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14. June 2019


Hot on the heels of the somewhat underwhelming 2020 release, Autodesk have just released the newest update to the seminal 3D modeling application, 3DS MAX 2020.1.  They have also updated their roadmap, showing future development priorities for the application.  The biggest and possibly most game changing new feature of this release is the ability to detach and support up to 3 different viewports, making multiple monitor configurations so much more capable.

Primary features of the 2020.1 release:

There are also several bug fixes and improvements fully detailed in the release notes.  As mentioned earlier, Autodesk also updated their development roadmap, which is available here.

Art GameDev News


28. May 2019

No-code or codeless systems are becoming more and more common among game engines and they offer a few benefits. Using a visual programming language enables non-programmers to interact with the code in a more tactile way, while the code itself tends to be a bit more self documenting then most scripting or programming languages. Make no mistake, you are still programming, you just aren’t typing in lines of code in a text editor, instead you script logic by defining events and properties or by connecting nodes together in a graph.

If you are interested in game engines with traditional scripting options, be sure to check out our guides to C/C++, C#, Haxe, Lua, JavaScript and Python game engines.

In this article we are going to look at the majority of codeless options among modern game engines, both 2D and 3D.

3D Game Engines

Armory 3D

Built on top of the Blender open source 3D application, this game engine has a node based option for game development, in addition to a Haxe based API.  Learn more here.

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BuildBox

BuildBox is a commercial game engine sold on a subscription basis that uses an entirely visual based node programming system.  Aimed at making games without requiring any programming knowledge.

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CryEngine

CryEngine is a AAA calibre game engine with a visual programming language named Schematyc.  It is designed to enable programmers to expose portions of their game logic to designers.  Writing a full game in Schematyc is not really the purpose.

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CopperCube 6

CopperCube 6 recently received a free version.  It is designed to work by attaching and configuring actions and behaviors to game objects.  You can expend the functionality in JavaScript, but creating a game entirely without coding is quite possible.

Learn more here.

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Godot

The Godot game engine has a Visual Scripting Language, with much of the same functionality of GDScript.  You can mix and match between the two scripting styles in the same game.  Honestly though, it’s not really that useful yet.

Learn more here.


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Unity

Unity doesn’t actually support Visual Scripting, although a Visual Scripting language is in the works for a 2019 release.  In the meanwhile there are several addons adding a Visual programming language such as Bolt.


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Unreal Engine

Unreal has perhaps the most robust visual programming language in the form of Blueprint, that can be used for everything C++ can, beyond changing the engine code itself.  It is also perhaps the most complicated visual programming language on this list.

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2D Game Engines

Clickteam Fusion 2.5

Perhaps most famous for making the 5 Nights series of games, this game engine use a tree/spreadsheet hybrid approach.

Learn more here.

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Construct 3

Construct 3 is a commercial, subscription based game engine that runs entirely in the browser.  Uses an event sheet programming model very similar to GDevelop and ClickTeam Fusion.

Learn more here.

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Stencyl

Stencyl is a game engine using a lego style brick approach to programming.  There is a free version available and the visual programming language ultimately generates Haxe code, which you can also code with.

Learn more here.

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Scratch

Scratch is an MIT project aimed at teach programming concepts to kids.  It, like Stencyl, uses a lego brick style programming interface.

Learn more here.

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GDevelop

GDevelop is a free and open source game engine that uses a programming model based on behaviors and events.

Learn more here.

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GameMaker Studio 2

YoYoGame’s GMS2 has been around for decades and is a complete game editing environment with two programming options.  A visual drag and drop programming system, and their own GM scripting language.

Learn more here.

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GameSalad

GameSalad is focused at students and non-programmers and is programmed using a behavior based logic system.  I have virtually no experience with this game engine.

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Pixel Game Maker MV

Pixel GameMaker MV is a complete commercial game making package from the same publisher as RPGMaker.  It uses a visual programming system and property based programming model.  It’s also pretty awful, IMHO.

Learn more here.


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Design Programming


2. May 2019


OGRE, Object-oriented Graphics Rendering Engine, an open source MIT licensed 3D renderer just released version 1.12 after almost a year in development.  The release is heavily focused on internal rearchitecting for future development.

Key features from the 1.12 release:

  • #include directive supported for GLSL shaders
  • PF_DEPTH support for shadows with the RTSS and the Terrain component
  • RTSS 3.0: vastly improved internal API and refactored shader library
  • Per pixel-shading on D3D11/ GL3+/ GLES2 by default (via RTSS)
  • The GL3+ RenderSystem is now used for rendering the reference Test images
  • More precise timings for built-in profiler and support for external profiling via Remotery
  • unified API for fixed-function pipeline and shaders
  • NEON intrinsics for OptimizedMath on ARM (Android)
  • Stable Material library (Media/) that you can reference in your projects
  • the MSVC SDK now also includes the Python and Java components
  • support for loading 1.7 style terrains (aka “terrain.cfg”)

You can learn more about the release in the New and Noteworthy document available here.  Additionally the source code for OGRE is available here on GitHub.  The book mentioned in the video below that covers OGRE for game engine development is Game Engine Architecture.

