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28. May 2018


Last month we reported that Blender Game Engine (BGE) was being removed entirely from the source code of Blender for the upcoming major 2.8 release.  Judging by the comments section this was certainly a polarizing decision, with replies basically falling into two camps.  On one side there was a lot of “good riddance to bad rubbish” type replies, while in the other camp it was mostly “I’m done with Blender if this happens”.  Clearly the decision impact enough people that something had to be done.  Well, that something was just announced on Twitter:

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The linked article from the developer mailing list:

Hi all,

The Blender Foundation Development Fund has reserved a number of bigger donations (also on donator's request) for game engine and interactive 3D related features.

Now 2.8 is getting shaped up, it was time to check on this topic. Yesterday afternoon I met with Benoit Bolsee and a couple of Code Quest participants, to discuss the future of Blender's real-time 3D needs and "interaction mode".

The outcome is that Benoit accepted a grant to work as designer and lead developer for one year on bringing back a good real-time interactive 3D system in Blender. He will do this part-time, in average 1.5 days per week, starting July 1st.

Obviously all work and further discussions will be done in public; using our regular channels (mailing lists, code.blender.org, developer.b.o, devtalk.b.o). Help from other Blender developers is very welcome. This will be further announced when Benoit starts.

To summarise, work will first be done in two areas;

- Implement a high quality real-time viewport with physics/event handling. This should result in a pleasant & usable environment to setup and bake simulations.

- Design and prototype a new nodal logic system.

Related to this work is also to enable good support (export or some kind of integration) for external game engines such as Godot, Armory, Blend4Web, Unreal, Unity, etc.

I especially invite the first three (open source) projects to connect with us to find ways to keep a high level of compatibility.

Work on typical GE features such as super-fast drawing (LOD, etc) are welcome too but should be part of the regular work on Blender's viewport and our internal drawing engines. That way everyone benefits. Laters,

-Ton-

Blender Game Engine is not coming back, but a great deal of the functionality that was removed with it will be returning. Additionally Blender will be working directly to support Blender as a game development tool for existing game engines.

Art GameDev News Programming


15. May 2018

 

BForArtists is a special port of Blender aimed specifically at artists.  It aims to move from Blender’s keyboard focused memorization heavy user interface to a more streamlined, visual icon based approached.  The net result is a new interface that is much more mouse heavy and perhaps a bit slower, but also a lot easier to learn.  At it’s core, this is still Blender however, built on top of Blender 2.79.  There is even a Blender keymap mode in case you need tobForArtists1 follow along to an existing Blender tutorial.  On the topic of tutorials, BForArtist also has a comprehensive set of searchable PDF documentation that go step by step through using BForArtist.  Between the release candidate and the final 1.0 release, the follow functionality is new in the 1.0 version:

Release note Bforartists Version 1.0.0 - 10.05.2018

Tools tab - Edit Panel - Hide auto smooth angle slider when Autosmooth is deselected
Added snap icon to the autosnap dropdown menu in graph editor and nla editor

Release note Bforartists Version 1.0.0 RC1 - 04.05.2018

Removed double menu entries Undo, Redo and Undo History from the object menu.
Added the quickstart tutorial link to the help menu too
Youtube Link in Bforartists needs a hint towards Youtube
Added the Liquids material library to the Material Library VX addon
Iconize Brush panel in Particle mode
Removed confirmation dialog for deleting markers in animation editors and tracking editor
Materials Library VX - added basic material library
Missing Hotkeys in UI - changed hotkey for Delete Global
Missing Hotkeys in UI - changed hotkey for Center Cursor and View All
Missing Hotkeys in UI - changed hotkey for Toggle Maximize Area
3D View - View menu - two Toggle Maximize menu items. Renamed to Toggle Fullscreen Area
Merge remote-tracking branch 'blender/master' into sync_blender_master
Texture Paint - Brush Panel - Blend Mode dropdown box without icons
Fixed ... has no attribute draw_ ... error in edit mode
Moved the Transform menu from the object related menus to the tool shelf
Removed Objects and Wireframe subtabs in the object display panel
Added the experimental keymap
Material Library VX, updated the init.py to the latest name convention changes from Blender
Fixed Primitives Creation Modals addon - missing script files warning
Materials library vx - added the Foliage library
Separated the sections in the Create tab panels into single panels. Fixed the add menu in the Misc panel.
Increased the camera clipping default for a camera object
Materials Library VX - ceramic library added
Materials Library VX - added the glass library
Material Library VX addon - added the Metal library
Removed some not necessary texture linkings in the Paint library
Materials Library VX - added the Paint library
Fixed name convention warnings in the materials_library_vx/__init__.py
Fixed name inconsistency warning for the cycles bake panel
Fixed classes names to fit Blender name conventions for panels and menus
Node Toolshelf - Renamed the classes to follow the panel name conventions
Removed the bl_idnames from the panels in the space_node_toolshelf.py . They are not needed for panels
Improve Materials Library VX addon - added preview, made preview and apply buttons bigger
Viewport Display cleanup - put World background out of subtab, rename subtab to Object related
Rename Shading panel to Object Shading panel
Remove double menu entry tilt in curve menu, Removed Mean tilt submenu
GPencil Menu in Edit Strokes mode - Removed the Transform menu. It was a double menu entry.
Gpencil menu in Edit Strokes mode - remove double menu entry Undo, Redo, Undo History
Sculpt mode, Hide/Mask menu, readd hotkey ctrl shift lmb for lasso select
Particle Edit mode - Options panel - hide settings when corresponding checkbox is off
Fix error in materials library vx addon. See Blender commit: https://developer.blender.org/rBA8d3301f66c77e7b5a1f310a311d2055dbd473e09

 

BForArtist is available for download for Mac OS and Windows right here.  Unfortunately for Unix users, there is no current binary version and you need to build from sources.

