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31. March 2020


At GDC 2019 Epic Games announced their $100M Epic MegaGrant program supporting among other things, open source efforts in the world of game development.  Prior winners have included Blender, Godot and ArmorPaint.  Today, the open source cross platform sprite tool Laigter has joined that list!  If you are a regular of GameFromScratch, Laigter may sound familiar as we featured it in the Summer of 2019.

I spoke via email and Twitter with the author Azagaya about his experiences with the Epic MegaGrant program and on the future of Laigter:

I applied to the Epic Games MegaGrant project in April 2019. About three month later, i recieved an e-mail from them, stating they would
need more time for reviewing the tool. This year I received another e-mail stating that my project was approved for the MegaGrant! It was a
couple month ago, but I didn't make it public until I revived the official badge from them.


The process was very simple. For the application, I just had to fill in an online form. They reviewed the project without any question or
notification. Once approved, they sent me two forms (one for taxes and another one for banking information), and a digitally signed letter. I
filled all the forms and signed the letter and send all the documents back to them, and that was all. People from Epic were always very
gentle, and helped me a lot if I did not understand something from the forms. They answered all my e-mails soon, and in a very friendly way.


The only problems I had were with my bank, because strict regulations exists in my country about receiving money from another country.
The process overall is really simple, and people from epics helps you in everything you need.

As to the near future of Laigter:

- Ability to preview animations with lighting. For now, only framed based animations are going to be supported.
- Brush for painting textures. You will be able to use textures from sites like https://3dtextures.me/ to paint textures into your sprites.
- Toon lighting preview.
- Theming support (dark and light themes for now)
- Ability to change display language in runtine (now, the language from your system is selected, if available)

Laigter is available on Itch.io and is open source under the GPL v3 license on Github.  Check out Laigter in action in the video below.  Congratulations on the Epic MegaGrant win!

Art GameDev News


31. March 2020


Manu Video Game Maker is a new game engine that was just made available in alpha form on https://manu.co/.  The engine is 3D game engine that is currently optimized towards platformer games (this will change in time) that requires no coding, instead using a combination of triggers and animations.

More details from the Manu developers:

What are the release date and terms?

  • The alpha will be available since March 31 (from our website via email delivery, no Steam or any public store for now)
  • The alpha is free for everyone, monetization plans will be announced later (maybe months later, when we will reach the beta)
  • For now, we are free and will heavily rely on users feedback to properly focus our development plans


System Requirements?

  • The editor works on Windows and macOS (Windows 7 works, but Windows 10 is much more stable for it), Linux is not supported (no ETA)
  • The lowest possible specs we've tied was Intel Atom Z8750 micro-PC (GPD Win) and 8 YO MacBook pro with discrete GPU.
  • The optimal specs to have stable and comfortable 3D-development is kind from NVIDIA 1050+. Bigger is better, we have RTX 2060 and 2080)
  • You can check FPS and other details by clicking MANU icon in the app > View > Statistics (works in both edit mode and game mode)


Is it only for casual games with low-poly? NO!

  • You can import any valid FBX, OBJ or DAE file (for now, better to use it without skinning and bones, will be supported later)
  • Textures may be selected automatically... if they don't just select the model, check the top-right tab, find Materials settings and add your textures.
  • JPG and PNG textures are supported, in addition to some predefined shaders we support MatCaps (to make funky, but optimized metals, etc)
  • Normal Maps are supported, AO, Glossiness, Emission: check the Shader Tab to select complex shaders with all the maps.
  • The lighting is based on the SKY, SUN, lamps and emissive materials (you can use general value for the whole object or emissive map)


What are the languages?

  • The engine is developed with C++, C# and QT framework, the graphical API right now is OpenGL 3.3, because of its wide support among software and hardware platforms, but we consider the upgrade for something new, that will support PBR and other stuff. No ETA, but we know what's fresh on the market.
  • No scripting language and everything is planned as No-Code engine without any usual programming on the user-side.


What will be the day-0 version, what are limitations?

  • To focus the first test on the core features (triggers and animations), we've skipped many things, RLY MANY THINGS
  • There's no UI editor or Level-Map editor (even they were available on macOS year ago)
  • On the first day, there is only one basic character (but we can add our own by our tools and we will add this feature ASAP)
  • You can animate a limited amount of values, and there are no custom parameters (aka variables) YET, since no UI to use them with
  • You can't publish a game right now (or even export it), but you can share MANU projects with the community (projects are cross-platform as well)
  • And, since there are no publishing tools at the moment, there's are no monetization tools right now (ADs and in-apps planned later on)

You can see Manu in action in the video below.

