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5. February 2013

 

In a move that is causing a small bit of Déjà vu, Blackberry and Unity released the following to the press today:unity_3d_logo

 

BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY)(TSX:BB) and Unity Technologies today announced that they are working together to create a Unity deployment add-on product for BlackBerry® 10 smartphones, empowering Unity's over 1.5 million strong developer community to publish their games on these powerful platforms. The deployment tools will also be available for BlackBerry PlayBook™ tablets when they run the BlackBerry 10 OS.

BlackBerry 10 will now be one of the premiere mobile platforms supported by the market-leading Unity Engine. The deployment tool is currently in development by Unity Technologies and BlackBerry, and will be released as an add-on option for Unity.

"Unity developers have an extensive catalogue of incredible mobile games, many of which are award-winning. We're excited to offer Unity developers easy access to the new powerful and rich BlackBerry 10 platform," said David Helgason, CEO, Unity Technologies. "We're eager to provide them with another exciting avenue to have their games devoured by an audience hungry for entertainment."

BlackBerry will also seed the Unity development community with BlackBerry 10 smartphones for testing to provide developers the best possible environment to create amazing games for the new platform. Unity and BlackBerry will hold developer meet up events in Europe and North America and will give qualified developer attendees Unity Pro and BlackBerry 10 smartphones. Details are coming soon, so stay tuned to BlackBerry Developers Blog.

"One of the driving forces for success for a mobile platform is a strong games offering. BlackBerry customers have already shown their hunger for mobile gaming, with games being one of the strongest categories on the BlackBerry World storefront and continuing to grow in popularity," said Alec Saunders, Vice President, Developer Relations and Ecosystems at BlackBerry. "We are thrilled to work with Unity and to propel the momentum we are seeing in games on BlackBerry even further. Soon Unity developers will be able to use this deployment tool to quickly and easily offer their games to BlackBerry customers."

Availability

A free beta version of the Unity add-on will be made available to a limited number of qualified developers in the spring. Unity is expecting the final release to be available in the summer of 2013.

 

Looks like a good opportunity to get your hands on some Blackberry hardware if you are already a Unity developer.  Or you hands on Unity if you are a Blackberry developer.

 

Myself, I actually have a Playbook which is a pretty nice device and went to buy a Z10 for my wife today and they were basically sold out everywhere I checked… most places laughed and said they sold out in minutes.  So, say what you will about Blackberry/RIM, they might actually be back in the game.  The device itself is quite capable, with a dual core 1.5GHZ Snapdragon processor.  Let’s not forget too that BB10 is actually QNX, a wickedly fast embedded OS that’s been in development for many years.  On top, I have to cheer for RIM er… Blackberry, they are just down the road from me and full disclosure, I own some stock ( which I’ve really enjoyed the past few weeks Smile ), but then, almost every Canadian owns a bit of RIM stock, directly or indirectly…

 

I will certainly say, Blackberry Developer support is certainly better, as is their focus on gaming, with the Gameplay library, involvement in a few open source game libraries, the portathon they held a few months back and now bringing Unity on board.

 

Now the déjà vu part…  I SWEAR Playbook was already one of the supported platforms for Unity as part of UNITE.

News


4. February 2013

 

This press release caught my eye and could be of interest to many of you, especially if you are looking for money or perhaps more importantly, exposure.

Kongregate, a leading online game platform, today announced the Kongregate Mobile Developers program, a $10 million fund to help independent game developers succeed in the free-to-play mobile arena. Backed by parent company GameStop, the world’s largest retailer of video games, Kongregate will offer distribution, financial assistance, consulting services and marketing support to help developers be successful in the highly competitive mobile arena.

“Developers are increasingly finding it harder to get their games discovered through the different app stores”

To support the newly created development fund, Kongregate has hired former Zynga general manager, Panayoti (Pany) Haritatos, as vice president of its new mobile division. Haritatos, who brings more than 8 years of web and mobile gaming experience to Kongregate, will lead Kongregate’s in-house game development as well as oversee the company’s mobile games unit.

[snip]

As to what the program actually does:

The Kongregate Mobile Developers program offers game creators three areas of assistance:

Financial assistance to complete your game

Qualified games that are already in development can earn cash advances to cover final build and integration expenses.