 

If you are interested in learning the difference between BForArtists and Blender be sure to check out this video explaining the major differences.  I also looked at BForArtists in the past available here as well as much more briefly earlier today, also embedded below:

Art GameDev News


17. April 2018


If you are a Blender Game Engine (BGE) fan, I have some bad news for you.  Earlier today BGE was removed from the Blender 2.8 branch of source code.  This means in the next version of Blender and beyond, there will no longer be an in-built game engine.  The game engine was never particularly popular and apparently caused a bit of a code maintenance nightmare, so the decision was made to remove it.  Then changes to the game engine are massive, touching 916 files in the code base.

Details of the change from the Blender code commit comments:

Removing Blender Game Engine from Blender 2.8

Folders removed entirely:

  • //extern/recastnavigation
  • //intern/decklink
  • //intern/moto
  • //source/blender/editors/space_logic
  • //source/blenderplayer
  • //source/gameengine

This includes DNA data and any reference to the BGE code in Blender itself.
We are bumping the subversion.

Pending tasks:

  • Tile/clamp code in image editor draw code.
  • Viewport drawing code (so much of this will go away because of BI removal that we can wait until then to remove this.

You can learn more about the change in this video, also embedded below.

Art Programming GameDev News


30. January 2018


CoaTools, or Cut Out Animation Tools, 1.0 was just released.  Coatools is a free and open source plugin for Blender that enables users to create 2D animations directly in Blender, bringing IK based animation techniques to traditional 2D art.  It’s very similar in scope and function to other animation packages such as Spine, Spriter, Creature and Dragonbones.  The 1.0 release was quickly followed by a 1.0.1 update.


Details of these releases:

1.0 Release:

This is the first official stable release of the COA Tools.
It features a rich set of tools to create 2D Cutout Animation in Blender.

Some of the features that were in the Alphas and Betas available are disabled now. They can still be enabled in the Addon Preferences. But it is not recommended as they are going to be removed in the future releases. Thats the reason why I wanted to release an official release where they were still present, but deprecated. Some people may have used such features in older projects.

So here are the tools that probably won't work properly right now:

  • Experimental Json export (was used to export to godot. Will be removed.)
  • Spritesheet mechanics (Is replaced by so called Slot Objects. Will be removed)
  • Dragonbones Export( Many things have changed so this exporter will need a proper rewrite. Going to be modified in the future)

The addon features a complete new Addon Updater thanks to the CGCookie Addon Updater Module. Via this module I will make sure to autoupdate the addon in the future. So you can easily keep the addon up to date.

1.0.1 Release:

Trying to do publish new features/bug fixes now more often in maintainence releases.
Thanks to the new updater module people should get those features right away.

Additions:

  • Improve Sprite import (importing json files lets you choose which images should be imported. Updating images is now also integrated)
  • Improve Sprite Outliner (Sprites are now sorted based on the z depth. Rearranging sprite orders is now also included into the Outliner. AZ icon in the upper right corner)
  • Picking edge length for contour drawing in Edit Mesh Mode. Shift+Click on an edge will now pick that edge lenght for drawing contours.


You can download CoaTools on Github.  For more details be sure to check out this video, which is also embedded below.

Art GameDev News


12. October 2017


Creating human models has always been one of the more challenging tasks artists can face.  There are a number of tools out there such as Poser, MBLDaz or MakeHuman that can create human models for you.  Often the results aren’t exactly ideal for use in real time games however.  The Blender Add-On we are looking at today however generates excellent, fully rigged and textured meshes that are perfect for use in games.


The add-on we are looking at today is the Manuel Bastioni Lab, very similar to Make Human, as it is a project from the developer who founded the MakeHuman project.  Unlike MakeHuman however, MBL runs entirely inside of Blender, and in my opinion generates more game appropriate meshes and rigs.  It is completely free and open sourced.


First download the zip file available here, then install and enable the plugin in Blender.  If you are unfamiliar with this process, the video embedded below shows you the process step by step.


Once enabled it will add a new tab to the tools panel:

image


Initial controls are incredibly simple.  Pick the base type of model you want to create, if you want it to create Cycles based materials, and if you want it to configure lighting for you.

image


There are several different defaults to chose from:

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Your new model will be created as soon as you press the Init button.

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Now there are an absolute ton of configuration options available:

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Modify skin tons, default poses, default facial positions and a ton more.  Once done, click Finalize and you are off to the races.


The Video

(Direct Link)

Art


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