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5. February 2020


Previously we looked at OpenGL alternatives shortly after OpenGL on Apple products was deprecated.  One of the technologies we mentioned was The Forge, a cross platform rendering solution.  It is an open source cross platform rendering framework with several game development building blocks created by Confetti.

In addition to taking are of the low level details of working with Direct3D and Vulkan, the Forge provides the following features:

  • Asynchronous Resource loading with a resource loader task system as shown in 10_PixelProjectedReflections
  • Lua Scripting System - currently used in 06_Playground to load models and textures and animate the camera
  • Animation System based on Ozz Animation System
  • Consistent Math Library based on an extended version of Vectormath with NEON intrinsics for mobile platforms
  • Extended version of EASTL
  • For loading art assets we have a modified and integrated version of Assimp
  • Consistent Memory Managament:
  • Input system with Gestures for Touch devices based on an extended version of gainput
  • Fast Entity Component System based on our internally developed ECS
  • Cross-platform FileSystem C API, supporting disk-based files, memory streams, and files in zip archives
  • UI system based on imGui with a dedicated unit test extended for touch input devices
  • Audio based on integrating SoLoud
  • Shader Translator using a superset of HLSL as the shader language. There is a Wiki page on how to use the Shader Translator
  • Various implementations of high-end Graphics Effects as shown in the unit tests below

The Forge is open source under the Apache 2.0 license and is hosted on GitHub.  You can learn more about The Forge in the video below.

GameDev News


4. February 2020

It’s the first Tuesday of the month, meaning its time for the monthly Unreal Engine Marketplace giveaway! Every month Epic Games gives away several assets from the Unreal Engine marketplace, so long as the assets are “purchased” before the start of next month’s giveaway.

The February 2020 giveaway includes:

· Amplify LUT Pack

· Auto Settings

· Combat Systems - Constructor

· First Person Puzzle Template

· Open World AI Spawn System

Additionally, the following asset has been made available as part of the permanently free collection:

· Advanced Locomotion System V4

You can learn more about the monthly giveaway on the Unreal Engine blog and by watching the video available below.

GameDev News


3. February 2020

The Epic MegaGrant program was first announced at GDC of 2019 and is a $100M fund by epic games to support game developers, open source projects and others.  The Godot Engine project just joined past recipients such as the Blender foundation, receiving a cool 1/4 million USD in funding.

The story was broke by Gaming On Linux, but has been all but confirmed by Tim Sweeney, CEO at epic, in this Twitter exchange.

image

Details from GamingOnLinux:

Some good news to share for the free and open source Godot Engine, as the lead developer Juan Linietsky announced during GodotCon that Epic Games have approved them for an Epic MegaGrant.

This was announced during Linietsky's talk on porting Godot Engine over to the Vulkan API, which is coming with Godot Engine version 4.0 later this year. Epic Games have approved them for a sum of $250,000 USD which they've known for a little while, but they only just got the okay to announce it.

The GodotCon YouTube livestream video link is available here.  You can learn more about the Epic MegaGrant program here or by watching the video below.

EDIT – There is not an official news story up on the Godot website.

GameDev News


3. February 2020


TerreSculptor is a free Windows based application for creating landscapes and terrains for games and other media.  Starting life in 2005 as a tool for creating maps for the Unreal Developer Kit, the tool has come a long way in the years since.

On Demenzun Media homepage, TerreSulptor is described as:

It all started back in 2005 with the HMCS HeightMap Conversion Software, as a need to convert various heightmap file formats to Epic’s proprietary Unreal Engine G16 format.  As an Unreal Engine licensee, developer, and consultant, I wrote this utility for free use for Engine Licensees and Community Mappers.


2008 saw the release of HMES, an updated build of HMCS with limited editing capabilities.  Both of these tools are still available for download.


In 2010, TerreSculptor was born out of the desire to create a powerful 3D application that rivaled all existing terrain heightmap software.  The initial public alpha release was delivered in 2012.


Since then, TerreSculptor has continued to evolve and become more powerful and feature rich.  TerreSculptor is now one of the main terrain tools available to the industry.  Over it’s lifetime to-date, TerreSculptor has had more than 50,000 downloads, and like its predecessors, it remains free software for any use.

TerreSculptor is still under active development, with the recent 2.0 release happening earlier this year.  In the following video we go hands-on with this powerful tool and show how quickly and easily you can create terrain for your game.  As part of the video below, we showcase how you can import real world data-sets, in this case captured from the massive USGA Earth Explorer website.  TerreScultpor is available as a free download here and is comprehensively documented here.  If you like the software, consider supporting the developer on Patreon where you can get early release access, as well as access to sample projects and more.

GameDev News


30. January 2020


Steve Rabin, the editor of book Game AI Pro 3 have just released the title completely for free on their website http://www.gameaipro.com/.  Due to details with their publisher the book rights remain those of CRC Press and cannot be redistributed or hosted anywhere else.  Additionally the book is split into multiple chapters, each available as individual PDF chapters, although merging multiple PDFs is a relatively simple task if preferred.

