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17. December 2015

 

The first ever LibGDX Jam starts tomorrow, or today, or yesterday or sometime ago, I suppose it’s all relative to when you read this, isn’t it?  Well temporal factors aside, the first ever LibGDX Game Jam begins/began on Friday Dec 18th.  It is called creatively enough #LibGDXJam.  The rules and prizes from this jam are:

The 10 Rules of Jamming

The jam will be held from December 18th to January 18th. Here are the rules:

  1. You must use libGDX to create a game that fits the theme.
  2. You may work alone or in a team. Only one submission per person/team is allowed.
  3. You may use pre-existing code, e.g. libraries like Ashley, or your own code libraries.
  4. You may use pre-existing art, e.g. assets from OpenGameArt, or your own art.
  5. You may use external tools like Tiled or Overlap2D.
  6. You must not re-skin an already existing game or prototype!
  7. You must submit your game before the end of the 18th of January via the jam’s site on itch.io (to be made public).
  8. You must publish the source of your game, e.g. to GitHub.
  9. You must submit your game to the itch.io libGDX Jam page before the end of day January 18th, UTC-12!
  10. If you want to win one of the sponsored prizes, you must tweet about your game and document its development, using the hashtag #libGDXJam and the handles @robovm and@robotality.

First of all, you can participate in the jam without following these rules! In that case, you will not qualify for the prizes though.

Documenting your progress is a great way of sharing your experience, and an invaluable tool for others to learn. Making a bit of noise on Twitter is also a great way to give back to our sponsors. Chaining those 2 things together via rule 9 is my evil overlord plan to make everyone happy.

Here are a few examples of tweets:

Progress screenshot of my #libGDXJam entry @robovm @robotality

New dev log entry for my #libGDXJam game @robovm @robotality

For the dev logs, we want quality first and foremost! Progress screenshots, descriptions of problems you ran into and their solutions, streaming and so on is what we want to see! Just mindless spamming will not get you anywhere.

Prizes & Judging

We are happy to have RoboVM and Robotality as sponsors for the following prizes:

  • Grand Prize: Mac Mini, sponsored by RoboVM.
  • Silver: iPad, sponsored by RoboVM.
  • Bronze: iPod Touch, sponsored by RoboVM.
  • For 20 random submissions: Steam keys for Halfway, sponsored by Robotality.
  • For another 5 random submissions: libGDX Jam t-shirt.

To qualify for any of the prizes, you'll need to follow rule 10 as outlined above. Judging works as follows:

  • The community can vote on itch.io from the 19th of January to the 2nd of February.
  • The Grand Prize will be awarded to the entry with the highest community votes on itch.io. This way the highest quality entry will win!
  • The Silver and Bronze prizes will be awarded to the entries with the best mixture of dev logs and tweets and community votes. * Our sponsors and the libGDX core team will pick these entries. This should motivate people to make some noise on the web and document their progress for the greater good of the community!
  • The random awards guarantee that everyone has a chance to win a prize!
  • The winners will be announced on the 3rd of February!

Timetable

  • Theme Voting round 1: Nov. 22nd – Dec. 11th
  • Final Theme Voting: Dec. 11th – Dec. 18th
  • Jam: Dec. 18th – Jan. 18th
  • Judging: Jan 19th – Feb. 2nd

You can read the full details here on github.

GameDev News


17. December 2015

 

Just in time for the first ever LibGDX Game Jam, LibGDX 1.7.2 was released. 

image

 

This released included the following updates:

[1.7.2]
- Added AndroidAudio#newMusic(FileDescriptor) to allow loading music from a file descriptor, see #2970
- Added GLOnlyTextureData, which is now the default for FrameBuffer and FrameBufferCubemap, see #3539
- Added rotationChanged() for Actor class, called when rotation changes, see https://github.com/libgdx/libgdx/pull/3563
- Fixed crash on MacOS when enumerating connected gamepads.
- ParticleEmitter no longer says it's complete when it's set to continuous, see #3516
- Improved JSON parsing and object mapping error messages.
- Updated FreeType from version 2.5.5 to 2.6.2.
- Fixed corrupt FreeType rendering for some font sizes.
- API Change: FreeTypeFontParameter has new fields for rendering borders and shadows.
- FreeTypeFontParameter can render much better fonts at small sizes using gamma settings.
- BitmapFont can now render missing (tofu) glyph for glyphs not in the font.
- FreeTypeFontGenerator depreacted methods removed.
- Fixed BitmapFont color tags changing glyph spacing versus not using color tags. BitmapFont#getGlyphs has a new paramter. See #3455.
- Skin's TintedDrawable now works with TiledDrawable. #3627
- Updated jnigen to Java Parser 2.3.0 (http://javaparser.github.io/javaparser/).
- FreeType fonts no longer look terrible at small size. This is a big deal!
- Updated to RoboVM 1.12.0, includes tvOS support!
 

