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9. May 2019


Substance Designer, the PBR material creation software from Allegorithmics (and now Adobe), just received it’s first major update of 2019.  The major new feature is the ability to process both values and textures, simplifying the material creation workflow.  The release also includes several new filters such as new flood fill variants, height extrusion and more.


Details from the press release:

Where before textures represented values, Substance Designer can now process these values directly during material creation, ensuring consistency across the pipeline. Using the new “Value Processor” node, users can manipulate values from within the composite graph itself, helping to drive parameters and optimize their workflow with even more creative flexibility. Rather than working with nodes that represented elements like color, users can add the color value directly, simplifying and strengthening the design process. 

Users can also pass values from one node to another, and create global variables at the graph level. Over time, nodes/filters will attain the ability to become smarter throughout the graph as they receive additional data. Substance Engine v7 will soon be compatible with all the Substance integrations, so materials can be directly imported into top tools without any extra tweaks.

"With the introduction of Substance Engine v7, Substance Designer takes another step toward becoming the ultimate material authoring tool," said Nicolas Wirrmann, product manager for Substance Designer. "The whole ecosystem has become smarter, and the new engine allows artists to continue to innovate and experiment for years to come."

Along with Substance Engine v7, today’s update brings with it several new filters, including:

  • New Flood Fill Variants – Two new Flood Fill companion nodes have been released including: “Flood Fill to Index,” which generates user numbers per shape, and “Flood Fill Mapper,” which lets them apply images to each shape.
  • Atlas Splitter – Users can now divide an Atlas in order to isolate and exploit the separate elements of a scan.
  • New Directional Warp Filters – The “Non-Uniform Direction Warp” allows the intensity and direction of the warp to be driven by an image input; the “Multi-Directional Warp” applies the directional warp multiple times in opposite directions while the displaced texture stays in place.
  • Height Extrude – Height maps can now be rendered as 3D depth; users can rotate the resulting shape as a 3D object.
  • Triplanar Update – More accurate blending formula, random offset, separated inputs for x, y and z projections are now available.
  • Improvements to Normal Vector Rotation – Rather than being set by a uniform value, the Normal Vector rotation angle can now be set using the grayscale value of an image input.

Along with the new features, today’s update also introduces several performance upgrades, including a massive boost to the bakers. The integration of Optix for the AO, Bent Normal and Thickness bakers will now produce speeds at least five times faster than CPU ray tracing. The .obj loader has also been optimized and multi-threaded, leading to a significant increase in loading times.

For technical users, the update brings expanded options to the Python Scripting plugin system. Users can now create GUIs for plugins within Substance Designer using the Python API. The plugin system has also been standardized, allowing for plugins to start when the application loads, aiding in the creation of persistent plugins. Additional plugins created by the Substance team are on the way as well, look for those soon.


You can learn more as well as download a 30 day trial here.

GameDev News


8. May 2019


Humble Bundle are running another bundle of interest to game developers… this time, for the writers among us.  The Write like a Writer bundle is a collection of e-books about all facets of writing from the publisher Adams Media.  As always, the bundle is organized into tiers.  If you buy a tier you get all the books at that price point and all tiers below it.

The tiers of this bundle include:

1$ Tier

Script Tease

The Tao of Writing

Write.  10 Days to Overcome Writer’s Block

Grammar Sucks

Screen-Writing

A Cup of Comfort for Writers

The Everything Guide to Writing a Book Proposal

The Everything Guide to Writing Nonfiction

A Writer’s Space

8$ Tier

The Call of the Writer’s Craft

The Everything Creative Writing Book

The Everything Guide To Writing Children’s Books

Write that Book Already

The Everything Improve Your Writing Book

Screenwriting in the Land of OZ

15$ Tier 

Guide to Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction

Plot Whisperer

1-Minute Writer

The Only Grammar Book You’ll Ever Need

The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts

Hire Me, Hollywood!

The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Novelists

The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Screen Writers

1001 Letters for All Occasions

The Everything Guide to Comedy Writing

The Everything Guide to Writing Your First Novel


Wow… that is a lot of books on books!  Buying this bundle also helps supporting charity, NCAC and First Book are the selected charities for this bundle.  In addition you can also direct some of the proceeds to support GFS, in which case, thank you!


GameDev News


8. May 2019


At the MSBuild 2019 developer conference, Microsoft made a pretty huge announcement about the future of .NET.  With the release of .NET 5, there will be one .NET, that is cross platform and open source.  Essentially .NET Core, .NET Framework and Xamarin will all be replaced with a single unified .NET 5 framework.

In this blog post Microsoft discuss the future of .NET 5, as well as how we got here and how it will impact developers.   The core (pun intended) of .NET is:

  • Produce a single .NET runtime and framework that can be used everywhere and that has uniform runtime behaviors and developer experiences.
  • Expand the capabilities of .NET by taking the best of .NET Core, .NET Framework, Xamarin and Mono.
  • Build that product out of a single code-base that developers (Microsoft and the community) can work on and expand together and that improves all scenarios.

This isn’t going to happen overnight however.  Here is the announced timeline of developments:

coresched

This means in November of 2020, there will be just one version of .NET available for all platforms.  With the release today of .NET Core 3.0 Preview 5, that seems to be the ideal platform to develop .NET applications in anticipation of .NET 5.

GameDev News


7. May 2019


Epic Games have just launched a preview of their upcoming Unreal Engine Academy.  This is a one stop location for Unreal Engine courses in video format which is completely free, although it requires you to log in with your Epic credentials.  The Unreal Academy will track your current progress through a course and even has motivational achievements that can be attained.  Currently the pickings are fairly slim, with 3 official courses and just over a dozen other courses available.  The new portal will most likely replace the existing Unreal Academy, with much of the content being shared.

This move comes in response to a similar portal launched by Unity just last week, Unity Learn.  It offers very similar content, although Unity Learn also offers some text based tutorials in addition to video.

Regardless to which game engine you use, never has it been easier to get access to excellent courses to get you up and running.  Check out the new Unreal Engine Academy in action in the video below.

GameDev News


4. May 2019


BabylonJS, an open source browser based game engine, just released a major update in the form of the 4.0 release.  In addition to a website makeover and new forums, the 3D game engine gained several improvements including a new Inspector, improved PBR rendering capabilities, physics support via the Ammo.js plugin and much more.  If you are interested in learning BabylonJS, be sure to check out our existing tutorial series available here.


Top level features from the release notes:

Be sure to check the complete release notes for more details, as there are dozens more improvements as well as several breaking changes for Babylon v3.x developers to be aware of.

BabylonJS is open source and available on GitHub under the Apache open source license.  It ships with an excellent interactive playground that makes learning and playing with BabylonJS a breeze.  There is also a complete cloud based level editor available here.  Check out the video below to learn more about this release and to see that playground, inspector and editor in action.

Video HERE

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