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16. March 2016

 

The Power VR SDK, a set of tools, frameworks and examples, for supporting PowerVR GPUs, just released a new version with full Vulkan support.  The framework is now open source under the MIT license.

From the new release announcement:

The PowerVR Framework, a cross-platform and cross-API framework that acts as a scaffold around which developers can build their own rendering or game engine, now features a fully functioning Vulkan backend. This lightweight abstraction layer provides utility functions that enable explicit control of Vulkan while reducing the amount of code required to render a scene. It features functions for common tasks such as object creation and asset uploading, simplified object lifetime management, and cross-platform setup. It also includes Imagination’s Gnome Horde demo, included as an example to show multi-threaded command buffer management for Vulkan.

The entire PowerVR Graphics SDK is now distributed freely under an MIT license. The SDK for Vulkan offers cross-platform support for multiple GPU architectures (PowerVR and desktop GPUs) as well as multiple operating systems (Android, Windows and Linux).

Together with the PowerVR Graphics SDK, Imagination offers a complete set of advanced tools for graphics developers. The latest release includes several new features and enhancements. PVRShaderEditor now supports the ability to choose different compilers per shader, and PVRGeoPOD supports 3DSMax 2016 SP2. PVRTrace now includes a full ‘Call Hierarchy’ which will show all a call’s dependencies at a point in time, and also now enables viewing of buffer object data. Finally, PVRTune now includes new counters for ‘ISP pixel load’ and ‘Overdraw.’

 

You can download the PowerVR SDK installer here.  The source code is available on Github.

GameDev News


16. March 2016

 

Substance Painter, the PBR (Physically Based Rendering) texture painting tool, just released version 2.0.  If you want more information on Substance I featured it in this video.  It’s an excellent texture creation tool that is growing in popularity every day ( just yesterday Unity announce Substance support for example ).  This release includes several new features, including:

- Iray Path Tracer integration for advanced rendering and screenshot capability
- New Smart Masks for creating and using your own mesh-adaptive mask presets
- New Clone tool, non destructive, for copying and pasting parts of texture
- New Smudge tool, non destructive, for blending and spreading colors
- Ability to chain and composite substances
- New content in the shelf: alphas, tools, materials, smart materials, and more
- New interface with reworked colors, icons, and parameter organization
- New Orthographic view mode and Perspective Field of View control
- New Fullscreen mode with interface toggling
- Full support for the Specular/Glossiness PBR workflow
- Scripting I/O
- Non-PBR shader and template
- Full support of height & normal workflow

There is also a release trailer for Substance Painter 2

For more details, click here.

GameDev News


16. March 2016

 

Atomic Game Engine, a game engine I recently took a closer look at, was just released under the MIT license.  Atomic is a cross platform 2D/3D game engine with  acomplete game editor. From the announcement:

Why MIT the Atomic Game Engine?

We wanted to simplify Atomic’s licensing and reduce barriers as we work with our partners on the technology. There was thought put to “dual licensing” the code under separate commercial and GPL licenses. However, we believe the permissive MIT license brings the most value to Atomic technology end users, including us, THUNDERBEAST GAMES LLC

We also view the MIT as a modern software license being used to develop amazing technology across industries, in games alone we’re in great company with cocos2d-x, Godot, and of course Urho3D from which Atomic was initially forked in the fall of 2014!

 

In addition to the license change, Atomic Game Engine also recently integrated Chromium support, enabling you to embed an HTML5 client within your game code.  From the same announcement:

We have integrated Chromium providing a powerful 2D and 3D web technology feature. This can be used for social logins, eCommerce, video streaming, WebRTC, in-app WebCam support, etc.

The Atomic Editor uses the Chromium WebView technology to provide an integrated JavaScript and TypeScript editor with autocomplete, syntax highlighting, code folding, and more!

 

I’m not sure exactly what this change means for existing and future customers of Atomic Game Engine.

