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14. February 2016

 

Another preview release of Unreal 4.11 has been released, this one with some significant new animation functionality.

With the fifth Preview release of 4.11 now available to download from the launcher, developers can now check out the new animation updates including; marker based syning for animations and Anim Dynamics Skeletal Control for Animation Blueprints (a brand new self-contained and simple physics simulation node allowing for dynamic motion to be procedurally added to skeletal meshes without having to use a full physics solution),

Of course, this release also brings several bug fixes, including:

Fixed! UE-23373 [CrashReport] Crash occurs opening some animations - TSharedMapView<FName,FString>::Find()
Fixed! UE-26336 Crash importing a skeletal mesh while the same mesh is open in Persona
Fixed! UE-26230 Selecting a component on an instance crashes the editor.
Fixed! UE-26203 Crash Occurs When Using Move Component To and Overlap Event
Fixed! UE-26103 CLONE - Right clicking text fields causes window to shrink
Fixed! UE-26004 Crash when redoing a paste of a copied event node
Fixed! UE-25677 Unable to package code projects for HTML5 emcc link command line is very long
Fixed! UE-25571 Can't Launch On or Package code templates on iOS
Fixed! UE-25593 UnrealHeaderTool does not detect program plugins enabled by default
Fixed! UE-25332 Can't paste a hierarchy of UMG widgets into a Panel widget after deleting previous child
Fixed! UE-26466 PhysX libraries version mismatch
Fixed! UE-26547 Crash in editor while compiling in Event Graph (One off crash)
Fixed! UE-26432 Memory leak in instanced static mesh (e.g. foliage) lightmap building
Fixed! UE-25948 [CrashReport] UE4Editor_Engine!NewObject<UGameInstance>() [uobjectglobals.h:1130]
Fixed! UE-24553 Auto Convex Collision will cause crash when using significantly small meshes
Fixed! UE-25006 Merge bug fix for Vertex Colors in UI Materials into 4.11
Fixed! UE-24967 Integrate D3D12 update from MS
Fixed! UE-24038 Setting ComponentTick as a Hide Category in an Actor Component Blueprint corrupts the BP and causes a crash when opened after an editor restart
Fixed! UE-26134 Add missing GetNoAffinityMask
Fixed! UE-26129 OpenRead of a file in OBB but outside of a PAK starts with wrong seek location
Fixed! UE-26112 Widget Component blurry in when set to masked
Fixed! UE-26106 AddToPlayerScreen not respecting camera aspect ratio lock
Fixed! UE-26033 Blueprints: SPaletteItemVisibilityToggle crashing on a bogus weakobject pointer
Fixed! UE-26021 SOverlay will not call paint for a child slot if that slot's rectangle does not intersect the overlay's clipping rectangle
Fixed! UE-26005 Undoing and redoing the addition of an add component node creates an invisible node in the blueprint graph
Fixed! UE-25989 PhysX crash closing QAGame on Mac
Fixed! UE-25932 Making changes to a character's variables in the constructor is not updating correctly
Fixed! UE-25905 CouchKnights fireball fires twice
Fixed! UE-25850 Launch on Apple TV fails due to version mismatch
Fixed! UE-25688 Some ContentExamples maps have player start outside level boundary
Fixed! UE-24584 CRASH: User Defined Structs can have object references in a Map be set on the structure
Fixed! UE-25599 [CrashReport] Auto-Convex Collision Generation crashing with specific Mesh
Fixed! UE-25506 Vehicle Template's dashboard view camera on ground in VR
Fixed! UE-25550 The diff tool causes crashes
Fixed! UE-25507 Vehicle Advanced Template's dashboard view camera on ground in VR
Fixed! UE-25367 Camera position too low in ShowdownVRDemo Cinematic
Fixed! UE-25333 Mac project packaged in Shipping does not have a UE4 icon
Fixed! UE-25235 Collision volumes don't keep their color in cooked game
Fixed! UE-21503 Importing multiple SpeedTree assets that use the same texture will not assign correctly
Fixed! UE-26298 In 4.11.0-preview-3 FBox2D is not backward compatible
Fixed! UE-25411 Tappy Chicken does not display a numerical score on iOS
Fixed! UE-22118 Renaming component causes Engine/Transient save error
Fixed! UE-25848 Dbuffer Decals only render in one eye in stereoscopic with instanced stereo
Fixed! UE-26277 Infinite loop in SMultiLineEditableText::MoveCursor when using Ctrl+Up/Down
Fixed! UE-23921 Crash when setting a structure's variable to a custom enum named Color
Fixed! UE-25747 StrategyGame and Sun Temple levels render as black on the several Mobile devices

