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7. March 2016

 

Today FMod had a pair of announcements.  If you’ve never heard of it, FMod is probably the preeminent make of audio middleware for game development. The first announcement was the release of FMod Studio 1.08, an audio creation tool compatible with many major game engines.  The new version adds PlayStation VR support, new asset management workflow, Dolby Atmos support and more. As part of the same announcement, they also announced Fmod.io, a cloud based repository of audio sound effects.  Probably the most impressive part is, the audio files all have the same price... 99 cents.  Essentially FMod is aiming to become the TurboSquid of the audio world providing a one stop shop for sound effects.  They have also announced that music is going to be added to the service in the near future.  There is a promotion right now where your 50 first sounds are free to download.

image

A couple obvious questions that remain are:

  • how many sound effects are there?
  • what’s the license?

Well, as to how many, they claim a library of over 500,000 sounds, which is a pretty solid amount!  Granted, this is all pretty meaningless if the license sucks... so, what can you do with the sounds you buy?  Well according to the Fmod.io page:

What can I do with sounds I buy on FMOD.io?

The sounds you buy are yours to reuse as many times as you like and in any kind of project (not just games). You just can’t give away or resell the individual sounds.

So basically you can use them again and again across different project, commercial or otherwise.  You just cant give them away or resell them.  I do assume you can give away a product made using the sounds, just not the sounds themselves.  All told, it’s a pretty liberal license.  So, are you stuck using the sound fx in FMod only?

Can I use sounds in my library with other tools or game engines?

Yes. The sounds are yours to use anyway you like.

Nope.

 

I have to say this is actually a pretty impressive development, especially for indie developers who often don’t have access to quality sound engineers.  You can learn more (but not much more) on the fmod.io website.

 

EDIT – Added a video of FMod.io in action available here and embedded below.

 

GameDev News


7. March 2016

 

It’s not very often I am surprised by the existence of a previously unknown to me 3D application, as I tend to pay attention to these things.  It’s even rarer that such an application is free, as I am a huge fan of free tools.  It’s almost a blue moon scenario when its TWO applications we are talking about!  Well, that’s exactly what just happened, I learned of the existence of two, completely free, 3D modeling applications and I figured I would share them here.  Both apps are very different in scope and what they are trying to accomplish.  Both are also fairly young in their development cycle, so expect crashes and unexpected behavior from either application.

 

Dilay

Dilay is probably the easier of the two applications to explain, so I’m going to start with it.  Basically, Dilay is an open source sculpting application such as zBrush or Pixologic.  As the later is no longer being developed and the first one is quite expensive, this is without a doubt a good thing.  Of course, Blender has sculpting features, but there are certainly flaws in it’s implementations.

The interface in Dilay is extremely straight forward.  You essentially work in one of two modes, sculpting and sketching.  Here is the sculpting interface in action:

image

 

If you’ve used zBrush/Sculptris/3D Paint/Mudbox at this point, you have a pretty good idea what to expect.  Generally you start with a simple mesh like a sphere and then sculpt as if working with virtual clay.  The sculpting can easily be mirrored across the center axis for symmetric objects.  The tools are pretty straight forward, you can carve, crease, grab, drag, flatten, smooth and pinch your object into the desired shape.  Nicely, you can also reduce, which enables you to dynamically reduce the polygon count of the mesh you are creating.

The other mode of operation is Sketching.  Essentially you shape your base model using a series of spheres.  Somewhat confusingly you need to delete your sculpt before you can sculpt.  Now it’s mostly a matter of painting a series of spheres that will compose your base mesh.

image

 

When you are done, simply click Convert Sketch, and it will be ready for editing in the sculpt interface.

When you are done, objects can be saved as obj files, a format that is supported in pretty much every single 3D application created in the last decade.  There are some glitches, I experienced a couple of crashes (for example, don’t enable wireframe!), but it is certainly a usable tool at this stage.  Dilay is open source and released under the GPL license.