GameDev News


30. March 2020


Today on Twitter, Pixel Vision 8 - a highly configurable and fully featured virtual console, announced that it would be free, including the pro tools during the current health crisis.

From the Pixel Vision twitter:

image

Pixel Vision 8 is available here, simply register an account and you can download Pixel Vision as well as all of the premium pro features.  You can learn more about PV8 and see it in action in the video below.  If you check out Pixel Vision 8, be sure to stop by Twitter and thank developer Jesse Freeman for his generosity during these trying times!

GameDev News


30. March 2020


Pixologic have released version 2020.1 of their long running sculpting application ZBrush.  Along side the ZBrush release they now have a fully functioning 30 day trial available for download here.

Details of the 2020.1 release:

  • XTractor Brushes - Convert detail from your model into a new alpha or texture for reuse elsewhere.
  • HistoryRecall Brush - Project a model’s Undo History to another model regardless of topology differences.
  • Sculpt & Paint in Morph UV - You can now paint and even sculpt directly on a model’s flattened UV shell.
  • Move Infinite Depth - Affect anything that is directly inline with the brush cursor, no matter how far from the camera.
  • Texture Adjust Color - Adjust the colors in a model’s texture on the fly, modifying hue, intensity, contrast, gamma or tint.
  • PolyPaint Adjust Color - Same as above, but for PolyPaint. These features include eight color channels to easily restrict your changes to certain areas.
  • Wall Thickness Analysis - Instantly know what parts of a model are too thin for successful 3D printing, or thicker than necessary.
  • Real-Time Draft Analysis - Easily identify and fix portions of the model that would lock up when used in two part molding or CNC printing.
  • Calculate Surface Area - ZBrush can now provide you with the bounding box size, mesh volume and surface area, check for watertight integrity and help calculate real-world material needs.
  • Cam View - Always know how your model sits relative to XYZ space. Includes one-click buttons for snapping to orthagonal views.
  • Real-Time Silhouette View - Turn on a picture-in-picture window that displays your model’s silhouette in real-time, or see how it “reads” from a distance.
  • ZeeZoo - Mannequins have gone wild, with a library of animal figures to help you compose scenes of all kinds.
  • Deco Curve Brush - The classic Deco Brush for 2.5D painting is now available as a 3D sculpting brush.
  • Model Paint Fade Opacity - If a model’s PolyPaint or texture is making it hard for you to see the sculpted details you can now partially fade the color or even hide it altogether.
  • No Back & Forth Mode - Zigzagging brush strokes can now build up in one direction, only. This mode also combines with LazyMouse Backtrack for unique effects.
  • New Import/Export Options Window - Easier control when importing or exporting and support for even more formats, all in one place.

You can learn more about the 2020.1 release and free trial in the video below.

Art GameDev News


28. March 2020


Buildbox, the recently made free no-code game engine, just released Buildbox 3.2 beta.  This beta takes a huge step forward in 3D usefulness with the abity to import and use animated FBX 3D models.  This is of course a beta release, so expect bugs and do not use in a production environment.

Details of the release from the Buildbox forums:

3D Animation Support

  • FBX files containing 3D model skeletons and animations are now supported in Buildbox.
  • New Brainboxes available for 3D animated assets:
    • Animated Platformer
    • Keyboard Controls
    • Mobile Controls
    • Keyboard Camera Controls
  • New Content Nodes available for 3D animated assets:
    • Sub Scene
    • Keyframe Animation

Worlds
  • 2D Worlds
    • To rotate an object 45 degrees, select the rotate tool, hold shift and drag an axis handle.
  • 3D Worlds
    • Ground object that covers an entire scene and provides a solid platform for dynamic assets.

Textures
  • Unused textures are removed when Buildbox opens a project.
  • Alpha channel support
    • Enabled transparency in textures
    • The texture area without the transparency can cast shadows onto other objects.

UI Changes
  • Color coded axis fields
  • Tabs and home button in the Navigation bar, along with navigation control arrows.

Nodes
  • Health node now contains Starting Health and Max Health attributes.
  • Script nodes now have a purple self reference output, and each input and output can now be color coded.
  • Move and Rotate nodes now contain a set of range attribute fields.
  • The following nodes are now available in the asset Node Map.
    • Sub Scene
    • Keyframe Animation
    • Rotate Towards
    • Speedometer
    • Self Attribute

Ad Monetization
  • Facebook Analytics in the SDK tab of the Project Settings window.

The Mac and Windows binaries are available at this link, however you need to have a registered Buildbox account and serial number to install the 3.2 beta.  You can learn more about the beta in the video below.

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