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1. November 2012

 

You can go ahead and download it right here.  Rather impressively, I am getting 2mb download speeds, so their servers haven’t melted down like on previous releases.

 

It doesn’t yet appear to be available for MacOS X.  The beta also doesn’t include the ability to trial pro for 30 days.

 

You can read the release notes right here.

 

 

Key features of the beta:

 

  • humanoid animation system, reuse same animations on different sized characters,  map bones of models to human muscles with a single click.  Animation editing directly in Unity
  • DirectX11 rendering
  • Geometry and hull shaders added
  • Linux publishing
  • Normal maps and custom shader support for terrain
  • Shadows on mobile devices
  • 3D volume texture support
  • Dynamic font rendering that looks the same on all platforms
  • New project browser
  • GUI system re-written
  • New cursor api, supporting hardware cursors on certain platforms
  • New licensing options and abilities
  • Many other improvements, changes and fixes ( and most likely, bugs Smile )

News


27. October 2012

 

 

It's odd how news arrives sometimes, it always seems to arrive in batches and today's post is no exception.  Earlier this week I read about a recently launched 3D modeller that works within Unity3D.  That piqued my interest for a few minutes, then something shiny came along and I forgot about it completely.  Then a day later a different product was announced that also enables 3D asset creation within Unity.

If you've not heard of it, Unity is a massively popular game creation suite, that enables developers to create games for PC, Mac, iOS, Android and more.  Prices range from free to around the 1,500$ mark.  The biggest catch has always been the content creation side, take a look at our 3D application list for an idea of the typical price tag attached to these application.  Up until now, Blender and Cheetah3D on the Mac where you only options if you didn't have several thousand dollars to spend.  Then you have to contend with the annoyances of getting your asset from the application and in to Unity, not always a seamless process.  Therefore, a low cost/no cost editor that works within Unity is certainly welcome.  And today, we get two of them!


GameDraw


The first is GameDraw, which is available in Unity or as a stand alone application on Mac, Windows, Linux and iPad.  It currently has a 45$ price-tag, which is about 1% of the cost of 3D Studio Max if you want to put that in perspective.

GameDraw features include:

Polygonal Modeling, Sculpting, Generation and Optimization Tools
UV Editor
City Generator
Runtime API
Character Customizer
Mesh Editing ( Vertex, Edge, Triangle, Element)
Mesh manipulation functions (Extrude, Weld, Subdivide, Delete, Smooth,…etc)
Assigning new Materials
Mesh Optimization
UV editing
Primitives (25 basic model)
Sculpting
Boolean operations
Node based mesh generation
2D tools (Geometry painting, 2D to 3D image tracing)
Character customizer
City Generator
Warehouse “hundreds of free assets”




 

Shade for Unity

Shade is the other contender entering the ring.  This is a bit odd for me, as I have been a hobbyist in the 3D industry since the early DOS days when I purchased 3D Studio ( note, no MAX ) 4.  I spent my childhood dreaming of owning an SGI Indy with PowerAnimator.  I have followed the industry forever, used just about every 3D application out there, from the big guys like Max and Maya to the fringe like Nichimen nWorlds and Houdini.  In all of that timeNewImage however, I don't think I have ever even heard of Shade, which amazingly has been around since 1986 and is currently at version 12!  

I downloaded the 30 day trial  and I am rather impressed with this package, which I will be looking in to in a bit more depth later.  I noticed along the way, while search for help on how to do certain tasks in Shade, nobody else has heard of it either!  There just isn't a ton of information out there.  How the heck can a package get to version 12 and nobodies heard of it?  Easily… it's big in Japan.  Ah.

So then, why the hell am I babbling on about Shade?  Well, this announcement recently crossed my desk:

Publisher Mirye Software and developer E Frontier announce the free 3D game content development system for indie developers and professionals will soon be available for developers on Mac OS X.

Shade 3D for Unity is based on the professional 3D modeling, animation and rendering tool set Shade, a product available for over 27 years and used worldwide by illustrators and designers. Shade 3D for Unity enables designers and game developers to build animated project content that integrates with Unity 3D, the game development system for Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, and Android.

Workflow integration makes it is easy to share project assets (Configuration Files) of Unity in Shade 3D for Unity and easily transfer content between them.