Full details are available here.

GameDev News


17. December 2015

 

In a project that sounds disturbingly similar to VRML of days gone past, Mozilla have launched AFrame, a technology intended to bring VR to the web without requiring WebGL programming knowledge.  An attempt to make a 3D Oculus friendly web browsing experience ( think cyberspace/ the matrix ) easy to create.

 

From the announcement blog:

A-Frame makes it easy for web developers to create virtual reality experiences that work across desktop, iPhone (Android support coming soon), and the Oculus Rift.

We created A-Frame to make it easier to create VR web experiences. WebVR has shipped in builds of Firefox and Chromium since the summer of 2014, but creating content for it has required knowing WebGL. The WebGL scene is unbelievably talented and has created many mind-blowing VR experiences in the last year, but they are a small subset of the full web dev community. There are millions of talented developers who do not know WebGL. What if each of them could create and share VR experiences on the open web?

A-Frame is designed to be familiar to those web developers. It wraps the power of WebGL in HTML custom elements, so creating a high performance VR experience is as simple as:

<html>
<head>
<script src="https://aframe.io/releases/latest/aframe.min.js"></script>
</head>
<body>
<a-scene>
<a-sky src="https://aframe.io/aframe/examples/_skies/lake.jpg"></a-sky>
<a-model src="https://aframe.io/aframe/examples/showcase-composite/sculpture.dae" position="0 0 -2"></a-model>
<a-image src="https://aframe.io/aframe/examples/showcase-composite/portland.png" width="1" height="0.35" position="-2 1.2 1"></a-image>
</a-scene>
</body>
</html>

A-Frame ships with powerful and concise “primitives” for common use cases such as 360-degree videos, images, models, skies, and more. Primitives make it easy to block out a scene in minutes. Primitives can also be combined with lighting, animation, sound and interactivity. For the full list of primitives included in A-Frame 0.1.0, see the A-Frame documentation.

For users who want deeper control and flexibility, A-Frame is built on an entity-component system which provides accessible components for lighting, materials, re-usable assets, and more. This pattern is common in the game development world, and is the backbone of A-Frame. Visit the A-Frame documentation to learn more about the entity-component system.

A-Frame is ultimately just the DOM, so developers can also manipulate it with standard JavaScript methods, such as:

var scene = document.querySelector('a-scene');
var cube = document.createElement('a-cube');
cube.setAttribute('color', 'red');
scene.appendChild(cube);

A-Frame is new. The 0.1 version has several known issues (Android rendering textures as black, for example), and the API will change over the next few months as we get feedback and open source contributions. Our hope is that early adopters find it as fun as we do, and join us in improving A-Frame over time.

To get started with A-Frame, visit aframe.io, view the examples and grab the code. The FAQprovides additional details.

To discuss A-Frame with our team and fellow developers, hop into the A-Frame Slack channel. Feedback is welcomed at @aframevr. As are bug reports and pull requests. For the latest overall WebVR setup instructions, visit MozVR.com.

As a kid the grew up on dreams of cyberspace thanks to the likes of Neuromancer, Snow Crash and Shadowrun, I’m genuinely excited by this concept.  Then again, I was excited by VRML too and we know how that turned out.

GameDev News


17. December 2015

 

Unreal have just released a new complete game + tutorial Match 3 Game for Unreal 4.10.  It is currently available for download in the learn section of the Epic Game Launcher.

image

 

This is actually a pretty impressive example project as it illustrates:

  • UMG UI Graphics
  • Paper2D Toolset
  • Blueprint and C++ Code
  • ads
  • acheivements
  • in app purchases
  • leaderboards
  • analytics

 

So basically most of the functionality required of a modern 2D game.  You can learn more about the release here or download the sample game on the Android store (iOS coming soon).  The entire project weighs in at about 120MB.  You can also learn more about the sample (and other Unreal Engine things) in the Unreal Engine live stream video:

GameDev News


17. December 2015

 

The recently rebranded Xenko game engine just announced the release of version 1.5.  New animation funtionality, a new profiler, runtime physics debug shapes and UI improvements top the new features.  Here is the highlight list  from the release:

Skeleton asset

A new Skeleton asset (*.xkskel) has been introduced. Both models and animations now hold a reference to a skeleton. This allows to reuse the same skeleton definition in multiple assets and to retarget models and animations to different skeletons.

