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6. July 2020

Sprytile is a free tile map editor that runs entirely inside Blender, similar in functionality to the recently covered Crocotile 3D.  Over the weekend, Sprytile for the most current Blender 2.8x versions was just released. Details from the Sprytile page:

Sorry for the long long long delay, but finally the official release of Sprytile for Blender 2.8 is out!

All of the work porting Blender to 2.8 was handled by Yonji and Ologon, with Ologon taking the work to the finish line.  Ologon has written a guide on the changes to the Blender 2.8 workflow on the forum.

A major change to the workflow is the use of the Sprytile tools tab in the Tools Sidebar. Open the sidebar by pressing the arrow button on the right of the viewport, or pressing the T key.  Another optional workflow change is setting up the pixel viewport. By default, Blender 2.8 will make your textures look darker without this step, but you might want to skip this if you will be using the color correction functionality of Blender.  Sprytile tools are now part of Blender 2.8's toolbar. To use the 'Get Normal' mode, you just need to press 'N' on the keyboard while in Build mode.

I'm very grateful to the community for porting Sprytile to Blender 2.8 and continuing to showcase the work they make with Sprytile.

Sprytile is available as a free download here, with the documentation available here.  Be sure to note that many things have changed for Blender 2.8, shown in the guide above, or by watching Sprytile in action in the video below.

Art GameDev News

3. July 2020

Flax Engine, an in development closed beta game engine, we first covered in August of 2018, just announced the release of version 0.7 beta.  This is one of the final closed beta releases as the close in on a full 1.0 release and there are some major new features available.

Details from the Flax Engine blog:

Today we have published a new Flax 0.7 update! This version is the second Beta release! We plan to release the final 1.0 version soon.

The newest Beta version makes another great step towards AAA-ready engine with lots of tasty features such as C++ Scripting, PlayStation 4 and Xbox Scarlett support, Gameplay Globals, and shaders hot-reloading.

In this post, we will review the newest update highlights and focus on the most interesting parts. To see detailed information visit the official release notes.

You can learn more about Flax Engine in the video below.

GameDev News

2. July 2020

Allegorithmic (now Adobe) are well known for their excellent Substance Designer and Painter texturing tools have recently released a major update for Alchemist, their Quixel Mixer competitor.  The biggest new feature to Alchemist is the AI driven Image to Material, an image importing option along side the existing B2M functionality.  From the release notes, Image to Material is describe as:

Bring the outside world into your creations. For the first time, tap into the power of AI to convert a simple photograph into a full material with incredible accuracy. No need for complex and expensive photogrammetry equipment; use pictures taken on a holiday or in your backyard, in any lighting condition.

The Image to Material filter will generate a perfect albedo, as well as normal and displacement maps which closely match the original real-life surface.

The release also adds new filters, texture importing and management tools and more.  Substance Alchemist is available as part of a Substance Subscription, and there is a 30 day fully functional trial available here.  You can check out Substance Alchemist and the new features in the hands-on video below.

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30. June 2020

Godot just got a new feature for the upcoming Godot 4.0 release, SDFGI, or Signed Distance Field Global Illumination.  It is described accordingly on the Godot website:

SDFGI stands for Signed Distance Field Global Illumination. It means this technique makes heavy use of Signed Distance Fields (an Euclidean distance based representation of the signed distance function of a grid) to create this lighting.

While implementation is not final, and there will probably be many improvements to quality and performance, it seems to be good enough for general use now.

I would like to thank hugely Matias Goldberg for his enormous help on this, our patrons for their continued support, and Tim Sweeney and Epic Games for their confidence in helping us finance our research via Epic Megagrant. This new technique was developed entirely in the open and implemented under our MIT license, so anyone is welcome to use it in their own engines and games.

Now in terms of what SDFGI actually does:

SDGFI is something akin to a dynamic real-time lightmap (but it does not require unwrapping, nor does it use textures). It's enabled and it automatically works by generating global illumination for static objects. It does not require raytracing, and it runs in most current (and some years old) dedicated GPUs, even medium-end budget CPUs from some years ago (SDFGI was developed and tested on a GeForce 1060, running at a stable 60 FPS).

