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1. March 2016

 

Joining the Evil Empire hasn’t had an immediate affect on the the RoboVM team, in fact, they just released a new version.  RoboVM is the technology that enables you to run Java developed applications on iOS, commonly used with the LibGDX library to enable iOS support.  This release sees the edition of a number of plugins pods, specifically the Billing and Dialog Pods, that enable you to do IAP and dialogs in a cross platform way.

Of course the release contains several other changes and fixes:

Bug Fixes & Enhancements

As always, we squashed bugs, improved performance and added some bells and whistles. Here are the most important changes:

GameDev News


1. March 2016

 

jMonkeyEngine is a popular open source 3D game engine written in Java.  I did a “Closer Look at” jMonkeyEngine earlier last year if you want more information.  The big part of this release isn’t really all that flashy, but it is smart.  You see up until now, jMonkeyEngine has been heavily tied to the NetBeans IDE, an IDE used by about 4 people.  (Yeah, hyperbole...).  This has advantages, it makes for a turn key package but at the cost of tying the two together making for slow release schedules from the jME team, as well as adding a lot of complications for developers that want to work in a different IDE such as Eclipse or IntelliJ.  jME 3.1 is all about seperating jME the SDK from jME the toolchain.  This means jME should be easier to get started with for non-NetBeans developers and that future releases should come at a quicker pace.

 

From the announcement:

New Features

  • jME3 Maven artifacts are now available on JCenter! (thanks @davidB and @pspeed42) Note that Nifty-GUI and JBullet still require using the jME3 private Maven repo. Please see the wiki page for more information.
  • LWJGL3 support (beta) (thanks @DannyJo)
  • Improved OpenGL 3.2 core profile support
  • JOGL backend improvements to support new unified renderer backend
  • New constructors for lights: #297
  • Ability to toggle lights on or off: #393
  • Allow to set min / mag filter in J3M files: #295
  • Support bounding spheres with light culling: #362
  • Allow overriding dead zone per joystick axis: @46794e2
  • Add support for non-public constructors in networking serialization: @50b2f76
  • Rendering performance improved (less GL calls)

Fixed Bugs

  • Fix physics angular factor deserialization: #383
  • Fix GImpactCollisionShape for native bullet: #188
  • Fix BetterCharacterControl flickering: #391
  • Fix crash on ARM8 android devices: #378
  • Fix framebuffer crash on some OpenGL drivers: @78d2d6e
  • Fix regression in Node.collideWith(): @31cab67
  • Fix native bullet ray cast / sweep test crash: @86439c2
  • Fix clone method for lights: @6c4e801
  • Fix collideWith method for BatchNode: @1073eba
  • Fix broken culling when using negative scaling: @495e0cf
  • Fix FXAA quality regression: @4a37a8f
  • Fix lighting color ramp feature: @01227d3
  • Fix network client and server running in same JVM: @2c33712
  • Fix various race conditions in networking
  • Blender Loader various fixes

Other

  • ColoredTextured.j3md is now deprecated

GameDev News


1. March 2016

 

Cocos Creator is a visual game creation system built over the Cocos2d-x game engine, enabling more visual development of 2D games.  It is now available in public beta and can be downloaded here.

From the announcement:

Cocos Creator is a complete package of game development tools and workflow, including a game engine (based on Cocos2d-x), resource management, sceneimage editing, game preview, debug and publish one project to multiple platforms.

For the first time we introduced entity-component structure and data-driven workflow to the cocos2d-x family. With JavaScript, you can scripting your component in no time. The editor and engine extension is also made with JavaScript so you can make games and refine your tool in a single programming language.
Cocos Creator is an provides an innovative, easy to use toolset such as the UI system and Animation editor. The toolset will be expanding continuously and quickly, thanks to the open editor extension system.

You can download Creator and also review the documentation.

GameDev News


29. February 2016

 

Microsofts entrant into the VR field, the HoloLens, will begin taking developer pre-orders tomorrow for a healthy price tag of $3000USD.

 

Ouch.

 

First, let’s temper some expectations... this is very much a developer release, the actual launch of the HoloLens is a long ways out.  This release is akin to the original DK release for the Oculus Rift a couple years back.  This was the most recent comment about a HoloLens commercial release date:

“When I feel the world is ready, then we will allow normal people to buy it,” Kipman said Thursday, speaking to reporters at the TED conference in Vancouver. “It could be as soon as we say ‘yes,’ and it could be as long as a ‘very long time.'”

Hopefully the consumer hardware will be a great deal cheaper.  With news of the pre-order however, we did get some insight into the specs behind the HoloLens.  Taken from VentureBeat:

Here are the specifications for the HoloLens Development Edition headset:

  • Optics: See-through lenses (waveguides), 2 HD, 16:9 light engines, automatic pupillary distance calibration, 2.3 million total light points in holographic resolution, more than 2,500 radiants (light points per radian) in holographic density
  • Sensors: 1 inertial measurement unit (IMU), 4 environment understanding cameras, 1 depth camera, one 2-megapixel photo and HD video camera, mixed reality capture, 4 microphones, 1 ambient light sensor
  • Human understanding: Spatial sound, gaze tracking, gesture input, voice support
  • Processors: Intel 32-bit architecture and custom-built Microsoft Holographic Processing Unit (HPU) 1.0
  • Battery life: 2-3 hours of active use, up to 2 weeks of standby time; works when charging
  • Memory: 2GB RAM
  • Storage: 64GB flash
  • Connectivity: Micro-USB 2.0, Bluetooth 4.1 low energy
  • Wi-Fi: 802.11ac
  • Audio: 3.5mm headphone jack, built-in speakers, volume up/down
  • Other components: Power button, brightness up/down, battery status LEDs
  • Weight: 579 grams (1.27 lbs)

The HoloLens Development Edition kits come with a headset, an overhead strap, a clicker, a charging cable, a microfiber cloth, nose pads, and a carrying case.

 

Not just anyone can order a HoloLens however, you need to apply and be accepted into the program.

GameDev News


29. February 2016

 

So today marks the first day you can place an order for the HTC Vive, the VR headset that came via a collaboration between HTC and Valve.  If you though the Oculus Rift was expensive take a deep breath... the HTC Vive is $800USD, plus shipping, as seen from their online store:

image

 

This is a $200 increase over the Oculus Rift’s cost, however this bundle also includes two wireless controllers while the Rift only included the bundled (and mostly unwanted) Xbox controller.  The Vive pre-order also comes with the games Job Simulator, Fantastic Contraption and Tilt Brush.

 

Anyways, back to the HTC Vive.  Pre-orders will start shipping in April 2016.  I have to assume orders will be fulfilled in a first come, first served basis.

Personally I was extremely pumped for VR.  Then over the holidays I got a $100 Samsung GearVR and truly the future had arrived.  That said, with these initial price tags ( other than the GearVR that is ), VR is going to be niche only for quite a while unfortunately.  One more chance at a reasonable price with the PlayStation VR... but this is Sony we are talking here.

GameDev News


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