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20. May 2014

Today RoboVM announced release 0.0.13, adding bindings for a large number of iOS libraries. What you may ask is RoboVM? Well, confusing enough it is not a virtual machine like the name would suggest. Instead it's an ahead of time compiler allowing you to run Java applications on the iOS platform. There are already a number of shipped titles using RoboVM on the App Store.

 

 

As to what's in release 0.0.13:

Today we have the pleasure to announce that version 0.0.13 of RoboVM has been released. Here are the most important changes in this release:

Support for many new CocoaTouch frameworks have been added: Accounts, AdSupport, AssetsLibrary, CoreLocation, MediaPlayer, MessageUI, QuickLook, PassKit, SafariServices, Social, StoreKit and Twitter. A big thanks to Dominik (BlueRiverInteractive) for helping out with these bindings! We've added a page on the RoboVM wiki which tracks the status of the bindings for each of Apple's CocoaTouch frameworks.

The old CocoaTouch bindings have now been properly deprecated using @Deprecated. The old bindings will be removed in the next release so now is a good time to migrate if you haven't already.

A nasty bug in the Obj-C bridge which could cause crashes on deallocation of Obj-C objects have been fixed. (#337)

The object file cache didn't work properly for classes in JAR files built in different timezones. (#339)

UIAlertView now works properly on iOS 7. (#195)

The 0.0.13 release can be downloaded from the Eclipse Marketplace or from the RoboVM home page. Also, it has been pushed to Maven Central. Version 0.0.13.1 of the RoboVM Maven plugin has also been pushed and will soon be available in Maven Central.

 

You can read the entire release right here although I quoted most of the relevant bits above. Oh yeah, they are also hiring if you happen to live near Gothenburg.

 


16. May 2014

 

Unreal just announced the contents of the upcoming 4.2 update.  I’m not sure when exactly it is going to be dropping ( I am downloading a 1.3GB update as we speak, but I don’t think it’s 4.2 ).  Regardless there is a stupid (good) amount of content in this update:

 

NEW: SAMPLE VEHICLE GAME

Vehicles are now fully supported in Unreal Engine! To celebrate we’ll be releasing a really cool sample game that demonstrates a fun off-road racing experience!  This will be available for free on the Marketplace with 4.2.

New Sample Vehicle Game

  • Out of the box support for 4WD, FWD, and RWD drive trains.
  • The default drive train simulation assumes 4 wheels; however it will work with any number of wheels.
  • As many gears you desire.
  • Automatic and semi-manual transmissions.
  • And it is all completely exposed to Blueprints!

Mechanical Setup for Vehicle Game

  • Full documentation on setting up a vehicle will be available on the release of 4.2
NEW: STYLIZED RENDERING SAMPLE

The Stylized Rendering sample will be available on the Marketplace for free! This sample showcases the rendering flexibly of Unreal Engine 4.

Stylized Rendering Sample

NEW: CAMERA ANIMATION SYSTEM!

Support for CameraAnims has now been added into Unreal Engine 4! These are very similar to CameraAnims from Unreal Engine 3, but now expanded with Blueprint support.

  • Conceptually, a CameraAnim is simply an animation that can be layered onto the in-game camera.  You can animate the camera position and rotation, FOV, and post process settings.
  • They can be created in the Content Browser, you can convert a track in Matinee to one, or you can import keyframes from external tools like Maya

CameraAnim System

  • To edit a CameraAnim, simply double click the asset in the Content Browser like you would any other asset. The CameraAnim editor is slightly customized version of Matinee. 
  • Multiple CameraAnimInsts (up to 8 currently) can be active at once, all blending and contributing to the final camera settings.
NEW: USER-DEFINED STRUCTURES FOR BLUEPRINTS

User Defined Structures are a brand new asset that is now available for use from within the editor!

A User Defined Structure can be created in the Content Browser.

User-Define Structures in Blueprints

They can be edited in the standalone editor by double clicking them in the Content Browser. Once you are done editing them, you can create a variable of a type of your newUser Defined Structure in your Blueprints.