 

PolyBrush

Polybrush is a much harder application to explain.  I think the easiest description is, it’s a 3D sketch modeler.  The entire idea is to create 3D models quickly using a combination of sketching, user generated brushes and symmetry.  The results are actually pretty astonishing.  The application is more stable and complete than Dilay but the interface is also extremely obtuse and will require a much steeper learning curve.

image

 

Here you either create your own 3D volume brush or use one of the included brushes, then either paint on the construction plane, or one another existing object.  Brushes can in turn be applied to the surface of an existing model, giving you rapid sculpting abilities with dynamic brushes.  You can also work symmetrically across a number of different axis.

Like Dilay, Polybrush also exports in OBJ format.  The exe weighs in at a paltry 4mb with the included brushes and at 2mb without.  It’s also remarkably fast, I made some fairly complicated scenes while running on my integrated Intel GPU and never experienced a slowdown.  The application is quite robust and vast, offering layers, 2D and 3D sketching, 3D primitives, the ability to define your own brushes and much more.  It’s a cool application once you get past the somewhat confusing interface.  It does however have a community behind it, so getting support is a heck of a lot easier than Dilay.  Polybrush is closed source software.

 

I will actually be posting quick videos showing both applications in action shortly.  Both are small downloads and completely free, so if you are in the market for a modeling or sculpting application, I recommend you check both of them out.

 

EDIT – A video of Dilay in action is now available.

Art


7. March 2016

 

MaxPlay is an upcoming game engine that is focused on cloud based collaboration.  So far they have been running mostly in stealth mode with very little information available.  Today they announced several of the partnered technologies that will be integrated into the engine.  Those technologies include EMotion FX (an animation engine),  FMOD (advanced audio), Popcorn FX (real time particle systems) and PhysX (physics engine).   We are of course still missing critical information such as platforms supported and of course, price!

More details from the announcement:

This week we are proud to announce our initial set of premium technology partners.

MysticGD has been evolving the industry-leading animation engine, EMotion FX for years. They’ve not just refactored, but completely rebuilt their system to better leverage hardware on more than one occasion. Don’t believe me, check out theirvideo of 3000 animated characters. To go with that performance, they’ve built an accessible interface and debugger that will make all aspiring Walts as happy as a mouse on a steamboat. And did I mention that every single bone and blend is addressable procedurally?

If you’re not already familiar with FMOD Studios, it’s pretty simple: imagine an intuitive audio system that lets you mix live in-game, has the best debugging tools, is performant enough to never have you wondering “should I trim the audio?,” and allows you to work at the speed of sound (get it?).


Persistant Studio’s highly performant particle system, PopcornFx lets you harness the magic like a true wizard.  PopcornFx is a full solution for all of your visual effects needs with a dedicated effects editor and a multiplatform runtime built on a highly parallel stream processing architecture, which is at the core of its high performance and flexibility. Like our MaxCore™ architecture, it effortlessly threads across multiple cores with minimal data contention.  

And then there’s nVidia's PhysX. For over two decades, nVidia has been the industry’s leader in graphics rendering and middleware that takes games to new heights.  Their PhysX real-time physics engine is used by the majority of today’s games, which means you’ve definitely seen it’s fully multi-threaded, hardware-accelerated action.  Just have a look at this reel. ‘Nuff said.

At the end of the day, we’re fans; checking out each other’s tech and figuring out how we can collaborate to make the best possible game development suite. Each of these systems is incredible by itself, and when integrated into our GDS and high performance MaxCore™ runtime, richer and more immersive worlds are now at developers’ fingertips.

GameDev News


5. March 2016

 

It’s been a while since the Blender 2.76 was released, but Blender 2.77 is getting closer with today’s release of Blender 2.77 RC2.  This released doesn’t pack a ton of new features but what’s in there is certainly useful.  You can read the full release notes here.

Major features of this release include:

  • Blenders Cycles improvements (SSS, Performance, Smoke/Fire on GPU, Custom Bake Passes)
  • UI Improvements including drag and drop onto file dialogs
  • Boolean operators in edit mesh mode
  • Automatic UV on object creation
  • Cubemaps in 3D viewport and game engine support
  • Massive Grease Pencil improvements including brush sculpting and improved keyframe copying support

 

I created a video showcasing some of the features available here or embedded below.


