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8. July 2016


Cocos2d-x is a popular open source C++ based cross platform game development library.  If you are interested in learning more about Cocos2d-x, we have a complete tutorial series available here.  The Cocos2d-x team just announced the release of Cocos2d-x 3.12.  Version 3.12 adds support for the Tizen platform, experimental support for VR, fixed some Android performance issues, add obb Android support and WebGL improvements. 

In addition to these features, there are dozens of new features and bug fixes, including:

[HIGHLIGHT] add VR support

[HIGHLIGHT] add Tizen support

[HIGHLIGHT] fix Android performance issue

[HIGHLIGHT] Web engine performance improved in WebGL mode

[HIGHLIGHT] support obb extension on Android

[NEW] Core: add `utils::findChild()`

[NEW] Core: add CSV format support to tile maps

[NEW] Core: add `FileUtils::getContents()`

[NEW] Core: cocos2d::Value supports unsigned

[NEW] Particle: add feature to pause/resume particle emitter

[NEW] Platform: support Windows 10 UWP x64

[NEW] UI: add clamp and shrunk feature for system fonts, currently only support iOS, Android and Mac

[NEW] UI: make ListView select item programmatically

[NEW] UI: add `EditBox::InputFlag::LOWERCASE_ALL_CHARACTERS` to lowercase characters

[NEW] UI: add `setBounce()` to WebView

[NEW] Web: refactor TMXLayer renderers

[NEW] Web: can force orientation in mobile browser

[NEW] Web: support high resolution TTF Label on retina display

[REFINE] Android: use clang instead of gcc to compile codes

[REFINE] Android: hide virtual button by default

[REFINE] Android: set music volume control as default

[REFINE] Android: usage clang insteand of gcc to compile codes

[REFINE] Audio: catch `IllegalStateException` exception to avoid crash when playing background music with SimpleAudioEngine on Android

[REFINE] Core: fix many warnings

[REFINE] Core: move StringUtils functions from deprecated header file to ccUTF8.h

[REFINE] Core: FontFNT will ignore chars that exceeds 65535 and print a warning information

[REFINE] Core: `Node::ignoreAnchorPointForPosition()` is deprecated and add `Node::setIgnoreAnchorPointForPosition()`

[REFINE] Core: allow inherit from platform FileUitils

[REFINE] Core: add optional alpha parameter to Color4B and Color4F

[REFINE] Core: Follow action can accept horizontal and vertical offset

[REFINE] Core: TMXXMLParse parse `id` element

[REFINE] Lua: rename all member functions named `end()` to `endLua()`

[REFINE] JSB: make selectedSprite opitional in MenuItemSprite

[REFINE] JSB: return null if read failed in `js_cocos2dx_CCFileUtils_getDataFromFile()`

[REFINE] Template: iOS tempalte is refined to make cocos2d-x game scene work better with other UIView

[REFINE] Template: remove ``

[REFINE] Template: ARC support on iOS and Mac OS

[REFINE] UI: TTF and BMFont label wrap mode will automanytically changed to char wrap mode when label's width is less than word's boundary

[REFINE] UI: UIWidget adds missing properties for clone

[REFINE] UI: UIScrollBar caches the texture created with base64 encoded images

[REFINE] UI: EditBox now prints lowercase letters by default

[REFINE] UI: enable WebView's local storage on Android

[REFINE] UI: improve EditBox implementation on WinRT

[REFINE] UI: make PageView indicator more tunable

[REFINE] UI: make PageView page turning event time tweak configurable

[REFINE] UI: RichText is improved: add effect of outline, shadow and glow; catch the event of open url; ability to extend tags; add anchor of image tag

[REFINE] 3D: skeleton animation is more efficient when two animations switch frequently

[REFINE] 3rd party: update webp to 0.5.0

[REFINE] Web: improve basic types to reduce memory usage

[REFINE] Web: Show line number in console statements

[REFINE] Web: Cache base64 image of PageViewIndicator and ScrollViewBar

[REFINE] Web: Pass error in cc.AsyncPool in onEnd callback

[REFINE] Web: Separate ccui.ListView event callback from ccui.ScrollView for its own events

[FIX] Android: fix compiling error if using NDK r11+

[FIX] Android: package name is `libcocos2dx` instead of application name if building with Android Studio

