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5. October 2018


During my recent MagicaVoxel video I mentioned that this application deserves a place on my “Top 10 free game development tools” list.  Then I realized I’d never created such a list, so now I have!  This is a collection of 10 free (as in money, not freedom, although many are open source as well) tools that all game developers should download, especially if money is tight!  This list is applications only, so does not include game engines, frameworks or libraries.  Beyond the top 10, there are a few honourable mentions that just missed the list.  Let me know in the comments below if you have an additional suggestion or disagree with my choices!

10. Inkscape

9. git

8. DragonBones

7. Krita

6. Tiled

5. Paint.NET

4. MagicaVoxel

3. Audacity

2. Visual Studio Code

1. Blender


Honourable Mentions

GIMP

TexturePacker

Sculptris

Aseprite

Gravit Designer


The Video

Art General Design Programming


7. August 2018


With CopperCube 6 recently being made available in a free form, we decided to do a complete tutorial series over on devga.me that should get users up and running creating complete 3D games using CopperCube in well under an hour.

The series consist of:

Getting Started

Creating a Terrain

Creating a Camera

Programming Your Game

Collisions and Physics

Extending CopperCube

Scenes and Rooms

Importing Your Own Assets

Additionally there is a video tutorial covering all of the above topics available here and embedded below.

Programming Design Art


28. June 2018


Lately we’ve featured a couple RPG Maker style game engines targeted at creating JRPG style games, including RPG In a Box and Smile Game Builder.  Today we are looking at RPG Playground, the work of a single developer.  RPG Playground is built using the Haxe programming language and the Kha framework, another topic we’ve covered recently.


Right now RPG Playground isn’t incredibly full featured, it’s got world building tools, a nice collection of tiles and animated sprites to work with and a basic game scripting system.  In time the developer intends to add the ability for artists to add their own content while giving programmers the ability to extend the engine and create a game with no need for an artist.  Here is the developers ultimate master plan for the project from the Road Map:

  1. Build a tool that allows anyone to make their own Role Playing Games, and easily let others play their game.
  2. Make sure artists can make an RPG using their own graphics, without the need of a programmer.
  3. Make sure programmers can make a game without the need of an artist.
  4. Programmers will extend the engine, so any game type can be build at this time: platformers, 3D, … .


If such a project sounds interesting, be sure to check out our hands-on video with RPG Playground.

General Design


26. June 2018


We’ve been running a series called Five Great Game Development Websites for some time now, currently up to Volume 6.  This post is intended to bring those 30+ site recommendations together in one place!  The top most link is a link to the video itself, followed by the 5 recommended sites in that video.


Volume 1:

Volume 2:

Volume 3:

Volume 4:

Volume 5:

Volume 6:


Series YouTube playlist available here.

Art Design General Programming


3. May 2018


Unity 2018.1 was just released and one of the major new features is Shader Graph, a new visual programming language for creating shaders.  In this article we are going to look at how to enable and use Shader Graph.  There is also a video of this tutorial available here or embedded below.


First off, to get started using Shader Graph, be sure to be using Unity 2018.1 or later. 

Next, start Unity and create a new project.  I used the following settings:

image

Shader Graph is fully compatible with the new light weight render pipeline.  For the record, Shader Graph does NOT work with the current HD pipeline, this feature is under development. There is no need to add any new packages… yet.  Once ready, click Create Project.  Once your project is loaded, go ahead and create a new scene.

image


We need some kind of object to apply our shader to, simply right click the newly created scene in the Hierarchy view, select Create->Sphere.

image


Now we need to enable Shader Graph functionality in Unity.  Click Window, then select Package Manager.

image


In the resulting window, select All, then Shadergraph, then Install.  This will take a few seconds.

image


Now that Shadergraph is enabled, let’s create one.  In the Project panel, I created a new folder called Shaders.  Right click the newly created folder and select Create->Shader->PBR Graph.

image


I called mine MyShader, name yours whatever you want.  Except Dilbert; that’s a stupid name for a shader!

image


One more small bit of setup before we start creating shaders!  We need to create a material that we will attach our shader to and ultimately apply to our sphere mesh.  Right click the Materials folder and select Create->Material.

image


I called mine MyMaterial, again, name yours whatever you want… even Dilbert.  Make sure your shader is selected and showing in Inspector, then simply drag and drop your newly created shader on it.

ApplyingShader


Finally drag your material to the Sphere you created earlier.  Phew… ok, time to create our shader.  Simply double click the shader and the Shader Graph editor will be create.  A new project should look something like this:

image

You can zoom the design surface in and out using the mouse wheel, hold down the middle mouse button to pan the surface around.


The PBR Master can be thought of as the ultimate output of the shader.  You have a choice between Metallic and Specular by dropping down the workflow tab.  The blackboard is the section to the top left and can be used to configure parameters as we will see in a moment.  The bottom right region is a preview of the shader, this window can be resized.


Create a shader is now a matter of creating a network of nodes and connecting them together.  Let’s show a simple example of connecting a texture map to the Albedo channel.  Right click an empty point on the canvas, select Create Node->Input->Texture 2D Asset.

CreatingATextureNode


Now click on the red circle to the right of out and drag to an empty portion on the canvas.  Select Input->Sample Texture 2D, then connect the RGBA out pin to the Albedo in pin on the PBR node, like so:

ConnectingTheTexture


At this point, we have the equivalent of a diffuse texture defined in our shader, now head back to the Texture 2D Asset, click the little circle to the right of the texture field and select a texture to apply.  Pick a compatible texture from your project. 

image


You shader preview should now show the updated texture:

image


Now what if you wanted the texture to be defined as a parameter in the editor instead?  This is where the Blackboard comes in.  In the Blackboard, click the + icon to the right side, then select Texture.

image


Name it however you want, I called it SourceTexture in my case.  Also optionally provide a default texture value using the example same process we just did above.

image


Now let’s replace our hard coded texture with a parameter instead.  You can remove a node by left clicking it and hitting the delete key.

ConfigureAProperty


Now this parameter can be defined in the editor.  Select the Sphere we created then applied our material too in the Hierarchy view.  In the Inspector under the Material, you will now see a new parameter matching the name you just provided:

image


You can also easily see the source code generated by a shader by right clicking the output node and selecting Copy Shader.

image


The HLSL code of the shader will have just been copied to your clipboard.


So, that’s the basics of using Shader Graph.  Now it’s mostly a matter of creating the appropriate input nodes, modifying them and connecting them to the appropriate in pins on the PBR Master output node.  Getting into the details of how this works is beyond the scope of this tutorials, shader programming is a VAST subject and could fill many books.  I’m not going to just leave you hanging though…  now that you know how to enable and use the tools to create Shader Graphs it would be an ideal time to get your hands on some samples and dig deeper.  Thankfully Unity have provided exactly that, available for download here on Github.


The Video

Art Design


See More Tutorials on DevGa.me!

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