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11. March 2020

With the massive recent releases of Blender 2.8x it is time to start looking towards the future and that is exactly what the Blender Foundation have been done.  With a pair of posts to their developer blog addressing the upcoming future of Blender.

First is the announcement of LTS versions and with Blender 3, adopting a more standard numbering convention:

The first proposal is to do one Long Term Support (LTS) release every year. This release would be supported for two years with important bug fixes and updates for new hardware, while strictly maintaining compatibility.

A good reason to do an LTS now is the focus on fixes and patches of the past months. The next release (2.83) although big, will be relatively less experimental, thus a good candidate to keep supporting for a while.

LTS versions also will help to ensure that a project that started with an LTS version can be completed with the same version in a reasonable amount of time. Nice for studios with large projects, but also for add-on maintenance.

As well as details on the new versioning:

Along with this, I also propose to accelerate a bit our release numbers this decade.

This summer we’ll do Blender 2.90 (new particle nodes), and in summer 2021 the Blender 3.0 series begins! By then we will implement a more conventional release numbering.

I suggest to do minor releases (3.0, 3.1, 3.2, … 3.7) for two-year periods, and then move to a new major release. Blender 4.0 could be there in 2023 already!

Additionally there was some discussion on the “biggest projects” over the next year, the type of features you can expect to see in the next few releases of Blender.  There was also some tentative discussions on upcoming User Interface changes from their User Interface Workshop.

Finally there is some unfortunate news about Blender founder Ton Roosendaal who is taking a bit of a break due to help issues:

Last week Monday night I was hospitalized with an acute immune system failure. It was critical and severe but quickly fixed up and diagnosed to be excellently treatable with common medicines. Because of my weak immune system I’m confined to a special over pressured area in the hospital, to prevent germs or viruses from reaching me. Basically it’s the safest place in Amsterdam now!

Last week I migrated all Blender Foundation/Institute operational tasks to Francesco Siddi. He will take over ongoing projects and communication for me until I’m back in April. I would appreciate it if everyone would respect my rest for this month. I can’t handle thousands of good health mails or personal messages now! Social media will do fine :) I know you care!

Wishing you a quick recovery Ton!  To learn more about all of the above be sure to check out the video below.

Art GameDev News

10. March 2020

Today Unity have announced they have acquired Artomatix, the Dublin based company behind ArtEngine, an AI powered material creation software.

Details from the Unity blog:

At Unity, we have talented developers working to solve problems using AI and machine learning. This talent, combined with the solution-oriented and production-validated approach of the ArtEngine team, means we can accelerate our ability to build an exceptional set of tools that help artists and creatives in many different ways. Content creators can expedite their process and get infinite variations of their materials in the blink of an eye. Immediate benefits apply to every industry exposed to 3D content, regardless of platform or engine.

We’re very excited to have the ArtEngine team join Unity. They have a great approach to solving the difficult challenges faced by artists, and we can’t wait to see what we can build together. Stay tuned as we combine forces to explore all the ways that AI-driven assisted artistry workflows can help artists deliver exceptional content.

The acquisition however did not just occur, as it was first reported on in December of 2019 by the Irish Times:

Artomatix, an Irish software company that has developed artificial intelligence (AI) technology, which can automate the creation of 3D content, has been acquired in a deal believed to be worth up to $60 million (€54 million).

The buyer’s name has not been disclosed but industry sources described it as a well-known Silicon Valley-based company that does not currently have a base in the Republic.

The transaction, which closed late last week, is valued at between $50 million and $60 million, leading to a significant return for Artomatix’s backers, which include Sure Valley Ventures and Enterprise Ireland.

Today we have learned that Unity was indeed the buyer.  There is good news for the Irish technology sector, as (again) the Irish Times have reported Unity intends to hire over 100 employees:

Unity Technologies, which recently acquired Irish software company Artomatix in a deal valued at up to $60 million (€52.8 million), is to create 100 jobs in Dublin over the next two years.

The move comes after Unity announced a new office in the Docklands area of the capital after recently completing the acquisition.