You can download the preview release using the Epic launcher.  Of course, there be dragons with these releases, so it’s for the brave or foolish only.

GameDev News


12. February 2016

 

SDKBOX started life as a tool that made integrating 3rd party SDKs such as Google Analytics or Google/Apple IAP into Cocos2d-x applications easy.  It was just recently spun out from under the Cocos2d-x project by parent company Chukong.  This move seems to be in advance of adding support for other engines, namely Unreal and Unity.  Right now however the implementation for both engines is minimal, limited to just the In-App Purchases module.  I assume in time more plugins will be brought over to the other engines.

 

From the above linked article:

Asked why the company did this, Zhao said in an email, “By being a standalone company we can cover a much broader (fully half) portion of the market. SDK fatigue is an efficiency drain for all mobile developers, regardless of the engine they are using. By defining the problem we are working on, rather than the engine we are working with, we can serve game developers impartially.”

SDKBOX has also begun supporting rival game engines from Unity Technologies and Epic Games with its 2.0 update. And earlier this month, the SDKBOX in-app purchase controller was approved for sale and listed in the Unity Asset Store.

Haozhi Chen, CEO of Chukong Technologies, said in a statement, “Spinning off SDKBOX was the next logical step for scaling the business within the games industry. This move provides more autonomy for SDKBOX to support additional engines and grow market share in the live operations technology market for games. Additionally, the new company will have dedicated financial and strategic support from Chukong, and we’re looking forward to the future growth of this sector for our overall business.”

GameDev News


10. February 2016

 

Intel RealSense is a technology and SDK for computer vision including motion controls, facial recognition and more.  There are several cameras and laptops on the market these days that are compatible with RealSense.  Very similar in scope and function to Kinect for the Xbox and Xbox One.

Well, earlier this week a plugin was released for Unreal Engine enabling RealSense support.  From the announcement:

Intel is always excited to introduce innovative tools and technologies that empower the world's most passionate content creators. In case you're unfamiliar, the Intel RealSense cameras use infrared light to compute depth in addition to normal RGB pictures and video. To assist in the development of applications with this technology, Intel created the RealSense SDK, a library of computer vision algorithms including facial recognition, image segmentation, and 3D scanning. 

Short-Range, User-Facing RealSense Camera Developer Kit

Seeing the potential use cases for this technology in gaming, we would now like to introduce you to the RealSense Plugin, a collaborative effort among games engineers at Intel to expose the features of the RealSense SDK to the Blueprints Visual Scripting System in UE4.

Check out the plugin source code and a sample project here.

PLUGIN OVERVIEW

The plugin is architected as a set of Actor Components, each of which encapsulates a distinct set of features from the RealSense SDK. Using these relatively lightweight components, you can add 3D sensing capabilities to nearly any actor in your game, and you can access this data anywhere by simply instantiating another instance of the same component.

Figure 2: ace scanning and mapping in Unreal Tournament using the Scan 3D Component

PLUGIN COMPONENTS

Currently, the plugin features these three RealSense Components:

  1. Camera Streams Component: Provides access to the raw color and depth video streams from the RealSense camera.
  2. Scan 3D Component: Supports the scanning of real-world objects and human faces (Pictured above).
  3. Head Tracking Component (Preview): Supports the detection and tracking of a user’s head position and orientation.

