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22. January 2019


The “no programming required” game engine Stencyl recently released version 4.  This version adds HTML5 support to replace Flash targets, iOS 12 and Mac OS Mojave support, improved performance and tons of bug fixes.  If you are interested in learning more about Stencyl, be sure to check out our Closer Look series or the video embedded below.


Details of the new release from the release notes:

Compatibility:
- Added support for Java 9+
- Works with Xcode 9 and 10
- Fixes issues with macOS High Sierra through macOS Mojave
- Supports latest iPhones and iPads
- Android API 28
x Dropped support for 32-bit linux systems.

Toolset Performance:
- Large games open faster and take less memory.
- Saving games has less overhead.

Engine Performance:
- New binary file format to make games load faster with telemetry running.
- Use tweenxcore instead of Actuate so the engine can handle more tweening.
- Performance updates with the OpenFL update.
x The drawing event can be slower on platforms other than Flash.

Compiling Games:
- Set the targets you want in the "test game" dropdown.
- New compilation errors window.
- Added HXCPP Compile Cache to speed up C++ compilation.
- Open external IDEs (VS Code, HaxeDevelop, and Xcode) from within Stencyl.
  No need for external Haxe install.

Extension:
- Allow engine extensions to be linked to external folders.
- Localizable Engine Extensions.

New Toolset Features:
- Copy and Paste in Scene Designer

New Blocks:
- get position of item in list
- set font spacing
- fade sound to percent
- go to position in sound
- pan sound
- unmap gamepad controls
- set collision response of two groups
- set screen size
- get / set scale mode
- get / set window scale
- enable / disable scaling of Image API drawing
- create new tile layer

Improved HTML5 Support
Improvements to game scaling, especially entering / exiting fullscreen.
More support for filters and blend modes on non-Flash targets
Integrated consent forms for GDPR-compliance when using AdMob

[Beta Feature] Game Controller:
- Game Controller allows the toolset to communicate with the engine while testing games.
- Run commands
  - Reset a running game
  - Load a specific scene
  - Reload game configuration (size, scaling, settings, etc)
- Logging
  - Per-game-session logging, for cleaner output
  - Jump to source print block, or source of error
- Live Coding (advanced)
  - Execute arbitrary Haxe code while the game is running
- Auto-update Running Games
  - Modify pre-existing resources while testing a game
  - Scenes (reloads the scene if it's currently being tested)
  - Actor Type animations, backgrounds, fonts, etc
  - Configuration (game size, controls, fps monitor, debug drawing, etc)

GameDev News


19. January 2019


Originally devised as a series of backer rewards for the crowd funding of the game Dirty Body, Splash Damage Studio just released the design document, art book and complete soundtrack for free for everyone.


Details of the release from the Dirty Bomb website:

Many moons ago, prior to the rise of Kickstarter, we launched a crowdfunding campaign for Dirty Bomb. Three of the rewards, Dirty Bomb’s Game Design Document, Artbook and Original Soundtrack were promised at the full release of the game to the people who pledged money to support the title during that campaign, our ‘Founders.’

We’ve spoken with our Founders and they respected our wish to make those three things available to everyone.

So here they are.

The Design Document is a 315pg PDF file and can be downloaded here.

The art book is a 59 page PDF file that can be downloaded here.

While the soundtrack is a zip file that can be downloaded here.

Design GameDev News


18. January 2019


Inkscape have hit a major milestone with their first public 1.0 release, Inkscape 1.0 alpha 1.  Inkscape 1.0 comes with several new features, not the the least of which is improved performance. 


Key features from the Inkscape WIP release notes:

  • Themeing support
  • Origin in top left corner (optional)
  • Canvas rotation and mirroring
  • Better hidpi screen support
  • Control width of PowerStroke with pressure sensitive graphics tablet
  • Fillet/chamfer LPE and (lossless) Boolean Operation LPE
  • New PNG export options
  • Path operations and deselection of a large number of paths are much faster now
  • Variable fonts (only if compiled with pango library version >= 1.41.1)

Along side the 1.0 alpha, Inkscape 0.92.4 was also released:

  • Align multiple objects as a group relative to a single object
  • Write image data to standard output and read from it
  • Experience extensions working faster within complex documents
  • See improved speed when deselecting a path with many nodes
  • Ungroup text elements won’t result in changed font size of children
  • Able to print and / or print correct paper size with printers (especially Canon, EPSON, Konica Minolta)
  • See improved performance of the measure tool when grids are visible
  • See proper opacity of partially transparent embedded bitmap images in PDF export
  • Able to Shift/Ctrl-click on control handles of shapes without crashing
  • Build Inkscape with up-to-date poppler library 0.72.0 – useful for Mac users building with Homebrew

For Windows or Mac users, you unfortunately have to build the 1.0 alpha from sources available here, with build instructions available here.

