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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


19. May 2016

 

Let me warn you up front, this game engine is nowhere near production ready.  It’s very much a work in progress, with missing documentation, missing features and crashes are far too common.  This is certainly not a game engine to choose today for game development, that’s why this is just a preview instead of a Closer Look.  It is however a shocking capable game engine that you should keep your eye on!image

 

There is also a video available here.

 

What is the Banshee Engine?

So, what is the Banshee Engine?  Currently at release 0.3, Banshee Engine is an open source, C++ powered 2D/3D game engine with a complete game editor.  On top of that there is a managed scripting layer, enabling you to develop game logic using C#.  It is available under a dual license, LGPL and a Commercial “pay what you want” license... and yes, what you want to pay could be $0 if you so chose.

Banshee is available on Github, there are binaries available for download, although for now the engine is limited to Windows only.  The engine also only targets Windows at the moment, but is being written with portability in mind.

 

The Editor

Here is the Banshee Editor in action:

 

image

 

The layout is pretty traditional.  On the top left you have the various resources that make up your game.  Below that you have the Hierarchy view which is essentially your current scene’s contents.  At the bottom we have the logs.  On the right hand side is the inspector, which is a context aware editing form.  Of course centered to the view is the Scene view, which also has a Unity like Game preview window.  The interface is extremely customizable, with all tabs being closable, undockable or even free floated.  It works well on high DPI monitors and on multiple displays.  It does occasionally have issues with mouse hover or cursor and sadly tab doesn’t work between text input fields, but for the most part the UI works as expected. 

image

 

The 3D view you can Orbit the camera using RMB, pan with MMB and zoom in with the scroll wheel.  Of course LBM is used for selection.  There are the traditional per axis editing widgets for Transforms, Rotations and Scales.  You have a widget in the top right corner for moving between various views as well as shifting between Perspective and Orthographic project.  Oddly there doesn’t appear to be an option for multiple concurrent views, nor puzzlingly enough, are there axis markers ( color coded lines to show the location of X,Y,Z axis ).  The editor idles nicely, using only 4% or so CPU at idle, meaning the engine is fairly friendly to laptop battery life.

 

There are several built in Scene objects, including geometric primitives.

image

 

The engine also takes an Entity/Component approach, with several components built in that can be attached to a Scene Object:

image

 

Importing assets into the engine is as simple as dragging and dropping to the Library window:

image

With a  resource selected, you can control how it is imported in the Inspector:

image

 

The importer can handle FBX, DAE and OBJ format 3D files as well as PNG, PSD, BMP and JPG images.  You can also import fonts as well as shaders, both GLSL and HLSL formats.

 

Coding

Coding in Banshee is done in one of two ways.  You can extend the editor and engine using C++ code.  The code itself is written in modern C++ 14, although documentation on native coding is essentially non existent at this point in time.

For games, the primary going interface is using C#.  It current supports C# 6 language features.  To script a component, create a new Script in Resources panel:

image

 

Next, select a scene object, then drag and drop the script onto the bottom any the form in the inspector.  Double clicking the script will bring it up in Visual Studio if installed.  The script will have full IntelliSense in Visual Studio:

image

 

Scripting a component is a matter of handling various callbacks, such as OnUpdate() which is called each frame.  You can access the attached entity (er... Scene Object) via the .SceneObject member.  Here is a very simple script that moves the selected object by 0.1 pixels each update:

namespace BansheeEngine
{
	public class NewComponent : Component
	{
		private void OnInitialize()
		{
		}
		
		private void OnUpdate()
		{
			this.SceneObject.MoveLocal(new Vector3(0.1f, 0.0f, 0.0f));
		}
		
		private void OnDestroy()
		{
		}
	}
}

 

Documentation

This is very much a work in progress.  Right now there is a solid reference for the Managed API, the Native API (C++), but the tools user manual is essentially a stub.  There is an architecture cheat sheet which gives a pretty broad overview of the engine and how the pieces fit together.  There is also a guide to compiling the engine from source.  For those that are interested in giving things a go from C++ only, there is a C++ game example available here.  Unfortunately there are no downloadable projects or managed examples, a glaring flaw at this point that make it a lot harder to learn.

As of right now, the lack of editor documentation or samples to get started with, really do make it hard to learn, especially if you are trying to figure out if something isn’t working because you are doing it wrong, the feature isn’t implemented or there is simply a bug.

That said, these are all things that should improve in time.

 

Conclusion

This is a game engine for early adopters only.  It’s not even close to ready for primetime.  On the other hand, the kernel or core is there and remarkably robust.   While not the most stable by any stretch of the word, and with lacking documentation, I think you will be surprised with just how capable this engine actually is.  The potential for a great game engine is here under the surface, just waiting for a community to make it happen.

 

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