Expertise to make your game even better

Kongregate pioneered one of the first cross-game virtual currencies on the web, and has years of monetization experience that can be applied to mobile games. Kongregate will provide free consultation with game developers to ensure the best possible performance. Kongregate will also offer creative services, quality assurance, gameplay testing and competitive research to maximize game performance at launch.

Promotion to share your game with the world

Games can receive promotion across Kongregate, the newly updated GameStop iOS and Android apps and GameStop online destinations including website features, email and social media outreach that collectively reach more than 50 million hard-core gamers. Selected titles have the potential to reach millions more gamers with exposure in GameStop’s 6,600 retail stores worldwide. Kongregate will also manage paid advertising campaigns for games across third party networks, execute PR and game reviews and work with app stores to get games featured on behalf of the developer.

 

If you are interested, check out or apply at http://developers.kongregate.com/mobile.

 

Could be an interesting opportunity, especially given the promotional muscle that can be brought to bear.  As to what Kongregate’s stake is, I have no idea as of yet.  I’ve never dealt in the free web game space, but I do know a few developers who are making pretty good money, so there is certainly something there… beyond of course, the 10 million dollars.

News


30. January 2013

 

Don’t you just love it when you are thinking about doing something, then someone else comes along and does exactly that thing for you?  Well, exactly just that very thing just happened to me.  I had long considered doing a comparison post of some of the most popular HTML5 game engines, facing them all against each other implementing a common game and see which one came out on top.

 

Well, BuildNewGames.com just did exactly that.  In their words:

Today we are going to compare three popular JavaScript game engines: CraftyJS, ImpactJS and LimeJS. You really can’t go wrong with any of these great choices, but they do have their own strengths, weaknesses and style. Taking some time to get to know what’s out there is well worth it before embarking on a game

 

Most interestingly, he followed in the vein of popular TodoMVC example, of implementing a standard application to give you a quick glance at each framework in action.  The author has implemented a Breakout clone using each library.  Like so:

breakout screenshot

 

This is a very useful exercise, and I hope others pick up the baton and implement the same program in their framework of choice. 

 

In the end, ( spoiler alert ), the author comes to the follow conclusion:

So which engine is the real winner? I will leave that to you to decide. Since Lime and Crafty are free and open source, it’s easy to dive into them and give them a whirl. Impact is at a disadvantage here, as you need to pony up for the license before you can start playing with it. It’d be nice if Impact had some sort of trial period option.

 

If you are trying to select a JavaScript game engine, this is certainly a great read.

News Programming


30. January 2013

  

In this section we are going to cover navigating the Blender interface.  This includes both selecting items, and controlling the application camera.  It is important to realize that the app camera or view, is not the same as a scene camera.  A scene camera is used if you are rendering your graphics to an image or movie and we will cover that later.

 

Selection in Blender

First off, you can select an object in one of two ways.  First you can right click the object in the 3D view.  Secondly, you can select the object by left clicking it in the Scene graph.

You can perform more advanced selections in Blender as well.  Note, within all the images below, it illustrates selecting within an object, something we will cover in detail later.  Just be aware that the selection tools work on selections within an object, or selecting multiple objects, depending on the mode you are working in.

 

Select/Deselect All

Simply press A to select everything in the scene.  Press A again to deselect everything:

SelectAll

 

Box or Border Select

To select in a box or rectangular pattern, hold down the B key, left click and hold, while dragging the mouse over the area you want to select.  Press ESC or right click to cancel selection tool.

BorderSelect

 

Circle Select

To select in a circular pattern, press the C key.  Then use the Mouse Wheel to increase or decrease the radius of the circle, move over select and left click to select.  Right click or hit ESC to cancel selection tool.

CircleSelect

 

Lasso Select

You can preform a free form lasso style selection.  To perform a lasso style selection, hold down the Control key, click and hold the Left Mouse Button and drag mouse around selection area.  You can then use Control + Shift + Left Mouse Button drag to unselect within a selection.  Once again, press ESC or Right Click to cancel the tool.

 

Pressing A will remove any current selection. 

 

Camera manipulations in Blender

 

Now we will look at how you actually manipulate the application camera in Blender.  

