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10. August 2019


With the release of Blender 2.8, there is a ton of interest in using Blender 2.8 with Godot.  The process of importing/exporting has always been one of the biggest challenges for game developers and the newest version of Blender 2.8 is no exception.  We already created a step by step tutorial on creating, texturing and animating a model in Blender 2.79 and successfully import it to Blender.  This video is slightly different, in that we are going to be looking at the options available to export from Blender 2.8. 

There are three primary options available, each with their advantages and disadvantages:

  • COLLADA
  • glTF
  • FBX

In this video we look at the process with each format when using Blender 2.8.  For this example we use the model Laiku freely available on Sketchfab, that is non-trivial, fully textured and simply animated.  Please also note that FBX import to Blender requires Godot 3.2 which is as of writing in development still.  If you don’t want to build Godot yourself, you can get nightly builds here.

Art Design


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


25. July 2019


Released a few weeks back, SHADERed is a free and open source editing environment for developing shaders, both HLSL and GLSL.  SHADERed enables you to create shaders on the fly with a real-time view of the results.  Currently it is Windows only, but the code is currently being ported from D3D to OpenG+SDL so this could change in the future.


Features of SHADERed include:

  • instantly see changes
  • vertex, pixel and geometry shaders
  • render states
  • audio file support
  • load obj 3d model files
  • load your own textures into shaders
  • render results to render texture (or screen)
  • create and edit your own input variables
  • shader statistics
  • code editor with compilation and error reporting
  • custom themes and templates


SHADERed is available on Github here.  The code is available under the liberal MIT license.  Compiled binaries for Windows are available here.  Check the video below to see SHADERed in action.

Design Programming


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


28. May 2019

No-code or codeless systems are becoming more and more common among game engines and they offer a few benefits. Using a visual programming language enables non-programmers to interact with the code in a more tactile way, while the code itself tends to be a bit more self documenting then most scripting or programming languages. Make no mistake, you are still programming, you just aren’t typing in lines of code in a text editor, instead you script logic by defining events and properties or by connecting nodes together in a graph.

If you are interested in game engines with traditional scripting options, be sure to check out our guides to C/C++, C#, Haxe, Lua, JavaScript and Python game engines.

In this article we are going to look at the majority of codeless options among modern game engines, both 2D and 3D.

3D Game Engines

Armory 3D

Built on top of the Blender open source 3D application, this game engine has a node based option for game development, in addition to a Haxe based API.  Learn more here.

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BuildBox

BuildBox is a commercial game engine sold on a subscription basis that uses an entirely visual based node programming system.  Aimed at making games without requiring any programming knowledge.

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CryEngine

CryEngine is a AAA calibre game engine with a visual programming language named Schematyc.  It is designed to enable programmers to expose portions of their game logic to designers.  Writing a full game in Schematyc is not really the purpose.

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CopperCube 6

CopperCube 6 recently received a free version.  It is designed to work by attaching and configuring actions and behaviors to game objects.  You can expend the functionality in JavaScript, but creating a game entirely without coding is quite possible.

Learn more here.

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Godot

The Godot game engine has a Visual Scripting Language, with much of the same functionality of GDScript.  You can mix and match between the two scripting styles in the same game.  Honestly though, it’s not really that useful yet.

Learn more here.


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Unity

Unity doesn’t actually support Visual Scripting, although a Visual Scripting language is in the works for a 2019 release.  In the meanwhile there are several addons adding a Visual programming language such as Bolt.


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Unreal Engine

Unreal has perhaps the most robust visual programming language in the form of Blueprint, that can be used for everything C++ can, beyond changing the engine code itself.  It is also perhaps the most complicated visual programming language on this list.

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2D Game Engines

Clickteam Fusion 2.5

Perhaps most famous for making the 5 Nights series of games, this game engine use a tree/spreadsheet hybrid approach.

Learn more here.

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Construct 3

Construct 3 is a commercial, subscription based game engine that runs entirely in the browser.  Uses an event sheet programming model very similar to GDevelop and ClickTeam Fusion.

Learn more here.

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Stencyl

Stencyl is a game engine using a lego style brick approach to programming.  There is a free version available and the visual programming language ultimately generates Haxe code, which you can also code with.

Learn more here.

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Scratch

Scratch is an MIT project aimed at teach programming concepts to kids.  It, like Stencyl, uses a lego brick style programming interface.

Learn more here.

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GDevelop

GDevelop is a free and open source game engine that uses a programming model based on behaviors and events.

Learn more here.

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GameMaker Studio 2

YoYoGame’s GMS2 has been around for decades and is a complete game editing environment with two programming options.  A visual drag and drop programming system, and their own GM scripting language.

Learn more here.

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GameSalad

GameSalad is focused at students and non-programmers and is programmed using a behavior based logic system.  I have virtually no experience with this game engine.

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Pixel Game Maker MV

Pixel GameMaker MV is a complete commercial game making package from the same publisher as RPGMaker.  It uses a visual programming system and property based programming model.  It’s also pretty awful, IMHO.

Learn more here.


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Design Programming


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