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8. December 2018


The open source Duality game engine just received a 3.0 release.  The duality engine, that we featured previously in the Closer Look series is a complete 2D game engine built on top of a C# framework that also includes a comprehensive game editor, a modern component based design, as well as good documentation and a decent sized community.  The only real flaw I can think of is that it is currently Windows only, so that limits the audience to a certain degree.  The 3.0 release is loaded with features, the largest of which is due to the complete rewrite of the rendering pipeline and underlying design, which resulted in a more modern shader based approach and up to a doubling of per frame performance.

Highlights

Rewrote the entire rendering pipeline, allowing massive improvements in efficiency, ease of use and feature coverage while at the same time shifting towards more modern, shader-focused rendering techniques.

  • RenderSetup resources allow replacing how Duality renders a frame, providing a simple entry point for pre- or post processing steps, as well as completely customized rendering behavior.
  • Self-contained scenes allow using Scene resources as isolated simulation spaces independently of the active main scene.
  • Focus on performance and a more data-oriented design of both rendering and update cycles. A worst-case rendering benchmark comparing v2 and v3 performance went down from 13 ms to 6 ms per frame, as well as 2000+ (gen0 to gen2) GC collections per minute to about 5 (gen0) collections.
  • Refactored core API, replacing many “first iteration” designs with more streamlined ones. The most prominent example might be the deprecation of manual context checks in ICmpInitializable in favor of a simple OnActivate / OnDeactivate method pair, but many similar improvements were done as well.


Be sure to check out the full change log, as the above summary only scratches the surface of what’s new in this release.  As mentioned earlier, the Duality game engine is open source and available on Github.  If you want to see a quick hands-on introduction to Duality, be sure to watch the video embedded below.

GameDev News


7. December 2018


The Epic Game Store, first announced a few days back is now live and additional information is available for those interesting in publishing their game on Epic’s new store.  Beyond the incredibly generous 88/12% revenue split, there are a number of advantages to the new store such as an affiliate program, completely customizable store pages and of course… Fortnite.  As an additional draw to the store, Epic are offering a free game every two weeks, with the first free offering being Subnautica on Dec 14th, then Super Meat Boy (oddly no link) two weeks later.


Additional details on how the store functions are available in their about page:

Why is Epic Games opening a store?

As a developer ourselves, we have always wanted a store with fair economics that connects us directly with our players. Thanks to the success of Fortnite, we are now able to share our capabilities with other developers and make that store a reality.

What’s the catch? Is this 88% revenue share a special introductory rate?

There is no catch; the 88% share to the developer is the permanent rate. Epic’s 12% share covers the operating costs of the store and makes us a profit.

Will the Epic Games store be an overnight success?

This will be a long term effort. Epic Games has been around for 27 years. We expect to invest in and work to grow the store for many years to come.

How are you selecting titles for the Epic Games store?

We are prioritizing developers who have flexibility in timing and a willingness to work through the early phases of a store with us. We consider many other factors as well, so there is no set formula.

How can I make Epic aware of my interest to put my game on the store?

Complete and submit the form at the bottom of this page or if you have an existing relationship with Epic through Unreal Engine licensing, reach out to your business contact.

When is the store launching for all developers?

We are planning to open the store for all developers in the second half of 2019.

Which platforms does the Epic Games store support?

We are launching with PC and Mac support. Support for other open platforms, such as Android will come later.

What does it mean when Epic wants to give me direct access to my audience?

Players who own your games will see your news posts in their newsfeed, providing you a direct connection to your players. When purchasing a game, players can choose to share their email addresses directly with developers of games they purchase.

My game is built with Unity or another engine, can I bring it to the Epic Games store?

Yes, the Epic Games store is engine-agnostic. Epic is aiming to bring great games to players, regardless of your engine choice.

My game is built with Unreal Engine. Why should I ship on the Epic Games store?

Beyond the normal ease of shipping on every platform, there are no engine royalties for UE4-based games sold on the Epic Games store. If you’re using the default free license with a 5% royalty, for example, you won’t pay the licensing fees from your sales on the Epic Games store. Royalties from sales on other platforms would remain the same 5%.

What is the Support-A-Creator program? What does it mean to me?

Support-A-Creator is the program full of amazing content creators who will help promote games on the Epic Games store. Creators earn a share of revenue from each attributable sale. Developers set the rate of the revenue share and Epic pays the first 5% for the first 24 months. Developers get immediate access to thousands of creators who can promote their titles with no friction. We believe this will make a more direct and sustainable connection between game developers and content creators (streamers, influencers, etc). There are currently more than 10,000 content creators in the program, with tens of millions of supporters, and that number is growing every day.

Where is the Epic Games store available?

The Epic Games store is available to players in most countries in the world except for China and where prohibited by US law, such as North Korea and Iran. Certain regions, such as South Korea, may have additional legal requirements that you may need to implement in your game in order to be compliant and to be distributed there.

Does the Epic Games store have regional pricing?

