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9. March 2016

 

So I’ve decided that it’s time to do another series about Haxe development here on GameFromScratch.  I did a short five part tutorial series on using Haxe and NME a few years back before it was rebranded OpenFL, but haven’t really touched it much since.  Before jumping in to a Haxe game engine, I had to decide which game engine to jump into!  Part of my decision is going to be informed by a poll I’m currently running on Twitter.  Of course, it’s useful to take a current look at the Haxe game engine landscape.  I did a post entitled Choosing A Haxe/NME Game Engine three years ago, but simply put, a lot changes in 3 years!  So what follows is a quick roundup of the most popular Haxe based game engines and a quick blurb about each.  If I miss one, please be sure to let me know in comments below, on Twitter or via email!

Oh... and this is not a review in any sense of the word.  I have very little working experience with the majority of engines I am about to cover and have no informed opinion to share as a result!  They are also in no particular order unless you can consider “completely random” as a type of order!

 

Haxe Game Engines

 

 

Flash Engine Ports

 

HaxeFlixel

http://haxeflixel.com/

HaxeFlixel is an interesting story... it started life as a Haxe port of the popular Flash 2D game engine, Flixel.  Then, well, Flixel basically died and HaxeFlixel lived on.  In fact HaxeFlixel 4.0 was just released, while Flixel hasn’t been updated in years.  It is a complete 2D game engine for Haxe.

 

HaxePunk

http://haxepunk.com/

Wow, I could almost copy and paste the HaxeFlixel entry for HaxePunk.  It also started life as a Flash library port, and since lives on while it’s inspiration is no longer updated.  That said,FlashPunk is much less active than HaxeFlixel.

 

Haxeling(Starling Port)

https://github.com/Haxeling/haxe-starling

This one is more of a WIP than the prior two, and is a port of the popular Starling Flash library to the Haxe language.  There are limits right now such as the lack of an HTML5 target and a few missing features.  Starling is perhaps best known for being the framework Angry Birds was initially created in.

 

Away3D

https://github.com/away3d/away3d-core-openfl

A port of the Away3D 3D flash framework to the Haxe language.  One of the few 3D libraries that has model loading support out of the box (oddly...).  Obviously from the name, this is a 3D focused library.

 

Popular Haxe Frameworks

 

Kha

http://kha.tech/ || https://github.com/KTXSoftware/Kha

Kha is a low level framework whose design favors speed over other priorities.  It supports 2D and 3D but again is quite low level (so no model api for example).  Kha runs at the level similar to SFML, SDL or JGWL, with game engines built over top of it.  Such engines include:

KhaPunk || Cycles || Komponent2D || Kha2D

These engines work at a higher level of abstraction (further from the metal), making use of Kha to provide multimedia functionality.

 

NME

https://github.com/haxenme/nme

NME is the library that lead to OpenFL.  It is similar to Kha in that it provides low level cross platform implementation of the technical “stuff” that makes up a game, then more high level game engines are built on top of it.  Haxe became OpenFL, but it seems there was a community that want to see NME continue as it was, so NME seems to have some life as well.

 

OpenFL

http://www.openfl.org/

Starting life as an implementation of Flash API in a cross platform manner using the Haxe programming language.  Basically it allows Flash developers to seemlessly transition to Haxe development.  A number of engines are layered on top of OpenFL.  As mentioned above, OpenFL was originally NME, although they have no evolved in different directions.  OpenFL was used to make several commercial games such as Papers Please. HaxePunk, HaxeFlixel and Stencyl all are (or were) layered over top of OpenFL.

 

awe6

https://github.com/hypersurge/awe6

awe6 is awesome, but oddly never really seems to have taken off.  I’m glad to see that it’s still under development even if there isn’t much of a community around it.  awe6 is build around the idea of inversion of control (and dependency injection) and I really can’t do it justice in a single paragraph.  The lack of a community though makes this very much not an engine for people that aren’t able to solve problems on their own.  I did a closer look at awe6 years ago, and it should remain equally valid.

 

snowkit

http://snowkit.org/

This is one of the new kids on the block and a very cool looking collection of tools.  Snowkit is composed of flow – a build tool, snow – a low level media library, luxe – a game engine built on snow, mint – a UI library, linc – hxcpp bindings to several popular game libraries (SDL, OpenAL, etc) and hxsw a string/shader library.  The collection all together is snowkit and provides, with haxe, a complete framework for creating games.  It’s a cool concept, but it’s also much more complicated due to all the moving pieces.

edit—To clarify, snowkit is an umbrella term for all of the above mentioned technologies combined as well as the community around it.  The actual game engine is luxe, not snowkit.

