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10. November 2012
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RIM is hard at work on Blackberry 10 and they continue to focus heavily on making sure there is plenty of software available at launch.  Now they are targeting game developers with the newest promotion.

 

Got game? Get Rewards.

 

The BlackBerry Got Game Port-a-Thon starting on November 16th is a 36-hour event dedicated to helping you get your gaming apps launched for BlackBerry 10. Since it’s a virtual event, participating is simple and hassle-free. You just register and log in from the comfort of your own space. You bring your existing gaming apps or build new gaming apps for BlackBerry 10, and we’ll have experts on hand around the clock to help you get your gaming apps up and running on BlackBerry 10.

 

So, why would you want to?  Well of course other than supporting an additional target, there are additional incentives:

 

Getting your apps into the BlackBerry App World storefront before BlackBerry 10 launches means that you can be among the first to benefit from the universe of app-hungry customers out there. You’ll also get rewards for porting and building.

  • Get one or two gaming apps approved – $100 per eligible app.
  • Get between two and five gaming apps approved – $100 per eligible App and one (1) BlackBerry® PlayBook™ tablet
  • Get between five and ten gaming apps approved - $100 per eligible App + one (1) BlackBerry PlayBook tablet + FOR THE FIRST ONE HUNDRED (100) QUALIFIED PARTICIPANTS ONLY one (1) Dev Alpha Device
  • Get more than 10 gaming apps approved - $100 per app + one (1) BlackBerry PlayBook tablet + FOR THE FIRST TEN (10) QUALIFIED PARTICIPANTS ONLY one (1) Dev Alpha Device + trip to Game Developers Conference in San Francisco March 25-29, 2013

 

So, port 10 apps over you get 1,000$ a Playbook and a dev Alpha device.  Of course, if you were looking to port your game to Blackberry OS 10, having the resources available on demand could prove invaluable.

 

I have a Playbook myself and have long since intended to look into game development on this device.  I really want to see RIM bounce back this generation for a number of reasons.  First, they are really moving in the right direction from a developer perspective with good developer tools ( WebWorks and QNX ), sponsoring projects like the Gameplay SDK, the next generation of software and hardware seems to be really good and finally, they are in my own back yard, I live probably 45 minutes away from their world headquarters.  Oh, and I own RIM stock, so I suppose I should mention that.  Then again, indirectly pretty much every Canadian owns RIM stock.

 

So… go RIM.

News


31. October 2012

 

Microsoft have just release their Windows Phone 8 SDK, you can read the announcement right here.  They have also launched a new Windows Phone 8 Dev Center, that you can access here.

 

And apparently, Microsoft don’t want anyone to use it…

System requirements

Supported operating systems: Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro

    • Windows 8 64-bit (x64) client versions
  • Hardware:
    • 4 GB of free hard disk space
    • 4 GB RAM
    • 64-bit (x64) CPU
  • Windows Phone 8 Emulator:
    • Windows 8 Pro edition or greater
    • Requires a processor that supports Second Level Address Translation (SLAT)

 

Windows 8 only?  Really Microsoft, really?  Your platform isn’t exactly the most popular these days, you can’t seriously be trying to push Windows 8 adoption with your developer tools?  This hopefully is just a mistake, I’d like to think Microsoft isn’t really run by idiots.

Anyways… assuming you are one of the 12 people running Windows 8, you can download the SDK right here.  You can still download and install it on non-Windows 8 versions, but apparently the emulator is disabled, pretty much leaving you dead in the water.

 

As for new technical features, those are highlighted here.  A quick summary of some of the most relevant options are:

  • Direct3D XAML interop, allowing you to build D3D apps that work with XAML.
  • Multitargeting, allowing you to target Win Phone 7 and 8 with one project
  • XAML and native code profilers

 

Microsoft also released this video on Native C++ game development with Windows Phone 8

Native C++ game development with Windows Phone 8



 

 

If you are interested in developing for Windows Phone 8, you may want to sign up now, as:

Windows Phone 8 is out, the tools are available, and devices are about to be released—it’s time to get coding. As an added incentive, for the next 8 days individual developers can register for a Dev Center account for just $8 (a 92 percent savings). Please note because this is a very limited time offer. You’ll be charged $99 USD or equivalent in your local currency, and we’ll refund the difference in the next 30 to 45 days. Watch for more details on Dev Center soon.

 

Why 8$?  Anyways, any interest in developing for Windows 8 Phone?  I personally love Microsoft’s platforms and development tools, by far the best in the industry.  That said, I just dont believe in … well, anything they are doing lately.  I expect Windows 8 to be a gigantic flop and a senior executive house cleaning to occur.  For the record, I owned Microsoft stock up until about 2 months ago.  Shows what faith I have in their current strategy.

