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6. July 2020

Sprytile is a free tile map editor that runs entirely inside Blender, similar in functionality to the recently covered Crocotile 3D.  Over the weekend, Sprytile for the most current Blender 2.8x versions was just released. Details from the Sprytile page:

Sorry for the long long long delay, but finally the official release of Sprytile for Blender 2.8 is out!

All of the work porting Blender to 2.8 was handled by Yonji and Ologon, with Ologon taking the work to the finish line.  Ologon has written a guide on the changes to the Blender 2.8 workflow on the forum.

A major change to the workflow is the use of the Sprytile tools tab in the Tools Sidebar. Open the sidebar by pressing the arrow button on the right of the viewport, or pressing the T key.  Another optional workflow change is setting up the pixel viewport. By default, Blender 2.8 will make your textures look darker without this step, but you might want to skip this if you will be using the color correction functionality of Blender.  Sprytile tools are now part of Blender 2.8's toolbar. To use the 'Get Normal' mode, you just need to press 'N' on the keyboard while in Build mode.

I'm very grateful to the community for porting Sprytile to Blender 2.8 and continuing to showcase the work they make with Sprytile.

Sprytile is available as a free download here, with the documentation available here.  Be sure to note that many things have changed for Blender 2.8, shown in the guide above, or by watching Sprytile in action in the video below.

Art GameDev News

17. June 2020

Fanatical have several e-book bundles of interest to game developers and recently updated the Unreal Game Development Bundle to include several new books, making it an even better deal.

The bundle now consists of:

  • Visual Scripting for Unreal Engine
  • Unreal Engine Physics Essentials
  • Unreal Engine 4 AI Programming Essentials
  • Building an RPG with Unreal 4.x
  • Unreal Engine Game Development Blueprints
  • Learning Unreal Engine Game Development
  • Unreal Engine 4.X by Example
  • Unreal Engine 4.x Scripting with C++ Cookbook
  • Hands-On Artificial Intelligence with Unreal Engine
  • Unreal Engine 4 Virtual Reality Projects
  • Unreal Engine Virtual Reality Quick Start Guide
  • Unreal Engine Blueprints Visual Scripting Projects
  • Mastering Game Development with Unreal Engine 4
  • Unreal Engine 4 Game Development Quick Start Guide
  • Game Development Patterns and Best Practices
  • Mastering Unreal Engine 4.x
  • Unreal Engine 4 Game Development Essentials
  • Unreal Engine Game Development Cookbook

This entire collection is available for $10 USD.  Additionally Fanatical are running similar book bundles for other game development technologies including Unity, Blender, C++ and Photoshop.  You can learn more about these bundles in the video below.

GameDev News

10. June 2020

Blender 2.83 was released last week and one of the new features is tentative support for Virtual Reality headsets in the form of Scene Inspection:

Scene inspection refers to the ability to inspect the scene in VR, without interacting with content. Essentially this means head-mounted display (HMD) support as well as some simple settings (controllable from outside the VR view) to control the experience.

Examples of supported use cases:

  • VR as a way for directors or clients to inspect scenes and give feedback to artists.
  • Pre-visualization for artists working on VR games.
  • Samsung GearVR/Google Cardboard movie making and app development.

Blender VR support is via OpenXR, which unfortunately isn’t currently supported by HTC or Steam VR headsets.  Details about supported headsets are available here.  Check out the new Blender VR functionality in action in the video below.

Art GameDev News

3. June 2020

Blender 2.83 is now available now in LTS or Long Term Support version.  Described a few months back, the long term support version of Blender is meant to remain stable but well supported for two years:

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.

So if you are on the verge of starting a long term game or movie project, Blender 2.83 LTS may be the ideal version for you.

Of course long term support isn’t the only new feature in Blender 2.83, with highlight features including:

  • New Cloth simulation sculpting brush, as well as other sculpting improvements
  • NVIDIA Optix denoiser now works in the viewport as well as renders
  • A completely rewritten faster and more powerful Grease Pencil
  • Import and render OpenVDB files
  • Initial VR Support, specifically the ability to navigate around your scene in VR
  • New face set system enabling new visibility options
  • EEVEE improvements
  • Updated shader nodes
  • Performance improvements across the entire application
  • Updates to several modifiers
  • Video sequencer improvements
  • Much, much more

You can learn more about Blender 2.83 in the release notes here or by watching the video below.

Art GameDev News

25. May 2020

As discovered on BlenderNation, a new plugin for Android was released that makes quickly creating buildings in Blender a breeze.  Building Tools is available for download here in both zip and tar.gz formats.  Simply download the archive and add it as a plugin in the Blender add-ons panel.  Building Tools enables you to rapidly create houses, from simple single story bungalows, to 100 story towers.

Buildings feature the following configurable assets:

  • Floorplans
  • Floors (slabs and walls)
  • Doors
  • Windows
  • Multigroup (door-window combinations)
  • Roof
  • Stairs
  • Balcony

The add-on is also open source under the MIT license on GitHub.  You can see how to create buildings quickly and simply using Building Tools in the video below.

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