 

lime

https://github.com/openfl/lime

Lime isn’t a game engine, it’s a cross platform media layer.  Basically OpenFL and other libraries/engines are built on top of lime.  It provides logic for windows, input, audio, rendering, networking, etc... in a cross platform manner.  Obviously it’s pretty low level.  Heck OpenFL is pretty low level and its over top of lime after all.

 

BabylonHx

http://babylonhx.gamestudiohx.com/

BabylonHx is a Haxe port of BabylonJS which I looked at in depth here.  I like BabylonJS, it’s a great Javascript game engine with a clean easy to understand design.  BabylonHx is an incomplete port of babylonjs...  how incomplete I do not know.

 

Cycles

http://cyclesgame.org/

This one I know very little about, but I am going to change that, because the concept sounds really cool.  Basically it integrates into Blender and uses Haxe (and under that Kha) as the programming language.  Basically you create your game world in Blender and code the logic in Haxe.  It’s similar I suppose to Blend4Web or BDX.  The choice of Cycles is probably a poor one though, as Cycles is the name of the modern renderer for Blender.  I am intrigued though... enough that I am going to download it now, so that’s the end of this list... ;)  EDIT- Doh... coming soon.  Boo

 

The Ones I Missed

And the following are my wall of shame, the engines I missed and various members in the community pointed out to me (thanks for that btw). 

 

Heaps

https://github.com/ncannasse/heaps

Heaps is a game engine by Nicolas Cannasse, who can basically be considered the father of the Haxe language, as well as CastleDB and other important Haxe projects.  Heaps was used to make Evoland 2.  It is a 2D and 3D game engine capable of targeting WebGL, Flash 3D, Mobile and Desktops using OpenGL.

 

Flambe

http://getflambe.com/

A 2D cross platform Haxe based game engine including tools for importing Flash animations, creating particle systems and glyphs.  Can target iOS, Android, Flash, HTML5 and desktop targets using Adobe’s AIR.  Open source and MIT licensed.

Did I miss any (that aren’t unsupported or extremely unstable)?  Which of these engines are you most interested in?

Programming


9. March 2016

 

Just last week AMD released AMDOVX, their implementation of the Khrono Group’s OpenVX computer vision standard.  Today NVidia has followed suit with VisionWorks.  OpenVX is intended to enable developers to create computer vision application (think Kinect) that work on the devices GPU.

From the VisionWorks homepage:

NVIDIA VisionWorks toolkit is a software development package for computer vision (CV) and image processing. VisionWorks™ implements and extends the Khronos OpenVX standard, and it is optimized for CUDA-capable GPUs and SOCs enabling developers to realize CV applications on a scalable and flexible platform.

The core VisionWorks functions are engineered for solutions in:

  • Robotics and Drones
  • Autonomous Driving
  • Intelligent Video Analytics
  • Augmented Reality

-- SNIP --

The toolkit helps you unlock the possibilities for GPU-based CV systems by adding your own algorithms and processing pipelines. Using VisionWorks in conjunction with other APIs like OpenCV provides access to many open-source CV algorithms.

Features:

  • CUDA accelerated OpenVX 1.0.1 conformant API and NVIDIA extension primitives
  • Framework for seamlessly adding user defined primitives
  • Thread-safe API
  • Example/sample pipeline code
  • Documentation including Toolkit Reference Guide with Release Notes, Installation Guide, Tutorials and API Reference.

VisionWorks is available for Linux for Tegra, Ubuntu and Windows in Beta form.

GameDev News


8. March 2016

 

Faceware Technologies, a provider of “markerless” facial motion capture solutions used in games such as NBA2K16 and Destiny, just released new versions of their software, including a free PLE (Personal Learning Edition) version.  That is a term that I though went away with Maya PLE, I’m somewhat surprised to see it again.  In addition to the free edition, they have also updated their marque applications as well as creating a new rental program.

FTI_WEB_LOGO_HEADER

First, let’s cover the free version of Faceware.  The Personal Learning Edition is a free license that is limited to non-commercial use.  From the Faceware announcement:

More and more individual content creators are adopting Faceware’s technologies to learn or improve their facial mocap and animation skills. The Personal Learning Edition (PLE) was designed with those users in mind. PLE is a free license of Analyzer 3.0 and Retargeter 5.0 for individual, non-commercial use, including research. The PLE includes all of the functionality of the Studio version of Analyzer 3.0 and Retargeter 5.0 (see below), and will be kept on feature parity with the latest versions of those packages, so individual artists will always have access to the latest facial motion capture functionality from Faceware.  For universities and schools, Analyzer 3.0 and Retargeter 5.0 will still be available in-lab and classroom licenses for adoption into relevant curriculums.  

