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27. October 2016


Substance Painter 2.4 has just been released.  Substance Painter is a popular Physically Based Renderer (PBR) texturing application.  This release brings a redesigned shelf which is now highly customizable.  Other updates include:

Advanced Filtering
It is now possible to filter, search and sort through assets by using a combination of folders, usages and keywords. Assets can be easily filtered by shelf as well and searches can span through multiple shelf locations at once.

New Import Dialog
The import process has been rebuilt from the ground up to allow to easily import and arrange multiple assets in a shelf or project at once. Assets copied manually in the shelf will also appear in real-time in Substance Painter without the need to restart the tool.

Bonus: New Particle Presets
We’ve added 4 new particle presets (Electric Circuit, Electric Lines, Rococo and Veins Small) that can be modified to create all sorts of interesting patterns and tweaked some of the existing ones to improve their default behavior. Let us know what you think!


More details from the release notes:

  • [Shelf] New interface to browse resources (tree-view, filters and so on)
  • [Shelf] Allow to save a search as a preset
  • [Shelf] Allow to create a new window from a preset
  • [Shelf] New interface for importing resources
  • [Shelf] Don't copy default allegorithmic shelf in Documents folder
  • [Shelf] New particles presets : Electric Circuit, Electric Lines, Rococo, Veins Small
  • [Shelf] Improved older particles presets to be more easy to use (like "Rain")
  • [Shelf] Add new information on resource contextual menu
  • [Viewport] Improve performance when loading environment maps
  • [Viewport] Add support of environment maps that are not power of two

Fixed :

  • Crash when removing a mask
  • Crash when painting after saving a preset
  • Crash with environment blur on some GPUs
  • Crash when assigning a wrong resource with the mini shelf
  • [Shelf] Clean + Save remove tags and metadata for resources in the project
  • [Shelf] importing a preset will display its resources in the shelf
  • [Export] Normal map generated from height channel has a low intensity
  • [Export] Normal from mesh is not always present in final normal map
  • [Export] Dilation with transparency can sometimes result with no transparency
  • [Scripting] "alg.plugin_root_directory" can returns a truncated network path
  • [TextureSet] Lock button is enabled when re-opening non-square projects


You can see the new shelf in action in the video below:

GameDev News

26. October 2016


Simplygon is a middleware solution aimed at making your game assets as efficient to render as possible.   It’s basically an asset processor that goes over your game models and textures and optimizes them for the fastest performance possible.  It accomplishes this by creating various LoD (level of detail) versions of your meshes, rearranging textures and UVs to be as efficient as possible and even optimizing shaderssimplygon for the best possible performance.  Simplygon is compatible with Max and Maya as well as popular game engines Unity and Unreal.  Simplygon has been used in popular titles such as The Witcher 3, Paragon and Forza Horizon.


Simplygon have made two announcements via the Unreal Engine blog.  First is improved and more indie/small studio friendly licensing:

Starting today, Simplygon will be available as a free up-front license with a small royalty when you ship a successful game. Also, the technology is now available from $400/month for small to medium-sized non-game companies.

Over the last few years, Simplygon has been licensed by the most well renowned AAA studios and credited on hundreds of titles, and big-budget developers can still license Simplygon the old-fashioned way; we are just adding an alternative for everyone else. Just like Unreal Engine 4, an indie developer can now use Simplygon throughout production without paying anything. Only when you release a game and make money, you pay a small royalty. Or, in the words of Epic Games, “We succeed when you succeed”.


They also released a plug-in for better integration with Unreal Engine:

Starting today, UE4 ships with a Simplygon standard integration, meaning it is easier than ever to get started. Essentially, Simplygon will automagically be enabled inside the editor once you’ve got it installed. All you have to do is sign up on our website or grab the plugin from the Marketplace. This standard integration works out of the box and contains all the major components of Simplygon such as static mesh reduction, skeletal mesh reduction and the unique re-meshing and re-texturing features for HLOD. Should you require even more advanced functionality, you can download the advanced integration from


There remains the question of what exactly a “small royalty” is.  The devil is always in the details after all.  From the Simplygon pricing page, the royalty is defined as:

2% royalty after first $25K per quarter revenue

So “free” is a very relative term here.

GameDev News

26. October 2016


Unity Asset Bundles enable you to stream assets over the web and use them at run-time.  The problem is, they are tricky to use, need to be generated for each platform and often required each studio to create a tool to properly make use of them.  Today Unity released a tool aimed at making Asset Bundles easier to create and manage.  Keep in mind the tool is just a prototype so expect some bugs and usability issues.


From the announcement blog:

Make AssetBundle workflow visual, more intuitive

An easy to learn and flexible visual tool for creating a build pipeline that can support some of the complexities of real productions, the Asset Bundle graph tool provides a workflow with the following features:

  • Create AssetBundles with no coding. Create nodes, connect them and simply press the build button to give you the AssetBundles you desire!
  • Easily understand what happens when you build: which files are targeted, where they go and how they are included in which asset bundle files.
  • Create pipeline in a rule-based model. So once you configure the pipeline and set up simple rules with name and path conventions, you can then completely forget about AssetBundle configurations. Share that rule with your team and just keep creating and adding assets as long as your team is following the conventions. When you press build, those new files are automatically targeted and you will get new AssetBundles accordingly. 

