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13. December 2018


Following a beta release in September, Unity have just released the full version of Unity 2018.3.  The marquee feature of Unity 2018.3 is the new ability to nest prefabs inside other prefabs which will give game developers massive flexibility in how they structure and organize their games and is a feature developers have been asking for since Unity was first released!  Unity 2018.3 also contains major new features to the terrain system which we showcased in this earlier video.  A new GPU powered particle system called Visual Effect Graph is also available in preview format, along with a new isometric tilemap support, HDRP & LWRP improvements, a new Visual Studio Code debugger plugin, improved package manager and settings windows plus much more.


Details of the release from the Unity blog:

Over the years, one of the features we’ve heard you requesting most often has been the ability to nest Prefabs. After conducting numerous interviews, usability tests and research at game jams, however, we found out that a lot of you also needed several other changes to the Prefab workflows. Therefore, we have been improving the whole system with a focus on reusability, control and user-friendliness.

The new Prefab workflows allow you to split up scenes and Prefabs on a granular level. They give you greater flexibility, increase your productivity and enable you to work confidently without worrying about making time-consuming errors.

Continuing our focus on workflow improvements, Unity 2018.3 now has unified Settings windows for Project Settings and Preferences. The new windows are dockable and searchable, which makes it much more convenient to quickly find and change settings.

The default scripting runtime is now .NET 4.x. The old .NET 3.5 runtime has been deprecated and support for it will soon be dropped. Projects that target the .NET 4.x scripting runtime will be able to use the open-source Roslyn compiler.

In this release, we also added a PhysX 3.4 upgrade that comes with improvements to stability and performance as well as support for multiple worlds and C# Job queries.

The world-building 2D Tilemap tool now enables you to build isometric Tilemaps, which makes it easier to create 2D projects such as strategy, tycoons and simulation games.

Unity 2018.3 also ships with an update to the Terrain system, which marks the beginning of a larger overhaul. In this update, our focus has been not only to set the foundation for further improvements with a few tweaks to the UI and tools but also to improve performance. We also added High-Definition Render Pipeline (HDRP) and Lightweight Render Pipeline (LWRP) support.

Unity 2018.3 includes a number of improvements to the HDRP (preview). This version adds preliminary support for VR and multisample anti-aliasing and improves support for PC, Mac, XBox One and PS4. The UI of various Inspectors of HDRP elements is now updated: Camera, Lights, Reflections Probe, and Material. Finally, we added a new lighting model, so you can author more complex materials.

We are also introducing the GPU Progressive Lightmapper in Preview for Windows and several improvements to lighting.

Our new Visual Effect Graph, which ships in Preview as a package, enables you to create beautiful effects using a node-based system that is both easy to use and flexible. Inspired by leading VFX software tools for films, it empowers artists to create stand-out visual effects for games and other projects with millions of particles running on the GPU.

Unity 2018.3 also includes several new features for the existing Particle System. For example, there are Particle Meshes that can now be flipped just like with billboards, Particle Lights that now support Real-time Global Illumination, and the new Ringbuffer Mode, which makes it easier to create persistent effects like footprints or bullet holes by keeping particles visible after their lifetime expires and until they are replaced.

Mobile improvements include Dynamic Resolution Scaling support for Vulkan and Metal, Android AppBundle generation support and faster APK package build times on Android with APKzlib.

For XR, we added Native Support for Daydream Controllers, Haptics APIs for VR controllers, and updates to the AR Foundation as well as XR Performance Testing.

You can read the complete release notes for more details of what is contained in the 2018.3 release.


The following video takes a hands-on and more in-depth look at Unity 2018.3.

GameDev News


13. December 2018


In modern AAA games you often have a staggering amount of control over your character’s creation.  As a game developer you may think, “Why can’t we do this for creating game assets?”.  Simple answer, you can and that’s exactly what Character Creator 3 from Reallusion enables you to do.  Starting from a base mesh you have a staggering amount of control over just about every single visual aspect of your character.  You can flesh this out by adding a variety of clothing items, props, hair and more, all via simple drag and drop.  Best of all, your character is full rigged and ready for export and animating.

This approach to character creation is nothing new, several other packages we have covered in the past such as Fuse, MakeHuman and the recently cancelled Manuel Bastioni Labs all take a very similar approach to character creation.  Character Creator 3 however has some key advantages.  One of the biggest is it’s game engine focus, with the ability to create game friendly meshes (both in terms of polygon count and UV layouts) and export them to a number of game engines and applications including Unreal Engine, Unity, Maya, Max and Blender.  There is also functionality for tweaking your generated mesh right down to the vertex level, substance designer integration for materials, fine level PBR texturing control, templates for creating your own clothing and tools for automatically creating multiple LOD meshes.

Watch Character Creator 3 in action in the video below. 