Snip…

Shade 3D for Unity includes an advanced tool set for creation of original 3D content:

* Import/Export integration with Unity 3D
* Advanced 3D Modeling Environment
* Polygon Mesh Editor
* UV Editor and Image Management
* Design friendly Bezier Spline Modeler
* Powerful Object Instancing Features
* 3D Object Hierarchy Browser
* Material Setting Features
* Material Parameter with Texture Map Settings
* Animation Setting Feature
* Draft Ray Tracing Renderer

Interesting…

Perhaps most interesting of all is the price tag.  Free.  I like free.

That said, the last free product 3D product I tried out was Daz3D and I am still getting half a dozen spam emails a week from them ( serious Daz, quit it, or make your freaking unsubscribe functionality work! ), so free isn't always free.  Mirye certainly intends to make money somehow, just not sure of exactly how as of yet.  My guess is they are following Daz's model of selling content, or perhaps it's an attempt to upwell you to Shade Professional.

Shade for Unity isn't actually out yet, don't expect it until November.  You can read more details on their site.  They also currently have a utility for using Shade with Unity on the Unity Store called the Shade Unity Loader.  

 

 

Now if you will forgive me, I'm off to play with my new toy.  It's always cool to find another professional caliber 3D application, especially one with a price tag starting at 99$!  I will post a bit more detail on my experiences with Shade 12 trial shortly.

Art News


29. August 2012

 

As the title says, I have inserted a new book into the Unity book list, 3D Games Monetization with Unity and Leadbolt. I do however use the word book in the loosest terms possible, as it is in electronic format only and it weighs in at a mere 37 pages.

 

That said, it also weights in at a mere 3$, so there is that…

 

I will admit, before discovering this book, I had never heard of Leadbolt. they are a mobile ad provider in the vein of adMob, but with a world more options than simple banners.

 

 

Ads can be added at the application entry point, while running and at the exit point.

 

I personally HATE ads in mobile games, and gladly pay a premium for an ad free version ( which sadly most developers do not embrace, at least not on Android ), but perhaps ads in a different format will make a difference.

 

Anyways, if you are a Unity developer and are interested in monetization, you have a new book to check out.

 

It is my intention to keep the list as comprehensive as possible, so if I have missed a title or you are the author of an upcoming title, please let me know.

General


12. August 2012

 

This post over on the gamedev forums at reddit caught my eye.  User @Mattrix has released a framework for creating 2D games using Unity with code only.  This effectively turns Unity in to a runtime only; it makes almost zero use of the tools provide with Unity and in many cases completely re-invents things Unity already does, such as texture packing.

 

At first glace you may be thinking “Why?  Isn’t that remarkably stupid?”

 

Well, not really.  To a certain degree, you are already cludging Unity a bit when you are working in 2D as it is, it certainly is designed as a 3D toolset.  Consider this though, if you want to create a game for Android and/or iOS and you want to use C#, what are your options?  Well, basically that leaves MonoGame or Unity.  MonoGame is certainly a good choice, but there is a major downside…

 

A 400$ price tag.  You see, in the end you either need monotouch or mono for android, which are 400$ a piece. ( God I wish Xamarin would reconsider their pricing! )

 

Or you can go with Unity, which is a licensed version of mono, with a complete game library built overtop and the exact same price tag.  Even better, just a few months back Unity made both Android and iOS versions completely free ( I know I got my licenses then ).  So, if you want to take a code heavy approach and avoid the higher level tools, but prefer to work in C#, Futile is certainly worth checking out.

 

He has included full source for a sample game, that you can see in the following video:

 

He has also provided a 10 minute as well as an hour long video tutorial on getting started.

 

 

I might play with this if I get a bit of time.  If you are interested in checking it out, this is the website and the source code is available on github.

 

Regardless to it’s final usefulness, it’s an interesting idea and it’s cool that he shared it.

News Programming


8. August 2012

I just finished publishing the GameFromScratch 3D Engine round-up.  This is a guide to the top game engines in use by game developers today, that are available to be licensed. There are a total of 20 engines on the list, and for each one it includes the platforms it runs on, the platforms it can target, the price, sample games, the books available if any, key websites ( generally the forum and wiki or documentation pages if available ), programming language supported and example games published with the engine.

 

I have a similar round-up in the works for 2D game engines, which I hope to publish shortly.  Additionally, I have already published a similar document for HTML5 game engines.  I made the horrific mistake of authoring the guide in Word ( what was I thinking!??! ), and as a result the fonts are a little wonky in Chrome.  Hopefully I can find and kill this annoying trait.

 

If I made any mistakes, or I missed a key engine, please let me know.  Hopefully you find the 3D engine round-up useful!

News Programming Design


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