The downside to head tracking controls is the user ultimately still has to look at the screen!  So while it would be awesome to have the computer track your head movements in say... a car racing sim, you still need to keep your head looking straight ahead.  Well except of course in VR, where this entire process is done in the hardware.  Have any of you encountered actual cool usage of RealSense in a game?

GameDev News


5. February 2016

 

I have to say this one is pretty cool and possibly not what you think.  The Unreal Engine is getting VR support.  That’s not as in support for VR platforms, it already has that.  No, Unreal Editor is soon going to have support for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift enabling you to edit and create your game in VR, taking full use of both platforms motion controllers.  This is a while out however as they aren’t even announcing a release date until March 16th at the GDC.

From the Unreal blog:

The Unreal Editor is up and running in VR, so you can build VR content in VR. Using the Oculus Touch and HTC Vive motion controllers, your movement in the real world is mapped one-to-one in VR; you can reach out, grab, and manipulate objects just as you would in real life. You already know how to use this tool, because it works like the world works.

These are the early days of the revolution in immersive VR content creation, but we’re so excited about what’s up and running that we couldn’t keep it a secret anymore!  VR movement and editing controls are functional, along with key parts of the Unreal Editor UI, including the Details Panel and the Content Browser.  We’ll be showing more and announcing the release date at GDC on Wednesday March 16, 2016.  And when it’s released, it will be a built-in feature of the freely-downloadable Unreal Engine, with full source on GitHub

Best of all, this isn’t a limited mode for VR preview and tweaking.  It is the Unreal Editor, now running in VR. The same Unreal Editor that’s used by everyone ranging from indies and mod makers to triple-A development teams with $100,000,000 budgets. And it runs in VR!

A BOX OF TOYS

You start out in the VR editor at a human scale, and can directly manipulate objects by moving around in a room-scale VR setting.  But you can also use a smartphone-like pinching motion to zoom in and out. With one pinch, the world is shrunk to the size of a Barbie Doll house on your table. You can manipulate it granularly and ergonomically, and then zoom back to human scale.

Besides directly manipulating objects, you also have a laser pointer. Point at a far-away object and you can move it around, or “reel it in” like a fishing rod. Or teleport to the laser pointer’s target location with a single button click, inspired by Bullet Train’s locomotion.

THE VR USER INTERFACE: IPAD MEETS MINORITY REPORT

As a pro tool, the Unreal Editor features a rich 2D user interface, and it’s being rolled out naturally in VR: One button-press places an iPad-like tablet in your hand, and you use the other hand to interact with the tablet.  Scroll, press buttons, tweak Object Details, interact with menus, drag objects out of the Content Browser and drop them directly in the world.

It’s an intuitive way to place a 2D user interface in a VR world that builds on everyone’s Unreal Editor experience, and the underlying Slate user-interface framework provides a great foundation we’ll build on as we work to roll out the entire Unreal Editor UI in VR.

Content Browser

PRODUCTIVITY

As game developers, we at Epic pride ourselves in creating high-productivity tools optimized for shipping products, and VR editing provides a great path forward.

With a mouse, several operations are often required to transform an object along multiple axes in 3D.  In VR, you can frequently accomplish the same result with a single, intuitive motion.  This should come as no surprise, as a mouse only tracks two degrees of movement (X and Y), but in VR your head and two hands track six degrees of freedom each: X, Y, Z, and three rotational axes. That’s 9 times the high-fidelity input bandwidth!

 

More details are available here.  It’s interesting to see if this is useful or just a gimmick.  Obviously working on a VR game in full VR certainly has it’s advantages.  At the end of the day though, few control schemes actually usurp the mighty mouse and keyboard.  Add to that fact, at least with my Gear VR, its tiring both physically and on the eyes after a couple hours.  I cant imagine doing the 9-5 routine with one of these devices strapped to your head.  Time will tell I suppose.