Content Browser Blueprints

Like vectors, rotators, and other structures, your User Defined Structure will have Makeand Break nodes. User Defined Structures should behave like native structures: USTRUCT(BlueprintType).

NEW: BLUEPRINT FUNCTION LIBRARY

Users can now create a blueprint function library asset!  This allows you to create a nice library of Blueprint functions that can be used throughout your project!

Blueprint Library

Unlike the Blueprint Macro Library, Blueprint Function Libraries don’t require a Parent Class, and are able to be called by all Blueprints in the current project.

NEW: FABRIK INVERSE KINEMATICS SOLVER

FABRIK stands for Forward And Backward Reaching Inverse Kinematic.  It’s an IK solver that works on a chain of bones of any arbitrary length!

Fabrik Inverse Kinematics Solver

  • End Effector settings are the same as our TwoBone_IK node. It can be an absolute Transform, or a relative one (based on another bone from the same Skeleton).
  • In the Solver section, you define the chain of bones to use, from the ‘Root’ to the ‘Tip’. The ‘Tip’ will try to reach the end effector location.
  • End Effector Rotation Source allows you to control the rotation (maintain component space, local space, match end effector target rotation).
  • Precision is how close it needs to get. The lower, the more precise it gets to the End Effector Target, but the more expensive. (Although from tests it does a really nice job, and much quicker than the CCD_IK node).
  • MaxIterations is there to control performance, and make sure edge cases will not take frame rate down.

Thanks to GitHub community member Stephen Whittle for this feature!

NEW: CANVAS RENDER TARGETS

You can now draw Canvas UI straight to a texture, and then map that texture to objects in your scene!

  • This is fully supported by both C++ and Blueprint workflows. 
  • A special thanks to community member James Tan for submitting this.
NEW: VEHICLE TEMPLATE

We have a new project template that gives a simple automobile to start your new vehicle-based project with.  Both Blueprint and C++ versions of this template will be included with 4.2!

Vehicle Template

NEW: ANIMATION BLUEPRINT ASSET OVERRIDE EDITOR

Persona now has the ability to override the assets used in Play and Evaluate nodes in parent animation blueprints from a child blueprint.

The editor for this can be found in the Window menu in Persona:

Asset OVerride

The editor collects all of the nodes that can have their animation asset overridden. New assets can be picked from the pickers on the right of the panel. This works with longer inheritance chains too and shows the most appropriate defaults for that blueprint based upon the blueprints further up in the hierarchy. Finally, the “eye” button will link you to the AnimGraph node you are overriding:

AnimGraph

NEW: IMPROVED ANIM NOTIFY EDITOR

Multi-select support for Anim Notifies has been added into Persona! Shift + click adds to selection, and Ctrl + click toggles a notify selection.

You can drag the selection around and it will remain within the notify panel while obeying snaps:

Image Notifier

Copy/Paste works with groups too with a number of options:

You can paste them at the absolute, relative, or original time, in relation from where they were copied.

NEW: BLUEPRINT CUT AND PASTE FOR COMPONENTS

Cut/Copy/Paste commands have now been added to Components mode!

Blueprints Cute/Paste

  • Select individual components and either right-click or use keyboard Cut/Paste commands to copy or move components around!.
  • You can cut/copy components from one Blueprint and paste them right into another Blueprint!

If the selection includes a hierarchy, it will be preserved in the pasted copy!

NEW: EXPERIMENTAL MATH EXPRESSION NODE FOR BLUEPRINTS

There is a new experimental plugin available for the Math Expression Node for Blueprints. This node enables you to simply type in an expression and it will make the input pins, output pins, and a collapsed graph that contains your math expression.

Experimental Math Expression Node

  • To use this node, simply activate the Math Expression plugin in the plugin manager. It will then appear in the right click context menu of the Blueprint Graph Editor
  • Once created, type in your expression. If you make a mistake, you can edit the expression by renaming the node.
NEW: UV PARALLAX FOR SPLINETHICKEN MATERIAL FUNCTION

You can now add UV parallax to materials using the SplineThicken Material Function.  This makes it look like your object is round!