If you are interested in checking out Character Creator 3, there is a 30 day trial available here.

Until December 31, they are also having a holiday sale with savings up to 50% available here.

Art Design


12. December 2018


Fresh on the heels of releasing their new online store leverage the technologies they developed creating Fortnite, Epic Games have announced plans for a cross-platform online multiplayer game service, that is game engine agnostic and completely free for developers!  Rolling out in stages, it will start life as a C SDK, with Unreal and Unity (yes, that Unity) game engine implementations starting with cloud saves and online storage and adding new features such as logins, achievements, friends lists, voice communications and more as time goes on.

Details of the roll out strategy from the Unreal blog:

The service launch will begin with a C SDK encapsulating our online services, together with Unreal Engine and Unity integrations. We’ll start with a core set of features and expand over time. Specifically:

  • Cross-Platform Login, Friends, Presence, Profile, and Entitlements (coming Q2-Q3 2019 to PC, other platforms throughout 2019): Provides the core functionality for persistently recognizing players across multiple sessions and devices; identifying friends; and managing free and paid item entitlements. This will support all 7 major platforms (PC, Mac, iOS, Android, PlayStation, Xbox, Switch) to the full extent each platform allows per-title.
  • PC/Mac Overlay API (coming Q3 2019): Provides a user interface for login, friends, and other features in a game-agnostic, engine-agnostic way.
  • Cross-Platform Voice Comms (coming Q3 2019 to all platforms): Epic is building a new in-game voice communications service supporting all platforms, all stores, and all engines, which will be available for free. (For developers needing an immediately-available voice solution, check out Discord, Vivox, TeamSpeak, Ventrilo, and Mumble.)
  • Cross-Platform Parties and Matchmaking (coming Q3-4 2019 to all platforms)
  • Cross-Platform Data Storage, Cloud-Saved Games (coming Q2 2019)
  • Cross-Platform Achievements and Trophies (coming Q3 2019)


The services described above are just our first steps. As you can see from our game and engine efforts, we’re also working on further support for user-generated content, enhanced social features, anti-cheat, and more.


Simply put, there has to be a catch here, but I cannot determine exactly what it is.  This could potentially be a massive opportunity for game developers looking to support multiplayer in their game and a huge shot across the bow for technology providers that make their living providing such services now for a fee!

GameDev News


12. December 2018


A new version of AppGameKit was just released today, the logically named 2018.12.12 release.  This release is primarily composed of bug fixes and minor improvements detailed below.  If you are interested in learning more about AppGameKit be sure to check out our somewhat aging Closer Look at AppGameKit for an idea of how this framework works.  Since that was released, AppGameKit has gained a great deal of functionality including AR support, that we demonstrate in this video.


New features and improvements from the 2018.12.12 release:

New Features

  • Added support for animated GIF images with the LoadImage command!
  • Added GetRawJoystickName to return the OS assigned name for a joystick on Windows and Linux
  • Added PlayYoutubeVideo for iOS and Android to play the video in a popup, desktop platforms will open the browser to play it
  • Added ShareFile command for iOs and Android

Fixes

  • Fixed cloud data commands on Android sometimes failing to connect to Google Drive
  • Fixed iOS export with a blank Universal Link field causing the IDE to crash
  • Fixed retina display on Mac causing AppGameKit apps to render in the lower left corner of the window
  • Fixed IPAs exported from the IDE causing errors about transparent icons during upload to iTunesConnect
  • Fixed warning about iOS spash screen being stretched when it was actually fine
  • Increased Android keystore generator certificate validity from 10,000 days to 20,000 days for Google Play store changes
  • Fixed crash when loading a Spirter file that contains an image without a bone parent
  • Fixed Amazon IAP causing a crash at startup



12. December 2018


There is a new Humble Bundle that could be of interest to developers looking for audio and video editing software.  The center piece of the bundle is certainly MAGIX VEGAS Pro 15, a high end video editing package.  While this is one release behind the most current version, it also entitles you to improved upgrade pricing to the most current version should you desire.  VEGAS is not the only item in this bundle however, there is also an audio editor called AUDIO STUDIO, as well as an easier to learn (but compatible with VEGAS) video editor called Movie Studio 15.  Rounding out the bundle are Fastcut, Vegas DVD Architect and HitFilm Movie Essentials.

If you are interested in seeing what you get with this bundle be sure to check the following video that goes hands-on with main software in this bundle and helps you determine if this bundle is right for you.  If you are looking to get into video editing, this is an excellent opportunity while also supporting this channel and charity at the same time.

A bit of a warning during each installation, you will have the option to install other programs during installation such as MAGIX Connect and Music Maker.  Neither are required and both would be considered bloatware by most.  Additionally a valid registered email with Magix is also a requirement to activate your applications.  Additionally you can get a 30 day trial of almost every application in this bundle here.

GameDev News


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