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3. December 2019


Every month Epic Games give away several assets for their Unreal Engine Marketplace and this month is no exception.  The only catch is you have to “buy” the assets before the next giveaway starts, although the purchase price is zero.  Once you have purchased an asset it is yours forever.

This months content consists of;

Normally they also release a few assets permanently free at the same time, however this month… at least at the time of writing, there are no such free assets.

You can learn more about the assets in the video below.

GameDev News


27. November 2019


Humble are running a new bundle of interest to game developers, specifically 2D animators.  The Humble Software Bundle: 2D Animation is based around two key pieces of software, Crazytalk 8 Standard and Crazytalk Animator 3 Pro, both from RealIllusion.  As always the bundle is broken into tiers, the tiers of this bundle are:

1$

  • Face Filter 3
  • Makeup PRO

18$

  • CrazyTalk 8
  • Dress Up Show Time
  • Dress Up Work Wear
  • Stylized Classic Avatars
  • Garry Pye’s Comic Faces

25$

  • CrazyTalk Animator 3 PRO
  • G3 Animals Dogs
  • G3 Human Motions – Smooth Moves
  • G3 Animated Props – Fun Stuff
  • G3 Elastic Motions – Come and Go


With Humble Bundles you can decide how your funds are distributed, choosing between the developer, Humble, charity and if you so choose (and thanks if you do!) to support GameFromScratch if you purchase using this link.  Check out the video below for more details on the bundle.  Stay tuned for more hands-on content with CrazyTalk and CrazyTalk Animator in the near future!

GameDev News Art


27. November 2019


I was just sent a Clockwork GameShell, it’s a build it yourself open source raspberry pi powered handheld computer.  What’s most appealling to me is how heavily focused on indie game developers this device is.  This is not a review of the device but instead a description of the build process (stay tuned for a proper review!).  So let’s take a look at the process from beginning to end and I’ll point out the few snags I encountered on the way.  If you are interested in getting one of your own, they are available on Amazon.

The underlying specs of hardware are as follows:

New ClockworkPi V3.1:Powered by Quad-core Cortex-A7 CPU, MaliGPU, Wi-Fi &Bluetooth, 1GB DDR3 Memory, 16GB MicroSD, HDMI output, GPIOs.

Keypad: Programmable Keypad and powered by an ATmega168P [email protected] with 30Pin Arduino compatibility GPIOs.

Audio: 2 Channel Stereo Speaker

Visual: 2.7-inch [email protected]

Rechargeable Battery: 3.7v, 1200mAh

Lightkey module: 5 independent IO extended keys for shoulder buttons

GameShell Shells: 1 front shell+2 back shells

MicroSD Card: 16GB

OS: ClockworkPi OS,Linux  4.1x

Debug cable: 14PIN GPIOs

Let’s look at what you get and how you assemble it.


The Box


This is a extremely minor point, but I was quite impressed with the packaging the GameShell came in.  Right away it’s generally just a higher quality of packaging and branding than I am accustomed to for these kinds of products, it does have a premium feeling as a result. Click any photo for a much higher resolution version.


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The Contents

The inside of the box is several other boxes and a collection of plastic punch out components.  In terms of equipment you need to do this build you are going to want a sharp knife at the very least.  A fine file and pair of side cutters to remove the plastic attachments are also recommended, but I got by with just a knife.


IMG_20191127_112146IMG_20191127_113033

Assembly

Now it’s time to start putting things together.  The instructions are IKEA style (but thankfully better than most IKEA!) step by step pictographic instructions.  The assembly is module by module.  The primary modules are the screen, the battery, the main system board and the controller as well as the speaker (not shown).

IMG_20191127_121439IMG_20191127_114819

IMG_20191127_115734IMG_20191127_121145

Once these 5 modules are completed, its its time to mount the modules into the backplate and connect the various power wires between the devices.  This is probably the trickiest part with one exception I will discuss in a minute.

IMG_20191127_125731

Finally it’s a matter of attaching the front plate, attaching two thumb screws and praying you did everything right.  And the final completed product!

IMG_20191127_130514

The Gotchas

Assembly was extremely straight forward with only two snags.  The first step is when creating the display module illustrated below.

ScreenStep

Notice the inset diagram shows the cable being bent backwards, while the layer diagram does not show this?  This is vitally important, you do in fact have to bend the display cable 180 degrees.

The second problem is actually around the same issue.  Connecting the display ribbon cable to the main board should be done *BEFORE* you close the case around it, making it insanely difficult connect unless you open it.

The only other issue I ran into is occasionally they mounted the plastic pieces to the plastic frame at less than ideal locations.  For example there was a mount point where the display cable needs to be fed.  I had to make a special point of filing down the excess plastic to keep it from rubbing against or puncturing the fragile ribbon cable.  It would be ideal if pieces were mounted slightly different, but its a small issue.



Now that I have the GameShell built, it’s time to start trying to develop games for it.  Stay tuned for that video in the near future.

General


26. November 2019

.

This is a very common question, so this guide and video is setting out to answer why *I* might choose to use Godot over those other engines. Keep in mind, this isn’t me saying Godot is better or worse than those engines. Additionally, I have a video on Unreal vs Unity in the works, so if you want to decide which of those engines to use, stay tuned for that.

Without further ado, let’s jump in.

Free

Obviously, the lack of a price tag is one of the most obvious features of Godot. Yes, you can start for free with both Unity and Unreal Engine, but both ultimately have a price tag. With Unity, you pay a per seat license fee if you make over 100K a year. With Unreal Engine you pay a fixed 5% royalty after the first $3000 dollars earned. If you’re not making money nor plan to, this obviously doesn’t matter… but the more successful your game is, the better a deal free is!