SlineThicken Example

  • The normals part of the function has been re-touched and they are now transforming correctly for all object rotations. This gives accurate lighting and specular!

New inputs:

  • UVs for Thickness (V2): This lets you specify a different UV channel for storing the thickness (tip to base) gradient. Useful to have this on UV1 or 2 for trees where there might be an overall tree length included not just a single pipe or branch etc.
  • UVs for Texturing (V2): This is the UVs for any textures you want applied to the pipe. You need to include and scale math here so it knows how much to parallax by. This is only needed if you want the 3D parallax correction results.
  • DeriveNormalZ (Bool): When checked, the shader will use DeriveNormalZ to compute the height of the normal. Gives much nicer ‘round’ shape. When false, 0.62 is assumed which is the average height of half a sphere centered at 0. If you want to use CustomUVs to solve the normal, you either need DeriveNormalZ to be false, or you need a row of vertices in the center of the spline mesh. If you do not have the added verts and use CustomUVs, it will say the normal has 0 height across the entire mesh.
  • AngleCorrectedNormals (Bool): Whether to use angle corrected normals when applying the additional normal texture. More accurate but more expensive.
  • AdditionalNormal (V3): Lets you specify an additional normalmap that will piggyback onto the vertexnormal transformation.

New output:

  • UVs with Parallax: This gives the UVs to use for any textures you want to have the 3d parallax.

Currently the function only handles 1 texture coordinate, so if you want multiple textures to have the correction, they all need to use the same scale.

NEW: ANIMATION DEBUG FEATURES

There are a number of new Animation Debug commands at your disposal. First there is in game rendering of a skeletal mesh’s bones:

Animation Debug Features

This is enabled using the ShowDebug Bones console command. As seen above the bones are represented by individual white lines.

  • An alternative look, matching the bones displayed in Persona, can be enabled via theShowDebugToggleSubCategory 3DBones console command.
  • Next is the animation debug output, which can be enabled using the ShowDebug Animation console command.
  • This is split up into 5 sections, each of which can be toggled on and off using theShowDebugToggleSubCategory command followed by the category name listed below e.g. ShowDebugToggleSubCategory SyncsGroups
    • SyncGroups: Displays the animation assets currently contributing to the final pose, organised by their sync group (or Ungrouped if they don’t belong to a group). By default Blendspaces listed in this section show all their contributing animations / weights. To reduce screen space used by the output this can be toggled off with ShowDebugToggleSubCategory FullBlendspaceDisplay.
    • Montages: Lists the montages currently being used by the character. The active montage is highlighted in green.
    • Curves: List the curve values (in Name: Value pairs) that have been activated by the playing animation(s).
    • Notifies: Display any notify states that are currently in effect.
    • Graph: Displays the active pose graph. The display starts with the last node (the root node) which represents the final pose and goes on to list all the nodes that go into making that final pose. Nodes are represented in such a way as to keep their hierarchy, allowing the user to see which nodes are connected to what without having to refer to the original blueprint asset. Active nodes are coloured green and (if they have been toggled to display usingShowDebugToggleSubCategory FullGraph ) inactive nodes are coloured grey.
NEW: LEVEL VIEWPORT STATS

Many useful engine stats can be visualized over the viewport.  You can now access these using the new “Stat” section under the viewport “Show” menu.

Level Viewport Stats

  • You can also toggle most of these stats by typing “Stat <name>” into a debug console prompt. 
  • By default the stats aren’t remembered between sessions, but you can turn that on by enabling “Save Engine Stats” in the editor’s Viewport preferences section.
NEW: OBJ MESH FILE FORMAT SUPPORT

You can now import .obj files for static meshes!

The file format is very simple so keep in mind that it does not support the following features:

  • Vertex color importing.
  • Collision importing.
  • Tangent and binormal importing.
  • Transforms.
    • The model will be rotated if not modeled with Z up because with OBJ importing we have no way of getting the source coordinate system.
NEW: UPGRADED FBX TO 2014

The FBX importer as now been upgraded to the 2014 version from Autodesk.

