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31. January 2019

VReal is a application for broadcasting and watching supported VR applications.  It enables you to participate in the game you are watching, freely navigating the game world while potentially communicating with other spectators.  This required the broadcaster and audience to use VR headsets, greatly shrinking the possible audience, until today.  Today VRreal announced “Desktop Mode”, that enables people without VR headsets to get in on the fun.

From the news release:

Hello friends,We’re starting off 2019 with a big update: We’re introducing a new way for everyone to watch their favorite VR content creators in Vreal – no VR headset required! (WHAAAAT?)

That’s right; we’re introducing Desktop mode, which gives you an immersive, two-dimensional look into the VR content made in Vreal. Using the WASD keys and your mouse, you can move around anywhere within the game, giving you full control of where you want to watch from; your very own spectator mode for VR game content.

The viewing experience is cross-platform; so you can watch with friends in Desktop mode or in VR from your own headset.

Simply download the application on Steam, then launch in Non-VR mode when prompted.  VReal is currently in early access and is free.  There are developer kits for Unity and Unreal Engine if you wish to integrate VReal into your VR title, but sadly the developer website does not appear to be working.

GameDev News

31. January 2019

Today we are looking at WickedEngine, an open source C++ based 3D game engine with Direct 11/12/Vulkan rendering paths, an Entity Component System and Lua scripting available.  It is inspired by the XNA programming model and has no external dependencies, making it incredibly easy (especially for a C++ project) to get started.  Additionally there is a fully functional level editing tool available, already compiled and ready to use.  The full list of features is available here.  The engine supports Windows platforms including PC and UWP (Phone, XBox, PC).

WickedEngine describes itself as:

Wicked Engine is an open-source game engine written in C++. The main focus is to be easy to set up and use, light weight, high performance, and graphically advanced. The full source code is provided with the MIT license, which means, anyone is free to use it for anything without additional considerations. The code shall not contain any parts with other licensing. The code is hosted on GitHub: For any questions, please open an issue there.

Additionally the developer has maintained a very interesting technical blog on the topic of engine development available here.

WickedEngine is not the only modern open source C++ 3D game engine.  Other similar engines we’ve covered recently include:

Learn more about WickedEngine and see the editor in action in the video below:

GameDev News

29. January 2019

Following on the first ever Unity Alpha release, Unity have just released the first beta of 2019.  This release contains a massive number of fixes and improvements as detailed in the release notes.  The major new features of 2019.1 have been summarized on the Unity forums:

In our 2019.1 alpha coverage we took a look at the new Shortcut Manager and we have already done a video covering the new incremental garbage collection preview.

GameDev News

29. January 2019

The Humble Bundle folks are running a new programmer book bundle, the Humble Book Bundle: Programming Cookbooks by O’Reilly.  Humble Bundles uses a pay what you want structure, with the more you pay, the more tiers of items you unlock.  Even better, a portion of your purchase goes to charity.

This bundle includes e-books in PDF, MOBI and EPUB formats, including:

  • Windows Powershell Cookbook
  • Regular Expressions Cookbook
  • Perl Cookbook
  • PHP Cookbook
  • Android Cookbook
  • SQL Cookbook
  • JavaScript Cookbook
  • Arduino Cookbook
  • Raspberry Pi Cookbook
  • Bash Cookbook
  • Scala Cookbook
  • CSS Cookbook
  • Python Cookbook
  • Docker Cookbook
  • R Cookbook

The top tier is $15USD, which is less than the cost of a single book on Amazon.  Purchasing the bundle via this link also helps to support this site.

GameDev News

28. January 2019

Today Unity announced an upcoming AI challenge dubbed “Obstacle Challenge Contest”.  The idea is to program your best AI bot to get as far as possible in a procedurally generated set of levels, as fast as possible.  AI bots are written using the Unity Machine Learning Agents Toolkit available on GitHub.  The project files for the contest are available here.

Details of the contest:

It is important for the development and advancement of AI methods to have a good benchmark, so that performance and achievements can be fairly and easily compared. This is why we built the Obstacle Tower and why we’re launching our first challenge. We are hoping a little friendly competition will help stimulate AI research and further the studies and creations in reinforcement learning.

The Obstacle Tower environment natively supports the Unity ML-Agents Toolkit and available to download today. We also invite you to read the research paper for more information.

The Obstacle Tower Challenge officially begins on February 11, 2019, at 00:00:01 PST. At that time, entrants can review all the rules and regulations, download our Starter Kit and begin training their agents. Participants will have the opportunity to win prizes in the form of cash, travel vouchers, and Google Cloud Platform credits, valued at over $100,000.

If you’ve been looking at getting deeper into AI and machine learning, this could be an excellent opportunity.

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