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19. December 2015

 

You may have noticed this year that GameFromScratch was increasingly active creating videos on YouTube.  Inititally it was pretty much a 1 to 1 relationship with GameFromScratch.com.  That is, for every video on YouTube, there was a corresponding post here on GFS.  Recently however I have found some topics are more video friendly or more text friendly and that 1 to 1 relationship doesn’t always exist.  Therefore I’ve decided to launch this weekly recap series which simply brings together the last weeks YouTube videos in a single place.

IMG_1826

 

 

This week saw the launch of a new video series, Bad GameDev!  No Cookie!  Which looks at game development mistakes in actual games.  So far there are two videos in the series. 

The first series looks at the bad 3rd person camera in the on-rails iOS shooter Freeblade.  Unfortunately Camtasia picked up the wrong mic for voice over in this video, so the audio quality is horrid.  Sorry about that.

Bad GameDev! No Cookie! Game Design Mistakes: Freeblade

 

Next in the series we looked at Space Marine and show the folly of a bad FoV.

Bad GameDev! No Cookie! Game Design Mistakes: Space Marine

 

We also had 3 additions to the GameDev Toolbox Series, an ongoing video series showcasing the tools of the game development trade:

Texture Packer

Sculptris

Tiled Map Editor

 

We also took a quick look at the AirPlay/Google Cast desktop server, Reflector2

Reflector2

 

And of course the recap of last weeks game development news.

Week 4 News Recap

General


19. December 2015

 

Corona, the popular Lua based 2D game development SDK just officially moved Mac support out of beta and into official release status.  On the topic of beta, tvOS support was just released in beta form.  They also announced a beta plugin supporting iCloud integration.

 

From the release announcement:

OS X initial release

As of Daily Build 2015.2795, we are proud to announce that OS X is no longer in beta! We have the core features working at a level where we feel comfortable encouraging you to release apps to the Mac App store. Platforms like this are never complete and there are more features to add, but this marks a stable point in OS X development where we think you can successfully deploy desktop apps for Mac. To learn more, see our Creating OS X Desktop Apps guide.

tvOS now in beta

Additionally, we are removing the “alpha” label from our tvOS support. We believe that you should be able to publish apps to iTunes Connect for tvOS. Of course there is more to do before we can mark this as fully released, but the core features are now in place. You can pick this up inDaily Build 2015.2795 as well. To learn more, check out our Apple TV and tvOS guide.

The iCloud plugin (beta)

We are also pleased to announce the immediate availability of the new iCloud plugin. This plugin lets you store various data types in Apple’s iCloud service. The three main types of data you can store are:

  • Key-Value Storage — This lets you store simple data values like numbers, strings, and tables.
  • Documents — This lets you develop apps where you can save whole files to the cloud and sync them with other devices.
  • CloudKit — This is a full database implementation where you can have public and private database implementations which your app can access from multiple devices.

In its simplest use, iCloud (all three methods) lets you save data from your app to iCloud and retrieve it later when you need it. In addition, if you have your app installed on multiple devices, for example your iPhone and iPad, the app can share data.

To get started with the iCloud plugin, see the documentation and our first tutorial.

GameDev News


17. December 2015

 

The first ever LibGDX Jam starts tomorrow, or today, or yesterday or sometime ago, I suppose it’s all relative to when you read this, isn’t it?  Well temporal factors aside, the first ever LibGDX Game Jam begins/began on Friday Dec 18th.  It is called creatively enough #LibGDXJam.  The rules and prizes from this jam are:

The 10 Rules of Jamming

The jam will be held from December 18th to January 18th. Here are the rules:

  1. You must use libGDX to create a game that fits the theme.
  2. You may work alone or in a team. Only one submission per person/team is allowed.
  3. You may use pre-existing code, e.g. libraries like Ashley, or your own code libraries.
  4. You may use pre-existing art, e.g. assets from OpenGameArt, or your own art.
  5. You may use external tools like Tiled or Overlap2D.
  6. You must not re-skin an already existing game or prototype!
  7. You must submit your game before the end of the 18th of January via the jam’s site on itch.io (to be made public).
  8. You must publish the source of your game, e.g. to GitHub.
  9. You must submit your game to the itch.io libGDX Jam page before the end of day January 18th, UTC-12!
  10. If you want to win one of the sponsored prizes, you must tweet about your game and document its development, using the hashtag #libGDXJam and the handles @robovm and@robotality.

First of all, you can participate in the jam without following these rules! In that case, you will not qualify for the prizes though.

Documenting your progress is a great way of sharing your experience, and an invaluable tool for others to learn. Making a bit of noise on Twitter is also a great way to give back to our sponsors. Chaining those 2 things together via rule 9 is my evil overlord plan to make everyone happy.

Here are a few examples of tweets:

Progress screenshot of my #libGDXJam entry @robovm @robotality

New dev log entry for my #libGDXJam game @robovm @robotality

For the dev logs, we want quality first and foremost! Progress screenshots, descriptions of problems you ran into and their solutions, streaming and so on is what we want to see! Just mindless spamming will not get you anywhere.

Prizes & Judging

We are happy to have RoboVM and Robotality as sponsors for the following prizes:

  • Grand Prize: Mac Mini, sponsored by RoboVM.
  • Silver: iPad, sponsored by RoboVM.
  • Bronze: iPod Touch, sponsored by RoboVM.
  • For 20 random submissions: Steam keys for Halfway, sponsored by Robotality.
  • For another 5 random submissions: libGDX Jam t-shirt.

