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12. December 2018


Fresh on the heels of releasing their new online store leverage the technologies they developed creating Fortnite, Epic Games have announced plans for a cross-platform online multiplayer game service, that is game engine agnostic and completely free for developers!  Rolling out in stages, it will start life as a C SDK, with Unreal and Unity (yes, that Unity) game engine implementations starting with cloud saves and online storage and adding new features such as logins, achievements, friends lists, voice communications and more as time goes on.

Details of the roll out strategy from the Unreal blog:

The service launch will begin with a C SDK encapsulating our online services, together with Unreal Engine and Unity integrations. We’ll start with a core set of features and expand over time. Specifically:

  • Cross-Platform Login, Friends, Presence, Profile, and Entitlements (coming Q2-Q3 2019 to PC, other platforms throughout 2019): Provides the core functionality for persistently recognizing players across multiple sessions and devices; identifying friends; and managing free and paid item entitlements. This will support all 7 major platforms (PC, Mac, iOS, Android, PlayStation, Xbox, Switch) to the full extent each platform allows per-title.
  • PC/Mac Overlay API (coming Q3 2019): Provides a user interface for login, friends, and other features in a game-agnostic, engine-agnostic way.
  • Cross-Platform Voice Comms (coming Q3 2019 to all platforms): Epic is building a new in-game voice communications service supporting all platforms, all stores, and all engines, which will be available for free. (For developers needing an immediately-available voice solution, check out Discord, Vivox, TeamSpeak, Ventrilo, and Mumble.)
  • Cross-Platform Parties and Matchmaking (coming Q3-4 2019 to all platforms)
  • Cross-Platform Data Storage, Cloud-Saved Games (coming Q2 2019)
  • Cross-Platform Achievements and Trophies (coming Q3 2019)


The services described above are just our first steps. As you can see from our game and engine efforts, we’re also working on further support for user-generated content, enhanced social features, anti-cheat, and more.


Simply put, there has to be a catch here, but I cannot determine exactly what it is.  This could potentially be a massive opportunity for game developers looking to support multiplayer in their game and a huge shot across the bow for technology providers that make their living providing such services now for a fee!

GameDev News


12. December 2018


There is a new Humble Bundle that could be of interest to developers looking for audio and video editing software.  The center piece of the bundle is certainly MAGIX VEGAS Pro 15, a high end video editing package.  While this is one release behind the most current version, it also entitles you to improved upgrade pricing to the most current version should you desire.  VEGAS is not the only item in this bundle however, there is also an audio editor called AUDIO STUDIO, as well as an easier to learn (but compatible with VEGAS) video editor called Movie Studio 15.  Rounding out the bundle are Fastcut, Vegas DVD Architect and HitFilm Movie Essentials.

If you are interested in seeing what you get with this bundle be sure to check the following video that goes hands-on with main software in this bundle and helps you determine if this bundle is right for you.  If you are looking to get into video editing, this is an excellent opportunity while also supporting this channel and charity at the same time.

A bit of a warning during each installation, you will have the option to install other programs during installation such as MAGIX Connect and Music Maker.  Neither are required and both would be considered bloatware by most.  Additionally a valid registered email with Magix is also a requirement to activate your applications.  Additionally you can get a 30 day trial of almost every application in this bundle here.

GameDev News


10. December 2018


The book Game Engine Black Book Doom was just released by Fabien Sanglard just in time for the 25th anniversary of the release of Doom.  The book, with forwards by John Carmack and Dave Taylor, is an in-depth look at the details and techniques that went in to creating the classic game Doom.  In addition to dissecting the code in the idTech game engine, the book looks at the hardware and software of the day as well as a details of porting to a variety of different consoles.

Details from the author’s homepage:

From November 2017 to November 2018, it took one year to complete. Both John Carmack and Dave Taylor kindly wrote forewords. The result is 427 pages, full color, to describe in great detail the PCs of the era (Intel 80486, VESA Local BUS, Dos Extenders, Watcom Compiler, ...), the NeXT hardware (and especially the NeXTStation TurboColor), the engine, and the console ports to the Jaguar, Sega 32X, Super Nintendo, Sony Playstation, 3DO, and Sega Saturn.


I wish the paper version could have been priced lower. A black and white version would have been cheaper ($39.00) but given the many screenshots and drawings, readability would have suffered. I tried to look around but all printers gave me roughly the same price for a 400+ pages full color book. If anybody has an idea to lower the price I will listen carefully.


The book is available in print form on Amazon, as well as on Google in DRM free e-book form.

GameDev News Programming


8. December 2018


The open source Duality game engine just received a 3.0 release.  The duality engine, that we featured previously in the Closer Look series is a complete 2D game engine built on top of a C# framework that also includes a comprehensive game editor, a modern component based design, as well as good documentation and a decent sized community.  The only real flaw I can think of is that it is currently Windows only, so that limits the audience to a certain degree.  The 3.0 release is loaded with features, the largest of which is due to the complete rewrite of the rendering pipeline and underlying design, which resulted in a more modern shader based approach and up to a doubling of per frame performance.

Highlights

Rewrote the entire rendering pipeline, allowing massive improvements in efficiency, ease of use and feature coverage while at the same time shifting towards more modern, shader-focused rendering techniques.

