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14. November 2012

 

Ok… is it engine release day? 

 

Anyway, again the title says it all, CryEngine 3.4.3 was released today.  If you are un-aware, CryEngine is a 3D game engine like UDK or Unity, which is available for free to get started ( 20% royalty on shipped titles ).  In addition to the FarCry series of games, Mechwarrior Online is powered by CryEngine.  If nothing else, this engine is capable of creating extremely pretty games!

 

Top Features:

  • Dedicated Server
  • Revamped Launcher menu
  • Sandbox Welcome screen, link to docs & smart open
  • Terrain precision/smoothing improved
  • Many tweaks/fixes/cleanups to the Sandbox UI
  • SSAO improvements
  • Improved SSR
  • Terrain shadow casting support
  • Box projected cubemaps
  • Improved DX9 support for Environment Probes

 

Other than the briefest look, I haven’t looked all that closely at the CryEngine SDK.  Therefore I have no idea if this is a big release or not…  dedicated server sounds like a handy addition…

 

 

Anyway, you can read full details here.

 

You can download it here.

News


14. November 2012

Title pretty much says it all, Unity 4 is now available.  Not a huge shock given the beta release announced two weeks ago.

 

The key new features are:

  • Direct X 11 rendering
  • New target platform: Flash
  • New target platform: Linux
  • Updated image effects including
    • New water shaders and prefabs
    • Render to texture effects
    • Full screen effects such as Depth of Field, Color correction, lens effects, etc. (Pro only)
  • Shuriken particle system
  • Lightmap Baking
  • Mobile profiler (Pro only)
  • Cross platform font rendering
  • Hardware cursor api
  • New project browser with fast integrated search

 

Unity Pro is priced at 1500$.

Unity “Base” is still free.

iOs, Android and Flash are each 400$.  Linux appears to be included in the base package.

No details given on upgrade pricing.

 

 

For more details click here

 

My personal 2cents, it doesn’t really look like a full version upgrade to me.  The new targets were announced in 3.x, at first glance I’m not really seeing any reason to upgrade.  What do you think?

News


6. November 2012

 

Windows Phone 7 was a pretty capable platform that never really took off, especially when it came to game support.  Of course, market share is a big part of the reason was the lack of applications ( although it is easy to get in a chicken and egg argument, whether market share suffered because of the lack of app support, which suffered because of the lack of market share… ).

 

With Windows Phone 8 however, Microsoft have rectified at least one of these problems.  You can now compile native C++ code.  This means a gigantic collection of existing libraries can be ported to or now target the platform.

 

And ported they have been, here is the list to date.  Keep in mind, pretty much every single project that runs on Windows 7 will run on Windows 8 Desktop, so “Windows 8 support” is a pretty meaningless statement.  The following are all products that will support Windows RT, the artist previously known as Metro.  Or in more simple terms, you can use the following to make games for ARM powered Windows 8 devices.

If I have missed any, please let me know!

 

cocos2d-x

http://www.cocos2d-x.org/news/76

Construct2

https://www.scirra.com/blog/99/make-windows-8-games-with-construct-2

GameMaker

http://www.yoyogames.com/gamemaker/studio/multiformat/windows8

GameSalad

http://gamesalad.com/creator/windows-8

Havok

(All products) http://www.havok.com/news-and-press/releases/havok-showcase-full-technology-suite-windows-8-windows-rt-and-windows-phone

Marmalade

http://www.madewithmarmalade.com/press/cross-platform-games-apps-sdk-marmalade-announces-support-microsoft-windows-phone-8-q4-2012

MonoGame

http://monogame.codeplex.com/

Ogre3D

http://www.ogre3d.org/2012/10/30/ogre-now-supports-windows-phone-8

SharpDX

http://sharpdx.org/news/new-version-2-4-0

Shiva3D

(road map only at this point)

http://www.shivaengine.com/developer/2290-the-shiva-2012-13-roadmap

Unigine

http://unigine.com/devlog/2012/07/20/100

Unity

http://blogs.unity3d.com/2012/10/30/unity-windows-phone-8-demonstrated-at-microsoft-build-conference/

Unreal/UDK

http://blogs.nvidia.com/2012/08/nvidia-brings-unreal-engine-3-to-windows-8-and-windows-rt/

 

 

Somewhat related or slightly less game oriented products that added Windows 8 support

 

Appcelerator Titanium

(Q1 2013)

http://thinkmobile.appcelerator.com/press-releases/bid/236017/Appcelerator-Empowers-the-Mobile-Developer-Community-With-Even-More-Choice-and-Flexibility

appMobi

http://www.appmobi.com/?page_id=453

PhoneGap/Apache Cordova

http://phonegap.com/blog/2012/10/30/announcing-apache-cordova-support-for-windows-phone-8/

Design Programming


12. October 2012

 

I have been following RIM’s Gameplay 3d engine for some time now and they have been improving it at a pretty impressive rate.  Well, they just announced the release of version 1.5.  If you’ve never heard of Gameplay, it is a cross platform mobile game development kit written in C++, but scriptable in Lua.