To qualify for any of the prizes, you'll need to follow rule 10 as outlined above. Judging works as follows:

  • The community can vote on itch.io from the 19th of January to the 2nd of February.
  • The Grand Prize will be awarded to the entry with the highest community votes on itch.io. This way the highest quality entry will win!
  • The Silver and Bronze prizes will be awarded to the entries with the best mixture of dev logs and tweets and community votes. * Our sponsors and the libGDX core team will pick these entries. This should motivate people to make some noise on the web and document their progress for the greater good of the community!
  • The random awards guarantee that everyone has a chance to win a prize!
  • The winners will be announced on the 3rd of February!

Timetable

  • Theme Voting round 1: Nov. 22nd – Dec. 11th
  • Final Theme Voting: Dec. 11th – Dec. 18th
  • Jam: Dec. 18th – Jan. 18th
  • Judging: Jan 19th – Feb. 2nd

You can read the full details here on github.

GameDev News


17. December 2015

 

Just in time for the first ever LibGDX Game Jam, LibGDX 1.7.2 was released. 

image

 

This released included the following updates:

[1.7.2]
- Added AndroidAudio#newMusic(FileDescriptor) to allow loading music from a file descriptor, see #2970
- Added GLOnlyTextureData, which is now the default for FrameBuffer and FrameBufferCubemap, see #3539
- Added rotationChanged() for Actor class, called when rotation changes, see https://github.com/libgdx/libgdx/pull/3563
- Fixed crash on MacOS when enumerating connected gamepads.
- ParticleEmitter no longer says it's complete when it's set to continuous, see #3516
- Improved JSON parsing and object mapping error messages.
- Updated FreeType from version 2.5.5 to 2.6.2.
- Fixed corrupt FreeType rendering for some font sizes.
- API Change: FreeTypeFontParameter has new fields for rendering borders and shadows.
- FreeTypeFontParameter can render much better fonts at small sizes using gamma settings.
- BitmapFont can now render missing (tofu) glyph for glyphs not in the font.
- FreeTypeFontGenerator depreacted methods removed.
- Fixed BitmapFont color tags changing glyph spacing versus not using color tags. BitmapFont#getGlyphs has a new paramter. See #3455.
- Skin's TintedDrawable now works with TiledDrawable. #3627
- Updated jnigen to Java Parser 2.3.0 (http://javaparser.github.io/javaparser/).
- FreeType fonts no longer look terrible at small size. This is a big deal!
- Updated to RoboVM 1.12.0, includes tvOS support!
 

Full details are available here.

GameDev News


17. December 2015

 

In a project that sounds disturbingly similar to VRML of days gone past, Mozilla have launched AFrame, a technology intended to bring VR to the web without requiring WebGL programming knowledge.  An attempt to make a 3D Oculus friendly web browsing experience ( think cyberspace/ the matrix ) easy to create.

 

From the announcement blog:

A-Frame makes it easy for web developers to create virtual reality experiences that work across desktop, iPhone (Android support coming soon), and the Oculus Rift.

We created A-Frame to make it easier to create VR web experiences. WebVR has shipped in builds of Firefox and Chromium since the summer of 2014, but creating content for it has required knowing WebGL. The WebGL scene is unbelievably talented and has created many mind-blowing VR experiences in the last year, but they are a small subset of the full web dev community. There are millions of talented developers who do not know WebGL. What if each of them could create and share VR experiences on the open web?

A-Frame is designed to be familiar to those web developers. It wraps the power of WebGL in HTML custom elements, so creating a high performance VR experience is as simple as:

<html>
<head>
<script src="https://aframe.io/releases/latest/aframe.min.js"></script>
</head>
<body>
<a-scene>
<a-sky src="https://aframe.io/aframe/examples/_skies/lake.jpg"></a-sky>
<a-model src="https://aframe.io/aframe/examples/showcase-composite/sculpture.dae" position="0 0 -2"></a-model>
<a-image src="https://aframe.io/aframe/examples/showcase-composite/portland.png" width="1" height="0.35" position="-2 1.2 1"></a-image>
</a-scene>
</body>
</html>

A-Frame ships with powerful and concise “primitives” for common use cases such as 360-degree videos, images, models, skies, and more. Primitives make it easy to block out a scene in minutes. Primitives can also be combined with lighting, animation, sound and interactivity. For the full list of primitives included in A-Frame 0.1.0, see the A-Frame documentation.

For users who want deeper control and flexibility, A-Frame is built on an entity-component system which provides accessible components for lighting, materials, re-usable assets, and more. This pattern is common in the game development world, and is the backbone of A-Frame. Visit the A-Frame documentation to learn more about the entity-component system.

A-Frame is ultimately just the DOM, so developers can also manipulate it with standard JavaScript methods, such as:

var scene = document.querySelector('a-scene');
var cube = document.createElement('a-cube');
cube.setAttribute('color', 'red');
scene.appendChild(cube);

A-Frame is new. The 0.1 version has several known issues (Android rendering textures as black, for example), and the API will change over the next few months as we get feedback and open source contributions. Our hope is that early adopters find it as fun as we do, and join us in improving A-Frame over time.

To get started with A-Frame, visit aframe.io, view the examples and grab the code. The FAQprovides additional details.

To discuss A-Frame with our team and fellow developers, hop into the A-Frame Slack channel. Feedback is welcomed at @aframevr. As are bug reports and pull requests. For the latest overall WebVR setup instructions, visit MozVR.com.

As a kid the grew up on dreams of cyberspace thanks to the likes of Neuromancer, Snow Crash and Shadowrun, I’m genuinely excited by this concept.  Then again, I was excited by VRML too and we know how that turned out.

GameDev News


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