Skeletons can be created alongside other assets, when importing an FBX file or other model format.

Root motion support for models, cameras, lights, etc.

Animations now apply root motion if they have no skeleton, or the ‘Root Motion’ property is enabled on the animation asset. The animation will then move the entity itself, instead of the skeleton’s root bone. This is especially useful to import animations of lights, cameras or unskinned models, without the need to bind them to the bones of a skeleton.

The FBX importer will now also import animations of various camera parameters (near-plane, far-plane, field of view) and apply them to the CameraComponent of the animated entity. More properties may be supported in the future.

New animation update system

The animation system now internally uses a new UpdateEngine to update objects. This allows us to animate arbitrary properties of entities, while accessing them in a highly efficient way. It will be the foundation for a future animation curve editor inside the GameStudio.

The new ‘Animated Properties’ sample demonstrates how to create animations of any property from a script.

Simple Profiling system

It is now possible to visualize profiling information of all the game systems and custom profilers directly within your running games. To get started, use the Game Profiler built-in script, attach it to an entity and when the game is running press LCtrl-LShift-P.

Physic debug shapes at runtime

It is now possible to enable the rendering of physics collider shapes during runtime. The debug shapes are normal entities and they must be enabled for each physics shape that requires it. The best way to start with this feature is to use the Physics Shapes Render built-in script and attach the script to any entity that has a Physics Component and when the game is running press LCtrl-LShift-P.

Asset View

The Asset view has been improved to help you better organize and manage your assets.

New ‘view options’ menu

The view options are gathered in a single menu accessible from the asset view toolbar.

You can display all the assets in the current folder only, in the current folder and its sub-folder. The third option let you display the assets and the sub folders.

You can also sort your assets by name, order, type or modification date.

New asset filter bar

With the new asset filter bar, you can filter your assets by name, tag, type or a combination of those. Each ‘filter tag’ can be disabled by a single click or removed from the active filters.

To add a filter, type in the filter bar and matching filters will be displayed. Click on the one you want to add it to the list of active filters.

Only the assets matching the active filters will be displayed in the asset view. Note that type filters are inclusive, while name and tag filters are exclusive.

Folder support in asset view

If the ‘Assets and folder in selected folder’ options is selected, the first level of sub-folder will be displayed in the asset view. You can drag and drop assets inside them. You can also copy/paste complete folder structure.

 

Copy-paste assets with their dependencies

You have now the ability to copy assets with their dependencies. To do that use the new entry ‘Copy with dependencies’ from the asset view context menu, or press Ctrl+Shift+C.For example, if you copy/paste a model with its dependencies, you will get a copy of this model along with a copy of all its dependencies (skeleton, materials, textures)

Border and Center support in sprite sheet editor

For ‘Sprite2D’ sprites, you can move the position of the center by selecting the icon in the toolbar of the sprite editor. Grab and move the cross to the desired position.

For ‘UI’ sprites, you can change the borders by selecting the icon in the toolbar of the sprite editor. You can then resize each border (left, top, right and bottom) separately in the same way as the texture region, by grabbing and moving one of them. Note that the icon lets you ‘lock’or ‘unlock’ the sprite borders while resizing the texture region.

New built-in scripts

We added a few more built-in scripts with this release such as an FPS camera script and First player controller script. To use them, just click on “New Asset”, “Script source code”, select the desired script and attach it to an adequate entity.

Precompiled Sprite Fonts

Font rights are quite restrictive and it is quite common that only some persons of the project have access to the font files. This was preventing some people to build the game. To solve this problem, we created a new type of asset, the precompiled sprite fonts. It is an asset taking as input an image and containing all the glyph information required to render the set of character specified. Inside your games you can used it exactly like a standard sprite font. To generate a precompiled sprite font, the owner of the original font file just have to right click on an existing static font and choose “Generate Precompiled Font”.

 

Full release notes are available here.

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