  • RenderSetup resources allow replacing how Duality renders a frame, providing a simple entry point for pre- or post processing steps, as well as completely customized rendering behavior.
  • Self-contained scenes allow using Scene resources as isolated simulation spaces independently of the active main scene.
  • Focus on performance and a more data-oriented design of both rendering and update cycles. A worst-case rendering benchmark comparing v2 and v3 performance went down from 13 ms to 6 ms per frame, as well as 2000+ (gen0 to gen2) GC collections per minute to about 5 (gen0) collections.
  • Refactored core API, replacing many “first iteration” designs with more streamlined ones. The most prominent example might be the deprecation of manual context checks in ICmpInitializable in favor of a simple OnActivate / OnDeactivate method pair, but many similar improvements were done as well.


Be sure to check out the full change log, as the above summary only scratches the surface of what’s new in this release.  As mentioned earlier, the Duality game engine is open source and available on Github.  If you want to see a quick hands-on introduction to Duality, be sure to watch the video embedded below.

GameDev News


7. December 2018


The Epic Game Store, first announced a few days back is now live and additional information is available for those interesting in publishing their game on Epic’s new store.  Beyond the incredibly generous 88/12% revenue split, there are a number of advantages to the new store such as an affiliate program, completely customizable store pages and of course… Fortnite.  As an additional draw to the store, Epic are offering a free game every two weeks, with the first free offering being Subnautica on Dec 14th, then Super Meat Boy (oddly no link) two weeks later.


Additional details on how the store functions are available in their about page:

Why is Epic Games opening a store?

As a developer ourselves, we have always wanted a store with fair economics that connects us directly with our players. Thanks to the success of Fortnite, we are now able to share our capabilities with other developers and make that store a reality.

What’s the catch? Is this 88% revenue share a special introductory rate?

There is no catch; the 88% share to the developer is the permanent rate. Epic’s 12% share covers the operating costs of the store and makes us a profit.

Will the Epic Games store be an overnight success?

This will be a long term effort. Epic Games has been around for 27 years. We expect to invest in and work to grow the store for many years to come.

How are you selecting titles for the Epic Games store?

We are prioritizing developers who have flexibility in timing and a willingness to work through the early phases of a store with us. We consider many other factors as well, so there is no set formula.

How can I make Epic aware of my interest to put my game on the store?

Complete and submit the form at the bottom of this page or if you have an existing relationship with Epic through Unreal Engine licensing, reach out to your business contact.

When is the store launching for all developers?

We are planning to open the store for all developers in the second half of 2019.

Which platforms does the Epic Games store support?

We are launching with PC and Mac support. Support for other open platforms, such as Android will come later.

What does it mean when Epic wants to give me direct access to my audience?

Players who own your games will see your news posts in their newsfeed, providing you a direct connection to your players. When purchasing a game, players can choose to share their email addresses directly with developers of games they purchase.

My game is built with Unity or another engine, can I bring it to the Epic Games store?

Yes, the Epic Games store is engine-agnostic. Epic is aiming to bring great games to players, regardless of your engine choice.

My game is built with Unreal Engine. Why should I ship on the Epic Games store?

Beyond the normal ease of shipping on every platform, there are no engine royalties for UE4-based games sold on the Epic Games store. If you’re using the default free license with a 5% royalty, for example, you won’t pay the licensing fees from your sales on the Epic Games store. Royalties from sales on other platforms would remain the same 5%.

What is the Support-A-Creator program? What does it mean to me?

Support-A-Creator is the program full of amazing content creators who will help promote games on the Epic Games store. Creators earn a share of revenue from each attributable sale. Developers set the rate of the revenue share and Epic pays the first 5% for the first 24 months. Developers get immediate access to thousands of creators who can promote their titles with no friction. We believe this will make a more direct and sustainable connection between game developers and content creators (streamers, influencers, etc). There are currently more than 10,000 content creators in the program, with tens of millions of supporters, and that number is growing every day.

Where is the Epic Games store available?

The Epic Games store is available to players in most countries in the world except for China and where prohibited by US law, such as North Korea and Iran. Certain regions, such as South Korea, may have additional legal requirements that you may need to implement in your game in order to be compliant and to be distributed there.

Does the Epic Games store have regional pricing?

Yes, we do support regional pricing. We also have a set of suggested regional discounts based on local norms that are regularly reviewed.

Which currencies do you accept and in which currencies do you display prices?

We currently support local pricing in USD, Great British Pound, Euro, Polish Zloty, Russian Ruble, South Korean Won, Japanese Yen, Turkish Lira, and Ukrainian Hryvnia.

Does the Epic Games store have mandatory sales?

No. While we do plan to offer multi-game sales events, they are voluntary.

How will player feedback and game ratings work on the Epic Games store?

We will offer developers an opt-in ratings system for games on the store in the future.

How do refunds work on the Epic Games store?

We will offer two no-questions-asked refunds per player within two weeks of purchase.

Which payment methods are supported?

The Epic Games store supports credit cards, Paypal, and a variety of alternative payment methods. Approximately 80% of store transactions use credit cards and Paypal. The other 20% comprise alternative payment methods, primarily in countries where credit cards aren’t widely available. Some of these alternate payment methods carry payment processing fees, which Epic charges directly to the purchaser, and are not included in revenue-sharing calculations. This is a list of the alternative payment methods we currently support. Methods carrying additional payment processing fees are marked with an *asterisk.


The about page is also where you find the submission form if you want to publish your own game on the Epic store.

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