GameDev News


22. March 2019


At GDC 2018, Microsoft unveiled DXR, or Direct X 12 Raytracing, an SDK enabling real-time raytracing, followed closely by NVIDIA announcing hardware support.  This year at GDC 2019, those technologies have come of age, with major raytracing support coming from 3 major game engine manufacturers.  Additionally NVIDIA have announced some potentially game changing news as well.  Let’s break down the announcements and demonstrations one by one.


CryTek

CryTek started the raytracing announcements off with their amazing real time demo Neon Noir.  Even more impressive, it was done using an AMD card without real-time raytracing support!  Unfortunately, the demo was never released to the public.


Unity

Unity showed an impressive demo Reality vs Illusion which intercuts real world footage and real time raytraced BWM footage that is nearly impossible to discern the difference.  Unity’s technology is sadly several months from being available in a future HDRP release.


Unreal Engine

Unreal is the closest with their real time raytracing implementation, in fact it’s available now in Unreal Engine 4.22.  They also had a presentation in the form of the short movie Troll.


NVIDIA

NVIDIA also had a real time raytracing demonstration in the form of Project Sol, Part 3.  Their announcement may have been the most significant however, as they announced that DXR driver support will be shipping in April to older generation NVIDIA GPUs, such as the 1060/1070 and 1080 cards.

GameDev News


19. March 2019


Today at GDC 2019, Allegorthmic, recently acquired by Adobe, announced the open beta of Substance Alchemist to existing Substance customers.  Alchemist is a tool for authoring and managing materials and is part of the Substance subscription.

Details from the press release:

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – March 19, 2019 – Today at Game Developers Conference (GDC) 2019, the Substance team announces the start of the Project Substance Alchemist open beta. Effective immediately, all current Substance subscribers have exclusive and unrestricted access to the latest Substance material tool, uniting the Substance ecosystem like never before. Artists now have a SubstanceAlchemistplayground for creating and augmenting entire libraries of materials with ease.

Project Substance Alchemist advances the art of making and managing 3D materials through instinctive simplicity. Creators can rely on a powerful, streamlined workflow and an intuitive user interface. It’s simple, fast and it uses some of the most advanced technology around. By hiding its complexity through easy-to-use tools like parametric sliders and filters, Project Substance Alchemist brings efficiency to artists and designers, without giving up any of the power that helps them thrive.

Starting today, artists are able to leverage the power of a tool that can quickly be adapted to meet their needs. Users can access materials in several ways, including downloading materials directly from Substance Source, find materials offered up by the Substance community or even upload real-world photographs. From there, they can quickly elaborate their own libraries of materials. For instance, a cobblestoned street can be honed to an artist’s exact specifications within Project Substance Alchemist, whether they desire a brand-new look with polished surfaces, or a broken down feel with moss and damaged tiles.

Project Substance Alchemist puts powerful tools into the hands of artists who work with scans, with quick and reliable tiling, as well as an AI-powered delighter. Trained with thousands of images, the delighter can instantly balance the shadows and light tied to photos and scans, so that lighting remains even and consistent. Designers who need to iterate rapidly on a material can also enjoy a vast array of variations with the instant creation of material collections based on a single image or a moodboard. Project Substance Alchemist can analyze the artist’s material and automatically generate suggestions on colors and textures, ensuring compatibility and additional creation options.

Although it is designed as a standalone tool, Project Substance Alchemist is deeply tied to the existing Substance ecosystem. Artists can search through their Substance Source downloads, import materials and filters made in Substance Designer or swap creations through the Substance Share artist exchange. Imported materials can then be added to the artist's personal library for later use, or applied to an asset in Substance Painter. Thanks to the standardization of the Substance format, materials created in Substance Alchemist can be exported and used in every major 3D tool, including Unreal Engine, Unity, 3ds Max, Maya and many others.

Based on years of industry-leading research, and built with the help and feedback of the Substance community, Project Substance Alchemist will continue to develop in order to adapt to the evolving needs of artists and designers. The open beta is available now. For a video walkthrough, click here.

Pricing/Availability

Project Substance Alchemist is available at no cost to current Substance subscribers. Subscriptions come in Indie or Pro plans, priced at $19.90/month and $99.90/month respectively. Enterprise and education pricing is available upon request. Students and teachers can request a license at no cost.

In addition to the release of Alchemist, Allegorithmic also did a blog post on the status of their acquisition by Adobe and the effects it will have on future licensing terms.  The key details are as follows:

Since the acquisition, we’ve heard lots of questions from our community about licensing and pricing. Our goal with licensing and pricing has always been to be fair to everyone and we’re continuing that philosophy. We're planning to introduce new offerings late this year, but until then, our licensing and pricing structure will not change.

These future offerings will be primarily subscription-based, but we will continue to offer indie perpetual licenses. We believe that when the content and services offered in a subscription package evolve and improve at a steady pace, the subscription model is the best way for us to innovate fast, continuously improve your tools, and bring you more value.

I know perpetual licensing is important, especially in the indie space, so this should be taken as good news.  That said, it’s Adobe calling the shots now so who knows what will ultimately happen.

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