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19. June 2019


Amazon have just released beta 1.19 of their game engine Lumberyard.  Sharing a common code base with CryEngine, CryTek and Amazon have taken their game engines in very different directions the last few years.  Lumberyard is free to use, so long as you host your own multiplayer services or use Amazon technologies.

The 1.19 release brings over 150 improvements, but there are two highlight features:

  • New Dynamic Vegetation System. Procedurally generate a diverse and detailed biome in minutes instead of manually placing and painting in vegetation. Lumberyard’s new vegetation components support a wide range of artistic expressions and fine-grained control over the scale, density, and distribution in your biomes. You can also improve runtime performance by configuring segments of vegetation to be placed or removed at runtime based on player location and gameplay events.
  • Major updates to Script Canvas. Create even more dynamic behaviors and gameplay without having to code or rely on expert engineers. We’ve made major improvements to Script Canvas, introducing support for containers such as arrays and maps, new Script Events that enable you to send events between graphs and scripts, and new graph validation and debugger features so you can find, diagnose, and fix invalid graphs more quickly. We’ve also made workflow improvements to make it even easier add, configure, and organize nodes in your graphs.

View the full release notes for complete details of this release.  Check out the video below to see the new vegetation system and script canvas improvements in action.  Lumberyard is available for download here, be aware however if you zoom the web page in, the download link goes away…  not the best UX there.

GameDev News


17. June 2019


The nCine Engine is a C++ powered, open source MIT licensed 2D game engine that has been under development for over 7 years.  It is a lower level code based framework, although it does support Lua scripting out of the box.  The engine also integrates the ImGui framework making creating tools and UIs a breeze.  The nCine engine works on Windows, Linux, Mac and Android.

Highlighted features include:

  • ImGui debug overlay and profilers
  • Lua integration for scripting
  • OPenGL 3.3/OpenGL ES 3.0
  • Spritesheet based animated sprites
  • Scengraph based transformations
  • Particle simulation with affectors
  • Sound and music playback
  • Text rendering with kerning
  • Support for multiple texture formats
  • Profiler graphs and statistics
  • Works on multiple platforms
  • Template containers and algorithms
  • Fully C++11 compliant codebase
  • High precision monotonic timers
  • Atomic counters
  • Thread pool creation, synchronization and affinity assignment
  • Basic math lbrary for vectors, 4x4 matrices and quaternions
  • Logging system with multiple levels and console or file output
  • GLFW 3 or SDL 2 for window and input on PC
  • Joystick support with hot swap and gamepad mappings
  • Android assets support
  • Google Test based unit tests with coverage checked with Gcovr
  • Microbenchmarked with the Google Benchmark support library
  • Doxygen based documentation with Graphviz class diagrams
  • Periodically checked with Cppcheck and Valgrind
  • Periodically linted with clang-format (previously with Artistic Style and Uncrustify)
  • Instrumentation for the Tracy frame profiler

With so many game engines on the market, you may be wondering… why another one?  Well the author explains exactly that right here.  The cCine project is hosted on GitHub and provides a Pong demo to get you started, implemented in both C++ and Lua.

GameDev News Programming


13. June 2019


AppOnboard, perhaps most famous for the technology powering the Google App Store “Try Now” functionality have just acquired BuildBox.  BuildBox is a nocode or codeless game engine that just released version 3.0 and announced a pricing change.  The acquisition will not change the management or structure of the BuildBox team.

Details from the BuildBox blog announcement:

I’m extremely excited to announce the next chapter for Buildbox, and explain how we’re going to vastly expand our product, ability, and community going forward, but before I do that I believe it’s most important to discuss what is not changing.

With this acquisition, every single employee is staying with Buildbox, including myself and Nik.  Buildbox will run independently — as it always has — while being able to grow much more quickly, and tap into the great resources that AppOnboard provides.  Nik and I will still be focused 100% on vision and additions to complete line of our products. We will not be making any changes in product, besides improvements and additions we already have planned.

What we will have access too, that we did not before, is resources to help us hire more developers, content creators and more for Buildbox.  You’ll see our development times vastly improve, and content creation for Buildbox speed up drastically.

AppOnboard is amazingly dedicated to not changing our vision, but helping us see it through to its largest potential.

AppOnboard have also released a statement available here.  BuildBox also released an email to all developers with the following details (thanks J.P for the heads-up!):

A lot of changes are underfoot and all of them positive! Every employee from Buildbox that you know and love are all still here and will definitely be here for a long time. We're the same Buildbox team that you know and love; it's just that we have much more resources now to hire more developers, content creators, etc!
So what's next for us?

