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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.

GameDev News


17. March 2019


Quixel have just released Quixel Mixer 2019 which is currently free while in beta.  Quixel Mixer is a PBR texture generation tool that works by blending and modifying existing textures in layers, which can then be modified using a number of different tools, enabling you to create amazing textures in a very small amount of time.  Quixel Mixer is tightly integrated into their own MegaScans texture library, although you can easily import your own PBR materials, such as those found here. We took an in-depth hands-on look at Mixer just last month.  The 2019 release brings several new features to the table, including a ton of new procedural masking tools such as pattern generators and new noise modifiers.

Details on the new Mast Stack from the Quixel blog:

The biggest new feature in Mixer 2019 is the Mask Stack.

It unlocks a whole new level of creativity through a total synergy between scans and procedurals, completely controllable with custom sculpting and hand-painting. This potent combination gives you the best of all worlds, enabling a slew of material authoring workflows, like procedural material creation, stylized textures, scan-based PBR materials from photos, terrain creation and much more.

With the new Mask Stack you can procedurally author, modify, and define your materials completely non-destructively, responsively and instantly. With zero loading and rendering time, you get instant feedback on your actions and adjustments.

We have big plans for Mixer and intend to rapidly expand its abilities with new features and tools together with feedback and learning from you, our amazing community.

Another interesting tidbit from the blog:

The introduction of the Mask Stack opens up a huge and vast platform for us to expand upon. This the first step towards adding Smart Materials to the Mixer and bringing over highly requested and familiar features from Quixel Suite. We will be extending this in the coming months and would love to hear your feedback and input on how you think it can be improved.

So expect more and more functionality from the Quixel Suite to find it’s way into Quixel Mixer as time goes on.

GameDev News


14. March 2019


SideFX Software have just released Houdini 17.5.  You can learn more about the 17.5 release here with more detailed release notes being available here.  Houdini is such a unique procedural 3D software package that the release notes will make little sense, unless you are already familiar with Houdini.  Houdini is “built from the ground up to be a procedural system that empowers artists to work freely, create multiple iterations and rapidly share workflows with colleagues.”  Traditionally known for special effects work, Houdini is becoming more and more commonly used in game development.  In fact, they ship a runtime version, Houdini Engine, that enables you to bring their procedural approach directly into game engines such as Unreal Engine or Unity.

Perhaps more importantly, Houdini is also now available in the much cheaper Houdini Indie version (also on Steam), bringing Houdini within the price range of indie developers, so long as they make less that $100,000USD per year.  They also have the non-commercial but completely free Houdini Apprentice for people looking to learn or evaluate Houdini.  To go along with Apprentice they also have tons of free learning resources to get you started.  Be forewarned though, Houdini is a very unique application with a very harsh learning curve!

For a better idea of Houdini’s game related capabilities, be certain to check out their games reel and details available here.

Art GameDev News


6. March 2019


Humble are running another Humble Bundle with software of use to game developers.  The new bundle is Humble Software Bundle: Your Beats. ACIDized.  Unlike most previous Humble bundles, this one is mostly about the top tier choices, ACID Pro 7 and Sound Forge 12.  ACID Pro is a seminal DAW(Digital Audio Workstation) for composing and creating audio, while Sound Forge is a swiss army knife for recording, capturing and editing audio files.

The tiers of this bundle are as follows:

$1 Tier

Music Maker EDM Edition

Soundpool – Trannce Masters

$12 Tier

MP3 Deluxe 19

Soundpool – Dream House

$25 Tier

ACID Pro 7

Sound Forge 12

Soundpool: Discharge


You can purchase the bundle and support charity and GameFromScratch at the same time by using this link.

GameDev News


6. March 2019


GAEA (not to be confused with GAIA for Unity), is a newly released terrain generation tool from QuadSpinner.  They describe GAEA as:

Gaea takes terrain design toe-to-toe with the rest of the CG landscape. Designed with artists and their vision in mind, Gaea brings together advanced toolsets in an easy-to-use package where you can get Hollywood quality results in minutes.

Using either a simple stack of nodes, or a more complex graph of nodes, you can easily compose primitive landscapes, apply millions of years of erosion and other modifiers, mix and match nodes to your hearts content, until you get the perfect terrain for your game.  The ultimate output from GAEA are height maps that can be used in almost any modern 3D game engine.  GAEA is available at a number of different price points, including a completely free but still usable for commercial projects tier.

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GAEA is available for download on Windows PCs here.  For more details of GAEA, a getting started tutorial or just to see GAIA in action, watch the video below.

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