 

There were also updates to their Analyzer and Retargeter software packages.  The changes to Analyzer 3.0:

Analyzer is Faceware’s award-winning markerless facial motion tracking software. Based on advanced computer vision technology, it converts any video of an actor’s facial performance into facial motion files for use in Faceware’s companion software, Retargeter. To enhance Analyzer’s usability for artists in different countries, Faceware has localized Analyzer into nine additional languages: Japanese, Chinese (Simplified), Korean, French, German, Spanish (Castilian), Russian, Polish and Arabic. Analyzer will now also support timecode, editing of in/out points of any new video, and the ability to capture live video straight into Analyzer’s workflow using any of Faceware’s hardware systems. All new features will be available in both Analyzer 3.0 Studio and Studio Plus versions.

While here are the details on Retargeter:

Faceware’s award-winning Retargeter software maps facial motion capture data from Analyzer onto any facial rig through a plug-in for Autodesk Maya, 3DS Max, and MotionBuilder. Like Analyzer, Retargeter 5.0 has been localized into nine additional languages and it supports timecode. Other highlights include an updated shared pose library workflow as well as general speed improvements.  All new features will be available in both Studio and Studio Plus versions of Retargeter 5.0.  

 

Faceware also announced a complete rental option, including hardware and software, on a month by month basis:

For commercial projects that need to be completed on relatively tight schedules, studios are now able to rent Faceware’s entire real-time and creative suite software lineup in 30-day increments. Rental costs start at $340 USD per month.

 

For more details, see the complete release here.

GameDev News


8. March 2016

 

A new version of the popular open source Tiled Map Editor was released today, Tiled 0.15.2.  Unless you happen to be Portuguese or Turkish (who received new translations in this update), there isn’t really a ton new in this release:

 

This small patch release ships with added Turkish translation and an updated Brazilian Portuguese translation! There are also some fixes, though they are more on the cosmetic side.

  • Added Turkish translation (by Nuri Uzunoğlu)
  • Fixed hiding of object labels when deleting an object layer
  • Fixed updating of object label colors when changing object types
  • TMX: Added image size attributes to image layer images
  • Updated Brazilian Portuguese translation (by Laete Meireles)

The Tiled itch.io page3 has been updated with the new download links.

In the meantime, many features have been added on the development branch during January and February. And since editing of external tilesets1 is becoming a huge change, I plan to make a Tiled 0.16 release available in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!

 

If you are interested in learning more about Tiled, we have done an in-depth tutorial series here on GameFromScratch, that should get you up and running with ease.

GameDev News Design


7. March 2016

 

The venerable RPGMaker just released version 1.1 of RPGMaker MV.  RPGMaker is a game engine specifically designed for creation roleplaying games, specifically JRPGs.  To go along with the release they are also offering RPGMaker at a 30% discount on Steam.

 

Features of this new release include:

Fixed Issues
----------------------------------------

  • Fixed Paste Last Bug in the Animation Editor.
  • Fixed Canvas Mode: Change Parallax Bug.
  • Fixed Faceset Distortion when changing resolution.
  • Fixed Battle Crash when the Damage Formula Box is empty.
  • Fixed Monitor FPS Issue.
  • Fixed Movement Route changes are saved even when cancelled.
  • Fixed an issue that caused: If you have any changes in Plugin Manager and directly close the windows in the title bar (not by Cancel/Esc), the changes will be committed.
  • Fixed Pixi Add/Multiply/Screen commands in WebGL mode! 
  • Fixed States removed when failing to escape battle
  • Fixed Scroll Bar in Show Text when Batch Entry is checked
  • Fixed the position of index in ImageSelector.
  • Fixed Save deleting bug when a game fails to save (now uses a backup and restore system)
  • Fixed Actors set to auto battle will only heal the first actor in the party
  • Fixed Remember Command selects the wrong skill
  • Fixed Autotiles don't function the same as RMVXAce.
  • Fixed Sideview Battler Bug: Guard Pose
  • Fixed an issue that caused database JSON files (specifically Actor.json) to not automatically update when some changes are made (specifically Equipment Types)

Implemented Features
-------------------------------------

  • Implemented Onion Skin in Animation Editor.
  • Implemented Plugin Help Everywhere. 
  • Re-implemented RPG Maker 2003's Class change option: Keep Level feature.
  • Implemented Message Box and Plugin Parameters IconSet Viewer.
  • Implemented Confirmation Dialogue on Event, Database and Plugin Manager Cancel
  • Reimplemented the Resource Manager
  • Implemented Return Home/End Buttons in RMMV for navigating event pages
  • Implemented a tool to remove unused resource from a project
  • Additional Generator Parts
  • Additional Plugins: Slotmachine, TouchUI, Gachabook, Gacha and NovelMessage
  • Resources compressed

GameDev News


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