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25. February 2019


Vectary is an online 3D application we covered late last year.  Since that video, Vectary 3.0 has been released with several UI changes, new features and massive changes to their subscription model.  The primary new features of Vectary 3.0 include:

  • An Updated and streamlined user interface
  • New getting started tutorial
  • New deformers (Symmetry, Bend, Array, Boolean, Twist, Stretch, Spherify)
  • New parametric primitive generation.
  • Dark mode option

You can read more about the new features in the Vectary blog.  Perhaps the biggest change to Vectary is the new subscriptions, which are both more limited in the free form and vastly cheaper for the Premium plan.  Details of the new subscription tiers:

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GameDev News


24. February 2019


Today at MWC 19 in Barcelona, Microsoft announced the second release of their HoloLens augment reality headset.  Costing an eye watering $3,500 or $150/month, the HoloLens is not a mass market or consumer device.  The HoloLens 2 includes improved sensors, a better display, improved ergonomics and more.  The Microsoft blog describes the 3 pillars of HoloLens 2 development:

Immersion is greatly enhanced by advancements across the board, including in the visual display system, making holograms even more vibrant and realistic. We have more than doubled the field of view in HoloLens 2, while maintaining the industry-leading holographic density of 47 pixels per degree of sight. HoloLens 2 contains a new displaySide view of sleek black HoloLens 2 system that enables us to achieve these significant advances in performance at low power. We have also completely refreshed the way you interact with holograms in HoloLens 2. Taking advantage of our new time-of-flight depth sensor, combined with built-in AI and semantic understanding, HoloLens 2 enables direct manipulation of holograms with the same instinctual interactions you’d use with physical objects in the real world. In addition to the improvements in the display engine and direct manipulation of holograms, HoloLens 2 contains eye-tracking sensors that make interacting with holograms even more natural. You can log in with Windows Hello enterprise-grade authentication through iris recognition, making it easy for multiple people to quickly and securely share the device.

Comfort is enhanced by a more balanced center of gravity, the use of light carbon-fiber material and a new mechanism for donning the device without readjusting. We’ve improved the thermal management with new vapor chamber technology and accounted for the wide physiological variability in the size and shape of human heads by designing HoloLens 2 to comfortably adjust and fit almost anyone. The new dial-in fit system makes it comfortable to wear for hours on end, and you can keep your glasses on because HoloLens 2 adapts to you by sliding right over them. When it’s time to step out of mixed reality, flip the visor up and switch tasks in seconds. Together, these enhancements have more than tripled the measured comfort and ergonomics of the device.

Time-to-value is accelerated by Microsoft mixed reality applications like Dynamics 365 Remote Assist, Dynamics 365 Layout and the new Dynamics 365 Guides applications. In addition to the in-box value, our ecosystem of mixed reality partners provides a broad range of offerings built on HoloLens that deliver value across a range of industries and use cases. This partner ecosystem is being supplemented by a new wave of mixed reality entrepreneurs who are realizing the potential of devices like HoloLens 2 and the Azure services that give them the spatial, speech and vision intelligence needed for mixed reality, plus battle-tested cloud services for storage, security and application insights.

Building on the unique capabilities of the original HoloLens, HoloLens 2 is the ultimate intelligent edge device. And when coupled with existing and new Azure services, HoloLens 2 becomes even more capable, right out of the box.

HoloLens 2 will be available this year at a price of $3,500. Bundles including Dynamics 365 Remote Assist start at $125/month. HoloLens 2 will be initially available in the United States, Japan, China, Germany, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Australia and New Zealand. Customers can preorder HoloLens 2 starting today at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/hololens/buy.

In addition to the HoloLens 2, Microsoft also announced the release of Azure Kinect, an updated and more powerful version of the Kinect motion sensor previously bundled with the XBox 360/One. 

The Azure Kinect DK is a developer kit that combines our industry-leading AI sensors in a single device. At its core is the time-of-flight depth sensor we developed for Front and side view of compact silver Azure Kinect DK deviceHoloLens 2, high-def RGB camera and a 7-microphone circular array that will enable development of advanced computer vision and speech solutions with Azure. It enables solutions that don’t just sense but understand the world — people, places, things around it. A good example of such a solution in the healthcare space is Ocuvera, which is using this technology to prevent patients from falling in hospitals. Every year in the U.S. alone, over 1 million hospital patients fall each year, and 11,000 of those falls are fatal. With Azure Kinect, the environmental precursors to a fall can be determined and a nurse notified to get to patients before they fall. Initially available in the U.S. and China, the Azure Kinect DK is available for preorder today at $399. Visit Azure.com/Kinect for more info.

