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1. March 2016

 

Cocos Creator is a visual game creation system built over the Cocos2d-x game engine, enabling more visual development of 2D games.  It is now available in public beta and can be downloaded here.

From the announcement:

Cocos Creator is a complete package of game development tools and workflow, including a game engine (based on Cocos2d-x), resource management, sceneimage editing, game preview, debug and publish one project to multiple platforms.

For the first time we introduced entity-component structure and data-driven workflow to the cocos2d-x family. With JavaScript, you can scripting your component in no time. The editor and engine extension is also made with JavaScript so you can make games and refine your tool in a single programming language.
Cocos Creator is an provides an innovative, easy to use toolset such as the UI system and Animation editor. The toolset will be expanding continuously and quickly, thanks to the open editor extension system.

You can download Creator and also review the documentation.

GameDev News


12. February 2016

 

SDKBOX started life as a tool that made integrating 3rd party SDKs such as Google Analytics or Google/Apple IAP into Cocos2d-x applications easy.  It was just recently spun out from under the Cocos2d-x project by parent company Chukong.  This move seems to be in advance of adding support for other engines, namely Unreal and Unity.  Right now however the implementation for both engines is minimal, limited to just the In-App Purchases module.  I assume in time more plugins will be brought over to the other engines.

 

From the above linked article:

Asked why the company did this, Zhao said in an email, “By being a standalone company we can cover a much broader (fully half) portion of the market. SDK fatigue is an efficiency drain for all mobile developers, regardless of the engine they are using. By defining the problem we are working on, rather than the engine we are working with, we can serve game developers impartially.”

SDKBOX has also begun supporting rival game engines from Unity Technologies and Epic Games with its 2.0 update. And earlier this month, the SDKBOX in-app purchase controller was approved for sale and listed in the Unity Asset Store.

Haozhi Chen, CEO of Chukong Technologies, said in a statement, “Spinning off SDKBOX was the next logical step for scaling the business within the games industry. This move provides more autonomy for SDKBOX to support additional engines and grow market share in the live operations technology market for games. Additionally, the new company will have dedicated financial and strategic support from Chukong, and we’re looking forward to the future growth of this sector for our overall business.”

GameDev News


22. January 2016

 

Cocos2D-X, the popular cross platform C++ 2D game library, just released version 3.10.  If you are interested in learning more, I have a full Cocos2D-x tutorial series available here.Cocos2d-x Logo

 

From the release notes:

[HIGHLIGHT] UI: Rewrite Scale9Sprite and improve the scale9sprite performance and reduce memory consumption.

[HIGHLIGHT] UI: Change PageView to derive from ListView.

[NEW] Core: Added Application::getVersion() to get the app version.

[NEW] UI: Add PageView indicator.

[NEW] UI: Label add three Overflow type to new label, see release note for more information.

[NEW] UI: UIText::clone supports clone the text effect.

[NEW] Label: Add methods to query label effect state.

[NEW] UI: UIRichText support the new line element.

[REFINE] 3rd party: WebP loading improvements WebP loaded as premultiplied alpha if it has.

[REFINE] UI: Slider `setCapInsetProgressBarRebderer` change to `setCapInsetProgressBarRenderer`.

[REFINE] UI: RichText support new line element.

[REFINE] UI: Set focus to Widget when touched.

[REFINE] 3D: Change char* to string in Terrain.

[REFINE] Studio: Merge Studio ActionTimeLine change back into engine.

[REFINE] Studio: Merge Studio changes for compatible withe 32bit Mac System.

[REFINE] Studio: Merge Studio changes for lua-binding, js-binding and simulator.

[REFINE] Mac: Make engine compatible for 32bit Mac.

[REFINE] 3rd party: WebP loading improvements WebP loaded as premultiplied alpha if it has.

[REFINE] Audio: AudioEngine on Linux replace the original SimpleAudioEngine with a new version of FMOD, now AudioEngine support all platforms!

[REFINE] IOS: Add virtual keyword for some render related function.

[REFINE] UI: Fixes boring deprecated warning in HttpRequest.

[REFINE] Network: Fix Downloader bug on iOS & Android platform.

[REFINE] Studio: Fix deprecation warning in SkeletonRenderer.

[REFINE] JS: Add js test case for fix, improve template.

[REFINE] Network: Permit http access to cocos2d-x.org in test projects on iOS.

[REFINE] Network: Crash when removing a remotely downloaded image from texture cache in js-binding.

[REFINE] Win10: WinRT project update version to v3.10.

[REFINE] Console: Add quiet option for Cocos Toolkit.

[REFINE] JS: New GC model for js-binding.

[REFINE] Doc: Fix typos in documentation and comments.

[REFINE] UI: update controlButton size calculate with new Scale9Sprite logic.

