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25. January 2019

Just in time for the Global Game Jam Unity have released Unity Playground.  Unity playground is a Unity project containing 6 mini games, each built entirely on a set of single task reusable components.  The intention is to make it easier for youths, students and beginners to get started developing games using Unity without having to jump into code.

Details from the Unity Store:

Unity Playground is Unity’s first project dedicated entirely to our younger users, educators and anyone looking for an initial introduction to game development in a more simplistic form.

This 2D, physics-based project contains a collection of single-action Components which you can use as building blocks, and combine them to create any type of gameplay. Simplified Inspectors for both Playground scripts and built-in Components mean that new users will not feel overwhelmed by the amount of options.

In addition to all of this, the project comes with six example games to play and learn from. Use the Playground for teaching, learning from, or just introducing yourself to the world of Unity with loads of colourful 2D art assets and some great environments to experiment with.

Unity have additional details of the Playground up on their blog.  The code is available on GitHub and is released under the MIT open source license.  If you are interested in learning more or seeing the Playground in action, watch the video below.

GameDev News

25. January 2019

With the recent announcement that Allegorithmic is being purchased by Adobe suddenly one of the most asked questions is “what is the best alternative to Substance Painter”?  Sadly, no direct replacement exists, Substance Painter was a pretty one of a kind program.  Fortunately there are a number of other PBR texture painting packages available.  We also look at a few PBR texture generation alternatives for Substance Designer.

Substance Painter Alternatives

Substance Designer Alternatives

For more details on each of these packages, be sure to what the video below.  Did I miss a program?  Let me know and I will add it to the list!  Also let me know if you want me to take a closer look at any of the above packages.

Art General Design

23. January 2019

Today Adobe announced the acquisition of Allegorithmic, the makers of the popular Substance Designer and Substance Painter PBR based texturing tools.  Given Adobe’s track record with acquiring other companies (Mixamo and Macromedia spring immediately to mind), the community is admittedly a bit nervous about this development, as you can see from their forums.

Details from the Allegorithmic announcement:

Today marks a milestone for Allegorithmic and the Substance community: Allegorithmic is joining the Adobe family, where we’ll continue to lead the way in empowering 3D creation.

Since the inception of Substance, our technology and tools have evolved to make 3D creation accessible to artists of every stripe. In Adobe, we’ve found a great partner who shares our love of creation and our drive for innovation and growth.

The Substance tools and ecosystem you love are here to stay – and flourish!

"This wild and thrilling ride began 15 years ago."

You’ll be seeing Substance and Adobe’s tools evolve together within the coming months and years, but the very same teams are still behind your favorite products, and you can still find us in your favorite online Substance communities, which are growing every day.

When it comes to licensing, nothing changes for now. Your current licenses will continue running and getting updates. As we join the Adobe family, we will also unveil new and more flexible subscription offers in the coming months. We will share more details about these new and exciting licensing options at a later date.

Adobe have also released a statement:

Our goal with Creative Cloud is to provide creators with all the tools they need for whatever story they choose to tell. Increasingly, stories are being told with 3D content. That’s why I’m excited to announce that today Adobe has acquired Allegorithmic, the industry standard in tools for 3D material and texture creation for gaming and entertainment.

The addition of Allegorithmic furthers our expansion of Creative Cloud into 3D content design. A little over a year ago, we introduced Adobe Dimension, which allows creatives to compose and render three-dimensional product mockups, packaging designs, and more. This fall, we previewed Project Aero, a powerful augmented reality authoring tool that takes much of the technical complexity out of creating immersive experiences.

With this acquisition, Creative Cloud will benefit from Allegorithmic tools that are already helping top gaming, entertainment, retail, and other brands create the textures and materials that give 3D content detail and realism. Allegorithmic’s Substance family of tools are used in the vast majority of AAA games, including Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, and Forza. They’re increasingly being used for visual effects and animation in entertainment, including in award-winning, popular movies like Blade Runner 2049, Pacific Rim Uprising, and Tomb Raider. And they’re being adopted in the fields of design, product visualization, retail and marketing, architecture, and manufacturing, where 3D content is transforming traditional workflows into fully digital ones.

If you want your non-subscription Substance license, better move quickly!

GameDev News

22. January 2019

The “no programming required” game engine Stencyl recently released version 4.  This version adds HTML5 support to replace Flash targets, iOS 12 and Mac OS Mojave support, improved performance and tons of bug fixes.  If you are interested in learning more about Stencyl, be sure to check out our Closer Look series or the video embedded below.

Details of the new release from the release notes:

- Added support for Java 9+
- Works with Xcode 9 and 10
- Fixes issues with macOS High Sierra through macOS Mojave
- Supports latest iPhones and iPads
- Android API 28
x Dropped support for 32-bit linux systems.

Toolset Performance:
- Large games open faster and take less memory.
- Saving games has less overhead.

Engine Performance:
- New binary file format to make games load faster with telemetry running.
- Use tweenxcore instead of Actuate so the engine can handle more tweening.
- Performance updates with the OpenFL update.
x The drawing event can be slower on platforms other than Flash.

Compiling Games:
- Set the targets you want in the "test game" dropdown.
- New compilation errors window.
- Added HXCPP Compile Cache to speed up C++ compilation.
- Open external IDEs (VS Code, HaxeDevelop, and Xcode) from within Stencyl.
  No need for external Haxe install.

- Allow engine extensions to be linked to external folders.
- Localizable Engine Extensions.

New Toolset Features:
- Copy and Paste in Scene Designer

New Blocks:
- get position of item in list
- set font spacing
- fade sound to percent
- go to position in sound
- pan sound
- unmap gamepad controls
- set collision response of two groups
- set screen size
- get / set scale mode
- get / set window scale
- enable / disable scaling of Image API drawing
- create new tile layer

Improved HTML5 Support
Improvements to game scaling, especially entering / exiting fullscreen.
More support for filters and blend modes on non-Flash targets
Integrated consent forms for GDPR-compliance when using AdMob

[Beta Feature] Game Controller:
- Game Controller allows the toolset to communicate with the engine while testing games.
- Run commands
  - Reset a running game
  - Load a specific scene
  - Reload game configuration (size, scaling, settings, etc)
- Logging
  - Per-game-session logging, for cleaner output
  - Jump to source print block, or source of error
- Live Coding (advanced)
  - Execute arbitrary Haxe code while the game is running
- Auto-update Running Games
  - Modify pre-existing resources while testing a game
  - Scenes (reloads the scene if it's currently being tested)
  - Actor Type animations, backgrounds, fonts, etc
  - Configuration (game size, controls, fps monitor, debug drawing, etc)

GameDev News

19. January 2019

Originally devised as a series of backer rewards for the crowd funding of the game Dirty Body, Splash Damage Studio just released the design document, art book and complete soundtrack for free for everyone.

Details of the release from the Dirty Bomb website:

Many moons ago, prior to the rise of Kickstarter, we launched a crowdfunding campaign for Dirty Bomb. Three of the rewards, Dirty Bomb’s Game Design Document, Artbook and Original Soundtrack were promised at the full release of the game to the people who pledged money to support the title during that campaign, our ‘Founders.’

We’ve spoken with our Founders and they respected our wish to make those three things available to everyone.

So here they are.

The Design Document is a 315pg PDF file and can be downloaded here.

The art book is a 59 page PDF file that can be downloaded here.

While the soundtrack is a zip file that can be downloaded here.

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