GameDev News


16. March 2016

 

MonoGame, the popular open source implementation of the XNA game framework, just release version 3.5.  If you are interested in learning more, we have a pretty solid introductory tutorial available here.

Details from this release:

  • Content Pipeline Integration for Xamarin Studio and MonoDevleop on Mac and Linux.
  • Automatic inclusion of XNBs into your final project on Mac and Linux.
  • Improved Mac and Linux installers.
  • Assemblies are now installed locally on Mac and Linux just like they are on Windows.
  • New cross-platform “Desktop” project where same binary and content will work on Windows, Linux and Mac desktops.
  • Better Support for Xamarin.Mac and Xam.Mac.
  • Apple TV support (requires to be built from source at the moment).
  • Various sound system fixes.
  • New GraphicsMetrics API.
  • Optimizations to SpriteBatch performance and garbage generation.
  • Many improvements to the Pipeline tool: added toolbar, new filtered output view, new templates, drag and drop, and more.
  • New GamePad support for UWP.
  • Mac and Linux now support Vorbis compressed music.
  • Major refactor of texture support in content pipeline.
  • Added 151 new unit tests.
  • Big improvements to FBX and model content processing.
  • Various fixes to XML serialization.
  • MediaLibrary implementation for Windows platforms.
  • Removed PlayStation Mobile platform.
  • Added content pipeline extension template project.
  • Support for binding multiple vertex buffers in a draw call.
  • Fixed deadzone issues in GamePad support.
  • OcclusionQuery support for DX platforms.
  • Fixed incorrect z depth in SpriteBatch.
  • Lots of OpenTK backend fixes.
  • Much improved font processing.
  • Added new VertexPosition vertex format.
  • Better VS project template installation under Windows.

GameDev News


16. March 2016

 

Launched just last month, today at GDC Amazon announced the first (beta) update, Lumberyard 1.1.  This update has a fairly impressive number of features including:

  • a new component/entity system
  • Substance PBR integration
  • FBX importer
  • mobile support (just ARM8 + iOS devices and the NVidia Shield for now)
  • new Twitch/Chatplay features

For smaller developers the FBX importer is probably the biggest deal, as Lumberyard currently requires you to use Maya or 3D Studio Max plugins to export in a compatible format.  The addition of a stand alone FBX importer opens Lumberyard up to a number of other DCC solutions such as Blender, Cinema4D, etc.

Obviously mobile support is a big deal as well, but it’s extremely limited at this point.  A bit more on that topic:

Lumberyard Beta 1.1 introduces mobile support. In this release, we include support for iOS devices with an A8 or better processor and the Android-based Nvidia Shield. Lumberyard Beta 1.1 uses Apple’s Metal API and leverages their GMEM fast memory to enable you to create high-fidelity iOS visuals. By using Metal and GMEM, Lumberyard enables your game to directly access and push more data to the Apple GPU hardware, so your game can use the latest rendering techniques (e.g. post effects such as depth of field, glow, flares, and color grading). Supporting mobile developers building 3D and connected games is a priority for us and we will continue to expand device support in coming releases.

Obviously in time that will become more mature.  Finally a bit more on the component/entity system:

One of the areas we are focused on with Lumberyard is making the engine extensible by developers without changing engine code. Our new Component Entity system is built to enable easy engine extension with new components. Content creators can drag-and-drop and combine those components into new game objects. They can then make reusable assemblies of Component Entities, which we call “Slices.” Slices can be composed of other nested Slices. Slices can contain scene elements and game logic written in Flow Graph, Lua, or C++. Individual properties of Slices can be overridden, or shared among all copies of a Slice. This approach allows you to lay out generic copies of a Slice in a scene, and then quickly make changes to specific copies.  For example, if you have a Slice that includes a row of street lamps, you could also include broken light bulbs on a select set of those street lamps. Furthermore, changes to the base model can quickly be shared with all copies. The Lumberyard Editor includes rapid drag-and-drop workflows for creating Components and Slices.

Component Palette

 

Pretty solid progress in a short period of time.  For more details read the complete release here.

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