Links to each chapter:

Section 1: General Wisdom

1. The Illusion of Intelligence, Steve Rabin
2. Creating the Past, Present, and Future with Random Walks, John Manslow demo code
3. Logging Visualization in FINAL FANTASY XV, Matthew W. Johnson, Fabien Gravot, Shintaro Minamino, Ingimar Hólm Guðmundsson, Hendrik Skubch, and Youichiro Miyake
4. What You See Is Not What You Get: Player Perception of AI Opponents, Baylor Wetzel and Kyle Anderson
5. Six Factory System Tricks for Extensibility and Library Reuse, Kevin Dill
6. Debugging AI with Instant In-Game Scrubbing, David Young
7. But, It Worked on My Machine! How to Build Robust AI for Your Game, Sergio Ocio Barriales

Section 2: Architecture

8. Modular AI, Kevin Dill and Christopher Dragert
9. Overcoming Pitfalls in Behavior Tree Design, Anthony Francis
10. From Behavior to Animation: A Reactive AI Architecture for Networked First-Person Shooter Games, Sumeet Jakatdar
11. A Character Decision-Making System for FINAL FANTASY XV by Combining Behavior Trees and State Machines, Youichiro Miyake, Youji Shirakami, Kazuya Shimokawa, Kousuke Namiki, Tomoki Komatsu, Joudan Tatsuhiro, Prasert Prasertvithyakarn, and Takanori Yokoyama
12. A Reusable, Light-Weight Finite-State Machine, David “Rez” Graham
13. Choosing Effective Utility-Based Considerations, Mike Lewis
14. Combining Scripted Behavior with Game Tree Search for Stronger, More Robust Game AI, Nicolas A. Barriga, Marius Stanescu, and Michael Buro

Section 3: Movement and Pathfinding

15. Steering against Complex Vehicles in Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, Eric Martel
16. Predictive Animation Control Using Simulations and Fitted Models, Ingimar Hólm Guðmundsson, Hendrik Skubch, Fabien Gravot, and Youichiro Miyake
17. Fast Cars, Big City: The AI of Driver San Francisco, Chris Jenner and Sergio Ocio Barriales
18. A Unified Theory of Locomotion, Graham Pentheny
19. RVO and ORCA: How They Really Work, Ben Sunshine-Hill
20. Optimization for Smooth Paths, Mark Langerak demo code
21. 3D Flight Navigation Using Sparse Voxel Octrees, Daniel Brewer
22. Faster A* with Goal Bounding, Steve Rabin and Nathan R. Sturtevant
23. Faster Dijkstra Search on Uniform Cost Grids, Steve Rabin and Nathan R. Sturtevant

Section 4: Tactics and Strategy

24. Being Where It Counts: Telling Paragon Bots Where to Go, Mieszko Zieliński
25. Combat Outcome Prediction for Real-Time Strategy Games, Marius Stanescu, Nicolas A. Barriga, and Michael Buro
26. Guide to Effective Auto-Generated Spatial Queries, Eric Johnson
27. The Role of Time in Spatio-Temporal Reasoning: Three Examples from Tower Defense, Baylor Wetzel and Kyle Anderson
28. Pitfalls and Solutions When Using Monte-Carlo Tree Search for Strategy and Tactical Games, Gijs-Jan Roelofs
29. Petri Nets and AI Arbitration, Sergio Ocio Barriales
30. Hierarchical Portfolio Search in Prismata, David Churchill and Michael Buro

Section 6: Character Behavior

31. Behavior Decision System: Dragon Age Inquisition’s Utility Scoring Architecture, Sebastian Hanlon and Cody Watts
32. Paragon Bots: A Bag of Tricks, Mieszko Zieliński
33. Using Your Combat AI Accuracy to Balance Difficulty, Sergio Ocio Barriales
34. 1000 NPCs at 60 FPS, Robert Zubek
35. Ambient Interactions: Improving Believability by Leveraging Rule-Based AI, Hendrik Skubch
36. Stochastic Grammars: Not Just for Words!, Mike Lewis demo code
37. Simulating Character Knowledge Phenomena in Talk of the Town, James Ryan and Michael Mateas

Section 7: Odds and Ends

38. Procedural Level and Story Generation Using Tag-Based Content Selection, Jurie Horneman
39. Recommendation Systems in Games, Ben G. Weber
40. Vintage Random Number Generators, Éric Jacopin demo code
41. Leveraging Plausibility Orderings to Achieve Extremely Efficient Data Compression, Jeff Rollason
42. Building Custom Static Checkers Using Declarative Programming, Ian Horswill, Robert Zubek, and Matthew Viglione


On the same page you can also download first and second editions of the Game AI book series.  Awesome contribution from the editor and all the various others and such a huge wealth of knowledge being shared.

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