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14. February 2020

Just two and a half months after the release of Blender 2.81, Blender 2.82 is now available.  While nowhere near as massive an update as Blender 2.80, there are still a number of improvements to be found in Blender 2.82 including:

  • New Mantaflow powered gas and liquid physics simulation engine
  • Improved cloth simulations with support for internal air pressure and internal springs
  • UDIM tiled texturing support (learn more here and here)
  • PIXAR USD format export support
  • Cycles improvements including new nodes, faster rendering on Windows and more
  • AI DeNoiser support on RTX hardware powered by NVidia OptiX for faster cycles renders
  • Preview pass support in EEVEE renderer including ambient occlusion, mist, combined, normal and more
  • Transparent materials now blend properly with volumetrics
  • Sculpting improvements including new multi-plane scrape brush and slide relax brush as well as pose brush improvements
  • Grease pencil improvements including new polyline tool and multi stroke modifier
  • Plus several other new features and improvements

For complete details on what’s new in Blender 2.82 be sure to check out the complete release notes available here.  You can also learn more and see several of the new features in action in the video below.

GameDev News

13. February 2020

Nearing the end of 2019, Epic Games announced they had acquired texture provider Quixel and as part of that announcement, released 10,000+ high quality textures from the Megascans completely free for Unreal Engine users.  Around the same time Epic also announced the archviz product TwinMotion would be integrated into Unreal Engine 4.24.  Today, they took that one step further and released 1,000+ high quality textures from TwinMotion completely free for Unreal Engine users.

Details from the Unreal Engine blog:

Since Epic Games acquired Twinmotion last year and made the high-quality, easy-to-use real-time visualization solution freely available to the general public, we immediately started thinking about how we could best make it interoperable with Unreal Engine. While we’re excited to reveal more on how we’ll be integrating the two workflows together in the future, we wanted to begin bridging that gap today by offering Unreal users a free material collection that’s based on Twinmotion materials. There’s a wide variety of categories here including:

  • Bricks
  • Concrete
  • Fabrics 
  • Glass
  • Grass and dirt
  • Wood 
  • Plastics

Available now on the Marketplace, we’ve ensured that these rich and powerful master materials support the latest ray-tracing advancements and have used best practices to define how the nearly 500 PBR materials were used. This work includes:

  • Specific optimizations for ray tracing
  • Advanced shading techniques, such as parallax occlusion mapping for materials needing relief, which is useful for surfaces like bricks 
  • Ability to use an object’s UVs or to use tri-planar mapping, which can assist texture alignment by automatically aligning textures on objects that might not have been given proper UV coordinates 
  • Ability to define real-world scale

The materials are available in a large 8GB+ download on the Unreal Engine Marketplace.  You need to be running the most current version of Unreal Engine (4.24.2+ ) for the assets to work properly and expect the importation process to take a fair bit of time, as over 4000 shaders need to be built.  If you want to check it out but skip the long download and importation process, you can see the new materials in action in the video below.

GameDev News

12. February 2020

Humble are running a new bundle of interest to game developers, this one is the Humble Best of POLYGON Game Dev Bundle.  It’s a collection of 3D model packs from Synty, with projects in both Unreal and Unity formats.  As with all Humble Bundles this one is organized into tiers, where if you buy a higher dollar value tier you get all of the lower value tiers as well.

Bundle Tiers

$1 USD

  • POLYGON Prototype
  • POLYGON Adventure
  • Simple Town

$15 USD

  • POLYGON City Pack
  • POLYGON Samurai Pack
  • POLYGON Knight Pack
  • Simple People
  • Simple Dungeons

$20 USD

  • POLYGON SCI-FI City Pack
  • POLYGON  Western Pack
  • POLYGON Heist Pack
  • POLYGON Vikings Pack
  • Simple Military
  • Simple Apocalypse
  • $10 Synty Discount Code

When you purchase a Humble Bundle you decide how your money is allocated between charity, the publisher, Humble and if you choose (and thanks if you do!) to support GFS if you use this link.  Learn more about the bundle in the video below.

