundle.
  • (862215) - GI : Fix for lightprobe gizmos being rendered too bright in Linear color space.
  • (none) - Graphics : Fixed D3D12 cubemap mip generation.
  • (868935) - Scripting: Fixed MonoBehaviour array field with initializer getting resized to 0 by serialization.
  • (none) - Tizen: Fixed a crash that occurred when an app tried to exit.
  • (858645) - UI : Fixed the issue of fonts created at runtime not showing up when added to text.
  • (none) - VR: Updated Oculus to version 1.12. This fixed a GearVR timeout issue.
  • (886630) - Windows: Fixed the logging code in the Windows Editor/Standalone player so that messages got printed at once instead of one byte at the time.

 

As always you can download the patch here.  In addition to the patch Unity released an updated post outlining the future of their networking support for the Unity engine.

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