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28. August 2019


Unity have just released Unity 2019.3 beta.  A few minor changes have had a major impact on the user experience, including a new UI font and icons making HiDPI support easier while cleaning up the UI.  Additionally the LWRP or Lightweight Render Pipeline has been renamed to the Universal Pipeline (HDRP remains the same), the package manager is improved with the ability to show assets as well as download directly from Git.

Details from the Unity blog:

The last beta release of the 2019 cycle, Unity 2019.3b, is here and it comes packed with new features, improvements, and a completely refreshed interface. Download it to get an early look at these highlights as well as to explore the new Input System, post-processing in the Universal Render Pipeline (formerly LWRP), physics updates, faster in-Editor iteration times, and the debut of ray tracing in Unity.

They are also running a giveaway for NVIDIA GeForce 2080 RTX GPU, check the above link for details.  The full release notes are available here or watch the following video for more details and to experience the updated UI in action.

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27. August 2019


Epic Games have just announced an Unreal Engine marketplace sale running from August 27th through September 3rd, 2019.  Details from the Unreal Engine blog:

It’s officially the 5-year anniversary of the Unreal Engine Marketplace!
Celebrate with us by saving up to 50% on select products. Over 4,000 fantastic products have been discounted, ranging from environments, Blueprints, props,characters and beyond!


The sale runs now through September 3 at 11:59 PM EDT.


Thank you to all the amazing Marketplace creators who have contributed to the Unreal development community over the last five years by offering outstanding content and support.

Don't forget to check out the currently free offerings for August if you haven’t already.  An asset of interest to many developers was the CCG Toolkit, previously featured for free, which is currently on sale for 50% off in the sale if you missed it before.

GameDev News


25. August 2019


RPG in a Box, is an all in one voxel based RPG game engine built upon the Godot game engine.  It was just released in early access on Humble Store, Itch.io and Steam.  RPG in a Box contains all the tools you need to create your own RPG including voxel editing and animation tools, dialog creation tools, world editors and more.

Current features include:

Voxel Editor

Build tiles, objects, and characters from 3D pixel blocks (i.e. voxels) and easily animate them with the editor's frame-based/stop-motion animation system. Importing from MagicaVoxel (.vox) or PNG sprites is also supported.

Map Editor

Create grid-based worlds with the tiles you've built, then bring them to life by adding interactive NPCs and objects using the editor's intuitive navigation and interaction system.

Scripting

Set up and trigger in-game events with the visual, node-based script editor. Simply drag and drop the desired actions (no programming knowledge required), or manually code "quick scripts" using the custom, Lua-like scripting language.

Dialogue

Write conversations for your NPCs using a visual, flowchart approach similar to that of the script editor. Branching dialogue is supported via player choices and condition checking.

Camera System

Choose from three available camera types for your game: standard, first-person, and isometric. Stage dynamic cutscenes using the engine’s flexible camera scripting system.

UI Customization

Design one or more dialogue box themes and customize the appearance of many other interface elements such as the inventory, main menu, and credits roll.

Basic Items

Define basic items for the player to find in containers or earn through the completion of tasks. Attach scripts to trigger effects for potions and other consumable items.

Sound FX Generator

Generate fun, retro-style sound effects using the built-in tool based on Dr. Petter’s SFXR

Check out RPG in a Box in action in the video below.

GameDev News


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.

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