We have come to the point when we’re ready to share this with you. Like many other tools we released recently, we are releasing this tool in open-source, under the MIT license. The tool is still in prototype phase, so we would be delighted if you gave it a try and tell us what you think. You can also freely modify the tool to match your needs, or join in its development.


The source code for this new tool is available on Bitbucket.  Yeah, not Github, BitBucket.

GameDev News

26. October 2016


Ambiera just released version 5.5 of their CopperCube game engine.  CopperCube is a complete cross platform 3D game engine with a full editor that requires little to no programming (although games can be scripted using JavaScript). Version 5.5 brings several new features including automatic Steam integration, client source (C++ or Flash) for Pro licenses as well as cheaper pricing.


Full details from the change log:

  • Steam Integration
    Games created with Coppercube as Windows .exe now automatically have Steam integration built-in. There is support for the Steam-Overlay and an easy way to use Steam Achivements, even without programming.
    (Note: This of course only works if your game will be published on Steam.)
    steam integration support


  • Improved First Person Shooter Controller
    Several improvements for this behavior where backintegrated from the game 'PostCollapse', including:
    • Repeated jumping is now no longer possible by holding down the space bar
    • Moving and strafing at the same time now longer lets the player move faster that way
    • When the system is hanging shortly (like for example if Windows Defender suddenly causes Windows to slow down), the movement will behave smoothly as before
    better first person shooter control


  • C++ source code
    Users of the pro edition now have access to the full C++ client source code. It consists of VisualStudio (Windows) and XCode (Mac OS X) projects and can be used to extend your game in any way possible. For details, take a look into the documentation.
    c++ source


  • Flash source code
    Users of the pro edition now have access to the full Flash client source code. It consists of about 150 .as ActionScript 3 files, and can be used to extend your game in any way possible. For details, take a look into the documentation.


  • Android Multi-Touch support for 2D Overlays
    It is now possible to use multiple 2D mobile input Overlays at the same time on Android target, making the games there feel more natural.


  • Android First Person Shooter Camera improved
    The first person shooter camera on Android now is much easier to use. Although first person shooters are more unusual on this platform, it works now much nicer and easier to handle.


  • Scripting extension: ccbGetCurrentNode()
    The new scripting function ccbGetCurrentNode() returns the current scene node. When running some JavaScript code via an 'execute JavaScript' action, there is always a "current node" set, usually the node in which the action is being run. This function is available on all platforms.


  • Price update
    CopperCube Basic Edition will from now on cost € 69 (previously: € 99), and the professional edition will now cost 358 € (previously: € 380).


  • other, smaller new features and bug fixes:
    • Mesh import improved: Imported mesh name is now reflected in the scene graph explorer
    • Improved Chinese Translation
    • There is a downloadable action available for using Steam achivements without scripting.
    • Fixed a bug causing 'plant rendering' advanced material flag not to be set when anisotropic rendering isn't checked as well.
    • Fixed a bug causing CopperCube to crash when modifying a mesh which has been imported as animated mesh although it is static.
    • Fixed a bug causing Oculus Rift support not to work on some systems
    • Fixed a bug in WebGL causing Particle Systems as children of rotated nodes not to show up correctly at some viewing angles.
    • Various minor bug fixes

GameDev News

24. October 2016


Regardless to how actual sales have turned out, there is no question that VR support is now one of the hot button must have features for a game engine.  The folks over at Silicon Studios, the makers of the Xenko Game Engine (previously Paradox3d) are aware of this trend and have made VR development a priority.  They recently released a blog post about the future of the Xenko engine, and VR specifically.


From the post:

Therefore, we are now 100% on track to support VR in Xenko. So, what does this mean? First of all, the technology hints were in place before the decision was made in July. Important rendering, lighting, and audio features were already in place or planned to soon to be in place. For instance, Forward Clustered rendering, touted as the best rendering for VR, is now supported, our support for Oculus Rift is in place, our performant multithreading and back-end support of next generation APIs such as Vulkan smooths the way for AAA style VR games needing the best possible performance, and last but not least, we are working on adding HRTF support to our audio system to accommodate a sense called proprioception, necessary for a true VR audio experience.

In conclusion, let’s not bury the lead here: the game industry disruption caused by this race to widely support VR, trough of disappointment or not, is the reason why Xenko is now on track to become the first built-from-scratch comprehensive VR engine for game developers.

When? Soon.


Is VR a must have feature for you when evaluating an engine these days?  If you’ve never heard of the Xenko engine, I featured it in the Closer Look game engine series when it was still called the Paradox engine.  In fact we also did a short tutorial series on using the engine.

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