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30. March 2016

 

Twin announcements today from the MS Build conference that will have a direct affect on indie developers.  The first is that UWP (Universal Windows Platform) applications can now be run on Xbox One.  The second, anyone can turn their Xbox One into a devkit (warning... big big big disclaimer attached!).

 

Partial announcement from the Windows Blog:

Gaming gets better with the Windows 10 Anniversary update, including background music and Cortana coming to Xbox One. Cortana can become your personal gaming assistant and help you find great new games, new challenges or tips and tricks. On Xbox One, we’re continuing to deliver on top fan-requested features like support for multiple GPUs and the ability to turn off v-sync. Game developers have access to a fully open ecosystem with the Universal Windows Platform, making it easy to bring the games people love to both Xbox One and other Windows 10 devices. With the Anniversary Update, any Xbox One can be a developer kit with Xbox Dev Mode, enabling anyone to develop for the living room. And, the Windows Store will offer a unified store experience for all developers, creating new opportunities to reach millions of new customers.

 

Polygon however have a great deal more details, including the gotcha I mentioned above.

While the preview of Dev Mode is available to anyone now, Charla stressed that most people should wait until its full release later this summer.

"You might run into issues now," he said.

The preview only offers access to 448 MB of the Xbox One's 8 GB of RAM. When Dev Mode comes out of preview, Charla said, developers will have access to the full 1 GB of RAM supported for UWP Xbox games.

"It's also a preview," he added. "And we want to be able to test things still in the preview."

[Snip]

First, a user has to download the Dev Mode activation app from the Xbox Games Store. Launching the app kicks off a welcome screen and a link to documentation that details what to expect when you switch over from retail to a dev kit, as well as the requirements.

The requirements include that you:

  • Join the Windows Insider Program
  • Are running Windows 10 on your PC
  • Have a wired connection to your PC from your Xbox One
  • Install the latest Visual Studio 2015 and Windows builds
  • Have at least 30 GB of storage free on your console

The introduction also warns that once you've converted your console over, you may occasionally run into issues running retail games. In addition, the introduction says, leaving Dev Mode will require resetting your console to its factory settings and uninstalling all of your games, apps and content.

Upon agreeing, you're given a code that can be entered on your computer once you sign into your Dev Center account. The activation can take awhile and usually requires updating your console. Once it's complete, the console restarts and returns you to your standard startup screen.

"It doesn't take a lot of time to switch to Dev Mode," Charla said as he took me through the process on Microsoft's remote console.

After setting up Dev Mode, a user simply pairs their Xbox One with Visual Studio, which sees the console as a Windows 10 machine to which it can deploy content directly through a wired connection.

"When a UWP app is running, it doesn't know it's running on an Xbox," Charla said. "It just knows it's a Windows 10 device."

 

So tread carefully!  Be sure to head on over to Polygon to read the full article.  While this has been in the works for 3 years, it’s nice to see that development has finally come to the Xbox One.  Considering Microsoft absolutely owned this segment when they release XNA, I am somewhat staggered it took this long.  Did you try it out?  If so, how much of an impact did it have on your retail games?

GameDev News


29. March 2016

 

Defold is a game engine that was recently release by King at GDC 2016.  It’s a cool and capable cross platform Lua powered game engine that you can see in action in this video.  One of the big downsides of the engine (and an upside too) is that your code resides on King’s servers.  Behind the scenes they maintain a git repository, but it’s quite understandable that this might not make you feel warm and fuzzy.  Thankfully you have the option of using your own server as described in these instructions.

If you are comfortable at the command line, here are the instructions below:

Command line

Prerequisite: Git - OS X, Windows, Linux

  1. Open your project in the Defold editor.
  2. Right click on the game.project file, select "Show in Finder" (or similar for your platform).
  3. Next, you need to navigate to the project location (from step 2) in a terminal window. Here's how:
    • OS X - Open the project location in Terminal.app, for a detailed guide see this.
    • Windows - Open the project location in Git Bash, for a detailed guide see this1.
  4. Lastly, change the ​origin remote to your own Git URL entering these commands into your terminal:
git remote set-url origin <your_own_git_server_url>
git push -u origin master

 

Easy enough.

 

Note however that you will still need to create your project on the Defold servers, but the code will now reside on your own servers.  This requirement should be removed in version 2.0 according to this forum post.

