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29. July 2019


Today we are checking out Laigter, a free tool that enables you to perform special effects on sprites quickly and easily.  Even better, the source code is available on GitHub under the GPL 3.0 license.

Laigter is described as:

This tool lets you generate normal maps for 2D textures, with little effort. Specially designed for Sprites in 2D games. Specular map generation is possible too, which gives your sprites the shininess they need to look PRO! It also let's you create parallax maps, mainly intended for backgrounds, to obtain a nice 3D effect in 2D games!

Normal Maps lets you create awesome realistic lights for games. This tool is primary intended for illuminating 2D sprites for 2D games, although can also be used for 2D textures for 3D games.

Specular Maps lets you make realistic shine into your sprites.

Parallax Maps lets you "deform" the texture depending the point of view, so you can create, for example, depth effects in backgrounds like brick walls.

Ambient Occlusion maps lets you define to which parts ambient light should reach weaker. Adds realism to lights.

Laigter is available on Itch.io under a name your own price system (with an option of free available).  Laigter is available for Windows and Linux.  Check out the video below to see Laigter in action.

Design Art


20. July 2019


Machinations.io is a fairly rare breed, a tool dedicated to game design.  Currently in a free beta, Machinations is a browser based tool for designing and simulating mechanics for gameplay.

Descriptions for the Machinations.io website FAQ:

Machinations.io is a browser-based platform to design, balance and simulate game systems. It allows you to map any game system in an interactive diagram, set parameters that define elements and the relationship between them, and visualise the way in which these systems work. Based on that, you can simulate different outcomes, plot results and balance your game economy.


If you are familiar with diagramming software like Visio or have used a mind mapping application, you have a decent understanding of Machinations.  Machinations is however one of those tools that is easier to understand when seen in action, so I would recommend watching the video below.

GameDev News Design


9. July 2019


Today we are taking a look at a free, cross-platform (Mac, Windows & Linux) texturing tool from Agisoft called De-Lighter.  The purpose is all in the name, it’s for removing the effects of lighting from a texture.  This is useful in removing specular highlights or shadows from a texture captured via photography or 3D scans via photogrammetry such as using Meshroom.

The workflow is simple enough, you enter a 3D object in a variety of 3D formats with the original texture applied.  You then mark the areas that are influenced by light and the areas that are shadowed and De-Lighter takes care of the rest.  This leaves you with a texture that is then light neutral for use in your own lighting set up, be it a 3D renderer or a real-time game engine.  Thanks to 80.lv for the heads up on this release.

De-Lighter is available for download, completely free and no registration required, right here.  Watch the video below to see De-Lighter in action.

GameDev News Art


11. June 2019


Kestrel Moon just made a change to the licensing of the runtimes powering their Creature 2D animation software.  These runtimes enable you to fully utilize animations authored in Creature in your game engine of choice.  Runtimes exist for the follow game engines and platforms:

The terms of licensing for the runtimes are now as follows:

The Creature Runtimes operate under 2 License types depending on whether you own a Licensed copy of Creature or not.

  • People who own a licensed copy of Creature: You use the standard Creature License included with the runtime code. TLDR: You are free to publish/modify/sell your product with the Creature runtimes without needing to state you are using the runtimes/put the copyright notice in your code/app. If you already have been using the Creature runtimes as a licensed owner of Creature, nothing changes :)

  • Everyone else: The runtimes are released under the very permissive Apache License :)

Both Licenses allow for private use and do not require any disclosure of your source code.

The previous licensing required developers to have a license to work with a runtime, making integrating Creature runtimes into various game engines and technology impossible if you didn’t already own a license.  This change should make it easier for example for a game programmer to work with the runtimes using art generated by an artist, not requiring an additional license in this scenario.

If you are interested in learning more about Creature, be sure to check out our hands-on video available here and embedded below.

GameDev News Art


23. May 2019


One common problem with game development is compression, it’s a classic trade-off.  Do you save disk space at the cost of either performance or VRAM usage or do you favor performance at the cost of size?  When it comes to GPU Image Textures, this is exactly the trade-off Binomial is trying to get rid off.  Thanks to a recent partnership with Google, their work is now available and open source!

Details from the Google open source blog:

Today, Google and Binomial are excited to announce that we have partnered to open source the Basis Universal texture codec to improve the performance of transmitting images on the web and within desktop and mobile applications, while maintaining GPU efficiency. This release fills an important gap in the graphics compression ecosystem and complements earlier work in Draco geometry compression.


The Basis Universal texture format is 6-8 times smaller than JPEG on the GPU, yet is a similar storage size as JPEG – making it a great alternative to current GPU compression methods that are inefficient and don’t operate cross platform – and provides a more performant alternative to JPEG/PNG. It creates compressed textures that work well in a variety of use cases - games, virtual & augmented reality, maps, photos, small-videos, and more!

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How does it all work? Compress your image using the encoder, choosing the quality settings that make sense for your project (you can also submit multiple images for small videos or optimization purposes, just know they’ll share the same color palette). Insert the transcoder code before rendering, which will turn the intermediary format into the GPU format your computer can read. The image stays compressed throughout this process, even on your GPU!  Instead of needing to decode and read the whole image, the GPU will read only the parts it needs. Enjoy the performance benefits!

The project is available now, open sourced under the Apache 2.0 license on GitHub.  This new technology should be a great boon to game engines and tools hoping to support texture compression across a number of devices, and I assume will make it’s way into more Google products as time goes on.

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