[REFINE] Win10: Added missing _USRJSSTATIC preprocessor define for ARM builds.

[REFINE] JS: Added ccvector_to / ccmap_to converted to new js-binding API.

[REFINE] UI: Slider misprint fix.

[FIX] Network: fix possible websocket crash in its destructor.

[FIX] Core: Fix premultiplyAlpha for mipmaps and compressed textures.

[FIX] UI: Fix Scale9sprite rendering error when content size smaller than the sum of leftInset and rightInset.

[FIX] Win32: Fix EditBox crash when removing an EditBox in a scheduler.

[FIX] Android: Fix cannot add view to mFrameLayout when extends Cocos2dxActivity.

[FIX] 2D: Fixed actionNode set at wrong position bug.

[FIX] 3D: Fix the movement of PUParticle lags one frame.

[FIX] UI: Fix the wront argument of setPlaceholderFontName in EditBox.

[FIX] UI: Fix EditBox editBoxEditingDidEnd may use the original text after change the text of EditBox in user script.

[FIX] Audio: Fix `FinishCallback` never be called in Windows.

[FIX] UI: Fix Layout stencil clipping nested with Clipping Node rendering issue.

[FIX] UI: Keyboard doesn't hide when click the screen outside of EditBox on iOS platform.

[FIX] UI: Fix a fatal bug in EditBox implement on Windows platform.

[FIX] UI: Fix edit box setPlaceholderFontName and scale font size issue.

[FIX] Core: Fix memory leak when initWithImage() failed.

[FIX] Network: CCDownloader on iOS is broken in v3.9 js-binding.

[FIX] JS: Bindings fixes for Menu, Sprite and Label.

[FIX] Studio: Remove weak reference in ActionNode.

[FIX] UI: shouldStartLoading method should return value to js in js-binding.

[FIX] UI: Fix scrollview render error.

[FIX] JS: Fix win32 js project crash issue.

[FIX] UI: Button touch doesn't work with scale9 enabled.

[FIX] JS: Fix evalString doesn't return result issue.

[FIX] JS: Fix ComponentJS proxy management issue in JSB.

[FIX] Android: Fix include in cocos network module.

[FIX] Network: Fix web socket crash.

[FIX] UI: Fix TextField missing default password style text setting.

[TEST] S9SpriteTest: Scale9Sprite fade actions with cascade opacity.

[TEST] Web: Remove default focus block from UIFocusTestVertical.

[TEST] Lua: Fix pageViewTest Horizontal scroll won't work in Lua-test.

 

Cocos2d-x can be downloaded here.

GameDev News


23. November 2015

 

 

In this tutorial we are going to look at audio programming in Cocos2d-x.  We will look at playing music and sound effects using SimpleAudioEngine, one of two engines built into Cocos2d-x.  There is a second, newer, more commplex and experimental audio engine AudioEngine, that we will discuss later.  Let’s start straight away by playing some music.  To make use of SimpleAudioEngine we need to add an additional include call:

#include "SimpleAudioEngine.h"

 

Next we need a song of some sorts to play, simply copy an appropriate file into your resources folder.  Myself I used an mp3 file named creatively enough song.mp3.

Supported Audio File Formats


The audio formats supported by Cocos2D-x depend entirely on what platform you run on.  The primary thing to be aware of is the ogg format is the preferred music format on Android platforms, while it is completely unsupported on iOS, which prefers MP3.

You should be aware that the MP3 format is patent encumbered format and generally should be avoided when possible.  If your app reaches certain sales thresholds, you may be required to pay license fees.  Sadly this generally isn’t an option on iOS devices as MP3 is the primary audio format used.  For sound effects, WAV are commonly used offering quick playback ability at the cost of file size.  Here are the details of supported audio files on iOS

Time now for some coding.  Implement the following init() method:

bool HelloWorld::init()
{
   if (!Layer::init())
      return false;

   auto audio = CocosDenshion::SimpleAudioEngine::getInstance();
   audio->preloadBackgroundMusic("song.mp3");
   audio->playBackgroundMusic("song.mp3");

   return true;
}

That is all that is required to load and play a music file. In fact the preloadBackgroundMusic() call wasn't even required so we could have used even less code. However preloading your music guarantees that you will not suffer a slow down the first time a song plays. You can also pause and resume playback of background music, or switch tracks completely, like so:

   eventListener->onKeyPressed = [audio](EventKeyboard::KeyCode keyCode, Event* event) {

      switch (keyCode) {
         case EventKeyboard::KeyCode::KEY_SPACE:
            if (audio->isBackgroundMusicPlaying())
               audio->pauseBackgroundMusic();
            else
               audio->resumeBackgroundMusic();
            break;

         case EventKeyboard::KeyCode::KEY_RIGHT_ARROW:
            audio->playBackgroundMusic("song2.mp3");
            break;

         case EventKeyboard::KeyCode::KEY_LEFT_ARROW:
            audio->playBackgroundMusic("song.mp3");
            break;
      }
   };

   _eventDispatcher->addEventListenerWithFixedPriority(eventListener, 2);

Hitting the spacebar will toggle the playback of the currently playing song.  Hitting the right arrow will start playing (or start over if already playing) song2.mp3. Hitting the left arrow will start or re-start playback of song.mp3.  You will notice from this example that only one song can be played at a time.  Generally this isn’t a limitation as it is normal to only have one active sound track at a time. 

setBackgroundMusicVolume() doesn't work!