GameDev News


29. January 2016

 

Continuing in their weekly release schedule, a new preview release is available for Unreal 4.11.  As always, these preview releases are very much in development and should be used only by the brave of heart of weak of mind! ;)

In this release we get:

Fixed! UE-25870 Crash opening level blueprint
Fixed! UE-25927 Crash upon selecting the character in the First Person templates
Fixed! UE-24480 Hiding root actor does not hide ChildActor
Fixed! UE-25604 Pressing compile on the Vehicle Blueprint in vehicle advanced and Vehicle Templates Cause the Editor to crash
Fixed! UE-25593 UnrealHeaderTool does not detect program plugins enabled by default
Fixed! UE-25266 HTML5 packaging code project fails could not verify LLVM version
Fixed! UE-25069 [CrashReport] Editor crashes if pointlight is added to level on El Capitan
Fixed! UE-25553 Cinematic camera broken in Infiltrator
Fixed! UE-24815 Crash upon undoing actor selection on a static mesh when paint mode is enabled
Fixed! UE-25713 Crash when adjust sound spatialization through blueprint
Fixed! UE-25123 Mac Editor Freezes after connecting and disconnecting a mobile device
Fixed! UE-24730 Crash loading QA-Promotion FDeferredShadingSceneRenderer
Fixed! UE-25233 Unable to add Chrome as a platform in the HTML5 SDK option. This prevents launching a project in Chrome.
Fixed! UE-24757 Editor crashes when exiting and having a widget blueprint open.
Fixed! UE-25272 IHeadMountedDisplay Crash
Fixed! UE-25774 Editor Crashes When Attempting to Constrain a Component to Itself
Fixed! UE-25011 Crash when selecting a revision with the Blueprint Diff Tool
Fixed! UE-24650 Materials using separate translucency stop rendering if r.SeparateTranslucency is 0
Fixed! UE-24411 Unable to push to SteamVR while Oculus service is running
Fixed! UE-24712 Cannot select a Point Light or Sky Light by clicking on the sprite in the viewport on Mac
Fixed! UE-24300 Crash changing a setting in the Details panel with multiple components selected
Fixed! UE-25753 Slate Renderer Crashing on Shutdown
Fixed! UE-25752 Widget Component crashes on destruction
Fixed! UE-25625 Failing to compile will cause blueprint variables to reset to their default values
Fixed! UE-25605 ContentExamples' Math Hall map opens with Blueprint compiler warnings
Fixed! UE-25573 ContenExamples' LevelScripting map opens with Blueprint warnings
Fixed! UE-25323 Opening a project that contains an actor in viewport with a child actor component of type TextRenderActor crashes the editor
Fixed! UE-25146 Crash occurs texture painting on Mac with Metal
Fixed! UE-25129 Crash occurred painting on landscape sublevels with Retopologize tool
Fixed! UE-25118 Retopologize tool does not line up with cursor
Fixed! UE-25065 [CrashReport] UE4Editor_Persona!FPersonaMeshDetails::IsSectionSelected() [personameshdetails.cpp:1179]
Fixed! UE-24967 Integrate D3D12 update from MS
Fixed! UE-25788 Plugin Warden Fixes
Fixed! UE-25665 FastDecimalFormat doesn't handle overflow when rounding correctly
Fixed! UE-25633 ContentExamples' NetworkFeatures map opens with Blueprint warnings
Fixed! UE-25520 The new BP gather method is ignoring non-root level BPs
Fixed! UE-25507 Vehicle Advanced Template's dashboard view camera on ground in VR
Fixed! UE-25377 Spinning logo in Blueprint_Communication map is the incorrect size
Fixed! UE-25093 Landscape tool switches to Manage New Landscape when hiding a level with landscape mode open.
Fixed! UE-22632 Building the Engine using Visual Studio 2015 can fail if Windows Driver Kit is installed.
Fixed! UE-25680 Right stick is shown but not used in Flying template
Fixed! UE-25675 Player can leave the map in Rolling Template
Fixed! UE-25676 Player can get stuck under bridge in Rolling Template