[FIX] Audio: AudioEngine can not work if the file path contains not ascii code on iOS

[FIX] Audio: SimpleAudioEngine::playEffect() doesn't work correctly on Linux

[FIX] AssetsManager: can not work

[FIX] AssetsManagerEx: use manifestUrl from remote version

[FIX] Core: `FileUtils::writeValueMap()` will crash on iOS if it contains `Value::Type::None` type element

[FIX] Core: `ClippgNode::setStencil()` may cause assert error if it is invoked before

[FIX] Core: `TextureCache::addImageAsync()` doesn't set pixel format corretly

[FIX] Core: `GL::SetBlending()` doesn't set dst correctly

[FIX] Core: vertex z can not work correctly if window size changed on desktop platforms

[FIX] Core: use `std::isnan()` instead of `isnan()` to fix compiling errors on some Linux platforms

[FIX] Core: crash on windows when using PolygonInfo

[FIX] Core: fix `libpng error: CgBI: unhandled critical chunk` error with Xcode 7.3

[FIX] Core: EXC_BAD_ACCESS random crash caused by reallocation of shared indices memory

[FIX] Core: memory leak of `utils::captureScreen()` on iOS and Mac OS

[FIX] Core: assert error if remove an event listener twice at the same time

[FIX] Core: FileUtils::getValueMapFromFile() returns wrong value if it is a number with scientific notation on Android

[FIX] Core: UIGrayScale shader is not reloaded when reloading shaders

[FIX] Core: `SpriteFrame::clone()` doesn't clone polygonInfo

[FIX] Core: `FileUtils::createDirectory()` fails on Mac OS with sandbox

[FIX] Core: `cocos2d::Value` operator overloading of comparison `==` returns wrong value in case Type::VECTOR

[FIX] Core: wrong content size if minisize

[FIX] Core: can not have a class named `Game` on Windows

[FIX] Core: crash if load bad image on Windows

[FIX] Core: custom shader uniforms and attributes do not have effect in DrawNode

[FIX] Core: blend mode doesn't work with animated sprite

[FIX] Core: `FileUtils::removeDirectory()` can not work correctly when the path is not end of `/` on iOS and Mac

[FIX] JSB: fix some bugs related with JSB debegger

[FIX] JSB: scheduler callback target lost

[FIX] JSB: missing scroll widgets constants

[FIX] JSB: if obj is undefined or null then attempt to access obj.__nativeObj leads to incorrect behavior

[FIX] JSB: use `require()` to require the same script twice may crash

[FIX] Lua: lua function is not invoked when error happens in websocket

[FIX] Network: HttpClient Content-type limitation on iOS

[FIX] Network: downloader crash when storage path contains spaces

[FIX] Network: SocketIO crash on reconnect

[FIX] Physics: PhysicsBody damping doesn't wrok

[FIX] UI: EditBox may cause `java.lang.IndexOutOfBoundsException` exception on Android

[FIX] UI: TextFieldTTF doesn't show password correctly

[FIX] UI: RichText crash on Windows

[FIX] UI: EditBox can not use custom font on Android

[FIX] UI: can not use TTF font on Android

[FIX] RenderTexture: `setOpacity()` has not effect

[FIX] 3D: `Sprite3D::createNode()` may not work correctly with particular model data

[FIX] Web: `getParentToNodeTransform` doesn't return result

[FIX] Web: remote image without extension in url can't be loaded as image

[FIX] Web: nested clipping nodes rendering issue in WebGL render mode

[FIX] Web: IMEDispatcher can't work in mobile Chrome


Cocos2d-x is available here.

GameDev News

8. July 2016


Released just a few days ago on the App Store is Continuous, a complete C# and F# development environment that runs directly on your iPhone or iPad.  It contains a fairly full featured IDE with capable text editor, programming friendly on screen keyboard and more.  In addition to the editor it contains everything you need for development, a port of the Roslyn compiler, VM as well as implementations of several key libraries such as Xamarins WinForms implementation.

