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2. March 2015

Ok, just received the following email and wow, it’s a good one:


If you love something, set it free!

It's been an amazing year for Unreal Engine 4. We've grown a lot, we've learned a lot, and with your help and feedback, made the engine easier to use and more powerful than ever. Now we're making Unreal Engine 4 freely available to developers everywhere.

Before we do, we wanted to say a sincere thanks to those of you who've been with us all along the way. We're humbled by your energy, enthusiasm, and the incredible stuff you're doing with the engine. And because of you, we're motivated to work even harder so that together, we can all create great things that inspire and shape the future of the medium that we love.

If you have paid for a subscription on or after January 30th, you will receive a pro-rated refund for your latest month's payment after March 12th. You'll continue to receive all future updates for free.

And, because you were a paying subscriber, we're also giving you a gift of $30 that you can spend in the Marketplace now or save for a future use.

Happy creating!
- The Team at Epic Games


So, yeah... Unreal Engine no longer has a monthly subscription cost! And existing subscribers all get a $30 marketplace credit. Seriously Unreal folks, you guys rock!


2. March 2015


Along with the Maya LT release Autodesk also teased a bit about their upcoming game engine Stingray.  You may recall sometime back that Autodesk acquired a company called Bitsquid that were working on a light weight, cross platform C++ game engine.  However since that announcement we have heard absolutely nothing.  Considering their importance to the content creation market place, you’d think Autodesk entering the game engine market ( well, other than Scaleform that is… ) would be a big deal.


Well now, after almost a year of silence, some details have emerged with more coming this week at GDC.  The Bitsquid engine is now Stingray.  Granted, details are still pretty sparse.  Here’s what we’ve got so far:

On Wednesday, March 4, from 3:30 - 4:30 p.m. in Moscone Convention Center, West Hall, Room 3003, Autodesk is hosting an exclusive tech preview of its Stingray Game Engine. Built using the core technology behind the Bitsquid engine acquired last summer, Stingray is currently in development and comprises intuitive, powerful tools that make it easier for professional and novice developers to bring graphically advanced games to market on a wide range of platforms. 

“Bitsquid has been a part of the Autodesk family since the acquisition last summer, and both teams have been hard at work to update, improve and add features to the engine,” said Martin Wahlund, CEO, Fatshark. “We are excited to announce that we are actually using the new Stingray engine to build our upcoming ‘Warhammer: End Times - Vermintide’ game.” 

The technical preview at GDC will highlight several core areas of focus that make it easier for game makers of every level create the next generation of blockbusters. Autodesk will give a live demonstration of several key advances it has made in Stingray such as: 

- Simultaneous Platform Deployment: A live link between Stingray and multiple target devices allows game designers to evaluate their games simultaneously on multiple platforms; 
- Integrated Workflow: A more efficient pipeline to export 3D content; 
- Modern Data-Driven Architecture and Powerful Rendering Capabilities: A data-driven core architecture makes it easier for a user to change the look of a game without having to rewrite and re-compile the engine.

As I said earlier, Autodesk entering the game engine market could certainly be a big deal.  Of course there are far too many unknowns  ( like for starters… pricing ) to get too excited yet.  There is a teaser video available, but it tells you absolutely nothing:

If you are interested in beta testing, you can sign up here.

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2. March 2015


At GDC this week, Autodesk is announcing the release of Maya LT 2016.  Maya LT is a stripped down version of Maya aimed at the indie game market.  It also comes with a massively stripped MayaLT 2016 SplineIK Clusters 1920x1080down price tag and a monthly subscription option.  When Maya LT was first announced it had a number of glaring limitations.  In the time since, many of those have been removed and several new features have been added.




The full press release follows:


Available March 26, 2015, Maya LT 2016 is packed with new features and advancements that accelerate modeling and animation, enabling indie developers to seamlessly deliver standout visuals for their games. 

“In setting up an indie studio and producing our first independent title, Maya LT provided us with a games making application second to none in terms of 3D game asset creation,” said Oliver Clarke, director, co-founder, Modern Dream. “For us, Maya LT is now an irreplaceable part of creating unique and vibrant games that stand out in a super competitive marketplace.”

The new release includes: 

- Integrated Sculpting Tools and UV editing tools: Brush-based sculpting in Maya LT now facilitates high level sculpting on models, without the need to export to a different tool, while new UV brushes (interactive cut/sew edge tool, automatic projection, pinning, weld, split, and unfold brushes) provide an intuitive, artistic-driven workflow.
- Advanced Animation and Game Exporter Tool: New Spline IK and cluster deformation help users easily animate non-humanoid characters; a Game Exporter update simplifies the management and export of multiple animation clips, making it easier for indie artists to export multiple animations for use in a game engine simultaneously.
- Physically-Based ShaderFX Nodes and user-submitted improvements: Physically-based shading material allows artists to design more realistic and high quality materials, for higher-quality assets. User submitted enhancements include: background texture loading, allowing artists to begin working without waiting for an entire scene to load; a customizable default lighting environment that standardizes the appearance of imported assets; and a fog effect in the viewport to focus on the object closest to the viewport camera.
- Creative Market content storefront: Last year, Autodesk acquired Creative Market – an online content marketplace serving more than 690,000 artists and designers. On March 26, Maya LT users will be able to purchase 3D content from a dedicated content landing page curated specifically for game makers. Users can visit the page directly from within the Maya LT app or by visiting: .

Maya LT is available as a Desktop Subscription with pay-as-you-go monthly, quarterly and annual options. For more information about Autodesk’s GDC 2015 lineup and other activities, visit: .

Will be interesting to see how the content store approach works. It seems like everyone wants to be in the online store business these days! Regardless, so pretty exciting new features in this release. As stated in the press release, Maya LT 2016 is released March 26th.

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