  • This allows Tangent and binormals on mirrored meshes to be imported correctly
  • You can still use the earlier FBX plugins found in any Maya/Max version before 2014, but you may get a warning on import when using a very old file.
NEW: WINDOWS XP SUPPORT (PREVIEW)

Developers working out of GitHub now have the ability to deploy your project to Windows XP.

  • To enable this, set WindowsPlatform.SupportWindowsXP to true in UnrealBuildTool, and edit your project’s settings to enable OpenGL shader support.
  • When running on Windows XP, OpenGL is automatically used instead of DirectX 11 for rendering
  • This feature is early in development and will be improved over time.
NEW: IMPROVED BLUEPRINT SUPPORT FOR ACTOR DESTRUCTION
  • In Blueprints, the new EndPlay function replaces the Destroyed function.  Existing usages of Destroyed will automatically update to the new function.
  • EndPlay will not just fire when an Actor is explicitly destroyed, but will also execute anytime an Actor ceases to be in the World.  This includes a level transition, a streaming level being unloaded, a PIE session ending, or Destroy being called for an Actor
  • In C++, the AActor::Destroyed virtual function remains, however it is primarily intended for editor transaction purposes.
  • The C++ AActor::EndPlay virtual function takes an enumeration parameter indicating the reason the Actor has been removed from the World.
  • The AActor::OnRemoveFromWorld virtual function, previously called for each Actor when the streaming level they belong to was unloaded, has been removed and its functionality included in AActor::EndPlay.
IMPROVEMENTS AND BUG FIXES

Editor

  • New: Vertex painting now works with Blueprints.
  • New: When attaching actors, you can now use an actor picker to choose which actor to attachto.
  • New: Added check for "Game View" when drawing geometry features in the editor.
  • New: You can now use Alt + [ or ] to adjust the size of the transform gizmo.
  • New: Collections now store and display a custom colour based on the local user settings.
  • New: Added option for Flat Bottomed collision to character components.
  • New: You now have the option to remove content downloaded from marketplace.
  • New: Creating multiple actors using drag and drop from the content browser now undo's as a single transaction.
  • New: Added the ability to refresh the project browser list.
  • New: You can now chooe where to place a class added via the New Class Wizard.
  • New: You can now provide a function to get the objects you want to show in the details view when creating an FSimpleAssetEditor.
  • Moved Source Code Access functionality to a plugin.
    • Source code access is now performed on the main thread.
  • Changed Static Meshes to check Screen Size rather than Distance to calculate which LOD to use.
  • Changed renaming an actor so it now ignores leading or trailing space when validating the name.
  • Fixed static lighting to now be disabled for Instanced Static Mesh Components.
  • Fixed project template names and descriptions to now fall back to English if a valid translation cannot be found for the current language.
  • Fixed the Submit Files Dialog to now follow the same style as the rest of the engine.
  • Fixed the Cascade ToggleRealtime tooltip to match the other Editor Viewports.
  • Fixed Particle System Components to now toggle visibility correctly.
  • Removed viewport-position menu items from the scene outliner menu.
  • Disabled Ctrl-select when using vertex paint.
  • Content Browser
    • New: Enter and Space Bar keys can now be remapped for the Content Browser.
  • Material Editor
    • New: Release Stats and Build In Stats toolbar buttons now have icons.
    • New: Added Find Results tab to Material Editor.
    • New: Added shortcut for component mask on Shift+C.
  • Texture Editor
    • Changed the Use Specified Mip Level property (bUseSpecifiedMipLevel) to now default to false, and the number of cinematic mips is ignored by the UI when it's true.
  • Persona
    • Changed the default and details inspectors so they are now disabled when editing a read only graph.
    • Fixed the erroneously set flag CPF_DisableEditOnTemplate by adding code to clear it.
  • Source Control
    • New: Added ability to sync directories from source control in the Editor.
  • New: Added P4 API 2014.2 with OpenSSL 1.0.1g.
  • BSP
    • New: A BSP actor is now deselected when none of its surfaces are selected.
    • Fixed the Slate Property Editor Combo element (SPropertyEditorCombo) to update the selection before opening itself.
  • UI
    • Fixed restoring from full screen to now set the window position on the native window.
  • Viewports
    • New: In-game Slate UI is now visible in editor viewports when in immersive mode.
  • Scene Outliner
    • New: Added filter that hides actors that aren’t in the current level.
    • New: There is now a menu option for scene outliner folders to select all the actors within that folder.
    • New: Duplicate now functions with hidden actors.
    • Changed the 'eye' visibility icon to acts on the current selection, if the row is selected.
    • Removed viewport-position menu items from the scene outliner menu.
  • Landscape
    • New: Implemented navigation geometry export for instanced static meshes.
    • New: Added support for landscape splines to FBX export.
    • Removed sculpting-only options from flatten tool when in paint mode.
  • Audio
    • New: Integrated Omni Radius from Unreal Engine 3.
  • Animation
    • New: Native Anim Notifies and states are now supported.