5. March 2016

 

Another Unity patch has been released, this one is Unity Patch 5.3.3p2.  It contains the following new features, as per the release notes:

Improvements
  • Android: Audio - Don't select OpenSL output if the native device params are too bad for fast path (fixes audio issues on buggy devices).
  • Android: Buildpipe - Updated SDK tools requirements for the Editor.
  • Android: Editor - Added Marshmallow to the list of APIs.
  • Android: IL2CPP - Use Android NDK x64 on x64 Windows Editor.
  • Android: SoftInput - Get rid of hardcoded text color, switch to Light theme.
  • Windows: Added a new command line argument for standalone builds: window-mode. Options: borderless, exclusive. It lets users override the default fullscreen window behavior.
Fixes
  • (768974) - Android: Fixed alignment crash on some Android ARM devices.
  • (734124) - Android: Fixed an issue where Ping wouldn't work in release mode.
  • (762875) - Android: Fixed black screen or crash during startup on old PVR devices (Samsung Galaxy S I9000).
  • (759195) - Android: Fixed bug in Texture.GetPixels for ETC compressed textures.
  • (763447) - Android: IL2CPP - Fixed build errors on NDK paths with whitespaces.
  • (766698) - Android: IL2CPP - Fixed crash on second startup after installation.
  • (714661) - Asset Bundles: Only reimport when setting asset bundle name if cache server is connected.
  • (none) - Crash: Fixed GenerateSecondaryUVs crashes on certain meshes.
  • (759231) - Editor: Don't call OnLevelWasLoaded on the first scene when entering play mode.
  • (747856) - Editor: Fix for clustering allocation while navigating.
  • (767728) - Editor: Fixed an issue when opening a scene from the Project Browser while in playmode it resulted in that scene being loaded even after going out of playmode.
  • (766469) - Editor: Fixed a crash when selecting prefab.
  • (756004) - Editor: Fixed the issue of GUI.Windows background not being tinted by GUI.colors anymore.
  • (754127) - Editor: Fixed an issue that made GameObjects disappear from the Editor if they have an associated editor script that made use of DontDestroyOnLoad.
  • (758409) - Editor: Fixed the issue of marking scene dirty when creating prefab by dragging from Hierarchy window to Project.
  • (757027) - Editor: Fixed the issue of marking the scene dirty when pressing the apply button on a prefab instance.
  • (760112) - Editor: Fixed misleading decompression warning in emulation.
  • (765159) - Editor: Fixed startup when Unity is in a path with multi-byte characters.
  • (767222) - Global Illumination: Fixed crash when building lighting with a specific scene setup.
  • (771292) - Graphics: Fixed an issue where setting a material's shader to null would crash the editor.
  • (723960) - iOS: Fix redirect for WWW
  • (753888) - Mecanim: Fixed an issue with Animation clip length for bundled clip.
  • (760612) - Mecanim: Fixed AnimationClip.SampleAnimation memory leak.
  • (756129) - Mecanim: Fixed Animator with statemachine behaviour runtime compile error not firing callback on the right SMB.
  • (none) - Mecanim: Fixed assert when using Animator.MatchTarget.
  • (769964) - Mecanim: Fixed long start play mode for scene with a lot of controller.
  • (765141) - Mecanim: Fixed StateMachineBehaviours on layer not being called properly.
  • (754510) - Networking: Send Error: val > 0 on user disconnect, results in memory write violation and editor crash.
  • (none) - Networking: Fixed a crash due to wrong initialization of connection.
  • (762687) - OpenGL: Fixed Graphics API switching between different OpenGL versions.
  • (762687) - OpenGL: Fixed Graphics API switching to OpenGL ES.
  • (767857), (766778) - OpenGL: Fixed Mesh skinning artifacts in editor.
  • (763875) - OpenGL: Fixed point size support using GLSL snippets.
  • (none) - OpenGL: Fixed various shader compiler issues for OpenGL ES 3 / Core.
  • (none) - OS X: Fixed OpenGL performance regression on NVidia GPUs.
  • (740580) - Trails: Fixed an issue where trails would randomly vanish/flicker.
  • (none) - UI: Stopped raycast from traversing up the hierarchy when a canvas with override sorting is encountered.
  • (767206) - Wii U: Fixed a crash on secondary error confirmation.

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