News


3. October 2012

After a release candidate, followed by another release candidate, Blender 2.64 is finally here.

 

For game developers, the big release was actually the last one, this release is more focused of VFX, but there is still plenty to get excited about.  Here are details of the release in the Blender Foundation’s own words:

 

The focus was on creating a full VFX pipeline, with improved motion tracking using a planar tracker, easier green screen keying, and a new mask editor. A new tile based compositing system was added, along with more advanced color management. Cycles rendering got dozens of smaller features and improvements resulting from its use in production.

Sculpting now supports masks, and a skin modifier was added to quickly create a model from skeletons. The game engine got improved shadows and physics options, and Collada export now has more options to tune for exporting to other game engines.

 

The key changes, from a game developer’s perspective, are probably:

Mesh Tools

Bevel and inset now are modal operator with mouse control, a wire frame tool was added to turn edges into wireframe tubes, and vertex/edge/face sorting tools were improved.

Collada

The Collada exporter has been improved for better support of export to game engines, with more fine grained options to control which data is exported.

Sculpting

Sculpting has received some major improvements such has masking to control which areas of the mesh are influenced by sculpting, new brush map modes to control how textures are projected onto the model, and an input stroke averaging option to make brush strokes smoother.

Skin Modifier

The Skin modifier takes a skeleton made up of vertices and edges as input and generates a polygon skin as output, consisting mostly of quads aligned along the edges. The output is mostly quads, although some triangles will appear around intersections.

Game Engine

Lamps and shadows were improved with support for variance shadow maps, shadow color, sun lamp shadows and lamp textures. Non-power of two textures and compressed textures will now load faster and use less memory. A new Character physics type was added, designed for player controlled characters.

 

Of course there were also a ton of bug fixes.

 

Good job on the release Blender team!

 

You can go download the newest release right here.  Of course, expect a bit of a wait as their servers get pummelled.

News


18. September 2012

 

I just read on Reddit  that Meridian 59 has been open sourced and hosted on Github.  I took a quick look at the code and it was written in straight C and appears to be quite clean and easy to read, at least, as readable as Win32 C code can be!

 

If you have never heard of Meridian59, it was one of the first MMORPG’s that was published by the now defunct 3D0 Company.  In fact, it was the first commercial 3D MMO released.  The company that developed it went under, then another company went took over and later went under as well.  However they have managed to keep the servers running in a non-commercial capacity and people are still playing to this very day.  Always awesome to see people release commercial source code, even slightly older code.  There aren’t too many MMO’s open sourced.

 

Getting it to build might be a bit of a trick though.  Parts haven’t been open sourced, specifically the compression library and audio library, although I believe they are provided in binary form.

 

Perhaps the biggest gotcha is going to be building the room editor, which requires Borland 4.5!!! to build.  Ironically I think I have a copy on disk somewhere, as Borland C++ was the compiler of choice when I was in University.  The remaining code compiles with Visual Studio 2008.

 

So, if you ever wanted to peek behind the curtain on a commercial MMO, here’s your chance!

News


10. September 2012

 

The C++ mobile SDK Marmalade just announced release 6.1.

 

I suppose I can’t really refer to it as a mobile SDK any more, as one of the biggest features of 6.1 is the ability to target Windows and Mac OS desktops.

 

Other new features in this release are:

 

  • Target the desktop: With Marmalade 6.1 you can now deliver your apps to current Windows (7, Vista, XP) and Mac OS X platforms, as well as to Android MIPS devices and the latest LG Smart TVs.
  • Full flexibility: With Web Marmalade’s Plugins you can now mix HTML5 with native platform code, providing full flexibility and creativity.
  • Improved: Desktop graphics support, making it easier to develop and test Marmalade titles on a wide variety of desktop hardware.
  • Updated: You can now use floating-point within the graphics pipeline, allowing more intuitive manipulation of 3D assets.

 

 

Marmalade has been used to release a number of big name projects across many devices.  There is a free trial available, with pricing ranging from 149$ a year ( with a Splashscreen ), to 500$ a year ( no splash screen ) or a negotiated commercial license with full support ( including service level agreement ) and private beta access. 

 

One of the major features of the Marmalade SDK is the ability to target iOS without the need for a Mac.  I know there are a ton of small developers out there that want to make games for the iPhone and iPad, but don’t want to drop 1000$+ on an Apple computer.  If this description fits you, Marmalade might be the perfect option!

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