iOS, Android, and HTML5

  • Lots of iOS, Android, and HTML5 improvements – full details will be in the final release notes.

Blueprints

  • Fixed duplicate move calls occurring on Blueprint Graph nodes.

Rendering

  • New: The build scale is now taken into account when calculating a Static Meshes streaming texture factors.
  • New: Particle parameter distributions can now be used in conjunction with Color Over Life for GPU sprites.
  • New: Mesh Modifies Material Position now uses the result of the material translator.
  • New: Particle Lights now work with camera offset (per-view).
  • New: Added commandlet which lists all Static Mesh assets that were imported fromSpeedtrees.

 

 

An impressive amount of new feature in this update. The biggest have to be the ability to render UI components to in game objects as well as the new vehicle support.  The new camera animation system is also an impressive addition.  On of the smaller, but probably most important to many indie developers, is the addition of OBJ support for static mesh creation.  This opens up Unreal Engine to a whole realm of 3D creation tools that have no ( or poor ) FBX support, as the > $4,000 price tag on various Autodesk applications can make for a bitter pill.

 

I have to say, I continue to be amazed at how fast they are updating Unreal Engine.  Hopefully this update drops very soon.

News


16. May 2014

 

The following is a collection of modern shader programming resources.  I intend to improve my knowledge of shader programming and intended to gather all the current resources I could access together in one place.  This resource (mostly) ignores HLSL ( Direct3D ) and custom implementations, like Unity3D.

Please note, this resource is only about shader programming only.  There exist tons of resources that are about OpenGL programming, which as a subset includes GLSL.  I covered many of these resources in my previous Modern OpenGL Resources round-up.  So if you are looking for tutorials, samples and books on OpenGL programming, you should start there.

 

Sites

 

Kick.js Shader Editor

Online shader editor tool with realtime preview and samples as well as error console.

 

Shadertoy

An absolute must visit.  Think of it as the gitbhub for shaders.  Create, share and view hundreds of others shaders.  The site is awesome, but a warning.  It will absolutely kick the crap out of your browser, as the home page, somewhat dumbly, opens dozens of shaders at once. 

 

Shdr

Online GL shader editor/validator/preview similar to Kick.js.  Open sourced MIT license.

 

GLSL Sandbox

Another site for discovering and sharing shaders, including a simple editor.

 

For tutorials links see the Modern OpenGL Resources round-up.

 

Tools

 

nVidia Nsight / CUDA Toolkit

Among other functionality, Nsight provides a GLSL/HLSL shader editor and enables shader debugging.  For Mac/Linux it’s available for Eclipse, but on Windows it’s a Visual Studio plugin.  Unfortunately, Visual Studio 2013 isn’t supported yet and Express versions do not support plugins, so I have not tried it yet.

 

AMD GPU PerfStudio

AMD’s GPU toolset.  Includes a shader editor and debugger, but sadly it’s currently HLSL only.  Worse, its DX11 only, meaning the converter probably wont work.

 

AMD GPU ShaderAnalyzer

Tool for analysing shader performance, doth GLSL and HLSL.