  • a FREE version of Buildbox
  • much better Android, ad network, and export support
  • new nodes and smart assets
  • a new smart asset store
  • roadmapping expansions for the MasterCollection software
  • lots and lots of Buildbox 3 Upgrades
  • ... and so much more!

At face value, this development seems like a pure win for existing BuildBox developers.

GameDev News


10. June 2019


Construct beta r153 has just been released.  Construct is a “codeless” HTML5 based game engine that runs entirely in your browser.  The major feature of this new update is the new ease curve editor which can be used for tweening timelines.  Addition you can now use both local and global variables in scripts in events.

Details from the release notes:

New Features:

  • Custom easing curves to use with timelines

New Additions:

  • Use custom easing curves in with the tween behavior

Changes:

  • Consistently lowercase filenames on export to avoid case-sensitivity issues
  • Also warn on Remote Preview if images over 4096 pixels big are used (previously only warned on export)
  • Animations Editor: Pasting a color into the color inputs of the color palette now changes the alpha to 255 if it was previously 0

Bugs Fixes:

  • Animations Editor: Background of the animation preview dialog was different to the background of the main panel
  • Animations Editor: Content pasted twice when using the rectangle select tool
  • Animations Editor: Possible crash while using the rectangle select tool
  • Animations Editor: Colors not updated properly after pasting into the HEX color input of the Color Palette
  • Tween Behavior: Runtime crash when destroying the instance affected by a tween which had not yet finished playing
  • Attempting to copy in the text editor incorrectly triggered a paste action
  • Disabling a built-in function block could prevent the project running
  • Fix crash closing Find Results or Bookmarks bars (regression in r151)
  • Unintentionally could drag view up and down with touch on iOS (regression in r151)
  • C3 runtime: keep Multiplayer hosts alive even when browser window minimised
  • Event sheet view: preserve trailing newlines in comments
  • Runtime: context menus accidentally blocked on form controls (regression in r152)

Scripting Updates:

  • Asset APIs to load external scripts & WebAssembly modules
  • New 'Loading external script & WebAssembly' example
  • Access global variables in event sheets via runtime.globalVars
  • Access local variables in event sheets via localVars in script actions/blocks
  • runtime.setReturnValue() function to make it easier to return script values from event functions
  • Script interfaces for layouts and layers
  • Editor now validates JavaScript code in your project before preview or export, prompting you to fix syntax errors
  • Debugger CPU profiler now separately measures time spent in scripts
  • Added warnings for unused variables, use-before-initalise and assigning to constants

GameDev News


5. June 2019


YoYoGames have just released the beta version of the 2.2.3 release.  In addition to the usual slate of bug fixes and improvements, the marquee feature of this release is TvOS support, which is part of the mobile plan and enables you to target and support iOS based set-top boxes.  They have released three documents in support of TvOS with GameMaker.

Further details from the GMS blog:

  • Desktop targets can now disable the file sandbox from the Game Options for each platform (Windows, macOS and Ubuntu). This permits you to save and load files from anywhere on the target system (within the limits of the OS and any antivirus or other file-permission restrictions on the local machine).

  • The function surface_depth_disable() has been expanded to include all target platforms. This switches off the depth buffer for surfaces, which will reduce the memory overhead. For 2D games, especially on mobile, this is very useful - although for 3D you'll probably want to leave it enabled. For more information see the manual.

  • You can now create Local Asset Packages from resources in your projects. This means that you no longer need to go through the Marketplace to create YYMP files, enabling you to create your own local asset packages of scripts, objects, etc.... You can access this new feature from the Tools menu in the IDE, and the full details can be found in the manual inside the 2.2.3 IDE.

  • New constants have been added to GML for NaN and infinity, as well as new functions to check these values, is_NaN() and is_infinity().

  • Drag and Drop™ users can now add comments to their action scripts. This option is available from the Right Mouse Button menu in the active workspace.

  • The resource tree has new options for sprites and sounds to quickly add one or more resources to a texture page or an audio group - accessed through the Right Mouse Button menu.

  • A new option in General Preferences > Compiling to disable subst drives. When disabled, GameMaker Studio 2 will not create any virtual drives when compiling most platforms.

  • Strings now accept 4 byte wide Unicode characters, allowing you to decode and encode Unicode characters in the upper bounds of the standard (including, but not limited to, emoji). This may adversely affect some users who have been using the \u escape character (see the manual for more information).

  • New error reporting mechanism for submitting crash details to YoYoGames.

You can learn more about future GameMaker Studio releases in the development roadmap available here.  Details on accessing the beta channel of releases is available here.

GameDev News


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