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21. August 2019

Unity just released a new sample “Spaceship” that demonstrates the new Visual Effect Graph showcasing it’s ability to create elaborate UI or in game special effects.

Details of the demonstration from the Unity blog:

The spaceship demo features many effects during its walkthrough. All these effects have been authored and optimized in-game production conditions with performance in mind, targeting 33.3 ms (30 fps) on Playstation 4 (base) at 1080p. All the effects are taking advantage of the many optimization settings we implemented in Visual Effect Graph and High Definition Render Pipeline.

Half-Resolution Translucent Rendering renders selected transparent particles at a lower resolution, increasing rendering performance by 4 (at the expense of little blurriness in some rare cases). We used it mostly for big, lit particles that are present in the foreground as their texel/pixel ratio is rather low, the loss in resolution is not noticeable at all.

Octagon Particles is an optimization of quad particles and enable the corners of the particles to be cropped.  where the pixels are often found transparent (invisible cost). Particle corners are often transparent, but the overlapping of these transparent areas result in unnecessary calculations. Cropping out these sections can optimize the scene up to 25% in situations where there is lots of overdraw. There is also the benefit of reducing the resolution of the translucent sections when they can’t be cropped away.

Simplified Lighting model: Simple Lit for HD Render Pipeline enables disabling properties of the BRDF – Diffuse Lighting, Specular Lighting, Shadow and Cookie Reception, and Ambient Lighting. By selecting only the features you want to see, you can decrease the lighting computation cost to close to none. For instance, particles can be lit using only Light Probes by selecting a Simple Lit Translucent Model, then disabling everything except ambient lighting. This optimization was chosen for many environment effects that did not require a lot of high-frequency lighting.

You can download the project from GitHub however you need to have git LFS support enabled.  You can also download a pre-compiled version as well as a zip of the complete source archive right here.

You can learn more about project as well as a complete capture of the Spaceship demo in the video below.

GameDev News

20. August 2019

8BitWorkshop is perhaps the most approachable way I have seen yet for beginning retro game development, specifically for 8Bit systems such as the Atari VCS/2600, various arcade systems and now the Nintendo Entertainment System.

8Bit Workshop is a complete IDE and emulator that runs entirely in the browser.  You can launch it directly by clicking here.  8Bit Workshop supports the following platforms:

  • Atari 2600
  • NES
  • Verilog
  • VIC Dual
  • Midway 8080
  • Galaxian/Scramble Arcade
  • Atari Vector
  • Williams
  • Apple ][

In most systems you can code directly using C or assembly language.  It also comes absolutely loaded with examples in a variety of languages.  Additionally they have several supporting books Making Games for the Atari 2600 and Making Games for the NES.

Even better, the entire thing is open source under the GPL v3 license on GitHub.  You can also download several samples to get started right here.  Finally, version 3.4.0 was just released adding NES support, a new book and more.

GameDev News

19. August 2019

A new Humble Bundle of interest to game developers, specifically Python programmers.  This one is the Humble Book Bundle: Python Programming by No Starch Press, a collection of programming books on a variety of Python related topics.  If you regularly purchase Humble Bundles, be aware some of these books were part of this earlier No Starch bundle.

As always the bundles are arranged into tiers, where if you purchase a higher value tier, you get all of the lower tiers as well.  The tiers in this bundle are:

1$ Tier

  • Automate the Boring Stuff with Python
  • Invent Your Own Computer Games with Python
  • Black Hat Python
  • Python For Kids
  • Code Craft

8$ Tier

  • Cracking Codes with Python
  • Doing Math with Python
  • Gray Hat Python
  • Python Playground
  • Teach Your Kids to Code

15$ Tier

  • Serious Python
  • Impractical Python Projects
  • Math Adventures with Python
  • Mission Python

You get to decide how your purchase funds are allocated, split between the publisher, humble, charity or if you choose (and thanks if you do!) to support GameFromScratch using this link.  If you are interested in checking out Python for game development, be sure to check out or Python GameDev post.

GameDev News

17. August 2019

One of the most requested features in Unity, beyond dark mode in the free edition, is some form of Visual Scripting language like Blueprint in Unreal Engine.  Unity have been working on an experimental version of Unity Visual Script and earlier this week dropped the 3rd experimental version as well as a sample to demonstrate how it all works.  Keep in mind, this is extremely early and in no way is it for use in production code, nor is it documented… at all.

Another thing to keep in mind is the Visual Script in Unity is only for their new DOTS system, meaning it wont work with existing MonoBehaviour code.  It was explained why in the 2nd drop:

In this particular case we realised that there are quite a few mature solutions that most of the community is using successfully for visual scripting. We didn't think that what we can build on top of MonoBehaviours in terms of visual scripting would have been a massive improvement over solutions in the asset store.

On the other hand we saw an opportunity to focus VisualScripting on DOTS. Specifically enabling artists & level designers to write incredibly efficient multithreaded game code, by expressing their intent simply and the code being generated taking advantage of DOTS. The data centric nature of DOTS opens many new opportunities for visual scripting and interop with other code based systems.

We think a combination:
* Generating high performance visual scripting code out of the box (C# job + Burst + great memory layout)
* A UX language that reduces noodle graph-ness, by supporting stacking and other dedicated UX paradigm
* A straightforward path to transition from Visual Scripting -> well organized DOTS C# code
* Amazing debugging tools deeply integrated into DOTS & Visual scripting

If you are interested in a Visual Scripting system that works with existing Unity code be sure to check out Bolt or PlayMaker on the Unity store.  Check out the new Visual Scripting system in action in the video below.

GameDev News

14. August 2019

There is another Humble Bundle of interest to game developers.  The Humble Beat Goes On Bundle is a collection of audio production applications from MAGIX (a lot of which was previously Sony).  As with all Humble Bundles, it is organized into tiers.  Buy a higher dollar value tier and you get all of the tiers below it as well.

The tiers for this bundle are:

1$ Tier

  • Music Maker EDM Edition
  • Voucher Code for Producer Planet

13$ Tier

  • ACID Music Studio 10
  • MP3 Deluxe 19

25$ Tier

  • SOUND FORGE Pro 12
  • ACID Pro 8

As with all Humble Bundles, you can decide how your money is allocated, between the publisher, Humble, charity or if you choose (and thanks if you do!) to support GFS.  Be VERY careful with this bundle however, much of the software featured has been in prior MAGIX Humble Bundles, although never in this exact combination.

Completely unrelated to game development, they also launched an awesome Warhammer: Dark Heresy PDF RPG bundle at the same time.  As a huge RPG fan, this one actually has me much more stoked! Winking smile

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