Subscribe to GameFromScratch on YouTube Support GameFromScratch on Patreon
12. July 2016

 

Today Torque 3D released version 3.9 and in a somewhat odd release blog post they spoke mostly about the plans for the next release.  Torque is an MIT licensed open sourced 3D game engine written in C++.  This release constitutes 515 commits with the major releases being proper roll over to deferred renderer, an initial implementation of entity/component and DirectX 11 integration.

 

As mentioned earlier, the majority of the release blog post covers features intended for the 4.0 release:

So, here's a main features list that we're looking at bringing into Torque for 4.0:

  • Physically-Based Rendering. This is, unsurprisingly a pretty big one. Luckily, it's also most of the way done! The only main piece that needs finishing is reflection probes, and the core features are in. From there it would just be a matter of dialing in the supporting art pipeline and tweaking the math to make it look as good as possible.
  • MacOS support. This was originally slated for 3.9, if you look at the 3.8 release blog, but a lack of machines to test on, and the age-addled old platform code made it impractical to really tackle initially. The good news is, near the end of 3.9's development, with SDL and epoxy to take a LOT of the workload off, huge strides were made and it's actually almost completed. There's still some issues with rendering on some machines and catching errors and warnings that crop up, but it's looking very practical to have MacOS as an official platform for 4.0! You can see Timmy's screenshot in the 3.9 RC thread showing off T3D running on MacOS with his and JeffH's work now.
  • SDL as the main platform layer. Torque3D's supported SDL for quite a while now, and it's naturally the main platform layer for Linux(and MacOS). However, it's been a little bit of a red-headed stepchild to the Win32 platform code. For 4.0, that's changing and SDL will be adopted as the core platform layer with whatever glue needed sitting atop it. This will drastically simplify the platform code and make it easier to maintain. It also offers a good bit of future proofing should any other platforms come into the equation down the line. SDL's stuff is very nearly at parity with the Windows side, it's pretty much just a matter of jumping over the last bits and doing cleanup/bugfixes to make it rock-solid.
  • New Project Manager The old project manager was useful, but was hacked together with QT and php, so maintaining it was a little sketchy and fell by the wayside for the more standard CMake gui. However, there's lots of management things CMake can't do, which is why the Project Manager will be making a comeback, it'll just be a graphical frontend sitting upon the more standard cmake project generation. This new PM will let you manage your updates, and hopefully in the future hook into online repositories for easier grabbing and integration of updates as well as fetching content packages without hassle.
  • New Shadergen As great a job as the current workhorse does of generating shaders for all the many materials you need to make a game, updating and expanding it has proven to be a pretty annoying thing to deal with due to how it's structured. Excellent peice of tech, but a chore to maintain, just like ye olde German tanks in WW2. As such, we'll be looking into restructuring shadergen to not only make it easier to update and expand upon in the backend-sense, but also easier to build materials/shaders for the end user as well, up to, and probably including a node-based approach for engineering your fancy shaders for your fancy materials.
  • Graphics API refinements DirectX 9 has proven to be a monstrous workhorse of the graphical APIs, reliably serving well beyond what anyone though it would. However, while it has proven to be a rock-solid API, the time has come to retire the poor girl and send her off to the glue facto-eeeer, the farm. Yes. As such, DirectX 11 will be taking over as the main Dx rendering API, and will continue to see refinements to bring it up to speed now that Dx9 isn't hampering it or OpenGL. Timmy's been poking at this and has noted improved performance in Dx11 by quite a lot, and some gains in OpenGL as well.
  • Threads. Threads for days One major blocker to rendering performance that even dropping Dx9 won't help is that we curretly don't thread or do much to optimize out the render calls themselves. That'll change in 4.0. We've been brainstorming the optimal approach for a few months now and have a pretty solid plan of attack that will see the render calls threaded out, and also proper batching of rendered geometry where appropriate. So fewer, faster drawcalls for the same workload. We'll also be looking at threads for handling resource loading and spawning of objects to cut out all those hitches when the map starts or stuff is created.
  • Hardware Skinning Another thing that's been pretty much complete outside a few oddball behaviors we'll be getting in there is Hardware Skinning. When it's behaving, the current implementation already notes a huge improvement in performance for animated meshes, so getting it polished up and in should be a huge, immediate performance boon.
  • Physics API T3D's had a physics abstraction layer for a long time now, and it's been pretty useful in letting the end user decide if they wanted PhysX or Bullet. However, Torque's stock physics has still served a useful niche in being network-reliable, or lightweight for basic physics mechanics, and some people find it to be a pretty workable thing. As such, the Torque physics will be converted over into a Physics plugin, so all physics and collisions will go through the Physics API and standardize all the behavior for that across the engine, cleaning up quite a lot and making it easier to maintain.
  • Entities, Components, and Assets This is the big one from non-rendering side. 3.9 already has the initial implementation of the entity/component stuff, as well as the Assets/Modules systems, but they're not yet fully utilized. That'll change in 4.0. If you've been checking out my work blog with the recent updates, I've been covering work I've been doing on the improved asset pipeline, as well as continued work with the Entity/Component stuff. For 4.0, this will become the standard, and all existing gameplay classes(Vehicle, Player, Item, Shapebase) will be replaced with GameObjects built of entities and components to do the same work. The idea is to give users a similar base to what is in Torque now in terms of starting objects, but remove all the bulky, hardcoded functionality. It should be a standard point, not an anchor, after all. Tying to that, we also will have:
  • Assimp support This was actually mostly done back in the day, just some issues with animation stuffs and a few other minor problems. I'd poked at this with some R&D time a while back, so it shouldn't take much tweaking to get it polished up and hooked into the assets system, which will allow quite a few new 3d model formats, including FBX.
  • A new base template This is also basically complete. This will be a much more streamlined starting template intended to easily drop in modules, assets and the like into to build up your game project, as opposed to having to spend time stripping out the stuff you don't need. Numerous ancillary improvements also help load times, easier to read and comprehend code and the like. This will replace the empty and full templates, cutting down on the effort needed to maintain(no need to duplicate changes).
  • Vive support This comes from our own Mango's efforts. It's pretty much done, but didn't quite squeak in for 3.9. It will be going into 4.0 for sure.