From the App Store entry:

    • Continuous is always building and running your code so you can see changes as you type. Writing interactive apps in Continuous is a pleasure compared to the traditional code-build-run cycle. It frees you to make lots of small changes and see their effects immediately - no more waiting for builds or deployments and no more clicking around trying to get to the screen you're trying to code.
      Continuous looks and works in many of the same ways as traditional .NET IDEs so you'll feel right at home, but it also strives to advance the state of the art in IDEs with these features:
    • Full C# 6 and F# 4 compilers so you can use the latest tech
    • Automatic compiling and running so you can focus on the code and the results
    • Fancy text editor with tabs, semantic highlighting, inline error bubbles, and inline values that are updated as you type
    • Watch window enables you to view graphical objects in your app (UI and images), inspect live objects as your app runs, create instances of new objects, and call methods
    • Code completion with inline type info and documentation makes learning new APIs fun
    • Uses standard .NET file and project formats so you can share code with other IDEs
    • Includes Xamarin.Forms and UIKit to build apps and SpriteKit and SceneKit to build games
    • Split screen support so you can keep documentation by your side
    • Execution powered by a new IL interpreter


If you are interested in learning more I already did a hands-on video available here or embedded below.  After some more experience I may follow up with a full blown review.  If you are a C# developer and are interested on developing directly on your device, check out Continuous.  It’s a pretty amazing piece of software.


GameDev News

8. July 2016


Tiled, a popular open source 2D map editor, just released version 0.16.2.  If you are interested in learning more about Tiled we have a complete tutorial series here on GameFromScratch.


The 0.16.2 is composed entirely of fixes, including:

  • JSON plugin: Fixed loading of custom properties on terrains
  • Lua plugin: Fixed missing export of object layer drawing order (#1289)
  • Fixed tile index adjustment when tileset image changes width (#1242)
  • Fixed --export-map [format] option (#1307)
  • Fixed shortcuts for some tools when language is set to Dutch (#1280)
  • Fixed a painting related bug affecting the top edge after AutoMapping (#1308)
  • Fixed issues when compiling against Qt 5.6 on OS X and Windows (#1309)
  • Fixed crash on maximizing with Maps view open on Windows (#1153, #1268, Qt 5.6.1)
  • Fixed focus issue while typing predefined object types (#1244, Qt 5.6)
  • Fixed silent fail when saving to restricted location on Windows (#965, Qt 5.6)


You can read the entire notes release here.

GameDev News

5. July 2016


In the previous tutorial we covered installing the Defold Engine and creating your first project.  Today we are going to be looking at the overall structure of a Defold game, as it varies slightly from previous game engines.  I assume at this point you’ve followed the previous tutorial, created an empty project and have it open in the Defold editor.


There is an HD video of this tutorial available here.


The default project should look something like:



The built-ins folder is exactly that.  It contains several resources and scripts usable in your game, but we will talk about that later.  The more important thing to be aware of here is the main folder and it’s contents.

Inside this folder we find main.collection, logo.atlas and a folder containing an image.  A collection is a very important concept in Defold.  In this particular usage, you can think of a collection as a level.  If we double click main.collection for example it will open up a scene editor, like so:



A collection isn’t simply a level however...  what it is is a container for game objects or other collections.  We will look at game objects in a second.  So yes, Collections can be used to compose game levels, but they have other purposes.  The also perform the role of “prefabs” in other engines.  For example you might have a prefab for an enemy, that contained the scripts controlling it, the graphics you used to draw it, the sounds it plays, etc.  This collection can then be used to “instance” a version of your prefab one or more times.


A moment ago I mentioned Game Objects.  This is another cornerstone to understanding Defold.  With main.collection open in the editor, you should see in the Outliner, the following:



You can see here that our collection (main.collection) contains a single Game Object named go, which in turn contains a single component sprite.  You’ll notice with sprite selected that the Properties show our sprite comes from /main/logo.atlas and uses the animation or image named logo and renders using the built in material sprite.material. 

If you’ve worked with a component based game engine, such as Unity or Unreal, should be immediately comfortable with this concept.  Basically Game Objects are the entities or items that make up your game.  You will notice with a game object selected, it has very few properties:


Basically a Game Object contains positioning information (location, rotation and scale) and an Id, which we will use later.

What makes a Game Object useful is it’s a container for Components.  If you right click a Game Object in the Outliner, you can Add Component (or press I)



You can then chose a component from the following list:


This is how you can attach a Sprite, Collision Object, Sound effect, etc... to your Game Object.


So in a nutshell, a Collection is just that, a collection of things.  Generally Game Objects and other Collections.  A Game Object is an entity within your game world.  It has a position and ID and is a container for several components.  Components are the things that make up your game object, sprites, sounds, etc.  Got it?