Light changes are real-time, meaning any change in lighting conditions will result in an immediate update. Dynamic objects are supported only for receiving light from the environment, but they don't contribute to lighting. Some degree of support is planned for this eventually, but not immediately.

In the video below, we look at traditional Global Illumination, then show an example of the new SDFGI, including a small tutorial on how to use it.  Godot creator Juan Linietsky also has a video on his channel about SDFGI should you wish to learn more.

GameDev News

29. June 2020

The open source cross platform C++ powered game engine Wicked Engine, just got raytracing and path tracing support for both DX12 and Vulkan renderers.  Available as both a low level framework for building your own game engine, or as a fully capable engine on it’s own, Wicked Engine boosts the following features:

  • DirectX 11, DirectX 12 & Vulkan renderers
  • Image rendering,animation : 2D,3D space
  • Font rendering (True Type)
  • Networking (UDP)
  • meshes,objects,armatures,animation,materials,lights,hit-spheres,wind,world info,dynamic cameras,ribbon trails,particle systems
  • 3D mesh rendering
  • Skeletal animation
  • Physically based materials
  • Animated texturing
  • Normal mapping
  • Displacement mapping
  • Parallax occlusion mapping
  • Real time planar reflections
  • Cube map reflections (static and real time)
  • Refractions (screen space, blurred)
  • Interactive Water
  • Gaussian Blur
  • Bloom
  • Edge outline
  • Motion Blur
  • Lens Flare
  • Light shafts
  • Bokeh Depth of Field
  • Chromatic aberration
  • Multithreaded rendering
  • Tessellation (silhouette smoothing, displacement mapping)
  • GPU-based particles (emit from point, mesh, animated mesh)
  • Soft particles
  • Hair particle systems (grass/vegetation)
  • Instanced rendering
  • MSAA (Forward rendering only)
  • FXAA
  • TAA (Temporal Antialiasing)
  • Supersampling
  • Deferred shading
  • Directional lights + cascaded shadow maps
  • Spotlights + shadow maps
  • Point lights + shadow cubemaps
  • Soft shadows (PCF)
  • BULLET Physics: rigid body, soft body
  • 3D Audio (Xaudio2)
  • Input: keyboard, mouse, controller (rawinput, xinput), touch
  • Controller feedback (vibration, LED)
  • Backlog: log,input,scripting
  • Gamma correct, HDR rendering
  • Resource Manager
  • Screen Space Ambient Occlusion (SSAO, HBAO, MSAO)
  • Screen Space Reflections
  • Skin shader (Subsurface scattering)
  • Stencil layering
  • Deferred decals
  • Forward decals
  • Color Grading
  • Sharpen filter
  • Eye adaption
  • Lua Scripting
  • Dynamic environment mapping
  • Impostor system
  • Tiled forward (Forward+) rendering (+2.5D culling)
  • Tiled deferred rendering
  • Occlusion culling with GPU queries
  • Texture atlas packing
  • Tiled decals
  • Area lights: Sphere, Disc, Rectangle, Tube
  • Frame Profiler
  • Voxel Global Illumination
  • Huge draw distance support with reversed Z-buffer
  • Force Fields GPU simulation
  • Particle - Depth Buffer collisions
  • Ocean simulation (FFT)
  • Translucent shadows
  • Refraction caustics
  • Local parallax-corrected environment maps
  • Volumetric light scattering
  • Smooth Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) Fluid Simulation
  • Ray tracing, path tracing (on GPU)
  • Entity-Component System (Data oriented design)
  • Lightmap baking (with GPU path tracing)
  • Job system
  • Inverse Kinematics
  • Springs
  • Terrain Rendering (material blending)

Wicked Engine is open source under the MIT license is and is available here on GitHub.  You can learn more about Wicked Engine in the video below.

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