Epic Games were also on-hand to announce Unreal Engine support for the HoloLens 2:

Epic Games today announced that support for Microsoft HoloLens 2 will be coming to Unreal Engine 4 starting in May 2019. The announcement was made during an onstage presentation by Epic Games Founder and CEO Tim Sweeney during the Microsoft keynote at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.
This development has been highly anticipated by augmented reality (AR) communities across entertainment, visualization, manufacturing, design, and education. In a future release, Unreal Engine will fully support HoloLens 2 with streaming and native platform integration. Unreal Engine support for HoloLens 1 currently enables streaming to the device.

GameDev News


23. February 2019


It’s simply amazing the amount of free software available these days for game developers, and SculptGL is no exception.  It is a 3D sculpting application similar to ZBrush, Sculptris or Mudbox, but it runs entirely inside your browser (or locally via Electron if you prefer).  Features from SculptGL include:

  • Sculpting tools
    • Standard tools : Brush, Inflate, Smooth, Twist, Drag, etc
    • PBR Vertex Painting (color, roughness, metalness)
    • Alpha texture support for each tools
  • Multiresolution sculpting
    • Quad-tri Subdivison (catmull-clark/loop)
    • Reversion (compute opposite of subdvision if possible)
    • Navigating from low/high poly level subdiv will retain sculpting changes
    • keep UVs (both reversion and subdivison)
  • Voxel remeshing
    • Uses SurfaceNets meshing algorithm (produces quad-only mesh)
    • Uniform remeshing (quads will have the same size)
    • Can also create non-manifold vertex :(
    • In case of a non closed mesh, a naive holefilling algorithm is performed first
    • Deletes UV
  • Dynamic topology
    • Triangles only
    • Operates in real time
    • Local subdivision (create new triangles)
    • Local decimation (deletes triangles)
    • Deletes UV
  • Supports OBJ, PLY, STL import/export
    • Reads vertex color
    • Optimizes post and pre transform cache (tipsy algorithm)
  • Undo/Redo support

It is an open source MIT licensed project with the source available on Github.  Check out SculptGL in action in the video below.

GameDev News Art


20. February 2019


Finishing in hard cover form just in time for GTC 2019, NVidia and APress have team up to author Ray Tracing Gems, a book on real-time raytraced graphics development in the popular “Gems” format.  Even better, they are making digital chapters available as they are developed, free to those with a NVidia developer account (which is also free).  The chapters are distributed under the Creative Commons 4.0 International License and are available for download here.  Unfortunately Part 5 is currently missing and parts 6 and 7 are slated to be published later this week.

Here is the current table of contents from the RealTimeRendering homepage:

  • PART 1: RAY TRACING BASICS, editor: Chris Wyman
    • 1. Ray Tracing Terminology, by Eric Haines and Peter Shirley
    • 2. What is a Ray? by Peter Shirley, Ingo Wald, Tomas Akenine-Möller, and Eric Haines
    • 3. Introduction to DirectX Raytracing, by Chris Wyman and Adam Marrs
    • 4. A Planetarium Dome Master Camera, by John E. Stone
    • 5. Computing Minima and Maxima of Subarrays, by Ingo Wald
  • PART 2: INTERSECTIONS AND EFFICIENCY, editor: Ingo Wald
    • 6. A Fast and Robust Method for Avoiding Self-Intersection, by Carsten Wächter and Nikolaus Binder
    • 7. Precision Improvements for Ray/Sphere Intersection, by Eric Haines, Johannes Günther, and Tomas Akenine-Möller
    • 8. Cool Patches: A Geometric Approach to Ray/Bilinear Patch Intersections, by Alexander Reshetov
    • 9. Multi-Hit Ray Tracing in DXR, by Christiaan Gribble
    • 10. A Simple Load-Balancing Scheme with High Scaling Efficiency, by Dietger van Antwerpen, Daniel Seibert, and Alexander Keller
  • PART 3: REFLECTIONS, REFRACTIONS, AND SHADOWS, editor: Peter Shirley
    • 11. Automatic Handling of Materials in Nested Volumes, by Carsten Wächter and Matthias Raab
    • 12. A Microfacet-Based Shadowing Function to Solve the Bump Terminator Problem, by Alejandro Conty Estevez, Pascal Lecocq, and Clifford Stein
    • 13. Ray Traced Shadows: Maintaining Real-Time Frame Rates, by Jakub Boksansky, Michael Wimmer, and Jiri Bittner
    • 14. Ray-Guided Volumetric Water Caustics in Single Scattering Media with DXR, by Holger Gruen
  • PART 4: SAMPLING, editor: Alexander Keller
    • 15. On the Importance of Sampling, by Matt Pharr
    • 16. Sample Transformations Zoo, by Peter Shirley, Samuli Laine, David Hart, Matt Pharr, Petrik Clarberg, Eric Haines, Matthias Raab, and David Cline
    • 17. Ignoring the Inconvenient When Tracing Rays, by Matt Pharr
    • 18. Importance Sampling of Many Lights on the GPU, by Pierre Moreau and Petrik Clarberg
  • PART 5: DENOISING AND FILTERING, editor: Jacob Munkberg
    • 19. Cinematic Rendering in UE4 with Real-Time Ray Tracing and Denoising, by Edward Liu, Ignacio Llamas, Juan Cañada, and Patrick Kelly
    • 20. Texture Level of Detail Strategies for Real-Time Ray Tracing, by Tomas Akenine-Möller, Jim Nilsson, Magnus Andersson, Colin Barré-Brisebois, Robert Toth, and Tero Karras
    • 21. Simple Environment Map Filtering Using Ray Cones and Ray Differentials, by Tomas Akenine-Möller and Jim Nilsson
    • 22. Improving Temporal Antialiasing with Adaptive Ray Tracing, by Adam Marrs, Josef Spjut, Holger Gruen, Rahul Sathe, and Morgan McGuire
  • PART 6: HYBRID APPROACHES AND SYSTEMS, editor: Morgan McGuire
    • 23. Interactive Light Map and Irradiance Volume Preview in Frostbite, by Diede Apers, Petter Edblom, Charles de Rousiers, and Sébastien Hillaire
    • 24. Real-Time Global Illumination with Photon Mapping, by Niklas Smal and Maksim Aizenshtein
    • 25. Hybrid Rendering for Real-Time Ray Tracing, by Colin Barré-Brisebois, Henrik Halén, Graham Wihlidal, Andrew Lauritzen, Jasper Bekkers, Tomasz Stachowiak, and Johan Andersson
    • 26. Deferred Hybrid Path Tracing, by Thomas Schander, Clemens Musterle, and Stephan Bergmann
    • 27. Interactive Ray Tracing Techniques for High-Fidelity Scientific Visualization, by John E. Stone
  • PART 7: GLOBAL ILLUMINATION, editor: Matt Pharr
    • 28. Ray Tracing Inhomogeneous Volumes, by Matthias Raab
    • 29. Efficient Particle Volume Splatting in a Ray Tracer, by Aaron Knoll, R. Keith Morley, Ingo Wald, Nick Leaf, and Peter Messmer
    • 30. Caustics Using Screen Space Photon Mapping, by Hyuk Kim
    • 31. Variance Reduction via Footprint Estimation in the Presence of Path Reuse, by Johannes Jendersie
    • 32. Accurate Real-Time Specular Reflections with Radiance Caching, by Antti Hirvonen, Atte Seppälä, Maksim Aizenshtein, and Niklas Smal

  • Once compiled the electronic version of the book will remain freely downloadable, although in what formats has yet to be determined.

    GameDev News


    19. February 2019


    A new game development related Humble Bundle, the Humble Fantasy GameDev Bundle has just gone live.  This bundle consists of thousands of art assets mostly with a fantasy RPG theme.  As always with Humble Bundles, a portion of your proceeds go to the creator, a portion go to the Humble team, a portion goes to charity and a portion can go to support this channel.

    Humble Bundles are always split into pricing tiers, although in this case the content is heavily loaded toward the top price tier of $20 USD.  If you buy the top tier, you get all of the assets below it.  The Fantasy GameDev bundle consists of:

    1$ Tier

    • Potion Icons
    • Game Chest
    • SpellBook Page 01
    • Wooden UI
    • Fantasy Badges
    • RPG Weapons Icons

    17.31$ Tier

    • TCG Card Design
    • Armor Icon Pack
    • Sci-Fi Skill Icon Pack
    • Engineering Craft Icons
    • Loot Icons
    • Fishing Icons
    • Flat Skills Icons
    • Survival Armor Icons
    • Resources Flat Icons
    • Mobs Avatar Icons
    • Character Avatar Icons
    • Magic Badges

    20$ Tier

    • Fantasy Icon Megapack
    • SpellBook Megapack
    • TCG Cards Pack
    • Action RPG Loot
    • Action RPG Armor
    • Fantasy Animate Avatars
    • RPG Class Badges
    • Western Icons
    • GUI Megapack
    • Monster Avatar Icons
    • Fantasy Characters
    • Fairytale Icons Megapack


    The bundle is available here while you can see the contents of the Bundle in the video below.  Unfortunately the license is not clearly stated, however the Humble team made the following tweet:

    image

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