Artomatix chief executive Joe Blake said the company, which currently employs just over 20 people, intends to “immediately triple headcount,” with other Unity divisions also planning to take on staff locally.

You can learn more about the acquisition in the video below… including a small rant on how not to run your tech company!

GameDev News

10. March 2020

This quick tutorial will walk you through the process of exporting 3D models and more importantly textures from the Unreal game engine for use in other engines or in content creation tools such as Blender.  There is a complete step by step video included below.

The first part is identifying the model to export.  In the Content Browser, find the mesh object you want to export, then right click and in the menu select Asset Actions->Export…


A dialog will pop up, first asking where you want to export the asset to.  Pick an appropriate directory.  You will then be prompted for export details.


The default settings should be fine in most cases.  If you have trouble opening the generated file you may want to try a different compatibility mode.  You will get a low polygon “cage” mesh if you select Collision for the Static Mesh, uncheck that option if you do not want this collision mesh generate.  Finally click export.

And done…

Well, unfortunately not quite.  We still need to get textures out.  The easiest way I have found to to this is via baking.  In the Asset viewer window, with the mesh open look for the Bake Out Materials button


First let’s set the texture size for our baked textures:


Next click the + icon in Properties for each texture channel you want to export.  In this case we will do color, normal and roughness.


Now define each channel you want baked.


Once complete click Confirm and your textures will be baked.  The textures will appear in the same folder as the Mesh (as will new materials).  You will have 3 textures for each material channel on the object ( 2x materials x 3 textures in this case for a total of 6 generated textures ).  Unfortunately CONTENT BROWSER DOES NOT REFRESH automatically, so navigate to a different directory and back to see the generated textures.


Now right click each new texture and export it exactly the same way you did the FBX file earlier on.  You are now ready to use your model and textures in your application of choice.  In the video below we continue to show how to recreate the materials in Blender.

Art GameDev News

4. March 2020

Humble are running the Humble Learn To Code bundle.  It’s a collection of courses on Zenva aimed at teaching viewers how to code with a very game development oriented focus.  It may sound familiar as Zenva ran a similarly named bundle just over a year ago, although the contents differed.  As with all Humble Bundles, this one is organized into tiers. 

1$ Tier

  • Bite-Sized HTML
  • Bite-Sized CSS
  • Bite-Sized Python
  • Intro To Game Development with Unity
  • Intro to Java for Mobile Development

12$ Tier

  • The Complete Beginners' JavaScript Course
  • Bite-Sized NumPy
  • Bite-Sized Pandas
  • Reading Data from APIs with Python
  • Create Your First 3D Game with Unity
  • Intro to RPG Development with Phaser
  • Kotlin for Beginners
  • iOS App Development For Beginners

25$ Tier

  • Responsive Web Design for Beginners
  • Beginning SQL – Store and Query Your Data
  • The Complete Python Data Visualization Course
  • RPG Development – Quest Systems
  • Mobile Game Development for Beginners
  • Build a Micro RPG
  • Construct a First Person Shooter
  • Craft A Mario Style Platformer in Phaser 3
  • Develop a Top Down Action RPG with Phaser 3
  • The Complete Mobile App Development Course with Flutter

As with all Humble Bundles, you can decide how your money is allocated, between the publisher, Humble, charity and if you so choose (and thanks if you do!) to support GFS if you purchase using this link.  You can learn more about the bundle in this video below.

EDIT – I made an error in the video.  The courses are not a one year subscription, but instead you have one year to redeem your key!  Once redeemed it is a life long subscription, so even better!

GameDev News

3. March 2020

Every month Epic Games give away several free items from the Unreal Engine marketplace and this month is no exception.  There are 5 items that are yours free forever, so long as you “purchase” them before the first Tuesday of next month.  There is also one permanently free item.  In addition to this months giveaways, Epic are running a 50% off Flash sale until March 6th.

This months free content includes:

Free For March

  • Ability Pack – Time and Space
  • Android Native Goodies
  • FPS Assault Pack
  • Phoenyx Anim Pack 3
  • Ultimate Archvis Kit

Free Forever

  • Linter V2

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

GameDev News

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