GameDev News Art


16. January 2019


The ongoing saga of Unity vs Improbable has finally come to an end, with Unity reinstating Improbable’s Unity licenses, rewriting the controversial Section 2.4 of their EULA and also implementing a change so EULA/Terms of Service agreements are perpetual to the attached Unity version.  This change makes developers mostly immune to retroactive EULA updates, a big point of contention in this entire ordeal.  If this entire event is new to you, you can read about how it started here, then how Unity responded here, how Unreal Engine took advantage here and finally an update from Improbable on how their technology worked with Unity here.   With the clarifications from Unity, I think we can declare this entire conflict resolved.

Unity blog on the update to the terms of service:

Today we have updated our Terms of Service, Section 2.4. The language is at the bottom of this post.

The TOS update highlights that developers can use any third party service that integrate into Unity.

Some of these services will be supported, others will not.

The distinction is that with a supported service, we understand the technology. We make sure the service and Unity work better together for developers. We also ensure that the supported service always runs well on the latest version of our software, so we can help future proof your project in Unity and ensure access to the latest tech.

Additionally we have created, and will continue to create our own services. We will integrate our own services, but we will not block developers from using competitive third-party services.

Details on the change regarding retroactive terms of service changes:

When you obtain a version of Unity, and don’t upgrade your project, we think you should be able to stick to that version of the TOS.

In practice that is only possible if you have access to bug fixes. Thus, we now allow users to continue to use the TOS for the same major (year based) version number, including Long Term Stable (LTS) builds that you are using in your project.

Moving forward, we will host TOS changes on Github to give developers full transparency to what changes are happening, and when. The link is https://github.com/Unity-Technologies/TermsOfService.

And finally, an update on the status of Improbable:

Today’s change in our TOS means Improbable is no longer in breach by providing you a service, and that we are able to reinstate their licenses. But we do not consider them a partner, and cannot vouch for how their service works with Unity as we have no insight into their technology or how they run their business.

We know Improbable was in violation even before the December TOS update and misrepresented their affiliation with us. Although SpatialOS is not a supported third-party service, it can continue to be used for development and shipping games.

We are holding an AMA on r/Unity3d at 10 a.m. PST to discuss this TOS update in more detail.

And finally, the new and much improved section 2.4:

Unity developers are free to use any service offered to Unity developers (each, a “Third Party Service”).  Unity does not have any obligation to provide support for any Third Party Service provider or Third Party Service under this Agreement.

Third Party Service providers may not, without Unity’s express written permission: (1) use a stylized version of any Unity name, trademark, logos, images or product icons, or other Unity-owned graphic symbols; (2) use a product name confusingly similar to a Unity product or that could be construed by Unity developers as being a Unity product or service; or (3) create or use any marketing materials that suggest an affiliation with, or endorsement by, Unity.  All use of Unity’s trademarks must comply with Unity’s Trademark Guidelines.

This… is why you never watch the sausage being made… it ain’t pretty until it’s done, but in the end, you’ve got a delicious sausage I suppose.

GameDev News


15. January 2019


Today Autodesk have released the 2019 edition of both Maya and the stripped down indie edition, Maya LT.  The big theme of the 2019 release is performance, with 2019 having performance improvements across the entire application, from start up and selection speed, to animation playback improvements.  This release also includes tools to better track how Maya is using your computers resources, including Evaluation Toolkit and Profiler, which should help you track down bottlenecks to your scene’s performance.

Details from the Maya 2019 release notes:

This release focuses on letting you work faster than ever before through new workflows and numerous performance enhancements.

A myriad of improvements to Viewport 2.0 enhance its performance when doing everything from loading scenes to selecting objects, to handling dense meshes.

Additionally, cached playback speeds up your ability to preview animation changes by intelligently redrawing only what's changed rather than updating the entire scene. This greatly improves viewport playback performance, removing the need to constantly playblast your scenes.

This release also gives you the most powerful tools yet for tracking exactly how Maya is using your computer's resources. New features in the Evaluation Toolkit and Profiler allow you to pinpoint exactly where there may be inefficiencies or problems that are slowing down your scene.

Improvements to Render Setup enable you to better organize your render layers by coloring and isolating them in the Render Setup editor, or by controlling whether lights are included in each layer by default. In addition, more options are available for exporting and importing scene Render Settings and AOVs.

You can also now render Arnold right in the viewport, including all its RenderView options such as Debug Shading, AOVs, and region rendering.

New Graph Editor filters have been added to help you refine animation curves quicker and easier than before.

Plenty of examples and presets have been added to the Content Browser covering a variety of areas, from motion capture, to motion graphics, to characters. Use them as-is, or as a jumping-off point for your own work.

This covers just the top level new features, be sure to consult the full release notes for more information on improvements in the 2019 release:

Maya LT also has a dedicated release notes available here.

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