 

Zoom the Camera In/Out

You can zoom the camera in and out using the mouse wheel.  Scroll the wheel forward to zoom in, toward you to zoom out.  You can also zoom out using the - (minus) Key and zoom in using the + (plus) Key.  If you don't have a scroll wheel and don't want to use the keyboard, you can also zoom using by holding Middle Mouse Button + Control + Drag.

ZoomCamera

 

 

Panning the Camera

Panning the camera is the act of moving it left/right or up/down.  You can pan the view using Middle Mouse Button + SHIFT + Drag.  You can also pan by holding Control + an arrow on the number pad, CTRL+8 for up, CTRL+ 4 for left, CTRL + 6 for right and CTRL + 2 for down.  Keep in mind, these are specific to the number pad, CTRL + # performs a completely different operation.

 

CameraPanning

 

Rotating the Camera

You can rotate or orbit the camera by holding the Middle Mouse Button + Drag in the direction you want to rotate.  You can also rotate using the number pad, using the 2, 4, 6 and 8 keys.  Again, this only applies to the number pad, not regular number keys.

 

CameraRotate

 

Frame Selected

You can have Blender automatically zoom and pan the view so the screen is full of the selected object.  To frame selected, first select an object in the scene by right clicking it.  Then press the . (period) Key.

 

 

FrameSelected

 

Hotkeys / Actions used in the Tutorial

Key/ActionAction
A Select/Deselect All
B + LMB + Drag Box/Border select
C + LMB + Drag Circle select
CTRL + LMB + Drag Lasso select

-

or

CTRL + MMB + Drag

or

Scroll wheel

Zoom out

MMB + SHIFT + DRAG

or

CTRL + 2/4/6/8 on numpad

Pan view

MMB + Drag

or

2/4/6/8 on numpad

Rotate View

. Frame selected

 

Number Pad Commands

The number pad plays an important roll in Blender, which can be a bit difficult if you, like me, have a laptop without a full number pad.  Don't worry, most of this functionality can be achieved through other means ( many of which are shown above ), but if you have a number pad on your keyboard, grow to love it, it is well used in Blender.  The following are a map of functions tied to the number pad.  The second graphic shows the effect of the Number Pad with the Control Key pressed.

 

Number pad mappings

Blender Number Pad

 

Number pad mappings with Control pressed

Number Pad 3

Coming Next

Next we will look at the basics of modelling in Blender.

 

 

On to next part


27. January 2013
Logo

 

LibGDX is a popular Java based open source cross platform game programming library that supports desktop, Android, HTML5 and now… iOS.

 

Other details about this release:

 

  • Minor changes to the Livewallpaper API. Note that the LWP support is still a little buggy. It’s a contribution, and while i did quite a bit of clean-up it’s still not entirely where it should be. I’d be super happy if someone took on that backend!
  • If you want to deploy to HTML5 you now need to use GWT 2.5!
  • We have rudimentary Maven support. Thanks a ton to Team Gemserk for libgdx mavenizer and all their help with this!.
  • Android Daydream support, a contribution by talklittle! This one is stable.
  • Gdx controllers extension, for Android/Ouya and desktop. HTML5 could be an option too! Volunteers? (looking at you Nex) Some notes on the current stub backend for HTML5
  • The gdx-net API is now part of core. Fetching things via HTTP should work on all backends. Here’s a little test. Big thanks to Noblemaster and Gemserk who led this effort!
  • Not exactly part of the release, but here’s a quick rundown on how to make your libgdx game work with Ouya!
  • Again, not exactly part of the release, but here’s an awesome guide by Swarm on how to integrate Swarm with your libgdx app! Note that you should probably interface the Swarm API so your desktop project continues to work.
  • First release of the iOS backend

 

 

The iOS release does have some caveats though.  You need a Mac, XCode and ( here’s the stickler ) a MonoTouch license, just like the PlayN project’s iOS port.  Unfortunately, MonoTouch costs 400$, so this is one of those things you should be aware of upfront.

 

That said, iOS is often the biggest market place, so being able to port your game could be easily worth the 400$ price tag. 

 

The following features are in the queue for the 0.9.9 release:

 

 

You can read the entire release notes here, and access the source code here.

 

Nice work LIBGDX team.

News


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