A bit of a warning, at least on Windows, calling setBackgroundMusicVolume() does nothing, making it impossible to change the volume of a playing music file. This may not be the case on other platforms, I did not test. It was filed as a bug a long time back and does not appear to have been addressed.

 

Now let's look at playing sound effects instead.  Playing music and effects is almost identical.  The biggest difference is that sound effects are expected to support multiple concurrent instances.  That is to say, while you can only play one song at a time, you can play multiple sound effects at once. Consider this sample:

bool HelloWorld::init()
{
   if (!Layer::init())
      return false;

   auto audio = CocosDenshion::SimpleAudioEngine::getInstance();
   
   audio->preloadEffect("gun-cocking-01.wav");
   audio->preloadEffect("gun-shot-01.wav");

   audio->playEffect("gun-cocking-01.wav");

   Director::getInstance()->getScheduler()->schedule([audio](float delta) {
      audio->playEffect("gun-gunshot-01.wav");
      audio->unloadEffect("gun-cocking-01.wav");
   }, this, 1.5f, 0, 0.0f, false, "myCallbackKey");

   return true;
}

 

In this example we preload two WAV sound effects, a gun cocking and a gun shot.  Playing a sound effect is as simple as calling playEffect() passing in the file name.  Of course, be certain to copy the appropriate sound files to your project’s resource folder before running this example.  Next this example queues up a lambda method to be called 1.5 seconds of the gun cocking sound is played to play our gun shot sound.  At this point we are done with our gun cocking effect so we unload it from memory using unloadEffect().  You can still call playEffect with that file in the future, but it will result in the file being loaded again.

 

This example might be somewhat convoluted, but it illustrates and works around a key weakness in the CocosDenshion audio library.  It is a very simple and straight forward library but if you want to do “advanced” things like detecting when a song or audio effect has ended, unfortunately this functionality is not available.  You either have to use the experimental AudioEngine, which we will cover later, or use an external audio library such as FMOD.  SimpleAudioEngine is extremely easy to use, but not very powerful, so it’s certainly a trade off.  If you just need background music and fire and forget sound effects SimpleAudioEngine should be just fine for you.

 

One final topic to cover is handling when your app is minimized or forced into the background, you most certainly want to stop audio playback.  This is thankfully easily accomplished in your AppDelegate there are a pair of methods, applicationDidEnterBackground() and applicationWillEnterForeground().  Simply add the following code:

void AppDelegate::applicationDidEnterBackground() {
   auto audio = CocosDenshion::SimpleAudioEngine::getInstance();
   audio->pauseAllEffects();
   audio->pauseBackgroundMusic();
}

void AppDelegate::applicationWillEnterForeground() {
   auto audio = CocosDenshion::SimpleAudioEngine::getInstance();
   audio->resumeAllEffects();
   audio->resumeBackgroundMusic();
}

 

This will cause all of your currently playing sound effects and music files to be paused when your application enters the background and they will all result when your application regains focus.

Programming


16. November 2015

 

Announced over at the Cocos2D-x blog today, they just released version 3.9 of the popular cross platform open source 2D based C++ framework.  The release is primarily for maintenance and stability but some new functionality was added as detailed on the forum:

 

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  1. 3D Module:
    • Added 3D MotionStreak to support streak effect.
    • Refined Sprite3D to support material system.
  2. 2D Module:
    • Added frame callback function and animation callback function.
    • Added script component system.
    • Reconstruction of 2D physics with Component.
    • Improved EditBox implementation on iOS and Win32 platform.
    • Removed dependence of libcurl on AssetsManager, AssetsManagerEx and Downloader (iOS & Android).
    • Improved particle performance.
  3. Others:
    • Supported Action inheritance, update function overwriting in JSB.
    • Improved ScrollView performance in Web engine.
    • Improved Scale9Sprite performance in Web engine.
    • Decoupled Sprite's setTexture() and updateColor() in Web engine.
    • Added support for debugging and release on real devices with Xcode7 and iOS9.

The new release can be downloaded here. (Direct link)

 

If you are interested in learning more about Cocos2d-x, we have a full tutorial series available here.

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