 

GLSL Hacker

Cross platform tool for 3D prototyping.  Load a 3D object and see your shader in action.

 

HLSL2GLSL

Convert DirectX9 HLSL shaders to GLSL.  Was originally released by AMD, then forked by someone on the Unity team.  Useful if trying to support both renderers, or using a tool that exports only HLSL shaders.  It’s open source and apparently the source is pretty awful.

 

nVidia FX Composer

nVidia’s shader IDE.  Abandoned, doesn’t directly support GLSL. :(

 

Rendermonkey

AMD/ATI’s shader IDE.  Also abandoned, a long time ago. :(

 

ShaderDesigner

GLSL IDE.  It’s old but seemingly was updated last year.  Didn’t run due to need to install component that required a license server.  I hate installing license servers to my machine.

 

Apple OpenGL Shader Builder

Apple include a development environment for developing and testing GL shaders.  It is however OS/X only and you need to log in to their developer portal to download.  The Guide is available without logging in.

 

qshaderedit

An open source, cross platform shader editor inspired by Apple’s Shader Builder.

 

Shazzam Shader Editor

First off, this exports HLSL to GLSL ( see HLSL2GLSL above ) and is aimed at XAML/Silverlight developers.  It does however include a shader editor and the ability to preview the results.  Last updated July 14th, 2012.

 

Glman

A simple tool for learning shader programming.  Includes the course work the tool is meant to supplement.  Last updated Dec 7, 2011.

 

GLShaders for Eclipse

Eclipse plugin for developing shaders ( vertex and pixel ) inside the Eclipse IDE.  Provides syntax colouring and error/warnings.

 

Books ( Shader specific )

 

GLSL Essentials

Dec 2013, Packt

SafariLink

116 Pages

 

OpenGL 4 Shading Language Cookbook 2nd Edition

Dec 2013, Packt

SafariLink

394 Pages

For some reason, Safari version is Second Edition, while on Amazon I can only find the first edition published in 2011.

 

Graphics Shaders: Theory and Practice, 2nd Edition

Nov 2011, CRC Press

SafariLink

518 Pages

 

OpenGL Shading Language, 3rd Edition

July 2009, Addison-Wesley

SafariLink

792 Pages

Once again, the above are simply books *dedicated* to shader programming and GLSL in specific.  Any modern OpenGL text will have a great deal of content on shader programming.  In fact, if it doesn’t you probably shouldn’t touch it, as it is heavily out of date.

Programming


14. May 2014

 

I’ve had a few users run into this error when trying to run the GameFromScratch C++ Game Dev tutorial:

 

image

 

The program can’t start because MSVCR100D.dll is missing from your computer.  Try reinstalling the program to fix this problem.

 

Fortunately this can be pretty easily fixed, simply download and install the Visual Studio 2010 runtime redistributable.  You can download it here.

 

However…

 

The binaries I include with the SFML tutorial of SFML 1.6 are compiled for Visual Studio 2010 and aren’t compatible with Visual Studio 2012/2013.  Normally this is just a matter of recompiling SFML 1.6 in the newest version of Visual Studio, then linking against those Lib/DLL files.  However this process certainly isn't straight forward as the SFML 1.6 code base was actually targeting for Visual Studio 2008 and amazingly enough, depending on some external libraries compiled for Visual C++ 2005!

 

To be honest, if you are running through this tutorial series, by far the easiest solution is to install Visual C++ 2010 Express.  It can be installed side by side with newer versions.

 

If there is enough demand, I can try to make 2013 compatible binaries that you can include with your project.

Programming


10. May 2014

 

First off, sorry for the horrible pun… I wont do it again… at least not today.

 

That said, Unreal may have just flipped the industry on it’s head… or may have just dropped a cleaver marketing gimmick.  By now you have probably heard that Unreal Tournament development will be done in the open.  At least for Unreal Engine subscribers it will be.  Basically if you subscribe to Unreal Engine for 19$ a month, you get Unreal Tournament for free.  The biggest part of the announcement is you get access to a Github repository, so you can watch the game develop, or perhaps even get involved!