GameDev News


1. July 2016

 

NeoAxis, a .NET powered 3D game engine with full editor, just released version 3.5.  The key features of this release are:terrain_editor

 

  • Graphic user interface of the tools has been updated.
  • A tool to easily import 3D models from a file has been added.
  • Example maps have been updated.
  • Freeze Objects Manager has been added. The object is indended to optimize maps with big amount of objects on them. With this object the developer can make some objects on the map freeze to save resources.
  • Streaming terrain has been improved. Better management of load/unload mechanism.
  • The ability to skip mip maps during loading textures.
  • Bug fix: Broken rendering with enabled SoftParticles parameter of the material.
  • Bug fix: Broken decals on terrain.
  • Bug fix: Broken export of 3D models from Map Editor to DAE.

 

You can read more about the release here.

GameDev News


24. June 2016

 

Leadwerks just released version 4.1 of their beginner focused 3D game engine.  The Leadwerks engine is currently available at 80% off as part of the Steam summer sale.

 

New features of this release from the release notes:

 

Environment Probes

The new environment probe entities can be used to add global illumination and reflections to any scene.
Attached Image

Volumetric Lighting

Each light in Leadwerks can now display an adjustable volumetric effect using a ray-marching technique to give your game dramatic visuals.
Attached Image

Enhanced Post-Processing Effects

Leadwerks 4.1 includes new built-in post-process effects including volumetric light scattering and screen-space ambient occlusion.  Older effects like bloom have been updated for improved visuals.
Attached Image

GameDev News


2. June 2016

 

Leadwerks just released Leadwerks 4.1 beta.  Leadwerks is a game engine that claims to be the easiest way to build 3D games.  It is loaded with tutorials and samples to help get a user started and ships with a full editor, lua programming environment and more.  The 4.1 beta is currently available on Steam.

 

The 4.1 beta release brings several new features:

4.1 adds environment probes, which have been covered previously, and volumetric lighting.  Point and spot lights can display a volumetric effect by adjusting the "Volume strength" setting, found under Light properties in the editor.  You can also use the new commands Light::SetVolumetricStrength() and Light::GetVolumetricStrength().  At this time, directional lights should use the godray shader instead, but I might try this effect on directional lights as well before the release.
Volumetric lighting is an expensive effect to render, but my Intel 5200 is running it at a fast speed, and high-end cards should have no problem with it.  Lights with a large range are more expensive than lights with a small range.  The performance will be exactly the same for any intensity level above zero (the default).  The effect is disabled when the low-quality light setting is in use.


Volumetric lighting looks best in dark scenes with lots of contrast.  Spotlights tend to look a little better, as point lights don't have the same well-defined shape.  Use these sparingly for dramatic lighting effects in key positions.  It looks especially nice when you have a fence or grate in front of the light to create lots of interesting light beams.


The bloom effect has also been improved, and SSAO, godrays, and iris adjustment post-processing effects have been added.  The bloom effect is using the mixing equation from Leadwerks 2, along with an improved Gaussian blur function from the RasterGrid blog.

 

Leadwerks is available here on Steam.

GameDev News


25. May 2016

 

The developers over at Thunderbeast Games just released their fifth developer digest detailing the recent updates to the Atomic Game Engine.  The Atomic Game Engine is an open source (now) MIT licensed 2D/3D game engine that was built on top of Urho3D.  I did a Closer Look of both the Atomic Game Engine and Urho 3D should you wish to learn more about either engine.

 

Atomic Game Engine has gained several new features, including:

 

  • Chromium web view integration ( Webview with both 2D and 3D support)
  • Improved multiplayer support including NAT punch through support
  • Per project asset import settings
  • DXT compression
  • JavaScript editor plugins
  • Typescript integration
  • Extensibility hooks in the editor
  • Physically Based Rendering (PBR) support in the renderer (WIP)

 

 

Much more details about all of these features are available in the digest.

GameDev News


GFS On YouTube

See More Tutorials on DevGa.me!

Month List