Fixed! UE-24737 Console Command autocomplete displaying in wrong area
Fixed! UE-25805 Map load errors for RoomNight in RealisticRendering
Fixed! UE-25477 BlueprintOffice has missing NodeGUID warnings on open
Fixed! UE-25529 ContenExamples' BlueprintSplines map opens with blueprint warnings
Fixed! UE-25866 A bug in UBTService_BlueprintBase makes it impossible to create "deactivation-only" BP implemented BT services
Fixed! UE-25739 Crash closing Binary editor with Oculus Audio Plugin enabled
Fixed! UE-24237 Audio not playing at Start Time set by Play node on PC
Fixed! UE-25851 Typo in SkinRendering 1.1 content example
Fixed! UE-24528 Listener Focus Priority Scale doesn't work with Sound Concurrency
Fixed! UE-25682 Broken animation is created if the user records from gameplay but exits PIE before stopping
Fixed! UE-25891 Slate standalone renderer font cache is 1 frame behind
Fixed! UE-25889 Shaped text doesn't handle some characters correctly
Fixed! UE-25013 Editing right-to-left text is very unstable
Fixed! UE-25693 Some maps in ContentExamples have inconsistant Player Start node positions
Fixed! UE-25611 Disable writing NoOBBInstall batch file
Fixed! UE-25886 Content Examples Blueprint_Communication example 3.1 flickers upon looping
Fixed! UE-24006 Game does not launch from UFE using cook on the fly
Fixed! UE-22731 Crash undoing the redo of deleting a bp instance with edits after modifying class
Fixed! UE-25582 Crash moving message log window while messages being pumped to it
Fixed! UE-24872 Camera translates up when clicking in the viewport after working in subeditors
Fixed! UE-25876 Content Examples player has wide slider selection area
Fixed! UE-25947 Portal IPC doesn't filter message scope to just the active users OS account
Fixed! UE-25759 Decals do not render on some Android devices
Fixed! UE-25791 TVOS templates failing to build on EC
Fixed! UE-25521 Editor font doesn't render Arabic glyphs
Fixed! UE-25644 First Person BP and Code gun has odd rotation
Fixed! UE-22270 Interface functions inherited after a duplicated actor blueprint is reparented to the blueprint it was duplicated from cannot be deleted.
Fixed! UE-25961 Untested GameplayDebuggerPlugin enabled in QAGame
Fixed! UE-25575 Long Google Play App ID can cause an invalid error
Fixed! UE-25710 ContentExamples' BlueprintsOverview map opens with Blueprint warnings
Fixed! UE-25704 BlueprintMouseInteraction interactive box moves upon PIE or Launch On
Fixed! UE-22471 Crash when attempting to PIE after undoing deletion of a component
Fixed! UE-25718 Top Down pointer decal is partially missing when on walls
Fixed! UE-25853 Vehicle Advanced BP template has inconsistent lighting
Fixed! UE-25841 Top Down decal and shadow do not affect the template text
Fixed! UE-25786 MatineeFightScene has warnings and errors effecting performance
Fixed! UE-25763 Matinee ContentExamples map has misaligned sequences
Fixed! UE-25679 ExampleProjectWelcome map has inconsistent icon use
Fixed! UE-25699 BlueprintInputExamples map giving PIE errors when playing pixel ship
Fixed! UE-25835 "Auditorium" reverb effect no longer plays in Audio map example 1.9 in Content Examples
Fixed! UE-25878 Content Examples buttons are green when display is not active
Fixed! UE-22705 Inconsistent values from input Y-axis on motion controllers
Fixed! UE-24187 Editor hangs after selecting submit to source control from drop-down
Fixed! UE-25479 Unable to package a BP project for Linux missing UE4Game binary
Fixed! UE-25815 Error loading the editor with Oculus Audio Plugin enabled
Fixed! UE-25351 Setting the Falloff Distance of a Sound Wave/Cue to 0.0 will no longer Play Sound

 

As always the new preview release of Unreal can be downloaded using the Epic Game Launcher.

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