 

Gameplay3d currently supports the following targets:

  • BlackBerry 10 and PlayBook 2.0 (using BlackBerry Native SDK)
  • Apple iOS 5.1 (using Apple XCode 4.3.2)
  • Google Android 2.3+ (using Google Android NDK, SDK API level 9+)

 

And can be developed using the following platforms/compilers:

  • Microsoft Windows 7 (using Microsoft Visual Studio 2010)
  • Apple MacOS X (using Apple XCode 4.3.2)
  • Linux (using CMake or CodeBlocks 10)

 

As to what’s new in 1.5:

  • Linux support. (tested on Ubuntu 12)
  • CMake support for makefile generation for Linux.
  • CodeBlocks 10 IDE support for Linux.
  • Gamepad controllers support for desktops.
  • Touch gesture support for tap, swipe and pinch.
  • Vehicle phyics support via new PhysicsVehicle and PhysicsVehicleWheel classes.
  • Adds new racer sample (sample06-racer).
  • Adds gameplay-tests project as a test app for various basic engine features with some initial tests.
  • Adds support for Scene files for wildcard identifiers.
  • Adds Visual Studio Plug-in support for BlackBerry PlayBook and BlackBerry 10.
  • Adds configurable multi-sampling anti-aliasing support.
  • Adds updates to latest FBX SDK 2013.3.
  • Adds file formats documenation for game.config .scene, .material, .animation, .physics, .particle
  • Adds Game/Platform::canExit for testing device capabilities to quit. (only ios)
  • Web community forums at http://www.gameplay3d.org/forums.
  • Changed keyTimes from unsigned long[] to unsigned int[]. (breaks compat. in AnimationTarget and Animation::Channel)
  • Fixed inconsistencies from Bundle::getObjectID() to Bundle::getObjectId() (breaks compat. in Bundle)
  • Fixes the texture coordinates of Mesh::createQuad(float x, float y, float width, float height).
  • Fixes line-wise distortion when loading RGB png's into texture that are non-power of two.
  • Fixes inconsitencies in createXXXX methods. (breaks compat. in Scene)
  • Fixes Rectanngle::contains.
  • Fixes Lua print logging.
  • Fixes Lua errors to be treated as runtime warnings.
  • Fixes setVertexData to pointers instead of constant data.
  • Fixed AudioSource so that it doesn't loop by default.
  • Fixes minor UI scrolling issues.

 

And what’s in the works:

  • AI Pathfinding
  • Terrain and Water
  • Asset Pipeline improvements

 

You can download Gameplay on Github.  For a quick guide on getting started check here, it’s a bit old but should still be mostly relevant.

 

Good work Gameplay team!

News


4. October 2012

 

Earlier this morning, this news article came across my desk and caught my interest for a number of reasons.  Basically as the title states, Appcelerator - the makers of the popular Titanium mobile development suite have funded a game development technology startup Lanica.

 

Lanica Logo

So, why should you care?

 

Well first off, Appcelerator Titianium is a very nice development environment.  For a few different reasons I chose not to develop with Titanium, the inability to debug on Android devices being the biggest hindrance ( and mostly Google's fault for making such a terrible emulator ), however this fault may have been removed!  ( I will be looking into this very shortly ).

 

Next, while working in HTML5 on mobile is nice, the question still remains if it is feasible for high performance games.  PhoneGap brings HTML5 to mobile devices in native app form, but it doesn't bring the performance.  There are a number of other technologies working on this problem, but one more is always a nice thing.

 

Finally Lanica does have some pedigree.  One of the two founders is Carlos Icaza, who among other things, was the founder and first CEO of Ansca mobile, the people that make the popular Lua based Corona SDK.  ( Recently featured in this comparison of Lua game engines ).

 

So, they have funding, they have experience and they are creating a game engine using a technology I am interested in.  You can certainly colour me intrigued.

 

A little bit ( so far as I can gather ) about the engine itself, Platino:

Platino allows Titanium users to build casual to high-end games in JavaScript using a carefully optimized, C++ native-built, cross-platform game engine.

But wait, there’s more:

  • OpenGL ES 2.0:  We’re bringing you the industry standard in hardware-accelerated, cross-platform API for 2D and 3D graphics.  The OpenGL engine is a flexible and powerful low-level interface between software and graphics acceleration, so you get the best performance with the most efficient (i.e. lowest possible) use of resources.
  • Isometric Tile Engine:  We have developed our own internal isometric engine, written entirely in C++.  The best part? It features direct hardware rendering and occlusion detection for your maps to be rendered at full hardware speed, giving them near real-time interactivity.
  • Sprite Sheets:  We also have developed our own internal sprite sheet engine, which also is optimized for performance and rendering.
  • Box2D:  The same physics engine that drives Angry Birds and some of the most popular mobile games on the market is embedded in the Platino game engine.
  • Particles:  We know you’re too creative for a “one size fits all” approach. So, using our Particle Designer plug-in, you can now create stunning visual effects at hardware speeds by customizing every aspect of your particle emitters.
  • Shaders:  Our game engine leverages OpenGL’s shading language to calculate rendering effects on images, vertices, and pixels – giving you a high degree of flexibility and rendering capabilities for your games.
  • 2.5D Support:  Built natively (yet again!) to give your game that extra “depth” needed to create pseudo-3D effects.
  • Native Interface Access:  Full access to your creations, so you can tinker with the native UI, mouse events, accelerometer, and more through Titanium’s powerful JavaScript methods and classes.


So if you like to work in JavaScript, want to create a game targeting iOS and Android but with native performance, Lanica/Platino/Titanium are certainly worth keeping an eye on!

 

As of right now, they appear to be in the pre-beta stage, although there is a sign up page here.  Hopefully I am able to get more access to Platino shortly, so I can bring you a bit more information. Neither pricing nor a release date have been announced yet.

News


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