Yes, we do support regional pricing. We also have a set of suggested regional discounts based on local norms that are regularly reviewed.

Which currencies do you accept and in which currencies do you display prices?

We currently support local pricing in USD, Great British Pound, Euro, Polish Zloty, Russian Ruble, South Korean Won, Japanese Yen, Turkish Lira, and Ukrainian Hryvnia.

Does the Epic Games store have mandatory sales?

No. While we do plan to offer multi-game sales events, they are voluntary.

How will player feedback and game ratings work on the Epic Games store?

We will offer developers an opt-in ratings system for games on the store in the future.

How do refunds work on the Epic Games store?

We will offer two no-questions-asked refunds per player within two weeks of purchase.

Which payment methods are supported?

The Epic Games store supports credit cards, Paypal, and a variety of alternative payment methods. Approximately 80% of store transactions use credit cards and Paypal. The other 20% comprise alternative payment methods, primarily in countries where credit cards aren’t widely available. Some of these alternate payment methods carry payment processing fees, which Epic charges directly to the purchaser, and are not included in revenue-sharing calculations. This is a list of the alternative payment methods we currently support. Methods carrying additional payment processing fees are marked with an *asterisk.


The about page is also where you find the submission form if you want to publish your own game on the Epic store.

GameDev News


4. December 2018


Steam just got another major competitor and this one is pretty amazing.  Fresh on the success of launching their own store and payment ecosystem to support the game Fortnite, Epic Games are opening that system up to other game developers.  Perhaps most impressive, they are doing it with a 88/12% revenue split, massively lower than the standard 70/30% cut at other game stores such as Steam, Google Play and the Apple App Store.  It will initially launch for Windows and Mac, with Android and other platforms coming soon.  You are not required to use Unreal Engine to publish your game on the store, however if you do the deal gets even better.  As part of their 12% royalty, they will also cover the Unreal Engine 4 license costs!  Additionally they are also launching an affiliate program to help encourage influencers to drive traffic to the game store.

Details of the new program from the Unreal Engine blog:

Soon we'll launch the Epic Games store, and begin a long journey to advance the cause of all developers. The store will launch with a hand-curated set of games on PC and Mac, then it will open up more broadly to other games and to Android and other open platforms throughout 2019.

The Epic Games store will operate on the following principles:
All Developers Earn 88%
Developers receive 88% of revenue. There are no tiers or thresholds. Epic takes 12%. And if you’re using Unreal Engine, Epic will cover the 5% engine royalty for sales on the Epic Games store, out of Epic’s 12%.


Have a Direct Relationship With Players
People who buy your games automatically subscribe to your newsfeed so you can reach them with game updates and news about upcoming releases. The newsfeed is front-and-center.  You’ll also be able to reach your players through email, if they choose to share it.


Connect with Creators
YouTube content creators, Twitch streamers, bloggers, and others are at the leading edge of game discovery. The 10,000-strong Epic Games Support-A-Creator program helps you reach creators, so they can help you reach players. If you opt to participate, creators who refer players to buy your game will receive a share of the revenue that you set (tracked by code or affiliate marketing link). To jumpstart the creator economy, Epic will cover the first 5% of creator revenue-sharing for the first 24 months.


Developers Control Their Game Pages
As a developer, you control your game page and your newsfeed. There will be no store-placed ads or cross-marketing of competing games on your page, and no paid ads in search results.


All Engines Are Welcome
The Epic Games store is open to games built with any engine, and the first releases span Unreal, Unity and internal engines.


When You Succeed, We Succeed
We’ve built this store and its economic model so that Epic’s interests are aligned with your interests.  Because of the high volume of Fortnite transactions, we can process store payments, serve bandwidth, and support customers very efficiently. From Epic’s 12% store fee, we’ll have a profitable business we’ll grow and reinvest in for years to come!


Watch the following video for details of why I think this move is going to be absolutely game changing!  The words “Steam Killer” are said a lot, but I honestly think this one is the biggest competitor yet.

GameDev News


3. December 2018


NVIDIA just announced that their upcoming (December 20th) release of PhysX 4.0 will be available under the BSD3 open source license.  Additionally effective today, the existing PhysX 3.4 will also be available under this open source license.  It is important to note however that this is for desktop and mobile consoles only, as PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch versions are all still under the existing EULA (this I believe).  In addition to the license change, the 4.0 release has a number of new features including:

  • Temporal Gauss-Seidel Solver (TGS), which makes machinery, characters/ragdolls, and anything else that is jointed or articulated much more robust. TGS dynamically re-computes constraints with each iteration, based on bodies’ relative motion.
  • Overall stability has been improved with reduced coordinate articulations and joint improvements.
  • Increased scalability via new filtering rules for kinematics and statics.
  • New Bounding Volume Hierarchies support fast scene queries for actors with a huge number of shapes.
  • Infrastructure can now incorporate Cmake projects.

You can download PhysX 3.4 here and stay tuned on December 20th to download PhysX 4.0.

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