 

In Unreal’s own words:

 

HERE’S THE PLAN:
  • We’ve created a small team of UT veterans that are beginning work on the project starting today.
  • From the very first line of code, the very first art created and design decision made, development will happen in the open, as a collaboration between Epic, UT fans and UE4 developers. We’ll be using forums for discussion, and Twitch streams for regular updates.
  • If you are a fan and you want to participate, create a free account and join the forum discussion.
  • All code and content will be available live to UE4 developers on GitHub.
  • The game will be true to its roots as a competitive FPS.
  • Development will be focused on Windows, Mac and Linux.

 

SO WHAT’S THE CATCH?
  • It will take many months until the game is playable by gamers. This is real development from scratch.
  • When the game is playable, it will be free. Not free to play, just free.
  • We’ll eventually create a marketplace where developers, modders, artists and gamers can give away, buy and sell mods and content. Earnings from the marketplace will be split between the mod/content developer, and Epic.  That’s how we plan to pay for the game.

 

So why do I find this move so impressive?  There are a couple reasons…

 

First I was wondering if I would maintain my subscription.  If I am not actively developing in Unreal Engine, was there any point in paying 19$ a month?  I, and many others, wondered if Unreal would keep a stream of content coming that would keep developers paying.  To actively open up a potentially AAA game’s development process is certainly a good hook to keep me watching.  ( Plus, they’ve done a pretty good job keeping the content coming… more on that in a second ).

 

Second, quasi-open sourcing a game could be a brilliant strategy.  Indie developers get to contribute to a large project, probably beyond the scope of what they would otherwise be able to participate in.  Unreal of course gets a ton of free development effort, but retains dictatorial control that large scope games need.  Of course they will have to be selective about what they commit to their main trunk and may bruise some egos, so this could be a bit of a balancing act and will require additional resources on their end, but the trade-offs are probably worth it.  I would generally think this would be mostly a read only process, basically just Unreal developing a game and the community watching.  However they have recently accepted a number of community fixes into the Unreal engine base, so I don’t think this is just marketing.  If nothing else, many indie game developers get the opportunity to eavesdrop on a AAA game’s development, including developer discussions and twitch streams, for a price tag of 19$ a month.

 

The Unreal Tournament github repository is now online:

image

Of course, this is a from scratch project, so have very little expectations for now!

 

 

Finally and perhaps most disruptively “create a marketplace where developers, modders, artists and gamers can give away, buy and sell mods and content. Earnings from the marketplace will be split between the mod/content developer, and Epic”.  This point is MASSIVE.  Basically Unreal are releasing a F2P title where the microtransactions come from the community.  This is a powerful concept, enabling artists and coders to actually get paid for their work, using the exact same tools and process as the parent.  Just as artists and programmers can make a living providing assets to the Unity store, in the future, they will potentially make a living contributing to a game.  A game they potentially helped create.

 

 

Oh, remember earlier where I said Unreal would have to keep a pretty steady stream of updates to keep people subscribed?  Well, impressively enough, they have been.  Since the 1.1 patch ( adding XBox One and PS4 support ) there have been a half dozen new tutorials added, covering topics such as Localization, skeletal meshes and Blueprint complexity management.  Additionally they added a SciFi hallways level:

SciFi Screenshot 1

 

The marketplace is quickly being populated with professional quality examples to work from.  You can read more about the design process here.

 

I have to say Unreal are impressing the hell out of me.  They are taking bold risks and truly are throwing their resources at this, it’s not some half assed indie release like CryEngine or prior UDK releases… this is a slick well supported product and most importantly a thriving community.  Unreal are willing to try some very disruptive strategies and we should applaud them for it.

 

I for one will be keeping my 19$ a month subscription going.

 

Oh yeah, and on that topic, they’ve also laid out a blueprint ( ugh, bad accidental pun! ) for future Unreal development.  You can check it out here on Trello.  This transparency is certainly a good thing.  You can also vote and comment on features that are most important to you, a nice feedback loop with subscribers.

News Programming


AppGameKit Studio

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