GameDev News


28. March 2016

 

Tiled, the popular open source 2D map editor, just released version 0.16.0.  If you are interested in learning more about Tiled, we have a complete tutorial series here on GameFromScratch.

The major new features of this release are:

 

Auto Updater and a new installer.

On windows machines, the installer is now MSI based.  Additionally you have option on OS/X and Windows of having Tiled automatically check for updates and present the release notes.  You can also set it to automatically download and install future updates.

tiled1

 

Improved Property Editing

The custom properties have been improved.  First up is the new Objects Type Editor enabling you to predefine a set of properties:

tiled2

One other major ability is the ability to define properties types as well as their name, supporting string, int, float and bool types.

 

Full Change Log

  • Added checking for updates, based on Sparkle and WinSparkle
  • Added default property definitions to object types (with Michael Bickel)
  • Added types to custom properties: string, float, int, boolean (with CaptainFrog)
  • Added Properties view to the Tile Collision Editor (by Seanba)
  • Added a reset button for color properties
  • Added eraser mode to Terrain Brush and fixed some small issues
  • Reuse existing Tiled instance when opening maps from the file manager (with Will Luongo)
  • Allow setting tile probability for multiple tiles (by Henrik Heino)
  • New MSI based installer for Windows
  • Optimized selection of many objects
  • libtiled-java: Fixed loading of maps with CSV layer data that are not square (by Zachary Jia)
  • Fixed potential crash when having Terrain Brush selected and switching maps
  • Updated Dutch, French, German, Japanese, Russian and Spanish translations

You can read more about the release here.

GameDev News


26. March 2016

 

Toonz is a 2D animation package which has now been open sourced under the New BSD license as OpenToonz.  Toonz has a long history in 2D animation for inking, painting andimage digital composition and has been used extensively by Studio Ghibli on such projects as Princess Mononoke and others.  Toonz dates back to the early 90s in SGI machines.

 

From the OpenToonz site:

  • This is software for producing a 2D animation.

    It is based on the software "Toonz", which was developed by Digital Video S.p.A. in Italy, customized by Studio Ghibli, and has been used for creating its works for many years. Dwango launches this OpenToonz project, in cooperation with Digital Video and Studio Ghibli.

  • This software can be used by anyone free of charge, no matter whether the purpose of use is commercial or not.
  • This is available as an open source, so that users can modify its source code freely.
  • We aim to develop a new platform for connecting the academic research into frontline animation production.

Studio Ghibli also contributed GTS, a scanning tool as part of OpenToonz:

  • Sequence number scanning can be conducted efficiently according to in-between animation numbers.
  • Compatible with 4 types of scanning.
    (black-and-white, colored, with or without binarization)
  • The settings for scanning can be saved. Processes can be reproduced when some cuts are rescanned.
  • Compatible with the TWAIN standards

The source code for OpenToonz is available on Github.  You can download binaries and documentation for OpenToonz here.

GameDev News


24. March 2016

 

There is a new preview release of Unreal Engine, 4.11 Preview 8, obviously for those willing to walk on the wild side.  As always, it can be downloaded using the Epic Game Launcher.

 

This release is entirely bug fixes, including:

Fixed! UE-27462 ShooterGame fails to launch on Xbox One
Fixed! UE-28057 Android crash a couple minutes into StrategyGame
Fixed! UE-28492 Lighting needs to be rebuilt in UE4 4.11 Samples
Fixed! UE-28232 2D scene capture component crashes the editor when dragged into the viewport
Fixed! UE-28441 [CrashReport] Crash on Duplicating from Higher on Beam Emitter Type Module in LOD1
Fixed! UE-28491 Placing a Constant 3 Vector in a Material on Mac Metal causes log spam
Fixed! UE-28391 HotReload is not updating instances already placed in the level
Fixed! UE-27424 Reimplement GC cluster fixes in 4.11 to fix memory leaks
Fixed! UE-28051 Android LaunchOn camera forced down in jolts when fired rapidly
Fixed! UE-28442 SunTemple crashes on iPad 4 when opened multiple times
Fixed! UE-28201 Can select child actor component in scene outliner after loading level
Fixed! UE-28169 PSVR is mispredicting on several UE4 titles, need to adjust the prediction timing
Fixed! UE-28114 Crash in shaped text when measuring an empty range
Fixed! UE-28068 Eyes incorrectly offset with instanced stereo enabled
Fixed! UE-27892 iOS leaks all HTTP responses
Fixed! UE-28386 [Mac][Metal] - Panic/Crash when closing active window of packaged project
Fixed! UE-28000 Instanced Stereo Rendering not being used
Fixed! UE-27617 UnrealMatch3 not displaying UMG background material on mobile devices
Fixed! UE-27637 Leap Motion plugin broken with 4.11, need updated code from them
Fixed! UE-24713 Match3 crash on several Android devices Data != NULL
Fixed! UE-26167 Unreal Match 3 Movie is causing crash on startup
Fixed! UE-28558 Letterboxing in blueprint First Person on some aspect ratios
Fixed! UE-28438 Player spawns inside the floor
Fixed! UE-28564 Blueprint Errors not displaying in Log
Fixed! UE-28054 Unable to get mouse control in the server window when networking in editor
Fixed! UE-27863 Project freezes when launching on mobile
Fixed! UE-28526 Match3 does not compile in debug
Fixed! UE-26565 Shootergame fails to package for WindowsXP
Fixed! UE-25688 Some ContentExamples maps have player start outside level boundary
Fixed! UE-28240 Lighting needs to be built in Sanctuary map in Shooter Game
Fixed! UE-27855 Crash launching project on mobile devices
Fixed! UE-27798 Erroneous MoveFixedBody warnings when running construction scripts in game
Fixed! UE-27535 Starting position of physics simulated bp is different in Standalone Game
Fixed! UE-27154 Using StereoPano capture commands crashes the editor
Fixed! UE-26789 Available HTML5 browsers are not automatically listed in the HTML5 SDK project settings
Fixed! UE-28434 Matinee Capture Movie is rendering distorted when aspect ratio is set to 2:1
Fixed! UE-28293 Multiple Content Example intro boards have typos or need rewording
Fixed! UE-23446 If a hot reload is performed after adding a custom UserDefinedEnum class to the project, the Editor will crash.
Fixed! UE-28189 Crash Occurs When Duplicating Static Mesh with Foliage Placed on it
Fixed! UE-27824 Component in Child Blueprint Parented to Inherited Component Disappears
Fixed! UE-26768 Sequencer crashing engine when opening Sequencer File with Audio setup inside (FAsyncAudioDecompressWorker::DoWork() [audiodecompress.cpp:336])
Fixed! UE-24967 Integrate D3D12 update from MS
Fixed! UE-28005 KiteDemo: Deer spawn immobile in Kite Cinematic
Fixed! UE-28003 Fail to QuickLaunch HTML5 through UnrealFrontEnd
Fixed! UE-28162 Components added via IWCE in 4.11 to actor with inherited root component spawn in wrong location
Fixed! UE-27795 Split Pins on a referenced Macro Library will crash the editor on restart
Fixed! UE-28122 Plugin Warden links to invalid store page
Fixed! UE-28154 Math expression node text not editable on creation
Fixed! UE-28118 Instanced stereo rendering doesn't handle arbitrary eye gap sizes.
Fixed! UE-27856 "Always" Save on Compile does not save the Blueprint
Fixed! UE-27859 Cannot spawn tab because no spawner is registered for 'BlueprintProfiler' for multiple assets in Automation Test
Fixed! UE-27987 Match3 Settings menu text is inconsistent
Fixed! UE-27995 Match3 loses theme selection buttons after returning to Start Screen on Android
Fixed! UE-28312 Android store version should not be limited to 65535
Fixed! UE-28013 Rivalry runs very slow on Nexus 9 before Android 6.0
Fixed! UE-26994 Directional Light (stationary) causing blown out lighting on suntemple with Mobile Renderer
Fixed! UE-26900 Consistent hitch 1 minute into play on some Android devices
Fixed! UE-27509 Save on compile set to always causes a crash on compile
Fixed! UE-26284 KiteDemo: Missing foliage textures
Fixed! UE-24793 iPadPro uses wrong resolution
Fixed! UE-28196 Demo Display doesn't render text in Content Examples
Fixed! UE-27990 Broken textures in KiteDemo
Fixed! UE-28471 Shader Complexity view no longer showing particle effects
Fixed! UE-26194 FBX Import flips faces of mesh on Import for static meshes

There is also one important known issue with NVidia chips on Mac OS:

Important Known Issue: UE-27673 - Mac (El Capitan on Nvidia GPUs) crashes when building lighting. This is due to an Nvidia GPU driver bug on OSX El Capitan 10.11.3 or earlier. The solution for this is to update to OSX 10.11.4.

GameDev News


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