As with any asset purchase, it’s important to read the license if you intend to use the assets in a commercial project.  The Synty Store license for Humble is available here.  It appears the Humble license is on a per seat basis and includes just a single seat license, so if you are working with a team, you may have to purchase multiple bundles.

EDIT – Since the bundle was released, it has been updated to now include a Source Files download on Humble. 


These zip files contain model data in OBJ or FBX formats, enabling you to easily use this content in other game engines, as well as importing into DCC tools like Blender or Max for editing.

GameDev News Art

12. February 2020

Today we are checking out TextureLab, a free and open source texture generation tool for Windows and Linux.  While fairly early in it’s development, TextureLab aims to be similar in capability to Substance Designer in function.

TextureLab features include:
- Export all textures at once or save them individually
- Unity Export
- 25+ nodes and counting
- Cross-Platform (It's built using electron and vue)
- Fast! All filtering and texture generation operations are done on the GPU
- Free and Open Source

TextureLab is licensed under the GPLv3 open source license with the code written in TypeScript and hosted in an Electron app.  TextureLab is not the only open source alternative to Substance Designer under development, we have already looked at MaterialMaker , TexGraph and Imogen in the past.  You can learn more about and see TextureLab in action in the video below.

Art GameDev News

11. February 2020

The comes a time in every project where you have to switch from a developmental Work In Progress branch to the main branch and that time just occurred for the Godot game engine.  The WIP Vulkan (and C++14) port is now the official branch on the Godot Github.

Details from the Godot news page:

The Vulkan port is not ready yet, but we need to get it merged into the master branch as a lot of further development planned for Godot 4.0 depends on it.

We plan to rework a lot of Godot's internals (core) to allow fixing long-standing design issues and improving performance (including GDScript performance improvements). Moreover, our long-awaited port to C++14 will also happen now that the vulkan branch is merged into master, and many other codebase-wide changes were waiting for this: code style changes, Display/OS split, renaming of 3D nodes to unify our conventions, etc.

The scope of the planned changes means that it would be impossible to do these changes in the master branch while keeping the vulkan branch separate, just as it would not be possible to do all those changes in the vulkan branch itself before merging into master: any rebase/merge would become extremely difficult due to the sheer amount of lines of code that will change.

Up until now, we've been very cautious with regard to what changes we allow in the vulkan branch, as well as what new PRs we merge in master, to ensure that the vulkan branch can always be rebased on top of master for a later merge. I've been rebasing it periodically over the past 8 months, and even though we've been very conservative in the scope of the changes, in later months a full rebase could easily take me a full day of work.

So we need everything in the main branch to stop limiting ourselves.

Moving the development branch from 3.2 to 4.0 has some side effects, specifically outstanding Pull Requests.  Unfortunately the simplest option seems to be the best in this case, to close those requests and hopefully “port” them to the new master branch.

While closing PRs may seem a bit abrupt, we ask all contributors to understand that this is done to help us cope with the sheer amount of proposals in parallel to having to refactor a lot of the engine's codebase. This closing does not mean that we reject the PRs, nor that we do not seem them as worthy contributions. But by asking the authors to re-assess their own proposals and make them compatible with Godot 4.0, we will save a lot of precious development time and get ourselves some breathing air in the current overcrowded PRs.

Closed PRs will have the salvageable label, which we use to denote PRs with code that could be salvaged to make a new, updated (and possibly improved) PR, either by the original author or by a new contributor. So we will not lose code in the process, since everything will still be accessible from the closed PRs and easily identifiable thanks to the salvageable label.

If you use a major release version downloaded from Godot’s download page or from Steam, this change doesn’t actually effect you.  If you want to check out the new Vulkan master branch but don’t want to build the code yourself, you can get a nightly build here.

Learn more about this change and it’s ramifications in the video below.

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