So then... what about code?


Well every game engine has a game loop somewhere.  A game loop is a pretty simple concept, it’s a loop that runs over and over again and looks something like this primitive psuedo code:




The exact contents of the game loop change from engine to engine but if you look at enough engines you will notice they are all very similar in the end.  It’s a loop that runs, checks for input, updates the game world, updates the physics engine if one exists then renders the results.  The actual game loop itself is often hidden away in a game engine and Defold is no exception.  So how then do you program your game?

Well first off you create a script.  A script is just another type of asset that can be added to your project.  To do so, right click the folder you want the asset to be created in (main), then select New->Script File.



Next you want to name your script.  In Defold scripts have the .script extension. 



This will create a new script file.  Double click it to bring it up in the editor:

function init(self)
    -- Add initialization code here
    -- Remove this function if not needed
    print("Game Created")

function final(self)
    -- Add finalization code here
    -- Remove this function if not needed

function update(self, dt)
    -- Add update code here
    -- Remove this function if not needed

function on_message(self, message_id, message, sender)
    -- Add message-handling code here
    -- Remove this function if not needed

function on_input(self, action_id, action)
    -- Add input-handling code here
    -- Remove this function if not needed

function on_reload(self)
    -- Add reload-handling code here
    -- Remove this function if not needed


I added a simple print() function call in the init() method.  Remember what I was saying about game loops earlier?  Well in Defold, during it’s game loop it makes various callback function calls at different points in the loop.  In this case init() is called when the script is first created, final() is called when it is done.  All the other methods are called each pass through the loop. We will look at each of these methods in detail in the future.


So now that we have a script, we actually have to attach it to something to get it to run.  Thankfully we already have a game object in main.collection named go.  Let’s attach the script to it.  Make sure main.collection is being edited, then in the outliner, locate go, right click it and select Add Component From File.



Select main.script then click OK:



Now that script will be attached to that game object.


This leaves one last question... how does the Defold engine know to create our main.collection to start all of this off in the first place?  Well that’s where game.project comes in.  This file contains several global configuration settings for your game.



In this particular case however, it’s the bootstrap that we are interested in.



You can think of main_collection as the entry point of your game.


That’s it for this tutorial.  Now that we have a good understanding of what the pieces that go together to make a game, next we will jump in and start getting our fingers dirty.  This tutorial is not going to be covering Lua programming.  If you are new to the Lua language, be sure to check out this tutorial series and you will learn everything you need to know to get up to speed.


The Video

GameDev News

5. July 2016


While not exactly earth shattering news, Microsoft today slammed the door on the idea of XNA 5. 


The following request was posted to the Visual Studio feedback system

Please continue to work on XNA. It's a great way for indie game developers like myself to make games and give them to the world. XNA gave us the ability to put our games, easily, on the most popular platforms, and to just dump XNA would be therefor heartbreaking... I implore you to keep working on XNA so we C# developers can still make amazing games!


Now XNA has been dead and buried for a long time but I think a fair number of people held out hope that XNA would come back at some point.  Given their answer, there is no question of hope now:

Back in 2013, we announced that XNA 4.0 would be the last release of the XNA framework. We thank all of you who used XNA in your games, and we’re humbled by the number of you who want an XNA 5.0! However,XNA 5.0 is not something we’ll be developing.

We know that many of you want to use cross-platform engines to build your games and deploy them in all the places that gamers care about – Xbox, Windows, Sony PlayStation, Nintendo Wii, iOS, Android and more. Now, there is an amazing ecosystem of game frameworks and engines that support building games on Windows and across all platforms.

If you are looking to port your existing XNA game to Windows 10 UWP, please explore the MonoGame framework, which is an open-source, cross-platform implementation of XNA, supporting Windows 10 UWP and a variety of other platforms. If you are looking to build a cross-platform game using C#, .NET and Visual Studio, you can explore Unity, a powerful 3D and 2D game creation tool and ecosystem. Unreal Engine 4 and Cocos2d are also great options for building cross-platforms games using Visual Studio.

In addition, if your game was built with XNA and previously worked on Windows or Windows Phone, it will continue to work.


I have to admit this is somewhat depressing as I was always a fan of XNA.  Not surprising, but depressing.

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