Open Source

On the topic of free, we also have free as in freedom. Godot is free in both regards, to price tag and license, being licensed under the MIT license. Unity trails in this regard having only select subsets of the code available. Unreal Engine has the source code available and you can completely build the engine from scratch, as well as being able to fix problems yourself by walking through a debug build and applying fixes.

UE4 however is under a more restrictive proprietary license, while Godot is under the incredibly flexible and permissive code license.

Another aspect in Godot’s favor… it’s also by far the smallest code base and very modular in design from a code perspective. This makes it among the easiest engines to contribute code to. The learning curve to understand the source code is a fraction of that to get started contributing to Unreal, while contributing to Unity is frankly impossible without a very expensive negotiated source license.

Language Flexibility

Over the years Unity have *REMOVED* language support. Once there was UnityScript and Boo, a python like language, in addition to C#. Now it’s pretty much just C# and their in development visual scripting language.

Unreal on the other hand has C++ support, with the C++ thanks to Live++ usable very much like a scripting language (although final build times are by far the worst of all 3 engines!), as well as the (IMHO) single best visual programming language available, Blueprints.

For Godot the options are much more robust. First off there is the Python-lite scripting language, GDScript. You can also use C++, although the workflow for gameplay programming may be suboptimal. Additionally, C# support is being added as a first-class language and there is a visual programming language available here as well, although I can’t really think of a reason to use it as it stands now.

Where Godot really shines though is its modularity. GDScript itself is implemented as a module, meaning making other custom scripting languages is a borderline trivial task, as is extending or customizing GDScript. Additionally, there is GDNative/NativeScript it makes it fairly simple to link to external code, without having to jump into the guts of Godot (nor having to compile Godot) or to write performance critical code in C or C++. Finally, you have the ability to create C++ “modules” that have access to all of the C++ classes available in Godot without having to make changes to the underlying codebase.

Ease of Use

This one is obviously subjective, but if you are looking to create a game, especially as a beginner, the learning curve and ease of use with GDScript make this the easiest of the 3 engines to pick up, at least in my opinion. Unreal Engine is frankly fairly appalling for 2D titles, having basically abandoned Paper2D (their 2D API) on the vine. Over the last couple years Unity have really been focusing heavier on dedicated 2D support, but you still must dig through a lot of cruft and overhead to get to the meat of your game.

With Godot you pretty much everything you need for 2D out of the box and the ability to work directly with pixel (or % based) coordinates.

It’s Tiny

Unreal and Unity are multi GB installs and both have a hub or launcher app. Godot… a 50ish MB zip file (plus templates for a couple hundred more MB needed when deploying). Download, unzip and start game development!

You Like it Better?

You may, or you may not like the coding model of Godot. Chances are if you like the Node based approach to game development, you will love Godot. All three game engines (and almost all modern game engines) take a composition-based approach to scene modeling. Godot takes it one step further, making everything nodes, trees of nodes, even scenes are simply nodes. The approach is different enough that users may either love or hate the approach. If you love the approach Godot takes, you will be productive in it. If you don’t like it, you’re probably better served using Unity or Unreal.

Why Not Pick Godot Then?

I am not even going to pretend that Godot is the perfect game engine and ideal in every situation… there are certainly areas where Unity and Unreal have a small to huge advantage. This could be its own entire video, but a quick list include:

  • Performance concerns, especially on large 3D scenes (hopefully resolved with proper culling and the upcoming Vulkan renderer). In 3D, both engines out perform Godot quite often
  • Platforms… Unity and Unreal support every single platform you can imagine, Godot supports most of the common consumer categories and takes longer to get support for devices like AR/VR. Hardware manufacturers work with Unity and Epic from the design stages, while Godot pretty much must wait for hardware to come to market and then for someone to implement it. Another huge difference, and one of the few downsides to open source software, it isn’t compatible with the closed proprietary licenses of console hardware. While Godot has been ported to run on console hardware, it isn’t supported out of the box and probably never will be.
  • Ecosystem. Godot has a vibrant community but can’t hold a candle to the ecosystem around Unreal and especially Unity. There are simply more users, more books, larger asset stores, etc.
  • The resume factor… this is a part of ecosystem continued. It’s easier to get a job with Unity experience or Unreal experience on the resume than Godot. While many people wouldn’t (and really for a full-time hire, shouldn’t) care what engine you use, when people are hunting for employees, they often look for Unity or UE experience specifically. The other side of this coin is the number of people with Unity or UE experience is larger if you are the one doing the hiring.
  • As with many open source projects, it’s still heavily dependent on one or two key developers. If the leads left the project, it would be a massive blow to the future of Godot. Meanwhile there are hundred or thousands of people being paid to develop Unity or Unreal and the departure of any individual member isn’t likely to have a tangible impact.

The Longer Video Version

Programming General


25. November 2019


Unity have announced their Black Friday Sale for 2019… which is actually on Monday.  On Monday December 2nd 400 assets are going to be on sale for 50% off.  On each day leading up to Cyber Monday they have an individual asset on sale for 70% Off.  The limited time deals are:

Keep in mind you only have the single day to pick up each asset for 70% off, although I would assume most assets will also be available as part of the 50% off sale on Monday.  You can learn more about the sale and the assets involved in the video below.  The above links contain an affiliate code giving GFS a small commission, so thanks a ton if you use them!

GameDev News


AppGameKit Studio

See More Tutorials on DevGa.me!

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